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The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini by Benvenuto Cellini

Part 6 out of 9

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Cardinal said he did not care to undertake so important an affair. Then
I turned to them and said: “Most reverend monsignor, and you, gentlemen,
fulfilled with learning; I tell you that I hope to complete this piece
for whosoever shall be destined to possess it; [1] and each one of you
shall live to I see it executed a hundred times more richly than the
model. Indeed, I hope that time will be left me to produce far greater
things than this.” The Cardinal replied in heat: “Unless you make if for
the King, to whom I mean to take you, I do not think that you will make
it for another man alive.” Then he showed me letters in which the King,
under one heading, bade him return as soon as possible, bringing
Benvenuto with him. At this I raised my hands to heaven, exclaiming:
“Oh, when will that moment come, and quickly?” The Cardinal bade me put
myself in readiness, and arrange the affairs I had in Rome. He gave me
ten days for these preparations.

Note 1. 'A chi l’ard avere.' For whomsoever it in going to belong to.


WHEN the time came to travel, he gave me a fine and excellent horse. The
animal was called Tornon, because it was a gift from the Cardinal
Tornon. [1] My apprentices, Pagolo and Ascanio, were also furnished with
good mounts.

The Cardinal divided his household, which was very numerous, into two
sections. The first, and the more distinguished, he took with him,
following the route of Romagna, with the object of visiting Madonna del
Loreto, and then making for Ferrara, his own home. The other section he
sent upon the road to Florence. This was the larger train; it counted a
great multitude, including the flower of his horse. He told me that if I
wished to make the journey without peril, I had better go with him,
otherwise I ran some risk of my life. I expressed my inclination to his
most reverend lordship to travel in his suite. But, having done so,
since the will of Heaven must be accomplished, it pleased God to remind
me of my poor sister, who had suffered greatly from the news of my
misfortunes. I also remembered my cousins, who were nuns in Viterbo, the
one abbess and the other camerlinga, [2] and who had therefore that rich
convent under their control. They too had endured sore tribulation for
my sake, and to their fervent prayers I firmly believed that I owed the
grace of my deliverance by God. Accordingly, when these things came into
my mind, I decided for the route to Florence. I might have travelled
free of expense with the Cardinal or with that other train of his, but I
chose to take my own way by myself. Eventually I joined company with a
very famous clockmaker, called Maestro Cherubino, my esteemed friend.
Thrown together by accident, we performed the journey with much
enjoyment on both sides.

I had left Rome on Monday in Passion Week, together with Pagolo and
Ascanio. [3] At Monte Ruosi we joined the company which I have
mentioned. Since I had expressed my intention of following the Cardinal,
I did not anticipate that any of my enemies would be upon the watch to
harm me. Yet I ran a narrow risk of coming to grief at Monte Ruosi; for
a band of men had been sent forward, well armed, to do me mischief
there. It was so ordained by God that, while we were at dinner, these
fellows, on the news that I was not travelling in the Cardinal’s suite,
made preparation to attack me. Just at that moment the Cardinal’s
retinue arrived, and I was glad enough to travel with their escort
safely to Viterbo. From that place onward I had no apprehension of
danger, especially as I made a point of travelling a few miles in front,
and the best men of the retinue kept a good watch over me. [4] I arrived
by God’s grace safe and sound at Viterbo, where my cousins and all the
convent received me with the greatest kindness.

Note 1. This was the famous François de Tournon, made Cardinal in 1530,
and employed as minister by François. I.

Note 2. This official in a convent was the same as cellarer or
superintendent of the cellar and provisions.

Note 3. This was March 22, 1540.

Note 4. 'Tenevano molto conto di me.' This is perhaps equivalent to
'held me in high esteem.' But Cellini uses the same phrase with the
meaning I have given above, in Book I, chap. lxxxvi.


I bought a new pair of stirrups, although I still hoped to regain my
good pad by persuasion; and since I was very well mounted, and well
armed with shirt and sleeves of mail, and carried an excellent arquebuse
upon my saddle-bow, I was not afraid of the brutality and violence which
that mad beast was said to be possessed of. I had also accustomed my
young men to carry shirts of mail, and had great confidence in the
Roman, who, while we were in Rome together, had never left it off, so
far as I could see; Ascanio too, although he was but a stripling, was in
the habit of wearing one. Besides, as it was Good Friday, I imagined
that the madnesses of madmen might be giving themselves a holiday. When
we came to the Camollia gate, I at once recognised the postmaster by the
indications given me; for he was blind of the left eye. Riding up to him
then, and leaving my young men and companions at a little distance, I
courteously addressed him: “Master of the post, if I assure you that I
did not override your horse, why are you unwilling to give me back my
pad and stirrups?” The reply he made was precisely as mad and brutal as
had been foretold me. This roused me to exclaim: “How then! are you not
a Christian? or do you want upon Good Friday to force us both into a
scandal?” He answered that Good Friday or the Devil’s Friday was all the
same to him, and that if I did not take myself away, he would fell me to
the ground with a spontoon which he had taken up--me and the arquebuse I
had my hand on. Upon hearing these truculent words, an old gentleman of
Siena joined us; he was dressed like a citizen, and was returning from
the religious functions proper to that day. It seems that he had
gathered the sense of my arguments before he came up to where we stood;
and this impelled him to rebuke the postmaster with warmth, taking my
side, and reprimanding the man’s two sons for not doing their duty to
passing strangers; so that their manners were an offence to God and a
disgrace to the city of Siena. The two young fellows wagged their heads
without saying a word, and withdrew inside the house. Their father,
stung to fury by the scolding of that respectable gentleman, poured out
a volley of abusive blasphemies, and levelled his spontoon, swearing he
would murder me. When I saw him determined to do some act of bestial
violence, I pointed the muzzle of my arquebuse, with the object only of
keeping him at a distance. Doubly enraged by this, he flung himself upon
me. Though I had prepared the arquebuse for my defence, I had not yet
levelled it exactly at him; indeed it was pointed too high. It went off
of itself; and the ball, striking the arch of the door and glancing
backwards, wounded him in the throat, so that he fell dead to earth.
Upon this the two young men came running out; one caught up a partisan
from the rack which stood there, the other seized the spontoon of his
father. Springing upon my followers, the one who had the spontoon smote
Pagolo the Roman first above the left nipple. The other attacked a
Milanese who was in our company, and had the ways and manners of a
perfect fool. This man screamed out that he had nothing in the world to
do with me, and parried the point of the partisan with a little stick he
held; but this availed him naught: in spite of his words and fencing, he
received a flesh wound in the mouth. Messer Cherubino wore the habit of
a priest; for though he was a clockmaker by trade, he held benefices of
some value from the Pope. Ascanio, who was well armed, stood his ground
without trying to escape, as the Milanese had done; so these two came
off unhurt. I had set spurs to my horse, and while he was galloping, had
charged and got my arquebuse in readiness again; but now I turned back,
burning with fury, and meaning to play my part this time in earnest. I
thought that my young men had been killed, and was resolved to die with
them. The horse had not gone many paces when I met them riding toward
me, and asked if they were hurt. Ascanio answered that Pagolo was
wounded to the death. Then I said: “O Pagolo, my son, did the spontoon
then pierce through your armour?” “No,” he replied, “for I put my shirt
of mail in the valise this morning.” “So then, I suppose, one wears
chain-mail in Rome to swagger before ladies, but where there is danger,
and one wants it, one keeps it locked up in a portmanteau? You deserve
what you have got, and you are now the cause of sending me back to die
here too.” While I was uttering these words, I kept riding briskly
onward; but both the young men implored me for the love of God to save
myself and them, and not to rush on certain death. Just then I met
Messer Cherubino and the wounded Milanese. The former cried out that no
one was badly wounded; the blow given to Pagolo had only grazed the
skin, [2] but the old postmaster was stretched out dead; his sons with
other folk were getting ready for attack, and we must almost certainly
be cut to pieces: “Accordingly, Benvenuto, since fortune has saved us
from this first tempest, do not tempt her again, for things may not go
so favourably a second time.” To this I replied: “If you are satisfied
to have it thus, so also am I;” and turning to Pagolo and Ascanio, I
said: “Strike spurs to your horses, and let us gallop to Staggia without
stopping; [3] there we shall be in safety.” The wounded Milanese groaned
out: “A pox upon our peccadilloes! the sole cause of my misfortune was
that I sinned by taking a little broth this morning, having nothing else
to break my fast with.” In spite of the great peril we were in, we could
not help laughing a little at the donkey and his silly speeches. Then we
set spurs to our horses, and left Messer Cherubino and the Milanese to
follow at their leisure.

Note 1. The word I have translated by “pad” above is 'cucino' in the
original. It seems to have been a sort of cushion flung upon the saddle,
and to which the stirrups were attached.

Note 2. The Italian is peculiar: 'il colpo di Pagolo era ito tanto ritto
che non era isfandato.'

Note 3. Staggia is the next post on the way to Florence.


WHILE we were making our escape, the sons of the dead man ran to the
Duke of Melfi, and begged for some light horsemen to catch us up and
take us prisoners. [1] The Duke upon being informed that we were the
Cardinal of Ferrara’s men, refused to give them troops or leave to
follow. We meanwhile arrived at Staggia, where we were in safety. There
we sent for a doctor, the best who could be had in such a place; and on
his examining Pagolo, we discovered that the wound was only skin-deep;
so I felt sure [2] that he would escape without mischief. Then we
ordered dinner; and at this juncture there arrived Messer Cherubino and
that Milanese simpleton, who kept always muttering: “A plague upon your
quarrels,” and complaining that he was excommunicated because he had not
been able to say a single Paternoster on that holy morning. He was very
ugly, and his mouth, which nature had made large, had been expanded at
least three inches by his wound; so that what with his ludicrous
Milanese jargon and his silly way of talking, he gave us so much matter
for mirth, that, instead of bemoaning our ill-luck, we could not hold
from laughing at every word he uttered. When the doctor wanted to sew up
his wound, and had already made three stitches with his needle, the
fellow told him to hold hard a while, since he did not want him out of
malice to sew his whole mouth up. Then he took up a spoon, and said he
wished to have his mouth left open enough to take that spoon in, in
order that he might return alive to his own folk. These things he said
with such odd waggings of the head, that we never stopped from laughing,
and so pursued our journey mirthfully to Florence.

We dismounted at the house of my poor sister, who, together with her
husband, overwhelmed us with kind attentions. Messer Cherubino and the
Milanese went about their business. In Florence we remained four days,
during which Pagolo got well. It was lucky for us that whenever we
talked about that Milanese donkey, we laughed as much as our misfortunes
made us weep, so that we kept laughing and crying both at the same

Pagolo recovered, as I have said, with ease; and then we travelled
toward Ferrara, where we found our lord the Cardinal had not yet
arrived. He had already heard of all our accidents, and said, when he
expressed his concern for them: “I pray to God that I may be allowed to
bring you alive to the King, according to my promise.” In Ferrara he
sent me to reside at a palace of his, a very handsome place called
Belfiore, close under the city walls. There he provided me with all
things necessary for my work. A little later, he arranged to leave for
France without me; and observing that I was very ill pleased with this,
he said to me: “Benvenuto, I am acting for your welfare; before I take
you out of Italy, I want you to know exactly what you will have to do
when you come to France. Meanwhile, push on my basin and the jug with
all the speed you can. I shall leave orders with my factor to give you
everything that you may want.”

He then departed, and I remained sorely dissatisfied, and more than once
I was upon the point of taking myself off without license. The only
thing which kept me back was that he had procured my freedom from Pope
Paolo; for the rest, I was ill-contented and put to considerable losses.
However, I clothed my mind with the gratitude due to that great benefit,
and disposed myself to be patient and to await the termination of the
business. So I set myself to work with my two men, and made great
progress with the jug and basin. The air was unwholesome where we
lodged, and toward summer we all of us suffered somewhat in our health.
During our indisposition we went about inspecting the domain; it was
very large, and left in a wild state for about a mile of open ground,
haunted too by multitudes of peacocks, which bred and nested there like
wildfowl. This put it into my head to charge my gun with a noiseless
kind of powder; then I tracked some of the young birds, and every other
day killed one, which furnished us with abundance of meat, of such
excellent quality that we shook our sickness off. For several months
following we went on working merrily, and got the jug and basin forward;
but it was a task that required much time.

Note 1. The Duke of Melfi, or Amalfi, was at this time Alfonso
Piccolomini, acting as captain-general of the Sienese in the interests
of Charles V.

Note 2. 'Cognobbi.' The subject to this verb may be either Cellini or
the doctor.


AT that period the Duke of Ferrara came to terms with Pope Paul about
some old matters in dispute between them relating to Modena and certain
other cities. The Church having a strong claim to them, the Duke was
forced to purchase peace by paying down an enormous sum of money; I
think that it exceeded three hundred thousand ducats of the Camera.
There was an old treasurer in the service of the Duke, who had been
brought up by his father, Duke Alfonso, and was called Messer Girolamo
Giliolo. He could not endure to see so much money going to the Pope, and
went about the streets crying: “Duke Alfonso, his father, would sooner
have attacked and taken Rome with this money than have shown it to the
Pope.” Nothing would induce him to disburse it; at last, however, the
Duke compelled him to make the payments, which caused the old man such
anguish that he sickened of a dangerous colic and was brought to death’s
door. During this man’s illness the Duke sent for me, and bade me take
his portrait; this I did upon a circular piece of black stone about the
size of a little trencher. The Duke took so much pleasure in my work and
conversation, that he not unfrequently posed through four or five hours
at a stretch for his own portrait, and sometimes invited me to supper.
It took me eight days to complete his likeness; then he ordered me to
design the reverse. On it I modelled Peace, giving her the form of a
woman with a torch in her hand, setting fire to a trophy of arms; I
portrayed her in an attitude of gladness, with very thin drapery, and
below her feet lay Fury in despair, downcast and sad, and loaded with
chains. I devoted much study and attention to this work, and it won me
the greatest honour. The Duke was never tired of expressing his
satisfaction, and gave me inscriptions for both sides of the medal. That
on the reverse ran as follows: 'Pretiosa in conspectu Domini;' it meant
that his peace with the Pope had been dearly bought.


WHILE I was still engaged upon the reverse of this medal, the Cardinal
sent me letters bidding me prepare for my journey, since the King had
asked after me. His next communication would contain full details
respecting all that he had promised. Accordingly, I had my jug and basin
packed up, after showing them to the Duke. Now a Ferrarese gentleman
named Alberto Bendedio was the Cardinal’s agent, and he had been twelve
years confined to his house, without once leaving it, by reason of some
physical infirmity. One day he sent in a vast hurry for me, saying I
must take the post at once, in order to present myself before the King
of France, who had eagerly been asking for me, under the impression that
I was in France. By way of apology, the Cardinal told him that I was
staying, slightly indisposed, in his abbey at Lyons, but that he would
have me brought immediately to his Majesty. Therefore I must lose no
time, but travel with the post.

Now Messer Alberto was a man of sterling worth, but proud, and illness
had made his haughty temper insupportable. As I have just said, he bade
me to get ready on the spot and take the journey by the common post. I
said that it was not the custom to pursue my profession in the post, and
that if I had to go, it was my intention to make easy stages and to take
with me the workmen Ascanio and Pagolo, whom I had brought from Rome.
Moreover, I wanted a servant on horseback to be at my orders, and money
sufficient for my costs upon the way. The infirm old man replied, upon a
tone of mighty haughtiness, that the sons of dukes were wont to travel
as I had described, and in no other fashion. I retorted that the sons of
my art travelled in the way I had informed him, and that not being a
duke’s son, I knew nothing about the customs of such folk; if he treated
me to language with which my ears were unfamiliar, I would not go at
all; the Cardinal having broken faith with me, and such scurvy words
having been spoken, I should make my mind up once for all to take no
further trouble with the Ferrarese. Then I turned my back, and, he
threatening, I grumbling, took my leave.

I next went to the Duke with my medal, which was finished. He received
me with the highest marks of honour and esteem. It seems that he had
given orders to Messer Girolamo Giliolo to reward me for my labour with
a diamond ring worth two hundred crowns, which was to be presented by
Fiaschino, his chamberlain. Accordingly, this fellow, on the evening
after I had brought the medal, at one hour past nightfall, handed me a
ring with a diamond of showy appearance, and spoke as follows on the
part of his master: “Take this diamond as a remembrance of his
Excellency, to adorn the unique artist’s hand which has produced a
masterpiece of so singular merit.” When day broke, I examined the ring,
and found the stone to be a miserable thin diamond, worth about ten
crowns. I felt sure that the Duke had not meant to accompany such
magnificent compliments with so trifling a gift, but that he must have
intended to reward me handsomely. Being then convinced that the trick
proceeded from his rogue of a treasurer, I gave the ring to a friend of
mine, begging him to return it to the chamberlain, Fiaschino, as he best
could. The man I chose was Bernardo Saliti, who executed his commission
admirably. Fiaschino came at once to see me, and declared, with vehement
expostulations, that the Duke would take it very ill if I refused a
present he had meant so kindly; perhaps I should have to repent of my
waywardness. I answered that the ring his Excellency had given me was
worth about ten crowns, and that the work I had done for him was worth
more than two hundred. Wishing, however, to show his Excellency how
highly I esteemed his courtesy, I should be happy if he bestowed on me
only one of those rings for the cramp, which come from England and are
worth tenpence. [1] I would treasure that so long as I lived in
remembrance of his Excellency, together with the honourable message he
had sent me; for I considered that the splendid favours of his
Excellency had amply recompensed my pains, whereas that paltry stone
insulted them. This speech annoyed the Duke so much that he sent for his
treasurer, and scolded him more sharply than he had ever done before. At
the same time he gave me orders, under pain of his displeasure, not to
leave Ferrara without duly informing him; and commanded the treasurer to
present me with a diamond up to three hundred crowns in value. The
miserly official found a stone rising a trifle above sixty crowns, and
let it be heard that it was worth upwards of two hundred.

Note 1. 'Anello del granchio,' a metal ring of lead and copper, such as
are now worn in Italy under the name of 'anello di salute.'


MEANWHILE Messer Alberto returned to reason, and provided me with all I
had demanded. My mind was made up to quit Ferrara without fail that very
day; but the Duke’s attentive chamberlain arranged with Messer Alberto
that I should get no horses then. I had loaded a mule with my baggage,
including the case which held the Cardinal’s jug and basin. Just then a
Ferrarese nobleman named Messer Alfonso de’ Trotti arrived. [1] He was
far advanced in years, and a person of excessive affectation; a great
dilettante of the arts, but one of those men who are very difficult to
satisfy, and who, if they chance to stumble on something which suits
their taste, exalt it so in their own fancy that they never expect to
see the like of it again. Well, this Messer Alonso arrived, and Messer
Alberto said to him: “I am sorry that you are come so late; the jug and
basin we are sending to the Cardinal in France have been already
packed.” He answered that it did not signify to him; and beckoning to
his servant, sent him home to fetch a jug in white Faenzo clay, the
workmanship of which was very exquisite. During the time the servant
took to go and return, Messer Alfonso said to Messer Alberto: “I will
tell you why I do not care any longer to look at vases; it is that I
once beheld a piece of silver, antique, of such beauty and such finish
that the human imagination cannot possibly conceive its rarity.
Therefore I would rather not inspect any objects of the kind, for fear
of spoiling the unique impression I retain of that. I must tell you that
a gentleman of great quality and accomplishments, who went to Rome upon
matters of business, had this antique vase shown to him in secret. By
adroitly using a large sum of money, he bribed the person in whose hands
it was, and brought it with him to these parts; but he keeps it
jealously from all eyes, in order that the Duke may not get wind of it,
fearing he should in some way be deprived of his treasure.” While
spinning out this lengthy yarn, Messer Alfonso did not look at me,
because we were not previously acquainted. But when that precious clay
model appeared, he displayed it with such airs of ostentation, pomp, and
mountebank ceremony, that, after inspecting it, I turned to Messer
Alberto and said: “I am indeed lucky to have had the privilege to see
it!” [2] Messer Alfonso, quite affronted, let some contemptuous words
escape him, and exclaimed: “Who are you, then, you who do not know what
you are saying?” I replied: “Listen for a moment, and afterwards judge
which of us knows best what he is saying.” Then turning to Messer
Alberto, who was a man of great gravity and talent, I began: “This is a
copy from a little silver goblet, of such and such weight, which I made
at such and such a time for that charlatan Maestro Jacopo, the surgeon
from Carpi. He came to Rome and spent six months there, during which he
bedaubed some scores of nobleman and unfortunate gentlefolk with his
dirty salves, extracting many thousands of ducats from their pockets. At
that time I made for him this vase and one of a different pattern. He
paid me very badly; and at the present moment in Rome all the miserable
people who used his ointment are crippled and in a deplorable state of
health. [3] It is indeed great glory for me that my works are held in
such repute among you wealthy lords; but I can assure you that during
these many years past I have been progressing in my art with all my
might, and I think that the vase I am taking with me into France is far
more worthy of cardinals and kings than that piece belonging to your
little quack doctor.”

After I had made this speech, Messer Alfonso seemed dying with desire to
see the jug and basin, but I refused to open the box. We remained some
while disputing the matter, when he said that he would go to the Duke
and get an order from his Excellency to have it shown him. Then Messer
Alberto Bendedio, in the high and mighty manner which belonged to him,
exclaimed: “Before you leave this room, Messer Alfonso, you shall see
it, without employing the Duke’s influence.” On hearing these words I
took my leave, and left Ascanio and Pagolo to show it. They told me
afterwards that he had spoken enthusiastically in my praise. After this
he wanted to become better acquainted with me; but I was wearying to
leave Ferrara and get away from all its folk. The only advantages I had
enjoyed there were the society of Cardinal Salviati and the Cardinal of
Ravenna, and the friendship of some ingenious musicians; [4] no one else
had been to me of any good: for the Ferrarese are a very avaricious
people, greedy of their neighbours’ money, however they may lay their
hands on it; they are all the same in this respect.

At the hour of twenty-two Fiaschino arrived, and gave me the diamond of
sixty crowns, of which I spoke above. He told me, with a hang-dog look
and a few brief words, that I might wear it for his Excellency’s sake. I
replied: “I will do so.” Then putting my foot in the stirrup in his
presence, I set off upon my travels without further leave-taking. The
man noted down my act and words, and reported them to the Duke, who was
highly incensed, and showed a strong inclination to make me retrace my

Note 1. This man was a member of a very noble Ferrarese family, and much
esteemed for his official talents.

Note 2. 'Pur beato che io l’ ho veduto!' Leclanché translates thus:
'“Par Dieu! il y a longtemps que je l’ ai vu!”' I think Cellini probably
meant to hint that he had seen it before.

Note 3. See above, book i., p. 51, for this story.

Note 4. Cardinal Giovanni Salviati was Archbishop of Ferrara; Cardinal
Benedetto Accolti, Archbishop of Ravenna, was then staying at Ferrara;
the court was famous for its excellent orchestra and theatrical display
of all kinds.


THAT evening I rode more than ten miles, always at a trot; and when,
upon the next day, I found myself outside the Ferrarese domain, I felt
excessively relieved; indeed I had met with nothing to my liking there,
except those peacocks which restored my health. We journeyed by the
Monsanese, avoiding the city of Milan on account of the apprehension I
have spoken of, [1] so that we arrived safe and sound at Lyons. Counting
Pagolo and Ascanio and a servant, we were four men, with four very good
horses. At Lyons we waited several days for the muleteer, who carried
the silver cup and basin, as well as our other baggage; our lodging was
in an abbey of the Cardinal’s. When the muleteer arrived, we loaded all
our goods upon a little cart, and then set off toward Paris. On the road
we met with some annoyances, but not of any great moment.

We found the Court of the King at Fontana Beliò; [2] there we presented
ourselves to the Cardinal, who provided us at once with lodgings, and
that evening we were comfortable. On the following day the cart turned
up; so we unpacked our things, and when the Cardinal heard this he told
the King, who expressed a wish to see me at once. I went to his Majesty
with the cup and basin; then, upon entering his presence, I kissed his
knee, and he received me very graciously. I thanked his Majesty for
freeing me from prison, saying that all princes unique for generosity
upon this earth, as was his Majesty, lay under special obligations to
set free men of talent, and particularly those that were innocent, as I
was; such benefits, I added, were inscribed upon the book of God before
any other good actions. The King, while I was delivering this speech,
continued listening till the end with the utmost courtesy, dropping a
few words such as only he could utter. Then he took the vase and basin,
and exclaimed: “Of a truth I hardly think the ancients can have seen a
piece so beautiful as this. I well remember to have inspected all the
best works, and by the greatest masters of all Italy, but I never set my
eyes on anything which stirred me to such admiration.” These words the
King addressed in French to the Cardinal of Ferrara, with many others of
even warmer praise. Then he turned to me and said in Italian:
“Benvenuto, amuse yourself for a few days, make good cheer, and spend
your time in pleasure; in the meanwhile we will think of giving you the
wherewithal to execute some fine works of art for us.”

Note 1. The 'Monsanese' is the 'Mont Cenis.' Cellini forgets that he has
not mentioned this apprehension which made him turn aside from Milan. It
may have been the fear of plague, or perhaps of some enemy.

Note 2. It is thus that Cellini always writes Fontainebleau.


THE CARDINAL OF FERRARA saw that the King had been vastly pleased by my
arrival; he also judged that the trifles which I showed him of my
handicraft had encouraged him to hope for the execution of some
considerable things he had in mind. At this time, however, we were
following the court with the weariest trouble and fatigue; the reason of
this was that the train of the King drags itself along with never less
than 12,000 horse behind it; this calculation is the very lowest; for
when the court is complete in times of peace, there are some 18,000,
which makes 12,000 less than the average. Consequently we had to journey
after it through places where sometimes there were scarcely two houses
to be found; and then we set up canvas tents like gipsies, and suffered
at times very great discomfort. I therefore kept urging the Cardinal to
put the King in mind of employing me in some locality where I could stop
and work. The Cardinal answered that it was far better to wait until the
King should think of it himself, and that I ought to show myself at
times to his Majesty while he was at table. This I did then; and one
morning, at his dinner, the King called me. He began to talk to me in
Italian, saying he had it in his mind to execute several great works,
and that he would soon give orders where I was to labour, and provide me
with all necessaries. These communications he mingled with discourse on
divers pleasant matters. The Cardinal of Ferrara was there, because he
almost always ate in the morning at the King’s table. He had heard our
conversation, and when the King rose, he spoke in my favour to this
purport, as I afterwards was informed: “Sacred Majesty, this man
Benvenuto is very eager to get to work again; it seems almost a sin to
let an artist of his abilities waste his time.” The King replied that he
had spoken well, and told him to arrange with me all things for my
support according to my wishes.

Upon the evening of the day when he received this commission, the
Cardinal sent for me after supper, and told me that his Majesty was
resolved to let me begin working, but that he wanted me first to come to
an understanding about my appointments. To this the Cardinal added: “It
seems to me that if his Majesty allows you three hundred crowns a year,
you will be able to keep yourself very well indeed, furthermore, I
advise you to leave yourself in my hands, for every day offers the
opportunity of doing some service in this great kingdom, and I shall
exert myself with vigour in your interest.” Then I began to speak as
follows: “When your most reverend lordship left me in Ferrara, you gave
me a promise, which I had never asked for, not to bring me out of Italy
before I clearly understood the terms on which I should be placed here
with his Majesty. Instead of sending to communicate these details, your
most reverend lordship urgently ordered me to come by the post, as if an
art like mine was carried on post-haste. Had you written to tell me of
three hundred crowns, as you have now spoken, I would not have stirred a
foot for twice that sum. Nevertheless, I thank God and your most
reverend lordship for all things, seeing God has employed you as the
instrument for my great good in procuring my liberation from
imprisonment. Therefore I assure your lordship that all the troubles you
are now causing me fall a thousand times short of the great good which
you have done me. With all my heart I thank you, and take good leave of
you; wherever I may be, so long as I have life, I will pray God for
you.” The Cardinal was greatly irritated, and cried out in a rage: “Go
where you choose; it is impossible to help people against their will.”
Some of his good-for-nothing courtiers who were present said: “That
fellow sets great store on himself, for he is refusing three hundred
ducats a year.” Another, who was a man of talent, replied: “The King
will never find his equal, and our Cardinal wants to cheapen him, as
though he were a load of wood.” This was Messer Luigi Alamanni who spoke
to the above effect, as I was afterwards informed. All this happened on
the last day of October, in Dauphiné, at a castle the name of which I do
not remember.


ON leaving the Cardinal I repaired to my lodging, which was three miles
distant, in company with a secretary of the Cardinal returning to the
same quarters. On the road, this man never stopped asking me what I
meant to do with myself, and what my own terms regarding the appointment
would have been. I gave him only one word back for answer which was
that--I knew all. When we came to our quarters, I found Pagolo and
Ascanio there; and seeing me much troubled, they implored me to tell
them what was the matter. To the poor young men, who were all dismayed,
I said for answer: “To-morrow I shall give you money amply sufficient
for your journey home. I mean myself to go about a most important
business without you, which for a long time I have had it in my mind to
do.” Our room adjoined that of the secretary; and I think it not
improbable that he wrote to the Cardinal, and informed him of my
purpose. However, I never knew anything for certain about this. The
night passed without sleep, and I kept wearying for the day, in order to
carry out my resolution.

No sooner did it dawn than I ordered out the horses, made my
preparations in a moment, and gave the two young men everything which I
had brought with me, and fifty ducats of gold in addition. I reserved
the same sum for myself, together with the diamond the Duke had given
me; I only kept two shirts and some well-worn riding-clothes which I had
upon my back. I found it almost impossible to get free of the two young
men, who insisted upon going with me, whatever happened. At last I was
obliged to treat them with contempt, and use this language: “One of you
has his first beard, and the other is just getting it; and both of you
have learned as much from me as I could teach in my poor art, so that
you are now the first craftsmen among the youths of Italy. Are you not
ashamed to have no courage to quit this go-cart, but must always creep
about in leading-strings? The thing is too disgraceful! Or if I were to
send you away without money, what would you say then? Come, take
yourselves out of my sight, and may God bless you a thousand times.

I turned my horse and left them weeping. Then I took my way along a very
fair road through a forest, hoping to make at least forty miles that
day, and reach the most out-of-the-way place I could. I had already
ridden about two miles, and during that short time had resolved never to
revisit any of those parts where I was known. I also determined to
abandon my art so soon as I had made a Christ three cubits in height,
reproducing, so far as I was able, that infinite beauty which He had
Himself revealed to me. So then, being thoroughly resolved, I turned my
face toward the Holy Sepulchre. [1] Just when I thought I had got so far
that nobody could find me, I heard horses galloping after. They filled
me with some uneasiness, because that district is infested with a race
of brigands, who bear the name of Venturers, and are apt to murder men
upon the road. Though numbers of them are hanged every day, it seems as
though they did not care. However, when the riders approached, I found
they were a messenger from the King and my lad Ascanio. The former came
up to me and said: “From the King I order you to come immediately to his
presence.” I replied: “You have been sent by the Cardinal, and for this
reason I will not come.” The man said that since gentle usage would not
bring me, he had authority to raise the folk, and they would take me
bound hand and foot like a prisoner. Ascanio, for his part, did all he
could to persuade me, reminding me that when the King sent a man to
prison, he kept him there five years at least before he let him out
again. This word about the prison, when I remembered what I had endured
in Rome, struck such terror into me, that I wheeled my horse round
briskly and followed the King’s messenger. He kept perpetually
chattering in French through all our journey, up to the very precincts
of the court, at one time bullying, now saying one thing, then another,
till I felt inclined to deny God and the world.

Note 1. See above, p. 240, for Cellini’s vow in the Castle of S. Angelo.


ON our way to the lodgings of the King we passed before those of the
Cardinal of Ferrara. Standing at his door, he called to me and said:
“Our most Christian monarch has of his own accord assigned you the same
appointments which his Majesty allowed the painter Lionardo da Vinci,
that is, a salary of seven hundred crowns; in addition, he will pay you
for all the works you do for him; also for your journey hither he gives
you five hundred golden crowns, which will be paid you before you quit
this place.” At the end of this announcement, I replied that those were
offers worthy of the great King he was. The messenger, not knowing
anything about me, and hearing what splendid offers had been made me by
the King, begged my pardon over and over again. Pagolo and Ascanio
exclaimed: “It is God who has helped us to get back into so honoured a

On the day following I went to thank the King, who ordered me to make
the models of twelve silver statues, which were to stand as candelabra
round his table. He wanted them to represent six gods and six goddesses,
and to have exactly the same height as his Majesty, which was a trifle
under four cubits. Having dictated this commission, he turned to his
treasurer, and asked whether he had paid me the five hundred crowns. The
official said that he had received no orders to that effect. The King
took this very ill, for he had requested the Cardinal to speak to him
about it. Furthermore, he told me to go to Paris and seek out a place to
live in, fitted for the execution of such work; he would see that I
obtained it.

I got the five hundred crowns of gold, and took up my quarters at Paris
in a house of the Cardinal of Ferrera. There I began, in God’s name, to
work, and fashioned four little waxen models, about two-thirds of a
cubit each in height. They were Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, and Vulcan. In
this while the King returned to Paris; whereupon I went to him at once,
taking my models with me, and my two prentices, Ascanio and Pagolo. On
perceiving that the King was pleased with my work, and being
commissioned to execute the Jupiter in silver of the height above
described, I introduced the two young men, and said that I had brought
them with me out of Italy to serve his Majesty; for inasmuch as they had
been brought up by me, I could at the beginning get more help from them
than from the Paris workmen. To this the King replied that I might name
a salary which I thought sufficient for their maintenance. I said that a
hundred crowns of gold apiece would be quite proper, and that I would
make them earn their wages well. This agreement was concluded. Then I
said that I had found a place which seemed to me exactly suited to my
industry; it was his Majesty’s own property, and called the Little
Nello. The Provost of Paris was then in possession of it from his
Majesty; but since the Provost made no use of the castle, his Majesty
perhaps might grant it me to employ in his service. [1] He replied upon
the instant: “That place is my own house, and I know well that the man I
gave it to does not inhabit or use it. So you shall have it for the work
you have to do.” He then told his lieutenant to install me in the Nello.
This officer made some resistance, pleading that he could not carry out
the order. The King answered in anger that he meant to bestow his
property on whom he pleased, and on a man who would serve him, seeing
that he got nothing from the other; therefore he would hear no more
about it. The lieutenant then submitted that some small force would have
to be employed in order to effect an entrance. To which the King
answered: “Go, then, and if a small force is not enough, use a great

The officer took me immediately to the castle, and there put me in
possession, not, however, without violence; after that he warned me to
take very good care that I was not murdered. I installed myself,
enrolled serving-men, and bought a quantity of pikes and partisans; but
I remained for several days exposed to grievous annoyances, for the
Provost was a great nobleman of Paris, and all the other gentlefolk took
part against me; they attacked me with such insults that I could hardly
hold my own against them. I must not omit to mention that I entered the
service of his Majesty in the year 1540, which was exactly the year in
which I reached the age of forty.

Note 1. This was the castle of Le Petit Nesle, on the site of which now
stands the Palace of the Institute. The Provost of Paris was then Jean
d’Estouteville, lord of Villebon.


THE AFFRONTS and insults I received made me have recourse to the King,
begging his Majesty to establish me in some other place. He answered:
“Who are you, and what is your name?” I remained in great confusion, and
could not comprehend what he meant. Holding my tongue thus, the King
repeated the same words a second time angrily. Then I said my name was
Benvenuto. “If, then, you are the Benvenuto of whom I have heard,”
replied the King, “act according to your wont, for you have my full
leave to do so.” I told his Majesty that all I wanted was to keep his
favour; for the rest, I knew of nothing that could harm me. He gave a
little laugh, and said: “Go your ways, then; you shall never want my
favour.” Upon this he told his first secretary, Monsignor di Villerois,
to see me provided and accommodated with all I needed. 1

This Villerois was an intimate friend of the Provost, to whom the castle
had been given. It was built in a triangle, right up against the city
walls, and was of some antiquity, but had no garrison. The building was
of considerable size. Monsignor di Villerois counselled me to look about
for something else, and by all means to leave this place alone, seeing
that its owner was a man of vast power, who would most assuredly have me
killed. I answered that I had come from Italy to France only in order to
serve that illustrious King; and as for dying, I knew for certain that
die I must; a little earlier or a little later was a matter of supreme
indifference to me.

Now Villerois was a man of the highest talent, exceptionally
distinguished in all points, and possessed of vast wealth. There was
nothing he would not gladly have done to harm me, but he made no open
demonstration of his mind. He was grave, and of a noble presence, and
spoke slowly, at his ease. To another gentleman, Monsignor di Marmagna,
the treasurer of Languedoc, he left the duty of molesting me. [2] The
first thing which this man did was to look out the best apartments in
the castle, and to have them fitted up for himself. I told him that the
King had given me the place to serve him in, and that I did not choose
it should be occupied by any but myself and my attendants. The fellow,
who was haughty, bold, and spirited, replied that he meant to do just
what he liked; that I should run my head against a wall if I presumed to
oppose him, and that Villerois had given him authority to do what he was
doing. I told him that, by the King’s authority given to me, neither he
nor Villerois could do it. When I said that he gave vent to offensive
language in French, whereat I retorted in my own tongue that he lied.
Stung with rage, he clapped his hand upon a little dagger which he had;
then I set my hand also to a large dirk which I always wore for my
defence, and cried out: “If you dare to draw, I’ll kill you on the
spot.” He had two servants to back him, and I had my two lads. For a
moment or two Marmagna stood in doubt, not knowing exactly what to do,
but rather inclined to mischief, and muttering: “I will never put up
with such insults.” Seeing then that the affair was taking a bad turn, I
took a sudden resolution, and cried to Pagolo and Ascanio: “When you see
me draw my dirk, throw yourselves upon those serving-men, and kill them
if you can; I mean to kill this fellow at the first stroke, and then we
will decamp together, with God’s grace.” Marmagna, when he understood my
purpose, was glad enough to get alive out of the castle.

All these things, toning them down a trifle, I wrote to the Cardinal of
Ferrara, who related them at once to the King. The King, deeply
irritated, committed me to the care of another officer of his bodyguard
who was named Monsignor lo Iscontro d’Orbech. [3] By him I was
accommodated with all that I required in the most gracious way

Note 1. M. Nicholas de Neufville, lord of Villeroy.

Note 2. François l’Allemand, Seigneur de Marmagne.

Note 3. Le Vicomte d’Orbec. It seems that by 'Iscontro' Cellini meant


AFTER fitting up my own lodgings in the castle and the workshop with all
conveniences for carrying on my business, and putting my household upon
a most respectable footing, I began at once to construct three models
exactly of the size which the silver statues were to be. These were
Jupiter, Vulcan and Mars. I moulded them in clay, and set them well up
on irons; then I went to the King, who disbursed three hundred pounds
weight of silver, if I remember rightly, for the commencement of the
undertaking. While I was getting these things ready, we brought the
little vase and oval basin to completion, which had been several months
in hand. Then I had them richly gilt, and they showed like the finest
piece of plate which had been seen in France.

Afterwards I took them to the Cardinal, who thanked me greatly; and,
without requesting my attendance, carried and presented them to the
King. He was delighted with the gift, and praised me as no artist was
ever praised before. In return, he bestowed upon the Cardinal an abbey
worth seven thousand crowns a year, and expressed his intention of
rewarding me too. The Cardinal, however, prevented him, telling his
Majesty that he was going ahead too fast, since I had as yet produced
nothing for him. The King, who was exceedingly generous, replied: “For
that very reason will I put heart and hope into him.” The Cardinal,
ashamed at his own meanness, said: “Sire, I beg you to leave that to me;
I will allow him a pension of at least three hundred crowns when have
taken possession of the abbey.” He never gave me anything; and it would
be tedious to relate all the knavish tricks of this prelate. I prefer to
dwell on matters of greater moment.


WHEN I returned to Paris, the great favour shown me by the King made me
a mark for all men’s admiration. I received the silver and began my
statue of Jupiter. Many journeymen were now in my employ; and the work
went onward briskly day and night; so that, by the time I had finished
the clay models of Jupiter, Vulcan, and Mars, and had begun to get the
silver statue forward, my workshop made already a grand show.

The King now came to Paris, and I went to pay him my respects. No sooner
had his Majesty set eyes upon me than he called me cheerfully, and asked
if I had something fine to exhibit at my lodging, for he would come to
inspect it. I related all I had been doing; upon which he was seized
with a strong desire to come. Accordingly, after this dinner, he set off
with Madame de Tampes, the Cardinal of Lorraine, and some other of his
greatest nobles, among whom were the King of Navarre, his cousin, and
the Queen, his sister; the Dauphin and Dauphinéss also attended him; so
that upon that day the very flower of the French court came to visit me.
[1] I had been some time at home, and was hard at work. When the King
arrived at the door of the castle, and heard our hammers going, he bade
his company keep silence. Everybody in my house was busily employed, so
that the unexpected entrance of his Majesty took me by surprise. The
first thing he saw on coming into the great hall was myself with a huge
plate of silver in my hand, which I was beating for the body of my
Jupiter; one of my men was finishing the head, another the legs; and it
is easy to imagine what a din we made between us. It happened that a
little French lad was working at my side, who had just been guilty of
some trifling blunder. I gave the lad a kick, and, as my good luck would
have it, caught him with my foot exactly in the fork between his legs,
and sent him spinning several yards, so that he came stumbling up
against the King precisely at the moment when his Majesty arrived. The
King was vastly amused, but I felt covered with confusion. He began to
ask me what I was engaged upon, and told me to go on working; then he
said that he would much rather have me not employ my strength on manual
labour, but take as many men as I wanted, and make them do the rough
work; he should like me to keep myself in health, in order that he might
enjoy my services through many years to come. I replied to his Majesty
that the moment I left off working I should fall ill; also that my art
itself would suffer, and not attain the mark I aimed at for his Majesty.
Thinking that I spoke thus only to brag, and not because it was the
truth, he made the Cardinal of Lorraine repeat what he had said; but I
explained my reasons so fully and clearly, that the Cardinal perceived
my drift; he then advised the King to let me labour as much or little as
I liked.

Note 1. These personages were Madame d’Etampes, the King’s mistress;
John of Lorraine, son of Duke Renée II., who was made Cardinal in 1518;
Henri d’Albret II. and Marguerite de Valois, his wife; the Duaphin,
afterwards Henri II., and his wife, the celebrated Caterina de’ Medici,
daughter of Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino.


BEING very well satisfied with what he had seen, the King returned to
his palace, after bestowing on me too many marks of favour to be here
recorded. On the following day he sent for me at his dinner-hour. The
Cardinal of Ferrara was there at meat with him. When I arrived, the King
had reached his second course; he began at once to speak to me, saying,
with a pleasant cheer, that having now so fine a basin and jug of my
workmanship, he wanted an equally handsome salt-cellar to match them;
and begged me to make a design, and to lose no time about it. I replied:
“Your Majesty shall see a model of the sort even sooner than you have
commanded; for while I was making the basin, I thought there ought to be
a saltcellar to match it; therefore I have already designed one, and if
it is your pleasure, I will at once exhibit my conception.” The King
turned with a lively movement of surprise and pleasure to the lords in
his company--they were the King of Navarre, the Cardinal of Lorraine,
and the Cardinal of Ferrara--exclaiming as he did so: “Upon my word,
this is a man to be loved and cherished by every one who knows him.”
Then he told me that he would very gladly see my model.

I set off, and returned in a few minutes; for I had only to cross the
river, that is, the Seine. I carried with me the wax model which I had
made in Rome at the Cardinal of Ferrara’s request. When I appeared again
before the King and uncovered my piece, he cried out in astonishment:
“This is a hundred times more divine a thing that I had ever dreamed of.
What a miracle of a man! He ought never to stop working.” Then he turned
to me with a beaming countenance, and told me that he greatly liked the
piece, and wished me to execute it in gold. The Cardinal of Ferrara
looked me in the face, and let me understand that he recognised the
model as the same which I had made for him in Rome. I replied that I had
already told him I should carry it out for one who was worthy of it. The
Cardinal, remembering my words, and nettled by the revenge he thought
that I was taking on him, remarked to the King: “Sire, this is an
enormous undertaking; I am only afraid that we shall never see it
finished. These able artists who have great conceptions in their brain
are ready enough to put the same in execution without duly considering
when they are to be accomplished. I therefore, if I gave commission for
things of such magnitude, should like to know when I was likely to get
them.” The King replied that if a man was so scrupulous about the
termination of a work, he would never begin anything at all; these words
he uttered with a certain look, which implied that such enterprises were
not for folk of little spirit. I then began to say my say: “Princes who
put heart and courage in their servants, as your Majesty does by deed
and word, render undertakings of the greatest magnitude quite easy. Now
that God has sent me so magnificent a patron, I hope to perform for him
a multitude of great and splendid master-pieces.” “I believe it, “ said
the King, and rose from table. Then he called me into his chamber, and
asked me how much gold was wanted for the salt-cellar. “A thousand
crowns,” I answered. He called his treasurer at once, who was the
Viscount of Orbec, and ordered him that very day to disburse to me a
thousand crowns of good weight and old gold.

When I left his Majesty, I went for the two notaries who had helped me
in procuring silver for the Jupiter and many other things. Crossing the
Seine, I then took a small hand-basket, which one of my cousins, a nun,
had given me on my journey through Florence. It made for my good fortune
that I took this basket and not a bag. So then, thinking I could do the
business by daylight, for it was still early, and not caring to
interrupt my workmen, and being indisposed to take a servant with me, I
set off alone. When I reached the house of the treasurer, I found that
he had the money laid out before him, and was selecting the best pieces
as the King had ordered. It seemed to me, however, that that thief of a
treasurer was doing all he could to postpone the payment of the money;
nor were the pieces counted out until three hours after nightfall.

I meanwhile was not wanting in despatch, for I sent word to several of
my journeymen that they should come and attend me, since the matter was
one of serious importance. When I found that they did not arrive, I
asked the messenger if he had done my errand. The rascal of a groom whom
I had sent replied that he had done so, but that they had answered that
they could not come; he, however, would gladly carry the money for me. I
answered that I meant to carry the money myself. But this time the
contract was drawn up and signed. On the money being counted, I put it
all into my little basket, and then thrust my arm through the two
handles. Since I did this with some difficulty, the gold was well shut
in, and I carried it more conveniently than if the vehicle had been a
bag. I was well armed with shirt and sleeves of mail, and having my
sword and dagger at my side, made off along the street as quick as my
two legs would carry me.


JUST as I left the house, I observed some servants whispering among
themselves, who also went off at a round pace in another direction from
the one I took. Walking with all haste, I passed the bridge of the
Exchange, [1] and went up along a wall beside the river which led to my
lodging in the castle. I had just come to the Augustines--now this was a
very perilous passage, and though it was only five hundred paces distant
from my dwelling, yet the lodging in the castle being quite as far
removed inside, no one could have heard my voice if I had shouted--when
I saw four men with four swords in their hands advancing to attack me.
[2] My resolution was taken in an instant. I covered the basket with my
cape, drew my sword, and seeing that they were pushing hotly forward,
cried aloud: “With soldiers there is only the cape and sword to gain;
and these, before I give them up, I hope you’ll get not much to your
advantage.” Then crossing my sword boldly with them, I more than once
spread out my arms, in order that, if the ruffians were put on by the
servants who had seen me take my money, they might be led to judge I was
not carrying it. The encounter was soon over; for they retired step by
step, saying among themselves in their own language: “This is a brave
Italian, and certainly not the man we are after; or if he be the man, he
cannot be carrying anything.” I spoke Italian, and kept harrying them
with thrust and slash so hotly that I narrowly missed killing one or the
other. My skill in using the sword made them think I was a soldier
rather than a fellow of some other calling. They drew together and began
to fall back, muttering all the while beneath their breath in their own
tongue. I meanwhile continued always calling out, but not too loudly,
that those who wanted my cape and blade would have to get them with some
trouble. Then I quickened pace, while they still followed slowly at my
heels; this augmented my fear, for I thought I might be falling into an
ambuscade, which would have cut me off in front as well as rear.
Accordingly, when I was at the distance of a hundred paces from my home,
I ran with all my might, and shouted at the top of my voice: “To arms,
to arms! out with you, out with you! I am being murdered.” In a moment
four of my young men came running, with four pikes in their hands. They
wanted to pursue the ruffians, who could still be seen; but I stopped
them, calling back so as to let the villains hear: “Those cowards
yonder, four against one man alone, had not pluck enough to capture a
thousand golden crowns in metal, which have almost broken this arm of
mine. Let us haste inside and put the money away; then I will take my
big two-handed sword, and go with you whithersoever you like.” We went
inside to secure the gold; and my lads, while expressing deep concern
for the peril I had run, gently chided me, and said: “You risk yourself
too much alone; the time will come when you will make us all bemoan your
loss.” A thousand words and exclamations were exchanged between us; my
adversaries took to flight; and we all sat down and supped together with
mirth and gladness, laughing over those great blows which fortune
strikes, for good as well as evil, and which, what time they do not hit
the mark, are just the same as though they had not happened. [3] It is
very true that one says to oneself: “You will have had a lesson for next
time.” But that is not the case; for fortune always comes upon us in new
ways, quite unforeseen by our imagination.

Note 1. The Pont du Change, replaced by the Pont Neuf.

Note 2. The excitement of his recollection makes Cellini more than
usually incoherent about this episode. The translator has to collect the
whole sense of the passage.

Note 3. Cellini’s philosophy is summed up in the proverb: “A miss is as
good as a mile.”


ON the morning which followed these events, I made the first step in my
work upon the great salt-cellar, pressing this and my other pieces
forward with incessant industry. My workpeople at this time, who were
pretty numerous, included both sculptors and goldsmiths. They belonged
to several nations, Italian, French, and German; for I took the best I
could find, and changed them often, retaining only those who knew their
business well. These select craftsmen I worked to the bone with
perpetual labour. They wanted to rival me; but I had a better
constitution. Consequently, in their inability to bear up against such a
continuous strain, they took to eating and drinking copiously, some of
the Germans in particular, who were more skilled than their comrades,
and wanted to march apace with me, sank under these excesses, and

While I was at work upon the Jupiter, I noticed that I had plenty of
silver to spare. So I took in hand, without consulting the King, to make
a great two-handled vase, about one cubit and a half in height. I also
conceived the notion of casting the large model of my Jupiter in bronze.
Having up to this date done nothing of the sort, I conferred with
certain old men experienced in that art at Paris, and described to them
the methods in use with us in Italy. They told me they had never gone
that way about the business; but that if I gave them leave to act upon
their own principles, they would bring the bronze out as clean and
perfect as the clay. I chose to strike an agreement, throwing on them
the responsibility, and promising several crowns above the price they
bargained for. Thereupon they put the work in progress; but I soon saw
that they were going the wrong way about it, and began on my own account
a head of Julius Cæsar, bust and armour, much larger than the life,
which I modelled from a reduced copy of a splendid antique portrait I
had brought with me from Rome. I also undertook another head of the same
size, studied from a very handsome girl, whom I kept for my own
pleasures. I called this Fontainebleau, after the place selected by the
King for his particular delight.

We constructed an admirable little furnace for the casting of the
bronze, got all things ready, and baked our moulds; those French masters
undertaking the Jupiter, while I looked after my two heads. Then I said:
“I do not think you will succeed with your Jupiter, because you have not
provided sufficient vents beneath for the air to circulate; therefore
you are but losing your time and trouble.” They replied that, if their
work proved a failure, they would pay back the money I had given on
account, and recoup me for current expenses; but they bade me give good
heed to my own proceedings, [1] for the fine heads I meant to cast in my
Italian fashion would never succeed.

At this dispute between us there were present the treasurers and other
gentlefolk commissioned by the King to superintend my proceedings.
Everything which passed by word or act was duly reported to his Majesty.
The two old men who had undertaken to cast my Jupiter postponed the
experiment, saying they would like to arrange the moulds of my two
heads. They argued that, according to my method, no success could be
expected, and it was a pity to waste such fine models. When the King was
informed of this, he sent word that they should give their minds to
learning, and not try to teach their master.

So then they put their now piece into the furnace with much laughter;
while I, maintaining a firm carriage, showing neither mirth nor anger
(though I felt it), placed my two heads, one on each side of the
Jupiter. The metal came all right to melting, and we let it in with joy
and gladness; it filled the mould of the Jupiter most admirably, and at
the same time my two heads. This furnished them with matter for
rejoicing and me with satisfaction; for I was not sorry to have
predicted wrongly of their work, and they made as though they were
delighted to have been mistaken about mine. Then, as the custom in
France is, they asked to drink, in high good spirits. I was very
willing, and ordered a handsome collation for their entertainment. When
this was over, they requested me to pay the money due to them and the
surplus I had promised. I replied: “You have been laughing over what, I
fear, may make you weep. On reflection, it seems to me that too much
metal flowed into you mould. Therefore I shall wait until to-morrow
before I disburse more money.” The poor fellows swallowed my words and
chewed the cud of them; then they went home without further argument.

At daybreak they began, quite quietly, to break into the pit of the
furnace. They could not uncover their large mould until they had
extracted my two heads; these were in excellent condition, and they
placed them where they could be well seen. When they came to Jupiter,
and had dug but scarcely two cubits, they sent up such a yell, they and
their four workmen, that it woke me up. Fancying it was a shout of
triumph, I set off running, for my bedroom was at the distance of more
than five hundred paces. On reaching the spot, I found them looking like
the guardians of Christ’s sepulchre in a picture, downcast and
terrified. Casting a hasty glance upon my two heads, and seeing they
were all right, I tempered my annoyance with the pleasure that sight
gave me. Then they began to make excuses, crying: “Our bad luck!” I
retorted: “Your luck has been most excellent, but what has been indeed
bad is your deficiency of knowledge; had I only seen you put the soul
[2] into your mould, I could have taught you with one word how to cast
the figure without fault. This would have brought me great honour and
you much profit. I shall be able to make good my reputation; but you
will now lose both your honour and your profit. Let then this lesson
teach you another time to work, and not to poke fun at your masters.”

Note 1. 'Ma che io guardassi bene, che, &c.' This is perhaps: 'but they
bade me note well that.'

Note 2. I have here translated the Italian 'anima' literally by the
English word soul. It is a technical expression, signifying the block,
somewhat smaller than the mould, which bronze-founders insert in order
to obtain a hollow, and not a solid cast from the mould which gives form
to their liquid metal.


ABOUT this time the illustrious soldier Piero Strozzi arrived in France,
and reminded the King that he had promised him letters of
naturalisation. These were accordingly made out; and at the same time
the King said: “Let them be also given to Benvenuto, mon ami, and take
them immediately to his house, and let him have them without the payment
of any fees.” Those of the great Strozzi [1] cost him several hundred
ducats: mine were brought me by one of the King’s chief secretaries,
Messer Antonio Massone, [2] This gentleman presented them with many
expressions of kindness from his Majesty, saying: “The King makes you a
gift of these, in order that you may be encouraged to serve him,; they
are letters of naturalisation.” Then he told me how they had been given
to Piero Strozzi at his particular request, and only after a long time
of waiting, as a special mark of favour; the King had sent mine of his
own accord, and such an act of grace had never been heard of in that
realm before. When I heard these words, I thanked his Majesty with
heartiness; but I begged the secretary to have the kindness to tell me
what letters of naturalisation meant. He was a man accomplished and
polite, who spoke Italian excellently. At first my question made him
laugh; then he recovered his gravity, and told me in my own language
what the papers signified, adding that they conferred one of the highest
dignities a foreigner could obtain: “indeed, it is a far greater honour
than to be made a nobleman of Venice.”

When he left me, he returned and told his Majesty, who laughed awhile,
and then said: “Now I wish him to know my object in sending those
letters of naturalisation. Go and install him lord of the castle of the
Little Nello, where he lives, and which is a part of my demesne, He will
know what that means better than he understood about the letters of
naturalisation.” A messenger brought me the patent, upon which I wanted
to give him a gratuity. He refused to accept it, saying that his Majesty
had so ordered. These letters of naturalisation, together with the
patent for the castle, I brought with me when I returned to Italy;
wherever I go and wherever I may end my days, I shall endeavour to
preserve them. 3

Note 1. Piero was the son of Filippo Strozzi, and the general who lost
the battle of Montemurlo, so disastrous to the Florentine exiles, in

Note 2. Antoine le Macon, secretary to Margaret of Navarre. He
translated the 'Decameron' at her instance into French.

Note 3. The letter of naturalisation exists. See 'Bianchi,' p. 583. For
the grant of the castle, see 'ibid.,' p. 585.


I SHALL now proceed with the narration of my life. I had on hand the
following works already mentioned, namely, the silver Jupiter, the
golden salt-cellar, the great silver vase, and the two bronze heads. I
also began to cast the pedestal for Jupiter, which I wrought very richly
in bronze, covered with ornaments, among which was a bas-relief,
representing the rape of Ganymede, and on the other side Leda and the
Swan. On casting this piece it came out admirably. I also made another
pedestal of the same sort for the statute of Juno, intending to begin
that too, if the King gave me silver for the purpose. By working briskly
I had put together the silver Jupiter and the golden salt-cellar; the
vase was far advanced; the two bronze heads were finished. I had also
made several little things for the Cardinal of Ferrara, and a small
silver vase of rich workmanship, which I meant to present to Madame
d’Etampes. Several Italian noblemen, to wit, Signor Piero Strozzi, the
Count of Anguillara, the Count of Pitigliano, the Count of Mirandola,
and many others, gave me employment also. 1

For my great King, as I have said, I had been working strenuously, and
the third day after he returned to Paris, he came to my house, attended
by a crowd of his chief nobles. He marvelled to find how many pieces I
had advanced, and with what excellent results. His mistress, Madame
d’Etampes, being with him, they began to talk of Fontainebleau. She told
his Majesty he ought to commission me to execute something beautiful for
the decoration of his favourite residence. He answered on the instant:
“You say well, and here upon the spot I will make up my mind what I mean
him to do.” Then he turned to me, and asked me what I thought would be
appropriate for that beautiful fountain. [2] I suggested several ideas,
and his Majesty expressed his own opinion. Afterwards he said that he
was going to spend fifteen or twenty days at San Germano del Aia, [3] a
place twelve leagues distant from Paris; during his absence he wished me
to make a model for that fair fountain of his in the richest style I
could invent, seeing he delighted in that residence more than in
anything else in his whole realm. Accordingly he commanded and besought
me to do my utmost to produce something really beautiful; and I promised
that I would do so.

When the King saw so many finished things before him, he exclaimed to
Madame d’Etampes: “I never had an artist who pleased me more, nor one
who deserved better to be well rewarded; we must contrive to keep him
with us. He spends freely, is a boon companion, and works hard; we must
therefore take good thought for him. Only think, madam, all the times
that he has come to me or that I have come to him, he has never once
asked for anything; one can see that his heart is entirely devoted to
his work. We ought to make a point of doing something for him quickly,
else we run a risk of losing him.” Madame d’Etampes answered: “I will be
sure to remind you.” Then they departed, and in addition to the things I
had begun, I now took the model of the fountain in hand, at which I
worked assiduously.

Note 1. Anguillara and Pitigliano were fiefs of two separate branches of
the Orsini family. The house of Pico lost their lordship of Mirandola in
1536, when Galeotto Pico took refuge with his sons in France. His
descendants renewed their hold upon the fief, which was erected into a
duchy in 1619.

Note 2. 'Per quella bella fonte.' Here, and below, Cellini mixes up
Fontainebleau and the spring which gave its name to the place.

Note 3. S. Germain-en-laye is not so far from Paris as Cellini thought.


AT the end of a month and a half the King returned to Paris; and I, who
had been working day and night, went to present myself before him,
taking my model, so well blocked out that my intention could be clearly
understood. Just about that time, the devilries of war between the
Emperor and King had been stirred up again, so that I found him much
harassed by anxieties. [1] I spoke, however, with the Cardinal of
Ferrara, saying I had brought some models which his Majesty had ordered,
and begging him, if he found an opportunity, to put in a word whereby I
might be able to exhibit them; the King, I thought, would take much
pleasure in their sight. This the Cardinal did; and no sooner had he
spoken of the models, than the King came to the place where I had set
them up. The first of these was intended for the door of the palace at
Fontainebleau. I had been obliged to make some alterations in the
architecture of this door, which was wide and low, in their vicious
French style. The opening was very nearly square, and above it was a
hemicycle, flattened like the handle of a basket; here the King wanted a
figure placed to represent the genius of Fontainebleau. I corrected the
proportions of the doorway, and placed above it an exact half circle; at
the sides I introduced projections, with socles and cornices properly
corresponding: then, instead of the columns demanded by this disposition
of parts, I fashioned two satyrs, one upon each side. The first of these
was in somewhat more than half-relief, lifting one hand to support the
cornice, and holding a thick club in the other; his face was fiery and
menacing, instilling fear into the beholders. The other had the same
posture of support; but I varied his features and some other details; in
his hand, for instance, he held a lash with three balls attached to
chains. Though I call them satyrs, they showed nothing of the satyr
except little horns and a goatish head; all the rest of their form was
human. In the lunette above I placed a female figure lying in an
attitude of noble grace; she rested her left arm on a stag’s neck, this
animal being one of the King’s emblems. On one side I worked little
fawns in half relief, with some wild boars and other game in lower
relief; on the other side were hounds and divers dogs of the chase of
several species, such as may be seen in that fair forest where the
fountain springs. The whole of this composition was enclosed in an
oblong, each angle of which contained a Victory in bas-relief, holding
torches after the manner of the ancients. Above the oblong was a
salamander, the King’s particular device, with many other ornaments
appropriate to the Ionic architecture of the whole design.

Note 1. Cellini refers to the renewal of hostilities in May 1542.


WHEN the King had seen this model, it restored him to cheerfulness, and
distracted his mind from the fatiguing debates he had been holding
during the past two hours. Seeing him cheerful as I wished, I uncovered
the other model, which he was far from expecting, since he not
unreasonably judged that the first had work in it enough. This one was a
little higher than two cubits; it figured a fountain shaped in a perfect
square, with handsome steps all round, intersecting each other in a way
which was unknown in France, and is indeed very uncommon in Italy. In
the middle of the fountain I set a pedestal, projecting somewhat above
the margin of the basin, and upon this a nude male figure, of the right
proportion to the whole design, and of a very graceful form. In his
right hand he raised a broken lance on high; his left hand rested on a
scimitar; he was poised upon the left foot, the right being supported by
a helmet of the richest imaginable workmanship. At each of the four
angles of the fountain a figure was sitting, raised above the level of
the base, and accompanied by many beautiful and appropriate emblems.

The King began by asking me what I meant to represent by the fine fancy
I had embodied in this design, saying that he had understood the door
without explanation, but that he could not take the conception of my
fountain, although it seemed to him most beautiful; at the same time, he
knew well that I was not like those foolish folk who turn out something
with a kind of grace, but put no intention into their performances. I
then addressed myself to the task of exposition; for having succeeded in
pleasing him with my work, I wanted him to be no less pleased with my
discourse. “Let me inform your sacred Majesty,” I thus began, “that the
whole of this model is so exactly made to scale, that if it should come
to being executed in the large, none of its grace and lightness will be
sacrificed. The figure in the middle is meant to stand fifty-four feet
above the level of the ground.” At this announcement the King made a
sign of surprise. “It is, moreover, intended to represent the god Mars.
The other figures embody those arts and sciences in which your Majesty
takes pleasure, and which you so generously patronise. This one, upon
the right hand, is designed for Learning; you will observe that the
accompanying emblems indicate Philosophy, and her attendant branches of
knowledge. By the next I wished to personify the whole Art of Design,
including Sculpture, Painting, and Architecture. The third is Music,
which cannot be omitted from the sphere of intellectual culture. That
other, with so gracious and benign a mien, stands for Generosity,
lacking which the mental gifts bestowed on us by God will not be brought
to view. I have attempted to portray your Majesty, your very self, in
the great central statue; for you are truly a god Mars, the only brave
upon this globe, and all your bravery you use with justice and with
piety in the defence of your own glory.” Scarcely had he allowed me to
finish this oration, when he broke forth with a strong voice: “Verily I
have found a man here after my own heart.” Then he called the treasurers
who were appointed for my supplies, and told them to disburse whatever I
required, let the cost be what it might. Next, he laid his hand upon my
shoulder, saying: '“Mon ami' (which is the same as 'my friend'), I know
not whether the pleasure be greater for the prince who finds a man after
his own heart, or for the artist who finds a prince willing to furnish
him with means for carrying out his great ideas.” I answered that, if I
was really the man his Majesty described, my good fortune was by far the
greater. He answered laughingly: “Let us agree, then, that our luck is
equal!” Then I departed in the highest spirits, and went back to my work.


MY ill-luck willed that I was not wide-awake enough to play the like
comedy with Madame d’Etampes. That evening, when she heard the whole
course of events from the King’s own lips, it bred such poisonous fury
in her breast that she exclaimed with anger: “If Benvenuto had shown me
those fine things of his, he would have given me some reason to be
mindful of him at the proper moment.” The King sought to excuse me, but
he made no impression on her temper. Being informed of what had passed,
I waited fifteen days, during which they made a tour through Normandy,
visiting Rouen and Dieppe; then, when they returned to S.
Germain-en-Laye, I took the handsome little vase which I had made at the
request of Madame d’Etampes, hoping, if I gave it her, to recover the
favour I had lost. With this in my hand, then, I announced my presence
to her nurse, and showed the gift which I had brought her mistress; the
woman received me with demonstrations of good-will, and said that she
would speak a word to Madame, who was still engaged upon her toilette; I
should be admitted on the instant, when she had discharged her embassy.
The nurse made her report in full to Madame, who retorted scornfully:
“Tell him to wait.” On hearing this, I clothed myself with patience,
which of all things I find the most difficult. Nevertheless, I kept
myself under control until the hour for dinner was past. Then, seeing
that time dragged on, and being maddened by hunger, I could no longer
hold out, but flung off, sending her most devoutly to the devil.

I next betook myself to the Cardinal of Lorraine, and made him a present
of the vase, only petitioning his Eminence to maintain me in the King’s
good graces. He said there was no need for this; and if there were need
he would gladly speak for me. Then he called his treasurer, and
whispered a few words in his ear. The treasurer waited till I took my
leave of the Cardinal; after which he said to me: “Benvenuto, come with
me, and I will give you a glass of good wine to drink.” I answered, not
understanding what he meant: “For Heaven’s sake, Mr. Treasurer, let me
have but one glass of wine and a mouthful of bread; for I am really
fainting for want of food. I have fasted since early this morning up to
the present moment, at the door of Madame d’Etampes; I went to give her
that fine piece of silver-gilt plate, and took pains that she would be
informed of my intention; but she, with the mere petty will to vex me,
bade me wait; now I am famished, and feel my forces failing; and, as God
willed it, I have bestowed my gift and labour upon one who is far more
worthy of them. I only crave of you something to drink; for being rather
too bilious by nature, fast upsets me so that I run the risk now of
falling from exhaustion to the earth.” While I was pumping out these
words with difficulty, they brought some admirable wine and other
delicacies for a hearty meal. I refreshed myself, and having recovered
my vital spirits, found that my exasperation had departed from me.

The good treasurer handed me a hundred crowns in gold. I sturdily
refused to accept them. He reported this to the Cardinal, who swore at
him, and told him to make me take the money by force, and not to show
himself again till he had done so. The treasurer returned, much
irritated, saying he had never been so scolded before by the Cardinal;
but when he pressed the crowns upon me, I still offered some resistance.
Then, quite angry, he said he would use force to make me take them. So I
accepted the money. When I wanted to thank the Cardinal in person, he
sent word by one of his secretaries that he would gladly do me a service
whenever the occasion offered. I returned the same evening to Paris. The
King heard the whole history, and Madame d’Etampes was well laughed at
in their company. This increased her animosity against me, and led to an
attack upon my life, of which I shall speak in the proper time and place.


FAR back in my autobiography I ought to have recorded the friendship
which I won with the most cultivated, the most affectionate, and the
most companionable man of worth I ever knew in this world. He was Messer
Guido Guidi, an able physician and doctor of medicine, and a nobleman of
Florence. [1] The infinite troubles brought upon me by my evil fortune
caused me to omit the mention of him at an earlier date; and though my
remembrance may be but a trifle, I deemed it sufficient to keep him
always in my heart. Yet, finding that the drama of my life requires his
presence, I shall introduce him here at the moment of my greatest
trials, in order that, as he was then my comfort and support, I may now
recall to memory the good he did me. 2

Well, then, Messer Guido came to Paris; and not long after making his
acquaintance, I took him to my castle, and there assigned him his own
suite of apartments. We enjoyed our lives together in that place for
several years. The Bishop of Pavia, that is to say, Monsignore de’
Rossi, brother of the Count of San Secondo, also arrived. [3] This
gentleman I removed from his hotel, and took him to my castle, assigning
him in like manner his own suite of apartments, where he sojourned many
months with serving-men and horses. On another occasion I lodged Messer
Luigi Alamanni and his sons for some months. It was indeed God’s grace
to me that I should thus, in my poor station, be able to render services
to men of great position and acquirements.

But to return to Messer Guido. We enjoyed our mutual friendship during
all the years I stayed in Paris, and often did we exult together on
being able to advance in art and knowledge at the cost of that so great
and admirable prince, our patron, each in his own branch of industry. I
can indeed, and with good conscience, affirm that all I am, whatever of
good and beautiful I have produced, all this must be ascribed to that
extraordinary monarch. So, then, I will resume the thread of my
discourse concerning him and the great things I wrought for him.

Note 1. Son of Giuliano Guidi and Costanza, a daughter of Domenico
Ghirlandajo. François I sent for him some time before 1542, appointed
him his own physician, and professor of medicine in the Royal College.
He returned to Florence in 1548.

Note 2. Qui mi faccia memoria di quel bene. This is obscure. 'Quel bene'
may mean 'the happiness of his friendship.'

Note 3. We have already met with him in the Castle of S. Angelo. His
brother, the Count, was general in the French army. This brought the
Bishop to Paris, whence he returned to Italy in 1545.


I HAD a tennis-court in my castle, from which I drew considerable
profit. The building also contained some little dwellings inhabited by
different sorts of men, among whom was a printer of books of much
excellence in his own trade. Nearly the whole of his premises lay inside
the castle, and he was the man who printed Messer Guido’s first fine
book on medicine. [1] Wanting to make use of his lodging, I turned him
out, but not without some trouble. There was also a manufacturer of
saltpetre; and when I wished to assign his apartments to some of my
German workmen, the fellow refused to leave the place. I asked him over
and over again in gentle terms to give me up my rooms, because I wanted
to employ them for my work-people in the service of the King. The more
moderately I spoke, the more arrogantly did the brute reply; till at
last I gave him three days’ notice to quit. He laughed me in the face,
and said that he would begin to think of it at the end of three years. I
had not then learned that he was under the protection of Madame
d’Etampes; but had it not been that the terms on which I stood toward
that lady made me a little more circumspect than I was wont to be, I
should have ousted him at once; now, however, I thought it best to keep
my temper for three days. When the term was over, I said nothing, but
took Germans, Italians, and Frenchmen, bearing arms, and many
hand-labourers whom I had in my employ, and in a short while gutted all
his house and flung his property outside my castle. I resorted to these
somewhat rigorous measures because he had told me that no Italian whom
he knew of had the power of spirit to remove one ring of iron from its
place in his house. Well, after the deed was done, he came to find me,
and I said to him: “I am the least of all Italians in Italy, and yet I
have done nothing to you in comparison with what I have the heart to do,
and will do if you utter a single further word,” adding other terms of
menace and abuse. The man, dumbfounded and affrighted, got his furniture
together as well as he was able; then he ran off to Madame d’Etampes,
and painted a picture of me like the very fiend. She being my great
enemy, painted my portrait still blacker to the King, with all her
greater eloquence and all her greater weight of influence. As I was
afterwards informed, his Majesty twice showed signs of irritation and
was minded to use me roughly: but Henry the Dauphin, his son, now King
of France, who had received some affronts from that imperious woman,
together with the Queen of Navarre, sister to King Francis, espoused my
cause so cleverly that he passed the matter over with a laugh. So with
God’s assistance I escaped from a great danger.

Note 1. 'Chirurgia e Græco in Latinum Conversa, Vido Vidio Florentino
interprete, &c. Excudebat Petrus Galterius Luteciæ Parisiorum, prid.
Cal. Mai.' 1544. So this printer was Pierre Sauthier.


I HAD to deal in like manner with another fellow, but I did not ruin his
house; I only threw all his furniture out of doors. This time Madame
d’Etampes had the insolence to tell the King: “I believe that devil will
sack Paris one of these days.” The King answered with some anger that I
was only quite right to defend myself from the low rabble who put
obstacles in the way of my serving him.

The rage of this vindictive woman kept continually on the increase. She
sent for a painter who was established at Fontainebleau, where the King
resided nearly all his time. The painter was an Italian and a Bolognese,
known then as Il Bologna; his right name, however, was Francesco
Primaticcio. [1] Madame d’Etampes advised him to beg that commission for
the fountain which his Majesty had given me, adding that she would
support him with all her ability; and upon this they agreed. Bologna was
in an ecstasy of happiness, and thought himself sure of the affair,
although such things were not in his line of art. He was, however, an
excellent master of design, and had collected round him a troop of
work-people formed in the school of Rosso, our Florentine painter, who
was undoubtedly an artist of extraordinary merit; his own best qualities
indeed were derived from the admirable manner of Rosso, who by this time
had died.

These ingenious arguments, and the weighty influence of Madame
d’Etampes, prevailed with the King; for they kept hammering at him night
and day, Madame at one time, and Bologna at another. What worked most
upon his mind was that both of them combined to speak as follows: “How
is it possible, sacred Majesty, that Benvenuto should accomplish the
twelve silver statues which you want? He has not finished one of them
yet. If you employ him on so great an undertaking, you will, of
necessity, deprive yourself of those other things on which your heart is
set. A hundred of the ablest craftsmen could not complete so many great
works as this one able man has taken in hand to do. One can see clearly
that he has a passion for labour; but this ardent temper will be the
cause of your Majesty’s losing both him and his masterpieces at the same
moment.” By insinuating these and other suggestions of the same sort at
a favourable opportunity, the King consented to their petition; and yet
Bologna had at this time produced neither designs nor models for the

Note 1. Primaticcio, together with Rosso, introduced Italian painting
into France. Vasari says he came to Paris in 1541. He died in 1570. He
was, like many other of the Lombard artists, an excellent master of


IT happened that just at this period an action was brought against me in
Paris by the second lodger I had ousted from my castle, who pretended
that on that occasion I had stolen a large quantity of his effects. This
lawsuit tormented me beyond measure, and took up so much of my time that
I often thought of decamping in despair from the country. Now the French
are in the habit of making much capital out of any action they commence
against a foreigner, or against such persons as they notice to be
indolent in litigation. No sooner do they observe that they are getting
some advantage in the suit, than they find the means to sell it; some
have even been known to give a lawsuit in dowry with their daughters to
men who make a business out of such transactions. They have another ugly
custom, which is that the Normans, nearly all of them, traffic in false
evidence; so that the men who buy up lawsuits, engage at once the
services of four or six of these false witnesses, according to their
need; their adversary, if he neglect to produce as many on the other
side, being perhaps unacquainted with the custom, is certain to have the
verdict given against him.

All this happened in my case, and thinking it a most disgraceful breach
of justice, I made my appearance in the great hall of Paris, to defend
my right. There I saw a judge, lieutenant for the King in civil causes,
enthroned upon a high tribunal. He was tall, stout, and fat, and of an
extremely severe countenance. All round him on each side stood a crowd
of solicitors and advocates, ranged upon the right hand and the left.
Others were coming, one by one, to explain their several causes to the
judge. From time to time, too, I noticed that the attorneys at the side
of the tribunal talked all at once: and much admiration was roused in me
by that extraordinary man, the very image of Pluto, who listened with
marked attention first to one and then to the other, answering each with
learning and sagacity. I have always delighted in watching and
experiencing every kind of skill; so I would not have lost this
spectacle for much. It happened that the hall being very large, and
filled with a multitude of folk, they were strict in excluding every one
who had no business there, and kept the door shut with a guard to hold
it. Sometimes the guardian, in his effort to prevent the entrance of
some improper person, interrupted the judge by the great noise he made,
and the judge in anger turned to chide him. This happened frequently, so
that my attention was directed to the fact. On one occasion, when two
gentlemen were pushing their way in as spectators, and the porter was
opposing them with violence, the judge raised his voice, and spoke the
following words precisely as I heard them: “Keep peace, Satan, begone,
and hold your tongue.” These words in the French tongue sound as
follows: 'Phe phe, Satan, Phe, Phe, alé, phe!' [1] Now I had learned the
French tongue well; and on hearing this sentence, the meaning of that
phrase used by Dante came into my memory, when he and his master Virgil
entered the doors of Hell. Dante and the painter Giotto were together in
France, and particularly in the city of Paris, where, owing to the
circumstances I have just described, the hall of justice may be truly
called a hell. Dante then, who also understood French well, made use of
the phrase in question, and it has struck me as singular that this
interpretation has never yet been put upon the passage; indeed, it
confirms my opinion that the commentators make him say things which
never came into his head.

Note 1. 'Paix, paix, Satan, allez, paix.' The line in Dante to which
Cellini alludes is the first of the seventh canto of the 'Inferno.' His
suggestion is both curious and ingenious; but we have no reason to think
that French judges used the same imprecations, when interrupted, in the
thirteenth as they did in the sixteenth century, or that what Cellini
heard on this occasion was more than an accidental similarity of sounds,
striking his quick ear and awakening his lively memory.


WELL, then, to return to my affairs. When certain decisions of the court
were sent me by those lawyers, and I perceived that my cause had been
unjustly lost, I had recourse for my defence to a great dagger which I
carried; for I have always taken pleasure in keeping fine weapons. The
first man I attacked was the plaintiff who had sued me; and one evening
I wounded him in the legs and arms so severely, taking care, however,
not to kill him, that I deprived him of the use of both his legs. Then I
sought out the other fellow who had brought the suit, and used him also
in such wise that he dropped it.

Returning thanks to God for this and every other dispensation, and
hoping to be left awhile without worries, I bade the young men of my
household, especially the Italians, for God’s sake to attend each
diligently to the work I set him, and to help me till such time as I
could finish the things I had in hand. I thought they might soon be
completed, and then I meant to return to Italy, being no longer able to
put up with the rogueries of those Frenchmen; the good King too, if he
once grew angry, might bring me into mischief for many of my acts in
self-defence. I will describe who these Italians were; the first, and
the one I liked best, was Ascanio, from Tagliacozzo in the kingdom of
Naples; the second was Pagolo, a Roman of such humble origin that he did
now know his own father. These were the two men who had been with me in
Rome, and whom I had taken with me on the journey. Another Roman had
also come on purpose to enter my service; he too bore the name of
Pagolo, and was the son of a poor nobleman of the family of the
Macaroni; he had small acquirements in our art, but was an excellent and
courageous swordsman. I had another from Ferrara called Bartolommeo
Chioccia. There was also another from Florence named Pagolo Micceri; his
brother, nicknamed “Il Gatta,” was a clever clerk, but had spent too
much money in managing the property of Tommaso Guadagni, a very wealthy
merchant. This Gatta put in order for me the books in which I wrote the
accounts of his most Christian Majesty and my other employers. Now
Pagolo Micceri, having learned how to keep them from his brother, went
on doing this work for me in return for a liberal salary. He appeared,
so far as I could judge, to be a very honest lad, for I noticed him to
be devout, and when I heard him sometimes muttering psalms, and
sometimes telling his beads, I reckoned much upon his feigned virtue.

Accordingly I called the fellow apart and said to him, “Pagolo, my
dearest brother, you know what a good place you have with me, and how
you had formerly nothing to depend on; besides, you are a Florentine. I
have also the greater confidence in you because I observe that you are
pious and religious, which is a thing that pleases me. I beg you
therefore to assist me, for I cannot put the same trust in any of your
companions: so then I shall ask you to keep watch over two matters of
the highest importance, which might prove a source of much annoyance to
me. In the first place, I want you to guard my property from being
stolen, and not touch it yourself. In the next place, you know that poor
young girl, Caterina; I keep her principally for my art’s sake, since I
cannot do without a model; but being a man also, I have used her for my
pleasures, and it is possible that she may bear me a child. Now I do not
want to maintain another man’s bastards, nor will I sit down under such
an insult. If any one in this house had the audacity to attempt anything
of the sort, and I were to become aware of it, I verily believe that I
should kill both her and him. Accordingly, dear brother, I entreat you
to be my helper; should you notice anything, tell it me at once; for I
am sure to send her and her mother and her fellow to the gallows. Be you
the first upon your watch against falling into this snare.” The rascal
made a sign of the cross from his head to his feet and cried out: “O
blessed Jesus! God preserve me from ever thinking of such a thing! In
the first place, I am not given to those evil ways; in the next place,
do you imagine I am ignorant of your great benefits toward me?” When I
heard these words, which he uttered with all appearance of simplicity
and affection for me, I believed that matters stood precisely as he


TWO days after this conversation, M. Mattio del Nazaro took the occasion
of some feast-day to invite me and my workpeople to an entertainment in
a garden. [1] He was an Italian in the King’s service, and practised the
same art as we did with remarkable ability. I got myself in readiness,
and told Pagolo that he might go abroad too and amuse himself with us;
the annoyances arising from that lawsuit being, as I judged, now settled
down. The young man replied in these words: “Upon my word, it would be a
great mistake to leave the house so unprotected. Only look how much of
gold, silver, and jewels you have here. Living as we do in a city of
thieves, we ought to be upon our guard by day and night. I will spend
the time in religious exercises, while I keep watch over the premises.
Go then with mind at rest to take your pleasure and divert your spirits.
Some other day another man will take my place as guardian here.”

Thinking that I could go of with a quiet mind, I took Pagolo, Ascanio,
and Chioccia to the garden, where we spent a large portion of the day
agreeably. Toward the middle of the afternoon, however, when it began to
draw toward sundown, a suspicion came into my head, and I recollected
the words which that traitor had spoken with his feigned simplicity. So
I mounted my horse, and with two servants to attend me, returned to the
castle, where I all but caught Pagolo and that little wretch Caterina
'in flagrante.' No sooner had I reached the place, than that French
bawd, her mother, screamed out: “Pagolo! Caterina! here is the master!”
When I saw the pair advancing, overcome with fright, their clothes in
disorder, not knowing what they said, nor, like people in a trance,
where they were going, it was only too easy to guess what they had been
about. The sight drowned reason in rage, and I drew my sword, resolved
to kill them both. The man took to his heels; the girl flung herself
upon her knees, and shrieked to Heaven for mercy. In my first fury I
wanted to strike at the male; but before I had the time to catch him up,
second thoughts arose which made me think it would be best for me to
drive them both away together. I had so many acts of violence upon my
hands, that if I killed him I could hardly hope to save my life. I said
then to Pagolo: “Had I seen with my own eyes, scoundrel, what your
behaviour and appearance force me to believe, I should have run you with
this sword here ten times through the guts. Get out of my sight; and if
you say a Paternoster, let it be San Giuliano’s.” [2] Then I drove the
whole lot forth, mother and daughter, lamming into them with fist and
foot. They made their minds up to have the law of me, and consulted a
Norman advocate, who advised them to declare that I had used the girl
after the Italian fashion; what this meant I need hardly explain. [3]
The man argued: “At the very least, when this Italian hears what you are
after, he will pay down several hundred ducats, knowing how great the
danger is, and how heavily that offence is punished in France.” Upon
this they were agreed. The accusation was brought against me, and I
received a summons from the court.

Note 1. Matteo del Nassaro, a native of Verona, was employed in France
as engraver, die-caster, and musician.

Note 2. See Boccaccio, 'Decam.,' Gior. ii. Nov. ii.

Note 3. 'Qual modo s’intendeva contro natura, cioè in soddomia.'


THE MORE I sought for rest, the more I was annoyed with all sorts of
embarrassments. Being thus daily exposed to divers persecutions, I
pondered which of two courses I ought to take; whether to decamp and
leave France to the devil, or else to fight this battle through as I had
done the rest, and see to what end God had made me. For a long while I
kept anxiously revolving the matter. At last I resolved to make off,
dreading to tempt my evil fortune, lest this should bring me to the
gallows. My dispositions were all fixed; I had made arrangements for
putting away the property I could not carry, and for charging the
lighter articles, to the best of my ability, upon myself and servants;
yet it was with great and heavy reluctance that I looked forward to such
a departure.

I had shut myself up alone in a little study. My young men were advising
me to fly; but I told them that it would be well for me to meditate this
step in solitude, although I very much inclined to their opinion.
Indeed, I reasoned that if I could escape imprisonment and let the storm
pass over, I should be able to explain matters to the King by letter,
setting forth the trap which had been laid to ruin me by the malice of
my enemies. And as I have said above, my mind was made up to this point;
when, just as I rose to act on the decision, some power took me by the
shoulder and turned me round, and I heard a voice which cried with
vehemence: “Benvenuto, do as thou art wont, and fear not!” Then, on the
instant, I changed the whole course of my plans, and said to my
Italians: “Take your good arms and come with me; obey me to the letter;
have no other thought, for I am now determined to put in my appearance.
If I were to leave Paris, you would vanish the next day in smoke; so do
as I command, and follow me.” They all began together with one heart and
voice to say: “Since we are here, and draw our livelihood from him, it
is our duty to go with him and bear him out so long as we have life to
execute what he proposes. He has hit the mark better than we did in this
matter; for on the instant when he leaves the place, his enemies will
send us to the devil. Let us keep well in mind what great works we have
begun here, and what vast importance they possess; we should not know
how to finish them without him, and his enemies would say that he had
taken flight because he shrank before such undertakings.” Many other
things bearing weightily upon the subject were said among them. But it
was the young Roman, Macaroni, who first put heart into the company; and
he also raised recruits from the Germans and the Frenchmen, who felt
well disposed toward me.

We were ten men, all counted. I set out, firmly resolved not to let
myself be taken and imprisoned alive. When we appeared before the judges
for criminal affairs, I found Caterina and her mother waiting; and on
the moment of my arrival, the two women were laughing with their
advocate. I pushed my way in, and called boldly for the judge, who was
seated, blown out big and fat, upon a tribunal high above the rest. On
catching sight of me, he threatened with his head, and spoke in a
subdued voice: “Although your name is Benvenuto, this time you are an
ill-comer.” I understood his speech, and called out the second time:
“Despatch my business quickly. Tell me what I have come to do here.”
Then the judge turned to Caterina, and said: “Caterina, relate all that
happened between you and Benvenuto.” She answered that I had used her
after the Italian fashion. The judge turned to me and said: “You hear
what Caterina deposes, Benvenuto.” I replied: “If I have consorted with
her after the Italian fashion, I have only done the same as you folk of
other nations do.” He demurred: “She means that you improperly abused
her.” I retorted that, so far from being the Italian fashion, it must be
some French habit, seeing she knew all about it, while I was ignorant;
and I commanded her to explain precisely how I had consorted with her.
Then the impudent baggage entered into plain and circumstantial details
regarding all the filth she lyingly accused me of. I made her repeat her
deposition three times in succession. When she had finished, I cried out
with a loud voice: “Lord judge, lieutenant of the Most Christian King, I
call on you for justice. Well I know that by the laws of his Most
Christian Majesty both agent and patient in this kind of crime are
punished with the stake. The woman confesses her guilt; I admit nothing
whatsoever of the sort with regard to her; her go-between of a mother is
here, who deserves to be burned for either one or the other offence.
Therefore I appeal to you for justice.” These words I repeated over and
over again at the top of my voice, continually calling out: “To the
stake with her and her mother!” I also threatened the judge that, if he
did not send her to prison there before me, I would go to the King at
once, and tell him how his lieutenant in criminal affairs of justice had
wronged me. When they heard what a tumult I was making, my adversaries
lowered their voices, but I lifted mine the more. The little hussy and
her mother fell to weeping, while I shouted to the judge: “Fire, fire!
to the stake with them!” The coward on the bench, finding that the
matter was not going as he intended, began to use soft words and excuse
the weakness of the female sex. Thereupon I felt that I had won the
victory in a nasty encounter; and, muttering threats between my teeth, I
took myself off, not without great inward satisfaction. Indeed, I would
gladly have paid five hundred crowns down to have avoided that
appearance in court. However, after escaping from the tempest, I thanked
God with all my heart, and returned in gladness with my young men to the


WHEN adverse fortune, or, if we prefer to call it, our malignant planet,
undertakes to persecute a man, it never lacks new ways of injuring him.
So now, when I thought I had emerged from this tempestuous sea of
troubles, and hoped my evil star would leave me quiet for a moment, it
began to set two schemes in motion against me before I had recovered my
breath from that great struggle. Within three days two things happened,
each of which brought my life into extreme hazard. One of these occurred
in this way: I went to Fontainebleau to consult with the King; for he
had written me a letter saying he wanted me to stamp the coins of his
whole realm, and enclosing some little drawings to explain his wishes in
the matter; at the same time he left me free to execute them as I liked;
upon which I made new designs according to my own conception, and
according to the ideal of art. When I reached Fontainebleau, one of the
treasurers commissioned by the King to defray my expenses (he was called
Monsignor della Fa 1) addressed me in these words: “Benvenuto, the
painter Bologna has obtained commission from the King to execute your
great Colossus, and all the orders previously given as on your behalf
have been transferred to him. [2] We are all indignant; and it seems to
us that that countryman of yours has acted towards you in a most
unwarrantable manner. The work was assigned you on the strength of your
models and studies. He is robbing you of it, only through the favour of
Madame d’Etampes; and though several months have passed since he
received the order, he has not yet made any sign of commencing it.” I
answered in surprise: “How is it possible that I should have heard
nothing at all about this?” He then informed me that the man had kept it
very dark, and had obtained the King’s commission with great difficulty,
since his Majesty at first would not concede it; only the importunity of
Madame d’Etampes secured this favour for him.

When I felt how greatly and how wrongfully I had been betrayed, and saw
a work which I had gained with my great toil thus stolen from me, I made
my mind up for a serious stroke of business, and marched off with my
good sword at my side to find Bologna. [3] He was in his room, engaged
in studies; after telling the servant to introduce me, he greeted me
with some of his Lombard compliments, and asked what good business had
brought me hither. I replied: “A most excellent business, and one of
great importance.” He then sent for wine, and said: “Before we begin to
talk, we must drink together, for such is the French custom.” I
answered: “Messer Francesco, you must know that the conversation we have
to engage in does not call for drinking at the commencement; after it is
over, perhaps we shall be glad to take a glass.” Then I opened the
matter in this way: “All men who wish to pass for persons of worth allow
it to be seen that they are so by their actions; if they do the
contrary, they lose the name of honest men. I am aware that you knew the
King had commissioned me with that great Colossus; it had been talked of
these eighteen months past; yet neither you nor anybody else came
forward to speak a word about it. By my great labours I made myself
known to his Majesty, who approved of my models and gave the work into
my hands. During many months I have heard nothing to the contrary; only
this morning I was informed that you have got hold of it, and have
filched it from me. I earned it by the talents I displayed, and you are
robbing me of it merely by your idle talking.”

Note 1. His name in full was Jacques de la Fa. He and his son Pierre
after him held the office of 'trésorier de l’epargne.' See Plon, p. 63.

Note 2. By Colossus, Cellini means the fountain with the great statue of

Note 3. 'I. e.,' Primaticcio.


TO this speech Bologna answered: “O Benvenuto! all men try to push their
affairs in every way they can. If this is the King’s will, what have you
to say against it? You would only throw away your time, because I have
it now, and it is mine. Now tell me what you choose, and I will listen
to you.” I replied: “I should like you to know, Messer Francesco, that I
could say much which would prove irrefragably, and make you admit, that
such ways of acting as you have described and used are not in vogue
among rational animals. I will, however, come quickly to the point at
issue; give close attention to my meaning, because the affair is
serious.” He made as though he would rise form the chair on which he was
sitting, since he saw my colour heightened and my features greatly
discomposed. I told him that the time had not yet come for moving; he
had better sit and listen to me. Then I recommenced: “Messer Francesco,
you know that I first received the work, and that the time has long gone
by during which my right could be reasonably disputed by any one. Now I
tell you that I shall be satisfied if you will make a model, while I
make another in addition to the one I have already shown. Then we will
take them without any clamour to our great King; and whosoever in this
way shall have gained the credit of the best design will justly have
deserved the commission. If it falls to you, I will dismiss from my mind
the memory of the great injury you have done me, and will bless your
hands, as being worthier than mine of so glorious a performance. Let us
abide by this agreement, and we shall be friends; otherwise we must be
enemies; and God, who always helps the right, and I, who know how to
assert it, will show you to what extent you have done wrong.” Messer
Francesco answered: “The work is mine, and since it has been given me, I
do not choose to put what is my own to hazard.” To this I retorted:
“Messer Francesco, if you will not take the right course which is just
and reasonable, I will show you another which shall be like your own,
that is to say, ugly and disagreeable. I tell you plainly that if I ever
hear that you have spoken one single word about this work of mine, I
will kill you like a dog. We are neither in Rome, nor in Bologna, nor in
Florence; here one lives in quite a different fashion; if then it comes
to my ears that you talk about this to the King or anybody else, I vow
that I will kill you. Reflect upon the way you mean to take, whether
that for good which I formerly described, or this latter bad one I have
just now set before you.”

The man did not know what to say or do, and I was inclined to cut the
matter short upon the spot rather than to postpone action. Bologna found
no other words than these to utter: “If I act like a man of honesty, I
shall stand in no fear.” I replied: “You have spoken well, but if you
act otherwise, you will have to fear, because the affair is serious.”
Upon this I left him, and betook myself to the King. With his Majesty I
disputed some time about the fashion of his coinage, a point upon which
we were not of the same opinion; his council, who were present, kept
persuading him that the monies ought to be struck in the French style,
as they had hitherto always been done. I urged in reply that his Majesty
had sent for me from Italy in order that I might execute good work; if
he now wanted me to do the contrary, I could not bring myself to submit.
So the matter was postponed till another occasion, and I set off again
at once for Paris.


I HAD but just dismounted from my horse, when one of those excellent
people who rejoice in mischief-making came to tell me that Pagolo
Micceri had taken a house for the little hussy Caterina and her mother,
and that he was always going there, and whenever he mentioned me, used
words of scorn to this effect: “Benvenuto set the fox to watch the
grapes, [1] and thought I would not eat them! Now he is satisfied with
going about and talking big, and thinks I am afraid of him. But I have
girt this sword and dagger to my side in order to show him that my steel
can cut as well as his, and that I too am a Florentine, of the Micceri,
a far better family than his Cellini.” The scoundrel who reported this
poisonous gossip spoke it with such good effect that I felt a fever in
the instant swoop upon me; and when I say fever, I mean fever, and no
mere metaphor. The insane passion which took possession of me might have
been my death, had I not resolved to give it vent as the occasion
offered. I ordered the Ferrarese workman, Chioccia, to come with me, and
made a servant follow with my horse. When we reached the house where
that worthless villain was, I found the door ajar, and entered. I
noticed that he carried sword and dagger, and was sitting on a big chest
with his arm round Caterina’s neck; at the moment of my arrival, I could
hear that he and her mother were talking about me. Pushing the door
open, I drew my sword, and set the point of it at his throat, not giving
him the time to think whether he too carried steel. At the same instant
I cried out: “Vile coward! recommend your soul to God, for you are a
dead man.” Without budging from his seat, he called three times:
“Mother, mother, help me!” Though I had come there fully determined to
take his life, half my fury ebbed away when I heard this idiotic
exclamation. I ought to add that I had told Chioccia not to let the girl
or her mother leave the house, since I meant to deal with those trollops
after I had disposed of their bully. So I went on holding my sword at
his throat, and now and then just pricked him with the point, pouring
out a torrent of terrific threats at the same time. But when I found he
did not stir a finger in his own defence, I began to wonder what I
should do next; my menacing attitude could not be kept up for ever; so
at last it came into my head to make them marry, and complete my
vengeance at a later period. Accordingly, I formed my resolution, and
began: “Take that ring, coward, from your finger, and marry her, that I
may get satisfaction from you afterwards according to your deserts.” He
replied at once: “If only you do not kill me, I will do whatever you
command.” “Then,” said I, “put that ring upon her hand.” When the
sword’s point was withdrawn a few inches from his throat, he wedded her
with the ring. But I added: “This is not enough. I shall send for two
notaries, in order that the marriage may be ratified by contract.”
Bidding Chioccia go for the lawyers, I turned to the girl and her
mother, and, using the French language, spoke as follows: “Notaries and
witnesses are coming; the first of you who blabs about this affair will
be killed upon the spot; nay, I will murder you all three. So beware,
and keep a quiet tongue in your heads.” To him I said in Italian: “If
you offer any resistance to what I shall propose, upon the slightest
word you utter I will stab you till your guts run out upon this floor.”
He answered: “Only promise not to kill me, and I will do whatever you
command.” The notaries and witnesses arrived; a contract, valid and in
due form, was drawn up; then my heat and fever left me. I paid the
lawyers and took my departure.

On the following day Bologna came to Paris on purpose, and sent for me
through Mattio del Nasaro. I went to see him; and he met me with a glad
face, entreating me to regard him as a brother, and saying that he would
never speak about that work again, since he recognised quite well that I
was right.

Note 1. 'Aveva dato a guardia la lattuga ai paperi.'


IF I did not confess that in some of these episodes I acted wrongly, the
world might think I was not telling the truth about those in which I say
I acted rightly. Therefore I admit that it was a mistake to inflict so
singular a vengeance upon Pagolo Micceri. In truth, had I believed him
to be so utterly feeble, I should not have conceived the notion of
branding him with such infamy as I am going to relate.

Not satisfied with having made him take a vicious drab to wife, I
completed my revenge by inviting her to sit to me as a model, and
dealing with her thus. I gave her thirty sous a day, paid in advance,
and a good meal, and obliged her to pose before me naked. Then I made
her serve my pleasure, out of spite against her husband, jeering at them
both the while. Furthermore, I kept her for hours together in position,
greatly to her discomfort. This gave her as much annoyance as it gave me
pleasure; for she was beautifully made, and brought me much credit as a
model. At last, noticing that I did not treat her with the same
consideration as before her marriage, she began to grumble and talk big
in her French way about her husband, who was now serving the Prior of
Capua, a brother of Piero Strozzi. [1] On the first occasion when she
did this, the mere mention of the fellow aroused me to intolerable fury;
still I bore it, greatly against the grain, as well as I was able,
reflecting that I could hardly find so suitable a subject for my art as
she was. So I reasoned thus in my own mind: “I am now taking two
different kinds of revenge. In the first place, she is married; and what
I am doing to her husband is something far more serious than what he did
to me, when she was only a girl of loose life. If then I wreak my spite
so fully upon him, while upon her I inflict the discomfort of posing in
such strange attitudes for such a length of time--which, beside the
pleasure I derive, brings me both profit and credit through my art--what
more can I desire?” While I was turning over these calculations, the
wretch redoubled her insulting speeches, always prating big about her
husband, till she goaded me beyond the bounds of reason. Yielding myself
up to blind rage, I seized her by the hair, and dragged her up and down
my room, beating and kicking her till I was tired. There was no one who
could come to her assistance. When I had well pounded her she swore that

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