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265 > Page 265 of Chit-chat : Nirvana ; The searchlight / Matt J. Holt.

Richard Hawkwood fied with disorder, sought to incite violence by charging that Michael di Lando in reformation of the government had favored the higher or richer class citizens and neg- lected his associates, who had placed him in power; a charge which was not true. Whereupon many of them took up arms and started fresh disorders. "They came before him a riotous multitude, demand- ing many changes. He ordered them to lay down their arms, stating that no concessions would be made to a show of intimidation. "His answer but enraged them the more. They with- drew and, assembling at Santa Maria Novella, appointed eight leaders and prepared to storm the palace and make good their demands. They then sent a delegation to the signory, directing that they grant their demands. "This delegation was so arrogant and threatening that Michael di Lando, losing his temper, drew his sword and, after wounding several, had them cast into prison. "When this was reported, their organization marched towards the palace. Michael, in the meantime gathering his forces, started for their place of assemblage. The opposing forces, traveling different streets, passed on the way; the mob arriving at the palace about the time that his forces reached their place of assemblage. "With his force, in which was the remnant of The White Company, he returned to the palace, where a fierce contest waged for its possession. Our opponents were vanquished and driven beyond the city walls or found safety by hiding within the city. "Order was restored and for the first time in manv months the city was quiet. Michael gave to the city a just and, for the time, a peaceful administration of three years. While he rescued the city from the lowest ple- 265