Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/236
THE LIFE OF MICHAEL ANGELO
furious letter, which shows the astonishing vitality of this man of eighty-eight—six months before his death.
“I see from your letter that you believe certain envious rascals, who, because they can neither rob me, nor do what they like with me, write you a budget of lies. They are a band of scamps; and you are so stupid that you place faith in them on the subject of my affairs, as though I were a child. Send them about their business, they are people who bring only trouble with them, who inspire but envy, and who live the life of beggars. You say that I suffer from the point of view of service; but I tell you that, as regards servants, I could not be more faithfully served nor better treated in every way. And as to the fears of robbery to which you allude, I tell you that the people who are in my house are such that I can rest in peace as regards that, and have confidence in them. Therefore, think of yourself and not of my business. For I know how to defend myself in case of need and am not a child. Keep well!”
Leonardo was not alone in feeling anxious over the heritage. All Italy was Michael Angelo’s heir, especially the Duke of Tuscany and the Pope, who were very desirous not to lose the drawings and plans relative to the constructions of San Lorenzo and St. Peter. In June 1563, at the instigation of Vasari, Duke Cosimo charged his ambassador, Averardo Serristori, in view of Michael Angelo’s physical decline, to enter into a secret understanding with the Pope, to the effect that a strict watch should be exercised over his servants and all who frequented his house. In case of sudden death an inventory of all his possessions—drawings, cartoons, papers, and money—was immediately to be drawn up,
- Letter to Leonardo (August 21, 1563).