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less than 50 scudi from those to whom she was willing to accord
what Montaigne called the "negotiation entiere."
In regard to this matter it may be mentioned that, as stated by
Bandello, it was the custom for a Venetian prostitute to have six
or seven gentlemen at a time as her lovers. Each was entitled to
come to sup and sleep with her on one night of the week, leaving
her days free. They paid her so much per month, but she always
definitely reserved the right to receive a stranger passing
through Venice, if she wished, changing the time of her
appointment with her lover for the night. The high and special
prices which we find recorded are, of course, those demanded from
the casual distinguished stranger who came to Venice as, once in
the sixteenth century, Montaigne came.
In 1580 (when not more than thirty-four) Veronica confessed to
the Holy Office that she had had six children. In the same year
she formed the design of founding a home, which should not be a
monastery, where prostitutes who wished to abandon their mode of
life could find a refuge with their children, if they had any.
This seems to have led to the establishment of a Casa del
Soccorso. In 1591 she died of fever, reconciled with God and
blessed by many unfortunates. She had a good heart and a sound
intellect, and was the last of the great Renaissance courtesans
who revived Greek hetairism (Graf, _Attraverso il Cinquecento_,
pp. 217-351). Even in sixteenth century Venice, however, it will
be seen, Veronica Franco seems to have been not altogether at
peace in the career of a courtesan. She was clearly not adapted
for ordinary marriage, yet under the most favorable conditions
that the modern world has ever offered it may still be doubted
whether a prostitute's career can offer complete satisfaction to
a woman of large heart and brain.
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