twenty-three, there raged a plague of such extraordinary
violence that many thousands died of it every day in Rome.
amusements, as my mind suggested, and for a reason which
I will presently relate.
feast-days to the ancient buildings, and copying parts of
them in wax or with the pencil ;
are all ruins, and the ruins house innumerable pigeons, it
came into my head to use my gun against these birds.
of the plague, I used to put a fowling-piece on my boy
Pagolino's shoulder, and he and I went out alone into the
the fattest pigeons.
more than a single ball ; and thus it was by pure skill in
the art that I filled such heavy bags.
piece which I had made myself ; inside and out it was as
bright as any mirror.
of powder, in doing which I discovered secret processes,
beyond any which have yet been found ;
in order to be brief, I will give but one particular, which
will astonish good shots of every degree.
when I charged my gun with powder weighing one-fifth
of the ball, it carried two hundred paces point-blank.
is true that the great delight I took in this exercise bid
fair to withdraw me from my art and studies ; yet in
another way it gave me more than it deprived me of, seeing
that each time I went out shooting I returned with greatly
better health, because the open air was a benefit to my
and while I was taking these amusements, my heart leapt
up with joy, and I found that I could work better and with
far greater mastery than when I spent my whole time in
study and manual labour. In this way my gun, at the end
of the game, stood me more in profit than in loss.
certain hunters after curiosities, who followed in the track
of those Lombard peasants who used to come to Rome to
till the vineyards at the proper season.
the ground, they frequently turned up antique medals,
agates, chrysoprases, cornelians, and cameos ; also some-
times jewels, as, for instance, emeralds, sapphires, diamonds,
to the traders for a mere trifle ; and I very often, when I
met them, paid the latter several times as many golden
crowns as they had given giulios for some object.
pendently of the profit I made by this traffic, which was
at least tenfold, it brought me also into agreeable relations
with nearly all the cardinals of Rome.
upon a few of the most notable and rarest of these curio-
fragments, the head of a dolphin about as big as a good-
extremely beautiful, but nature had here far surpassed art ;
for the stone was an emerald of such good colour, that the
man who bought it from me for tens of crowns sold it
again for hundreds after setting it as a finger-ring.
mention another kind of gem ; this was a magnificent topaz ;
and here art equalled nature ;
nut, with the head of Minerva in a style of inconceivable
from these ; it was a cameo, engraved with Hercules bind-
ing Cerberus of the triple throat ;
the skill of its workmanship, that our great Michel Agnolo
protested he had never seen anything so wonderful.
many bronze medals, I obtained one upon which was a
head of Jupiter.
seen ; the head of the most perfect execution ;
on the reverse side a very fine design of some little figures
in the same style.
curiosity ; but I will refrain for fear of being prolix.