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List Of Contents | Contents of The Borgias, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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duke's accomplices took their pasts on the right and left of those
they were to watch, who were all there except Oliverotto, whom the
duke could not see, and began to seek with uneasy looks; but as he
crossed the suburb he perceived him exercising his troops on the
square.  Caesar at once despatched Michelotto and d'Enna, with a
message that it was a rash thing to have his troops out, when they
might easily start some quarrel with the duke's men and bring about
an affray: it would be much better to settle them in barracks and
then come to join his companions, who were with Caesar.  Oliverotto,
drawn by the same fate as his friends, made no abjection, ordered his
soldiers indoors, and put his horse to the gallop to join the duke,
escorted on either side by d'Enna and Michelotto.  Caesar, on seeing
him, called him, took him by the hand, and continued his march to the
palace that had been prepared for him, his four victims following
after.

Arrived on the threshold, Caesar dismounted, and signing to the
leader of the men-at-arms to, await his orders, he went in first,
followed by Oliverotto, Gravina, Vitellozzo Vitelli, and Orsino, each
accompanied by his two satellites; but scarcely had they gone
upstairs and into the first room when the door was shut behind them,
and Caesar turned round, saying, "The hour has come!"  This was the
signal agreed upon.  Instantly the former confederates were seized,
thrown down, and forced to surrender with a dagger at their throat.
Then, while they were being carried to a dungeon, Caesar opened the
window, went out on the balcony and cried out to the leader of his
men-at-arms, "Go forward!"  The man was in the secret, he rushed on
with his band towards the barracks where Oliverotto's soldiers had
just been consigned, and they, suddenly surprised and off their
guard, were at once made prisoners; then the duke's troops began to
pillage the town, and he summoned Macchiavelli.

Caesar and the Florentine envoy were nearly two hours shut up
together, and since Macchiavelli himself recounts the history of this
interview, we will give his own words.

"He summoned me," says the Florentine ambassador, "and in the calmest
manner showed me his joy at the success of this enterprise, which he
assured me he had spoken of to me the evening before; I remember that
he did, but I did not at that time understand what he meant; next he
explained, in terms of much feeling and lively affection for our
city, the different motives which had made him desire your alliance,
a desire to which he hopes you will respond.  He ended with charging
me to lay three proposals before your lordships: first, that you
rejoice with him in the destruction at a single blow of the mortal
enemies of the king, himself, and you, and the consequent
disappearance of all seeds of trouble and dissension likely to waste
Italy: this service of his, together with his refusal to allow the
prisoners to march against you, ought, he thinks, to excite your
gratitude towards him; secondly, he begs that you will at this
juncture give him a striking proof of your friendliness, by urging
your cavalry's advance towards Borgo, and there assembling some
infantry also, in order that they may march with him, should need
arise, on Castello or on Perugia.  Lastly, he desires--and this is
his third condition--that you arrest the Duke of Urbino, if he should
flee from Castello into your territories, when he learns that
Vitellozzo is a prisoner.

"When I objected that to give him up would not beseem the dignity of
the republic, and that you would never consent, he approved of my
words, and said that it would be enough for you to keep the duke, and
not give him his liberty without His Excellency's permission.  I have
promised to give you all this information, to which he awaits your
reply."


The same night eight masked men descended to the dungeon where the
prisoners lay: they believed at that moment that the fatal hour had
arrived for all.  But this time the executioners had to do with
Vitellozzo and Oliverotto alone.  When these two captains heard that
they were condemned, Oliverotto burst forth into reproaches against
Vitellozzo, saying that it was all his fault that they had taken up
arms against the duke: not a word Vitellozzo answered except a prayer
that the pope might grant him plenary indulgence for all his sins.
Then the masked men took them away, leaving Orsino and Gravina to
await a similar fate, and led away the two chosen out to die to a
secluded spot outside the ramparts of the town, where they were
strangled and buried at once in two trenches that had been dug
beforehand.

The two others were kept alive until it should be known if the pope
had arrested Cardinal Orsino, archbishop of Florence and lord of
Santa Croce; and when the answer was received in the affirmative from
His Holiness, Gravina and Orsina, who had been transferred to a
castle, were likewise strangled.

The duke, leaving instructions with Michelotto, set off for
Sinigaglia as soon as the first execution was over, assuring
Macchiavelli that he had never had any other thought than that of
giving tranquillity to the Romagna and to Tuscany, and also that he
thought he had succeeded by taking and putting to death the men who
had been the cause of all the trouble; also that any other revolt
that might take place in the future would be nothing but sparks that
a drop of water could extinguish.

The pope had barely learned that Caesar had his enemies in his power,
when, eager to play the same winning game himself, he announced to
Cardinal Orsino, though it was then midnight, that his son had taken
Sinigaglia, and gave him an invitation to come the next morning and
talk over the good news.  The cardinal, delighted at this increase of
favour, did not miss his appointment.  So, in the morning, he started
an horseback for the Vatican; but at a turn of the first street he
met the governor of Rome with a detachment of cavalry, who
congratulated himself on the happy chance that they were taking the
same road, and accompanied him to the threshold of the Vatican.
There the cardinal dismounted, and began to ascend the stairs;
scarcely, however, had he reached the first landing before his mules
and carriages were seized and shut in the palace stables.  When he
entered the hall of the Perropont, he found that he and all his suite
were surrounded by armed men, who led him into another apartment,
called the Vicar's Hall, where he found the Abbate Alviano, the
protonotary Orsino, Jacopo Santa Croce, and Rinaldo Orsino, who were
all prisoners like himself; at the same time the governor received
orders to seize the castle of Monte Giardino, which belonged to the
Orsini, and take away all the jewels, all the hangings, all the
furniture, and all the silver that he might find.

The governor carried out his orders conscientiously, and brought to
the Vatican everything he seized, down to the cardinal's account-
book.  On consulting this book, the pope found out two things: first,
that a sum of 2000 ducats was due to the cardinal, no debtor's name
being mentioned; secondly, that the cardinal had bought three months
before, for 1500 Roman crowns, a magnificent pearl which could not be
found among the objects belonging to him: on which Alexander ordered
that from that very moment until the negligence in the cardinal's
accounts was repaired, the men who were in the habit of bringing him
food twice a day on behalf of his mother should not be admitted into
the Castle Sant' Angelo.  The same day, the cardinal's mother sent
the pope the 2000 ducats, and the next day his mistress, in man's
attire, came in person to bring the missing pearl.  His Holiness,
however, was so struck with her beauty in this costume, that, we are
told, he let her keep the pearl for the same price she had paid for
it.

Then the pope allowed the cardinal to have his food brought as
before, and he died of poison on the 22nd of February--that is, two
days after his accounts had been set right.

That same night the Prince of Squillace set off to take possession,
in the pope's name, of the lands of the deceased.




CHAPTER XIV

The Duke of Valentinois had continued, his road towards Citta di
Castello and Perugia, and had seized these two towns without striking
a blow; for the Vitelli had fled from the former, and the latter had
been abandoned by Gian Paolo Baglione with no attempt whatever at
resistance.  There still remained Siena, where Pandolfo Petrucci was
shut up, the only man remaining of all who had joined the league
against Caesar.

But Siena was under the protection of the French.  Besides, Siena was
not one of the States of the Church, and Caesar had no rights there.
Therefore he was content with insisting upon Pandolfo Petrucci's
leaving the town and retiring to Lucca, which he accordingly did.

Then all on this side being peaceful and the whole of Romagna in
subjection, Caesar resolved to return to Rome and help the pope to
destroy all that was left of the Orsini.

This was all the easier because Louis XII, having suffered reverses
in the kingdom of Naples, had since then been much concerned with his
own affairs to disturb himself about his allies.  So Caesar, doing
for the neighbourhood of the Holy See the same thing that he had done
far the Romagna, seized in succession Vicovaro, Cera, Palombera,
Lanzano, and Cervetti ; when these conquests were achieved, having
nothing else to do now that he had brought the pontifical States into
subjection from the frontiers of Naples to those of Venice, he
returned to Rome to concert with his father as to the means of
converting his duchy into a kingdom.

Caesar arrived at the right moment to share with Alexander the
property of Cardinal Gian Michele, who had just died, having received
a poisoned cup from the hands of the pope.

The future King of Italy found his father preoccupied with a grand
project: he had resolved, for the Feast of St. Peter's, to create
nine cardinals.  What he had to gain from these nominations is as
follows:

First, the cardinals elected would leave all their offices vacant;

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