List Of Contents | Contents of The Borgias, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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his army, the fortresses of Civita Vecchia, Terracina, and Spoleto;

Lastly, the Cardinal Valentino (this was now the name of Caesar
Borgia, after his archbishopric of Valencia) should accompany the
king in the capacity of apostolic ambassador, really as a hostage.

These conditions fixed, the ceremonial of an interview was arranged.
The king left the Palazzo di Venezia and went to live in the Vatican.
At the appointed time he entered by the door of a garden that
adjoined the palace, while the pope, who had not had to quit the
Castle S. Angelo, thanks to a corridor communicating between the two
palaces, came down into the same garden by another gate.  The result
of this arrangement was that the king the next moment perceived the
pope, and knelt down, but the pope pretended not to see him, and the
king advancing a few paces, knelt a second time; as His Holiness was
at that moment screened by some masonry, this supplied him with
another excuse, and the king went on with the performance, got up
again, once mare advanced several steps, and was on the point of
kneeling down the third time face to face, when the Holy Father at
last perceived him, and, walking towards him as though he would
prevent him from kneeling, took off his own hat, and pressing him to
his heart, raised him up and tenderly kissed his forehead, refusing
to cover until the king had put his cap upon his head, with the aid
of the pope's own hands.  Then, after they had stood for a moment,
exchanging polite and friendly speeches, the king lost no time in
praying His Holiness to be so good as to receive into the Sacred
College William Bricannet, the Bishop of St. Malo.  As this matter
had been agreed upon beforehand by that prelate and His Holiness,
though the king was not aware of it, Alexander was pleased to get
credit by promptly granting the request; and he instantly ordered one
of his attendants to go to the house of his son, Cardinal Valentino,
and fetch a cape and hat.  Then taking the king by the hand, he
conducted him into the hall of Papagalli, where the ceremony was to
take place of the admission of the new cardinal.  The solemn oath of
obedience which was to be taken by Charles to His Holiness as supreme
head of the Christian Church was postponed till the following day.

When that solemn day arrived, every person important in Rome, noble,
cleric, or soldier, assembled around His Holiness.  Charles, on his
side, made his approach to the Vatican with a splendid following of
princes, prelates, and captains.  At the threshold of the palace he
found four cardinals who had arrived before him: two of them placed.
themselves one on each side of him, the two others behind him, and
all his retinue following, they traversed a long line of apartments
full of guards and servants, and at last arrived in the reception-
room, where the pope was seated on his throne, with his son, Caesar
Borgia; behind him.  On his arrival at the door, the King of France
began the usual ceremonial, and when he had gone on from genuflexions
to kissing the feet, the hand, and the forehead, he stood up, while
the first president of the Parliament of Paris, in his turn stepping
forward, said in a loud voice:

"Very Holy Father, behold my king ready to offer to your Holiness
that oath of obedience that he owes to you; but in France it is
customary that he who offers himself as vassal to his lord shall
receive in exchange therefor such boons as he may demand.  His
Majesty, therefore, while he pledges himself for his own part to
behave unto your Holiness with a munificence even greater than that
wherewith your Holiness shall behave unto him, is here to beg
urgently that you accord him three favours.  These favours are:
first, the confirmation of privleges already granted to the king, to
the queen his wife, and to the dauphin his son; secondly, the
investiture, for himself and his successors, of the kingdom of
Naples; lastly, the surrender to him of the person of the sultan
D'jem, brother of the Turkish emperor."

At this address the pope was for a moment stupefied, for he did not
expect these three demands, which were moreover made so publicly by
Charles that no manner of refusal was possible.  But quickly
recovering his presence of mind, he replied to the king that he would
willingly confirm the privileges that had been accorded to the house
of France by his predecessors; that he might therefore consider his
first demand granted; that the investiture of the kingdom was an
affair that required deliberation in a council of cardinals, but he
would do all he possibly could to induce them to accede to the king's
desire; lastly, he must defer the affair of the sultan's brother till
a time more opportune for discussing it with the Sacred College, but
would venture to say that, as this surrender could not fail to be for
the good of Christendom, as it was demanded for the purpose of
assuring further the success of a crusade, it would not be his fault
if on this point also the king should not be satisfied.

At this reply, Charles bowed his head in sign of satisfaction, and
the first president stood up, uncovered, and resumed his discourse as

"Very Holy Father, it is an ancient custom among Christian kings,
especially the Most Christian kings of France, to signify, through
their ambassadors, the respect they feel for the Holy See and the
sovereign pontiffs whom Divine Providence places thereon; but the
Most Christian king, having felt a desire to visit the tombs of the
holy apostles, has been pleased to pay this religious debt, which he
regards as a sacred duty, not by ambassadors or by delegates, but in
his own person.  This is why, Very Holy Father, His Majesty the King
of France is here to acknowledge you as the true vicar of Christ, the
legitimate successor of the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, and with
promise and vow renders you that filial and respectful devotion which
the kings his predecessors have been accustomed to promise and vow,
devoting himself and all his strength to the service of your Holiness
and the interests of the Holy See."

The pope arose with a joyful heart; for this oath, so publicly made,
removed all his fears about a council; so inclined from this moment
to yield to the King of France anything he might choose to ask, he
took him by his left hand and made him a short and friendly reply,
dubbing him the Church's eldest son.  The ceremony over, they left
the hall, the pope always holding the king's hand in his, and in this
way they walked as far as the room where the sacred vestments are put
off; the pope feigned a wish to conduct the king to his own
apartments, but the king would not suffer this, and, embracing once
more, they separated, each to retire to his own domicile.

The king remained eight days longer at the Vatican, then returned to
the Palazzo San Marco.  During these eight days all his demands were
debated and settled to his satisfaction.  The Bishop of Mans was made
cardinal; the investiture of the kingdom of Naples was promised to
the conqueror; lastly, it was agreed that on his departure the King
of France should receive from the pope's hand the brother of the
Emperor of Constantinople, for a sum of 120,000 livres.  But--the
pope, desiring to extend to the utmost the hospitality he had been
bestowing, invited D'jem to dinner on the very day that he was to
leave Rome with his new protector.

When the moment of departure arrived, Charles mounted his horse in
full armour, and with a numerous and brilliant following made his way
to the Vatican; arrived at the door, he dismounted, and leaving his
escort at the Piazza of St. Peter, went up with a few gentlemen only.
He found His Holiness waiting for him, with Cardinal Valentino on his
right, and on his left D'jem, who, as we said before, was dining with
him, and round the table thirteen cardinals.  The king at once,
bending on his knee, demanded the pope's benediction, and stooped to
kiss his feet.  But this Alexander would not suffer; he took him in
his arms, and with the lips of a father and heart of an enemy, kissed
him tenderly on his forehead.  Then the pope introduced the son of
Mahomet II, who was a fine young man, with something noble and regal
in his air, presenting in his magnificent oriental costume a great
contrast in its fashion and amplitude to the narrow, severe cut of
the Christian apparel.  D'jem advanced to Charles without humility
and without pride, and, like an emperor's son treating with a king,
kissed his hand and then his shoulder; then, turning towards the Holy
Father, he said in Italian, which he spoke very well, that he
entreated he would recommend him to the young king, who was prepared
to take him under his protection, assuring the pontiff that he should
never have to repent giving him his liberty, and telling Charles that
he hoped he might some day be proud of him, if after taking Naples he
carried out his intention of going on to Greece.  These words were
spoken with so much dignity and at the same time with such
gentleness, that the King of France loyally and frankly grasped the
young sultan's hand, as though he were his companion-in-arms.  Then
Charles took a final farewell of the pope, and went down to the
piazza.  There he was awaited by Cardinal Valentino, who was about to
accompany him, as we know, as a hostage, and who had remained behind
to exchange a few words with his father.  In a moment Caesar Borgia
appeared, riding on a splendidly harnessed mule, and behind him were
led six magnificent horses, a present from the Holy Father to the
King of France.  Charles at once mounted one of these, to do honour
to the gift.  The pope had just conferred on him, and leaving Rome
with the rest of his troops, pursued his way towards Marino, where he
arrived the same evening.

He learned there that Alfonso, belying his reputation as a clever
politician and great general, had just embarked with all his
treasures in a flotilla of four galleys, leaving the care of the war
and the management of his kingdom to his son Ferdinand.  Thus
everything went well for the triumphant march of Charles: the gates

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