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Messer Biagio da Cesena replied that he considered it highly improper to paint so many shameless, naked figures in such an honourable building, and that it was not a fit work for the Pope’s chapel, but more suitable to a bagno or an inn. Michael Angelo nettled by this resolved to revenge himself at once.

The cortege only made a halt at the neighbouring town, as the fair bride had said, and started at once for Forli, although the day was already far advanced; but scarcely had a league been revered when a troop of horsemen from Cesena overtook and surrounded them.

The duke's troops, however, consoled themselves by capturing Russi and Solarolo, the last two strongholds in the valley that had held for Astorre. Meanwhile, Cesare and his merry young patricians spent the time as agreeably as might be in Cesena during that carnival.

The cortege only made a halt at the neighbouring town, as the fair bride had said, and started at once for Forli, although the day was already far advanced; but scarcely had a league been revered when a troop of horsemen from Cesena overtook and surrounded them.

There was not one girl in Cesena who could boast of possessing a finer pair, and with that present my conscience felt at ease, for it paid the expense I had occasioned during my stay of ten or twelve days at her father's house four times over. But this was not the most important present I offered the family.

They were as follows: Castelnovo, Civitacastellana, Narni, Terni, Spoleto, and Foligno; it was expected the Duke Guidobaldo or his wife would meet Lucretia at the last-named place and accompany her to Urbino. Thence they were to pass through Cæsar's estates, going by way of Pesaro, Rimini, Cesena, Forli, Faenza, and Imola to Bologna, and from that city to Ferrara by way of the Po.

Several days were spent in parleying, for at Cesena Caesar found the envoys of the Vitelli and Orsini, who themselves were with their army in the duchy of Urbino; but after the preliminary discussions as to the right course to follow in carrying on the plan of conquest, there arose such difficulties between the general-in-chief and these agents, that they could not but see the impossibility of getting anything settled by intermediaries, and the urgent necessity of a conference between Caesar and one of the chiefs.

I had taken rapid stock of him in the seconds that were sped, and from the surpassing richness of his apparel, his gold-broidered doublet and crimson, fur-edged surcoat, I knew that Messer Ramiro del' Orca was grown to the high estate of Governor of Cesena. "A new trade even as yours," I answered him. "Nay, that is no answer," he cried, overlooking my offensiveness.

He threatened the bishop to send an express to Rome to Cardinal Alexander, unless his demands were complied with within two hours, and to remain in Cesena at the rate of ten sequins a day at the bishop's expense.

I prepared a list of all the articles of which I pretended to be in need, and giving it to Franzia I told him to go to Cesena himself the next day, and to purchase everything without bargaining to obtain a lower price.