-A window ajar is a prelude in building to the joy of being limitless! That uneasiness of being familiar somehow, sometime, somewhere.......

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cellini's Revenge

Writes Eric Newby introducing Benvenuto Cellini* as a Florentine of violent and homicidal predisposition who was the most skilful metal worker of his day.

Cellini’s autobiography which he has tastefully named Autobiography is a must read; Wikipedia regards it as one of the most important autobiographies of the renaissance era. Without a doubt. To say the man is fascinating is to put it mildly. Perhaps it is for their confident eccentricities that I associate him with Herbert Spencer.
Here is an extract where he plots revenge against an innkeeper.

A few days afterwards we set out on our return to Florence. We lay one night at a place on this side Chioggia, on the left hand as you go toward Ferrara. Here the host insisted upon being paid before we went to bed, in his own way; and when I observed that it was the custom everywhere else to pay in the morning, he answered: 'I insist on being paid overnight, and in my own way.' I retorted that men who wanted everything their own way ought to make a world after their own fashion, since things were differently managed here. Our host told me not to go on bothering his brains, because he was determined to do as he had said. Tribolo stood trembling with fear, and nudged me to keep quiet, lest they should do something worse to us; so we paid them in the way they wanted, and afterwards we retired to rest. We had, I must admit, the most capital beds, new in every particular, and as clean as they could be. Nevertheless I did not get one wink of sleep, because I kept on thinking I could revenge myself.

He goes on further musing about plans of arson or how he can manage to sever the throats of four fine horses in the stable that he had noticed earlier. But eventually he abandons his tall plans and settles for shredding into ribbons the four fine beds (most capital) and after the deed is pleased with himself for having caused a damage of at least fifty crowns. The escape is quite cinematic.

The book is full of such adorable pulp.

*I gather from Italian friends that though is pronounced as Chellini not to be mistaken with Giovanni Chellini at V&A.

No comments:

Search Blog