Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

fixed on the doctor, and the first thing them, saying, “My good friends, don't he remarked, was his drinking two be frightened. Touch him, and feel cups of wine, one 'immediately after him ; spirits are not made of flesh and the other upon his sallad, which was bone, as this man is besides which, also Master Manente's constant cus- have you not seen him eat and drink tom. He remained silent, however, in your presence ?" To which Manente though inwardly marvelling; and, ou added, “I am a living man, pray, don't the arrival of the next course, consist- doubt it; don't be afraid of me, my ingof pigeons and small birds, he again brethren! In good sooth, I never yet remarked that the first thing done by have known what death is. Only listhe stranger was to separate the heads ten, and I will relate to you one of from the bodies of the birds, and eat the most marvellous stories ever heard them,-being a part of which Master beneath the sun.” By which, and Manente was likewise particularlyfond. other such like expressions, he, with Upon this, he was just on the point Burchiello's assistance, at length so far of discovering himself, but restrained succeeded, that, by little and little, his intentions for the sake of still far- they got the better of their terror and ther assurance. Lastly, when the fruit incredulity. was placed on the table, consisting of Supper being cleared away, and the pears, (sementine,) grapes, (sancolom- doors locked to prevent intrusion, the bane,) and excellent raviggiuoli, he four friends resumed their seats at the became perfectly satisfied; for the phy- table, and Master Manente recounted sician, after partaking of both the for- to them in full the history of his mer, ended his supper without touch- strange disasters. He had no sooner ing the raviggiuoli, notwithstanding concluded, than Burchiello (who was all the rest of the company bestowed the cleverest fellow existing) said diupon them the highest praises ; Bur- rectly, “ This is all a trick of Lorenzo chiello very well knowing that Master the Magnifico." The others stoutly Manente had such an antipathy to this opposed this conclusion, declaring that species of eatable, that he would as soon the whole was most undoubtedly the have eaten both hisown hands as touch- effect of enchantment. Nevertheless, ed them. Upon receiving this last proof Burchiello, persisting in his first imof identity, he seized him (laughingly) pression, continued, " It is not every by the left hand, and lifting up his body who knows as well as I do the sleeve, discovered near the wrist the fruitfulness of that man's invention, mark of a rasher of bacon, which Mas- nor how impossible it is to make him ter Manente had brought with him forego any enterprize which he has from his mother's womb; whereupon once taken in hand. It is the very dehe exclaimed, with a loud voice, vil to have to do with one who, like « Thou art Master Manente, and canst him, knows everything, and has power conceal it no longer ;" and, throwing and inclination to back all his deboth his arms round his neck, em- signs." Then turning to the Doctor, braced and kissed him.

he said, “I long ago suspected that he Biondo and mine host, seeing what might have the heart to play you some passed, were lost in amazement, and such prank as you have related to us. retreated backwards a little, that they Depend upon it, Master Manente, "might the more securely mark what princes are always princes; and woe followed : Which was, that Manente be to him who thinks he may presume replied to Burchiello's salutation, by upon their familiarity to take liberties saying, “You only, Burchiello, of all with them.” my friends and relations, have ac- Manente, in his turn, now made his knowledged me for what I am, and friends relate to him the history of the that I am indeed that very Master Ma- pretended plague, and of the man who nente, who never died, as was falsely was buried in his place with the tureported, and is so foolishly credited mour in his throat—all which things by my wife, and by all Florence.” At sorely perlexed him ; nor was Burchielthis, Amadore and Biondo waxed pale lo himself able to find the clue to this as ashes—the one crossed himself, the part of the contrivance. At length, other followed his example, and both however, they all came to one conclufelt the same terror as if they had really sion, which was, that Master Manente seen the ghost of one departed; but had nothing for it but to commence Burchiello took upon him to re-assure proceedings in the Bishop's Court for

[ocr errors]

life again.

the recovery of his rights and propere (who presided as judge,) having conty. And with this resolution they se- sidered on one side the proof of idenparated, the Doctor going along with tity, and on the other, the produced his friend Burchiello, the other two certificates, became utterly perplexed not being yet altogether satisfied as to and confounded. However, as there the reality of what they had witnessed. was clearly a dead man in the case,

In the meantime, Michel Angelo and it was equally clear that the perthe goldsmith, on his return home, had son who stood before him as Master Mabeen informed by Monna Brigida of nente, was not that dead man, he conall that had happened, which was con- cluded that there must have been some firmed by her sanctified neighbour, foul play (perhaps murder) in the busiwho added, moreover, that she was ness, which rendered it fit for the cogcertain it was Master Manente's spirit, nizance of a criminal tribunal. For which wanted to be redeemed out of which reason, having secretly informpurgatory. “What spirit, what pur.. ed the Council of Eight concerning gatory, you foolish woinan !" exclaim- his cause of suspicion, the officers of ed the angry goldsmith. “Can't you justice were forth with dispatched to perceive that it was that same impos- the Court, where the parties were still tor, that vagabond sailor, who sent pleading, and where they were all aryou the letter yesterday morning?” rested and put in prison. And therewithal he grew very pensive, The next day, as soon as the Counbeing ill able to account for so strange cil was sitting, Master Manente was an occurrence, and yet willing to give had before them and interrogated as to credit to any interpretation of it rather all that had happened, which he rethan the true one, or than to believe counted in so minute, and at the same that Master Manente, whom he had time artless a manner, that several of seen dead and buried, was returned to the counsellors, notwithstanding the

gravity of the proceeding, and the unThe next morning early, having accountable nature of the circumstanwashed and trimmed his hair and beard ces, could not refrain from laughing according to the fashion of the day, at many passages. Having finished his and accoutred in some clothes of his narrative, he was remanded to prison, friend Burchiello's which exactly fit- and Niccolajo and Michel Angelo were, ted him, Master Manente sallied forth one after another, next had up and exagain into the streets of Florence; and amined, who not only exactly agreed in in these, which resembled his own or- all the circumstances of their story, dinary habits, he was seen and recog- but confirmed it by the production of nized by many; Biondo and Amadore the certificates already mentioned. having in the meantime circulated the They were also remanded, and the report of his being alive, and returned Council proceeded next to send for the to Florence in quest of his wife and hospital servant who bad been present his chattels. Among the rest, he was at the supposed death of Manente, and seen both by Niccolajo and Michel An- by whom it was wisely judged that gelo, who, notwithstanding the evi- some light might be cast on the mysdence of their senses, still continued tery. But it so fell out, for the sake to intrench themselves in the persua- of the jest, that this same fellow, whose sion, that Master Manente being dead examination must have led to the deand buried, this man could not possi- tection of the whole plot had somebly be be, however strongly resembling time before wounded a man in a fray, him. So, having heard that he in- in consequence of which he absconded, tended to make his claim in the Bin and had never since been heard of. shop's Court, they, on their part, pre- Thus, all things combined to further pared for their defence against it, to this most admirable of hoaxes. The which end they furnished themselves Council then instructed their officers with credentials from the officers of to make every inquiry that was possithe board of health, and with the pro- ble, in order to ascertain the degree of per certificate of burial.

credit due to each story; and the reTo lose no time, that same after- sult of their investigation was to connoon Master Manente lodged his com- firm (so far as it was possible to arplaint, and took out a summons, which rive at any conclusion) the veracity of his brother-in-law and Michel Angelo all the witnesses. forthwith attended; and the Vicar, In the meantime, Burchiello, who

a

was most zealous in serving the cause saying,

Keep your

distance All I of his friend Manente, called upon one shall say at present is, that if you are of the members of the Council, with the true and living Manente, as you whom he was familiarly acquainted, give yourself out to be, you are very and apprized him of his suspicions welcome; but if not, the contrary. that the Magnifico was at the bottom The doctor would then have begun to of all that had happened, adding, that it tell his whole story ; but the Magniwas quite impossible such events could fico cut him short, saying that the have taken place in the midst of Flo- present was not the proper time for it, rence without his connivance. The adding, however, that, at a certain magistrate in question fully adopted hour of the evening he should return, this view of the matter, and having and he would then give him audience communicated it the following morn- in his private apartment, at which time ing to the assembled Council, it was de he had summoned the opposite party termined to send a letter on the sub- to attend him also. ject to Lorenzo himself, (who was Master Manente having thanked then at the baths of Poggio,) request- him, returned to his friend Burchiello, ing his advice and assistance at their who laughed in his sleeve at what he deliberations. The letter was sent ac- related to him. All the parties, that cordingly; and the parties (against evening, were punctual in their atnone of whom any specific charge was tendance according to Lorenzo's apexhibited,) dismissed for the present, pointinent, and were forth with sumwith a strict prohibition to all of them moned to appear in his private chamfrom approaching within a hundred ber, where they found him surrounded yards of the street de' Fossi, and from by some of the chief citizens of Floholding any communication with Mon- rence, by all of whom the physician na Brigida, under pain of the gallows, Manente was well known, and very until the question should be deter- much regarded. Before these, both mined.

parties were now again heard, and the The Magnifico, on receipt of the proofs produced on the part of the letter addressed to him by the Council goldsmiths examined, all which exciof Eight, was thrown into fits of laugh- ted the greatest possible astonishment ter, and swore that so exquisite a jest, and perplexity ; but the narrative of so well contrived, and so successful in Master Manente, in particular, could all its parts, had never been known not be heard without its causing insince the foundations of the world were credible diversion and laughter; insolaid. In short, he was absolutely in much that Lorenzo was not satisfied ecstacies of delight and self-approba- till he had made the physician repeat tion. About a week afterwards he re- it three times successively, every repeturned to Florence, and was waited up, tition only serving to increase their on the same day both by Master Manen- delight and merriment, which was not te and by his adversaries, but who nei- at all diminished by the indignation ther of them obtained audience. The which he displayed at the story told next day Manente renewed his visit, by the two goldsmiths, whom he made and found the Magnifico just sitting no scruple of lauding with down to dinner, who, on seeing him, of reproach and obloquy. assumed an appearance of the utmost By this time the Vicar made his apastonishment, saying, “In good sooth, pearance upon Lorenzo's summons, Master Doctor, I did not expect that I and, being received with all due reveshould ever behold your face again, rence, took his seat by the invitation having been informed, as of a certain- of the Magnifico, upon the bench bety, that you were dead and þuried. side him; to whom, when seated, the And even now, I am not well satisfied Magnifico thus addressed himself,— whether you are indeed what you ap- May it please your reverence, since pear to be, or somebody else resembling I know that you are already well achim—or, in fine, some supernatural quainted with the difference which has illusion.” The doctor, after again and arisen between these worthy persons, I again repeating that he was not dead, need say no more on the subject, exbut in sober reality the true living cept that, having been appointed by Manente, and none but himself, would the choice of the most honourable have knelt and kissed the hand of the Council of Eight, to be arbiter of that Magnifico; but he motioned him off, difference, nothing more is wanting to

a

every term

enable me to pronounce judgment but bility of Florence, took his seat on a to ascertain that Master Manente ne- kind of throne, prepared for the occaver died, and that this party whom we sion, before which Master Manente now have before us, is not a mere fan- knelt with all due reverence. While tastic illusion, or walking dæmon; the in this position, all the forms of exorwhich it is your part to make clear and cism were gone through, and all praymanifest.' -“ How, and in what man- ers and canticles proper for casting out ner is this to be accomplished ?" cried devils, read over and chanted to him, the astonished ecclesiastic.-" That is and also plenty of holy water sprinwhat I will immediately make known kled, and incense burned around him; to your reverence," answered Lorenzo, and finally, every holy relic in succes and therewith told him that he must sion passed through his hand by the have the assistance of some exorcising attendant servitors, without producing friars, and the use of certain relics, fa- the slightest change of countenance or mous for their virtue in dispelling the other effect perceptible; after which, works of enchantment.—“You have making again a low reverence to the said well," answered the Vicar. “Give Vicar, he demanded his discharge, tome only six or eight days to prepare, gether with a solemn act of recognition and if he then stands the test, you may of his identity. securely set him down for a living Just at this point of time, however, man, and Master Manente in propriâ our old friend Monaco, who, by compersonâ.—Manente would upon this mand of Lorenzo, had been to fetch have made some observations; but the Nepo the sorcerer, and was present in Magnifico, rising from his tribunal, the church with him, observed that it prevented him, and without further was now time to commence his operaremark, led the way out of the apart- tions. Whereupon Nepo, rushing forment, followed by the gentlemen who ward into the midst of the assembly, were present with him, and who all exclaimed in a harsh and discordant joined with him in heartily laughing voice, “ Draw back, draw back, worat the strange scene they had wit- thy gentlefolks, and make way for me, nessed.

that I may present myself before his The next day, the Vicar, who was reverence the Vicar, and discover the a good and decent Christian, and in truth of this mystery." Upon hearing the odour of sanctity, (dolcissimo reli- which exclamation, and beholding the gioso,), caused it to be proclaimed strange appearance of him who utterthrough the whole bishopric, that all ed it—(who was a man large of stapriests and friars who possessed relics ture and strong-built, of complexion of virtue for casting out devils, should olive-brown, with a bald head, a lean bring them to Florence within six and meagre countenance, a black beard days, to the church of Santa Maria reaching to his girdle, and habited in Maggiore, upon pain of his high dis- rude and fantastic clothing)—all prepleasure. All the country round, no- sent were filled with amazement and thing was now talked of besides this terror, and made way for him withstrange occurrence, and it seemed to out hesitation ; who straightway adthe two goldsmiths, no less than to vanced to the Vicar, and proclaimed Master Manente, an age while these aloud in the words following: “ To matters were in preparation. Lorenzo, the end that the truth may be made in the meanwhile, had summoned to manifest, know ye that Master MaFlorence old Nepo da Galatrona, a re- nente, who is here present, never deputed wizard of the highest celebrity; parted hence; and that all which has and having made him understand for happened to him has fallen out by what purpose he wanted him, kept force of magical art, by virtue of dehim in his palace to be ready at the moniacal agency, and by the immediappointed hour. The number of relics ate contrivance of me, Nepo of Galaalready collected, from all the country trona, who am able to command the round, at Santa Maria Maggiore, was devils that they do what and when it quite surprising; and the day of trial pleases me. It was I, therefore, who eing at length arrived, and Manente's caused him, while lying asleep in the

pearance recorded, they waited only place of San Martino, to be transportè coming of the Vicar, who, accom- ed by demons into an enchanted panied by thirty- of the principal ec- lace, where, in the manner that he has usiastics, with many of the first no- already explained to you, I held him

13

a

in close confinement, until, one morn- vaalt in which they were given to uning at day-break, I ordered him to be derstand that the reputed corpse had thence again conveyed to the forest of been buried. La. Vernia, and there left him.' It That same morning Monaco, by the was I, who caused one of my familiar commandof the Magnifico, had brought spirits to assume his corporeal like- from the tower of Careggi a cock-piness, and make it appear that he had geon, of colour as black as pitch, the died of the plague; and who finally strongest and best flying bird ever witsuffered himself to be buried instead nessed, and which knew so well how of him ; from whence all these extra- to find its own pigeon-house, that it ordinary events have since proceeded. had more than once returned to it from All these things have I done in scorn Arezzo, and even from Pisa. This of Master Manente, and in revenge for bird he had, unseen of anybody, conan injury once inflicted on me by his cealed within the vault, which he affather, in the Pieve San Stefano, which terwards closed up again so carefully, he inhabited; which injury I was ne- that it seemed as if it had never been ver able to return upon him who had opened for the last ten years; insocommitted it, by reason of a breviary much that the before-mentioned Sawhich he always carried about him cristan found himself obliged to have next his heart, in which breviary was recourse to his spade and mattock to inscribed the prayer of Saint Cyprian. enable him to remove the earth, and And now that ye may all know the lift the stone from its place ; which he truth of these words I speak to you; had no sooner accomplished, than, to go ye, and open the vault where the the astonishment and dismay of all pretended physician was buried; and present, this black pigeon, which had if ye do not there behold the most un- till then remained torpid, seeing the doubted tokens of that which I have light of the flambeaux, was awakened, now delivered to you, hold me for a and flew out of the vault, taking its liar and a juggler, and sever my head course through the air in the direction from my body.”

of Careggi, where, in less than the The Vicar, and all present, had lis- eight part of an hour, it recovered its tened to this discourse very attentive- home in safety. ly, while Master Manente, full of in- The Sacristan, at sight of this unexclignation and terror, looked at his pected occurrence, was so overcome by supposed tormentor as if he could terror, that he fell backwards, pulling have torn him to pieces, and at the the stone of the sepulchre after him, same time, like one in a dream, the so that he broke his leg in the fall, and by-standers, in like manner, not being was laid up for many days and weeks able to take their eyes off from him. in consequence of the accident. The Whereupon the Vicar, desirous of put- holy friars, and the greater part of the ting an end to this strange adventure, attendant multitude, ran back in the laid his commands upon two friars of direction of Santa Maria Maggiore, crySanta Croce, and two of Saint Mark's, ing out, “A miracle ! a miracle !” Some that they should go forth with and ex- declared that there had issued forth amine the vault in question ; who, from the tomb a spirit, in likeness of having accordingly set themselves in a squirrel, but with wings. Others afmotion, were followed by many other firmed, that it was a fiery flying drafriars and priests, regular as well as se- gon; while others, again, would have cular, iv great abundance. Nepo re- it, that it was a devil converted into a mained during this time in the church, bat. The greater part, however, agreed, in company with the Vicar and with that it was a little sucking dæmon; Master Manente, who, more and more and there were not wanting those who alarmed the longer he staid with them, were certain that they had seen its were now afraid to look him in the horns and its cloven feet. The Vicar, face, their minds misgiving them that and those who remained with him in he was either another Simon Magus; the church, were fully occupied with or at least a new Malagigi. In the the various reports of those who came meantime the deputed friars, with crowding back to them from without; those who accompanied them, had and Nepo, availing himself of this reached the cemetery of Santa Maria confusion, and secretly favoured by Novella, where they sent for the Sa- Monaco and Lorenzo's servants, slipcristan, and caused him to open the ped away out of doors, and mounting

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »