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Benvenuto Cellini (1500–1571). Autobiography.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.


A YEAR had now passed since I bought the farm of Della Fonte from Sbietta. In addition to their attempt upon my life by poisoning and their numerous robberies, I noticed that the property yielded less than half what had been promised. Now, in addition to the deeds of contract, I had a declaration written by Sbietta’s own hand, in which he bound himself before witnesses to pay me over the yearly income I have mentioned. Armed with these documents, I had recourse to the Lords Counsellors. At that time Messer Alfonso Quistello was still alive and Chancellor of the Exchequer; he sat upon the Board, which included Averardo Serristori and Federigo de’ Ricci. I cannot remember the names of all of them, but I know that one of the Alessandri was a member. Suffice it to say, the counsellors of that session were men of weight and worth. When I had explained my cause to the magistracy, they all with one voice ruled that Sbietta should give me back my money, except Federigo de’ Ricci, who was then employing the fellow himself; the others unanimously expressed sorrow to me that Federigo de’ Ricci prevented them from despatching the affair. Averardo Serristori and Alessandri in particular made a tremendous stir about it, but Federigo managed to protect matters until the magistracy went out of office; whereupon Serristori, meeting me one morning after they had come out upon the Piazza dell’ Annunziata, cried aloud, without the least regard to consequences: “Federigo de’ Ricci has been so much stronger than all of us put together that you have been massacred against our will.” I do not intend to say more upon this topic, since it would be too offensive to the supreme authorities of state; enough that I was cruelly wronged at the will of a rich citizen, only because he made use of that shepherd-fellow.