Certain grandees and wealthy persons, more through vanity or
weakness than generosity, have sacrificed their avidity to
ostentation--some by renouncing their winnings, others by
purposely losing. The greater number of such eccentrics,
however, seem to have allowed themselves to be pillaged merely
because they had not the generosity or the courage to give away
what was wanted.
The Cardinal d'Este, playing one day with the Cardinal de
Medicis, his guest, thought that his magnificence required him to
allow the latter to win a stake of 10,000 crowns--'not wishing,'
he said, 'to make him pay his reckoning or allow him to depart
unsatisfied.' Brantome calls this 'greatness;' the following is
an instance of what he calls 'kindness.'
'Guilty or innocent,' he says, 'everybody was well received at
the house of this cardinal, who kept an open table at Rome for
the French chevaliers. These gentlemen having appropriated a
portion of his plate, it was proposed to search them: 'No, no!'
said the cardinal, 'they are poor companions who have only their
sword, cloak, and crucifixes; they are brave fellows; the plate
will be a great benefit to them, and the loss of it will not make