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one night during the conclave, lost fifty
doubloons at play to a kindred spirit,
Cardinal Medici, when Medici said he
would let his eminence off if he would
dress himself up and go and announce,
as by vision, to poor old lame Cardinal
Caraffa, that he should be pope. The
joke seemed too good a one not to be put
in practice, so Maidalchini wrapped
himself up in a white sheet, put on a false
beard and wig, pinned two sheets of paper
on to his shoulders for wings, borrowed a
pair of green spectacles from Cardinal
Triulzi, and made for himself a golden
aureole, by the aid of some gilt paper and
a saucepan, which he put upon his head.
After having completed this disguise, he
took two wax candles, one in each hand,
and got in by a secret passage to the side of
Caraffa's bed. Poor old Caraffa had the
gout, and was not asleep when he saw the
phantom arrive; he understood the
pleasantry immediatelyperhaps, indeed, he
had been forewarnedso he seized his
crutch silently, and as soon as the spectre
was near enough, laid on lustily, crying
out: "Incorrigible joker, it is thou, is it?
Take that, and that, and laugh again."
Maidalchini did not wait longer than he
could help by Caraffa's bedside, but blew
out his candles and ran off, leaving the
door open, from which latter circumstance
the joke had a more serious ending than
was anticipated; for poor Caraffa was too
much troubled with gout to get up and
shut the door, and the draught gave the
gouty old man such a cold that he died
shortly afterwards.

Maidalchini, indeed, seems, according to
faithful report, to have provided the
greatest part of what fun there was going
in three or four conclaves. During this
conclave, he, with some others, gummed
together the pages of the breviary of
Cardinal Lugo, who, however, was not sorry
for an excuse to get rid of the trouble of
reading it. He put, too, some powder made
from the euphorbium plant in the missal
of Cardinal Filomarini, just before he had
to say high mass for the conclave; and
Filomarini was seized with such a fit of
sneezing that he had to stop short in the
middle of service, and could not go on.

It was not in this, but in another
conclave that Maidalchini had a furious
dispute with Cardinal Colonna, in which they
nearly came to blows. Colonna went to
visit Maidalchini in his cell. Maidalchini,
who thought Colonna a bore, had told his
servant always to say he was asleep, that
is, "not at home" for Colonna. It happened
at this time, when Colonna called,
that Maidalchini was in his inner cell,
talking with another cardinal. Colonna
heard him, and cried out in a rage to the
servant, "Tell your master he is a
blockhead  and ill bred." Maidalchini heard
him, rushed out in a passion, and said,
"It is you who are a blockhead and ill
bred; for my part, I have never had in
my family any relatives who have died by
the rope, feet in the air, like the Colonnas."

They were about to come to blows, when
Cardinal Albizzi and others came up and
separated them, and Albizzi cried out,
"Maidalchini is right. Why should Colonna
try to ride the high horse, and apply his
'blockheads and ill-breds' to fellows who
are merely rascals and knaves?"

Albizzi was the caustic spirit of various
conclaves, and his bon-mots were always
repeated. Unfortunately, however, they
smack generally too much of the conclave
atmosphere to bear transplanting.

The last pope before Clement the Ninth
(Rospigliosi) was Alexander the Seventh
(Chigi), who. came pope out of the
conclave which met, as we have said, after
Innocent the Tenth had been laid out in
state with the help of two tallow candles,
and of whom Alexander Pasquin said the
sum total of his pontificate consisted in
doing "very great things for himself, great
things for his family, bad things for the
sovereigns of Europe, very bad things for the
cardinals, and nothing for God." Albizzi, in
fact, was but Pasquin inside the conclave.

In the conclave which met to elect this
Alexander the Seventh, Albizzi was more
than usually brilliant. One of his mots
deserves record: when Cardinal Spada said
that he must vote in such and such a way,
since he had a debt of gratitude to pay, "I
presume it is a gambling debt, then," said
Albizzi. Spada had the reputation of paying
only gambling debts, and not always these.

There were a good many cardinals to
whom this election was no laughing matter,
and it was none certainly to Donna Olimpia,
who was busy working the conclave
to the best of her power from without,
and making secret promises of all sorts,
and giving secret bribes in ready money,
to get a pope elected to her choice; but
with little effect, for the cardinal she
strained all her resources to keep out was
Chigi, and Chigi was elected. In this
conclave of sixty-nine cardinals there were,
indeed, twenty-six who were recognised as
passable, that is, possible popes; but not