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There he found the pope in mortal agony: the Orsini, tired of contending against the old man's word of honour pledged to the duke, had by the interposition of Pandolfo Petrucci, gained the ear of the pope's surgeon, who placed a poisoned plaster upon a wound in his leg.

"Oh, sweet signor, for Christ's grace save us! Deliver my young mistress her friends love you well! We are all for the Colonna, my lord; yes, indeed, all for the Colonna! Save the kin of your own clients, gracious signor!" "It is enough that she is a woman," answered Adrian, adding, between his teeth, "and that an Orsini is her assailant."

The official epitomizer of the history of the Popes, Onofrio Panvinio, mentions three cardinals, Orsini, Ferrerio and Michiel, whom Alexander caused to be poisoned, and hints at a fourth, Giovanni Borgia, whom Cesare took into his own charge though probably wealthy prelates seldom died in Rome at that time without giving rise to suspicions of this sort.

Although Valentinois dubbed Pandolfo Petrucci the "brain" of the conspiracy against him, the real guiding spirit, there can be little doubt, was this Cardinal Orsini, in whose stronghold at Magione the diet had met to plot Valentinois's ruin the ruin of the Gonfalonier of the Church, and the fresh alienation from the Holy See of the tyrannies which it claimed for its own, and which at great cost had been recovered to it.

While the influence of the Popes was thus weakened in their states beyond the Apennines, three great families, the Orsini, the Savelli, and the Colonnesi, grew to princely eminence in Rome and its immediate neighborhood.

His own army he had reinforced, as we have seen, by a hundred men-at-arms and two thousand infantry; he had just been joined by Vitellozzo Vitelli, lord of Citta, di Castello, and by the Orsini, who had brought him another two or three thousand men; so, without counting the troops sent to Pisa, he had under his control seven hundred men-at-arms and five thousand infantry.

During that long interval of splendour, achievements of the intellect are upon record that fully establish the existence of the most remarkable genius. First young, Fabio Orsini sang; then recited verses of his own: requested to turn the verse into prose, he repeated the same thoughts unfettered by measure in an unassuming manner, and with an appropriate and choice flow of expression.

The mere thought of any violence to such a nature is an abominable outrage; and if Pico chooses to embrace such a woman at the risk of meeting a sharp piece of steel in her arms, why, it is a fair bargain. Young hound or, if you prefer, young hero to think to treat a woman like this as if she were any village wench! Medea marries her Orsini.

One other woman was needed, however, in Spain at this time, and that was a wife for the newly crowned king. She was to provide for the future, while the Princess Orsini was to take care of the present.

But Vitellozzo remained very stubborn, for the death of his brother warned him that he should not offend a prince and afterwards trust him; nevertheless, persuaded by Pagolo Orsini, whom the duke had corrupted with gifts and promises, he agreed to wait.

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