Our Little Florentine Cousin of Long Ago - C. V. Winlow

In Danger

Holy Week was proving itself a very happy time to Filippo and Giovanni. On Thursday evening when the two friends met at the door of Verrocchio's studio, Filippo said: "You will spend the night with me, and we will be together all day tomorrow." Thus they again rode together up the Fiesolan hills, amid the soft green grass of spring, the gay wild flowers in their reds and blues and yellows, the white oxen finishing the day's plowing, the grape-vines swinging between the olive trees on the terraced slopes, the happy peasants singing as they trudged homewards, and all the other attractive things of country life.

With morning they were again down in Florence. It was Good Friday, the twentieth of March. The boys were almost moved to tears by the special service in the great cathedral. On the altar was a representation of Christ crucified on Calvary, with the weeping Marys about Him and the two thieves on crosses by His side. The fine organ, marvellously played, filled the dim and lofty interior of the church with sad music. The voices of the famous choir of singers rose and fell in the sacred songs of lament. But after this service, Filippo and Giovanni spent several hours wandering to the other important churches of the city, for in each of them there were different representations for the day, Christ carrying the cross, the Roman guards, His Mother and Saint John the Beloved bidding Him farewell, and so on in great number. They enjoyed it all like a religious play, for some of the scenes were quite lovely as works of art.

In the streets they also saw a church procession. It was carrying the celebrated Silver Cross of the beautiful Silver Altar of the Baptistery (the church of San Giovanni Battista, opposite the cathedral). This cross was supposed to contain a piece of the Holy Cross itself. Little acolytes dressed in white walked beside it, bearing lighted tapers. Then there were clergy in rich gold and crimson and white vestments, priests, and many monks. When all had passed out of sight around the corner they could still be heard chanting.

"That reminds me," suggested Filippo. "Let's go to one of the gates and see a contadini  procession."

Passing the time telling stories and reciting poetry, they left the center of town and wandered through the partly settled suburbs and out the third circle of strong stone walls. They had chosen the gate well, for they had hardly left it behind when they caught sight of a body of people winding toward them from one of the outlying villages. Already they could hear the weeping and wailing. "They're carrying the dead Christ," said Filippo. "Do you remember how they do?"

The peasant procession came nearer. In its midst was a figure borne on a bier. About it were men dressed as Roman soldiers, carrying round shields and pikes. They represented the Roman guard. Around them, again, were women and other men, as well as many children, carrying armfuls of flowers and sobbing and lamenting as if the figure were really the dead Jesus. It was a picturesque sight.

"Today everything is weeping and sadness," observed Filippo; "tomorrow at noon all will be brightness and joy."

"But what say you, my dear friend, that we for our part have had enough melancholy to-day? Messer Andrea is holding open house this afternoon, and I know his former pupil Leonardo da Vinci will be there, and others who are interesting. Would you care to come?"

"What a question, amico!  You know I have been dying to meet your fascinating Leonardo and your master, too."

"Well and good!" They strolled the considerable way back to the center of Florence. Andrea Verrocchio's studio, a large affair of several rooms, was today not humming with the work of the master and his assistants and pupils as they executed masterpieces in bronze and marble and paint (for Andrea, like most Florentine artists, was a many-sided genius), but was buzzing instead with voices in merry conversation. It was a gathering made up of artists famous or soon to be famous.

Verrocchio, a man in the prime of life with a remarkable, strong, square-cut face and kindly eyes, greeted the boys. "Sit where you like, my lads; hear all you can, for in that way lies wisdom; and help yourselves to refreshments to the full content of your palates—if your stomachs will let you." With these genial words and the friendly twinkle in his eyes, he made them at home.

In truth it was a wonderful opportunity for two talented boys who loved art and were interested in everything. About the room, with its castings in bronze and half completed marble statues, were a number of Florence's most famous living artists. "Look," whispered Giovanni in wonder, "at that old man with his arm on the younger man's shoulder. That is Luca della Robbia, with his nephew Andrea. Who would have guessed he would come out today?"

Filippo looked at the seventy-nine year old sculptor, who had invented the beautiful new finish of colored glaze for his admirable works in terra-cotta. Giovanni was continuing: "And see, there is Il Ghirlandajo, who can never get enough of painting, and says he wishes he were given a commission to paint the whole circuit of the walls of Florence!" Filippo turned to the dark man who was popularly called by this title, meaning The Garland-Maker, because he had started his distinguished career as an artist, by being a goldsmith making carved wreaths of gold and silver.

"That youth there of eighteen with the gentle face is Lorenzo di Credi, my master's pupil. The slightly older youth he talks to is Filippino Lippi. Those men beyond them are the two Pollaiuoli. And there is the foreign artist we call Il Perugino, from the city he comes from in Umbria. He is very poor," whispered Giovanni still lower; "they say he cannot even afford a bed but has to sleep on a chest. But lock at his face; he knows he has genius and will be known some day."

Thus Giovanni pointed out the guests, some already with many years of renown behind them, some just beginning to carve out for themselves the names that would make them world-known. He did not point out Leonardo da Vinci, for he saw Filippo's eyes were already upon him and seemed unable to tear themselves away. That was the power of Leonardo. Every person in the room seemed under the spell of his radiant face and singularly charming manner. Filippo saw him as a young man of twenty-five, dressed in a short rose tunic, with golden hair waving to his shoulders. He thought him more beautiful than the Greek god Apollo.

"I recognize the artist sitting beside Leonardo," said Filippo, biting into a piece of delicious pastry, and motioning with it to the young man with short hair curling about his ears. "It is the acclaimed Sandro Botticelli."

"Ah, yes, he is a close friend of Leonardo's. And look now, what Leonardo is doing to him! Those two are always playing some merry joke."

Filippo saw that as Leonardo talked, he was slyly drawing a sketch on Botticelli's back with red chalk, unknown to the latter. "By the way, my dear Sandro," said Leonardo, putting a last touch to the picture, "you remember we had a wager a month or two ago as to which of us would not  finish the picture he was engaged on, first. I have hardly done a stroke more on my Two Madonnas, and you, I hear, have quite completed your masterpiece for Lorenzo de' Medici."

"True," nodded Sandro.

"And our wager was," persisted Leonardo, smiling merrily, "tunic to jerkin."

"I admit it," said Sandro.

"Well, my friend, I publicly hold you to the bargain, and demand that you surrender to me the jerkin that is henceforth mine."

"What! take it off in the presence of this excellent company."

"To be sure," smiled Leonardo. "It proves you a man of honor."

"Ho! ho!" laughed Andrea Verrocchio heartily, "that pays you back, Messer Sandro, for some good jokes of your own!"

The company roared. "I give it up grudgingly, mind," affirmed Botticelli, as a number of hands helped him remove his jerkin. Leonardo, standing up, took the garment and leaped lightly on a table. "Good friends," he said, putting on a pretendedly very serious, not to say tragic, air, "it is an extremely melancholy, a most pathetic sight to see one of Florence's leading artists standing amongst us in his undershirt. We are all artists, and some of us are poor, but not one of us is so poor that he must go without a doublet or jerkin. For that reason I ask your compassion for Alessandro Botticelli. See, here is a fine garment belonging to me, Leonardo da Vinci, and attractively adorned by a sketch of mine in red chalk—" He held the jerkin up so that all could see its back except the ex-owner.

"Now," he continued, "I will present this interesting garment as a gift from this company to Andrea del Verrocchio, friend of us all and teacher to many of us, if you, magnificent citizens of the Republic, will each contribute a denaro  to poor dear Sandro, to buy him a rag or two to cover himself with. Here, Lorenzo my friend, pass around a cap for the purpose."

How the artists did laugh! The very walls and roof seemed to shake with their merriment. All crowded trying to see the picture on the jerkin, including Sandro, but though Leonardo showed it willingly to the others, each time Sandro tried to look he snatched it round. The cap was being gaily passed from hand to hand, and at last was given to Leonardo well filled with pennies. Down leaped Leonardo from the table as lightly as a bird, and went up to Botticelli with a great show of feeling. He took Sandro's two hands, and Sandro tried to draw away. But Leonardo's hands, though as white and slender as a princess's, were as strong as iron—hands so delicate they could paint exquisitely each separate hair in a curl of a portrait, and so full of strength they could bend horseshoes. Sandro could not escape and had perforce to turn up his palms.

"My dear Sandro," said Leonardo, pouring the denari  into the outstretched palms, "I think there is as much as a soldo  here; buy yourself with it a piece of the coarsest serge cloth, cut it yourself, and you will have something to cover your shoulders with, and will cease to grieve your good friends by being exposed to the chill evenings of spring."

Before Sandro could think of a sufficiently clever retort, Leonardo had whirled around and was presenting the jerkin to Andrea del Verrocchio.

"My dear Master," said he, "please accept this little offering as a slight token of the great regard this company bears you. May I suggest without vanity, the sketch being my work, that you tack it up on the wall here for us all to view?"

Then, as Verrocchio laughed so hard that tears formed in his eyes, and as the rest of the company held their sides with mirth, Leonardo, who up to this time had preserved the most serious face imaginable, could no longer hold himself in check. His own laugh echoed with the rest.

Perugino and Filippino Lippi together, standing on the table, were tacking up the jerkin for all to see. "Halt! Halt!" cried Sandro, "this has gone far enough! I ask Leonardo's pardon for the time I invited him to dinner and all the food on his side of the table was made of painted clay, and for the time I painted a donkey on his cloak so he would always have a horse to ride!"

"What about the time you feigned to be sick in bed, and I came and found the covers heaped up, and while I felt in them for your face, you pounced out from under the bed and tried to turn me  into it?" asked Leonardo laughing.

"Oh, dear Leonardo, I ask your pardon for that, too."

"This new humbleness will be vastly improving to your soul," smiled Leonardo, and to the great amusement of the company, the jerkin remained on the wall. And now Sandro had an opportunity of viewing the picture, and when he saw it, showing himself half clothed and handing out his garments in all directions, and entitled: "Alessandro Botticelli shares his clothes," he too joined in the glee as heartily as the heartiest, and clapping Leonardo on the back exclaimed: "I have met my match at last!"

Florentine Singer


Needless to say, Filippo and Giovanni had enjoyed this friendly jest as much as anyone. Before the company broke up, Leonardo came to them and talked to them about his horses and his cats, and about birds, and then he said, his beautiful radiant fate brighter still with the joy of enthusiasm: "Men, too, shall one day fly through the air. Ah, perhaps it will be given to me to show the way." And then, pushing back his golden hair with his white hand, he took up his lute and improvised softly to it:

"On strong swift pinions Man shall fly:

The miracle shall be at last,

That Man shall make reality

The winged stories of the Past."

The lad looked at him with mingled astonishment, awe, and admiration as he spoke of his plans to invent a machine on which men could sail through the air like birds. "Truly," said Filippo as they left the studio together, for Giovanni was spending the Easter holidays with him, "your Leonardo da Vinci is everything and more than you have told me. There never was such a man since time began!"

The next day, Holy Saturday, there was so great a crowd gathered in and around the cathedral that it seemed as if all the inhabitants of Florence and the surrounding country must be there—which was in fact almost the case. Filippo and Giovanni had come early with Filippo's cousins, and had secured a good standing place inside the church but near the door. They like everyone else were waiting for the great yearly ceremony of Il Scoppio del Carro  (The Bursting of the Car), which heralded in Easter. The cost of this ceremony was paid by the powerful Pazzi family, with whose name it was closely associated. An ancestor of theirs, Pazzo dei Pazzi, was supposed to have been the first knight to plant the Christian banner on the walls of Jerusalem in the First Crusade, for which bold deed he had been given some flint stones from the very walls of the Holy Sepulchre itself. These with the deepest joy and reverence he had brought back to Florence, where they had been used in this Easter ceremony ever since. According to one story, he had kindled the sacred fire at the Holy Sepulchre, and in order to keep it alight, had ridden backwards all the way from Jerusalem to his native city.

"My," said little Luca looking up at Filippo, "Messer Pazzi was a wonderful knight if it is true he rode backwards all those days to shelter the Holy Fire against the wind. Do you think he did it the whole  way, Filippino? Why didn't he make a lantern to keep it burning in?"

"I don't know. Perhaps he did, Luca boy. That reminds me," said Filippo turning to all his cousins, "it was a member of that family, little Virginio Pazzi, that I went swimming with in the Arno the other day."

"You mean that you saved from drowning. It was the bravest, the noblest thing ever!" exclaimed Margherita. Filippo would no doubt have been pleased to see his pretty cousin's look of affectionate pride in him, but he did not catch it at all. He had let the pushing crowd separate him from his cousins a little, and was saying in a very low tone designed for Giovanni's ear alone:

"There is something that Virginio said that troubles me very much. In the excitement of finding you, dear friend, it slipped my mind, but now that I recall it, I must have your advice what to do. Perhaps it is just a child's story—but . . . . Well I'll tell it to you when we are alone."

Shortly after, the solemn High Mass began. The vast interior of the majestic cathedral, with its magnificence and treasures of art, was dominated by the heaped lilies on the altar. The highest clergy of the city, in their richest vestments, officiated. Outside the open door stood the Carro, a huge towering structure on wheels, brown in color and painted with dolphins, the emblems of the Pazzi family. It was covered everywhere with an endless array of fireworks, waiting to be set alight, and had been drawn hither by three pairs of milk-white oxen wreathed in flowers. From its top to the high altar of the cathedral stretched a slender wire.

At almost the stroke of mid-day, as the High Mass reached the Gloria in Excelsis, the Archbishop of Florence solemnly set alight with fire struck from the sacred flints, a little metal dove. The figure flew by mechanism along the wire until it reached the car. A deafening roar! A blinding light in many colors, in the form of stars and flowers and spiral and circles! The crowd tumbling over one another in eager excitement!

Meanwhile the dove returned of itself to the altar, the contadini  present gazing at it superstitiously and murmuring: "La Colombina"  (the dove) "flies crookedly this Easter. Ah, alas, alas; it will be a bad year." But the mass of the crowd was following the car, which, giving forth the thunder of a cannonade and blazing in glory, was taking its way towards the "Canto dei Pazzi," a street-corner near which several of the Pazzi palaces were situated, where the end of the ceremony always took place.

It was nearly evening when the friends at last found themselves alone near Andrea's studio. Filippo had related the whole story of what Virginio had told him he had heard through the keyhole. "You see, there were, according to Virginio," he summed up in conclusion, "many men there—foreigners and others—and they all seem to have echoed Francesco Pazzi's words: 'Lorenzo de' Medici and his brother must be killed.' If it was a jest or merely excited talk, I don't want to be an informer on innocent persons. But if . . Amico mio, I ask you what I should do?"

"There has not been a political assassination in Florence for years and years. I can't think they mean to commit one."

"Nor I either, as I tell you. Still, if anything should  happen to Lorenzo and Giuliano, would not I be as much responsible as the assassins themselves?"

"I'll tell you what, Filippino. Look up Virginio and learn from him what has happened since; he seems an expert at listening at cracks!" Giovanni's lips turned up with scorn at the last.

"Dearest Giovanni! That is exactly the thing!"

"Yes, I think so. A little fellow like Virginio may have misunderstood everything; just imagine, for instance, his having heard Leonardo talking yesterday! he would have thought the famous Sandro Botticelli really couldn't afford a doublet."

"Well, I'll pump Virginio for the latest news—if any."

"And let me know the outcome. . . . Ah, look yonder," Giovanni interrupted himself.

Both boys reverently removed their caps. Coming towards them were a number of men robed from head to foot in black, their black head-coverings only leaving space for the eyes to look out. They were bearing a covered litter, and walking in absolute silence, like beings of another world. They were members of the world-famed Compagnia della Misericordia (Company of Mercy), founded some two-hundred-and-forty years before by an humble porter named Pietro Borsi. This Borsi, with an associate, Luca, and the other porters of the city, raised money among themselves and had six stretchers built, with which they answered all calls to move sick and injured persons without cost.

"Oh," exclaimed Giovanni catching Filippo's arm, "see the poor dog!" He pointed to the place where a knot of street-boys had suddenly appeared. In their midst was a shrinking animal that every one of them seemed trying to hit with stick or rock. "Shall we make a sortie?"

"Indeed, yes!"

Neither of them thought of Giovanni's broken wrist. With a determined cry, they swept down upon the thirteen or fourteen youngsters. "Leave that dog alone, you wretches, or—I "" What's it to you?" "You'll soon see!" The fight was on in earnest, and, whatever the odds, Filippo and Giovanni were not ones to turn back.

Sticks and stones designed for the dog were turned against them, but the two threw themselves so quickly and boldly into close quarters that few of the urchins could use any other weapons than their hands and feet. Giovanni with his crippled arm was at a serious disadvantage. Filippo, catching a sudden glimpse of him hemmed in by foes, flung himself with new fury against his own opponents. He hardly felt their knocks, but his strong finely-trained blows seemed every one to strike home. He won to Giovanni's side, and together they fairly sprang upon the whole circle at once. This way and that, Filippo dashed his fist like lightening, always landing it even as he tried to shelter Giovanni. "It's good it's my left hand that's hurt!" gasped Giovanni as he sent a boy whirling like a top. Another, and another, and another boy dropped to the pavement or took swiftly to his heels. The friends were masters of the field.

"Now for the dog," said Giovanni, his face twisting as he felt of his broken wrist. "Where is it?"

Filippo, wiping away some of the blood flowing into his eyes from a big gash in his forehead, looked about. "Ah, thank Heaven, it's over there by the door."

The boys ran to it. "The poor thing, it's foot is broken," said Filippo. "Do you think we can set it, Gian?"

"I know who can do so better than we—Leonardo."

"We'll take it to him, and when the leg's splintered up, we'll carry it home. Poor dog, you'll have a master in future."

Giovanni pressed his friend's hand. Then as Filippo gently took the dog up, he exclaimed: "Ah, if there could only be a Company of Mercy for animals! Do you think there will be one some day, Filippo?"

"You and I can be one." Filippo raised his hand over the dog's head and pledged himself: "I swear to save all animals from hurt and pain to the full extent of my powers, so help me God."

"And I likewise, so help me God," echoed Giovanni. And each in turn kissed the sacred image that set in a niche in the wall of the house by which they were standing.

The next few days, the dog being comfortably settled at home, Filippo spent all his spare time in watching the Pazzi palaces and in trying to catch sight of Virginio. In the circumstances, he thought it unwise to make a call on him, and hoped instead to meet him casually so that he might ask him questions without danger of being overheard.

The sober days of Lent were over, and Easter had ushered in the happy months of the year, with their many, many holidays. March twenty-fifth, the festa  of the Annunciation, when lilies filled every shrine of the Virgin in the city, was also the first day of the Florentine new year of 1478. On this day, the third since Easter Sunday, Filippo did come across Virginio. "No," replied the little boy to the anxious query put to him, and looking quite crest-fallen as he confessed it, "I haven't anything else about Lorenzo and Giuliano; perhaps they were all joking when they talked about killing them—and they didn't sound as if they were joking," he added. "But"—he brightened up—"you can come home with me and see the new statue we've got. It's a real Greek antique!"

Filippo excused himself, and sped on to Andrea's studio. "Hurrah!" he greeted Giovanni with. "It's just as you thought—all a child's imagination. The little monkey practically had to admit it."

"Fine! With that off our minds, we can plan some dandy jokes for the Feast of Fools!" (April Fool's Day).

So the days passed for the two friends each happier and merrier than the last. Giovanni was making splendid progress in his art apprenticeship; Filippo, studying as he had never studied before, was going forward in scholarship by leaps and bounds. In no time a month had gone by.

It was Sunday morning, the twenty-sixth of April. Filippo, in Florence, was out alone, for Giovanni was spending a week at some distance from the city.

As he strolled along, lost in thought, he was startled by the sudden approach of a small boy. It was Virginio. "What in the world are you doing, Filippo?" he cried. But then, much more interested in his own news than in where Filippo was going, he burst out with: "Guess what! I ran away from my tutor on purpose to find you and tell you. We are, too, going to kill Lorenzo and Giuliano, just as I told you! I heard it! I heard it!"

A shock ran through Filippo from head to foot. "When? When?"

"Today!" cried little Virginio, jumping about in excitement.

"Oh, it can't be! What did you hear?" demanded Filippo.

"It's a sure thing! I could only hear a little 'cause they talked very low, but everyone was together again, more men than before, and the very last thing Francesco said was: 'Then it's absolutely settled the two shall die to-morrow; good.' "

"Are you sure, Virginio?"

"Virginia Pazzi doesn't lie," retorted the little boy in a hurt tone.

"But what else—Surely you heard something else! Where will—it—take place?" Filippo, clenching his hands, could hardly keep from screaming the question.

"I tell you, they spoke low. But he said today. Today! Isn't it exciting?"

"Yes," gasped Filippo. "And now I must go, Virginio. I'm late. Good-bye. Good-bye."

Stammering the words, Filippo whirled about and sped down the street as if demons were after him. At the turning, he glanced back. Virginio still stood where he had left him, staring after him in wide-eyed amazement.

His heart beating wildly, Filippo dashed on at full speed until he drew up beside the door of the Medici palace on the Via Larga. As usual, there were several loiterers about. "Are the Magnificents within?" he gasped.

"Where have you been keeping yourself, youngster?" replied one of the idlers scornfully. "Haven't you seen Lorenzo and his guests—a brilliant company, on my word!—making for Il Duomo?"

Hardly had he said the last word than Filippo was flying for the cathedral with all the speed that was in him. The great door was open, and, all dusty and disheveled as he was, and heedless of the throng of worshippers who stared amazedly at his boldness, he started down the nave without so much as bending his knee or crossing himself.

The vast interior of the cathedral, so long and so high, swam about him. The High Altar, near which he knew those whom he sought would be, seemed miles off to his whirling head. The Latin words of the Mass went solemnly on, but he heard not one. Almost staggering, yet moving swiftly, he reached the fenced-in choir. Near it he caught sight of the calm, highly intellectual face of Angelo Poliziano, or Politian, Lorenzo's close friend and the greatest poet and scholar of the Laurentian Age. Then he saw the homely features of Lorenzo himself—actual ruler of Florence, fine poet, dazzling patron of Art and Letters, a power in Europe without any title save that of Florentine citizen.

In a swift rush he had darted through the midst of Lorenzo's companions and stood at his side. "Magnifico!" he cried in a low voice. Several of the men about Lorenzo clapped their hands to their daggers at the surprise, but Il Magnifico, accustomed to mingle familiarly with everyone and hear all petitions, turned good-naturedly and without a shadow of fear or even of astonishment at this approach during the sacrament of Mass. "What is it, my lad?" he asked under his breath.

Filippo, blanched with fear, struggling for breath, gazed about for an instant almost confusedly. How could he tell which were Il Magnifico's friends and which his enemies? "Messere, Messere, they are going to try to kill you I—today! And your brother!" Then, becoming equal to the emergency as he always did, Filippo noted, even as he caught Lorenzo's incredulous smile, several of the faces of the circle grow deathly white.

The Mass droned on. Filippo said nothing further but kept his eyes full on the Magnificent's face. Lorenzo, looking keenly at him, said very softly: "Stay by my side till Mass is over, and before we leave the church, Giuliano and I will hear what you have to tell us."

Filippo, a little color creeping back into his cheeks, bowed his head. Thank God, the brothers would be safe if they stayed here, for surely no man would dare commit murder in the House of God. Moving out from the circle a little, he caught sight of Giuliano on the opposite side of the choir—handsome and kindly, the best-loved of all the Medici. Had Filippo known that Giuliano, who was not well, had been induced to come to church by Francesco Pazzi and another of the conspirators, who made a special trip to fetch him, and had he known that as the three walked up the aisle together, Francesco had put his arm around Giuliano's waist as if in friendship, and found that he wore no cuirass or dagger, Filippo would have known that not even the altar of the cathedral would give safety. He did not know it, and slipped back near Lorenzo.

The Mass bell tinkled—the assassins' time was come. At the same moment, Giuliano and Lorenzo were set upon. Filippo only saw the latter. A knife swooped, but the blow was aimed too high, and Lorenzo dodged. In an instant his own sword was in his hand and his mantle wrapped about his other arm. Filippo with Lorenzo's loyal friends, sprang to protect him.

Filippo was unarmed; his robe was his only shield. All was so sudden that he did what he did instinctively, and for a minute blindly buffeting the assailants, retreating with Lorenzo, leaped the low rail of the choir, ran before the altar, darted through the gate by which the choir boys entered, and found himself in one of the two sacristies. Lorenzo's adherents swung shut the heavy bronze doors, and all at last could look at each other.

Filippo always remembered afterward the moments that followed as a sort of dream. He knew later, he did not know then, that the bodies of Giuliano and a faithful companion were lying dead on the floor of the church. Lorenzo had received a dagger cut on the neck. "The dagger may have been poisoned!" someone said. Filippo touched Lorenzo's arm: "I will suck your wound for you, Magnifico." A youth thrust himself before Filippo, eyeing him suspiciously. "That is my privilege," he cried, and set his lips to the wound.

Some other youths, also suspicious, drew Filippo off to the other side of the room. "Now how do you account for yourself?" they demanded. Looking at them with his proudly honest gaze, he told all from end to end. "Mind," he concluded, "I know no names except those of the guilty Francesco Pazzi and of the innocent father of Virginio, and the fact that many foreigners were involved. Alas," he sighed, dropping his head on his breast, "I am to blame since I did not earlier take warning from Virginio's words."

But the faces of Lorenzo's friends had entirely cleared of their doubt of him.

Now, in answer to shouting and pounding at the thick bronze doors, a youth deeply devoted to Lorenzo climbed up into the organ gallery and looked down into the body of the church. "It is truly our friends!" he called. Those within threw open the doors, and all gathered about Lorenzo and led him homeward, that he might not as yet see his brother's body.

Filippo slipped off by himself. The great bell of the Palazzo Pubblico was still ringing which told good citizens to come together and come armed. The streets were jammed with tumultuous crowds who voiced their adherence to the Medici with screams of "Palle! Palle!" , the name for the Medici coat-of-arms with its six palle  or balls. The populace was shrieking for vengeance on the conspirators.

"There! There!" yelled a giant of a man, waving a knife and pointing at Filippo. "I recognize him! He's a friend of the Pazzi!" Whether the man really had seen him at the Pazzi palace, or only mistook him for someone else, was uncertain. Certain it was that it was no time to argue. Filippo took to his heels and ran for his life.

A part of the mob at once caught up the cry. Filippo, dodging and twisting, fled for the labyrinth of narrow ways and alleys behind Or San Michele, the celebrated church of the guilds or trade associations. At last, hoping he had cast off pursuit, he dared to slip around the church walls so lavishly adorned with statues, and into the dim interior lit by its stained glass windows. The only persons visible were a few kneeling women. Almost spent and terribly shaken by the happenings of the day, Filippo sank down in the dusky corner back of the "miracle of loveliness," the very famous Shrine of the Madonna made by Andrea Orcagna.

He had lain here some moments when a safer refuge occurred to him. "I will ask hospitality of Maestro Bartolommeo; people are too afraid of him to look there." So once again, this time fearful of those without and not of him within, Filippo, having safely gained the Ponte Vecchio, knocked at the door and entered the house of the good old alchemist, his friend.