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The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini - старонка 59


and I found that all the bronze my furnace contained had been exhausted

in the head of this figure. It was a miracle to observe that not one

fragment remained in the orifice of the channel, and that nothing was

wanting to the statue. In my great astonishment I seemed to see in this

the hand of God arranging and controlling all.

I went on uncovering the statue with success, and ascertained that

everything had come out in perfect order, until I reached the foot of

the right leg on which the statue rests. There the heel itself was

formed, and going farther, I found the foot apparently complete. This

gave me great joy on the one side, but was half unwelcome to me on the

other, merely because I had told the Duke that it could not come out.

However, when I reached the end, it appeared that the toes and a little

piece above them were unfinished, so that about half the foot was

wanting. Although I knew that this would add a trifle to my labour, I

was very well pleased, because I could now prove to the Duke how well I

understood my business. It is true that far more of the foot than I

expected had been perfectly formed; the reason of this was that, from

causes I have recently described, the bronze was hotter than our rules

of art prescribe; also that I had been obliged to supplement the alloy

with my pewter cups and platters, which no one else, I think, had ever

done before.

Having now ascertained how successfully my work had been accomplished, I

lost no time in hurrying to Pisa, where I found the Duke. He gave me a

most gracious reception, as did also the Duchess; and although the

majordomo had informed them of the whole proceedings, their Excellencies

deemed my performance far more stupendous and astonishing when they

heard the tale from my own mouth. When I arrived at the foot of Perseus,

and said it had not come out perfect, just as I previously warned his

Excellency, I saw an expression of wonder pass over his face, while he

related to the Duchess how I had predicted this beforehand. Observing

the princes to be so well disposed towards me, I begged leave from the

Duke to go to Rome. He granted it in most obliging terms, and bade me

return as soon as possible to complete his Perseus; giving me letters of

recommendation meanwhile to his ambassador, Averardo Serristori. We were

then in the first years of Pope Giulio de Monti. 1

Note 1. Gio Maria del Monte Sansovino was elected Pope, with the title

of Julius III., in February 1550.

LXXIX

BEFORE leaving home, I directed my workpeople to proceed according to

the method I had taught them. The reason of my journey was as follows. I

had made a life-sized bust in bronze of Bindo Altoviti, [1] the son of

Antonio, and had sent it to him at Rome. He set it up in his study,

which was very richly adorned with antiquities and other works of art;

but the room was not designed for statues or for paintings, since the

windows were too low, so that the light coming from beneath spoiled the

effect they would have produced under more favourable conditions. It

happened one day that Bindo was standing at his door, when Michel Agnolo

Buonarroti, the sculptor, passed by; so he begged him to come in and see

his study. Michel Agnolo followed, and on entering the room and looking

round, he exclaimed: “Who is the master who made that good portrait of

you in so fine a manner? You must know that that bust pleases me as

much, or even more, than those antiques; and yet there are many fine

things to be seen among the latter. If those windows were above instead

of beneath, the whole collection would show to greater advantage, and

your portrait, placed among so many masterpieces, would hold its own

with credit.” No sooner had Michel Agnolo left the house of Bindo than

he wrote me a very kind letter, which ran as follows: “My dear

Benvenuto, I have known you for many years as the greatest goldsmith of

whom we have any information; and henceforward I shall know you for a

sculptor of like quality. I must tell you that Master Bindo Altoviti

took me to see his bust in bronze, and informed me that you had made it.

I was greatly pleased with the work; but it annoyed me to notice that it

was placed in a bad light; for if it were suitably illuminated, it would

show itself to be the fine performance that it is.” This letter abounded

with the most affectionate and complimentary expressions towards myself;

and before I left for Rome, I showed it to the Duke, who read it with

much kindly interest, and said to me: “Benvenuto, if you write to him,

and can persuade him to return to Florence, I will make him a member of

the Forty-eight.” [2] Accordingly I wrote a letter full of warmth, and

offered in the Duke’s name a hundred times more than my commission

carried; but not wanting to make any mistake, I showed this to the Duke

before I sealed it, saying to his most illustrious Excellency: “Prince,

perhaps I have made him too many promises.” He replied: “Michel Agnolo

deserves more than you have promised, and I will bestow on him still

greater favours.” To this letter he sent no answer, and I could see that

the Duke was much offended with him.

Note 1. This man was a member of a very noble Florentine family. Born in

1491, he was at this epoch Tuscan Consul in Rome. Cellini’s bust of him

still exists in the Palazzo Altoviti at Rome.

Note 2. This was one of the three Councils created by Clement VII. in

1532, when he changed the Florentine constitution. It corresponded to a

Senate.

LXXX

WHEN I reached Rome, I went to lodge in Bindo Altoviti’s house. He told

me at once how he had shown his bronze bust to Michel Agnolo, and how

the latter had praised it. So we spoke for some length upon this topic.

I ought to narrate the reasons why I had taken this portrait. Bindo had

in his hands 1200 golden crowns of mine, which formed part of 5000 he

had lent the Duke; 4000 were his own, and mine stood in his name, while

I received that portion of the interest which accrued to me. [1] This

led to my taking his portrait; and when he saw the wax model for the

bust, he sent me fifty golden scudi by a notary in his employ, named Ser

Giuliano Paccalli. I did not want to take the money, so I sent it back

to him by the same hand, saying at a later time to Bindo: “I shall be

satisfied if you keep that sum of mine for me at interest, so that I may

gain a little on it.” When we came to square accounts on this occasion,

I observed that he was ill disposed towards me, since, instead of

treating me affectionately, according to his previous wont, he put on a

stiff air; and although I was staying in his house, he was never

good-humoured, but always surly. However, we settled our business in a

few words. I sacrificed my pay for his portrait, together with the

bronze, and we arranged that he should keep my money at 15 per cent.

during my natural life.

Note 1. To make the sum correct, 5200 ought to have been lent the Duke.

LXXXI

ONE of the first things I did was to go and kiss the Pope’s feet; and

while I was speaking with his Holiness, Messer Averardo Serristori, our

Duke’s Envoy, arrived. [1] I had made some proposals to the Pope, which

I think he would have agreed upon, and I should have been very glad to

return to Rome on account of the great difficulties which I had at

Florence. But I soon perceived that the ambassador had countermined me.

Then I went to visit Michel Agnolo Buonarroti, and repeated what I had

written from Florence to him in the Duke’s name. He replied that he was

engaged upon the fabric of S. Peter’s, and that this would prevent him

from leaving Rome. I rejoined that, as he had decided on the model of

that building, he could leave its execution to his man Urbino, who would

carry out his orders to the letter. I added much about future favours,

in the form of a message from the Duke. Upon this he looked me hard in

the face, and said with a sarcastic smile: “And you! to what extent are

you satisfied with him?” Although I replied that I was extremely

contented and was very well treated by his Excellency, he showed that he

was acquainted with the greater part of my annoyances, and gave as his

final answer that it would be difficult for him to leave Rome. To this I

added that he could not do better than to return to his own land, which

was governed by a prince renowned for justice, and the greatest lover of

the arts and sciences who ever saw the light of this world. As I have

remarked above, he had with him a servant of his who came from Urbino,

and had lived many years in his employment, rather as valet and

housekeeper than anything else; this indeed was obvious, because he had

acquired no skill in the arts. [2] Consequently, while I was pressing

Michel Agnolo with arguments he could not answer, he turned round

sharply to Urbino, as though to ask him his opinion. The fellow began to

bawl out in his rustic way: “I will never leave my master Michel

Agnolo’s side till I shall have flayed him or he shall have flayed me.”

These stupid words forced me to laugh, and without saying farewell, I

lowered my shoulders and retired.

Note 1. His despatches form a valuable series of historical documents.

'Firenze,' Le Monnier, 1853.

Note 2. Upon the death of this Urbino, Michel Agnolo wrote a touching

sonnet and a very feeling letter to Vasari.

LXXXII

THE MISERABLE bargain I had made with Bindo Altoviti, losing my bust and

leaving him my capital for life, taught me what the faith of merchants

is; so I returned in bad spirits to Florence. I went at once to the

palace to pay my respects to the Duke, whom I found to be at Castello

beyond Ponte a Rifredi. In the palace I met Messer Pier Francesco Ricci,

the majordomo, and when I drew nigh to pay him the usual compliments, he

exclaimed with measureless astonishment: “Oh, are you come back?” and

with the same air of surprise, clapping his hands together, he cried:

“The Duke is at Castello!” then turned his back and left me. I could not

form the least idea why the beast behaved in such an extraordinary

manner to me.

Proceeding at once to Castello, and entering the garden where the Duke

was, I caught sight of him at a distance; but no sooner had he seen me

than he showed signs of surprise, and intimated that I might go about my

business. I had been reckoning that his Excellency would treat me with

the same kindness, or even greater, as before I left for Rome; so now,

when he received me with such rudeness. I went back, much hurt, to

Florence. While resuming my work and pushing my statue forward, I racked

my brains to think what could have brought about this sudden change in

the Duke’s manner. The curious way in which Messer Sforza and some other

gentlemen close to his Excellency’s person eyed me, prompted me to ask

the former what the matter was. He only replied with a sort of smile:

“Benvenuto, do your best to be an honest man, and have no concern for

anything else.” A few days afterwards I obtained an audience of the

Duke, who received me with a kind of grudging grace, and asked me what I

had been doing at Rome. To the best of my ability I maintained the

conversation, and told him the whole story about Bindo Altoviti’s bust.

It was evident that he listened with attention; so I went on talking

about Michel Agnolo Buonarroti. At this he showed displeasure; but

Urbino’s stupid speech about the flaying made him laugh aloud. Then he

said: “Well, it is he who suffers!” and I took my leave.

There can be no doubt that Ser Pier Francesco, the majordomo, must have

served me some ill turn with the Duke, which did not, however, succeed;

for God, who loves the truth, protected me, as He hath ever saved me,

from a sea of dreadful dangers, and I hope will save me till the end of

this my life, however full of trials it may be. I march forward,

therefore, with a good heart, sustained alone by His divine power; nor

let myself be terrified by any furious assault of fortune or my adverse

stars. May only God maintain me in His grace!

LXXXIII

I MUST beg your attention now, most gracious reader, for a very terrible

event which happened.

I used the utmost diligence and industry to complete my statue, and went

to spend my evenings in the Duke’s wardrobe, assisting there the

goldsmiths who were working for his Excellency. Indeed, they laboured

mainly on designs which I had given them. Noticing that the Duke took

pleasure in seeing me at work and talking with me, I took it into my

head to go there sometimes also by day. It happened upon one of those

days that his Excellency came as usual to the room where I was occupied,

and more particularly because he heard of my arrival. His Excellency

entered at once into conversation, raising several interesting topics,

upon which I gave my views so much to his entertainment that he showed

more cheerfulness than I had ever seen in him before. All of a sudden,

one of his secretaries appeared, and whispered something of importance

in his ear; whereupon the Duke rose, and retired with the official into

another chamber. Now the Duchess had sent to see what his Excellency was

doing, and her page brought back this answer: “The Duke is talking and

laughing with Benvenuto, and is in excellent good-humour.” When the

Duchess heard this, she came immediately to the wardrobe, and not

finding the Duke there, took a seat beside us. After watching us at work

a while, she turned to me with the utmost graciousness, and showed me a

necklace of large and really very fine pearls. On being asked by her

what I thought of them, I said it was in truth a very handsome ornament.

Then she spoke as follows: “I should like the Duke to buy them for me;

so I beg you, my dear Benvenuto, to praise them to him as highly as you

can.” At these words I disclosed my mind to the Duchess with all the

respect I could, and answered: “My lady, I thought this necklace of

pearls belonged already to your most illus trious Excellency. Now that I

am aware you have not yet acquired them, it is right, nay, more, it is

my duty to utter what I might otherwise have refrained from saying,

namely, that my mature professional experience enables me to detect very

grave faults in the pearls, and for this reason I could never advise

your Excellency to purchase them.” She replied: “The merchant offers

them for six thousand crowns; and were it not for some of those trifling

defects you speak of, the rope would be worth over twelve thousand.” To

this I replied, that “even were the necklace of quite flawless quality,

I could not advise any one to bid up to five thousand crowns for it; for

pearls are not gems; pearls are but fishes’ bones, which in the course

of time must lose their freshness. Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and

sapphires, on the contrary, never grow old; these four are precious

stones, and these it is quite right to purchase.” When I had thus

spoken, the Duchess showed some signs of irritation, and exclaimed: “I

have a mind to possess these pearls; so, prithee, take them to the Duke,

and praise them up to the skies; even if you have to use some words

beyond the bounds of truth, speak them to do me service; it will be well

for you!”

I have always been the greatest friend of truth and foe of lies: yet

compelled by necessity, unwilling to lose the favour of so great a

princess, I took those confounded pearls sorely against my inclination,

and went with them over to the other room, whither the Duke had

withdrawn. No sooner did he set eyes upon me than he cried: “O

Benvenuto! what are you about here?” I uncovered the pearls and said:

“My lord, I am come to show you a most splendid necklace of pearls, of

the rarest quality, and truly worthy of your Excellency; I do not

believe it would be possible to put together eighty pearls which could

show better than these do in a necklace. My counsel therefore is, that

you should buy them, for they are in good sooth miraculous.” He

responded on the instant: “I do not choose to buy them; they are not

pearls of the quality and goodness you affirm; I have seen the necklace,

and they do not please me.” Then I added: “Pardon me, prince! These

pearls exceed in rarity and beauty any which were ever brought together

for a necklace.” The Duchess had risen, and was standing behind a door

listening to all I said. Well, when I had praised the pearls a

thousandfold more warmly than I have described above, the Duke turned

towards me with a kindly look, and said. “O my dear Benvenuto, I know

that you have an excellent judgment in these matters. If the pearls are

as rare as you certify, I should not hesitate about their purchase,

partly to gratify the Duchess, and partly to possess them, seeing I have

always need of such things, not so much for her Grace, as for the

various uses of my sons and daughters.” When I heard him speak thus,

having once begun to tell fibs, I stuck to them with even greater

boldness; I gave all the colour of truth I could to my lies, confiding

in the promise of the Duchess to help me at the time of need. More than

two hundred crowns were to be my commission on the bargain, and the

Duchess had intimated that I should receive so much; but I was firmly

resolved not to touch a farthing, in order to secure my credit, and

convince the Duke I was not prompted by avarice. Once more his

Excellency began to address me with the greatest courtesy: “I know that

you are consummate judge of these things; therefore, if you are the

honest man I always thought you, tell me now the truth.” Thereat I

flushed up to my eyes, which at the same time filled with tears, and

said to him: “My lord, if I tell your most illustrious Excellency the

truth, I shall make a mortal foe of the Duchess; this will oblige me to

depart from Florence, and my enemies will begin at once to pour contempt

upon my Perseus, which I have announced as a masterpiece to the most

noble school of your illustrious Excellency. Such being the case, I

recommend myself to your most illustrious Excellency.”

LXXXIV

THE DUKE was now aware that all my previous speeches had been, as it

were, forced out of me. So he rejoined: “If you have confidence in me,

you need not stand in fear of anything whatever.” I recommenced: “Alas!

my lord, what can prevent this coming to the ears of the Duchess?” The

Duke lifted his hand in sign of troth-pledge, [1] and exclaimed: “Be

assured that what you say will be buried in a diamond casket!” To this

engagement upon honour I replied by telling the truth according to my

judgment, namely, that the pearls were not worth above two thousand

crowns. The Duchess, thinking we had stopped talking, for we now were

speaking in as low a voice as possible, came forward, and began as

follows: “My lord, do me, the favour to purchase this necklace, because

I have set my heart on them, and your Benvenuto here has said he never

saw a finer row of pearls.” The Duke replied: “I do not choose to buy

them.” “Why, my lord, will not your Excellency gratify me by buying

them?” “Because I do not care to throw my money out of the window.” The

Duchess recommenced: “What do you mean by throwing your money away, when

Benvenuto, in whom you place such well-merited confidence, has told me

that they would be cheap at over three thousand crowns?” Then the Duke

said; “My lady! my Benvenuto here has told me that, if I purchase this

necklace, I shall be throwing my money away, inasmuch as the pearls are

neither round nor well-matched, and some of them are quite faded. To

prove that this is so, look here! look there! consider this one and then

that. The necklace is not the sort of thing for me.” At these words the

Duchess cast a glance of bitter spite at me, and retired with a

threatening nod of her head in my direction. I felt tempted to pack off

at once and bid farewell to Italy. Yet my Perseus being all but

finished, I did not like to leave without exposing it to public view.

But I ask every one to consider in what a grievous plight I found myself!

The Duke had given orders to his porters in my presence, that if I

appeared at the palace, they should always admit me through his

apartments to the place where he might happen to be. The Duchess

commanded the same men, whenever I showed my face at that palace, to

drive me from its gates. Accordingly, no sooner did I present myself,

than these fellows left their doors and bade me begone; at the same time

they took good care lest the Duke should perceive what they were after;

for if he caught sight of me before those wretches, he either called me,

or beckoned to me to advance.

At this juncture the Duchess sent for Bernardone, the broker, of whom

she had so often complained to me, abusing his good-for-nothingness and

utter worthlessness. She now confided in him as she had previously done

in me. He replied: “My princess, leave the matter in my hands.” Then the

rascal presented himself before the Duke with that necklace in his

hands. No sooner did the Duke set eyes on him than he bade him begone.

But the rogue lifted his big ugly voice, which sounded like the braying

of an ass through his huge nose, and spoke to this effect: “Ah! my dear

lord, for Heaven’s sake buy this necklace for the poor Duchess, who is

dying to have it, and cannot indeed live without it.” The fellow poured

forth so much of this stupid nonsensical stuff that the Duke’s patience

was exhausted, and he cried: “Oh, get away with you, or blow your chaps

out till I smack them!” The knave knew very well what he was after; for

if by blowing out his cheeks or singing 'La Bella Frances-china,' [2] he

could bring the Duke to make that purchase, then he gained the good

grace of the Duchess, and to boot his own commission, which rose to some

hundreds of crowns. Consequently he did blow out his chaps. The Duke

smacked them with several hearty boxes, and, in order to get rid of him,

struck rather harder than his wont was. The sound blows upon his cheeks

not only reddened them above their natural purple, but also brought

tears into his eyes. All the same, while smarting, he began to cry: “Lo!

my lord, a faithful servant of his prince, who tries to act rightly, and

is willing to put up with any sort of bad treatment, provided only that

poor lady have her heart’s desire!” The Duke tired of the ribald fellow,

either to recompense the cuffs which he had dealt him, or for the

Duchess’ sake, whom he was ever most inclined to gratify, cried out:

“Get away with you, with God’s curse on you! Go, make the bargain; I am

willing to do what my lady Duchess wishes.”

From this incident we may learn to know how evil Fortune exerts her rage

against a poor right-minded man, and how the strumpet Luck can help a

miserable rascal. I lost the good graces of the Duchess once and for

ever, and thereby went close to having the Duke’s protection taken from

me. He acquired that thumping fee for his commission, and to boot their

favour. Thus it will not serve us in this world to be merely men of

honesty and talent.

Note 1. 'Alzт la fede.'

Note 2. A popular ballad of the time.

LXXXV

ABOUT this time the war of Siena broke out, [1] and the Duke, wishing to

fortify Florence, distributed the gates among his architects and

sculptors. I received the Prato gate and the little one of Arno, which

is on the way to the mills. The Cavaliere Bandinello got the gate of San

Friano; Pasqualino d’Ancona, the gate at San Pier Gattolini; Giulian di

Baccio d’Agnolo, the wood-carver, had the gate of San Giorgio;

Particino, the wood-carver, had the gate of Santo Niccolт; Francesco da

San Gallo, the sculptor, called Il Margolla, got the gate of Santa

Croce; and Giovan Battista, surnamed Il Tasso, the gate Pinti. [2] Other

bastions and gates were assigned to divers engineers, whose names I do

not recollect, nor indeed am I concerned with them. The Duke, who

certainly was at all times a man of great ability, went round the city

himself upon a tour of inspection, and when he had made his mind up, he

sent for Lattanzio Gorini, one of his paymasters. Now this man was to

some extent an amateur of military architecture; so his Excellency

commissioned him to make designs for the fortifications of the gates,

and sent each of us his own gate drawn according to the plan. After

examining the plan for mine, and perceiving that it was very incorrect

in many details, I took it and went immediately to the Duke. When I

tried to point out these defects, the Duke interrupted me and exclaimed

with fury: “Benvenuto, I will give way to you upon the point of

statuary, but in this art of fortification I choose that you should cede

to me. So carry out the design which I have given you.” To these brave

words I answered as gently as I could, and said: “My lord, your most

illustrious Excellency has taught me something even in my own fine art

of statuary, inasmuch as we have always exchanged ideas upon that

subject; I beg you then to deign to listen to me upon this matter of

your fortifications, which is far more important than making statues. If

I am permitted to discuss it also with your Excellency, you will be

better able to teach me how I have to serve you.” This courteous speech

of mine induced him to discuss the plans with me; and when I had clearly

demonstrated that they were not conceived on a right method, he said:

“Go, then, and make a design yourself, and I will see if it satisfies

me.” Accordingly, I made two designs according to the right principles

for fortifying those two gates, and took them to him; and when he

distinguished the true from the false system, he exclaimed good

humouredly: “Go and do it in your own way, for I am content to have it

so.” I set to work then with the greatest diligence.

Note 1. In the year 1552, when Piero Strozzi acted as general for the

French King, Henri II., against the Spaniards. The war ended in the

capitulation of Siena in 1555. In 1557 it was ceded by Philip II. to

Cosimo de’ Medici.

Note 2. These artists, with the exception of pasqualino, are all known

to us in the conditions described by Cellini. Francesco da San Gallo was

the son of Giuliano, and nephew of Antonio da San Gallo.

LXXXVI

THERE was on guard at the gate of Prato a certain Lombard captain; he

was a truculent and stalwart fellow, of incredibly coarse speech, whose

presumption matched his utter ignorance. This man began at once to ask

me what I was about there. I politely exhibited my drawings, and took

infinite pains to make him understand my purpose. The rude brute kept

rolling his head, and turning first to one side and then to the other,

shifting himself upon his legs, and twirling his enormous moustachios;

then he drew his cap down over his eyes and roared out: “Zounds! deuce

take it! I can make nothing of this rigmarole.” At last the animal

became so tiresome that I said: “Leave it then to me, who do understand

it,” and turned my shoulders to go about my business. At this he began

to threaten me with his head, and, setting his left hand on the pommel

of his sword, tilted the point up, and exclaimed: “Hullo, my master! you

want perhaps to make me cross blades with you?” I faced round in great

fury, for the man had stirred my blood, and cried out: “It would be less

trouble to run you through the body than to build the bastion of this

gate.” In an instant we both set hands to our swords, without quite

drawing; for a number of honest folk, citizens of Florence, and others

of them courtiers, came running up. The greater part of them rated the

captain, telling him that he was in the wrong, that I was a man to give

him back as good as I got, and that if this came to the Duke’s ears, it

would be the worse for him. Accordingly he went off on his own business,

and I began with my bastion.

After setting things in order there, I proceeded to the other little

gate of Arno, where I found a captain from Cesena, the most polite,

well-mannered man I ever knew in that profession. He had the air of a

gentle young lady, but at need he could prove himself one of the boldest

and bloodiest fighters in the world. This agreeable gentleman observed

me so attentively that he made me bashful and self-conscious; and seeing

that he wanted to understand what I was doing, I courteously explained

my plans. Suffice it to say, that we vied with each other in civilities,

which made me do far better with this bastion than with the other.

I had nearly finished the two bastions when an inroad of Piero Strozzi’s

people struck such terror into the countryfolk of Prato that they began

to leave it in a body, and all their carts, laden with the household

goods of each family, came crowding into the city. The number of them

was so enormous, cart jostling with cart, and the confusion was so

great, that I told the guards to look out lest the same misadventure

should happen at this gate as had occurred at the gates of Turin; for if

we had once cause to lower the portcullis, it would not be able to

perform its functions, but must inevitably stick suspended upon one of

the waggons. When that big brute of a captain heard these words, he

replied with insults, and I retorted in the same tone. We were on the

point of coming to a far worse quarrel than before. However, the folk

kept us asunder; and when I had finished my bastions, I touched some

score of crowns, which I had not expected, and which were uncommonly

welcome. So I returned with a blithe heart to finish my Perseus.

LXXXVII

DURING those days some antiquities had been discovered in the country

round Arezzo. Among them was the Chimжra, that bronze lion which is to

be seen in the rooms adjacent to the great hall of the palace. [1]

Together with the Chimжra a number of little statuettes, likewise in

bronze, had been brought to light; they were covered with earth and

rust, and each of them lacked either head or hands or feet. The Duke

amused his leisure hours by cleaning up these statuettes himself with

certain little chisels used by goldsmiths. It happened on one occasion

that I had to speak on business to his Excellency; and while we were

talking, he reached me a little hammer, with which I struck the chisels

the Duke held, and so the figures were disengaged from their earth and

rust. In this way we passed several evenings, and then the Duke

commissioned me to restore the statuettes. He took so much pleasure in

these trifles that he made me work by day also, and if I delayed coming,

he used to send for me. I very often submitted to his Excellency that if

I left my Perseus in the daytime, several bad consequences would ensue.

The first of these, which caused me the greatest anxiety, was that,

seeing me spend so long a time upon my statue, the Duke himself might

get disgusted; which indeed did afterwards happen. The other was that I

had several journeymen who in my absence were up to two kinds of

mischief; first, they spoilt my piece, and then they did as little work

as possible. These arguments made his Excellency consent that I should

only go to the palace after twenty-four o’clock.

I had now conciliated the affection of his Excellency to such an extent,

that every evening when I came to him he treated me with greater

kindness. About this time the new apartments were built toward the

lions; [2] the Duke then wishing to be able to retire into a less public

2014-07-19 18:44
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