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vered, brought to my mind a number of fingular inftances where the executions of fuch defigns were providentially prevented, and the guilty punished by the very means intended to deftroy others. Amongst thofe there occured to me a very curious one in the history of the illuftrious family of the MEDICI, which was tranfcribed from the manufcript in the great library at Florence, and, having never been publithed, I think, deferves a place in your inftructive and valuable paper.
About the end of the 15th century, THOMAS BUONAVENTURI, a young Florentine, of a creditable family, but without fortune, went to live with a merchant of the fame country, who had fettled at Venice. The merchant's houfe was oppofite to the back-door of one that belonged to a noble Venetian, called BARTHLEMEO CAPELLO, In this family lived a young lady of great beauty, whofe name was BIANCA. She was watched with great circumfpecțion, as the custom of the country is, yet BUONAVENTURI frequently faw her at her window, and though he had no hopes of a nearer interview, yet, by a natural and almost neceffary impulfe, he did all that could be done in fuch circumstances to exprefs the paffion with which he had infpired him. He was young and amiable, and fhe very foon ceased to be indifferent, so that after a long negociation, the particulars of which are not related, the lovers found [means to accomplish their wishes, and were privately married. BIANCA went every night, after the family had retired and was afleep, to BUONAVENTURI's chamber in the merchant's houfe, by means of the little back-door, which fhe left a-jar, and by which the returned before day without being feen by anybody. After
After this had continued fome time, custom nrade her lefs cautious, and one night fhe stayed with her husband 'til the morning was further advanced than ufual. A baker's boy, who was going by with bread, perceived the back door, by which BIANCA had come out, to be open, and fuppofing this had happened by accident, fhut it. The lady arrived a few minutes afterwards and found it faft. In the consternation which this accident produced, fhe returned to the house he had just quitted, and was let in by her husband, to whom the related what had happened. As the fafety of both was in danger, they retired to the houfe of another Florentine, where they remained concealed, 'till they found an opportunity of efcaping to Florence. In this city they lived for fome time in great privacy, fearing the republick of Venice fhould, at the follicitations of CAPELLO, have had them pursued.
FRANCIS MARIA, the great Duke of Tufcany at that time, was a native of France, son of Cosmo the ift, and father of MARY DE MEDICI. He had married JANE of Auftria, daughter of the Emperor FERDINAND, and widow of the King of Hungary. She was a princess of great virtues, but, being at that time past her youth, the duke neglected her for other women. One of the officers of his court was the confrden: of his pleasures, who had a wife no lefs zealous to make herfelf ufeful.
The arrival of the fair Venetian was foon known in Florence. The report of her adventure and of her beauty excited the duke's curiofity, and he refolved to fpare no pains to gratify it. He used to walk every day before the house where the lived, and, upo seeing her at her window, he became violently enamoured.
His confident was immediately employed, and he engaged his wife to affift in the project, who began her manœuvres by fending her a meffage that she had fomething of consequence to communicate to her, and for that purpose invited her to dinner. BUONAVENTURI was fome time in fufpence whether he should fuffer his wife to accept the invitation, but the rank of the lady, and his want of fome powerful protection, overcame his doubts. BIANCA was received with the greateft kindness and moft flattering attention; he was prevailed on to relate the ftory of her diftreffes, and was heard with an appearance of the most tender concern; fhe was afked if he had no defire to make her court to the grand duke, who on his part was impatient to become acquainted with her, having already found an opportunity to fee and admire
Frailty, thy name is woman
BIANCA had neither fortitude nor virtue to refift the temptation, and the duke coming in at the instant, the liberality of his offers, and his promifing to advance the husband, gained him a complete victory.
The husband did not think it prudent to break a connection, which might be fo advantageous to him, and matters were foon fettled to the fatisfaction of all parties. The duke gave them a magnificent house near the bridge over the Arno, called Ponte della Trinita (which houfe is now il Palazzo Riccardi,) and. was to be admitted at all hours, without any interruption from the husband. BUONAVENTURI folaced himself for the lofs of BIANCA by forming new connections; and affociated with the nobility; but becoming, from his change of fortune, infolent and prefump
tuous, and having infifted one day on an interview with his wife, when it was not agreeable to her, he was the fame night by her order affaffinated.
The only obftacle to the complete enjoyment of her wishes being thus removed, the loft all reserve, and appeared in public with a magnificent equipage, fetting honour and fhame at defiance. JANE, the great duchefs, was extremely mortified at the conduct of the duke, and provoked at the pride of her rival, but fup. preffed her grief, 'till at length it put an end to her life.
The death of the grand duchefs opened new views to the ambition of BIANCA, who had acquired fuch an afcendancy over the duke, that he was wholly fubfervient to her will, and fhe now exerted all her art to induce him to marry her. The cardinal FER DINAND DE MEDICI, who was next heir to the dukedom, if his brother died without iffue, opposed this marriage in vain, and BIANCA in a fhort time became grand duchefs of Tuscany.
After fome time, he wished much for a child who might inherit the grand duke's dominions. She had mass s said, and aftrologers confulted; but these and many other expedients proving ineffectual, the refolved to feign pregnancy, and introduce a spurious child, of which fhe would at leaft have the honour. 'To affist her in the execution of this project, she applied to a cordelier of the monaftery of Ogni fandi, who readily undertaking the affair, fhe feigned naufeas and the usual symptoms of pregnancy, took to her bed, and received the compliments of the court. Her pretended reckoning being out, fhe fuddenly alarmed her people in the middle of the night, complained of D. 3
labour pains, and enquired impatiently for her confelfor.
The cardinal, who fufpected her artifices, had her watched fo diligently, that he knew of all her motions, and as foon as he was informed that her confeffor was fent for, repaired to her antic hamber, in which he walked backwards and forwards, repeating his breviary. The duchefs, hearing he was there, fent him a meffage, intreating that he would retire, because she could not bear that he should hear the cries that might be forced from her by her pains. The cardinal anfwered "Let her highness think only of her Own bufinefs as I do of mine." As foon as the confeffor arrived, the cardinal ran to him, crying out ་་ welcome, my dear father, the grand duchefs is in labour and has great need of your affiftance," at the fame time catching him in his arms, and embracing him, he perceived a jolly boy, just born, which the good father had got in his fleeve. He took the child from him, and cried out, loud enough to be heard by the dutchefs," God be praised, the princess is happily "delivered of a fon," at the fame time fhewing him to all who were present.
The grand duckefs, enraged to distraction at this infult, determined to be revenged of the cardinal, and she foon got an opportunity. The duchefs, and cardinal, were on a country party at Poggio Caiano, one of the duke's villas; the cardinal was very fond of Blanc manger, and the duchefs had poifon mixed in a difh of it, and placed near him at dinner; but he, notwithstanding the moft preffing folicitations of the duchefs, would not taste of it. "Well, faid the, duke if the cardinal will not eat of it, I will," and what was remarkable, tho' he never liked it before, he took a