Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/121

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75
DESPAIR

the end of the war without fear. But on Tuesday morning, September 21, some one came to the San Niccolò gate, where I was on the bastions, and whispered in my ear that if I wished to save my life I must no longer remain in Florence. He came with me to my house, ate with me, brought me horses and did not leave me until he had seen me outside Florence."[1]


Varchi, completing these particulars, adds that Michael Angelo "had twelve thousand gold florins sown in three shirts stitched in the form of petticoats, and that he fled from Florence, not without difficulty, by the Justice Gate, which was the least guarded, accompanied by Rinaldo Corsini and his pupil, Antonio Mini."

"I know not whether it was God or the devil who urged me to the step," wrote Michael Angelo a few days afterwards.

It was his habitual demon of insane terror. In what a state of fright he must have been, if it is true, as is related, that, stopping on the way at Castelnuovo at the house of the ex-gonfaloniere Capponi, he gave him such a shock by his narratives that the old man died a few days afterwards![2]

On September 23 Michael Angelo was at Ferrara. In his excitement he refused the hospitality which the Duke offered him at his castle and continued his flight. On September 25 he reached Venice. The Seigniory, informed of his arrival, sent two noblemen to him with instructions to place everything at his disposal of which he might be in need; but, ashamed and unsociable, he refused their offer and withdrew out of the way to

  1. Letter from Michael Angelo to Battista della Palla. (September 25, 1529.)
  2. Segni.