Updated: Feb 23
It was so kind of you to enquire upon my health following a strange turn I had at the Apostolic Palace, where I am unsure what I did or didn't witness, but call 'the Pavane and the Carnal Galliard.'
During a tour of the apartments I was overcome with a feeling of oppression and dreariness. I paused to rest and felt an atmospheric change, becoming very disoriented. The corridor turned dark and sultry.
Composing myself a little, I thought I had better catch up with the other members of the party. Upon turning a corner I met a young lady; a woman of exquisite beauty. She was flaxen haired and dressed in a free flowing gown that displayed every inch of her nubile figure. It was as if I was looking upon a mirror at my younger self.
She pressed a single finger to her lips and beckoned me to follow. We entered a large room lined with muscular guards, in which a great table was set with many fine dishes. Around this table sat men and women dressed in ancient costume. And at the head of the table was a huge man in very elegant ceremonial white robes with bright red shoes. A group of musicians played a Pavane in the corner.
I was bade seated and the young beauty announced me. His Holiness Pope Alexander VI rose from his seat. Next to him was a handsome young man, introduced as her brother Cesare Borgia, the Duke of Valentinois.
After dinner, fire bowls were lit and chestnuts strewn around them by servants. Naked courtesans slid into the room. dancing and writhing around the fire. They soon began creeping on their hands and knees before the Pope, Cesare, and his sister. The feminine frames moved with an ethereal desire. My breath shortened as the music and the passion of the dance became more and more intense.
They were now dancing, if I may, with the men who I thought were guards. It was a very erotic, visceral and expressive dance to say the very least. The music got louder and louder and the room seemed to get smaller and smaller.
I felt a firm grip on my shoulder and turned around to see one of the guards looking at me with burning eyes. I could see the sheen of perspiration shining on his muscles from the light of the fire.
At that moment a gong sounded and the participants fell to the floor, quite spent and exhausted. His Holiness clapped his hands and distributed fine jewels amongst the participants.
I awoke to find myself to the centre of attention. The chamber had vanished and I was back upon the bench in the corridor. My companions crowded around me, very concerned for my health.
To this day I could not say what was real and what was a strange, dream- like experience. Mr Fellowes of the British Museum examined a ring I had found in my pocket that afternoon. He said it was without doubt a fine piece dating from the late fifteenth century.
It matched the description of rings Pope Alexander VI gave to guests at his private dinners.
Your devoted friend,
About ‘The Pavane and the Carnal Galliard’.
My Pavane scented candle has notes of fresh, zesty orange and cloves, giving a sultry, warm fragrance. Made from 100% soy wax, it contains a minimum of 10% fragrance. The candle is hand- poured at my workshop at Puxton Manor in Worcestershire 'Pavan' is vegan and makes an ideal gift idea. The candle arrives gift packaged with the related story on fine aged paper.