Page:The Life of Michael Angelo.djvu/203

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137
FAITH

letter with this jovial recommendation: "And now try to live, remembering well that the number of widows is always greater than that of widowers."[1]


Two months later he sent to Cassandra, instead of the promised necklace, two rings—one set with a diamond, the other with a ruby. To thank him, Cassandra made him a present of eight shirts. Michael Angelo wrote in reply:

"They are beautiful, especially the material, and they please me greatly. But I am sorry that you have gone to this expense, for I had everything I needed. Give my best thanks to Cassandra and tell her that I am at her disposal to send anything in the way of Roman or other articles I may find here. This time I have sent only a little thing; another time we will do better, with some object which will give her pleasure. Only tell me."[2]


Soon children were born. The first was called Buonarroto,[3] at the request of Michael Angelo; the second (who died shortly after birth) Michael Angelo.[4] And the old uncle who invited the young couple to visit him in Rome in 1556 never ceased affectionately to take part in the joys as well as in the troubles of the family, but without ever allowing them to occupy themselves either with his affairs or even with his health.

Outside family relations Michael Angelo did not lack illustrious or distinguished friends.[5] Notwithstanding

  1. "Letters," May 20, 1553
  2. The same, August 5, 1553.
  3. Born in 1554.
  4. Born in 1555.
  5. We must make a clear distinction between the periods of his life. In Michael Angelo's long career we find times when he lived in solitude, but also others when he had intercourse with friends. Thus, about 151 5, he was one of a little circle of Florentines at Rome—all open-minded and good-humoured men