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TWO ANECDOTES Gerald E. Wade, Nashville, Tenn. The anecdotes to follow represent each in its own way a kind of humaninterest story that needs no preliminary comment. I. A Real-Life "Lindo" The first anecdote is taken from the third volume, pp. 230-232, of Gregorio Leti's Vita di Don Pietro Girón, Duca D'Ossuna, published in Amsterdam in 1699. The Don Pietro whose biography Leti recounts is Don Pedro Girón, the "Gran Duque" of Osuna who was thought by Blanca de los Ríos to be the half-brother of the ( to her ) illegitimate Gabriel Téllez (Tirso de Molina). The anecdote details an episode that took place during 1618. We translate from Leti's Italian: But as for love affairs, since our Viceroy [of Naples, Don Pedro Girón] did not dislike persons of the other sex, just as no one of his family has ever disliked them, and since he was of an extravagant humor in all his actions, he always wanted to be that way also in his amours. He had become enamored of Donna Agata Gambacorti, widow of the Marquis of Cilenza. Because of a certain impulse that I shall tell of, Don Francesco [Francisco] Borgia [Borja], son of the Prince of Squillace [and Duke of Gandía], had earHer fallen in love with that lady, whether because of her physical beauty or because of her other personal graces. Don Francisco had come to Italy to look over the estates of his family in Calabria, and to visit Cardinal Velasco, his uncle, in Rome. He found his visit in Naples so pleasant that he stayed there, his major reason being that he had become enamored of Donna Agata, who as a widow probably received his visits with the intention of attracting him in any way possible with her beauty and grace into the bond of marriage, because in addition to the fact that her husband had left her only his debts, this gentleman [Francisco ] had good birth, wealth and merits that moved her to that aim; but Borja had no other design than to gather what fruits he might, while the lady had in mind either marrying him or mocking him; and as she knew the nature of the gentleman and still more her own, she did not doubt her success in one or the other design. This gentleman [Francisco] was usually called "il Polito, il Lindo" because he was so fond of nicety in every way that he frequently took two hours to admire himself before the mirror, and often he did not wish to sit down for fear of forming a wrinkle in his clothing; and he accompanied this defect (for any excess in a man may be called a defect ) with the vice of parsimony in everything . Francisco meanwhile tried to persuade the Marchioness by his personal attentions and also through the aid of a serving woman toward her acceptance of his lascivious love. The Marchioness, who was a clever and spirited person and thought she might free herself of his importunities (for such his persistence became), ended by agreeing to satisfy him by telling him that since her honor in the eyes of the public was dear to her, she did not wish to do anything that might become known to others, and so she asked him to come to her garden at about eleven in the evening , with all possible secrecy. The Marchioness went to a room full of odds and ends and rubbish of all sorts, with no bed, no chair or table or any means of sitting or lying down. Don Francisco appeared at the appointed hour and, led to that room, was astonished at finding himself in such a filthy place. The Marchioness told him that in order to hide her actions from the servants' eyes, she had found no other way than to use that room, suggesting that he spread out his cloak to recline upon. Borja replied, "I do not care to do that because it will ruin my cloak." The Marchioness thereupon responded, "And so you value your cloak more than my honor? Leave me; you are unworthy of the love...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-0928
Print ISSN
0007-5108
Pages
pp. 5-8
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-08
Open Access
No
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