List Of Contents | Contents of The Borgias, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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had long coveted, less far the empty honour's sake than for the new
influence that this title might confer.  Then the pope went on to
bestow the twelve cardinals' hats that had been sold.  The new
princes of the Church were Don Diego de Mendoza, archbishop of
Seville; Jacques, archbishop of Oristagny, the Pope's vicar-general;
Thomas, archbishop of Strigania; Piero, archbishop of Reggio,
governor of Rome; Francesco Bargia, archbishop of Cosenza, treasurer-
general; Gian, archbishop of Salerno, vice-chamberlain; Luigi Bargia,
archbishop of Valencia, secretary to His Holiness, and brother of the
Gian Borgia whom Caesar had poisoned; Antonio, bishop of Coma; Gian
Battista Ferraro, bishop of Modem; Amedee d'Albret, son of the King
of Navarre, brother-in-law of the Duke of Valentinois; and Marco
Cornaro, a Venetian noble, in whose person His Holiness rendered back
to the most serene republic the favour he had just received.

Then, as there was nothing further to detain the Duke of Valentinois
at Rome, he only waited to effect a loan from a rich banker named
Agostino Chigi, brother of the Lorenzo Chigi who had perished on the
day when the pope had been nearly killed by the fall of a chimney,
and departed far the Romagna, accompanied by Vitellozzo Vitelli, Gian
Paolo Baglione, and Jacopo di Santa Croce, at that time his friends,
but later on his victims.

His first enterprise was against Pesaro: this was the polite
attention of a brother-in-law, and Gian Sforza very well knew what
would be its consequences; for instead of attempting to defend his
possessions by taking up arms, or to venture an negotiations,
unwilling moreover to expose the fair lands he had ruled so long to
the vengeance of an irritated foe, he begged his subjects, to
preserve their former affection towards himself, in the hope of
better days to come; and he fled into Dalmatia.  Malatesta, lord of
Rimini, followed his example; thus the Duke of Valentinois entered
both these towns without striking a single blow.  Caesar left a
sufficient garrison behind him, and marched on to Faenza.

But there the face of things was changed: Faenza at that time was
under the rule of Astor Manfredi, a brave and handsome young man of
eighteen, who, relying on the love of his subjects towards his
family, had resolved on defending himself to the uttermost, although
he had been forsaken by the Bentivagli, his near relatives, and by
his allies, the Venetian and Florentines, who had not dared to send
him any aid because of the affection felt towards Caesar by the King
of France.  Accordingly, when he perceived that the Duke of
Valentinois was marching against him, he assembled in hot haste all
those of his vassals who were capable of bearing arms, together with
the few foreign soldiers who were willing to come into his pay, and
collecting victual and ammunition, he took up his position with them
inside the town.

By these defensive preparations Caesar was not greatly, disconcerted;
he commanded a magnificent army, composed of the finest troops of
France and Italy; led by such men as Paolo and Giulio Orsini,
Vitellozzo Vitelli and Paolo Baglione, not to steak of himself--that
is to say, by the first captains of the period.  So, after he had
reconnoitred, he at once began the siege, pitching his camp between
the two rivers, Amana and Marziano, placing his artillery on the side
which faces on Forli, at which point the besieged party had erected a
powerful bastion.

At the end of a few days busy with entrenchments, the breach became
practicable, and the Duke of Valentinois ordered an assault, and gave
the example to his soldiers by being the first to march against the
enemy.  But in spite of his courage and that of his captains beside
him, Astor Manfredi made so good a defence that the besiegers were
repulsed with great loss of men, while one of their bravest leaders,
Honario Savella; was left behind in the trenches.

But Faenza, in spite of the courage and devotion of her defenders,
could not have held out long against so formidable an army, had not
winter come to her aid.  Surprised by the rigour of the season, with
no houses for protection and no trees for fuel, as the peasants had
destroyed both beforehand, the Duke of Valentinois was forced to
raise the siege and take up his winter quarters in the neighbouring
towns, in order to be quite ready for a return next spring; for
Caesar could not forgive the insult of being held in check by a
little town which had enjoyed a long time of peace, was governed by a
mere boy, and deprived of all outside aid, and had sworn to take his
revenge.  He therefore broke up his army into three sections, sent
one-third to Imola, the second to Forli, and himself took the third
to Cesena, a third-rate town, which was thus suddenly transformed
into a city of pleasure and luxury.

Indeed, for Caesar's active spirit there must needs be no cessation
of warfare or festivities.  So, when war was interrupted, fetes
began, as magnificent and as exciting as he knew how to make them:
the days were passed in games and displays of horsemanship, the
nights in dancing and gallantry; for the loveliest women of the
Romagna--and that is to say of the whole world had come hither to
make a seraglio for the victor which might have been envied by the
Sultan of Egypt or the Emperor of Constantinople.

While the Duke of Valentinois was making one of his excursions in the
neighbourhood of the town with his retinue of flattering nobles and
titled courtesans, who were always about him, he noticed a cortege an
the Rimini road so numerous that it must surely indicate the approach
of someone of importance.  Caesar, soon perceiving that the principal
person was a woman, approached, and recognised the very same lady-in-
waiting to the Duchess of Urbino who, on the day of the bull-fight,
had screamed when Caesar was all but touched by the infuriated beast.
At this time she was betrothed, as we mentioned, to Gian
Carracciuola, general of the Venetians.  Elizabeth of Gonzaga, her
protectress and godmother, was now sending her with a suitable
retinue to Venice, where the marriage was to take place.

Caesar had already been struck by the beauty of this young girl, when
at Rome; but when he saw her again she appeared more lovely than on
the first occasion, so he resolved on the instant that he would keep
this fair flower of love for himself: having often before reproached
himself for his indifference in passing her by.  Therefore he saluted
her as an old acquaintance, inquired whether she were staying any
time at Cesena, and ascertained that she was only passing through,
travelling by long stages, as she was awaited with much impatience,
and that she would spend the coming night at Forli.  This was all
that Caesar cared to knew; he summoned Michelotto, and in a low voice
said a few wards to him, which were heard by no one else.

The cortege only made a halt at the neighbouring town, as the fair
bride had said, and started at once for Forli, although the day was
already far advanced; but scarcely had a league been revered when a
troop of horsemen from Cesena overtook and surrounded them.  Although
the soldiers in the escort were far from being in sufficient force,
they were eager to defend their general's bride; but soon same fell
dead, and ethers, terrified, took to flight; and when the lady came
dawn from her litter to try to escape, the chief seized her in his
arms and set her in front of him on his horse; then, ordering his men
to return to Cesena without him, he put his horse to the gallop in a
cross direction, and as the shades of evening were now beginning to
fall, he soon disappeared into the darkness.

Carracciuolo learned the news through one of the fugitives, who
declared that he had recognised among the ravishers the Duke of
Valentinois' soldiers.  At first he thought his ears had deceived
him, so hard was it to believe this terrible intelligence; but it was
repeated, and he stood for one instant motionless, and, as it were,.
thunderstruck; then suddenly, with a cry of vengeance, he threw off
his stupor and dashed away to the ducal palace, where sat the Doge
Barberigo and the Council of Ten; unannounced, he rushed into their
midst, the very moment after they had heard of Caesar's outrage.

"Most serene lords," he cried, "I am come to bid you farewell, for I
am resolved to sacrifice my life to my private vengeance, though
indeed I had hoped to devote it to the service of the republic.
I have been wounded in the soul's noblest part--in my honour.  The
dearest thing I possessed, my wife, has been stolen from me, and the
thief is the most treacherous, the most impious, the most infamous of
men, it is Valentinois!  My lords, I beg you will not be offended if
I speak thus of a man whose boast it is to be a member of your noble
ranks and to enjoy your protection: it is not so; he lies, and his
loose and criminal life has made him unworthy of such honours, even
as he is unworthy of the life whereof my sword shall deprive him.  In
truth, his very birth was a sacrilege; he is a fratricide, an usurper
of the goods of other men, an oppressor of the innocent, and a
highway assassin; he is a man who will violate every law, even, the
law of hospitality respected by the veriest barbarian, a man who will
do violence to a virgin who is passing through his own country, where
she had every right to expect from him not only the consideration due
to her sex and condition, but also that which is due to the most
serene republic, whose condottiere I am, and which is insulted in my
person and in the dishonouring of my bride; this man, I say, merits
indeed to die by another hand than mine.  Yet, since he who ought to
punish him is not for him a prince and judge, but only a father quite
as guilty as the son, I myself will seek him out, and I will
sacrifice my own life, not only in avenging my own injury and the
blood of so many innocent beings, but also in promoting the welfare
of the most serene republic, on which it is his ambition to trample
when he has accomplished the ruin of the other princes of Italy."

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