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IT TAKES little more than the mention of the name of Casanova to conjure up visions of an artist skilled in lovemaking. A man who can hand out that "line," for which the weaker sex is so gullible, is almost always dubbed a "casanova" by his friends. What our modern world is apt to forget is the fact that the name of Casanova belonged to an eighteenth century adventurer.

That Giacomo Casanova was regarded as a criminal in his own times is often forgotten. In July, 1755, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment by the inquisitors of Venice. In October, 1756, he led in one of the most spectacular escapes of all time. In several atheistic poems he had composed, Casanova offended the church and was soon placed under their watchful eye. While in Venice, the inquisitors—the judicial instrument of the church—took the pains to employ Manuzzi, one of their best spies, in an effort to find the evidence to put Casanova into a dungeon. When his room was searched, copies of banned literature were found; he was promptly arrested and sentenced to a long term in prison.

Cassnova's cell was a tiny garret with a ceiling so low that he could hardly stand. In order to walk about he was forced to bend his head and shoulders. Since his room was just under the roof, the summer heat was almost unbearable. Once I day, the goaler, Lorenzo, came to visit him. He brought food and any other slight convenience Casanova could pay for. Once in a while Lorenzo took him to a neighboring cell in which he could exercise by walking in an upright position.

At first Casanova was resigned to this dismal fate. Inwardly he believed that he could never live through his term of imprisonment. By degrees his attitude changed to one of a more optimistic nature. And when, during one of his exercise periods his eyes Ht upon a heavy iron bolt which had been cast into a corner, he knew that an escape might he arranged. Discreetly he hid the bolt in his dressing gown and carried it hack to his cell.

This heavy piece of metal was lo play a dual role in the escape of the imprisoned Casanova; sharpened it could serve as a chisel, a means of chipping his way to freedom—and would also be invaluable as a weapon to protect the life oi is daring owner from unforeseen dangers. For eight long days he worked in secret to rub it down to the desired sharpness. Finally a point was fashioned at one end. Eight long pyramidal facets were made, and the bolt was transformed into an octagonal dagger. The task had been a difficult one, for Casanova was unaccustomed to any form of physical labor. Moreover, he had no oil with which to cover the small piece of marble which served as a 'rubbing stone; without oil he could not render it with satisfactory abrasive powers. Instead he had to spit on the stone to moisten it. His right arm became so still he could hardly move it, and the palm of his hand was an open wound. These pains were worth enduring because, after a long struggle, he had a shining finished weapon.

As soon as it was completed, Casanova hid the dagger from the prying eyes of his keepers. Cautiously he placed the weapon in the stuffing of the back of his armchair—and then he waited patiently for the opportunity to pat it into use.

Every day of his imprisonment, Casanova had a new set of grumblings with which he plagued Lorenzo. The filth he was surrounded with, the dust and the heat of his cell, the poor quality of food, the small amount of light, and the lack of books to help pass the time were inst a few of the complaints he uttered daily. when Casanova's scheme for escape began to form in his mind. he realized how wrong he had been lo complain.

The room directly below his own served as an office. It was cleaned every morning. Cssanova's plan consisted of making a hole through the floor of his room. Through this aperture he would let himself down with the aid of the sheets from his bod. There he would wait until the door was unlocked to facilitate the cleaning of the room. Somehow, he would make his way out through the building to freedom.

This plan was complicated by the fact that the digging of the hole would require time. Tho work had to be concealed from the watchful eye of Lorenzo. The floor space under the bed offered the best solution, but Casanova had previously complained of fleas, and now Lorenzo supervised the thorough daily sweeping of his room. Pretending that he had a violent cold and that the dust of sweeping made him cough, brought results. However, Lorenzo grew suspicious after a few days, and every corner of the room was swept out. By pricking his finger and staining a handkerchief with blood. Casanova was able to convince Lorenzo that he had not told a lie.

The winter nights were conveniently long, and Casanova took full advantage of them. The hole under his bed grew larger and larger. Several times during that winter Casanova was forced to share his cell with another prisoner; his work had to be abandoned until he was alone once again. Two days before he planned to make his exit to freedom, Lorenzo came to him with the joyful news that he was to he transferred to a more comfortable cell. a room with two large windows through which he could look over half of Venice. The goaler was surprised to notice Casanova's reluctance to move. In reality the poor man almost fainted with terror; he was certain his hole: would be discovered. Trying to hide his true feelings, he quietly changed cells. After an hour had elapsed, Lorenzo barged into his new cell and threatened to report him for attempting to escape. Casanova remarked that if this was done, he would report Lorenzo for having given him the tool. The goaler chose to remain silent.

Before long Casanova began to plot his escape once more. It was not so easy this time because Lorenzo was more careful. Daily the walls and floors of his cell were tapped in a search for tho existence of new holes. Soon, however, Lorenzo relaxed the rule to the extent that Casanova was allowed to exchange books with his fellow prisoners, the Count Aquinas and a nobleman known as Balbi. The prisoners took full advantage of this privilege and they began a correspondence in Latin in the margin of the volumes they exchanged. Casanova proposed that, since he was being watched, Balbi should have the dagger and cut first one hole through the ceiling of his cell and then another down into Casanova's room. By concealing it in a large volume. Casanova was able to put the weapon in Balbi's hands. After two months their way to escape was clear. On the last day of October in 1756 they planned to make their attempt.

At the last moment Count Aquinas chose to remain behind, but he let Casanova have some of his money to aid the venture. Balbi and Casanova hacked their way through the old lead roof, but when they saw the full moon shining brightly down upon them they knew that several hours must elapse before they could make the climb on the rooftop.

After waiting until the moon set, they tried once more. Casanova's efforts were hampered by the incompetent and blundering Balbi, but a separation was impossible. They crawled about on the steep roof for some time before Casanova discovered a small dunner window on a lower level which could be reached. With the rope of blankets ho had wisely thought to bring with him, he was able to lower the unhelpful Balbi so that he could enter the window.

Casanuva's descent was now complicated by the fact that there was nothing to which he could attach the rope. After more exploration he found a ladder. While trying to move it to the dormer window, he lost his footing, slipped over the edge of the roof, and hung over the street supported solely by his elbows. Putting forth his last ounce of energy he was able to pull himself to safety. There he lay for a. few frantic momenta trying to regain his sense of balance and security. Finally he was able to jerk the ladder into the correct position and join Balbi.

As treacherous as their position was, Casanova could go no further. He ignored the frightened murmurings of his companion and lay down on the floor to sleep. Balbi woke him just before dawn and together, with the aid of the trusty dagger, they forced the locks of successive doors until they found themselves in the vast audience chamber which was separated from the main staircase by a gate of massive bronze. They could not continue by their own efforts and were forced to wait there until daybreak.

With the arrival of morning people began to move about in the public square below. Casanova was able to catch the attention of a man who told the doorkeeper that someone had been shut up in the palace. When the doorkeeper unlocked the bronze doors, Casanova and Balbi ran past him and down the staircase before he could question them. The escape from Venetian territory into friendlier lands was managed on foot and by carriage. It was not as easy as Casanova had at first believed, but with his talent for resourcefulness the feat was successfully performed. He lied, borrowed. acted, and stole his way to freedom.

For the rest of his life, as he wandered from one country to the next, he told and retold this harrowing tale of his escape. At the dining tables of royalty in France, England, Poland, Austria, and Russia this tale was recited. And in his old age, when the "dandies" of the court fell into disfavor, when Casanova was penniless and unable to borrow more money, his story was penned and published.