Caesara- (pages 5-6)
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'Well, no.'

'Well, yes. My compliments to you, young lady,' Francesco said, hastening to the door.

She would have stopped him, but in would have been of no use. Not stop him? It would not do. She just did nothing, which was the wisest course in this case. The painter walked out smiling maliciously, yet particularly amused by Caesaraís demeanor contradictory, troubled and desperate.

She was left in perfect confusion. She gazed on Hyeronimo. How handsome he was. Her heart trembled within her. She could have killed him, had he been hers. She was quite mad.

The beauty, the plentitude, the graciousness of this woman! Her face had an amber-like whiteness just deepened by a slight bluish shade, due to that lucid, delicate venous system that ideal pictorial art concentrates in a protruding brow and in eyes as blue as a dark night shining in the shade of long lashes, thereby becoming softer, darker, more demonic. Her fair hair looked like a golden haze, her soft mouth somewhat fuller in the lower lip, seemed to ask for kisses, the nose was delicate, the sweet chin rounded as those of Giacomo Palma. Thus, noble and handsome, she would raise her head with a kind of childlike pride as an Arabic steed; her long neck then acquired that marmoreal and demanding energy like the neck of Antinous.

She propped her head in the palm of her hand and looked at that young monk with undefinable, resigned desire. The words of Francesco she took as a joke, although, in fact, she would have liked them to come true. She took a somber pleasure in that contemplation. She would have liked what would she? Ah, who can possibly tell, whoever could possibly tell, what language could be rich enough to express the infinite feelings running wildly not in actual love, but in a yearning for love. She was dreaming by the window. Let her dream. A sin it would be to analyze her feelings, would it not?



III

As they were walking along, Onufrey and Hyeronimo did not notice that a man was following them. It was the painter. Hyeronimo was to call at the post-office where a letter was awaiting him, a letter from an uncle, an old hermit. This is what he wrote:

"Beloved in Christís name, my nephew,

It is such a wonderfully fine day as I am now writing to you and I am so full of the dayís sweet freshness, of the scent of the land, of the myriad sound of nature, that I almost feel inclined to confess to nature my thoughts, my feeling, my inner life. My universe is a valley guarded on all sides by impenetrable rocks, a wall against the sea, so that no human soul may know this worldly paradise that I am living in. there is a single place to enter, a loose boulder that covers the entrance of a cave leading tight into the heart of the island. Consequently, if not crawling through that cave, you might think that this island was a heap of barren rocks jutting out of the sea, deprived of vegetation and life. However, what is the heart of it like? The giant granite rocks rise around it like somber guardians, while the lower part of the island, the valley tat is deep and of course under the glassy sea lies covered by sheaves of flowers, wild vines, sweet-smelling tall grass never yet touched by the scythe.

Above the loose layer of vegetable life, a whole animal world.

Bees by the thousands set the flowers a trembling, kissing their mouths, velvety bumblebees, the blue butterflies pervade a certain region of the air and beyond it you can see the sunlight shimmering.The tall rocks narrow down my horizon. I only have a piece of the sky, but what a piece! A somber azure, limpid, transparent, with only now and then a small white cloud, like spilt milk, on the sky. In the middle spring wells that patter, quarrel, murmur, and topple over gravel stones all day and all night. An eternal music in the summery stillness of the valley. Far away among the green grass and gravel-covered slopes you can see these springs moving and meandering, like silver, fluid, transparent, alive, falling into the arms of whirlpools where they crazily turn upon themselves, then hurry on, until with a sigh of satisfaction they plunge into the lake. In the center of this lake, which looks black as it mirrors the sedge, grasses and willows around it, there is another small island with a grove of orange trees. In this grove is the cave that I turned into a house and my bee garden. This island within an island is a flower garden that I myself planted for the sake of the bees. I do some kind of work all day. You know that in my youth I was apprenticed to a sculptor. Therefore, having smoothed down the stone of my cave, I decorated the surface of the walls with ornaments and figures in bas-relief, just as you do yourself with sketches. The difference being that sculpture is bare, consequently the figures that I model are naked. On one wall, there is Adam and Eve. I tried to render primitive innocence in these forms. None of them is yet conscious of the meaning of love. They are in love without knowing it. The shapes are virginal and not yet ripe. The look in their faces expresses tenderness, not passion. This is a quiet, candid idyll between two people not aware of their beauty or nakedness; they walk embraced in the shade of a row of trees. In front of them, there is a pack of lambs.

Venus and Adonis are quite different. Venus is the passionate love itself. Her head dizzy with passion leans on the shoulder of that femininely handsome young man, who is shy and deeply in love. He steals a look at the perfect bodily form of the goddess who renders him fortunate; shyly he glances since he is ashamed to take a straight look. He plays the part of a quileless maiden whose lover just unrobed her.

Generally speaking, I am inclined to represent the aggressive woman. Man is aggressive by nature, in this respect nature being repeated in every single sample; the obvious exception to the rule is the aggressive woman. There is something unspeakably engaging in he manner that a woman in love, innocent and timid at the same time, is to approach a man who it either sullen for some kind of reason or even more chaste, more childlike than herself. You can see I am not referring to courtesans, to women whose experience is a guide to passionate love, but simply to the aggressiveness of womanly innocence. That is why I am now working on Aurora and Orion, on the whitest of my walls. You are aware that maidenly Aurora abducted Orion with whom the cruel virgin Diana had fallen in love, taking him to the island of Delos. The face of my Orion expresses that underlying somberness and pride that you may see in the faces of any young man, the face of Aurora that unquenchable joyfulness of young maidens. To achieve an expression of aggressiveness in such a face is a difficult task. One thing seems strange to me. After the hours of passionate love, a man fells deeply disheartened and sad; I even maintain that in such moments man is more capable of suicide, more indifferent to death than at any other time. On the other hand, I find that a virgin young man is more difficult to seduce than a maiden is and that poor Venus must have had her agony with Adonis. There is a mystery in this preceding aversion, in sadness after sensual pleasure. However, I cannot understand it.

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