List Of Contents | Contents of The Borgias, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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France, where Louis XII gave him the duchy of Anjou and 30,000 ducats
a year, an condition that he should never quit the kingdom; and
there, in fact, he died, an the 9th of September 1504.  His eldest
son, Dan Ferdinand, Duke of Calabria, retired to Spain, where he was
permitted to marry twice, but each time with a woman who was known to
be barren; and there he died in 1550.  Alfonso, the second son, who
had followed his father to France, died, it is said, of poison, at
Grenoble, at the age of twenty-two; lastly Caesar, the third son,
died at Ferrara, before he had attained his eighteenth birthday.

Frederic's daughter Charlotte married in France Nicholas, Count of
Laval, governor and admiral of Brittany; a daughter was born of this
marriage, Anne de Laval, who married Francois de la Trimauille.
Through her those rights were transmitted to the house of La
Trimouille which were used later on as a claim upon the kingdom of
the Two Sicilies.

The capture of Naples gave the Duke of Valentinois his liberty again;
so he left the French army, after he had received fresh assurances on
his own account of the king's friendliness, and returned to the siege
of Piombino, which he had been forced to interrupt.  During this
interval Alexander had been visiting the scenes of his son's
conquests, and traversing all the Romagna with Lucrezia, who was now
consoled for her husband's death, and had never before enjoyed quite
so much favour with His Holiness; so, when she returned to Rome.  She
no longer had separate rooms from him.  The result of this
recrudescence of affection was the appearance of two pontifical
bulls, converting the towns of Nepi and Sermoneta into duchies: one
was bestowed on Gian Bargia, an illegitimate child of the pope, who
was not the son of either of his mistresses, Rosa Vanozza or Giulia
Farnese, the other an Don Roderigo of Aragon, son of Lucrezia and
Alfonso: the lands of the Colonna were in appanage to the two

But Alexander was dreaming of yet another addition to his fortune;
this was to came from a marriage between Lucrezia and Don Alfonso
d'Este, son of Duke Hercules of Ferrara, in favour of which alliance
Louis XII had negotiated.

His Holiness was now having a run of good fortune, and he learned on
the same day that Piombino was taken and that Duke Hercules had given
the King of France his assent to the marriage.  Both of these pieces
of news were good for Alexander, but the one could not compare in
importance with the other; and the intimation that Lucrezia was to
marry the heir presumptive to the duchy of Ferrara was received with
a joy so great that it smacked of the humble beginnings of the
Borgian house.  The Duke of Valentinois was invited to return to
Rome, to take his share in the family rejoicing, and on the day when
the news was made public the governor of St. Angelo received orders
that cannon should be fired every quarter of an hour from noon to
midnight.  At two o'clock, Lucrezia, attired as a fiancee, and
accompanied by her two brothers, the Dukes of Valentinois and
Squillace, issued from the Vatican, followed by all the nobility of
Rome, and proceeded to the church of the Madonna del Papalo, where
the Duke of Gandia and Cardinal Gian Borgia were buried, to render
thanks for this new favour accorded to her house by God; and in the
evening, accompanied by the same cavalcade, which shone the more
brightly under the torchlight and brilliant illuminations, she made
procession through the whale town, greeted by cries of "Long live
Pope Alexander VI!  Lang live the Duchess of Ferrara!" which were
shouted aloud by heralds clad in cloth of gold.

The next day an announcement was made in the town that a racecourse
for women was opened between the castle of Sant' Angelo and the
Piazza of St. Peter's; that on every third day there would be a bull-
fight in the Spanish fashion; and that from the end of the present
month, which was October, until the first day of Lent, masquerades
would be permitted in the streets of Rome.

Such was the nature of the fetes outside; the programme of those
going on within the Vatican was not presented to the people; for by
the account of Bucciardo, an eye-witness, this is what happened--

"On the last Sunday of the month of October, fifty courtesans supped
in the apostolic palace in the Duke of Valentinois' rooms, and after
supper danced with the equerries and servants, first wearing their
usual garments, afterwards in dazzling draperies; when supper was
over, the table was removed, candlesticks were set on the floor in a
symmetrical pattern, and a great quantity of chestnuts was scattered
on the ground: these the fifty women skilfully picked up, running
about gracefully, in and out between the burning lights; the pope,
the Duke of Valentinois, and his sister Lucrezia, who were looking on
at this spectacle from a gallery, encouraged the most agile and
industrious with their applause, and they received prizes of
embroidered garters, velvet boots, golden caps, and laces; then new
diversions took the place of these."

We humbly ask forgiveness of our readers, and especially of our lady
readers; but though we have found words to describe the first part of
the spectacle, we have sought them in vain for the second; suffice it
to say that just as there had been prizes for feats of adroitness,
others were given now to the dancers who were most daring and brazen.

Some days after this strange night, which calls to mind the Roman
evenings in the days of Tiberius, Nero, and Heliogabalus, Lucrezia,
clad in a robe of golden brocade, her train carried by young girls
dressed in white and crowned with roses, issued from her palace to
the sound of trumpets and clarions, and made her way over carpets
that were laid down in the streets through which she had to pass.
Accompanied by the noblest cavaliers and the loveliest women in Rome,
she betook herself to the Vatican, where in the Pauline hall the pope
awaited her, with the Duke of Valentinois, Don Ferdinand, acting as
proxy for Duke Alfonso, and his cousin, Cardinal d'Este.  The pope
sat on one side of the table, while the envoys from Ferrara stood on
the other: into their midst came Lucrezia, and Don Ferdinand placed
on her finger the nuptial ring; this ceremony over, Cardinal d'Este
approached and presented to the bride four magnificent rings set with
precious stones; then a casket was placed on the table, richly inlaid
with ivory, whence the cardinal drew forth a great many trinkets,
chains, necklaces of pearls and diamonds, of workmanship as costly as
their material; these he also begged Lucrezia to accept, before she
received those the bridegroom was hoping to offer himself, which
would be more worthy of her.  Lucrezia showed the utmost delight in
accepting these gifts; then she retired into the next room, leaning
on the pope's arm, and followed by the ladies of her suite, leaving
the Duke of Valentinois to do the honours of the Vatican to the men.
That evening the guests met again, and spent half the night in
dancing, while a magnificent display of fireworks lighted up the
Piazza of San Paolo.

The ceremony of betrothal over, the pope and the Duke busied
themselves with making preparations for the departure.  The pope, who
wished the journey to be made with a great degree of splendour, sent
in his daughter's company, in addition to the two brothers-in-law and
the gentlemen in their suite, the Senate of Rome and all the lords
who, by virtue of their wealth, could display most magnificence in
their costumes and liveries.  Among this brilliant throng might be
seen Olivero and Ramiro Mattei, sons of Piero Mattel, chancellor of
the town, and a daughter of the pope whose mother was not Rosa
Vanozza; besides these, the pope nominated in consistory Francesco
Borgia, Cardinal of Sosenza, legate a latere, to accompany his
daughter to the frontiers of the Ecclesiastical States.

Also the Duke of Valentinois sent out messengers into all the cities
of Romagna to order that Lucrezia should be received as sovereign
lady and mistress: grand preparations were at once set on foot for
the fulfilment of his orders.  But the messengers reported that they
greatly feared that there would be some grumbling at Cesena, where it
will be remembered that Caesar had left Ramiro d'Orco as governor
with plenary powers, to calm the agitation of the town.  Now Ramiro
d'Orco had accomplished his task so well that there was nothing more
to fear in the way of rebellion; for one-sixth of the inhabitants had
perished on the scaffold, and the result of this situation was that
it was improbable that the same demonstrations of joy could be
expected from a town plunged in mourning that were looked for from
Imala, Faenza, and Pesaro.  The Duke of Valentinais averted this
inconvenience in the prompt and efficacious fashion characteristic of
him alone.  One morning the inhabitants of Cesena awoke to find a
scaffold set up in the square, and upon it the four quarters of a
man, his head, severed from the trunk, stuck up on the end of a pike.

This man was Ramiro d'Orco.

No one ever knew by whose hands the scaffold had been raised by
night, nor by what executioners the terrible deed had been carried
out; but when the Florentine Republic sent to ask Macchiavelli, their
ambassador at Cesena, what he thought of it, he replied:

"MAGNIFICENT LORDS,-I can tell you nothing concerning the execution
of Ramiro d'Orco, except that Caesar Borgia is the prince who best
knows how to make and unmake men according to their deserts.  NICCOLO

The Duke of Valentinois was not disappointed, and the future Duchess
of Ferrara was admirably received in every town along her route, and
particularly at Cesena.

While Lucrezia was on her way to Ferrara to meet her fourth husband,
Alexander and the Duke of Valentinois resolved to make a progress in
the region of their last conquest, the duchy of Piombino.  The
apparent object of this journey was that the new subjects might take
their oath to Caesar, and the real object was to form an arsenal in

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