«Crossing the Bay of Naples on a limpid January morning he had the feeling of crossing the Lethe. Europe, an old hag bedizened with lies, had been left behind. The Sirens’ isle floated on the horizon, much as it had been when, in Homer’s day, its monstrous but seductive tenants seduced poor mariners. Jacques took no pains to forget that the island had been Allers’ downfall and the source of Krupp’s misfortunes. He would avoid their fate by not making in the scene of loves unworthy of him. The better to outface the moralists, he would make himself unassailable. The ephebes of Capri, of Tiberius, belonged to those “cortèges qui étaient déjà passés”.
Still, it was the memory of Tiberius which was drawing him to the divine island and in that emperor’s shade would he build his villa – an “acropolis of beauty” He scanned the promontory to make sure that no house had been built on it. He greeted its unchanged appearance as an omen; there was still nothing but the chapel and statue of Our Lady – and the magnificent solitude.»