Spain: February 1540

Pages 225-226

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 6 Part 1, 1538-1542. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1890.

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February 1540, 1-29

8 Feb. 104. Lope Hurtado to the Emperor.
S. E., Roma,
L. 869,
B. M. Add. 28,592,
f. 29.
Has communicated to Madame the news just received of the Emperor's safe arrival in Flanders in good health, which news has been of considerable relief and comfort to her in the midst of her tribulations.
By the courier, who left this on the 31st of January, he (Hurtado) informed the Emperor that Madame had been invited to dinner by His Holiness, who had on the occasion treated her with his usual favor and affection. So did the duke de Castro, who likewise invited Her Excellency to a bull fight, as well as to a comedy acted in his own palace, and attended by many cardinals, ambassadors, and other distinguished people.
His Holiness spoke at length to Madame, inquiring after the causes of her discontent, and requesting her to say frankly whether the fault was Ottavio's. Madame answered that she was unwell, not discontented; her only disappointment consisted in her not being able to serve and obey him (the Pope), as His Imperial Majesty had ordered her to do; of Ottavio she knew nothing, nor had she any news of him.
Constanza came in the morning to call on Madame, and spoke to her just as the Duke had done some days ago, saying, moreover, that she came on her own account to tender advice, as a vassal and servant of the Emperor that she was—not in the Pope's name, who knew nothing about it. Begged her to be explicit and say whether there was any fault in Ottavio, because if there was all would be remedied. Neither His Holiness nor Constanza has alluded to Ottavio's behaviour, much less to his living a bachelor's life. He (Hurtado) fancies that both of them, as well as the duke of Castro, know well where and in whom the fault lies, but dare not speak of it; (fn. n1) or else all three (the Duke, the Pope, and his daughter Costanza) expect that on the arrival of Don Luis de Zuñiga everything will be set right, and that the Emperor will order his daughter to behave better than she now does to Ottavio. Meanwhile they have informed Madame that at the conclusion of this present fair Ottavio will be sent away. At present they do not live together; two or three days pass without Ottavio seeing her; nor does he seem to care for Her Excellency more than she does for him. True is it that age and constitution are not in favor of the former. (fn. n2)
Should the Emperor feel inclined to send his orders to Madame, it would be better in his (Hurtado's) opinion if they came direct to her rather than through him.
The dearth of provisions in all Italy, and the cost of repairs in the palace occupied by Madame—which was half in ruins and uninhabitable when she came to it—have so exhausted her funds that we have been obliged to borrow 2,000 ducats upon a, jewel belonging to her.
The Pope, 'tis true, continues to pay regularly the 6,000 ducats promised every year; but it is doubtful whether upon the application, which she intends making, he will feel disposed to advance a quarter of that rent.—Rome, 8 February 1540.
Signed: "Lope Hurtado."
Spanish. Holograph. pp. 3.


  • n1. "Ni Su Santidad ni ella no le hablaron en que dormiesen juntos, ni el Duque se lo [h]a dicho, ni á mi despues de lo que escriví á V. Md; creo que [h]an savido como se mea en la cama, y no osan decirlo."
  • n2. Ottavio was born in September, 1524, and therefore was 15 years and three months old at this time.