Casanova and the Florentine Countess – Excerpt 5

  I wandered over to the table where Falcone and his friends were gambling. I stood on the side lines  watching for a little while, there was no doubt in my mind that Falcone was cheating, I was disgusted, he wasn’t even a good cheat. To someone of my knowledge and ability his performance was pitiful.

I watched a little while longer, then asked if I might be permitted to join in their game. I have the feeling that Falcone was just about to refuse me when one of his friends threw in his hand and stated, ‘I’m off abed, I’ve lost enough for tonight!’ and left the table.

‘Well, Signori? it appears you may join us, will you introduce yourself?’ ‘Signor’s’ I addressed the company, I am Giacomo Casanova, a Venetian, I’m in Florence visiting old friends, the Duchess, being one of them.

‘I am Giuseppe Falcone, My friends are Benedetto Cattoni, Michaelangelo Ruffio and Angelo Cavello’ he stated as he introduced me to the table. All of his friends made me welcome to join them. The only one who seemed to have reservations was Falcone himself, but that came as no surprise, maybe he knew me by repute.

They were playing Bestia, a game I was particularly familiar with. But I wasn’t playing to win, i was playing to lure Falcone in to the trap I was setting for him. I was quite happy to play for high stakes, unbeknown to anyone but myself and my man, Leonardo, I had purloined a bag of gold ducati from the Lupino Palazzo.

My plan was to lose a couple, win one, lose several more, lose enough to make Falcone think that I was a very poor gambler, but also one with a purse full of gold. I studied his face, he had fallen for my ploy, now to start turning the screws.

(C) Damian Grange 2017


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