OR, APPARITIONIST: FROM THE PAPERS OF COUNT O * * * * *
I AM about to relate an adventure, which to many will appear incredible, but of which I was in great part an eye-witness. The few who are acquainted with a certain political event will, if indeed these pages should happen to find them alive, receive a welcome solution thereof. And, even to the rest of my readers, it will be, perhaps, important as a contribution to the history of the deception and aberrations of the human intellect. The boldness of the schemes which malice is able to contemplate and to carry out must excite astonishment, as must also the means of which it can avail itself to accomplish its aims. Clear unvarnished truth shall guide my pen; for, when these pages come before the public, I shall be no more, and shall therefore never learn their fate.
On my return to Courland in the year 17--, about the time of the Carnival, I visited the Prince of ----- at Venice. We had been acquainted in the ----- service, and we here renewed an intimacy which, by the restoration of peace, had been interrupted. As I wished to see the curiosities of this city, and as the prince was waiting only for the arrival of remittances to return to his native country, he easily prevailed on me to tarry till his departure. We agreed not to separate during the time of our residence at Venice, and the prince was kind enough to accommodate me at his lodgings at the Moor Hotel.