BUONARROTO, — I send this as cover to two letters one is to go to Piero Aldobrandini, and the other to Giovanni Balducci in Rome. The latter I wish thee to hand to Bonifazio Fazi so that he may send it on, the other give to the aforesaid Piero. p38 Concerning those two scoundrels, I have no time to tell the whole story of their knavery, and I beg all of you — and tell Lodovico the same — not to refer to their behaviour in any way, for we have not to deal with them in this matter. Let this suffice.
The thirteenth day of February, 1506.
MICHELAGNIOLO, in Bolognia.
BUONARROTO, — It is already fifteen days since I sent certain moneys to Lodovico in Florence with certain instructions, and I have never had a reply. I am much surprised at it. Tell Lodovico, therefore, to let me know if he has received them, and if he has done as I asked ; tell him to let me know without fail, because I am annoyed about it and marvel at his want of perception. He is the sort of man that one would entrust with important business again ! I should have expected him to write a hundred letters, to make sure that at least one should reach me. See to it that he informs me without fail as to what steps he has taken and that the letter is sent in such a way as to reach me.
Yesterday I sent to see if Piero's dagger was finished and found that it had still to be gilt. The man has kept me waiting for a month, but the truth is that he was not able to do otherwise, for owing to the departure of the Court he has had to supply weapons to all the courtiers and has had a very great deal to do. It p39 is for this reason he has kept me waiting. Tell Piero not to be anxious, for in any case he shall have it in a few days. The Pope went away on Monday morning at the sixteenth hour, and if thou desirest to learn in what state he has left my affairs, go to the Herald and he will tell thee. I have no time to write.
The twenty-fourth day of February.
Buonarroto, — I did not reply to thy letter or to Piero Aldobrandini's because I had decided not to write until I had received the said Piero's dagger. It is now two months ago that I entrusted this work to a man who has the reputation of being he most skilful master to be found in his particular craft, and although he has kept me waiting until now I did not wish to have it made by anyone else, nor to annul the agreement : wherefore, the aforesaid Piero has some excuse if he considers I have treated him badly, but I could not do otherwise.
Now I have got the dagger back again, or rather, I have got it ; but only this morning, and with much difficulty, for my lad Piero had been obliged to go for it so many times that he was ready to beat the maker over the head with it. Please note that the gold-beater, Chiaro di Bartolomeo, will be the bearer of this and that he will also bring the dagger. See that Chiaro is paid what is due for bringing it, and give it p40 to Piero. If it does not please him, tell him to send me word, and I will have another one made ; and tell him also that since the Court came here every craftsman and all the arts have risen to great dignity and esteem, wherefore he must not marvel if I have so long delayed sending it, for I, too, have had much to think of. This one workman alone has more on his hands since the Court was here than the whole of Bolognia had previously. I have no time for writing. I wrote to Lodovico saying I had received his letters and telling him how I had been deceived, as he will now be able to understand.
On the sixth day of March, 1506.
MICHELAGNIOLO DI LODOVICO BUONARROTI,
BUONARROTO, — Some days ago I received a letter from thee acquainting me with the whole story of Piero Aldobrandini and the dagger. I may tell thee that if it were not for love of thee I would leave him to babble on as long as he liked. Thou must know that the blade I sent, and thou hast received, was made according to his — that is to say, Piero's measurements, for he sent me a drawing in a letter and told me that I was to get it made exactly like that. I did so. However, if he wanted a dagger he should not have sent me measurements for a rapier : but I wish to tell thee in this letter what I would not say before, and that is, that thou hadst better not have p41 dealings with him because it is not thy business. If he should come to thee for the aforesaid blade, by no means let him have it ; put a good face on the matter and tell him I gave it to one of my friends that will be enough. I may tell thee that it cost me nineteen carlini here, with thirteen quattrini for the tax.
My affairs here are proceeding favourably, by the grace of God, and I hope to cast my figure before a month is past. Pray God, therefore, that it may turn out well, so that I may return quickly to you, for I am minded to do for you all as I promised. Be kind to Giovansimone and tell him to write to me sometimes, and say to Lodovico that I am well and that I will certainly let him know before I cast my figure. Commend me to Granaccio when thou seest him. I have nothing more to tell thee. The plague is beginning here, and is of a virulent type, for wherever it enters it carries off all within the house, although at present it has not claimed many victims — forty households, perhaps, so they tell me.
This twenty-sixth day of March.
Sculptor, in Bolognia.
P.S. — If thou hast given the dagger to Piero say no more about it, but if thou hast not done so do not give it him at all.
Much to Michelangelo's satisfaction, Piero refused the dagger, which enabled the artist to give it to Filippo Strozzi, who had admired it.