Nonfiction > Harvard Classics > Benvenuto Cellini > Autobiography
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Benvenuto Cellini (1500–1571).  Autobiography.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
LIII
 
 
I WENT on working assiduously at the button, and at the same time laboured for the Mint, when certain pieces of false money got abroad in Rome, stamped with my own dies. They were brought at once to the Pope, who, hearing things against me, said to Giacopo Balducci, the Master of the Mint, “Take every means in your power to find the criminal; for we are sure that Benvenuto is an honest fellow.” That traitor of a master, being in fact my enemy, replied: “Would God, most blessed Father, that it may turn out as you say; for we have some proofs against him.” Upon this the Pope turned to the Governor of Rome, and bade him see he found the malefactor. During those days the Pope sent for me, and leading cautiously in conversation to the topic of the coins, asked me at the fitting moment: “Benvenuto, should you have the heart to coin false money?” To this I replied that I thought I could do so better than all the rascals who gave their minds to such vile work; for fellows who practice lewd trades of that sort are not capable of earning money, nor are they men of much ability. I, on the contrary, with my poor wits could gain enough to keep me comfortably; for when I set dies for the Mint, each morning before dinner I put at least three crowns into my pocket; this was the customary payment for the dies, and the Master of the Mint bore me a grudge, because he would have liked to have them cheaper; so then, what I earned with God’s grace and the world’s, sufficed me, and by coining false money I should not have made so much. The pope very well perceived my drift; and whereas he had formerly given orders that they should see I did not fly from Rome, he now told them to look well about and have no heed of me, seeing he was ill-disposed to anger me, and in this way run the risk of losing me. The officials who received these orders were certain clerks of the Camera, who made the proper search, as was their duty, and soon found the rogue. He was a stamper in the service of the Mint, named Cesare Macherone, and a Roman citizen. Together with this man they detected a metal-founder of the Mint. 1  1
 
Note 1. The word in Cellini is ovolatore di zecca. [back]
 

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