Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/122

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Giudecca. He felt that he was not yet sufficiently far away. His idea was to flee to France. On the very day of his arrival in Venice he sent an anxious and trembling letter to Battista della Palla, the agent whom Francis I. had appointed in France for the purchase of works of art.

"Battista, very dear friend," he wrote, "I have left Florence to go to France, and, on reaching Venice, I have made inquiries as to the route. They tell me that, to go there, I must pass over German territories, which is dangerous and difficult for me. Do you still intend to go there ? . . . I beg you to inform me and say where you would like me to wait for you. We will travel together ... I beg you to reply to me on receiving this letter and as soon as possible, for I am burning with a desire to go there. And if you no longer wish to go, tell me, so that I may decide, cost what it may, to go alone. . . ."[1]

The French Ambassador in Venice, Lazare de Baïf, hastened to write to Francis I. and to the Connétable de Montmorency, pressing them to profit by the opportunity to attach Michael Angelo to the Court of France. The King immediately offered Michael Angelo an allowance and a house. But this exchange of letters naturally took a certain time, and when Francis' offer came the artist had already returned to Florence.

His feverish excitement had abated. Amidst the silence of Giudecca he had had the leisure to blush at his fear. His flight had produced a great sensation in Florence. On September 30 the Seigniory decreed that all who had fled should be banished, as rebels, unless they

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