“When the intoxication of this unbridled strength passes away, and is followed by a different mood,” remarked the merchant, “we will talk of this matter again,” and the confident tone of his deep voice gave the simple sentence such significance that the learned leech held out his hand, saying: “Only where deep, earnest longing for recovery fills the sufferer’s mind will the gods aid the physician. We will wait for the change which you predict, Archias!”
The guests did not disperse until late, and the best satisfied of all was the grammateus Proclus, who had taken advantage of the rich merchant’s happy mood, and his own warm intercession in behalf of his nephew’s work, to persuade Archias to advance Queen Arsinoe a large sum of money for an enterprise whose object he still carefully concealed.
The highly honoured blind artist spent the night under his uncle’s roof.
Hermon rose from his couch the next morning alert and ready for new pleasures.
He had scarcely left the bath when envoys from the Ephebi and the younger artists invited him to the festivities which they had arranged in his honour. He joyously accepted, and also promised messengers from many of Archias’s friends, who wished to have the famous blind sculptor among their guests, to be present at their banquets.
He still felt as if he were intoxicated, and found neither disposition nor time for quiet reflection. His great strength, fettered as it were by his loss of sight, now also began to stir. Fate itself withheld him from the labour which he loved, yet in return it offered him a wealth of varying pleasure, whose stimulating power he had learned the day before. He still relished the draught from the beaker of homage proffered by his fellow-citizens; nay, it seemed as if it could not lose its sweetness for a long time.
He joined the ladies before noon, and his newly awakened feeling of joy beamed upon them scarcely less radiantly than yesterday. Though Thyone might wonder that a man pursued by Nemesis could allow himself to be borne along so thoughtlessly by the stream of pleasure, Daphne certainly did not grudge him the festal season which, when it had passed, could never return to the blind artist. When it was over, he would yearn for the quiet happiness at her side, which gazed at him like the calm eyes of the woman he loved. With her he would cast anchor for the remainder of his life; but first must come the period when he enjoyed the compensation now awarded to him for such severe sufferings.
His heart was full of joy as he greeted Daphne and the Lady Thyone, whom he found with her; but his warm description of the happy emotion which had overpowered him at the abundant honours lavished upon him was interrupted by Archias.
In his usual quick, brisk manner, he asked whether Hermon wished to occupy the beautiful villa with the magnificent garden on Lake Mareotis, inherited from Myrtilus, which could scarcely be reached in a vehicle from the Brucheium in less than an hour, or the house situated in the centre of the city, and Hermon promptly decided in favour of the latter.