List Of Contents | Contents of The Borgias, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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once all the boatmen and fishermen who were accustomed to go up and
down the river, and as a large reward was promised to anyone who
should find the duke's body, there were soon mare than a hundred
ready for the job; so that before the evening of the same day, which
was Friday, two men were drawn out of the water, of whom one was
instantly recognised as the hapless duke.  At the very first glance
at the body there could be no doubt as to the cause of death.  It was
pierced with nine wounds, the chief one in the throat, whose artery
was cut.  The clothing had not been touched: his doublet and cloak
were there, his gloves in his waistband, gold in his purse; the duke
then must have been assassinated not for gain but for revenge.

The ship which carried the corpse went up the Tiber to the Castello
Sant' Angelo, where it was set down.  At once the magnificent dress
was fetched from the duke's palace which he had worn on the day of
the procession, and he was clothed in it once more: beside him were
placed the insignia of the generalship of the Church.  Thus he lay in
state all day, but his father in his despair had not the courage to
came and look at him.  At last, when night had fallen, his most
trusty and honoured servants carried the body to the church of the
Madonna del Papala, with all the pomp and ceremony that Church and
State combined could devise for the funeral of the son of the pope.

Meantime the bloodstained hands of Caesar Borgia were placing a royal
crown upon the head of Frederic of Aragon.

This blow had pierced Alexander's heart very deeply.  As at first he
did not know on whom his suspicions should fall, he gave the
strictest orders for the pursuit of the murderers; but little by
little the infamous truth was forced upon him.  He saw that the blow
which struck at his house came from that very house itself and then
his despair was changed to madness: he ran through the rooms of the
Vatican like a maniac, and entering the consistory with torn garments
and ashes on his head, he sobbingly avowed all the errors of his past
life, owning that the disaster that struck his offspring through his
offspring was a just chastisement from God; then he retired to a
secret dark chamber of the palace, and there shut himself up,
declaring his resolve to die of starvation.  And indeed for more than
sixty hours he took no nourishment by day nor rest by night, making
no answer to those who knocked at his door to bring him food except
with the wailings of a woman or a roar as of a wounded lion; even the
beautiful Giulia Farnese, his new mistress, could not move him at
all, and was obliged to go and seek Lucrezia, that daughter doubly
loved to conquer his deadly resolve.  Lucrezia came out from the
retreat were she was weeping for the Duke of Gandia, that she might
console her father.  At her voice the door did really open, and it
was only then that the Duke of Segovia, who had been kneeling almost
a whole day at the threshold, begging His Holiness to take heart,
could enter with servants bearing wine and food.

The pope remained alone with Lucrezia for three days and nights; then
he reappeared in public, outwardly calm, if not resigned; for
Guicciardini assures us that his daughter had made him understand how
dangerous it would be to himself to show too openly before the
assassin, who was coming home, the immoderate love he felt for his


Caesar remained at Naples, partly to give time to the paternal grief
to cool down, and partly to get on with another business he had
lately been charged with, nothing else than a proposition of marriage
between Lucrezia and Don Alfonso of Aragon, Duke of Bicelli and
Prince of Salerno, natural son of Alfonso II and brother of Dona
Sancha.  It was true that Lucrezia was already married to the lord of
Pesaro, but she was the daughter  of an father who had received from
heaven the right of uniting and disuniting.  There was no need to
trouble about so trifling a matter: when the two were ready to marry,
the divorce would be effected.  Alexander was too good a tactician to
leave his daughter married to a son-in-law who was becoming useless
to him.

Towards the end of August it was announced that the ambassador was
coming back to Rome, having accomplished his mission to the new king
to his great satisfaction.  And thither he returned an the 5th of
September,--that is, nearly three months after the Duke of Gandia's
death,--and on the next day, the 6th, from the church of Santa Maria
Novella, where, according to custom, the cardinals and the Spanish
and Venetian ambassadors were awaiting him on horseback at the door,
he proceeded to the Vatican, where His Holiness was sitting; there he
entered the consistory, was admitted by the pope, and in accordance
with the usual ceremonial received his benediction and kiss; then,
accompanied once more in the same fashion by the ambassadors and
cardinals, he was escorted to his own apartments.  Thence he
proceeded to, the pope's, as soon as he was left alone; for at the
consistory they had had no speech with one another, and the father
and son had a hundred things to talk about, but of these the Duke of
Gandia was not one, as might have been expected.  His name was not
once spoken, and neither on that day nor afterwards was there ever
again any mention of the unhappy young man: it was as though he had
never existed.

It was the fact that Caesar brought good news, King Frederic gave his
consent to the proposed union; so the marriage of Sforza and Lucrezia
was dissolved on a pretext of nullity.  Then Frederic authorised the
exhumation of D'jem's body, which, it will be remembered, was worth
300,000 ducats.

After this, all came about as Caesar had desired; he became the man
who was all-powerful after the pope; but when he was second in
command it was soon evident to the Roman people that their city was
making a new stride in the direction of ruin.  There was nothing but
balls, fetes, masquerades; there were magnificent hunting parties,
when Caesar--who had begun to cast off is cardinal's robe,--weary
perhaps of the colour, appeared in a French dress, followed, like a
king by cardinals, envoys.  and bodyguard.  The whole pontifical
town, given up like a courtesan to orgies and debauchery, had never
been more the home of sedition, luxury, and carnage, according to the
Cardinal of Viterba, not even in the days of Nero and Heliogabalus.
Never had she fallen upon days more evil; never had more traitors
done her dishonour or sbirri stained her streets with blood.  The
number of thieves was so great, and their audacity such, that no one
could with safety pass the gates of the town; soon it was not even
safe within them.  No house, no castle, availed for defence.  Right
and justice no longer existed.  Money, farce, pleasure, ruled

Still, the gold was melting as in a furnace at these Fetes; and, by
Heaven's just punishment, Alexander and Caesar were beginning to
covet the fortunes of those very men who had risen through their
simony to their present elevation.  The first attempt at a new method
of coining money was tried upon the Cardinal Cosenza.  The occasion
was as follows.  A certain dispensation had been granted some time
before to a nun who had taken the vows: she was the only surviving
heir to the throne of Portugal, and by means of the dispensation she
had been wedded to the natural son of the last king.  This marriage
was more prejudicial than can easily be imagined to the interests of
Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain; so they sent ambassadors to
Alexander to lodge a complaint against a proceeding of this nature,
especially as it happened at the very moment when an alliance was to
be formed between the house of Aragon and the Holy See.  Alexander
understood the complaint, and resolved that all should be set right.
So he denied all knowledge of the papal brief though he had as a fact
received 60,000 ducats for signing it--and accused the Archbishop of
Cosenza, secretary for apostolic briefs, of having granted a false
dispensation.  By reason of this accusation, the archbishop was taken
to the castle of Sant' Angelo, and a suit was begun.

But as it was no easy task to prove an accusation of this nature,
especially if the archbishop should persist in maintaining that the
dispensation was really granted by the pope, it was resolved to
employ a trick with him which could not fail to succeed.  One evening
the Archbishop of Cosenza saw Cardinal Valentino come into his
prison; with that frank air of affability which he knew well how to
assume when it could serve his purpose, he explained to the prisoner
the embarrassing situation in which the pope was placed, from which
the archbishop alone, whom His Holiness looked upon as his best
friend, could save him.

The archbishop replied that he was entirely at the service of His

Caesar, on his entrance, found the captive seated, leaning his elbows
on a table, and he took a seat opposite him and explained the pope's
position: it was an embarrassing one.  At the very time of
contracting so important an alliance with the house of Aragon as that
of Lucrezia and Alfonso, His Holiness could not avow to Ferdinand and
Isabella that, for the sake of a few miserable ducats, he had signed
a dispensation which would unite in the husband and wife together all
the legitimate claims to a throne to which Ferdinand and Isabella had
no right at all but that of conquest.  This avowal would necessarily
put an end to all negotiations, and the pontifical house would fall
by the overthrow of that very pedestal which was to have heightened
its grandeur.  Accordingly the archbishop would understand what the
pope expected of his devotion and friendship: it was a simple and
straight avowal that he had supposed he might take it upon himself to
accord the dispensation.  Then, as the sentence to be passed on such
an error would be the business of Alexander, the accused could easily
imagine beforehand how truly paternal such a sentence would be.
Besides, the reward was in the same hands, and if the sentence was

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