846 THE PSYCHE
for that is what drives men crazy. A jovial feast will make you sleep quietly and happily. Believe me, the time will come when you will be old, and your sinews will shrink, and then, on some fine sunshiny day, when everything is laughing and rejoicing, you will lie there a faded plant, that will grow no more. I do not live in dreams, but in reality. Come with me : be a man ! '
And he drew the artist away with him. At this moment he was able to do so, for a fire ran in the blood of the young sculptor ; a change had taken place in his soul; he felt a longing to tear himself away from the old, the accustomed —to forget, if possible, his own individuality ; and therefore it was that he followed Angelo.
In an out-of-the-way suburb of Rome lay a tavern much visited by artists. It was built on the ruins of some ancient baths. The great yellow citrons hung down among the dark shining leaves and covered a part of the old reddish-yellow walls. The tavern consisted of a vaulted chamber, almost like a cavern, in the ruins. A lamp burned there before the picture of the Madonna. A great fire gleamed on the hearth, and roasting and boiling was going on there ; without, under the citron trees and laurels, stood a few covered tables.
The two artists were received by their friends with shouts of welcome. Little was eaten, but much was drunk, and the spirits of the company rose. Songs were sung and ditties were played on the guitar ; presently the Saltarello sounded, and the merry dance began. Two young Roman girls, who sat as models to the artists, took part in the dance and in the festivity. Two charming Bacchantes were they ; certainly not Psyches—not delicate beautiful roses, but fresh, hearty, glowing carnations.
How hot it was on that day! Even after sundown it was hot: there was fire in the blood, fire in every glance, fire everywhere. The air gleamed with gold and roses, and life seemed like gold and roses.
' At last you have joined us, for once,' said his friends. ' Now let yourself be carried by the waves within and around you.'
' Never yet have I felt so well, so merry ! ' cried the young artist. ' You are right, you are all of you right.