Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/312

This page needs to be proofread.


have a rival. This woman also bore the name of Olimpia, belonged to the Aldobrandini family, and was the richest heiress of Rome. The quarrels of these women filled the Papal household. When Innocent bestowed his favour on a distant relative and made him a cardinal, the tumult grew by leaps and bounds. The older Olimpia was des- patched; but the younger Olimpia and her husband were so jealous of the Pope's favourite and distant relative that things did not improve. Accordingly the sister-in-law was sent for again to restore order, but she carried on as she had previously and managed to bring about the fall of the hated favourite. After having lost his newly acquired rank, he had to leave the palace.

Innocent suffered, realized that the situation in which he found himself was utterly incompatible with his dignity, but did not know what to do. While he was weighing plans of battle against his clan he was taken mortally ill. As he lay dying he did not own either a spoon or a dish, possessing nothing beyond the shirt on his body, an old bed quilt and a zinc candlestick. Before he breathed his last even the candlestick had been exchanged for a wooden one. Olimpia ap- proached his bed (ad Olimpia piu che all' Olimpo gli occhi del papa) , waited for the final breath, and after the end had come took the Pope's last pennies from under his bed. The corpse was borne on a woebegone bier from the Quirinal to St. Peter's. The cover was so short that the feet protruded. None of the favourites were seen in the little cortege of palace attendants and priests. Three days passed before the funeral. Olimpia did not even want to pay for a wooden casket, excusing herself on the ground that she was a poor widow. The Pope lay in the room in which the Vatican masons kept their tools, stripped of all the pomp in which Velasquez had portrayed him for the benefit of future eras. Out of pity one of the artisans lighted a candle beside the dead man. A stranger paid a watchman to stay with the body and keep the mice away. On the next day, a mon- signor ordered a coffin to be made of poplar wood, and a dismissed rnajorniomo of the Pamfili decided not to repay ill with ill, and gave five scudi to pay for the funeral. Placed on the backs of two donkeys, the corpse was carried after midnight to St. Agnese without any official cortege. This baroque Church, which the Pope himself had built, was to furnish his tomb.