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dation to the duke bearing upon his private concerns, — as a cloak and for show, — remained so long at the ducal court that the emperor somewhat resented it, which, we believe, was the cause of what happened afterward, which was this: that, on the pretext of some murder or other, lo and behold, the duke had Merveille’s head cut off one fine night, his trial having been carried through in two days. Messire Francisco,[1] having come all primed with a long, distorted version of this affair (for the king, demanding satisfaction, had addressed himself to all the princes of Christendom, and especially to the duke), was received in audience one morning; and having prepared and laid down as the basis of his plea several plausible versions of the facts: that his master had never regarded our man as anything more than a private individual and a subject of his own, who had come to Milan for his private affairs and had never lived there in any other character; [the duke] denying even that he had been aware that he was of the king’s household, or known to him — very far, indeed, from taking him to be an ambassador; the king, in his turn, pressing him[1] hard with objections and questions, and attacking him on all sides, cornered him at last on the point of the execution by night and in secret. To which the poor embarrassed man replied, to show courtesy, that out of respect for His Majesty, the duke would have been very sorry to have such an execution take place by day.[2] It can be imagined how he was brought to book, having so stupidly contradicted himself, and in presence of so keen a scent as King Francis had.

Pope Julius the Second having sent an ambassador to the King of England, to incite him against King Francis, when the ambassador had been heard concerning his mission, and the King of England in his reply had dwelt on the difficulties he should encounter in making the necessary preparations to go to war against so powerful a monarch, and had alleged certain reasons [for these conditions], the ambassador ill-advisedly rejoined that he too had considered them and had stated them to the Pope. From this remark, so far removed from the original proposal, which was to urge him

  1. 1.0 1.1 Taverna.
  2. See du Bellay, IV (an. 1533).