List Of Contents | Contents of The Borgias, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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before the ex-cardinal on his arrival at Rome, the latter, with his
usual extravagance of luxury and the kindness he knew well how to
bestow on those he needed, entertained his guest for a month, and did
all the honours of Rome.  After that, they departed, preceded by one
of the pope's couriers, who gave orders that every town they passed
through was to receive them with marks of honour and respect.  The
same order had been sent throughout the whole of France, where the
illustrious visitors received so numerous a guard, and were welcomed
by a populace so eager to behold them, that after they passed through
Paris, Caesar's gentlemen-in-waiting wrote to Rome that they had not
seen any trees in France, or houses, or walls, but only men, women
and sunshine.

The king, on the pretext of going out hunting, went to meet his guest
two leagues outside the town.  As he knew Caesar was very fond of the
name of Valentine, which he had used as cardinal, and still continued
to employ with the title of Count, although he had resigned the
archbishopric which gave him the name, he there and then bestowed an
him the investiture of Valence, in Dauphine, with the title of Duke
and a pension of 20,000 francs; then, when he had made this
magnificent gift and talked with him for nearly a couple of hours, he
took his leave, to enable him to prepare the splendid entry he was
proposing to make.

It was Wednesday, the 18th of December 1498, when Caesar Borgia
entered the town of Chinon, with pomp worthy of the son of a pope who
is about to marry the daughter of a king.  The procession began with
four-and-twenty mules, caparisoned in red, adorned with escutcheons
bearing the duke's arms, laden with carved trunks and chests inlaid
with ivory and silver; after them came four-and-twenty mare, also
caparisoned, this time in the livery of the King of France, yellow
and red; next after these came ten other mules, covered in yellow
satin with red crossbars; and lastly another ten, covered with
striped cloth of gold, the stripes alternately raised and flat gold.

Behind the seventy mules which led the procession there pranced
sixteen handsome battle-horses, led by equerries who marched
alongside; these were followed by eighteen hunters ridden by eighteen
pages, who were about fourteen or fifteen years of age; sixteen of
them were dressed in crimson velvet, and two in raised gold cloth; so
elegantly dressed were these two children, who were also the best
looking of the little band, that the sight of them gave rise to
strange suspicions as to the reason for this preference, if one may
believe what Brantome says.  Finally, behind these eighteen horses
came six beautiful mules, all harnessed with red velvet, and led by
six valets, also in velvet to match.

The third group consisted of, first, two mules quite covered with
cloth of gold, each carrying two chests in which it was said that the
duke's treasure was stored, the precious stones he was bringing to
his fiancee, and the relics and papal bulls that his father had
charged him to convey for him to Louis XII.  These were followed by
twenty gentlemen dressed in cloth of gold and silver, among whom rode
Paul Giordano Orsino and several barons and knights among the chiefs
of the state ecclesiastic.

Next came two drums, one rebeck, and four soldiers blowing trumpets
and silver clarions; then, in the midst of a party of four-and-twenty
lacqueys, dressed half in crimson velvet and half in yellow silk,
rode Messire George d'Amboise and Monseigneur the Duke of
Valentinois.  Caesar was mounted on a handsome tall courser, very
richly harnessed, in a robe half red satin and half cloth of gold,
embroidered all over with pearls and precious stones; in his cap were
two rows of rubies, the size of beans, which reflected so brilliant a
light that one might have fancied they were the famous carbuncles of
the Arabian Nights; he also wore on his neck a collar worth at least
200,000 livres; indeed, there was no part of him, even down to his
boots, that was not laced with gold and edged with pearls.  His horse
was covered with a cuirass in a pattern of golden foliage of
wonderful workmanship, among which there appeared to grow, like
flowers, nosegays of pearls and clusters of rubies.

Lastly, bringing up the rear of the magnificent cortege, behind the
duke came twenty-four mules with red caparisons bearing his arms,
carrying his silver plate, tents, and baggage.

What gave to all the cavalcade an air of most wonderful luxury and
extravagance was that the horses and mules were shod with golden
shoes, and these were so badly nailed on that more than three-
quarters of their number, were lost on the road For this extravagance
Caesar was greatly blamed, for it was thought an audacious thing to
put on his horses' feet a metal of which king's crowns are made.

But all this pomp had no effect on the lady for whose sake it had
been displayed; for when Dona Carlota was told that Caesar Bargia had
come to France in the hope of becoming her husband, she replied
simply that she would never take a priest far her husband, and,
moreover, the son of a priest; a man who was not only an assassin,
but a fratricide; not only a man of infamous birth, but still more
infamous in his morals and his actions.

But, in default of the haughty lady of Aragon, Caesar soon found
another princess of noble blood who consented to be his wife: this
was Mademoiselle d'Albret, daughter of the King of Navarre.  The
marriage, arranged on condition that the pope should pay 200,000
ducats dowry to the bride, and should make her brother cardinal, was
celebrated on the 10th of May; and on the Whitsunday following the
Duke of Valentois received the order of St. Michael, an order founded
by Louis XI, and esteemed at this period as the highest in the gift
of the kings of France.  The news of this marriage, which made an
alliance with Louis XII certain, was received with great joy by the
pope, who at once gave orders far bonfires and illuminations all over
the town.

Louis XII was not only grateful to the pope for dissolving his
marriage with Jeanne of France and authorizing his union with Anne of
Brittany, but he considered it indispensable to his designs in Italy
to have the pope as his ally.  So he promised the Duke of Valentinois
to put three hundred lances at his disposal, as soon as he had made
an entry into Milan, to be used to further his own private interests,
and against whomsoever he pleased except only the allies of France.
The conquest of Milan should be undertaken so soon as Louis felt
assured of the support of the Venetians, or at least of their
neutrality, and he had sent them ambassadors authorised to promise in
his name the restoration of Cremona and Ghiera d'Adda when he had
completed the conquest of Lombardy.


Everything from without was favouring Alexander's encroaching policy,
when he was compelled to turn his eyes from France towards the centre
of Italy: in Florence dwelt a man, neither duke, nor king, nor
soldier, a man whose power was in his genius, whose armour was his
purity, who owned no offensive weapon but his tongue, and who yet
began to grow more dangerous for him than all the kings, dukes,
princes, in the whole world could ever be; this man was the poor
Dominican monk Girolamo Savonarola, the same who had refused
absolution to Lorenzo dei Medici because he would not restore the
liberty of Florence.

Girolamo Savonarola had prophesied the invasion of a force from
beyond the Alps, and Charles VIII had conquered Naples; Girolamo
Savonarola had prophesied to Charles VIII that because he had failed
to fulfil the mission of liberator entrusted to him by God, he was
threatened with a great misfortune as a punishment, and Charles was
dead; lastly, Savonarola had prophesied his own fall like the man who
paced around the holy city for eight days, crying, "Woe to
Jerusalem!" and on the ninth day, " Woe be on my own head!"  None the
less, the Florentine reformer, who could not recoil from any danger,
was determined to attack the colossal abomination that was seated on
St. Peter's holy throne; each debauch, each fresh crime that lifted
up its brazen face to the light of day or tried to hide its shameful
head beneath the veil of night, he had never failed to paint out to
the people, denouncing it as the off spring of the pope's luxurious
living and lust of power.  Thus had he stigmatised Alexander's new
amour with the beautiful Giulia Farnese, who in the preceding April a
added another son to the pope's family; thus had he cursed the Duke
of Gandia's murderer, the lustful, jealous fratricide; lastly, he had
pointed out to the Florentines, who were excluded from the league
then forming, what sort of future was in store far them when the
Borgias should have made themselves masters of the small
principalities and should come to attack the duchies and republics.
It was clear that in Savonarola, the pope had an enemy at once
temporal and spiritual, whose importunate and threatening voice must
be silenced at any cost.

But mighty as the pope's power was, to accomplish a design like this
was no easy matter.  Savonarola, preaching the stern principles of
liberty, had united to his cause, even in the midst of rich,
pleasure-loving Florence, a party of some size, known as the
'Piagnoni', or the Penitents: this band was composed of citizens who
were anxious for reform in Church and State, who accused the Medici
of enslaving the fatherland and the Borgias of upsetting the faith,
who demanded two things, that the republic should return to her
democratic principles, and religion to a primitive simplicity.
Towards the first of these projects considerable progress had been
made, since they had successively obtained, first, an amnesty for all
crimes and delinquencies committed under other governments; secondly,
the abolition of the 'balia', which was an aristocratic magistracy;
thirdly, the establishment of a sovereign council, composed of 1800
citizens; and lastly, the substitution of popular elections for
drawing by lot and for oligarchical nominations: these changes had

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