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Title: On Love
Author: Stendhal
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "On Love" ***

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                                ON LOVE


                             (HENRY BEYLE)

                                ON LOVE

                      TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH



                          PHILIP SIDNEY WOOLF


                     CECIL N. SIDNEY WOOLF, M. A.


That you should be made a fool of by a young woman, why, it is many an
                          honest man's case.

                             _The Pirate._

                               NEW YORK


                               TO B. K.

                               FOR WHOM

                            THE TRANSLATION

                               WAS BEGUN

                        _First Published 1915_

                           _Reprinted 1920_

                      Printed in Great Britain at

     _The Mayflower Press, Plymouth_. William Brendon & Son, Ltd.

[Pg v]

Stendhal's three prefaces to this work on Love are not an encouraging
opening. Their main theme is the utter incomprehensibility of the book
to all but a very select few--"a hundred readers only": they are rather
warnings than introductions. Certainly, the early life of Stendhal's
_De l'Amour_ justifies this somewhat distant attitude towards the
public. The first and second editions were phenomenal failures--not
even a hundred readers were forthcoming. But Stendhal, writing in
the early part of the nineteenth century, himself prophesied that
the twentieth would find his ideas at least more comprehensible. The
ideas of genius in one age are the normal spiritual food for superior
intellect in the next. Stendhal is still something of a mystery to
the general public; but the ideas, which he agitated, are at present
regarded as some of the most important subjects for immediate enquiry
by many of the keenest and most practical minds of Europe.

A glance at the headings of the chapters gives an idea of the breadth
of Stendhal's treatment of love. He touches on every side of the
social relationship between man and woman; and while considering the
disposition of individual nations towards love, gives us a brilliant,
if one-sided, general criticism of these nations, conscious throughout
of the intimate connexion in any given age between its conceptions of
love and the status of woman.

Stendhal's ideal of love has various names: it is generally
"passion-love," but more particularly "love

[Pg vi]
_à l'italienne._"[1] The thing in itself is always the same--it is the
love of a man and a woman, not as husband and wife, not as mistress
and lover, but as two human beings, who find the highest possible
pleasure, not in passing so many hours of the day or night together,
but in living one life. Still more, it is the attachment of two free
fellow-creatures--not of master and slave.

Stendhal was born in 1783--eight years before Olympe de Gouges, the
French Mary Wollstonecraft, published her _Déclaration des Droits
des Femmes_. That is to say, by the time Stendhal had reached mental
maturity, Europe had for some time been acquainted with the cry for
Women's Rights, and heard the earliest statement of the demands, which
have broadened out into what our age glibly calls the "Woman Question."
How, may we ask, does Stendhal's standpoint correspond with his
chronological position between the French Revolution and the "Votes for
Women" campaign of the present day?

Stendhal is emphatically a champion of Women's Rights. It is true that
the freedom, which Stendhal demands, is designed for other ends than
are associated to-day with women's claims. Perhaps Stendhal, were he
alive now, would cry out against what he would call a distortion of
the movement he championed. Men, and still more women, must be free,
Stendhal holds, in order to love; his chapters in this book on the
education of women are all an earnest and brilliant plea to prove
that an educated woman is not necessarily a pedant; that she is, on
the contrary, far more _lovable_ than the uneducated woman, whom our
grandfathers brought up on the piano, needlework and the Catechism; in
fine, that intellectual sympathy is the true basis of happiness in the
relations of the two sexes. Modern exponents of Women's Rights will say
that this is true, but only half the truth. It would be more correct to
say that Stendhal

[Pg vii]
saw the whole truth, but forbore to follow it out to its logical
conclusion with the blind _intransigeance_ of the modern propagandist.
Be that as it may, Stendhal certainly deserves more acknowledgment, as
one of the pioneers in the movement, than he generally receives from
its present-day supporters.

       *       *       *       *       *

Stendhal was continually lamenting his want of ability to write.
According to him, a perusal of the _Code Civil_, before composition,
was the best way he had found of grooming his style. This may well have
something to do with the opinion, handed on from one history of French
literature to another, that Stendhal, like Balzac--it is usually put
in these very words--_had no style_. It is not, correctly speaking,
what the critics themselves mean: to have no style would be to chop and
change from one method of expression to another, and nothing could be
less truly said of either of these writers. They mean that he had a bad
style, and that is certainly a matter of taste. Perhaps the critics,
while condemning, condemn themselves. It is the severe beauty of the
_Code Civil_ which, makes them uncomfortable. An eye for an eye and a
spade for a spade is Stendhal's way. He is suspicious of the slightest
adornment: everything that is thought clearly can be written simply.
Other writers have had as simplified a style--Montesquieu or Voltaire,
for example--but there is scant merit in telling simply a simple
lie, and Voltaire, as Stendhal himself says, was afraid of things
which are difficult to put into words. This kind of daintiness is not
Stendhal's simplicity: he is merely uncompromising and blunt. True,
his bluntness is excessive. A nice balance between the severity of the
_Code Civil_ and the "drums and tramplings" of Elizabethan English
comes as naturally to an indifferent pen, whipped into a state of false
enthusiasm, as it is foreign to the warmth

[Pg viii]
of genuine conviction. Had Stendhal been a little less vehement and a
little less hard-headed, there might have been fewer modifications, a
few less repetitions, contradictions, ellipses--but then so much the
less Stendhal. In that case he might have trusted himself: as it was he
knew his own tendency too well and took fright. Sometimes in reading
Carlyle, one wishes that he had felt the same kind of modesty: he,
certainly, could never have kept to the thin centre line, and we should
have had another great writer "without a style." Effect meant little
to Stendhal, hard fact and clearness everything. Perhaps, he would
often have made his meaning clearer, if he had been less suspicious of
studied effect and elaborate writing. Not infrequently he succeeds in
being colloquial and matter-of-fact, without being definite.

Stendhal was beset with a horror of being artistic. Was it not he who
said of an artist, whose dress was particularly elaborate: "Depend upon
it, a man who adorns his person will also adorn his work"? Stendhal was
a soldier first, then a writer--Salviati[2] is a soldier. Certainly
it is his contempt for the type of person--even commoner, perhaps,
in 1914 than in 1814--who carries his emotions on his sleeve, which
accounts for Stendhal's naive disclaimer of personal responsibility,
the invention of Lisio[3] and Salviati, mythical authors of this work
on love--all a thin screen to hide his own obsession, which manages,
none the less, to break through unmasked on almost every page.

The translation makes no attempt to hide these peculiarities or even
to make too definite a sense from a necessarily doubtful passage.[4]
Its whole aim is to reproduce

[Pg ix]
Stendhal's essay in English, just as it stands in French. No
other English translation of the whole work exists: only a selection
of its maxims translated piece-meal.[5] Had a translation existed,
we should certainly not have undertaken another. As it is, we have
relied upon a great sympathy with the author, and a studied adhesion
to what he said, in order to reconstruct this essay--encouraged by the
conviction that the one is as necessary as the other in order to obtain
a satisfactory result. Charles Cotton's _Montaigne_ seems to us the
pattern of all good translations.

                   *       *       *       *       *

In spite of the four prefaces of the original, we felt it advisable
to add still another to the English translation. Stendhal said that
no book stood in greater need of a word of introduction. That was
in Paris--here it is a foreigner, dressed up, we trust, quite _à
l'anglaise_, but still, perhaps, a little awkward, and certainly in
need of something more than the chilly announcement of the title
page--about as encouraging as the voice of the flunkey, who bawls out
your name at a party over the heads of the crowd already assembled.
True, the old English treatment of foreigners has sadly degenerated:
more bows than brickbats are their portion, now London knows the charm
of _cabarets, revues_ and cheap French cooking.[6]

The work in itself is conspicuous, if not unique. Books on Love are
legion: how could it be otherwise? It was probably the first topic
of conversation, and none has since been found more interesting. But
Stendhal has devised a new treatment of the subject. His method is
analytical and scientific, but, at the same time,

[Pg x]
there is no attempt at bringing the subject into line with a science;
it is no part of erotology--there is no

    Greek ending with a little passing bell
    That signifies some faith about to die.[7]

His faith is unimpeachable and his curiosity and honesty unbounded:
this is what makes him conspicuous. In claiming to be scientific,
Stendhal meant nothing more than that his essay was based purely upon
unbiassed observation; that he accepted nothing upon vague hearsay
or from tradition; that even the finer shades of sentiment could be
observed with as much disinterested precision, if not made to yield
as definite results, as any other natural phenomena. "The man who has
known love finds all else unsatisfying"--is, properly speaking, a
scientific fact.

Analytical, however, is the best word to characterise the Stendhalian
method. Scientific suggests, perhaps, more naturally the broader
treatment of love, which is familiar in Greek literature, lives all
through the Middle Ages, is typified in Dante, and survives later in
a host of Renaissance dialogues and treatises on Love. This love--see
it in the _Symposium_ of Plato, in Dante or in the _Dialoghi_ of Leone
Ebreo--is more than a human passion, it is also the _amor che muove il
sole e le altre stelle_, the force of attraction which, combined with
hate, the force of repulsion, is the cause of universal movement. In
this way love is not only scientifically treated, it embraces all other
sciences within it. Scientists will smile, but the day of Science and
Art with a contemptuous smile for each other is over. True, the feeling
underlying this cosmic treatment of love is very human, very simple--a
conviction that love, as a human passion, is all-important, and a
desire to justify its importance by finding it a place in a larger
order of

[Pg xi]
things, in the "mystical mathematics of the kingdom of Heaven." Weaker
heads than Plato are also pleased to call love divine, without knowing
very clearly what they mean by divinity. Their ignorance is relative;
the allegorical representation of Eros--damned and deified alternately
by the poets--is in motive, perhaps, not so far from what we have
called the scientific, but, perhaps, might better have named the
cosmic, treatment.

In a rough classification of books on Love one can imagine a large
number collected under the heading--"Academic." One looks for something
to express that want of plain dealing, of _terre-à-terre_ frankness,
which is so deplorable in the literature of Love, and is yet the
distinctive mark of so much of it. "Academic" comprehends a wide range
of works all based on a more or less set or conventional theory of the
passions. It includes the average modern novel, in which convention is
supreme and experience negligible--just a traditional, lifeless affair,
in which there is not even a pretence of curiosity or love of truth.
And, at the same time, "academic" is the label for the kind of book in
which convention is rather on the surface, rather in the form than in
the matter. Tullia of Aragon, for example, was no tyro in the theory
and practice of love, but her _Dialogo d'Amore_ is still distinctly
academic. Of course it is easy to be misled by a stiff varnish of
old-fashioned phrase; the reader in search of sincerity will look for
it in the thought expressed, not in the manner of expression. There is
more to be learnt about love from Werther, with all his wordy sorrows,
than from the slick tongue of Yorick, who found it a singular blessing
of his life "to be almost every hour of it miserably in love with
someone." But, then, just because Werther is wordy, all his feelings
come out, expressed one way or another. With Tullia, and others like
her, one feels that so much is suppressed, because it did not fit the

[Pg xii]
frame. What she says she felt, but she must have felt so much more or
have known that others felt more.

This suppression of truth has, of course, nothing to do with the
partial treatment of love necessary often in purely imaginative
literature. No one goes to poetry for an anatomy of love. Not love, but
people in love, are the business of a playwright or a novelist. The
difference is very great. The purely imaginative writer is dealing with
situations first, and then with the passions that cause them.

Here it is interesting to observe that Stendhal, in gathering his
evidence, makes use of works of imagination as often as works based
upon fact or his own actual experience.[8] Characters from Scott are
called in as witnesses, side by side with Mademoiselle de Lespinasse or
Mariana Alcaforado.

The books mentioned by Stendhal are of two distinct kinds. There are
those, from which he draws evidence and support for his own theories,
and in which the connexion with love is only incidental (Shakespeare's
Plays, for example, _Don Juan_ or the _Nouvelle Héloïse_), and
others whose authors are really his forerunners, such as André le
Chapelain.[9] Stendhal gives some account of this curious writer, who
perhaps comes nearer his own analytical method than any later writer.
In fact, we have called Stendhal unique perhaps too rashly--there are
others he does not mention, who, in a less sustained and intentional
way, have attempted an analytical, and still imaginative, study of
love. Stendhal makes no mention of a short essay on Love by Pascal,
which certainly falls in the same category as his own. It is less
illuminating than one might expect, but to read it is to appreciate
still more the restraint, which Stendhal has consciously forced upon
himself. Others also since

[Pg xiii]
Stendhal--Baudelaire, for instance--have made casual and valuable
investigations in the Stendhalian method. Baudelaire has here and there
a maxim which, in brilliance and exactitude, equals almost anything in
this volume.[10]

And then--though this is no place for a bibliography of love--there
is Hazlitt's _Liber Amoris_. Stendhal would have loved that patient,
impartial chronicle of love's ravages: instead of Parisian _salons_ and
Duchesses it is all servant-girls and Bloomsbury lodging-houses; but
the _Liber Amoris_ is no less pitiful and, if possible, more real than
the diary of Salviati.

There are certain books which, for the frequency of their mention
in this work, demand especial attention of the reader--they are its
commentary and furnish much of the material for its ideas.

In number CLXV of "Scattered Fragments" (below, p. 328) Stendhal gives
the list as follows:--

  The _Autobiography_ of Benvenuto Cellini.
  The novels of Cervantes and Scarron.
  _Manon Lescaut_ and _Le Doyen de Killerine_, by the Abbé Prévôt.
  The Latin Letters of Héloïse to Abelard.
  _Tom Jones._
  _Letters of a Portuguese Nun._
  Two or three stories by Auguste La Fontaine.
  Pignotti's _History of Tuscany_.
  _Memoirs_ of Carlo Gozzi (Venice, 1760)--only the eighty pages on
      the history of his love affairs.
  The _Memoirs_ of Lauzun, Saint-Simon, d'Épinay, de Staël, Marmontel,
      Bezenval, Roland, Duclos, Horace Walpole, Evelyn, Hutchinson.
  Letters of Mademoiselle Lespinasse.

[Pg xiv]
All these are more or less famous works, with which, at least by name,
the general reader is familiar. Brantôme's witty and entertaining
writings, the _Letters of a Portuguese Nun_ and those of Mademoiselle
de Lespinasse, perhaps the sublimest letters that have ever been
written, are far less read than they deserve. The rest--excepting
perhaps Scarron, Carlo Gozzi, Auguste La Fontaine, and one or two of
the less-known Memoirs--are the common reading of a very large public.

This list of books is mentioned as the select library of Lisio
Visconti, who "was anything but a great reader." Lisio Visconti is one
of the many imaginary figures, behind which hides Stendhal himself; we
have already suggested one reason for this curious trait. Besides Lisio
Visconti and Salviati, we meet Del Rosso, Scotti, Delfante, Pignatelli,
Zilietti, Baron de Bottmer, etc. etc. Often these phantom people are
mentioned side by side with a character from a book or a play or with
someone Stendhal had actually met in life. General Teulié[11] is a
real person--Stendhal's superior officer on his first expedition in
Italy: Schiassetti is a fiction. In the same way the dates, which the
reader will often find appended to a story or a note, sometimes give
the date of a real event in Stendhal's life, while at other times it
can be proved that, at the particular time given, the event mentioned
could not have taken place. This falsification of names and dates was a
mania with Stendhal. To most of his friends he gave a name completely
different from their real one, and adopted with each of them a special
pseudonym for himself. The list of Stendhal's pseudonyms is extensive
and amusing.[12] But he was not always thorough in his system of
disguise: he is even known to have written from Italy a letter in
cypher, enclosing at the same time the key to the cypher!

[Pg xv]
We have only to make a few additions to Lisio Visconti's list of books
already mentioned, in order to have a pretty fair account of the main
sources of reference and suggestion, to which Stendhal turned in
writing his _De l'Amour_.[13] There are Rousseau's _Nouvelle Héloïse_
and _Émile_. Stendhal holds that, except for very green youth, the
_Nouvelle Héloïse_ is unreadable. Yet in spite of its affectation,
it remained for him one of the most important works for the study of
genuine passion. Then we must add the _Liaisons Dangereuses_--a work
which bears certain resemblances to Stendhal's _De l'Amour_. Both
are the work of a soldier and both have a soldierly directness; for
perfect balance and strength of construction few books have come near
the _Liaisons Dangereuses_--none have ever surpassed it. There is the
_Princesse de Clèves_ of Madame de Lafayette and _Corinne_ by Madame
de Staël, whose typically German and extravagant admiration for Italy
touched a weak spot in Stendhal. After Chateaubriand's _Génie du
Christianisme_, which Stendhal also refers to more than once, the works
of Madame de Staël were, perhaps, the greatest working influence in the
rise of Romanticism. What wonder, then, that Stendhal was interested?
To the letters of Mlle. de Lespinasse and of the Portuguese Nun we
must add the letters of Mirabeau, written during his imprisonment at
Vincennes, to Sophie de Monnier. Further, we must add the writings of
certain moral teachers whose names occur frequently in the following
pages: Helvétius, whom Clarétie[14] amusingly calls the _enfant
terrible_ of the philosophers; de Tracy[15]; Volney, author of the once
celebrated _Ruines_, traveller and philosopher. These names are only
the most important. Stendhal's reading was

[Pg xvi]
extensive, and we might swell the list with the names of Montesquieu,
Condillac, Condorcet, Chamfort, Diderot--to name only the moralists.

It is noticeable that almost all these books, mentioned as the
favourite authorities of Stendhal, are eighteenth-century works.
The fact will seem suspicious to those inclined to believe that the
eighteenth century was a time of pretty ways and gallantry _à la_
Watteau, or of windy mouthings about Cause and Effect, Duties and
Principles, Reason and Nature. But, to begin with, neither estimate
comes near the mark; and, moreover, Stendhal hated Voltaire almost
as much as Blake did. It was not an indiscriminate cry of Rights and
Liberty which interested Stendhal in the eighteenth century. The old
_régime_ was, of course, politically uncongenial to him, the liberal
and Bonapartist, and he could see the stupidity and injustice and
hollowness of a society built up on privilege. But even if Stendhal,
like the happy optimist of to-day, had mistaken the hatred of past
wrongs for a proof of present well-being, how could a student of Love
fail to be fascinated by an age such as that of Lewis XV? It was the
leisure for loving, which, as he was always remarking, court-life
and only court-life makes possible, that reconciled him to an age he
really despised. Moreover, the mass of memoirs and letters of the
distinguished men and women of the eighteenth century, offering as
it does material for the study of manners unparalleled in any other
age, inevitably led him back to the court-life of the _ancien régime_.
Besides, as has been already suggested, the contradiction in Stendhal
was strong. In spite of his liberalism, he was pleased in later life
to add the aristocratic "de" to the name of Beyle. With Lord Byron,
divided in heart between the generous love of liberty which led him
to fight for the freedom of Greece, and disgust at the vulgarity of
the Radical party, which he had left behind in England, Stendhal found
himself closely in sympathy

[Pg xvii]
when they met in Italy. It was the originality[16] of the men of the
sixteenth century which called forth his genuine praises; even the
statesmen-courtiers and soldiers of the heroic age of Lewis XIV awoke
his admiration;[17] the gallant courtiers and incompetent statesmen of
Lewis XV awoke at least his interest.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Stendhal's _De l'Amour_, and in less degree his novels, have had
to struggle for recognition, and the cause has largely been the
peculiarity of his attitude--his scepticism, the exaggerated severity
of his treatment of idyllic subjects, together with an unusual
complement of sentiment and appreciation of the value of sentiment for
the understanding of life. It is his manner of thinking, much rather
than the strangeness of his thoughts themselves, which made the world
hesitate to give Stendhal the position which it now accords him. But at
least one great discovery the world did find in _De l'Amour_--a novelty
quite apart from general characteristics, apart from its strange
abruptness and stranger truth of detail. Stendhal's discovery is
"Crystallisation"; it is the central idea of his book. The word was his
invention, though the thought, which it expresses so decisively, is to
be found, like most so-called advanced ideas, hidden away in a corner
of Montaigne's Essays.[18] Crystallisation is the

[Pg xviii]
process by which we love an object for qualities, which primarily
exist in our fancy and which we lend to it, that is to say, imaginary
or unreal qualities. While Montaigne, and others no doubt, had seen
in this a peculiarity of love, Stendhal saw in it love's essential
characteristic--one might say, its explanation, if love were capable of
being explained. Besides, in this book Stendhal is seeking the _how_
not the _why_ of love. And he goes beyond love: he recognises the
influence of crystallisation upon other sides of life besides love.
Crystallisation has become an integral part of the world's equipment
for thought and expression.

The crisis in Stendhal's posthumous history is Sainte-Beuve's
_Causeries des Lundis_ of January 2nd and 9th, 1854, of which Stendhal
was the subject. Stendhal died in 1842. It is sometimes said that his
reputation is a fictitious reputation, intentionally worked up by
partisanship and without regard to merit, that in his lifetime he was
poorly thought of. This is untrue. His artistic activities, like his
military, were appreciated by those competent to judge them. He was
complimented by Napoleon on his services prior to the retreat from
Moscow; Balzac, who of all men was capable of judging a novel and,
still more, a direct analysis of a passion, was one of his admirers,
and particularly an admirer of _De l'Amour_. From the general public
he met to a great extent with mistrust, and for a few years after his
death his memory was honoured with apathetic silence. The few, a chosen
public and some faithful friends--Mérimée and others--still cherished
his reputation. In 1853, owing in great measure to the efforts of
Romain Colomb and Louis Crozet, a complete edition of his works was
published by Michel-Lévy. And then, very appropriately, early in the
next year was heard the impressive judgment of Sainte-Beuve. Perhaps
the justest remark in that just appreciation is where he gives Stendhal
the merit of being one of the first Frenchmen to travel _littérairement

[Pg xix]
parlant_.[19] Stendhal came back from each of his many and frequent
voyages, like the happy traveller in Joachim du Bellay's sonnet, _plein
d'usage et raison_--knowing the ways of men and full of ripe wisdom.
And this is true not only of his travels over land and sea, but also of
those into the thoughtful world of books.

An equally true--perhaps still truer--note was struck by Sainte-Beuve,
when he insisted on the important place in Stendhal's character played
by _la peur d'être dupe_--the fear of being duped. Stendhal was always
and in all situations beset by this fear; it tainted his happiest
moments and his best qualities. We have already remarked on the effect
on his style of his mistrust of himself--it is the same characteristic.
A sentimental romantic by nature, he was always on his guard against
the follies of a sentimental outlook; a sceptic by education and the
effect of his age, he was afraid of being the dupe of his doubts; he
was sceptical of scepticism itself. This tended to make him unreal and
affected, made him often defeat his own ends in the oddest way. In
order to avoid the possibility of being carried away too far along a
course, in which instinct led him, he would choose a direction approved
instead by his intellect, only to find out too late that he was cutting
therein a sorry figure. Remember, as a boy he made his entrance into
the world "with the fixed intention of being a seducer of women," and
that, late in life, he made the melancholy confession that his normal
role was that of the lover crossed in love. Here lies the commentary on
not a little in Stendhal's life and works.

The facts of his life can be told very briefly.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Henry Beyle, who wrote under the name of Stendhal, was born at Grenoble
in 1783, and was educated in his

[Pg xx]
native town. In 1799 he came to Paris and was placed there under the
protection of Daru, an important officer under Napoleon, a relative and
patron of his family. But he showed no fitness for the various kinds
of office work to which he was put. He tried his hand at this time,
unsuccessfully also, at painting.

In 1800, still under the protection of Daru, he went to Italy, and,
having obtained a commission in the 6th regiment of Dragoons, had
his first experience of active service. By 1802 he had distinguished
himself as a soldier, and it was to the general surprise of all who
knew him, that he returned to France on leave, handed in his papers and
returned to Grenoble.

He soon returned to Paris, there to begin serious study. But in 1806,
he was once more with Daru and the army,--present at the triumphal
entry of Napoleon into Berlin. It was directly after this that he was
sent to Brunswick as assistant _commissaire des guerres_.

He left Brunswick in 1809, but after a flying visit to Paris, he was
again given official employment in Germany. He was with the army at
Vienna. After the peace of Schoenbrunn he returned once more to Paris
in 1810.

In 1812, he saw service once more--taking an active and distinguished
part in the Russian campaign of that year. He was complimented by
Napoleon on the way he had discharged his duties in the commissariat.
He witnessed the burning of Moscow and shared in the horrors and
hardships of the retreat.

In 1813 his duties brought him to Segan in Silesia, and in 1814 to his
native town of Grenoble.

The fall of Napoleon in the same year deprived him of his position and
prospects. He went to Milan and stayed there with little interruption
till 1821; only leaving after these, the happiest, years of his life,
through fear of being implicated in the Carbonari troubles.

In 1830, he was appointed to the consulate of Trieste; but Metternich,
who, no doubt, mistrusted his liberal

[Pg xxi]
tendencies, refused to ratify his appointment, and he was transferred
to Civita Vecchia. This unhealthy district tried his health, and
frequent travel did not succeed in repairing it.

In 1841, he was on leave in Paris, where he died suddenly in the
following year.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Stendhal's best-known books are his two novels: _La Chartreuse de
Parme_ and _Le Rouge et le Noir_. Besides these there are his works of
travel--_Promenades dans Rome_ and _Rome, Florence et Naples_; _Mémoire
d'un Touriste_; his history of Italian painting; his lives of Haydn,
Mozart and Rossini; _L'Abbesse de Castro_ and other minor works of
fiction; finally a number of autobiographical works, of which _La Vie
de Henri Brulard_, begun in his fiftieth year and left incomplete, is
the most important.

But _De l'Amour_, Stendhal himself considered his most important work;
it was written, as he tells us, in his happy years in Lombardy. It was
published on his return to Paris in 1822, but it had no success, and
copies of this edition are very rare. Recently it has been reprinted
by Messrs. J. M. Dent and Sons (in _Chef d'Œuvres de la Littérature
Française_, London and Paris, 1912). The second edition (1833) had no
more success than the first and is equally difficult to find. Stendhal
was preparing a third edition for the press when he died in 1842. In
1853 the work made a new appearance in the edition of Stendhal's works
published by Michel-Lévy, since reprinted by Calmann-Lévy. It contains
certain additions, some of which Stendhal probably intended for the new
edition, which he was planning at the time of his death.

Within the last year have appeared the first volumes of a new French
edition of Stendhal's works, published by Messrs. Honoré and Edouard
Champion of Paris.

[Pg xxii]
It will be the most complete edition of Stendhal's works yet published
and is the surest evidence that Stendhal's position in French
literature is now assured. The volume containing _De l'Amour_ has not
yet appeared.

The basis of this translation is the first edition, to which we have
only added three prefaces, written by Stendhal at various, subsequent
dates and all well worth perusal. Apart from these, we have preferred
to leave the book just as it appeared in the two editions, which were
published in Stendhal's own lifetime.

We may, perhaps, add a word with regard to our notes at the end of
the book. We make no claim that they are exhaustive: we intended only
to select some few points for explanation or illustration, with the
English reader in view. Here and there in this book are sentences and
allusions which we can no more explain than could Stendhal himself,
when in 1822 he was correcting the proof-sheets: as he did, we have
left them, preferring to believe with him that "the fault lay with
the self who was reading, not with the self who had written." But,
these few enigmas aside--and they are very few--to make an exhaustive
collection of notes on this book would be to write another volume--one
of those volumes of "Notes and Appendices," under which scholars bury a
Pindar or Catullus. That labour we will gladly leave to others--to be
accomplished, we hope, a thousand years hence, when French also is a
"dead" language.

In conclusion we should like to express our thanks to our friend
Mr. W. H. Morant, of the India Office, who has helped us to see the
translation through the Press.

P. and C. N. S. W.

[1] See p. 195, below.

[2] See below, Chap. XXXI.

[3] See note at end of Chap. I, p. 21, below; also p. XIV and p. 157,
n. 3, below.

[4] Stendhal confesses that he went so far "as to print several
passages which he did not understand himself." (See p. 4, below.)

[5] _Maxims of Love_ (Stendhal). (Royal Library, Arthur Humphreys,
London, 1906).

[6] Lady Holland told Lord Broughton in 1815, that she remembered "when
it used to be said on the invitation cards: 'No foreigners dine with
us.'" (_Recollections of a Long Life_, Vol. I, p. 327).

[7] He does call it, once or twice, a "Physiology of Love," and
elsewhere a "_livre d'idéologie_," but apologises for its singular form
at the same time. (See Fourth Preface, p. 11, and Chap. III, p. 27, n.

[8] See p. 63, n. 1, below.

[9] See p. 339, below.

[10] See Translators' note 11, p. 343, below.

[11] See p. 309, below.

[12] The list may be found in _Les plus belles pages de Stendhal_
(Mercure de France, Paris, 1908, pp. 511-14).

[13] On p. 7, below, Stendhal refers to some of the "best" books on

[14] _Histoire de la Littérature Française_ (800-1900), Paris, 1907.

[15] See Translators' note 47, p. 353, below.

[16] See Chap. XLI, p. 159, below.

[17] See Chap. XLI, p. 160, n. 4, below.

[18] "Like the passion of Love that lends Beauties and Graces to
the Person it does embrace; and that makes those who are caught
with it, with a depraved and corrupt Judgment, consider the
thing they love other and more perfect than it is."--Montaigne's
_Essays_, Bk. II, Chapter XVII (Cotton's translation.) This is
"crystallisation"--Stendhal could not explain it better.

We cannot here forgo quoting one more passage from Montaigne, which
bears distinctly upon other important views of Stendhal. "I say that
Males and Females are cast in the same Mould and that, Education and
Usage excepted, the Difference is not great.... It is much more easy
to accuse one Sex than to excuse the other. 'Tis according to the
Proverb--'Ill may Vice correct Sin.'" (Bk. Ill, Chap. V).

[19] "In a literary sense."

[Pg xxiii]

Introductory Preface to the Translation                              v

Author's Preface.   I. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1
                   II. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
                  III. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
                   IV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11

                              BOOK I


      I. Of Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
     II. Of the Birth of Love. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
    III. Of Hope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  26
     IV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  29
      V. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  30
     VI. The Crystals of Salzburg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  31
    VII. Differences between the Birth of Love in the Two Sexes. .  33
   VIII. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  35
     IX. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  39
      X. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  40
     XI. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  43
    XII. Further Consideration of Crystallisation. . . . . . . . .  45
   XIII. Of the First Step; Of the Fashionable World;
            Of Misfortunes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  47
[Pg xxiv]
    XIV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  49
     XV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  52
    XVI. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  53
   XVII. Beauty Dethroned by Love. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  55
  XVIII. Limitations of Beauty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  57
    XIX. Limitations of Beauty (_continued_) . . . . . . . . . . .  59
     XX. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  62
    XXI. Love at First Sight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  63
   XXII. Of Infatuation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  66
  XXIII. The Thunderbolt from the Blue . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  67
   XXIV. Voyage in an Unknown Land . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  71
    XXV. The Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
   XXVI. Of Modesty. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  81
  XXVII. The Glance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
 XXVIII. Of Feminine Pride . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  90
   XXIX. Of Women's Courage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  98
    XXX. A Peculiar and Mournful Spectacle . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
   XXXI. Extract from the Diary of Salviati. . . . . . . . . . . . 103
  XXXII. Of Intimate Intercourse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
 XXXIII. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
  XXXIV. Of Confidences. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
   XXXV. Of Jealousy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
  XXXVI. Of Jealousy (_continued_) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
 XXXVII. Roxana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
XXXVIII. Of Self-Esteem Piqued . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
  XXXIX. Of Quarrelsome Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
  XXXIX. (Part II) Remedies against Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
  XXXIX. (Part III). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149

[Pg xxv]
                              BOOK II

     XL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
    XLI. Of Nations with regard to Love--France. . . . . . . . . . 158
   XLII. France (_continued_). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
  XLIII. Italy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
   XLIV. Rome. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
    XLV. England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
   XLVI. England (_continued_) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
  XLVII. Spain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
 XLVIII. German Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184
   XLIX. A Day in Florence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
      L. Love in the United States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
     LI. Love in Provence up to the Conquest of Toulouse, in 1328,
            by the Barbarians from the North . . . . . . . . . . . 200
    LII. Provence in the Twelfth Century . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206
   LIII. Arabia--Fragments gathered and translated from an Arab
            collection entitled_ The Divan of Love_. . . . . . . . 213
    LIV. Of the Education of Women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
     LV. Objections to the Education of Women. . . . . . . . . . . 227
    LVI. Objections to the Education of Women (_continued_). . . . 236
    LVI. (Part II) On Marriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241
   LVII. Of Virtue, so Called. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243
  LVIII. State of Europe with regard to Marriage.--
                 Switzerland and the Oberland. . . . . . . . . . . 245
    LIX. Werther and Don Juan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254

                             BOOK III

Scattered Fragments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267

[Pg xxvi]

On the Courts of Love. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 332
Code of Love of the Twelfth Century. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 336
Note on André le Chapelain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 339
Translators' Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341

_Note:_ All the footnotes to the Translation, except those within
square brackets, which are the work of the Translators, are by Stendhal
himself. The Translators' notes at the end of the book are referred to
by numerals enclosed within round brackets.

[Pg 1]

It is in vain that an author solicits the indulgence of his public--the
printed page is there to give the lie to his pretended modesty. He
would do better to trust to the justice, patience and impartiality
of his readers, and it is to this last quality especially that the
author of the present work makes his appeal. He has often heard people
in France speak of writings, opinions or sentiments as being "truly
French"; and so he may well be afraid that, by presenting facts truly
as they are, and showing respect only for sentiments and opinions that
are universally true, he may have provoked that jealous exclusiveness,
which, in spite of its very doubtful character, we have seen of late
set up as a virtue. What, I wonder, would become of history, of ethics,
of science itself or of literature, if they had to be truly German,
truly Russian or Italian, truly Spanish or English, as soon as they had
crossed the Rhine, the Alps or the Channel? What are we to say to this
kind of justice, to this ambulatory truth? When we see such expressions
as "devotion truly Spanish," "virtues truly English," seriously
employed in the speeches of patriotic foreigners, it is high time to
suspect this sentiment, which expresses itself in very similar terms
also elsewhere. At Constantinople or among savages, this blind and
exclusive partiality for one's own country is a rabid thirst for blood;
among civilised peoples, it is a morbid, unhappy, restless vanity, that
is ready to turn on you for a pinprick.[2]

[1] [To the first edition, 1822.--Tr.]

[2] Extract from the Preface to M. Simond's _Voyage en Suisse_, pp. 7,

[Pg 2]

ThiS work has had no success: it has been found unintelligible--not
without reason. Therefore in this new edition the author's primary
intention has been to render his ideas with clearness. He has
related how they came to him, and he has made a preface and an
introduction--all in order to be clear. Yet, in spite of so much care,
out of a hundred who have read _Corinne_, there are not four readers
who will understand this volume.

Although it deals with Love, this little book is no novel, and still
less is it diverting like a novel. 'Tis simply and solely an exact
scientific description of a kind of madness which is very rarely to be
found in France. The Empire of propriety, growing day by day wider,
under the influence of our fear of ridicule much more than through the
purity of our morals, has made of the word, which serves as title to
this work, an expression, of which outspoken mention is avoided and
which at times seems even to give offence. I have been forced to make
use of it, but the scientific austerity of the language shelters me, I
think, in this respect, from all reproach.

       *       *       *       *       *

I know one or two Secretaries of Legation who will, at their return,
be able to tender me their services. Till then what can I say to the
people who deny the facts of my narration? Beg them not to listen to it.

[Pg 3]
The form I have adopted may be reproached with egoism. A traveller is
allowed to say: "_I_ was at New York, thence _I_ embarked for South
America, _I_ made my way back as far as Santa-Fé-de-Bogota. The gnats
and mosquitoes made _my_ life a misery during the journey, and for
three days _I_ couldn't use _my_ right eye."

The traveller is not accused of loving to talk of himself: all his
_me's_ and _my's_ are forgiven; for that is the clearest and most
interesting manner of telling what he has seen.

It is in order, if possible, to be clear and picturesque, that the
author of the present voyage into the little-known regions of the
human heart says: "I went with Mme. Gherardi to the salt mines of
Hallein.... Princess Crescenzi said to me at Rome.... One day at
Berlin I saw handsome Capt. L...." All these little things really
happened to the author, who passed fifteen years in Germany and Italy.
But more observant than sensitive, he never encountered the least
adventure himself, never experienced a single personal sentiment
worthy of narration. Even supposing that he had the pride to believe
the contrary, a still greater pride would have prevented him from
publishing his heart and selling it on the market for six francs, like
those people who in their lifetime publish their memoirs.

Correcting in 1822 the proofs of this kind of moral voyage in Italy and
Germany, the author, who had described the objects the day that he had
seen them, treated the manuscript, containing the detailed description
of all the phases of this malady of the soul called Love, with that
blind respect, shown by a scholar of the fourteenth century for a newly
unearthed manuscript of Lactantius or Quintius Curtius. When the author
met some obscure passage (and often, to say the truth, that happened),
he always believed that the fault lay with the self who was reading,
not with the self who had written. He confesses that his respect for the

[Pg 4]
early manuscript carried him so far as to print several passages, which
he did not understand himself. Nothing more foolish for anyone who
had thought of the good graces of the public; but the author, seeing
Paris again after long travels, came to the conclusion that without
grovelling before the Press a success was not to be had. Well, let him
who brings himself to grovel keep that for the minister in power! A
so-called success being out of the question, the author was pleased
to publish his thoughts exactly as they had come to him. This was
once upon a time the procedure of those philosophers of Greece, whose
practical wisdom filled him with rapturous admiration.

It requires years to gain admittance to the inner circle of Italian
society. Perhaps I shall have been the last traveller in that country.
For since the _Carbonari_ and the Austrian invasion, no foreigner will
ever be received as a friend in the _salons_, where such reckless
gaiety reigned. The traveller will see the monuments, streets and
public places of a city, never the society--he will always be held in
fear: the inhabitants will suspect that he is a spy, or fear that he
is laughing at the battle of Antrodoco and at the degradations, which,
in that land, are the one and only safeguard against the persecution
of the eight or ten ministers or favourites who surround the Prince.
Personally, I really loved the inhabitants and could see the truth.
Sometimes for ten months together I never spoke a word of French, and
but for political troubles and the _Carbonari_ I would never have
returned to France. Good-nature is what I prize above all things.

In spite of great care to be clear and lucid, I cannot perform
miracles: I cannot give ears to the deaf nor eyes to the blind. So the
people of great fortunes and gross pleasures, who have made a hundred
thousand francs in the year preceding the moment they open this book,
had better quickly shut it, especially if they are

[Pg 5]
bankers, manufacturers, respectable industrial folk--that's to
say, people with eminently positive ideas. This book would be less
unintelligible to anyone who had made a large sum of money on the Stock
Exchange or in a lottery. Such winnings may be found side by side with
the habit of passing hours together in day-dreams, in the enjoyment of
the emotion evoked by a picture of Prud'hon, a phrase of Mozart, still
more, a certain peculiar look of a woman who is often in your thoughts.
'Tis not in this way that these people "waste their time," who pay
ten thousand workmen at the end of each week: their minds work always
towards the useful and the positive. The dreamer, of whom I speak, is
the man they would hate, if they had time; 'tis him they like to make
the butt of their harmless jokes. The industrial millionaire feels
confusedly that such a man has more _estime_ for a thought than for a
bag of money.

I invite the studious young man to withdraw, if in the same year as
the industrial gained a hundred thousand francs, he has acquired the
knowledge of modern Greek, and is so proud of it that already he
aspires to Arabic. I beg not to open this book every man, who has
not been unhappy for imaginary reasons, reasons to which vanity is
stranger, and which he would be very ashamed to see divulged in the

I am sure to displease those women who capture the consideration of
these very _salons_ by an affectation that never lapses for an instant.
Some of these for a moment I have surprised in good earnest, and so
astonished, that, asking themselves the question, they could no longer
tell whether such and such a sentiment, as they had just expressed, was
natural or affected. How could such women judge of the portraiture of
real feelings? In fact this work has been their _bête noire_: they say
that the author must be a wretch.

To blush suddenly at the thought of certain youthful doings; to have
committed follies through sensibility

[Pg 6]
and to suffer for them, not because you cut a silly figure in the eyes
of the _salon_, but in the eyes of a certain person in the _salon_;
to be in love at the age of twenty-six in good earnest with a woman
who loves another, or even (but the case is so rare that I scarcely
dare write it, for fear of sinking again into the unintelligible, as
in the first edition)--or even to enter the _salon_ where the woman
is whom you fancy that you love, and to think only of reading in her
eyes her opinion of you at the moment, without any idea of putting on
a love-lorn expression yourself--these are the antecedents I shall ask
of my reader. The description of many of these rare and subtle feelings
has appeared obscure to people with positive ideas. How manage to be
clear in their eyes? Tell them of a rise of fifty centimes or a change
in the tariff of Columbia.[2]

The book before you explains simply and mathematically, so to speak,
the curious feelings which succeed each other and form a whole called
the Passion of Love.

Imagine a fairly complicated geometrical figure, drawn with white chalk
on a large blackboard. Well, I am going to explain that geometrical
figure, but on one condition--that it exists already on the blackboard,
for I personally cannot draw it. It is this impossibility that makes
it so difficult to write on Love a book which is not a novel. In order
to follow with interest a philosophic examination of this feeling,
something is wanted in the reader besides understanding: it is
absolutely necessary that Love has been seen by him. But then where can
a passion be seen?

This is a cause of obscurity that I shall never be able to eliminate.

[Pg 7]
Love resembles what we call the Milky Way in heaven, a gleaming mass
formed by thousands of little stars, each of which may be a nebula.
Books have noted four or five hundred of the little feelings hanging
together and so hard to recognise, which compose this passion. But
even in these, the least refined, they have often blundered and taken
the accessory for the principal. The best of these books, such as
the _Nouvelle Héloïse_, the novels of Madame Cottin, the Letters of
Mademoiselle de Lespinasse and _Manon Lescaut_, have been written in
France, where the plant called Love is always in fear of ridicule, is
overgrown by the demands of vanity, the national passion, and reaches
its full height scarcely ever.

What is a knowledge of Love got from novels? After seeing it
described--without ever feeling it--in hundreds of celebrated volumes,
what is to be said of seeking in mine the explanation of this madness?
I answer like an echo: "'Tis madness."

Poor disillusioned young lady, would you enjoy again that which busied
you so some years ago, which you dared mention to no one, which almost
cost you your honour? It is for you that I have refashioned this book
and tried to make it clearer. After reading it, never speak of it
without a little scornful turn, and throw it in your citron bookcase
behind the other books--I should even leave a few pages uncut.

'Tis not only a few pages that will be left uncut by the imperfect
creature, who thinks himself philosopher, because he has remained
always stranger to those reckless emotions, which cause all our
happiness of a week to depend upon a glance. Some people, coming to
the age of discretion, use the whole force of their vanity to forget
that there was a day when they were able to stoop so low as to court a
woman and expose themselves to the humiliation of a refusal: this book
will win their hatred. Among the many clever people, whom I have seen
condemn this work, for different reasons but all angrily,

[Pg 8]
those only seemed to me ridiculous, who had the twofold conceit to
pretend always to have been above the weakness of sensibility, and yet
to possess enough penetration to judge _a priori_ of the degree of
exactitude of a philosophic treatise, which is nothing but an ordered
description of these weaknesses.

The grave persons, who enjoy in society their reputation as safe men
with no romantic nonsense, are far nearer to the understanding of a
novel, however impassioned, than of a book of philosophy, wherein the
author describes coldly the various stages of the malady of the soul
called Love. The novel moves them a little; but before the philosophic
treatise these sensible people are like blind men, who getting a
description of the pictures in a museum read out to them, would say to
the author: "You must agree, sir, that your work is horribly obscure."
What is to happen if these blind men chance to be wits, established
long since in possession of that title and with sovereign claims to
clairvoyance? The poor author will be treated prettily. In fact, it is
what happened to him at the time of the first edition. Several copies
were actually burnt through the raging vanity of very clever people.
I do not speak of insults all the more flattering for their fury: the
author was proclaimed to be coarse, immoral, a writer for the people,
a suspicious character, etc. In countries outworn by monarchy, these
titles are the surest reward for whoever thinks good to write on morals
and does not dedicate his book to the Mme. Dubarry of the day. Blessed
literature, if it were not in fashion, and interested those alone for
whom it was written!

In the time of the _Cid_, Corneille was nothing for M. le Marquis de
Danjeau[3] but "a good fellow." Today the whole world thinks itself
made to read M. de Lamartine: so much the better for his publisher, but
so much the worse, and a hundred times the worse, for

[Pg 9]
that great poet. In our days genius offers accommodation to people to
whom, under penalty of losing caste, it should never so much as give a

The laborious and active, very estimable and very positive life of a
counsellor of State, of a manufacturer of cotton goods or of a banker
with a keen eye for loans finds its reward in millions, not in tender
sensation. Little by little the heart of these gentlemen ossifies:
the positive and the useful are for them everything, and their soul
is closed to that feeling, which of all others has the greatest need
of our leisure and makes us most unfit for any rational and steady

The only object of this preface is to proclaim that this book has the
misfortune of being incomprehensible to all who have not found time to
play the fool. Many people will feel offended and I trust they will go
no further.

[1] [May, 1826.--Tr.]

[2] "Cut this passage out," say my friends. "Nothing could be truer,
but beware of the men of business: they'll cry out on the aristocrat."
In 1812 I was not afraid of the Treasury: so why should I be afraid
of the millionaire in 1820? The ships supplied to the Pasha of Egypt
have opened my eyes in their direction, and I fear nothing but what I

[3] _Vide_ p. 120 of _Mémoires de Danjeau_ (Édition Genlis).

[Pg 10]

I write for a hundred readers only and of these unhappy charming
beings, without hypocrisy or moral cant, whom I would please, I know
scarcely a couple. Of such as lie to gain consideration as writers, I
take little heed. Certain fine ladies should keep to the accounts of
their cook and the fashionable preacher of the day, be it Massillon
or Mme. Necker, to be able to talk on these topics with the women of
importance who mete out consideration. And to be sure, in France this
noble distinction is always to be won by turning high priest of any fad.

To anyone who would read this book I would say: In all your life have
you been unhappy six months for love?

Or, was your soul ever touched by sorrow not connected with the thought
of a lawsuit, with failure at the last election, or with having cut a
less brilliant figure than usual last season at Aix? I will continue
my indiscretions and ask if in the year you have read any of those
impudent works, which compel the reader to think? For example, _Émile_
of J. J. Rousseau, or the six volumes of Montaigne? If, I should say,
you have never suffered through this infirmity of noble minds, if you
have not, in defiance of nature, the habit of thinking as you read,
this book will give you a grudge against its author: for it will make
you suspect that there exists a certain happiness, unknown to you and
known to Mlle. de Lespinasse.

[1] [May, 1834.--Tr.

[Pg 11]

I come to beg indulgence of the reader for the peculiar form of
this Physiology of Love. It is twenty-eight years (in 1842) since
the turmoil, which followed the fall of Napoleon, deprived me of my
position. Two years earlier chance threw me, immediately after the
horrors of the retreat from Russia, into the midst of a charming town,
where I had the enchanting prospect of passing the rest of my days.
In happy Lombardy, at Milan, at Venice, the great, or rather only,
business of life is pleasure. No attention, there, to the deeds and
movements of your neighbour; hardly a troubled thought for what is
to happen to you. If a man notice the existence of his neighbour, it
does not enter his head to hate him. Take away from the occupations
of a French provincial town jealousy--and what is left? The absence,
the impossibility of that cruel jealousy forms the surest part of that
happiness, which draws all the provincials to Paris.

Following the masked balls of Carnival, which in 1820 was more
brilliant than usual, the noise of five or six completely reckless
proceedings occupied the society of Milan an entire month; although
they are used over there to things which in France would pass for
incredible. The fear of ridicule would in this country paralyse such
fantastic actions: only to speak of them I need great courage.

One evening people were discussing profoundly the

[Pg 12]
effects and the causes of these extravagances, at the house of the
charming Mme. Pietra Grua(6), who happened, extraordinarily enough,
not to be mixed up with these escapades. The thought came to me that
perhaps in less than a year I should have nothing left of all those
strange facts, and of the causes alleged for them, but a recollection,
on which I could not depend. I got hold of a concert programme, and
wrote a few words on it in pencil. A game of faro was suggested: we
were thirty seated round a card-table, but the conversation was so
animated that people forgot to play. Towards the close of the evening
came in Col. Scotti, one of the most charming men in the Italian army:
he was asked for his quantum of circumstances relative to the curious
facts with which we were busy, and, indeed, his story of certain
things, which chance had confided to his knowledge, gave them an
entirely new aspect. I took up my concert programme and added these new

This collection of particulars on Love was continued in the same way,
with pencil and odd scraps of paper, snatched up in the _salons_, where
I heard the anecdotes told. Soon I looked for a common rule by which
to recognise different degrees in them. Two months later fear of being
taken for a _Carbonaro_ made me return to Paris--only for a few months
I hoped, but never again have I seen Milan, where I had passed seven

Pining with boredom at Paris, I conceived the idea of occupying myself
again with the charming country from which fear had driven me. I strung
together my scraps of paper and presented the book to a publisher.
But soon a difficulty was raised: the printer declared that it was
impossible to work from notes written in pencil and I could see that he
found such copy beneath his dignity. The printer's young apprentice,
who brought me back my notes, seemed quite ashamed of the more than
doubtful compliment, which had been put into

[Pg 13]
his mouth: he knew how to write and I dictated to him my pencil notes.

I understood, too, that discretion required me to change the proper
names, and, above all, abridge the anecdotes. Although no one reads in
Milan, the book, if ever it reached there, might have seemed a piece of
wicked mischief.

So I brought out an ill-fated volume. I have the courage to own that I
despised at that period elegance in style. I saw the young apprentice
wholly taken up with avoiding sentence-endings that were unmusical and
odd sounds in the arrangement of words. In return, he made throughout
no scruple of changing details of fact, difficult to express: Voltaire
himself is afraid of things which are difficult to tell.

The Essay on Love had no claim to merit except the number of the fine
shades of feeling, which I begged the reader to verify among his
memories, if he were happy enough to have any. But in all this there
was something much worse: I was then, as ever, very inexperienced in
the department of literature and the publisher, to whom I had presented
the MS., printed it on bad paper and in an absurd _format_. In fact a
month later, when I asked him for news of the book--"On peut dire qu'il
est sacré,"[2] he said, "For no one comes near it."

It had never even crossed my mind to solicit articles in the papers:
such a thing would have seemed to me an ignominy. And yet no work was
in more pressing need of recommendation to the patience of the reader.
Under the menace of becoming unintelligible at the very outset, it was
necessary to bring the public to accept the new word "crystallisation,"
suggested as a lively expression for that collection of strange
fancies, which we weave round our idea of the loved one, as true and
even indubitable realities.

[Pg 14]
At that time wholly absorbed in my love for the least details, which
I had lately observed in the Italy of my dreams, I avoided with care
every concession, every amenity of style, which might have rendered the
Essay on Love less peculiarly fantastic in the eyes of men of letters.

Further, I was not flattering to the public. Literature at that time,
all defaced by our great and recent misfortunes, seemed to have no
other interest than the consolation of our unhappy pride: it used to
rhyme "_gloire_" with "_victoire_," "_guerriers_" with "_lauriers_,"[3]
etc. The true circumstances of the situations, which it pretends to
treat, seem never to have any attraction for the tedious literature of
that period: it looks for nothing but an opportunity of complimenting
that people, enslaved to fashion, whom a great man had called a great
nation, forgetting that they were only great on condition that their
leader was himself.

As the result of my ignorance of the exigencies of the humblest
success, I found no more than seventeen readers between 1822 and 1833:
it is doubtful whether the Essay on Love has been understood after
twenty years of existence by a hundred connoisseurs. A few have had the
patience to observe the various phases of this disease in the people
infected with it in their circle; for we must speak of it as a disease,
in order to understand that passion which in the last thirty years our
fear of ridicule has taken so much trouble to hide--it is this way
which sometimes leads to its cure.

Now and now only, after half a century of revolutions, engrossing one
after another our whole attention, now and now only after five complete
changes in the form and the tendencies of our government, does the
revolution just begin to show itself in our way of living. Love, or
that which commonly appropriates Love's name and fills its place, was
all-powerful in the France of

[Pg 15]
Lewis XV. Colonels were created by the ladies of the court; and that
court was nothing less than the fairest place in the kingdom. Fifty
years after, the court is no more; and the gift of a licence to sell
tobacco in the meanest provincial town is beyond the power of the most
surely established ladies of the reigning _bourgeoisie_ or of the
pouting nobility.

It must be owned, women are out of fashion. In our brilliant _salons_
the young men of twenty affect not to address them; they much prefer to
stand round the noisy talker dealing, in a provincial accent, with the
question of the right to vote, and to try and slip in their own little
word. The rich youths, who, to keep up a show of the good-fellowship of
past times, take a pride in seeming frivolous, prefer to talk horses
and play high in the circles where women are excluded. The deadly
indifference which seems to preside over the relations of young men and
the women of five-and-twenty, for whose presence society has to thank
the boredom of marriage, will bring, perhaps, a few wise spirits to
accept this scrupulously exact description of the successive phases of
the malady called Love.

Seeing the terrible change which has plunged us into the stagnation of
to-day, and makes unintelligible to us the society of 1778, such as
we find it in the letters of Diderot to Mlle. Voland, his mistress,
or in the Memoirs of Madame d'Épinay, a man might ask the question,
which of our successive governments has killed in us the faculty of
enjoying ourselves, and drawn us nearer to the gloomiest people on
the face of the earth? The only passable thing which that people have
invented--parliament and the honesty of their parties--we are unable
even to copy. In return, the stupidest of their gloomy conceptions, the
spirit of dignity, has come among us to take the place of our French
gaiety, which is to be found now only in the five hundred balls in the
outskirts of Paris or in the south of France, beyond Bordeaux.

[Pg 16]
But which of our successive governments has cost us the fearful
misfortune of anglicisation? Must we accuse that energetic government
of 1793, which prevented the foreigners from coming to pitch their camp
in Montmartre--that government which in a few years will seem heroic in
our eyes and forms a worthy prelude to that, which under Napoleon, went
forth to carry our name into all the capitals of Europe?

We shall pass over the well-meaning stupidity of the _Directoire_,
illustrated by the talents of Carnot and the immortal campaign of
1796-1797 in Italy.

The corruption of the court of Barras still recalled something of the
gaiety of the old order; the graces of Madame Bonaparte proved that we
had no aptitude at that time for the churlishness and charnel-house of
the English.

The profound respect, which despite the jealousy of the faubourg
Saint-Germain, we could not but feel for the First Consul's method
of government, and the men whose superior merit adorned the society
of Paris--such as the Cretets and the Darus--relieves the Empire of
the burden of responsibility for the remarkable change which has been
effected, in the first half of the nineteenth century, in the character
of the French.

Unnecessary to carry my investigation further: the reader will reflect
and be quite able to draw his own conclusions.

[1] [1842. As Stendhal died early in that year, this probably is his
last writing.--Tr.]

[2] ["One might say it's taboo..." "Taboo" is a poor equivalent for
"sacré," which means "cursed" as well as "blessed."--Tr.]

[3] ["Glory with victory, warrior with laurel."--Tr.

[Pg 17]
                                BOOK I

[Pg 18]
[Pg 19]

                                ON LOVE

                               CHAPTER I

                                OF LOVE

My aim is to comprehend that passion, of which every sincere
development has a character of beauty.

There are four kinds of love.

1. Passion-love--that of the Portuguese nun(1), of Héloïse for Abelard,
of Captain de Vésel, of Sergeant de Cento.

2. Gallant love--that which ruled in Paris towards 1760, to be found
in the memoirs and novels of the period, in Crébillon, Lauzun, Duclos,
Marmontel, Chamfort, Mme. d'Épinay, etc. etc.

'Tis a picture in which everything, to the very shadows, should be
rose-colour, in which may enter nothing disagreeable under any pretext
whatsoever, at the cost of a lapse of etiquette, of good taste, of
refinement, etc. A man of breeding foresees all the ways of acting,
that he is likely to adopt or meet with in the different phases of
this love. True love is often less refined; for that in which there
is no passion and nothing unforeseen, has always a store of ready
wit: the latter is a cold and pretty miniature, the former a picture
by the Carracci. Passion-love carries us away in defiance of all our
interests, gallant love manages always to respect them. True, if we
take from this poor love its vanity, there is very little left: once
stripped, it is like a tottering convalescent, scarcely able to drag
himself along.

3. Physical love. Out hunting--a fresh, pretty country

[Pg 20]
girl crosses your path and escapes into the wood. Everyone knows the
love founded on this kind of pleasure: and all begin that way at
sixteen, however parched and unhappy the character.

4. Vanity-love. The vast majority of men, especially in France, desire
and have a fashionable woman, in the same way as a man gets a fine
horse, as something which the luxury of a young man demands. Their
vanity more or less flattered, more or less piqued, gives birth to
transports of feelings. Sometimes there is also physical love, but by
no means always: often there is not so much as physical pleasure. A
duchess is never more than thirty for a bourgeois, said the Duchesse
de Chaulnes, and those admitted to the Court of that just man, king
Lewis of Holland, recall with amusement a pretty woman from the Hague,
who could not help finding any man charming who was Duke or Prince.
But true to the principle of monarchy, as soon as a Prince arrived at
Court, the Duke was dismissed: she was, as it were, the decoration of
the diplomatic body.

The happiest case of this uninspiring relationship is that in which
to physical pleasure is added habit. In that case store of memories
makes it resemble love a little; there is the pique of self-esteem
and sadness on being left; then, romance forces upon us its ideas and
we believe that we are in love and melancholy, for vanity aspires to
credit itself with a great passion. This, at least, is certain that,
whatever kind of love be the source of pleasure, as soon as the soul
is stirred, the pleasure is keen and its memory alluring, and in this
passion, contrary to most of the others, the memory of our losses seems
always to exceed the bounds of what we can hope for in the future.

Sometimes, in vanity-love habit or despair of finding better produces a
kind of friendship, of all kinds the least pleasant: it prides itself
on its security, etc.[1]

[Pg 21]
Physical pleasure, being of our nature, is known to everybody, but it
takes no more than a subordinate position in the eyes of tender and
passionate souls. If they raise a laugh in the salons, if often they
are made unhappy in the intrigues of society, in return the pleasure
which they feel must remain always inaccessible to those hearts, whose
beat only vanity and gold can quicken.

A few virtuous and sensitive women have scarcely a conception of
physical pleasures: they have so rarely risked them, if one may use the
expression, and even then the transports of passion-love caused bodily
pleasure almost to be forgotten.

There are men victims and instruments of diabolical pride, of a pride
in the style of Alfieri. Those people who, perhaps, are cruel because,
like Nero, judging all men after the pattern of their own heart, they
are always a-tremble--such people, I say, can attain physical pleasure
only in so far as it is accompanied by the greatest possible exercise
of pride, in so far, that is to say, as they practise cruelties on the
companion of their pleasures. Hence the horrors of _Justine_(2). At any
rate such men have no sense of security.

To conclude, instead of distinguishing four different forms of love,
we can easily admit eight or ten shades of difference. Perhaps mankind
has as many ways of feeling as of seeing; but these differences of
nomenclature alter in no degree the judgments which follow. Subject to
the same laws, all forms of love, which can be seen here below, have
their birth, life and death or ascend to immortality.[2]

[1] Well-known dialogue of Pont de Veyle with Madame du Deffant, at the

[2] This book is a free translation of an Italian MS. of M. Lisio
Visconti, a young man of the highest distinction, who died recently at
Volterra, the place of his birth. The day of his sudden death he gave
the translator permission to publish his Essay on Love, if means were
found to shape it to a decorous form. Castel Fiorentino, June 10th,

[Pg 22]
                              CHAPTER II

                         OF THE BIRTH OF LOVE

This is what takes place in the soul:--

1. Admiration.

2. A voice within says: "What pleasure to kiss, to be kissed."

3. Hope(3).

We study her perfections: this is the moment at which a woman should
yield to realise the greatest possible physical pleasure. In the case
even of the most reserved women, their eyes redden at the moment when
hope is conceived: the passion is so strong, the pleasure so keen, that
it betrays itself by striking signs.

4. Love is born.

To love--that is to have pleasure in seeing, touching, feeling, through
all the senses and as near as possible, an object to be loved and that
loves us.

5. The first crystallisation begins.

The lover delights in decking with a thousand perfections the woman of
whose love he is sure: he dwells on all the details of his happiness
with a satisfaction that is boundless. He is simply magnifying a superb
bounty just fallen to him from heaven,--he has no knowledge of it but
the assurance of its possession.

Leave the mind of a lover to its natural movements for twenty-four
hours, and this is what you will find.

At the salt mines of Salzburg a branch stripped of its leaves by winter
is thrown into the abandoned depths of the mine; taken out two or three
months later it is covered with brilliant crystals; the smallest twigs,

[Pg 23]
no stouter than the leg of a sparrow, are arrayed with an infinity
of sparkling, dazzling diamonds; it is impossible to recognise the
original branch.

I call crystallisation the operation of the mind which, from everything
which is presented to it, draws the conclusion that there are new
perfections in the object of its love.

A traveller speaks of the freshness of the orange groves at Genoa, on
the sea coast, during the scorching days of summer.--What pleasure to
enjoy that freshness with her!

One of your friends breaks his arm in the hunting-field.--How sweet
to be nursed by a woman you love! To be always with her, to see every
moment her love for you, would make pain almost a blessing: and
starting from the broken arm of your friend, you conclude with the
absolute conviction of the angelic goodness of your mistress. In a
word, it is enough to think of a perfection in order to see it in that
which you love.

This phenomenon, which I venture to call crystallisation, is the
product of human nature, which commands us to enjoy and sends warm
blood rushing to our brain; it springs from the conviction that the
pleasures of love increase with the perfections of its object, and from
the idea: "She is mine." The savage has no time to go beyond the first
step. He is delighted, but his mental activity is employed in following
the flying deer in the forest, and with the flesh with which he must
as soon as possible repair his forces, or fall beneath the axe of his

At the other pole of civilisation, I have no doubt that a sensitive
woman may come to the point of feeling no physical pleasure but with
the man she loves.[1] It is the opposite with the savage. But among
civilised peoples, woman has leisure at her disposal, while the savage
is so pressed with necessary occupations that he is forced to

[Pg 24]
treat his female as a beast of burden. If the females of many animals
are more fortunate, it is because the subsistence of the males is more

But let us leave the backwoods again for Paris. A man of passion sees
all perfections in that which he loves. And yet his attention may still
be distracted; for the soul has its surfeit of all that is uniform,
even of perfect bliss.[2]

This is what happens to distract his attention:--

6. Birth of Doubt.

After ten or twelve glances, or some other series of actions, which
can last as well several days as one moment, hopes are first given and
later confirmed. The lover, recovered from his first surprise and,
accustomed to his happiness or guided by theory, which, always based on
the most frequent cases, must only take light women into account--the
lover, I say, demands more positive proofs and wishes to press his good

He is parried with indifference,[3] coldness, even anger, if he show
too much assurance--in France a shade of irony, which seems to say:
"You are not quite as far as you think."

A woman behaves in this way, either because she wakes up from a moment
of intoxication, and obeys the word of modesty, which she trembles to
have infringed, or simply through prudence or coquetry.

[Pg 25]
The lover comes to doubt of the happiness, to which he looked forward:
he scans more narrowly the reasons that he fancied he had for hope.

He would like to fall back upon the other pleasures of life, and finds
them annihilated. He is seized with the fear of a terrible disaster,
and at the same time with a profound preoccupation.

7. Second crystallisation.

Here begins the second crystallisation, which forms diamonds out of the
proofs of the idea--"She loves me."

The night which follows the birth of doubts, every quarter of an hour,
after a moment of fearful unhappiness, the lover says to himself--"Yes,
she loves me"--and crystallisation has its turn, discovering new
charms. Then doubt with haggard eye grapples him and brings him to
a standstill, blank. His heart forgets to beat--"But does she love
me?" he says to himself. Between these alternatives, agonising and
rapturous, the poor lover feels in his very soul: "She would give me
pleasures, which she alone can give me and no one else."

It is the palpability of this truth, this path on the extreme
edge of a terrible abyss and within touch, on the other hand, of
perfect happiness, which gives so great a superiority to the second
crystallisation over the first.

The lover wanders from moment to moment between these three ideas:--

1. She has every perfection.

2. She loves me.

3. What means of obtaining the greatest proof of her love?

The most agonising moment of love, still young, is when it sees
the false reasoning it has made, and must destroy a whole span of

Doubt is the natural outcome of crystallisation.

[1] If this peculiarity is not observed in the case of man, the reason
is that on his side there is no modesty to be for a moment sacrificed.

[2] That is to say, that the same tone of existence can give but one
instant of perfect happiness; but with a man of passion, his mood
changes ten times a day.

[3] The _coup de foudre_ (thunderbolt from the blue), as it was called
in the novels of the seventeenth century, which disposes of the fate of
the hero and his mistress, is a movement of the soul, which for having
been abused by a host of scribblers, is experienced none the less in
real life. It comes from the impossibility of this defensive manoeuvre.
The woman who loves finds too much happiness in the sentiment, which
she feels, to carry through successful deception: tired of prudence,
she neglects all precaution and yields blindly to the passion of
loving. Diffidence makes the _coup de foudre_ impossible.

[Pg 26]
                              CHAPTER III

                                OF HOPE

A very small degree of hope is enough to cause the birth of love.

In the course of events hope may fail--love is none the less born. With
a firm, daring and impetuous character, and in an imagination developed
by the troubles of life, the degree of hope may be smaller: it can come
sooner to an end, without killing love.

If a lover has had troubles, if he is of a tender, thoughtful
character, if he despairs of other women, and if his admiration is
intense for her whom he loves, no ordinary pleasure will succeed in
distracting him from the second crystallisation. He will prefer to
dream of the most doubtful chance of pleasing her one day, than to
accept from an ordinary woman all she could lavish.

The woman whom he loves would have to kill his hope at that period, and
(note carefully, not later) in some inhuman manner, and overwhelm him
with those marks of patent contempt, which make it impossible to appear
again in public.

Far longer delays between all these periods are compatible with the
birth of love.

It demands much more hope and much more substantial hope, in the case
of the cold, the phlegmatic and the prudent. The same is true of people
no longer young.

It is the second crystallisation which ensures love's duration, for
then every moment makes it clear that the question is--be loved or die.
Long months of love have

[Pg 27]
turned into habit this conviction of our every moment--how find means
to support the thought of loving no more? The stronger the character
the less is it subject to inconstancy.

This second crystallisation is almost entirely absent from the passions
inspired by women who yield too soon.

After the crystallisations have worked--especially the second, which
is far the stronger--the branch is no longer to be recognised by
indifferent eyes, for:--

(1) It is adorned with perfections which they do not see.

(2) It is adorned with perfections which for them are not perfections
at all.

The perfection of certain charms, mentioned to him by an old friend of
his love, and a certain hint of liveliness noticed in her eye, are a
diamond in the crystallisation[1]

[Pg 28]
of Del Rosso. These ideas, conceived during the evening, keep him
dreaming all the night.

An unexpected answer, which makes me see more clearly a tender,
generous, ardent, or, as it is popularly called, romantic[2] soul,
preferring to the happiness of kings the simple pleasures of a walk
with the loved one at midnight in a lonely wood, gives me food for
dreams[3] for a whole night.

Let him call my mistress a prude: I shall call his a whore.

[1] I have called this essay a book of Ideology. My object was to
indicate that, though it is called "Love," it is not a novel and still
less diverting like a novel. I apologise to philosophers for having
taken the word Ideology: I certainly did not intend to usurp a title
which is the right of another. If Ideology is a detailed description
of ideas and all the parts which can compose ideas, the present book
is a detailed description of all the feelings which can compose the
passion called Love. Proceeding, I draw certain consequences from this
description: for example, the manner of love's cure. I know no word to
say in Greek "discourse on ideas." I might have had a word invented by
one of my learned friends, but I am already vexed enough at having to
adopt the new word crystallisation, and, if this essay finds readers,
it is quite possible that they will not allow my new word to pass. To
avoid it, I own, would have been the work of literary talent: I tried,
but without success. Without this word, which expresses, according to
me, the principal phenomenon of that madness called Love--madness,
however, which procures for man the greatest pleasures which it is
given to the beings of his species to taste on earth--without the use
of this word, which it were necessary to replace at every step by a
paraphrase of considerable length, the description, which I give of
what passes in the head and the heart of a man in love, would have
become obscure, heavy and tedious, even for me who am the author: what
would it have been for the reader?

I invite, therefore, the reader, whose feelings the word
crystallisation shocks too much, to close the book. To be read by many
forms no part of my prayers--happily, no doubt, for me. I should love
dearly to give great pleasure to thirty or forty people of Paris,
whom I shall never see, but for whom, without knowing, I have a blind
affection. Some young Madame Roland, for example, reading her book
in secret and precious quickly hiding it, at the least noise, in the
drawers of her father's bench--her father the engraver of watches. A
soul like that of Madame Roland will forgive me, I hope, not only the
word crystallisation, used to express that act of madness which makes
us perceive every beauty, every kind of perfection, in the woman whom
we begin to love, but also several too daring ellipses besides. The
reader has only to take a pencil and write between the lines the five
or six words which are missing.

[2] All his actions had at first in my eyes that heavenly air, which
makes of a man a being apart, and differentiates him from all others. I
thought that I could read in his eyes that thirst for a happiness more
sublime, that unavowed melancholy, which yearns for something better
than we find here below, and which in all the trials that fortune and
revolution can bring upon a romantic soul,

    ... still prompts the celestial sight
    For which we wish to live or dare to die.

(Last letter of Bianca to her mother. Forlì, 1817.)

[3] It is in order to abridge and to be able to paint the interior
of the soul, that the author, using the formula of the first person,
alleges several feelings to which he is a stranger: personally, he
never had any which would be worth quoting.

[Pg 29]
                              CHAPTER IV

In a soul completely detached--a girl living in a lonely castle in the
depth of the country--the slightest astonishment may bring on a slight
admiration, and, if the faintest hope intervene, cause the birth of
love and crystallisation(4).

In this case love delights, to begin with, just as a diversion.

Surprise and hope are strongly supported by the need, felt at the age
of sixteen, of love and sadness. It is well known that the restlessness
of that age is a thirst for love, and a peculiarity of thirst is not to
be extremely fastidious about the kind of draught that fortune offers.

Let us recapitulate the seven stages of love. They are:--

1. Admiration.

2. What pleasure, etc.

3. Hope.

4. Love is born.

5. First crystallisation.

6. Doubt appears.

7. Second crystallisation.

Between Nos. 1 and 2 may pass one year. One month between Nos. 2 and 3;
but if hope does not make haste in coming, No. 2 is insensibly resigned
as a source of unhappiness.

A twinkling of the eye between Nos. 3 and 4.

There is no interval between Nos. 4 and 5. The sequence can only be
broken by intimate intercourse.

Some days may pass between Nos. 5 and 6, according to the degree to
which the character is impetuous and used to risk, but between Nos. 6
and 7 there is no interval.

[Pg 30]
                               CHAPTER V

Man is not free to avoid doing that which gives him more pleasure to do
than all other possible actions.[1]

Love is like the fever(5), it is born and spends itself without the
slightest intervention of the will. That is one of the principal
differences between gallant-love and passion-love. And you cannot give
yourself credit for the fair qualities in what you really love, any
more than for a happy chance.

Further, love is of all ages: observe the passion of Madame du Deffant
for the graceless Horace Walpole. A more recent and more pleasing
example is perhaps still remembered in Paris.

In proof of great passions I admit only those of their consequences,
which are exposed to ridicule: timidity, for example, proves love. I am
not speaking of the bashfulness of the enfranchised schoolboy.

[1] As regards crime, it belongs to good education to inspire remorse,
which, foreseen, acts as a counterbalance.

[Pg 31]
                              CHAPTER VI

                       THE CRYSTALS OF SALZBURG

Crystallisation scarcely ceases at all during love. This is its
history: so long as all is well between the lover and the loved, there
is crystallisation by imaginary solution; it is only imagination which
make him sure that such and such perfection exists in the woman he
loves. But after intimate intercourse, fears are continually coming to
life, to be allayed only by more real solutions. Thus his happiness is
only uniform in its source. Each day has a different bloom.

If the loved one yields to the passion, which she shares, and falls
into the enormous error of killing fear by the eagerness of her
transports,[1] crystallisation ceases for an instant; but when love
loses some of its eagerness, that is to say some of its fears, it
acquires the charm of entire abandon, of confidence without limits: a
sense of sweet familiarity comes to take the edge from all the pains of
life, and give to fruition another kind of interest.

Are you deserted?--Crystallisation begins again; and every glance of
admiration, the sight of every happiness which she can give you, and
of which you thought no longer, leads up to this agonising reflexion:
"That happiness, that charm, I shall meet it no more. It is lost and
the fault is mine!" You may look for happiness in sensations of another
kind. Your heart refuses to feel them. Imagination depicts for you well
enough the physical situation, mounts you well enough on a fast hunter

[Pg 32]
Devonshire woods.[2] But you feel quite certain that there you would
find no pleasure. It is the optical illusion produced by a pistol shot.

Gaming has also its crystallisation, provoked by the use of the sum of
money to be won.

The hazards of Court life, so regretted by the nobility, under the
name of Legitimists, attached themselves so dearly only by the
crystallisation they provoked. No courtier existed who did not dream of
the rapid fortune of a Luynes or a Lauzun, no charming woman who did
not see in prospect the duchy of Madame de Polignac. No rationalist
government can give back that crystallisation. Nothing is so
_anti-imagination_ as the government of the United States of America.
We have noticed that to their neighbours, the savages, crystallisation
is almost unknown. The Romans scarcely had an idea of it, and
discovered it only for physical love.

Hate has its crystallisation: as soon as it is possible to hope for
revenge, hate begins again.

If every creed, in which there is absurdity and inconsequence, tends
to place at the head of the party the people who are most absurd, that
is one more of the effects of crystallisation. Even in mathematics
(observe the Newtonians in 1740) crystallisation goes on in the
mind, which cannot keep before it at every moment every part of the
demonstration of that which it believes.

In proof, see the destiny of the great German philosophers, whose
immortality, proclaimed so often, never manages to last longer than
thirty or forty years.

It is the impossibility of fathoming the "why?" of our feelings, which
makes the most reasonable man a fanatic in music.

In face of certain contradictions it is not possible to be convinced at
will that we are right.

[1] Diane de Poitiers, in the _Princesse de Clèves_, by Mme. de

[2] If you could imagine being happy in that position, crystallisation
would have deferred to your mistress the exclusive privilege of giving
you that happiness.

[Pg 33]
                              CHAPTER VII


Women attach themselves by the favours they dispense. As
nineteen-twentieths of their ordinary dreams are relative to love,
after intimate intercourse these day-dreams group themselves round
a single object; they have to justify a course so extraordinary, so
decisive, so contrary to all the habits of modesty. Men have no such
task; and, besides, the imagination of women has time to work in detail
upon the sweetness of such moments.

As love casts doubts upon things the best proved, the woman who, before
she gave herself, was perfectly sure that her lover was a man above the
crowd, no sooner thinks she has nothing left to refuse him, than she is
all fears lest he was only trying to put one more woman on his list.

Then, and then only appears the second crystallisation, which, being
hand in hand with fear, is far the stronger.[1]

Yesterday a queen, to-day she sees herself a slave. This state of soul
and mind is encouraged in a woman by the nervous intoxication resulting
from pleasures, which are just so much keener as they are more rare.
Besides, a woman before her embroidery frame--insipid work which only
occupies the hand--is thinking about her lover; while he is galloping
with his squadron over the

[Pg 34]
plain, where leading one wrong movement would bring him under arrest.

I should think, therefore, that the second crystallisation must be far
stronger in the case of women, because theirs are more vivid fears;
their vanity and honour are compromised; distraction at least is more

A woman cannot be guided by the habit of being reasonable, which I,
Man, working at things cold and reasonable for six hours every day,
contract at my office perforce. Even outside love, women are inclined
to abandon themselves to their imagination and habitual high spirits:
faults, therefore, in the object of their love ought more rapidly to

Women prefer emotion to reason--that is plain: in virtue of the
futility of our customs, none of the affairs of the family fall on
their shoulders, so that reason is of no use to them and they never
find it of any practical good.

On the contrary, to them it is always harmful; for the only object of
its appearance is to scold them for the pleasures of yesterday, or
forbid them others for tomorrow.

Give over to your wife the management of your dealings with the
bailiffs of two of your farms--I wager the accounts will be kept
better than by you, and then, sorry tyrant, you will have the _right_
at least to complain, since to make yourself loved you do not possess
the talent. As soon as women enter on general reasonings, they are
unconsciously making love. But in matters of detail they take pride in
being stricter and more exact than men. Half the small trading is put
into the hands of women, who acquit themselves of it better than their
husbands. It is a well-known maxim that, if you are speaking business
with a woman, you cannot be too serious.

This is because they are at all times and in all places greedy of
emotion.--Observe the pleasures of burial rites in Scotland.

[1] This second crystallisation is wanting in light women, who are far
away from all these romantic ideas.

[Pg 35]
                             CHAPTER VIII

This was her favoured fairy realm, and here she erected her aerial
palaces.--_Bride of Lammermoor_, Chap. III.

A girl of eighteen has not enough crystallisation in her power,
forms desires too limited by her narrow experiences of the things of
life, to be in a position to love with as much passion as a woman of

This evening I was exposing this doctrine to a clever woman, who
maintains the contrary. "A girl's imagination being chilled by no
disagreeable experience, and the prime of youth burning with all its
force, any man can be the motive upon which she creates a ravishing
image. Every time that she meets her lover, she will enjoy, not what
he is in reality, but that image of delight which she has created for

"Later, she is by this lover and by all men disillusioned, experience
of the dark reality has lessened in her the power of crystallisation,
mistrust has clipped the wings of imagination. At the instance of no
man on earth, were he a very prodigy, could she form so irresistible
an image: she could love no more with the same fire of her first
youth. And as in love it is only the illusion formed by ourselves
which we enjoy, never can the image, which she may create herself at
twenty-eight, have the brilliance and the loftiness on which first
love was built at sixteen: the second will always seem of a degenerate

"No, madam. Evidently it is the presence of mistrust, absent at
sixteen, which must give to this second love a different colour. In
early youth love is like an immense stream, which sweeps all before it
in its course,

[Pg 36]
and we feel that we cannot resist it. Now at twenty-eight a gentle
heart knows itself: it knows that, if it is still to find some
happiness in life, from love it must be claimed; and this poor, torn
heart becomes the seat of a fearful struggle between love and mistrust.
Crystallisation proceeds gradually; but the crystallisation, which
emerges triumphant from this terrible proof, in which the soul in all
its movements never loses sight of the most awful danger, is a thousand
times more brilliant and more solid than crystallisation at sixteen, in
which everything, by right of age, is gaiety and happiness."

"In this way love should be less gay and more passionate."[1]

This conversation (Bologna, 9 March, 1820), bringing into doubt a
point which seemed to me so clear, makes me believe more and more,
that a man can say practically nothing with any sense on that which
happens in the inmost heart of a woman of feeling: as to a coquet it is
different--_we_ also have senses and vanity.

The disparity between the birth of love in the two sexes would seem to
come from the nature of their hopes, which are different. One attacks,
the other defends; one asks, the other refuses; one is daring, the
other timid.

The man reflects: "Can I please her? Will she love me?"

The woman: "When he says he loves me, isn't it for sport? Is his
a solid character? Can he answer to himself for the length of his
attachments?" Thus it is that many women regard and treat a young man
of twenty-three as a child. If he has gone through six campaigns, he
finds everything different--he is a young hero.

On the man's side, hope depends simply on the actions of that which he
loves--nothing easier to interpret. On the side of woman, hope must
rest on moral considerations--very difficult rightly to appreciate.

[Pg 37]
Most men demand such a proof of love, as to their mind dissipates
all doubts; women are not so fortunate as to be able to find such a
proof. And there is in life this trouble for lovers--that what makes
the security and happiness of one, makes the danger and almost the
humiliation of the other.

In love, men run the risk of the secret torture of the soul--women
expose themselves to the scoffs of the public; they are more timid,
and, besides, for them public opinion means much more.--"Sois
considérée, il le faut."[2]

They have not that sure means of ours of mastering public opinion by
risking for an instant their life.

Women, then, must naturally be far more mistrustful. In virtue of their
habits, all the mental movements, which form periods in the birth of
love, are in their case more mild, more timid, more gradual and less
decided. There is therefore a greater disposition to constancy; they
will less easily withdraw from a crystallisation once begun.

A woman, seeing her lover, reflects with rapidity, or yields to
the happiness of loving--happiness from which she is recalled in a
disagreeable manner, if he make the least attack; for at the call to
arms all pleasures must be abandoned.

The lover's part is simpler--he looks in the eyes of the woman he
loves; a single smile can raise him to the zenith of happiness, and he
looks continually for it.[3]

[Pg 38]
The length of the siege humiliates a man; on the contrary it makes a
woman's glory.

A woman is capable of loving and, for an entire year, not saying more
than ten or twelve words to the man whom she loves. At the bottom of
her heart she keeps note how often she has seen him--twice she went
with him to the theatre, twice she sat near him at dinner, three times
he bowed to her out walking.

One evening during some game he kissed her hand: it is to be noticed
that she allows no one since to kiss it under any pretext, at the risk
even of seeming peculiar.

In a man, Léonore(6) remarked to me, such conduct would be called a
feminine way of love.

[1] Epicurus said that discrimination is necessary to participation in

[2] Remember the maxim of Beaumarchais: "Nature has said to woman: 'Be
fair if you can, wise if you wish, but be _estimed_--you must.' No
admiration in France without _estime_--equally no love."

[3] Quando leggemmo il disiato riso
    Esser baciato da cotanto amante,
    Costui che mai da me non fia diviso,
    La bocca mi bacciò tutto tremante.

             Dante, _Inf._, Cant. V.

["When we read how the desired smile was kissed by such a lover,
he, who never from me shall be divided, on my mouth kissed me all

[Pg 39]
                              CHAPTER IX

I make every possible effort to be dry. I would impose silence upon my
heart, which feels that it, has much to say. When I think that I have
noted a truth, I always tremble lest I have written only a sigh.

[Pg 40]
                               CHAPTER X

In proof of crystallisation I shall content myself with recalling the
following anecdote. A young woman hears that Edward, her relation, who
is to return from the Army, is a youth of great distinction; she is
assured that he loves her on her reputation; but he will want probably
to see her, before making a proposal and asking her of her parents. She
notices a young stranger at church, she hears him called Edward, she
thinks of nothing but him--she is in love with him. Eight days later
the real Edward arrives; he is not the Edward of church. She turns pale
and will be unhappy for ever, if she is forced to marry him.

That is what the poor of understanding call an example of the
senselessness of love.

A man of generosity lavishes the most delicate benefits upon a girl
in distress. No one could have more virtues, and love was about to be
born; but he wears a shabby hat, and she notices that he is awkward in
the saddle. The girl confesses with a sigh that she cannot return the
warm feelings, which he evidently has for her.

A man pays his attentions to a lady of the greatest respectability.
She hears that this gentleman has had physical troubles of a comical
nature: she finds him intolerable. And yet she had no intention of
giving herself to him, and these secret troubles in no way blighted his
understanding or amiability. It is simply that crystallisation was made

In order that a human being may delight in deifying an object to be
loved, be it taken from the Ardennes forest or picked up at a Bal de
Coulon, that it seems to

[Pg 41]
him perfect is the first necessity--perfect by no means in every
relation, but in every relation in which it is seen at the time.
Perfect in all respects it will seem only after several days of the
second crystallisation. The reason is simple--then it is enough to have
the idea of a perfection in order to see it in the object of our love.

Beauty is only thus far necessary to the birth of love--ugliness
must not form an obstacle. The lover soon comes to find his mistress
beautiful, such as she is, without thinking of ideal beauty.

The features which make up the ideally beautiful would promise, if he
could see them, a quantity of happiness, if I may use the expression,
which I would express by the number one; whereas the features of his
mistress, such as they are, promise him one thousand units of happiness.

Before the birth of love beauty is necessary as advertisement: it
predisposes us towards that passion by means of the praises, which we
hear given to the object of our future love. Very eager admiration
makes the smallest hope decisive.

In gallant-love, and perhaps in passion-love during the first five
minutes, a woman, considering a possible lover, gives more weight to
the way in which he is seen by other women, than to the way in which
she sees him herself.

Hence the success of princes and officers.[1] The pretty women of the
Court of old king Lewis XIV were in love with that sovereign.

[Pg 42]
Great care should be taken not to offer facilities to hope, before it
is certain that admiration is there. It might give rise to dullness,
which makes love for ever impossible, and which, at any rate, is only
to be cured by the sting of wounded pride.

No one feels sympathy for the simpleton, nor for a smile which
is always there; hence the necessity in society of a veneer of
rakishness--that is, the privileged manner. From too debased a plant we
scorn to gather even a smile. In love, our vanity disdains a victory
which is too easy; and in all matters man is not given to magnifying
the value of an offering.

[1] Those who remarked in the countenance of this young hero a
dissolute audacity mixed with extreme haughtiness and indifference to
the feelings of others, could not yet deny to his countenance that sort
of comeliness, which belongs to an open set of features well formed
by nature, modelled by art to the usual rules of courtesy, yet so far
frank and honest that they seemed as if they disclaimed to conceal the
natural working of the soul. Such an expression is often mistaken for
manly frankness, when in truth it arises from the reckless indifference
of a libertine disposition, conscious of superiority of birth and
wealth, or of some other adventitious advantage totally unconnected
with personal merit.

_Ivanhoe_, Chap. VIII

[Pg 43]
                              CHAPTER XI

Crystallisation having once begun, we enjoy with delight each new
beauty discovered in that which we love.

But what is beauty? It is the appearance of an aptitude for giving you

The pleasures of all individuals are different and often opposed to one
another; which explains very well how that, which is beauty for one
individual, is ugliness for another. (Conclusive example of Del Rosso
and Lisio, 1st January, 1820.)

The right way to discover the nature of beauty is to look for the
nature of the pleasures of each individual. Del Rosso, for example,
needs a woman who allows a certain boldness of movement, and who by her
smiles authorises considerable licence; a woman who at each instant
holds physical pleasures before his imagination, and who excites in him
the power of pleasing, while giving him at the same time the means of
displaying it.

Apparently, by love Del Rosso understands physical love, and Lisio
passion-love. Obviously they are not likely to agree about the word

The beauty then, discovered by you, being the appearance of an aptitude
for giving you pleasure, and pleasure being different from pleasure as
man from man, the crystallisation formed in the head of each individual
must bear the colour of that individual's pleasures.

[Pg 44]
A man's crystallisation of his mistress, or her _beauty_, is no other
thing than the collection of all the satisfactions of all the desires,
which he can have felt successively at her instance.

[1] _My Beauty_, promise of a character useful to _my_ soul, is above
the attraction of the senses; that attraction is only one particular
kind of attraction(7). 1815.

[Pg 45]
                              CHAPTER XII


Why do we enjoy with delight each new beauty, discovered in that which
we love?

It is because each new beauty gives the full and entire satisfaction of
a desire. You wish your mistress gentle--she is gentle; and then you
wish her proud like Emilie in Corneille, and although these qualities
are probably incompatible, instantly she appears with the soul of a
Roman. That is the moral reason which makes love the strongest of the
passions. In all others, desires must accommodate themselves to cold
realities; here it is realities which model themselves spontaneously
upon desires. Of all the passions, therefore, it is in love that
violent desires find the greatest satisfaction.

There are certain general conditions of happiness, whose influence
extends over every fulfilment of particular desires:--

1. She seems to belong to you, for you only can make her happy.

2. She is the judge of your worth. This condition was very important
at the gallant and chivalrous Courts of Francis I and Henry II, and at
the elegant Court of Lewis XV. Under a constitutional and rationalist
government women lose this range of influence entirely.

3. For a romantic heart--The loftier her soul, the more sublime will be
the pleasures that await her in your arms, and the more purified of the
dross of all vulgar considerations.

[Pg 46]
The majority of young Frenchmen are, at eighteen, disciples of
Rousseau; for them this condition of happiness is important.

In the midst of operations so apt to mislead our desire of happiness,
there is no keeping cool.

For, the moment he is in love, the steadiest man sees no object such
as it is. His own advantages he minimises, and magnifies the smallest
favours of the loved one. Fears and hopes take at once a tinge of the
romantic. (Wayward.) He no longer attributes anything to chance; he
loses the perception of probability; in its effect upon his happiness a
thing imagined is a thing existent.[1]

A terrible symptom that you are losing your head:--you think of some
little thing which is difficult to make out; you see it white, and
interpret that in favour of your love; a moment later you notice that
actually it is black, and still you find it conclusively favourable to
your love.

Then indeed the soul, a prey to mortal uncertainties, feels keenly the
need of a friend. But there is no friend for the lover. The Court knew
that; and it is the source of the only kind of indiscretion which a
woman of delicacy might forgive.

[1] There is a physical cause--a mad impulse, a rush of blood to the
brain, a disorder in the nerves and in the cerebral centre. Observe
the transitory courage of stags and the spiritual state of a soprano.
Physiology, in 1922, will give us a description of the physical side of
this phenomenon. I recommend this to the attention of Dr. Edwards(8).

[Pg 47]
                             CHAPTER XIII


That which is most surprising in the passion of love is the first
step--the extravagance of the change, which comes over a man's brain.

The fashionable world, with its brilliant parties, is of service to
love in favouring this first step.

It begins by changing simple admiration (i) into tender admiration
(ii)--what pleasure to kiss her, etc.

In a _salon_ lit by thousands of candles a fast valse throws a fever
upon young hearts, eclipses timidity, swells the consciousness of
power--in fact, gives them the daring to love. For to see a lovable
object is not enough: on the contrary, the fact that it is extremely
lovable discourages a gentle soul--he must see it, if not in love with
him,[1] at least despoiled of its majesty.

Who takes it into his head to become the paramour of a queen unless the
advances are from her?[2]

Thus nothing is more favourable to the birth of love than a life of
irksome solitude, broken now and again by a long-desired ball. This is
the plan of wise mothers who have daughters.

The real fashionable world, such as was found at the

[Pg 48]
Court of France,[3] and which since 1780,[4] I think, exists no more,
was unfavourable to love, because it made the solitude and the leisure,
indispensable to the work of crystallisation, almost impossible.

Court life gives the habit of observing and making a great number of
subtle distinctions, and the subtlest distinction may be the beginning
of an admiration and of a passion.[5]

When the troubles of love are mixed with those of another kind (the
troubles of vanity--if your mistress offend your proper pride, your
sense of honour or personal dignity--troubles of health, money and
political persecution, etc.), it is only in appearance that love is
increased by these annoyances. Occupying the imagination otherwise,
they prevent crystallisation in love still hopeful, and in happy love
the birth of little doubts. When these misfortunes have departed, the
sweetness and the folly of love return.

Observe that misfortunes favour the birth of love in light and
unsensitive characters, and that, after it is born, misfortunes,
which existed before, are favourable to it; in as much as the
imagination, recoiling from the gloomy impressions offered by all the
other circumstances of life, throws itself wholly into the work of

[1] Hence the possibility of passions of artificial origin--those of
Benedict and of Beatrice (Shakespeare).

[2] Cf. the fortunes of Struensee in Brown's _Northern Courts_, 3
vols., 1819.

[3] See the letters of Madame du Deffant, Mademoiselle de Lespinasse,
Bezenval, Lauzun, the Memoirs of Madame d'Épinay, the _Dictionnaire
des Étiquettes_ of Madame de Genlis, the Memoirs of Danjeau and Horace

[4] Unless, perhaps, at the Court of Petersburg.

[5] See Saint-Simon and Werther. However gentle and delicate are the
solitary, their soul is distracted, and part of their imagination is
busy in foreseeing the world of men. Force of character is one of the
charms which most readily seduces the truly feminine heart. Hence
the success of serious young officers. Women well know how to make
the distinction between force of character and the violence of those
movements of passion, the possibility of which they feel strongly in
their own hearts. The most distinguished women are sometimes duped by
a little charlatanism in this matter. It can be used without fear, as
soon as crystallisation is seen to have begun.

[Pg 49]
                              CHAPTER XIV

The following point, which will be disputed, I offer only to
those--shall I say unhappy enough?--to have loved with passion during
long years, and loved in the face of invincible obstacles:--

The sight of all that is extremely beautiful in nature and in art
recalls, with the swiftness of lightning, the memory of that which
we love. It is by the process of the jewelled branch in the mines of
Salzburg, that everything in the world which is beautiful and lofty
contributes to the beauty of that which we love, and that forthwith a
sudden glimpse of delight fills the eyes with tears. In this way, love
and the love of beauty give life mutually to one another.

One of life's miseries is that the happiness of seeing and talking to
the object of our love leaves no distinct memories behind. The soul,
it seems, is too troubled by its emotions for that which causes or
accompanies them to impress it. The soul and its sensations are one
and the same. It is perhaps because these pleasures cannot be used up
by voluntary recollection, that they return again and again with such
force, as soon as ever some object comes to drag us from day-dreams
devoted to the woman we love, and by some new connexion[1] to bring her
still more vividly to our memory.

A dry old architect used to meet her in society every evening.
Following a natural impulse, and without paying attention to what I
was saying to her,[2] I one day sang his praises in a sentimental and
pompous strain,

[Pg 50]
which made her laugh at me. I had not the strength to say to her: "He
sees you every evening."

So powerful is this sensation that it extends even to the person of my
enemy, who is always at her side. When I see her, she reminds me of
Léonore so much, that at the time I cannot hate her, however much I try.

It looks as if, by a curious whim of the heart, the charm, which
the woman we love can communicate, were greater than that which she
herself possesses. The vision of that distant city, where we saw her a
moment,[3] throws us into dreams sweeter and more profound than would
her very presence. It is the effect of harsh treatment.

The day-dreams of love cannot be scrutinised. I have observed that I
can re-read a good novel every three years with the same pleasure. It
gives me feelings akin to the kind of emotional taste, which dominates
me at the moment, or if my feelings are nil, makes for variety in my
ideas. Also, I can listen with pleasure to the same music, but, in
this, memory must not intrude. The imagination should be affected and
nothing else; if, at the twentieth representation, an opera gives more
pleasure, it is either because the music is better understood, or
because it also brings back the feeling it gave at the first.

As to new lights, which a novel may throw upon our knowledge of the
human heart, I still remember clearly the old ones, and am pleased even
to find them noted in the margin. But this kind of pleasure pertains
to the novels, in so far as they advance me in the knowledge of man,
and not in the least to day-dreaming--the veritable pleasure of novels.
Such day-dreaming is inscrutable. To watch it is for the present to
kill it, for you fall into a philosophical analysis of pleasure; and it

[Pg 51]
is killing it still more certainly for the future, for nothing is surer
to paralyse the imagination than the appeal to memory(9). If I find in
the margin a note, depicting my feelings on reading _Old Mortality_
three years ago in Florence, I am plunged immediately into the history
of my life, into an estimate of the degree of happiness at the two
epochs, in short, into the deepest problems of philosophy--and then
good-bye for a long season to the unchecked play of tender feelings.

Every great poet with a lively imagination is timid, he is afraid of
men, that is to say, for the interruptions and troubles with which they
can invade the delight of his dreams. He fears for his concentration.
Men come along with their gross interests to drag him from the gardens
of Armida, and force him into a fetid slough: only by irritating him
can they fix his attention on themselves. It is this habit of feeding
his soul upon touching dreams and this horror of the vulgar which draws
a great artist so near to love.

The more of the great artist a man has in him, the more must he wish
for titles and honours as a bulwark.

[1] Scents.

[2] See note 2, p. 28.


    Nessun maggior dolore
    Che ricordarsi del tempo felice
    Nella miseria.--Dante, _Inf._, V (Francesca).

[No greater sorrow than to remember happy times in misery.--Tr.]

[Pg 52]
                              CHAPTER XV

Suddenly in the midst of the most violent and the most thwarted passion
come moments, when a man believes that he is in love no longer--as it
were a spring of fresh water in the middle of the sea. To think of his
mistress is no longer very much pleasure, and, although he is worn-out
by the severity of her treatment, the fact that everything in life
has lost its interest is a still greater misery. After a manner of
existence which, fitful though it was, gave to all nature a new aspect,
passionate and absorbing, now follows the dreariest and most despondent

It may be that your last visit to the woman, whom you love, left you
in a situation, from which, once before, your imagination had gathered
the full harvest of sensation. For example, after a period of coldness,
she has treated you less badly, letting you conceive exactly the
same degree of hope and by the same external signs as on a previous
occasion--all this perhaps unconsciously. Imagination picks up memory
and its sinister warnings by the way, and instantly crystallisation[1]

[1] First, I am advised to cut out this word; next, if I fail in this
for want of literary power, to repeat again and again that I mean by
crystallisation a certain fever in the imagination, which transforms
past recognition what is, as often as not, a quite ordinary object,
and makes of it a thing apart. A man who looks to excite this fever in
souls, which know no other path but vanity to reach their happiness,
must tie his necktie well and constantly give his attention to a
thousand details, which preclude all possibility of unrestraint.
Society women own to the effect, denying at the same time or not seeing
the cause.

[Pg 53]
                              CHAPTER XVI

   In a small port, the name of which I forget, near Perpignan, 25th
                          February, 1822.[1]

This evening I have just found out that music, when it is perfect, puts
the heart into the same state as it enjoys in the presence of the loved
one--that is to say, it gives seemingly the keenest happiness existing
on the face of the earth.

If this were so for all men, there would be no more favourable
incentive to love.

But I had already remarked at Naples last year that perfect music, like
perfect pantomime, makes me think of that which is at the moment the
object of my dreams, and that the ideas, which it suggests to me, are
excellent: at Naples, it was on the means of arming the Greeks.

Now this evening I cannot deceive myself--I have the misfortune _of
being too great an admirer of milady L_.[2]

And perhaps the perfect music, which I have had the luck to hear again,
after two or three months of privation, although going nightly to the
Opera, has simply had the effect, which I recognised long ago--I mean
that of producing lively thoughts on what is already in the heart.

March 4th--eight days later.

I dare neither erase nor approve the preceding observation. Certain it
is that, as I wrote it, I read it in my heart. If to-day I bring it
into question, it is

[Pg 54]
because I have lost the memory of what I saw at that time.

The habit of hearing music and dreaming its dreams disposes towards
love. A sad and gentle air, provided it is not too dramatic, so that
the imagination is forced to dwell on the action, is a direct stimulant
to dreams of love and a delight for gentle and unhappy souls: for
example, the drawn-out passage on the clarionet at the beginning of the
quartet in _Bianca and Faliero_(10), and the recitative of La Camporesi
towards the middle of the quartet.

A lover at peace with his mistress enjoys to distraction Rossini's
famous duet in _Armida and Rinaldo_, depicting so justly the little
doubts of happy love and the moments of delight which follow its
reconciliations. It seems to him that the instrumental part, which
comes in the middle of the duet, at the moment when Rinaldo wishes
to fly, and represents in such an amazing way the conflict of the
passions, has a physical influence upon his heart and touches it in
reality. On this subject I dare not say what I feel; I should pass for
a madman among people of the north.

[1] Copied from the diary of Lisio.

[2] [Written thus in English by Stendhal,--Tr.]

[Pg 55]
                             CHAPTER XVII

                       BEAUTY DETHRONED BY LOVE

Alberic meets in a box at the theatre a woman more beautiful than his
mistress (I beg to be allowed here a mathematical valuation)--that
is to say, her features promise three units of happiness instead of
two, supposing the quantity of happiness given by perfect beauty to be
expressed by the number four.

Is it surprising that he prefers the features of his mistress, which
promise a hundred units of happiness _for him_? Even the minor defects
of her face, a small-pox mark, for example, touches the heart of the
man who loves, and, when he observes them even in another woman, sets
him dreaming far away. What, then, when he sees them in his mistress?
Why, he has felt a thousand sentiments in presence of that small-pox
mark, sentiments for the most part sweet, and all of the greatest
interest; and now, such as they are, they are evoked afresh with
incredible vividness by the sight of this sign, even in the face of
another woman.

If ugliness thus comes to be preferred and loved, it is because in
this case ugliness is beauty.[1] A man was passionately in love with a
woman, very thin and scarred with small-pox: death bereft him of her.
At Rome, three years after, he makes friends with two women, one more
lovely than the day, the other thin, scarred with

[Pg 56]
small-pox, and thereby, if you will, quite ugly. There he is,
at the end of a week, in love with the ugly one--and this week he
employs in effacing her ugliness with his memories; and with a very
pardonable coquetry the lesser beauty did not fail to help him in the
operation with a slight whip-up of the pulse.[2] A man meets a woman
and is offended by her ugliness; soon, if she is unpretentious, her
expression makes him forget the defects of her features; he finds her
amiable--he conceives that one could love her. A week later he has
hopes; another week and they are taken from him; another and he's mad.

[1] Beauty is only the promise of happiness. The happiness of a
Greek was different to that of a Frenchman of 1822. See the eyes of
the Medici Venus and compare them with the eyes of the Magdalen of
Pordenone (in the possession of M. de Sommariva.)

[2] If one is sure of the love of a woman, one examines to see if she
is more or less beautiful; if one is uncertain of her heart, there is
no time to think of her face.

[Pg 57]
                             CHAPTER XVIII

                         LIMITATIONS OF BEAUTY

An analogy is to be seen at the theatre in the reception of the
public's favourite actors: the spectators are no longer conscious of
the beauty or ugliness which the actors have in reality. Lekain, for
all his remarkable ugliness, had a harvest of broken hearts--Garrick
also. There are several reasons for this; the principal being that it
was no longer the actual beauty of their features or their ways which
people saw, but emphatically that which imagination was long since used
to lend them, as a return for, and in memory of, all the pleasure they
had given it. Why, take a comedian--his face alone raises a laugh as he
first walks on.

A girl going for the first time to the Français would perhaps feel some
antipathy to Lekain during the first scene; but soon he was making her
weep or shiver--and how resist him as Tancrède[1] or Orosmane?

If his ugliness were still a little visible to her eyes, the fervour
of an entire audience, and the nervous effect produced upon a young
heart,[2] soon managed to eclipse

[Pg 58]
it. If anything was still heard about his ugliness, it was mere talk;
but not a word of it--Lekain's lady enthusiasts could be heard to
exclaim "He's lovely!"

Remember that beauty is the expression of character, or, put
differently, of moral habits, and that consequently it is exempt from
all passion. Now it is passion that we want. Beauty can only supply us
with probabilities about a woman, and probabilities, moreover, based on
her capacity for self-possession; while the glances of your mistress
with her small-pox scars are a delightful reality, which destroys all
the probabilities in the world.

[1] See Madame de Staël in _Delphine_, I think; there you have the
artifice of plain women.

[2] I should be inclined to attribute to this nervous sympathy the
prodigious and incomprehensible effect of fashionable music. (Sympathy
at Dresden for Rossini, 1821.) As soon as it is out of fashion, it
becomes no worse for that, and yet it ceases to have any effect upon
perfectly ingenuous girls. Perhaps it used to please them, as also
stimulating young men to fervour.

Madame de Sévigné says to her daughter (Letter 202, May 6, 1672):
"Lully surpassed himself in his royal music; that beautiful _Miserere_
was still further enlarged: there was a _Libera_ at which all eyes were
full of tears."

It is as impossible to doubt the truth of this effect, as to refuse wit
or refinement to Madame de Sévigné. Lully's music, which charmed her,
would make us run away at present; in her day, his music encouraged
crystallisation--it makes it impossible in ours.

[Pg 59]
                              CHAPTER XIX

                 LIMITATIONS OF BEAUTY--(_continued_)

A woman of quick fancy and tender heart, but timid and cautious in her
sensibility, who the day after she appears in society, passes in review
a thousand times nervously and painfully all that she may have said or
given hint of--such a woman, I say, grows easily used to want of beauty
in a man: it is hardly an obstacle in rousing her affection.

It is really on the same principle that you care next to nothing for
the degree of beauty in a mistress, whom you adore and who repays you
with harshness. You have very nearly stopped crystallising her beauty,
and when your _friend in need_ tells you that she isn't pretty, you are
almost ready to agree. Then he thinks he has made great way.

My friend, brave Captain Trab, described to me this evening his
feelings on seeing Mirabeau once upon a time. No one looking upon that
great man felt a disagreeable sensation in the eyes--that is to say,
found him ugly. People were carried away by his thundering words; they
fixed their attention, they delighted in fixing their attention, only
on what was beautiful in his face. As he had practically no beautiful
features (in the sense of sculpturesque or picturesque beauty)
they minded only what beauty he had of another kind, the beauty of

[Pg 60]
While attention was blind to all traces of ugliness, picturesquely
speaking, it fastened on the smallest passable details with
fervour--for example, the beauty of his vast head of hair. If he had
had horns, people would have thought them lovely.[2]

[Pg 61]
The appearance every evening of a pretty dancer forces a little
interest from those poor souls, blasé or bereft of imagination, who
adorn the balcony of the opera. By her graceful movements, daring and
strange, she awakens their physical love and procures them perhaps
the only crystallisation of which they are still capable. This is the
way by which a young scarecrow, who in the street would not have been
honoured with a glance, least of all from people the worse for wear,
has only to appear frequently on the stage, and she manages to get
herself handsomely supported. Geoffroy used to say that the theatre is
the pedestal of woman. The more notorious and the more dilapidated a
dancer, the more she is worth; hence the green-room proverb: "Some get
sold at a price who wouldn't be taken as a gift." These women steal
part of their passions from their lovers, and are very susceptible of
love from pique.

How manage not to connect generous or lovable sentiments with the face
of an actress, in whose features there is nothing repugnant, whom for
two hours every evening we see expressing the most noble feelings,
and whom otherwise we do not know? When at last you succeed in being
received by her, her features recall such pleasing feelings, that the
entire reality which surrounds her, however little nobility it may
sometimes possess, is instantly invested with romantic and touching

"Devotee, in the days of my youth, of that boring French tragedy,[3]
whenever I had the luck of supping with Mlle. Olivier, I found myself
every other moment overbrimming with respect, in the belief that I was
speaking to a queen; and really I have never been quite sure whether,
in her case, I had fallen in love with a queen or a pretty tart."

[1] That is the advantage of being _à la mode_. Putting aside the
defects of a face which are already familiar, and no longer have any
effect upon the imagination, the public take hold of one of the three
following ideas of beauty:--

(1) The people--of the idea of wealth.

(2) The upper classes--of the idea of elegance, material or moral.

(3) The Court--of the idea: "My object is to please the women."

Almost all take hold of a mixture of all three. The happiness attached
to the idea of riches is linked to a refinement in the pleasure which
the idea of elegance suggests, and the whole comes into touch with
love. In one way or another the imagination is led on by novelty. It
is possible in this way to be interested in a very ugly man without
thinking of his ugliness,[*] and in good time his ugliness becomes
beauty. At Vienna, in 1788, Madame Viganò, a dancer and _the_ woman
of the moment, was with child--very soon the ladies took to wearing
little _Ventres à la Viganò_. For the same reason reversed, nothing
more fearful than a fashion out of date! Bad taste is a confusion of
fashion, which lives only by change, with the lasting beauty produced
by such and such a government, guided by such and such a climate. A
building in fashion to-day, in ten years will be out of fashion. It
will be less displeasing in two hundred years, when its fashionable day
will be forgotten. Lovers are quite mad to think about their dress; a
woman has other things to do, when seeing the object of her love, than
to bother about his get-up; we look at our lover, we do not examine
him, says Rousseau. If this examination takes place, we are dealing
with gallant-love and not passion-love. The brilliance of beauty is
almost offensive in the object of our love; it is none of our business
to see her beautiful, we want her tender and languishing. Adornment has
effect in love only upon girls, who are so rigidly guarded in their
parents' house, that they often lose their hearts through their eyes.
(L.'s words. September 15, 1820.)

* Le petit Germain, _Mémoires de Grammont_.

[2] For their polish or their size or their form! In this way, or by
the combination of sentiments (see above, the small-pox scars) a woman
in love grows used to the faults of her lover. The Russian Princess
C. has actually become used to a man who literally has no nose. The
picture of his courage, of his pistol loaded to kill himself in despair
at his misfortune, and pity for the bitter calamity, enhanced by the
idea that he will recover and is beginning to recover, are the forces
which have worked this miracle. The poor fellow with his wound must
appear not to think of his misfortune. (Berlin, 1807.)

[3] Improper expression copied from the Memoirs of my friend, the
late Baron de Bottmer. It is by the same trick that Feramorz pleases
Lalla-Rookh. See that charming poem.

[Pg 62]
                              CHAPTER XX

Perhaps men who are not susceptible to the feelings of passion-love are
those most keenly sensitive to the effects of beauty: that at least is
the strongest impression which such men can receive of women.

He who has felt his heart beating at a distant glimpse of the white
satin hat of the woman he loves, is quite amazed by the chill left upon
him by the approach of the greatest beauty in the world. He may even
have a qualm of distress, to observe the excitement of others.

Extremely lovely women cause less surprise the second day. 'Tis a great
misfortune, it discourages crystallisation. Their merit being obvious
to all and public property, they are bound to reckon more fools in the
list of their lovers than princes, millionaires, etc.[1]

[1] It is quite clear that the author is neither prince nor
millionaire. I wanted to steal that sally from the reader.

[Pg 63]
                              CHAPTER XXI

                          LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

Imaginative souls are sensitive and also mistrustful, even the most
ingenuous,[1]--I maintain. They may be suspicious without knowing it:
they have had so many disappointments in life. Thus everything set-out
and official, when a man is first introduced, scares the imagination
and drives away the possibility of crystallisation; the romantic is
then, on the contrary, love's triumph.

Nothing simpler--for in the supreme astonishment, which keeps the
thoughts busy for long upon something out of the ordinary, is already
half the mental exercise necessary to crystallisation.

I will quote the beginning of the Amours of Séraphine (_Gil Blas_, Bk.
IV, Chap. X). It is Don Fernando who tells the story of his flight,
when pursued by the agents of the inquisition....

 After crossing several walks I came to a drawing-room, the door
 of which was also left open. I entered, and when I had observed all
 its magnificence.... One side of the room a door stood ajar; I partly
 opened it and saw a suite of apartments

[Pg 64]
 whereof only the furthest was lighted. "What is to be done now?"
 I asked myself.... I could not resist my curiosity.... Advancing
 boldly, I went through all the rooms and reached one where there
 was a light--to wit, a taper upon a marble table in a silver-gilt
 candlestick.... But soon afterwards, casting my eyes upon a bed, the
 curtains of which were partly drawn on account of the heat, I perceived
 an object which at once engrossed my attention: a young lady, fast
 asleep in spite of the noise of the thunder, which had just been
 bursting forth. I softly drew near her. My mind was suddenly troubled
 at the sight. Whilst I feasted my eyes with the pleasure of beholding
 her, she awoke.

 Imagine her surprise at seeing in her room at midnight a man who was
 an utter stranger to her! She trembled on beholding me and shrieked
 aloud.... I took pains to reassure her and throwing myself on my knees
 before her, said--"Madam, have no fear." She called her women.... Grown
 a little braver by his (an old servant's) presence, she haughtily asked
 me who was, etc. etc."[2]

There is an introduction not easily to be forgotten! On the other hand,
could there be anything sillier in our customs of to-day than the
official, and at the same time almost sentimental, introduction of the
young wooer to his future wife: such legal prostitution goes so far as
to be almost offensive to modesty.

"I have just been present this afternoon, February 17th, 1790," says
Chamfort, "at a so-called family function. That is to say, men of
respectable reputation and a decent company were congratulating on
her good fortune Mlle. de Marille, a young person of beauty, wit and
virtue, who is to be favoured with becoming the wife of M. R.--an
unhealthy dotard, repulsive, dishonest, and mad, but rich: she has
seen him for the third time to-day, when signing the contract. If
anything characterises an age of infamy, it is the jubilation on an
occasion like this, it is the folly of such joy and--looking ahead--the
sanctimonious cruelty, with which the same society will heap contempt
without reserve upon

[Pg 65]
the pettiest imprudence of a poor young woman in love."

Ceremony of all kinds, being in its essence something affected and
set-out beforehand, in which the point is to act "properly," paralyses
the imagination and leaves it awake only to that which is opposed
to the object of the ceremony, e. g. something comical--whence the
magic effect of the slightest joke. A poor girl, struggling against
nervousness and attacks of modesty during the official introduction of
her _fiancé_, can think of nothing but the part she is playing, and
this again is a certain means of stifling the imagination.

Modesty has far more to say against getting into bed with a man whom
you have seen but twice, after three Latin words have been spoken in
church, than against giving way despite yourself to the man whom for
two years you have adored. But I am talking double Dutch.

The fruitful source of the vices and mishaps, which follow our
marriages nowadays, is the Church of Rome. It makes liberty for girls
impossible before marriage, and divorce impossible, when once they have
made their mistake, or rather when they find out the mistake of the
choice forced on them. Compare Germany, the land of happy marriages: a
delightful princess (Madame la Duchesse de Sa----) has just married in
all good faith for the fourth time, and has not failed to ask to the
wedding her three first husbands, with whom she is on the best terms.
That is going too far; but a single divorce, which punishes a husband
for his tyranny, prevents a thousand cases of unhappy wedded life.
What is amusing is that Rome is one of the places where you see most

Love goes out at first sight towards a face, which reveals in a man at
once something to respect and something to pity.

[1] _The Bride of Lammermoor_, Miss Ashton.

A man who has lived finds in his memory numberless examples of
"affairs," and his only trouble is to make his choice. But if he
wishes to write, he no longer knows where to look for support. The
anecdotes of the particular circles he has lived in are unknown to the
public, and it would require an immense number of pages to recount them
with the necessary circumstantiality. I quote for that reason from
generally-known novels, but the ideas which I submit to the reader I do
not ground upon such empty fictions, calculated for the most part with
an eye to the picturesque rather than the true effect.

[2] [Translation of Henri van Laun.--Tr.]

[Pg 66]
                             CHAPTER XXII

                            OF INFATUATION

The most fastidious spirits are very given to curiosity and
prepossession: this is to be seen, especially, in beings in which that
sacred fire, the source of the passions, is extinct--in fact it is one
of the most fatal symptoms. There is also the infatuation of schoolboys
just admitted to society. At the two poles of life, with too much or
too little sensibility, there is little chance of simple people getting
the right effect from things, or feeling the genuine sensation which
they ought to give. These beings, either too ardent or excessive in
their ardour, amorous on credit, if one may use the expression, throw
themselves at objects instead of awaiting them.

From afar off and without looking they enfold things in that imaginary
charm, of which they find a perennial source within themselves, long
before sensation, which is the consequence of the object's nature, has
had time to reach them. Then, on coming to close quarters, they see
these things not such as they are, but as they have made them; they
think they are enjoying such and such an object, while, under cover of
that object, they are enjoying themselves. But one fine day a man gets
tired of keeping the whole thing going; he discovers that his idol is
_not playing the game_; infatuation collapses and the resulting shock
to his self-esteem makes him unfair to that which he appreciated too

[Pg 67]
                             CHAPTER XXIII

                   THE THUNDERBOLT FROM THE BLUE(11)

So ridiculous an expression ought to be changed, yet the thing exists.
I have seen the amiable and noble Wilhelmina, the despair of the
beaux of Berlin, making light of love and laughing at its folly. In
the brilliance of youth, wit, beauty and all kinds of good luck--a
boundless fortune, giving her the opportunity of developing all her
qualities, seemed to conspire with nature to give the world an example,
rarely seen, of perfect happiness bestowed upon an object perfectly
worthy. She was twenty-three years old and, already some time at Court,
had won the homage of the bluest blood. Her virtue, unpretentious but
invulnerable, was quoted as a pattern. Henceforth the most charming
men, despairing of their powers of fascination, aspired only to make
her their friend. One evening she goes to a ball at Prince Ferdinand's:
she dances for ten minutes with a young Captain.

"From that moment," she writes subsequently to a friend,[1] "he was
master of my heart and of me, and this to a degree that would have
filled me with terror, if the happiness of seeing Herman had left me
time to think of the rest of existence. My only thought was to observe
whether he gave me a little notice.

"To-day the only consolation that I might find for my fault is to nurse
the illusion within me, that it is through a superior power that I am
lost to reason and to myself. I have no word to describe, in a way that
comes at all near the reality, the degree of disorder and turmoil

[Pg 68]
to which the mere sight of him could bring my whole being. I blush to
think of the rapidity and the violence with which I was drawn towards
him. If his first word, when at last he spoke to me, had been 'Do you
adore me?'--truly I should not have had the power to have answered
anything but 'yes.' I was far from thinking that the effect of a
feeling could be at once so sudden and so unforeseen. In fact, for an
instant, I believed that I had been poisoned.

"Unhappily you and the world, my dear friend, know how well I have
loved Herman. Well, after quarter of an hour he was so dear to me that
he cannot have become dearer since. I saw then all his faults and I
forgave them all, provided only he would love me.

"Soon after I had danced with him, the king left: Herman, who belonged
to the suite, had to follow him. With him, everything in nature
disappeared. It is no good to try to depict the excess of weariness
with which I felt weighed down, as soon as he was out of my sight. It
was equal only to the keenness of my desire to be alone with myself.

"At last I got away. No sooner the door of my room shut and bolted than
I wanted to resist my passion. I thought I should succeed. Ah, dear
friend, believe me I paid dear that evening and the following days for
the pleasure of being able to credit myself with some virtue."

The preceding lines are the exact story of an event which was the topic
of the day; for after a month or two poor Wilhelmina was unfortunate
enough for people to take notice of her feelings. Such was the origin
of that long series of troubles by which she perished so young and so
tragically--poisoned by herself or her lover. All that we could see in
this young Captain was that he was an excellent dancer; he had plenty
of gaiety and still more assurance, a general air of good nature and
spent his time with prostitutes; for the rest, scarcely a nobleman,
quite poor and not seen at Court.

[Pg 69]
In these cases it is not enough to have no misgivings--one must be sick
of misgivings--have, so to speak, the impatience of courage to face
life's chances.

The soul of a woman, grown tired, without noticing it, of living
without loving, convinced in spite of herself by the example of other
women--all the fears of life surmounted and the sorry happiness of
pride found wanting--ends in creating unconsciously a model, an ideal.
One day she meets this model: crystallisation recognises its object by
the commotion it inspires and consecrates for ever to the master of its
fortunes the fruit of all its previous dreams.[2]

Women, whose hearts are open to this misfortune, have too much grandeur
of soul to love otherwise than with passion. They would be saved if
they could stoop to gallantry.

As "thunderbolts" come from a secret lassitude in what the catechism
calls Virtue, and from boredom brought on by the uniformity of
perfection, I should be inclined to think that it would generally be
the privilege of what is known in the world as "a bad lot" to bring
them down. I doubt very much whether rigidity _à la_ Cato has ever been
the occasion of a "thunderbolt."

What makes them so rare is that if the heart, thus disposed to love
beforehand, has the slightest inkling of its situation, there is no

The soul of a woman, whom troubles have made mistrustful, is not
susceptible of this revolution.

Nothing facilitates "a thunderbolt" like praise, given in advance and
by women, to the person who is to occasion it.

False "thunderbolts" form one of the most comic sources of love
stories. A weary woman, but one without much feeling, thinks for a
whole evening that she is in love for life. She is proud of having
found at last one of those great commotions of the soul, which used to

[Pg 70]
allure her imagination. The next day she no longer knows where to hide
her face and, still more, how to avoid the wretched object she was
adoring the night before.

Clever people know how to spot, that is to say, make capital out of
these "thunderbolts."

Physical love also has its "thunderbolts." Yesterday in her carriage
with the prettiest and most easy-going woman in Berlin, we saw her
suddenly blush. She became deeply absorbed and preoccupied. Handsome
Lieutenant Findorff had just passed. In the evening at the play,
according to her own confession to me, she was out of her mind, she
was beside herself, she could think of nothing but Findorff, to whom
she had never spoken. If she had dared, she told me, she would have
sent for him--that pretty face bore all the signs of the most violent
passion. The next day it was still going on. After three days, Findorff
having played the blockhead, she thought no more about it. A month
later she loathed him.

[1] Translated _ad litteram_ from the Memoirs of Bottmer.

[2] Several phrases taken from Crébillon.

[Pg 71]
                             CHAPTER XXIV

                       VOYAGE IN AN UNKNOWN LAND

I advise the majority of people born in the North to skip the present
chapter. It is an obscure dissertation upon certain phenomena
relative to the orange-tree, a plant which does not grow or reach its
full height except in Italy and Spain. In order to be intelligible
elsewhere, I should have had to cut down the facts.

I should have had no hesitation about this, if for a single moment
I had intended to write a book to be generally appreciated. But
Heaven having refused me the writer's gift, I have thought solely of
describing with all the ill-grace of science, but also with all its
exactitude, certain facts, of which I became involuntarily the witness
through a prolonged sojourn in the land of the orange-tree. Frederick
the Great, or some such other distinguished man from the North, who
never had the opportunity of seeing the orange-tree growing in the
open, would doubtless have denied the facts which follow--and denied in
good faith. I have an infinite respect for such good faith and can see
its _wherefore_.

As this sincere declaration may seem presumption, I append the
following reflexion:--

We write haphazard, each one of us what we think true, and each gives
the lie to his neighbour. I see in our books so many tickets in a
lottery and in reality they have no more value. Posterity, forgetting
some and reprinting others, declares the lucky numbers. And in so far,
each one of us having written as best he can, what he thinks true, has
no right to laugh at his neighbour--except

[Pg 72]
where the satire is amusing. In that case he is always right,
especially if he writes like M. Courrier to Del Furia(12).

After this preamble, I am going bravely to enter into the examination
of facts which, I am convinced, have rarely been observed at Paris. But
after all at Paris, superior as of course it is to all other towns,
orange-trees are not seen growing out in the open, as at Sorrento,
and it is there that Lisio Visconti observed and noted the following
facts--at Sorrento, the country of Tasso, on the Bay of Naples in a
position half-way down to the sea, still more picturesque than that of
Naples itself, but where no one reads the _Miroir_.

When we are to see in the evening the woman we love, the suspense, the
expectation of so great a happiness makes every moment, which separates
us from it, unbearable.

A devouring fever makes us take up and lay aside twenty different
occupations. We look every moment at our watch--overjoyed when we see
that we have managed to pass ten minutes without looking at the time.
The hour so longed-for strikes at last, and when we are at her door
ready to knock--we would be glad not to find her in. It is only on
reflexion that we would be sorry for it. In a word, the suspense before
seeing her produces an unpleasant effect.

There you have one of the things which make good folk say that love
drives men silly.

The reason is that the imagination, violently withdrawn from dreams of
delight in which every step forward brings happiness, is brought back
face to face with severe reality.

The gentle soul knows well that in the combat which is to begin the
moment he sees her, the least inadvertency, the least lack of attention
or of courage will be paid for by a defeat, poisoning, for a long time
to come, the dreams of fancy and of passion, and humiliating to a man's
pride, if he try to find consolation outside the

[Pg 73]
sphere of passion. He says to himself: "I hadn't the wit, I hadn't
the pluck"; but the only way to have pluck before the loved one is by
loving her a little less.

It is a fragment of attention, torn by force with so much trouble
from the dreams of crystallisation, which allows the crowd of things
to escape us during our first words with the woman we love--things
which have no sense or which have a sense contrary to what we mean--or
else, what is still more heartrending, we exaggerate our feelings and
they become ridiculous in our own eyes. We feel vaguely that we are
not paying enough attention to our words and mechanically set about
polishing and loading our oratory. And, also, it is impossible to hold
one's tongue--silence would be embarrassing and make it still less
possible to give one's thoughts to her. So we say in a feeling way a
host of things that we do not feel, and would be quite embarrassed to
repeat, obstinately keeping our distance from the woman before us, in
order more really to be with her. In the early hours of my acquaintance
with love, this oddity which I felt within me, made me believe that I
did not love.

I understand cowardice and how recruits, to be delivered of their fear,
throw themselves recklessly into the midst of the fire. The number of
silly things I have said in the last two years, in order not to hold my
tongue, makes me mad when I think of them.

And that is what should easily mark in a woman's eyes the difference
between passion-love and gallantry, between the gentle soul and the

In these decisive moments the one gains as much as the other loses: the
prosaic soul gets just the degree of warmth which he ordinarily wants,
while excess of feeling drives mad the poor gentle heart, who, to crown
his troubles, really means to hide his madness. Completely taken up
with keeping his own transports in check, he is miles away from the
self-possession necessary in order to seize opportunities,

[Pg 74]
and leaves in a muddle after a visit, in which the prosaic soul would
have made a great step forward. Directly it is a question of advancing
his too violent passion, a gentle being with pride cannot be eloquent
under the eye of the woman whom he loves: the pain of ill-success is
too much for him. The vulgar being, on the contrary, calculates nicely
the chances of success: he is stopped by no foretastes of the suffering
of defeat, and, proud of that which makes him vulgar, laughs at the
gentle soul, who, with all the cleverness he may have, is never quite
enough at ease to say the simplest things and those most certain to
succeed. The gentle soul, far from being able to grasp anything by
force, must resign himself to obtaining nothing except through the
_charity_ of her whom he loves. If the woman one loves really has
feelings, one always has reason to regret having wished to put pressure
on oneself in order to make love to her. One looks shame-faced, looks
chilly, would look deceitful, did not passion betray itself by other
and surer signs. To express what we feel so keenly, and in such detail,
at every moment of the day, is a task we take upon our shoulders
because we have read novels; for if we were natural, we would never
undertake anything so irksome. Instead of wanting to speak of what we
felt a quarter of an hour ago, and of trying to make of it a general
and interesting topic, we would express simply the passing fragment of
our feelings at the moment. But no! we put the most violent pressure
upon ourselves for a worthless success, and, as there is no evidence of
actual sensation to back our words, and as our memory cannot be working
freely, we approve at the time of things to say--and say them--comical
to a degree that is more than humiliating.

When at last, after an hour's trouble, this extremely painful effort
has resulted in getting away from the enchanted gardens of the
imagination, in order to enjoy quite simply the presence of what you
love, it often happens--that you've got to take your leave.

[Pg 75]
All this looks like extravagance, but I have seen better still. A
woman, whom one of my friends loved to idolatry, pretending to take
offence at some or other want of delicacy, which I was never allowed
to learn, condemned him all of a sudden to see her only twice a month.
These visits, so rare and so intensely desired, meant an attack of
madness, and it wanted all Salviati's strength of character to keep it
from being seen by outward signs.

From the very first, the idea of the visit's end is too insistent for
one to be able to take pleasure in the visit. One speaks a great deal,
deaf to one's own thoughts, saying often the contrary of what one
thinks. One embarks upon discourses which have got suddenly to be cut
short, because of their absurdity--if one manage to rouse oneself and
listen to one's thoughts within. The effort we make is so violent that
we seem chilly. Love hides itself in its excess.

Away from her, the imagination was lulled by the most charming
dialogues: there were transports the most tender and the most touching.
And thus for ten days or so you think you have the courage to speak;
but two days before what should have been our day of happiness, the
fever begins, and, as the terrible instant draws near, its force

Just as you come into her _salon_, in order not to do or say some
incredible piece of nonsense, you clutch in despair at the resolution
of keeping your mouth shut and your eyes on her--in order at least to
be able to remember her face. Scarcely before her, something like a
kind of drunkenness comes over your eyes; you feel driven like a maniac
to do strange actions; it is as if you had two souls--one to act and
the other to blame your actions. You feel, in a confused way, that to
turn your strained attention to folly would temporarily refresh the
blood, and make you lose from sight the end of the visit and the misery
of parting for a fortnight.

[Pg 76]
If some bore be there, who tells a pointless story, the poor lover, in
his inexplicable madness, as if he were nervous of losing moments so
rare, becomes all attention. That hour, of which he drew himself so
sweet a picture, passes like a flash of lightning and yet he feels,
with unspeakable bitterness, all the little circumstances which show
how much a stranger he has become to her whom he loves. There he is in
the midst of indifferent visitors and sees himself the only one who
does not know her life of these past days, in all its details. At last
he goes: and as he coldly says good-bye, he has the agonising feeling
of two whole weeks before another meeting. Without a doubt he would
suffer less never to see the object of his love again. It is in the
style, only far blacker, of the Duc de Policastro, who every six months
travelled a hundred leagues to see for a quarter of an hour at Lecce a
beloved mistress guarded by a jealous husband.

Here you can see clearly Will without influence upon Love.

Out of all patience with one's mistress and oneself, how furious the
desire to bury oneself in indifference! The only good of such visits is
to replenish the treasure of crystallisation.

Life for Salviati was divided into periods of two weeks, which took
their colour from the last evening he had been allowed to see Madame
----. For example, he was in the seventh heaven of delight the 21st of
May, and the 2nd of June he kept away from home, for fear of yielding
to the temptation of blowing out his brains.

I saw that evening how badly novelists have drawn the moment of
suicide. Salviati simply said to me: "I'm thirsty, I must take this
glass of water." I did not oppose his resolution, but said good-bye:
then he broke down.

Seeing the obscurity which envelops the discourse of lovers, it would
not be prudent to push too far conclusions drawn from an isolated
detail of their conversation.

[Pg 77]
They give a fair glimpse of their feelings only in sudden
expressions--then it is the cry of the heart. Otherwise it is from the
complexion of the bulk of what is said that inductions are to be drawn.
And we must remember that quite often a man, who is very moved, has no
time to notice the emotion of the person who is the cause of his own.

[1] The word was one of Léonore's.

[Pg 78]
                              CHAPTER XXV

                           THE INTRODUCTION

To see the subtlety and sureness of judgment with which women grasp
certain details, I am lost in admiration: but a moment later, I see
them praise a blockhead to the skies, let themselves be moved to tears
by a piece of insipidity, or weigh gravely a fatuous affectation, as if
it were a telling characteristic. I cannot conceive such simplicity.
There must be some general law in all this, unknown to me.

Attentive to one merit in a man and absorbed by one detail, women feel
it deeply and have no eyes for the rest. All the nervous fluid is used
up in the enjoyment of this quality: there is none left to see the

I have seen the most remarkable men introduced to very clever women;
it was always a particle of bias which decided the effect of the first

If I may be allowed a familiar detail, I shall tell the story how
charming Colonel L. B---- was to be introduced to Madame de Struve of
Koenigsberg--she a most distinguished woman. "_Farà colpo?_"[1]--we
asked each other; and a wager was made as a result. I go up to
Madame de Struve, and tell her the Colonel wears his ties two days
running--the second he turns them--she could notice on his tie the
creases downwards. Nothing more palpably untrue!

As I finish, the dear fellow is announced. The silliest little Parisian
would have made more effect. Observe that Madame de Struve was one who
could love. She is

[Pg 79]
also a respectable woman and there could have been no question of
gallantry between them.

Never were two characters more made for each other. People blamed
Madame de Struve for being romantic, and there was nothing could touch
L. B. but virtue carried to the point of the romantic. Thanks to her,
he had a bullet put through him quite young.

It has been given to women admirably to feel the fine shades of
affection, the most imperceptible variations of the human heart, the
lightest movements of susceptibility.

In this regard they have an organ which in us is missing: watch them
nurse the wounded.

But, perhaps, they are equally unable to see what mind consists in--as
a moral composition. I have seen the most distinguished women charmed
with a clever man, who was not myself, and, at the same time and almost
with the same word, admire the biggest fools. I felt caught like a
connoisseur, who sees the loveliest diamonds taken for paste, and paste
preferred for being more massive.

And so I concluded that with women you have to risk everything. Where
General Lassale came to grief, a captain with moustaches and heavy
oaths succeeded.[2] There is surely a whole side in men's merit which
escapes them. For myself, I always come back to physical laws. The
nervous fluid spends itself in men through the brain and in women
through the heart: that is why they are more sensitive. Some great and
obligatory work, within the profession we have followed all our life,
is our consolation, but for them nothing can console but distraction.

Appiani, who only believes in virtue as a last resort, and with whom
this evening I went routing out ideas (exposing meanwhile those of this
chapter) answered:--

"The force of soul, which Eponina used with heroic

[Pg 80]
devotion, to keep alive her husband in a cavern underground and to keep
him from sinking into despair, would have helped her to hide from him a
lover, if they had lived at Rome in peace. Strong souls must have their

[1] [Will he impress her?--Tr.]

[2] Posen, 1807.

[Pg 81]
                             CHAPTER XXVI

                              OF MODESTY

In Madagascar, a woman exposes without a thought what is here most
carefully hidden, but would die of shame sooner than show her arm.
Clearly three-quarters of modesty come from example. It is perhaps the
one law, daughter of civilisation, which produces only happiness.

People have noticed that birds of prey hide themselves to drink; the
reason being that, obliged to plunge their head in the water, they are
at that moment defenceless. After a consideration of what happens at
Tahiti,[1] I see no other natural basis for modesty.

Love is the miracle of civilisation. There is nothing but a physical
love of the coarsest kind among savage or too barbarian peoples.

And modesty gives love the help of imagination--that is, gives it life.

Modesty is taught little girls very early by their mothers with such
jealous care, that it almost looks like fellow-feeling; in this way
women take measures in good time for the happiness of the lover to come.

There can be nothing worse for a timid, sensitive woman than the
torture of having, in the presence of a man, allowed herself something
for which she thinks she ought to blush; I am convinced that a woman
with a

[Pg 82]
little pride would sooner face a thousand deaths. A slight liberty,
which touches a soft corner in the lover's heart, gives her a moment
of lively pleasure.[2] If he seem to blame it, or simply not to enjoy
it to the utmost, it must leave in the soul an agonising doubt. And
so a woman above the common sort has everything to gain by being very
reserved in her manner. The game is not fair: against the chance of
a little pleasure or the advantage of seeming a little more lovable,
a woman runs the risk of a burning remorse and a sense of shame,
which must make even the lover less dear. An evening gaily passed, in
care-devil thoughtless fashion, is dearly paid for at the price. If a
woman fears she has made this kind of mistake before her lover, he must
become for days together hateful in her sight. Can one wonder at the
force of a habit, when the lightest infractions of it are punished by
such cruel shame?

As for the utility of modesty--she is the mother of love: impossible,
therefore, to doubt her claims. And for the mechanism of the
sentiment--it's simple enough. The soul is busy feeling shame instead
of busy desiring. You deny yourself desires and your desires lead to

Evidently every woman of feeling and pride--and, these two things being
cause and effect, one can hardly go without the other--must fall into
ways of coldness, which the people whom they disconcert call prudery.

The accusation is all the more specious because of the extreme
difficulty of steering a middle course: a woman has only to have little
judgment and a lot of pride, and very soon she will come to believe
that in modesty one cannot go too far. In this way, an Englishwoman
takes it as an insult, if you pronounce before her the name of certain
garments. An Englishwoman must be very careful, in the country, not to
be seen in the evening

[Pg 83]
leaving the drawing-room with her husband; and, what is still more
serious, she thinks it an outrage to modesty, to show that she
is enjoying herself a little in the presence of anyone _but_ her
husband.[3] It is perhaps due to such studied scrupulousness that the
English, a people of judgment, betray signs of such boredom in their
domestic bliss. Theirs the fault--why so much pride?[4]

To make up for this--and to pass straight from Plymouth to Cadiz and
Seville--I found in Spain that the warmth of climate and passions
caused people to overlook a little the necessary measure of restraint.
The very tender caresses, which I noticed could be given in public, far
from seeming touching, inspired me with feelings quite the reverse:
nothing is more distressing.

We must expect to find incalculable the force of habits, which
insinuate themselves into women under the pretext of modesty. A common
woman, by carrying modesty to extremes, feels she is getting on a level
with a woman of distinction.

Such is the empire of modesty, that a woman of feeling betrays her
sentiments for her lover sooner by deed than by word.

The prettiest, richest and most easy-going woman of Bologna has just
told me, how yesterday evening a fool of a Frenchman, who is here
giving people a strange idea of his nation, thought good to hide under
her bed. Apparently he did not want to waste the long string of absurd
declarations, with which he has been pestering her for a month. But the
great man should have had more presence of mind. He waited all right
till Madame M---- sent away her maid and had got to bed, but he had not
the patience to give the household time to go to sleep. She seized hold
of the bell and had him thrown

[Pg 84]
out ignominiously, in the midst of the jeers and cuffs of five or six
lackeys. "And if he had waited two hours?" I asked her. "I should have
been very badly off. 'Who is to doubt,' he would have said, 'that I am
here by your orders?'"[5]

After leaving this pretty woman's house, I went to see a woman more
worthy of being loved than any I know. Her extremely delicate nature is
something greater, if possible, than her touching beauty. I found her
alone, told the story of Madame M---- and we discussed it. "Listen,"
was what she said; "if the man, who will go as far as that, was lovable
in the eyes of that woman beforehand, he'll have her pardon, and, all
in good time, her love." I own I was dumbfounded by this unexpected
light thrown on the recesses of the human heart. After a short silence
I answered her--"But will a man, who loves, dare go to such violent

There would be far less vagueness in this chapter had a woman written
it. Everything relating to women's haughtiness or pride, to their
habits of modesty and its excesses, to certain delicacies, for the most
part dependent wholly on associations of feelings,[6] which cannot
exist for men, and often delicacies not founded on Nature--all these
things, I say, can only find their way here so far as it is permissible
to write from hearsay.

A woman once said to me, in a moment of philosophical frankness,
something which amounts to this:--

"If ever I sacrificed my liberty, the man whom I should happen to
favour would appreciate still more my

[Pg 85]
affection, by seeing how sparing I had always been of favours--even
of the slightest." It is out of preference for this lover, whom
perhaps she will never meet, that a lovable woman will offer a cold
reception to the man who is speaking to her at the moment. That is the
first exaggeration of modesty; that one can respect. The second comes
from women's pride. The third source of exaggeration is the pride of

To my idea, this possibility of love presents itself often to the fancy
of even the most virtuous woman--and why not? Not to love, when given
by Heaven a soul made for love, is to deprive yourself and others of a
great blessing. It is like an orange-tree, which would not flower for
fear of committing a sin. And beyond doubt a soul made for love can
partake fervently of no other bliss. In the would-be pleasures of the
world it finds, already at the second trial, an intolerable emptiness.
Often it fancies that it loves Art and Nature in its grander aspects,
but all they do for it is to hold out hopes of love and magnify it, if
that is possible; until, very soon, it finds out that they speak of a
happiness which it is resolved to forego.

The only thing I see to blame in modesty is that it leads to
untruthfulness, and that is the only point of vantage, which light
women have over women of feeling. A light woman says to you: "As soon,
my friend, as you attract me, I'll tell you and I'll be more delighted
than you; because I have a great respect for you."

The lively satisfaction of Constance's cry after her lover's victory!
"How happy I am, not to have given myself to anyone, all these eight
years that I've been on bad terms with my husband!"

However comical I find the line of thought, this joy seems to me full
of freshness.

Here I absolutely must talk about the sort of regrets, felt by a
certain lady of Seville who had been deserted by her lover. I ought to
remind the reader that, in love.

[Pg 86]
everything is a sign, and, above all, crave the benefit of a little
indulgence for my style.[7]

           *       *       *       *       *

As a man, I think my eye can distinguish nine points in modesty.

1. Much is staked against little; hence extreme reserve; hence often
affectation. For example, one doesn't laugh at what amuses one the
most. Hence it needs a great deal of judgment to have just the right
amount of modesty.[8] That is why many women have not enough in
intimate gatherings, or, to put it more exactly, do not insist on the
stories told them being sufficiently disguised, and only drop their
veils according to the degree of their intoxication or recklessness.[9]

Could it be an effect of modesty and of the deadly dullness it must
impose on many women, that the majority of them respect nothing in a
man so much as impudence? Or do they take impudence for character?

2. Second law: "My lover will think the more of me for it."

3. Force of habit has its way, even at the moments of greatest passion.

4. To the lover, modesty offers very flattering pleasures; it makes him
feel what laws are broken for his sake.

5. And to women it offers more intoxicating pleasures, which, causing
the fall of a strongly established habit, throw the soul into greater
confusion. The Comte de Valmont finds himself in a pretty woman's
bedroom at

[Pg 87]
midnight. The thing happens every week to him; to her perhaps every
other year. Thus continence and modesty must have pleasures infinitely
more lively in store for women.[10]

6. The drawback of modesty is that it is always leading to falsehood.

7. Excess of modesty, and its severity, discourages gentle and timid
hearts from loving[11]--just those made for giving and feeling the
sweets of love.

8. In sensitive women, who have not had several lovers, modesty is a
bar to ease of manner, and for this reason they are rather apt to let
themselves be led by those friends, who need reproach themselves with
no such failing.[12] They go into each particular case, instead of
falling back blindly on habit. Delicacy and modesty give their actions
a touch of restraint; by being natural they make

[Pg 88]
themselves appear unnatural; but this awkwardness is akin to heavenly

If familiarity in them sometimes resembles tenderness, it is because
these angelic souls are coquettes without knowing it. They are
disinclined to interrupt their dreams, and, to save themselves the
trouble of speaking and finding something both pleasant and polite to
say to a friend (which would end in being nothing but polite), they
finish by leaning tenderly on his arm.[13]

9. Women only dare be frank by halves; which is the reason why they
very rarely reach the highest, when they become authors, but which also
gives a grace to their shortest note. For them to be frank means going
out without a _fichu_. For a man nothing more frequent than to write
absolutely at the dictate of his imagination, without knowing where he
is going.


The usual fault is to treat woman as a kind of man, but more generous,
more changeable and with whom, above all, no rivalry is possible. It is
only too easy to forget that there are two new and peculiar laws, which
tyrannise over these unstable beings, in conflict with all the ordinary
impulses of human nature--I mean:--

Feminine pride and modesty, and those often inscrutable habits born of

[1] See the Travels of Bougainville, Cook, etc. In some animals, the
female seems to retract at the moment she gives herself. We must expect
from comparative anatomy some of the most important revelations about

[2] Shows one's love in a new way.

[3] See the admirable picture of these tedious manners at the end of
_Corinne_; and Madame de Staël has made a flattering portrait.

[4] The Bible and Aristocracy take a cruel revenge upon people who
believe that duty is everything.

[5] I am advised to suppress this detail--"You take me for a very
doubtful woman, to dare tell such stories in my presence."

[6] Modesty is one of the sources of taste in dress: by such and such
an arrangement, a woman engages herself in a greater or less degree.
This is what makes dress lose its point in old age.

A provincial, who puts up to follow the fashion in Paris, engages
herself in an awkward way, which makes people laugh. A woman coming
to Paris from the provinces ought to begin by dressing as if she were

[7] P. 84, note 5.

[8] See the tone of society at Geneva, above all in the "best"
families--use of a Court to correct the tendency towards prudery by
laughing at it--Duclos telling stories to Madame de Rochefort--"Really,
you take us for too virtuous." Nothing in the world is so nauseous as
modesty not sincere.

[9] "Ah, my dear Fronsac, there are twenty bottles of champagne between
the story, that you're beginning to tell us, and our talk at this time
of day."

[10] It is the story of the melancholy temperament and the sanguine.
Consider a virtuous woman (even the mercenary virtue of certain of the
faithful--virtue to be had for a hundredfold reward in Paradise) and
a blasé debauchee of forty. Although the Valmont(13) of the _Liaisons
Dangereuses_ is not as far gone as that, the Présidente de Tourvel(13)
is happier than he all the way through the book: and if the author,
with all his wit, had had still more, that would have been the moral of
his ingenious novel.

[11] Melancholy temperament, which may be called the temperament of
love. I have seen women, the most distinguished and the most made for
love, give the preference, for want of sense, to the prosaic, sanguine
temperament. (Story of Alfred, Grande Chartreuse, 1810.)

I know no thought which incites me more to keep what is called bad

(Here poor Visconti loses himself in the clouds.)

Fundamentally all women are the same so far as concerns the movements
of the heart and passion: the forms the passions take are different.
Consider the difference made by greater fortune, a more cultivated
mind, the habit of higher thoughts, and, above all, (and more's the
pity) a more irritable pride.

Such and such a word irritates a princess, but would not in the very
least shock an Alpine shepherdess. Only, once their anger is up, the
passion works in princess and shepherdess the same). (The Editor's only

[12] M.'s remark.

[13] Vol. _Guarna_.

[Pg 89]
                             CHAPTER XXVII

                              THE GLANCE

This is the great weapon of virtuous coquetry. With a glance, one may
say everything, and yet one can always deny a glance; for it cannot be
repeated textually.

This reminds me of Count G----, the Mirabeau of Rome. The delightful
little government of that land has taught him an original way of
telling stories by a broken string of words, which say everything--and
nothing. He makes his whole meaning clear, but repeat who will his
sayings word for word, it is impossible to compromise him. Cardinal
Lante told him he had stolen this talent from women--yes, and
respectable women, I add. This roguery is a cruel, but just, reprisal
on man's tyranny.

[Pg 90]
                            CHAPTER XXVIII

                           OF FEMININE PRIDE

All their lives women hear mention made by men of things claiming
importance--large profits, success in war, people killed in duels,
fiendish or admirable revenges, and so on. Those of them, whose heart
is proud, feel that, being unable to reach these things, they are not
in a position to display any pride remarkable for the importance of
what it rests on. They feel a heart beat in their breast, superior
by the force and pride of its movements to all which surrounds them,
and yet they see the meanest of men esteem himself above them. They
find out, that all their pride can only be for little things, or at
least for things, which are without importance except for sentiment,
and of which a third party cannot judge. Maddened by this desolating
contrast between the meanness of their fortune and the conscious worth
of their soul, they set about making their pride worthy of respect by
the intensity of its fits or by the relentless tenacity with which they
hold by its dictates. Before intimate intercourse women of this kind
imagine, when they see their lover, that he has laid siege to them.
Their imagination is absorbed in irritation at his endeavours, which,
after all, cannot do otherwise than witness to his love--seeing that
he does love. Instead of enjoying the feelings of the man of their
preference, their vanity is up in arms against him; and it comes to
this, that, with a soul of the tenderest, so long as its sensibility is
not centred on a special object, they have only to love, in

[Pg 91]
order, like a common flirt, to be reduced to the barest vanity.

A woman of generous character will sacrifice her life a thousand times
for her lover, but will break with him for ever over a question of
pride--for the opening or shutting of a door. Therein lies their point
of honour. Well! Napoleon came to grief rather than yield a village.

I have seen a quarrel of this kind last longer than a year. It was a
woman of the greatest distinction who sacrificed all her happiness,
sooner than give her lover the chance of entertaining the slightest
possible doubt of the magnanimity of her pride. The reconciliation
was the work of chance, and, on my friend's side, due to a moment of
weakness, which, on meeting her lover, she was unable to overcome.
She imagined him forty miles away, and found him in a place, where
certainly he did not expect to see her. She could not hide the first
transports of delight; her lover was more overcome than she; they
almost fell at each other's feet and never have I seen tears flow so
abundantly--it was the unlooked-for appearance of happiness. Tears are
the supreme smile.

The Duke of Argyll gave a fine example of presence of mind, in not
drawing Feminine Pride into a combat, in the interview he had at
Richmond with Queen Caroline.[1] The more nobility in a woman's
character, the more terrible are these storms--

        As the blackest sky
    Foretells the heaviest tempest.

                                    (_Don Juan_.)

Can it be that the more fervently, in the normal course of life, a
woman delights in the rare qualities of her lover, the more she tries,
in those cruel moments, when sympathy seems turned to the reverse, to
wreak her vengeance on what usually she sees in him superior

[Pg 92]
to other people? She is afraid of being confounded with them.

It is a precious long time since I read that boring _Clarissa_; but I
think it is through feminine pride that she lets herself die, and does
not accept the hand of Lovelace.

Lovelace's fault was great; but as she did love him a little, she could
have found pardon in her heart for a crime, of which the cause was love.

Monime, on the contrary, seems to me a touching model of feminine
delicacy. What cheek does not blush with pleasure to hear from the lips
of an actress worthy of the part:--

    That fatal love which I had crushed and conquered,

           *       *       *       *       *

    Your wiles detected, and I cannot now
    Disown what I confess'd; you cannot raze
    Its memory; the shame of that avowal,
    To which you forced me, will abide for ever
    Present before my mind, and I should think
    That you were always of my faith uncertain.
    The grave itself to me were less abhorrent
    Than marriage bed shared with a spouse, who took
    Cruel advantage of my simple trust,
    And, to destroy my peace for ever, fann'd
    A flame that fired my cheek for other love
    Than his.[2]

I can picture to myself future generations saying: "So that's what
Monarchy[3] was good for--to produce that sort of character and their
portrayal by great artists. "

And yet I find an admirable example of this delicacy even in the
republics of the Middle Ages; which seems to destroy my system of the
influence of governments on the passions, but which I shall cite in
good faith.

[Pg 93]
The reference is to those very touching verses of Dante:

    Deh! quando tu sarai tomato al mondo

           *       *       *       *       *

    Ricordati di me, che son la Pia;
    Siena mi fè; disfecemi Maremma;
    Salsi colui, che inanellata pria
    Disposando, m'avea con la sua gemma.

                     _Purgatorio_, Cant. V.[4]

The woman, who speaks with so much restraint, had suffered in secret
the fate of Desdemona, and, by a word, could make known her husband's
crime to the friends, whom she had left on earth.

Nello della Pietra won the hand of Madonna Pia(14), sole heiress of the
Tolomei, the richest and noblest family of Sienna. Her beauty, which
was the admiration of Tuscany, sowed in her husband's heart the seed
of jealousy, which, envenomed by false reports and suspicions ever and
anon rekindled, led him to a heinous project. It is difficult, at this
hour, to decide whether his wife was altogether innocent, but Dante
represents her as such.

Her husband carried her off into the fens of Volterra, famous then, as
now, for the effects of the _aria cattiva_. Never would he tell his
unhappy wife the reason of her exile in so dangerous a place. His pride
did not deign to utter complaint or accusation. He lived alone with her
in a deserted tower, the ruins of which by the edge of the sea I have
been myself to visit. There he never broke his scornful silence, never
answered his young wife's questions, never listened to her prayers.
Coldly he waited at her side for the pestilential air to have its
effect. The exhalations of these morasses were not long in withering
those features--the loveliest, it is said,

[Pg 94]
which, in that century, the world had seen. In a few months she died.
Some chroniclers of those remote times report that Nello used the
dagger to hasten her end. She died in the fens in some horrible way;
but the kind of death was a mystery even to her contemporaries. Nello
della Pietra survived to pass the rest of his days in a silence which
he never broke.

Nothing nobler and more delicate than the way in which young la Pia
addresses Dante. She wishes to be recalled to the memory of the
friends, whom she had left on earth so young; and yet, telling who she
is and giving the name of her husband, she will not allow herself the
slightest complaint against a piece of cruelty unheard of, but for the
future irreparable; she only points out that he knows the story of her

This constancy in pride's revenge is not met, I think, except in the
countries of the South.

In Piedmont I happened to be the involuntary witness of something very
nearly parallel; though at the time I did not know the details. I was
sent with twenty-five dragoons into the woods along the Sesia, to
intercept contraband. Arriving in the evening at this wild and desolate
spot, I caught sight between the trees of the ruins of an old castle.
I went up to it and to my great surprise--it was inhabited. I found
within a nobleman of the country, of sinister appearance, a man six
foot high and forty years old. He gave me two rooms with a bad grace.
I passed my time playing music with my quartermaster; after some days,
we discovered that our friend kept a woman in the background, whom
we used to call Camille, laughingly; but we were far from suspecting
the fearful truth. Six weeks later she was dead. I had the morbid
curiosity to see her in the coffin, paying a monk, who was watching, to
introduce me into the chapel towards midnight, under pretext of going
to sprinkle holy water. There I found one of those superb faces, which
are beautiful even in the arms of death;

[Pg 95]
she had a large aquiline nose--the nobility and delicacy of its outline
I shall never forget. Then I left that deadly spot. Five years later,
a detachment of my regiment accompanying the Emperor to his coronation
as King of Italy(15), I had the whole story told me. I learnt that the
jealous husband, Count ----, had found one morning fastened to his
wife's bed an English watch, belonging to a young man of the small town
in which they lived. That very day he carried her off to the ruined
castle in the midst of the woods of the Sesia. Like Nello della Pietra,
he never uttered a single word. If she made him any request, he coldly
and silently presented to her the English watch, which he carried
always with him. Almost three years passed, spent thus alone with her.
At last she died of despair, in the flower of life. Her husband tried
to put a knife into the proprietor of the watch, missed him, passed on
to Genoa, took ship and no one has heard of him since. His property has
been divided.

As for these women with feminine pride, if you take their injuries with
a good grace, which the habits of a military life make easy, you annoy
these proud souls; they take you for a coward, and very soon become
outrageous. Such lofty characters yield with pleasure to men whom they
see overbearing with other men. That is, I fancy, the only way--you
must often pick a quarrel with your neighbour in order to avoid one
with your mistress.

One day Miss Cornel, the celebrated London actress, was surprised by
the unexpected appearance of the rich colonel, whom she found useful.
She happened to be with a little lover, whom she just liked--and
nothing more. "Mr. So-and-so," says she in great confusion to the
colonel, "has come to see the pony I want to sell." "I am here for
something very different," put in proudly the little lover who was
beginning to bore her, but whom, from the moment of that answer, she

[Pg 96]
to love again madly.[5] Women of that kind sympathise with their
lover's haughtiness, instead of exercising at his expense their own
disposition to pride.

The character of the Duc de Lauzun (that of 1660[6]), if they can
forgive the first day its want of grace, is very fascinating for
such women, and perhaps for all women of distinction. Grandeur on a
higher plane escapes them; they take for coldness the calm gaze which
nothing escapes, but which a detail never disturbs. Have I not heard
women at the Court of Saint-Cloud maintain that Napoleon had a dry and
prosaic character?[7] A great man is like an eagle: the higher he rises
the less he is visible, and he is punished for his greatness by the
solitude of his soul.

From feminine pride arises what women call want of refinement. I fancy,
it is not at all unlike what kings call _lèse majesté_, a crime all the
more dangerous, because

[Pg 97]
one slips into it without knowing. The tenderest lover may be accused
of wanting refinement, if he is not very sharp, or, what is sadder, if
he dares give himself up to the greatest charm of love--the delight of
being perfectly natural with the loved one and of not listening to what
he is told.

These are the sort of things, of which a well-born heart could have no
inkling; one must have experience, in order to believe in them; for
we are misled by the habit of dealing justly and frankly with our men

It is necessary to keep in mind incessantly that we have to do with
beings, who can, however wrongly, think themselves inferior in vigour
of character, or, to put it better, can think that others believe they
are inferior.

Should not a woman's true pride reside in the power of the feeling
she inspires? A maid of honour to the queen and wife of Francis I was
chaffed about the fickleness of her lover, who, it was said, did not
really love her. A little time after, this lover had an illness and
reappeared at Court--dumb. Two years later, people showing surprise one
day that she still loved him, she turned to him, saying: "Speak." And
he spoke.

[1] _The Heart of Midlothian_.

[2] Racine, _Mithridates_, Act IV, Sc. 4. [From the Metrical English
version of R. B. Boswell. (Bohn's Standard Library.--Tr.)]

[3] Monarchy without charter and without chambers.

[4] Ah! when you are returned to the world of the living, give me a
passing thought. I am la Pia. Sienna gave me life, death took me in our
fens. He who, wedding me, gave me his ring, knows my story.

[5] I always come back from Miss Cornel's full of admiration and
profound views on the passions laid bare. Her very imperious way of
giving orders to her servants has nothing of despotism in it: she
merely sees with precision and rapidity what has to be done.

Incensed against me at the beginning of the visit, she thinks no more
about it at the end. She tells me in detail of the economy of her
passion for Mortimer. "I prefer seeing him in company than alone with
me." A woman of the greatest genius could do no better, for she has
the courage to be perfectly natural and is unhampered by any theory.
"I'm happier an actress than the wife of a peer."--A great soul whose
friendship I must keep for my enlightenment.

[6] Loftiness and courage in small matters, but a passionate care for
these small matters.--The vehemence of the choleric temperament.--His
behaviour towards Madame de Monaco (Saint-Simon, V. 383) and adventure
under the bed of Madame de Montespan while the king was there.--Without
the care for small matters, this character would remain invisible to
the eye of women.

[7] When Minna Troil heard a tale of woe or of romance, it was
then her blood rushed to her cheeks and showed plainly how warm it
beat, notwithstanding the generally serious, composed and retiring
disposition which her countenance and demeanour seemed to exhibit.
(_The Pirate_, Chap. III.)

Souls like Minna Troil, in whose judgment ordinary circumstances are
not worth emotion, by ordinary people are thought cold.

[Pg 98]
                             CHAPTER XXIX

                          OF WOMEN'S COURAGE

 I tell thee, proud Templar, that not in thy fiercest battles hast thou
 displayed more of thy vaunted courage than has been shewn by women,
 when called upon to suffer by affection or duty. (_Ivanhoe_.)

I remember meeting the following phrase in a book of history: "All
the men lost their head: that is the moment when women display an
incontestable superiority."

Their courage has a reserve which that of their lover wants; he acts
as a spur to their sense of worth. They find so much pleasure in being
able, in the fire of danger, to dispute the first place for firmness
with the man, who often wounds them by the proudness of his protection
and his strength, that the vehemence of that enjoyment raises them
above any kind of fear, which at the moment is the man's weak point.
A man, too, if the same help were given him at the same moment, would
show himself superior to everything; for fear never resides in the
danger, but in ourselves.

Not that I mean to depreciate women's courage--I have seen them, on
occasions, superior to the bravest men. Only they must have a man to
love. Then they no longer feel except through him; and so the most
obvious and personal danger becomes, as it were, a rose to gather in
his presence.[1]

I have found also in women, who did not love, intrepidity,

[Pg 99]
the coldest, the most surprising and the most exempt from nerves.

It is true, I have always imagined that they are so brave, only because
they do not know the tiresomeness of wounds!

As for moral courage, so far superior to the other, the firmness of a
woman who resists her love is simply the most admirable thing, which
can exist on earth. All other possible marks of courage are as nothing
compared to a thing so strongly opposed to nature and so arduous.
Perhaps they find a source of strength in the habit of sacrifice, which
is bred in them by modesty.

Hard on women it is that the proofs of this courage should always
remain secret and be almost impossible to divulge.

Still harder that it should always be employed against their own
happiness: the Princesse de Clèves would have done better to say
nothing to her husband and give herself to M. de Nemours.

Perhaps women are chiefly supported by their pride in making a fine
defence, and imagine that their lover is staking his vanity on having
them--a petty and miserable idea. A man of passion, who throws himself
with a light heart into so many ridiculous situations, must have a lot
of time to be thinking of vanity! It is like the monks who mean to
catch the devil and find their reward in the pride of hair-shirts and

I should think that Madame de Clèves would have repented, had she come
to old age,--to the period at which one judges life and when the joys
of pride appear in all their meanness. She would have wished to have
lived like Madame de la Fayette.[2]

[Pg 100]
I have just re-read a hundred pages of this essay: and a pretty poor
idea I have given of true love, of love which occupies the entire
soul, fills it with fancies, now the happiest, now heart-breaking--but
always sublime--and makes it completely insensible to all the rest
of creation. I am at a loss to express what I see so well; I have
never felt more painfully the want of talent. How bring into relief
the simplicity of action and of character, the high seriousness, the
glance that reflects so truly and so ingenuously the passing shade
of feeling, and above all, to return to it again, that inexpressible
_What care I?_ for all that is not the woman we love? A yes or a no
spoken by a man in love has an _unction_ which is not to be found
elsewhere, and is not found in that very man at other times. This
morning (August 3rd) I passed on horseback about nine o'clock in front
of the lovely English garden of Marchese Zampieri, situated on the
last crests of those tree-capped hills, on which Bologna rests, and
from which so fine a view is enjoyed over Lombardy rich and green--the
fairest country in the world. In a copse of laurels, belonging to the
Giardino Zampieri, which dominates the path I was taking, leading to
the cascade of the Reno at Casa Lecchio, I saw Count Delfante. He was
absorbed in thought and scarcely returned my greeting, though we had
passed the night together till two o'clock in the morning. I went to
the cascade, I crossed the Reno; after which, passing again, at least
three hours later, under the copse of the Giardino Zampieri, I saw him
still there. He was precisely in the same position, leaning against a
great pine, which rises above the copse of laurels--but this detail I
am afraid will be found too simple and pointless. He came up to me with
tears in his eyes, asking me not to go telling people of his trance.
I was touched, and suggested retracing my steps and going with him to
spend the day in the country. At the end of two hours he had told me
everything. His is a fine soul,

[Pg 101]
but oh! the coldness of these pages, compared to his story.

Furthermore, he thinks his love is not returned--which is not my
opinion. In the fair marble face of the Contessa Ghigi, with whom we
spent the evening, one can read nothing. Only now and then a light and
sudden blush, which she cannot check, just betrays the emotions of
that soul, which the most exalted feminine pride disputes with deeper
emotions. You see the colour spread over her neck of alabaster and as
much as one catches of those lovely shoulders, worthy of Canova. She
somehow finds a way of diverting her black and sombre eyes from the
observation of those, whose penetration alarms her woman's delicacy;
but last night, at something which Delfante was saying and of which she
disapproved, I saw a sudden blush spread all over her. Her lofty soul
found him less worthy of her.

But when all is said, even if I were mistaken in my conjectures on
the happiness of Delfante, vanity apart, I think him happier than I,
in my indifference, although I am in a thoroughly happy position, in
appearance and in reality.

Bologna, _August 3rd_, 1818.

[1] Mary Stuart speaking of Leicester, after the interview with
Elizabeth, where she had just met her doom. (Schiller.)

[2] It is well known that that celebrated woman was the author,
probably in company with M. de la Rochefoucauld, of the novel, _La
Princesse de Clèves_, and that the two authors passed together in
perfect friendship the last twenty years of their life. That is exactly
love _à l'Italienne_.

[Pg 102]
                              CHAPTER XXX


Women with their feminine pride visit the iniquities of the fools upon
the men of sense, and those of the prosaic, prosperous and brutal upon
the noble-minded. A very pretty result--you'll agree!

The petty considerations of pride and worldly proprieties are the
cause of many women's unhappiness, for, through pride, their parents
have placed them in their abominable position. Destiny has reserved
for them, as a consolation far superior to all their misfortunes, the
happiness of loving and being loved with passion, when suddenly one
fine day they borrow from the enemy this same mad pride, of which they
were the first victims--all to kill the one happiness which is left
them, to work their own misfortune and the misfortune of him, who loves
them. A friend, who has had ten famous intrigues (and by no means
all one after another), gravely persuades them that if they fall in
love, they will be dishonoured in the eyes of the public, and yet this
worthy public, who never rises above low ideas, gives them generously a
lover a year; because that, it says, "is the thing." Thus the soul is
saddened by this odd spectacle: a woman of feeling, supremely refined
and an angel of purity, on the advice of a low t----, runs away from
the boundless, the only happiness which is left to her, in order to
appear in a dress of dazzling white, before a great fat brute of a
judge, whom everyone knows has been blind a hundred years, and who
bawls out at the top of his voice: "She is dressed in black!"

[Pg 103]
                             CHAPTER XXXI


  Ingenium nobis ipsa puella facit.
                   (_Propertius_, II, I.)

Bologna, _April 29th_, 1818.

Driven to despair by the misfortune to which love has reduced me, I
curse existence. I have no heart for anything. The weather is dull; it
is raining, and a late spell of cold has come again to sadden nature,
who after a long winter was hurrying to meet the spring.

Schiassetti, a half-pay colonel, my cold and reasonable friend, came to
spend a couple of hours with me "You should renounce your love."

"How? Give me back my passion for war."

"It is a great misfortune for you to have known her."

I agree very nearly--so low-spirited and craven do I feel--so much has
melancholy taken possession of me to-day. We discuss what interest
can have led her friend to libel me, but find nothing but that old
Neapolitan proverb: "Woman, whom love and youth desert, a nothing
piques." What is certain is that that cruel woman is _enraged_ with
me--it is the expression of one of her friends. I could revenge myself
in a fearful way, but, against her hatred, I am without the smallest
means of defence. Schiassetti leaves me. I go out into the rain, not
knowing what to do with myself. My rooms, this drawing-room, which I
lived in during the first days of our acquaintance, and when I saw her
every evening, have become insupportable to me. Each engraving, each
piece of furniture, brings up again the

[Pg 104]
happiness I dreamed of in their presence--which now I have lost for

I tramped the streets through a cold rain: chance, if I can call it
chance, made me pass under her windows. Night was falling and I went
along, my eyes full of tears fixed on the window of her room. Suddenly
the curtains were just drawn aside, as if to give a glimpse into the
square, then instantly closed again. I felt within me a physical
movement about the heart. I was unable to support myself and took
refuge under the gateway of the next house. A thousand feelings crowd
upon my soul. Chance may have produced this movement of the curtains;
but oh! if it was her hand that had drawn them aside.

There are two misfortunes in the world: passion frustrated and the
"dead blank."

In love--I feel that two steps away from me exists a boundless
happiness, something beyond all my prayers, which depends upon nothing
but a word, nothing but a smile.

Passionless like Schiassetti, on gloomy days I see happiness nowhere, I
come to doubt if it exists for me, I fall into depression. One ought to
be without strong passions and have only a little curiosity or vanity.

It is two o'clock in the morning; I have seen that little movement of
the curtain; at six o'clock I paid some calls and went to the play, but
everywhere, silent and dreaming, I passed the evening examining this
question: "After so much anger with so little foundation (for after
all did I wish to offend her and is there a thing on earth which the
intention does not excuse?)--has she felt a moment of love?"

Poor Salviati, who wrote the preceding lines on his Petrarch, died a
short time after. He was the intimate friend of Schiassetti and myself;
we knew all his thoughts, and it is from him that I have all the
tearful part of this essay. He was imprudence incarnate; moreover,

[Pg 105]
the woman, for whom he went to such wild lengths, is the most
interesting creature that I have met. Schiassetti said to me: "But do
you think that that unfortunate passion was without advantages for
Salviati? To begin with, the most worrying of money troubles that can
be imagined came upon him. These troubles, which reduced him to a very
middling fortune after his dazzling youth, and would have driven him
mad with anger in any other circumstances, crossed his mind not once in
two weeks.

"And then--a matter of importance of a quite different kind for a mind
of his range--that passion is the first true course of logic, which
he ever had. That may seem peculiar in a man who has been at Court;
but the fact is explained by his extreme courage. For example, he
passed without winking the day of ----, the day of his undoing; he was
surprised then, as in Russia(16), not to feel anything extraordinary.
It is an actual fact, that his fear of anything had never gone so far
as to make him think about it for two days together. Instead of this
callousness, the last two years he was trying every minute to be brave.
Before he had never seen danger.

"When as a result of his imprudence and his faith in the generosity of
critics,[1] he had managed to get condemned to not seeing the woman he
was in love with, except twice a month, we would see him pass those
evenings, talking to her as if intoxicated with joy, because he had
been received with that noble frankness which he worshipped. He held
that Madame ---- and he were two souls without their like, who should
understand each other with a glance. It was beyond him to grasp that
she should pay the least attention to petty bourgeois comments, which
tried to make a criminal of him. The result of this fine confidence in
a woman, surrounded by his enemies, was to find her door closed to him.

"'With M----,' I used to say to him, 'you forget

[Pg 106]
your maxim--that you mustn't believe in greatness of soul, except in
the last extremity.'

"'Do you think,' he answered, 'that the world contains another heart
which is more suited to hers? True, I pay for this passionate way of
being, which Léonore, in anger, made me see on the horizon in the line
of the rocks of Poligny, with the ruin of all the practical enterprises
of my life--a disaster which comes from my lack of patient industry and
imprudence due to the force of momentary impressions.'" One can see the
touch of madness!

For Salviati life was divided into periods of a fortnight, which took
their hue from the last interview, which he had been granted. But
I noticed often, that the happiness he owed to a welcome, which he
thought less cold, was far inferior in intensity to the unhappiness
with which a hard reception overwhelmed him.[2] At times Madame
---- failed to be quite honest with him; and these are the only two
criticisms I ever dared offer him. Beyond the more intimate side of his
sorrow, of which he had the delicacy never to speak even to the friends
dearest to him and most devoid of envy, he saw in a hard reception
from Léonore the triumph of prosaic and scheming beings over the
open-hearted and the generous. At those times he lost faith in virtue
and, above all, in glory. It was his way to talk to his friends only
of sad notions, to which it is true his passion led up, but notions
capable besides of having some interest in the eyes of philosophy. I
was curious to observe that uncommon soul. Ordinarily passion-love is
found in people, a little simple in the German way.[3] Salviati, on the
contrary, was among the firmest and sharpest men I have known.

I seemed to notice that, after these cruel visits, he had

[Pg 107]
no peace until he had found a justification for Léonore's severities.
So long as he felt that she might have been wrong in ill-using him, he
was unhappy. Love, so devoid of vanity, I should never have thought

He was incessantly singing us the praises of love.

"If a supernatural power said to me: Break the glass of that watch and
Léonore will be for you, what she was three years ago, an indifferent
friend--really I believe I would never as long as I live have the
courage to break it." I saw in these discourses such signs of madness,
that I never had the courage to offer my former objections.

He would add: "Just as Luther's Reformation at the end of the Middle
Ages, shaking society to its base, renewed and reconstructed the world
on reasonable foundations, so is a generous character renewed and
retempered by love.

"It is only then, that he casts off all the baubles of life; without
this revolution he would always have had in him a pompous and
theatrical _something_. It is only since I began to love that I have
learnt to put greatness into my character--such is the absurdity of
education at our military academy.

"Although I behaved well, I was a child at the Court of Napoleon and at
Moscow. I did my duty, but I knew nothing of that heroic simplicity,
the fruit of entire and whole-hearted sacrifice. For example, it is
only this last year, that my heart takes in the simplicity of the
Romans in Livy. Once upon a time, I thought them cold compared to our
brilliant colonels. What they did for their Rome, I find in my heart
for Léonore. If I had the luck to be able to do anything for her, my
first desire would be to hide it. The conduct of a Regulus or a Decius
was something confirmed beforehand, which had no claim to surprise
them. Before I loved, I was small, precisely because I was tempted
sometimes to think myself great; I felt a certain effort, for which I
applauded myself.

[Pg 108]
"And, on the side of affection, what do we not owe to love? After
the hazards of early youth, the heart is closed to sympathy. Death
and absence remove our early companions, and we are reduced to
passing our life with lukewarm partners, measure in hand, for ever
calculating ideas of interest and vanity. Little by little all the
sensitive and generous region of the soul becomes waste, for want of
cultivation, and at less than thirty a man finds his heart steeled to
all sweet and gentle sensations. In the midst of this arid desert,
love causes a well of feelings to spring up, fresher and more abundant
even than that of earliest youth. In those days it was a vague hope,
irresponsible and incessantly distracted[4]--no devotion to one thing,
no deep and constant desire; the soul, at all times light, was athirst
for novelty and forgot to-day its adoration of the day before. But,
than the crystallisation of love nothing is more concentrated, more
mysterious, more eternally single in its object. In those days only
agreeable things claimed to please and to please for an instant: now
we are deeply touched by everything which is connected with the loved
one--even by objects the most indifferent. Arriving at a great town,
a hundred miles from that which Léonore lives in, I was in a state of
fear and trembling; at each street corner I shuddered to meet Alviza,
the intimate friend of Madame ----, although I did not know her. For me
everything took a mysterious and sacred tint. My heart beat fast, while
talking to an old scholar; for I could not hear without blushing the
name of the city gate, near which the friend of Léonore lives.

"Even the severities of the woman we love have an infinite grace, which
the most flattering moments in the company of other women cannot offer.
It is like the great shadows in Correggio's pictures, which far from
being, as in other painters, passages less pleasant, but necessary in
order to give effect to the lights and relief to the figures,

[Pg 109]
have graces of their own which charm and throw us into a gentle

"Yes, half and the fairest half of life is hidden from the man, who has
not loved with passion."

Salviati had need of the whole force of his dialectic powers, to hold
his own against the wise Schiassetti, who was always saying to him:
"You want to be happy, then be content with a life exempt from pains
and with a small quantity of happiness every day. Keep yourself from
the lottery of great passions."

"Then give me your curiosity," was Salviati's answer.

I imagine there were not a few days, when he would have liked to be
able to follow the advice of our sensible colonel; he made a little
struggle and thought he was succeeding; but this line of action was
absolutely beyond his strength. And yet what strength was in that soul!

A white satin hat, a little like that of Madame ----, seen in the
distance in the street, made his heart stop beating, and forced him
to rest against the wall. Even in his blackest moments, the happiness
of meeting her gave him always some hours of intoxication, beyond the
reach of all misfortune and all reasoning.[6] For the rest, at the time
of his death[7] his character had certainly contracted more than one
noble habit, after two years of

[Pg 110]
this generous and boundless passion; and, in so far at least, he judged
himself correctly. Had he lived, and circumstances helped him a little,
he would

[Pg 111]
have made a name for himself. Maybe also, just through his simplicity,
his merit would have passed on this earth unseen.

                         O lasso
    Quanti dolci pensier, quanto desio
    Menò costui al doloroso passo!
    Biondo era, e bello, e di gentile aspetto;
    Ma l'un de' cigli un colpo avea diviso.


[1] Sotto l'usbergo del sentirsi pura. [Under the shield of conscious
purity.--Tr.] (Dante, _Inf._, XXVIII, 117.)

[2] That is a thing which I have often seemed to notice in love--that
propensity to reap more unhappiness from what is unhappy than happiness
from what is happy.

[3] Don Carlos,(17) Saint-Preux,(17) Racine's _Hippolyte_ and _Bajazet_.

[4] Mordaunt Mertoun, _Pirate_, Vol. I.

[5] As I have mentioned Correggio, I will add that in the sketch of an
angel's head in the gallery of the museum at Florence, is to be seen
the glance of happy love, and at Parma in the Madonna crowned by Jesus
the downcast eyes of love.

[6]      Come what sorrow can
    It cannot countervail the exchange of joy
    That one short moment gives me in her sight.--(_Romeo and Juliet_.)

[7] Some days before the last he made a little ode, which has the merit
of expressing just the sentiments, which formed the subject of our

               L'ULTIMO DI.
                A ELVIRA.

    Vedi tu dove il rio
        Lambendo un mirto va,
        Là del riposo mio
        La pietra surgerà.
    Il passero amoroso,
        E il nobile usignuol
        Entro quel mirto ombroso
        Raccoglieranno il vol.
    Vieni, diletta Elvira,
        A quella tomba vien,
        E sulla muta lira,
        Appoggia il bianco sen.
    Su quella bruna pietra,
        Le tortore verran,
        E intorno alia mia cetra,
        Il nido intrecieran.
    E ogni anno, il di che offendere
        M'osasti tu infedel,
        Faro la su discendere
        La folgore del ciel.
    Odi d'un uom che muore
        Odi l'estremo suon
        Questo appassito fiore
        Ti lascio, Elvira, in don
    Quanto prezioso ei sia
        Saper tu il devi appien
        Il di che fosti mia,
        Te l'involai dal sen.
    Simbolo allor d'affetto
        Or pegno di dolor
        Torno a posarti in petto
        Quest' appassito fior.
    E avrai nel cuor scolpito
        Se crudo il cor non è,
        Come ti fu rapito,
        Come fu reso a te.--(_S. Radael._)*

* [Lo! where the passing stream laps round the myrtle-tree, raise
there the stone of my resting-place. The amorous sparrow and the noble
nightingale within the shade of that myrtle will rest from flight.
Come, beloved Elvira, come to that tomb and press my mute lyre to your
white bosom. Turtles shall perch on that dark stone and will twine
their nest about my harp. And every year on the day when you did dare
cruelly betray me, on this spot will I make the lightning of heaven
descend. Listen, listen to the last utterances of a dying man. This
faded flower, Elvira, is the gift I leave you. How precious it is you
must know full well: from your bosom I stole it the day you became
mine. Then it was a symbol of love; now as a pledge of suffering I
will put it back in your bosom--this faded flower. And you shall
have engraved on your heart, if a woman's heart you have, how it was
snatched from you, how it was returned.]

[8] "Poor wretch, how many sweet thoughts, what constancy brought him
to his last hour. He was fair and beautiful and gentle of countenance,
only a noble scar cut through one of his eyebrows."

[Pg 112]
                             CHAPTER XXXII

                        OF INTIMATE INTERCOURSE

The greatest happiness that love can give--'tis first joining your hand
to the hand of a woman you love.

The happiness of gallantry is quite otherwise--far more real, and far
more subject to ridicule.

In passion-love intimate intercourse is not so much perfect delight
itself, as the last step towards it.

But how depict a delight, which leaves no memories behind?

Mortimer returned from a long voyage in fear and trembling; he adored
Jenny, but Jenny had not answered his letters. On his arrival in
London, he mounts his horse and goes off to find her at her country
home. When he gets there, she is walking in the park; he runs up to
her, with beating heart, meets her and she offers him her hand and
greets him with emotion; he sees that she loves him. Roaming together
along the glades of the park, Jenny's dress became entangled in an
acacia bush. Later on Mortimer won her; but Jenny was faithless. I
maintain to him that Jenny never loved him and he quotes, as proof of
her love, the way in which she received him at his return from the
Continent; but he could never give me the slightest details of it. Only
he shudders visibly directly he sees an acacia bush: really, it is the
only distinct remembrance he succeeded in preserving of the happiest
moment of his life.[1]

A sensitive and open man, a former _chevalier_, confided

[Pg 113]
to me this evening (in the depth of our craft buffeted by a high sea
on the Lago di Garda[2]) the history of his loves, which I in my turn
shall not confide to the public. But I feel myself in a position to
conclude from them that the day of intimate intercourse is like those
fine days in May, a critical period for the fairest flowers, a moment
which can be fatal and wither in an instant the fairest hopes.

                   *       *       *       *       *[3]

_Naturalness_ cannot be praised too highly. It is the only coquetry
permissible in a thing so serious as love _à la_ Werther; in which a
man has no idea where he is going, and in which at the same time by a
lucky chance for virtue, that is his best policy. A man, really moved,
says charming things unconsciously; he speaks a language which he does
not know himself.

Woe to the man the least bit affected! Given he were in love, allow him
all the wit in the world, he loses three-quarters of his advantages.
Let him relapse for an instant into affectation--a minute later comes a
moment of frost.

The whole art of love, as it seems to me, reduces itself to saying
exactly as much as the degree of intoxication at the moment allows of,
that is to say in other terms, to listen to one's heart. It must not be
thought, that this is so easy; a man, who truly loves, has no longer
strength to speak, when his mistress says anything to make him happy.

[Pg 114]
Thus he loses the deeds which his words[4] would have given birth to.
It is better to be silent than say things too tender at the wrong
time, and what was in point ten seconds ago, is now no longer--in fact
at this moment it makes a mess of things. Every time that I used to
infringe this rule[5] and say something, which had come into my head
three minutes earlier and which I thought pretty, Léonore never failed
to punish me. And later I would say to myself, as I went away--"She is
right." This is the sort of thing to upset women of delicacy extremely;
it is indecency of sentiment. Like tasteless rhetoricians, they are
readier to admit a certain degree of weakness and coldness. There being
nothing in the world to alarm them but the falsity of their lover, the
least little insincerity of detail, be it the most innocent in the
world, robs them instantly of all delight and puts mistrust into their

Respectable women have a repugnance to what is vehement and unlooked
for--those being none the less characteristics of passion--and,
furthermore, that vehemence alarms their modesty; they are on the
defensive against it.

When a touch of jealousy or displeasure has occasioned some chilliness,
it is generally possible to begin subjects, fit to give birth to the
excitement favourable to love, and, after the first two or three
phrases of introduction, as long as a man does not miss the opportunity
of saying exactly what his heart suggests, the pleasure he will give to
his loved one will be keen. The fault of most men is that they want to
succeed in saying something, which they think either pretty or witty or
touching--instead of

[Pg 115]
releasing their soul from the false gravity of the world, until a
degree of intimacy and _naturalness_ brings out in simple language what
they are feeling at the moment. The man, who is brave enough for this,
will have instantly his reward in a kind of peacemaking.

It is this reward, as swift as it is involuntary, of the pleasure one
gives to the object of one's love, which puts this passion so far above
the others.

If there is perfect _naturalness_ between them, the happiness of two
individuals comes to be fused together.[6] This is simply the greatest
happiness which can exist, by reason of sympathy and several other laws
of human nature.

It is quite easy to determine the meaning of this word
_naturalness_--essential condition of happiness in love.

We call _natural_ that which does not diverge from an habitual way of
acting. It goes without saying that one must not merely never lie to
one's love, but not even embellish the least bit or tamper with the
simple outline of truth. For if a man is embellishing, his attention
is occupied in doing so and no longer answers simply and truly, as
the keys of a piano, to the feelings mirrored in his eye. The woman
finds it out at once by a certain chilliness within her, and she, in
her turn, falls back on coquetry. Might not here be found hidden the
cause why it is impossible to love a woman with a mind too far below
one's own--the reason being that, in her case, one can make pretence
with impunity, and, as that course is more convenient, one abandons
oneself to unnaturalness by force of habit? From that moment love is no
longer love; it sinks to the level of an ordinary transaction--the only
difference being that, instead of money, you get pleasure or flattery
or a mixture of both. It is hard not to feel a shade of contempt for a
woman, before whom one can with impunity act a part, and

[Pg 116]
consequently, in order to throw her over, one only needs to come across
something better in her line. Habit or vow may hold, but I am speaking
of the heart's desire, whose nature it is to fly to the greatest

To return to this word _natural_--natural and habitual are two
different things. If one takes these words in the same sense, it is
evident that the more sensibility in a man, the harder it is for him
to be natural, since the influence of _habit_ on his way of being and
acting is less powerful, and he himself is more powerful at each new
event. In the life-story of a cold heart every page is the same: take
him to-day or take him to-morrow, it is always the same dummy.

A man of sensibility, so soon as his heart is touched, loses all traces
of habit to guide his action; and how can he follow a path, which he
has forgotten all about?

He feels the enormous weight attaching to every word which he says to
the object of his love--it seems to him as if a word is to decide his
fate. How is he not to look about for the right word? At any rate,
how is he not to have the feeling that he is trying to say "the right
thing"? And then, there is an end of candour. And so we must give up
our claim to candour, that quality of our being, which never reflects
upon itself. We are the best we can be, but we feel what we are.

I fancy this brings us to the last degree of _naturalness_, to which
the most delicate heart can pretend in love.

A man of passion can but cling might and main, as his only refuge in
the storm, to the vow never to change a jot or tittle of the truth
and to read the message of his heart correctly. If the conversation
is lively and fragmentary, he may hope for some fine moments of
_naturalness_: otherwise he will only be perfectly natural in hours
when he will be a little less madly in love.

In the presence of the loved one, we hardly retain _naturalness_ even
in our movements, however deeply such habits are rooted in the muscles.
When I gave my

[Pg 117]
arm to Léonore, I always felt on the point of stumbling, and I wondered
if I was walking properly. The most one can do is never to be affected
willingly: it is enough to be convinced that want of _naturalness_ is
the greatest possible disadvantage, and can easily be the source of the
greatest misfortunes. For the heart of the woman, whom you love, no
longer understands your own; you lose that nervous involuntary movement
of sincerity, which answers the call of sincerity. It means the loss of
every way of touching, I almost said of winning her. Not that I pretend
to deny, that a woman worthy of love may see her fate in that pretty
image of the ivy, which "dies if it does not cling"--that is a law of
Nature; but to make your lover's happiness is none the less a step that
will decide your own. To me it seems that a reasonable woman ought not
to give in completely to her lover, until she can hold out no longer,
and the slightest doubt thrown on the sincerity of your heart gives her
there and then a little strength--enough at least to delay her defeat
still another day.[7]

Is it necessary to add that to make all this the last word in absurdity
you have only to apply it to gallant-love?

[1] _Life of Haydn_(18).

[2] 20 September, 1811.

[3] At the first quarrel Madame Ivernetta gave poor Bariac his _congé_.
Bariac was truly in love and this _congé_ threw him into despair; but
his friend Guillaume Balaon, whose life we are writing, was of great
help to him and managed, finally, to appease the severe Ivernetta.
Peace was restored, and the reconciliation was accompanied by
circumstances so delicious, that Bariac swore to Balaon that the hour
of the first favours he had received from his mistress had not been
as sweet as that of this voluptuous peacemaking. These words turned
Balaon's head; he wanted to know this pleasure, of which his friend had
just given him a description, etc. etc. (_Vie de quelques Troubadours_,
by Nivernois, Vol. I, p. 32.)

[4] It is this kind of timidity which is decisive, and which is proof
of passion-love in a clever man.

[5] Remember that, if the author uses sometimes the expression "I,"
it is an attempt to give the form of this essay a little variety. He
does not in the least pretend to fill the readers' ears with the story
of his own feelings. His aim is to impart, with as little monotony as
possible, what he has observed in others.

[6] Resides in exactly the same actions.

[7] Haec autem ad acerbam rei memoriam, amara quadam dulcedine,
scribere visum est--ut cogitem nihil esse debere quod amplius mihi
placeat in hac vita. (_Petrarch_, Ed. Marsand.) [These things, to be
a painful reminder, yet not without a certain bitter charm, I have
seen good to write--to remind me that nothing any longer can give me
pleasure in this life.--Tr.

15 January, 1819.

[Pg 118]
                            CHAPTER XXXIII

Always a little doubt to allay--that is what whets our appetite
every moment, that is what makes the life of happy love. As it is
never separated from fear, so its pleasures can never tire. The
characteristic of this happiness is its high seriousness.

[Pg 119]
                             CHAPTER XXXIV

                            OF CONFIDENCES

There is no form of insolence so swiftly punished as that which leads
you, in passion-love, to take an intimate friend into your confidence.
He knows that, if what you say is true, you have pleasures a thousand
times greater than he, and that your own make you despise his.

It is far worse between women--their lot in life being to inspire a
passion, and the _confidante_ having commonly also displayed her charms
for the advantage of the lover.

On the other hand, for anyone a prey to this fever, there is no moral
need more imperative than that of a friend, before whom to dilate on
the fearful doubts which at every instant beset his soul; for in this
terrible passion, always a thing imagined is a thing existent.

"A great fault in Salviati's character," he writes in 1817, "--in this
point how opposed to Napoleon's!--is that when, in the discussion of
interests in which passion is concerned, something is at last morally
proved, he cannot resolve to take that as a fact once and for all
established and as a point to start from. In spite of himself and
greatly to his hurt, he brings it again and again under discussion."
The reason is that, in the field of ambition, it is easy to be brave.
Crystallisation, not being subjected to the desire of the thing to be
won, helps to fortify our courage; in love it is wholly in the service
of the object against which our courage is wanted.

A woman may find an unfaithful friend, she also may find one with
nothing to do.

[Pg 120]
A princess of thirty-five,[1] with nothing to do and dogged by the need
of action, of intrigue, etc. etc., discontented with a lukewarm lover
and yet unable to hope to sow the seeds of another love, with no use to
make of the energy which is consuming her, with no other distraction
than fits of black humour, can very well find an occupation, that is
to say a pleasure, and a life's work, in accomplishing the misfortune
of a true passion--passion which someone has the insolence to feel for
another than herself, while her own lover falls to sleep at her side.

It is the only case in which hate produces happiness; the reason being
that it procures occupation and work.

Just at first, the pleasure of doing something, and, as soon as the
design is suspected by society, the prick of doubtful success add
a charm to this occupation. Jealousy of the friend takes the mask
of hatred for the lover; otherwise how would it be possible to hate
so madly a man one has never set eyes on? You cannot recognise the
existence of envy, or, first, you would have to recognise the existence
of merit; and there are flatterers about you who only hold their place
at Court by poking fun at your good friend.

The faithless _confidante_, all the while she is indulging in
villainies of the deepest dye, may quite well think herself solely
animated by the desire not to lose a precious friendship. A woman with
nothing to do tells herself that even friendship languishes in a heart
devoured by love and its mortal anxieties. Friendship can only hold its
own, by the side of love, by the exchange of confidences; but then what
is more odious to envy than such confidences?

The only kind of confidences well received between women are those
accompanied in all its frankness by a statement of the case such as
this:--"My dear friend, in this war, as absurd as it is relentless,
which the prejudices,

[Pg 121]
brought into vogue by our tyrants, wage upon us, you help me
to-day--to-morrow it will be my turn."[2]

Beyond this exception there is another--that of true friendship born in
childhood and not marred since by any jealousy...

       *       *       *       *       *

The confidences of passion-love are only well received between
schoolboys in love with love, and girls eaten up with unemployed
curiosity and tenderness or led on perhaps by the instinct,[3] which
whispers to them that there lies the great business of their life, and
that they cannot look after it too early.

We have all seen little girls of three perform quite creditably the
duties of gallantry. Gallant-love is inflamed, passion-love chilled by

Apart from the danger, there is the difficulty of confidences. In
passion-love, things one cannot express (because the tongue is too
gross for such subtleties) exist none the less; only, as these are
things of extreme delicacy, we are more liable in observing them to
make mistakes.

Also, an observer in a state of emotion is a bad observer; he won't
allow for chance.

Perhaps the only safe way is to make yourself your own confidant. Write
down this evening, under borrowed

[Pg 122]
names, but with all the characteristic details, the dialogue you had
just now with the woman you care for, and the difficulty which troubles
you. In a week, if it is passion-love, you will be a different man, and
then, rereading your consultation, you will be able to give a piece of
good advice to yourself.

In male society, as soon as there are more than two together, and envy
might make its appearance, politeness allows none but physical love
to be spoken of--think of the end of dinners among men. It is Baffo's
sonnets[4] that are quoted and which give such infinite pleasure;
because each one takes literally the praises and excitement of his
neighbour, who, quite often, merely wants to appear lively or polite.
The sweetly tender words of Petrarch or French madrigals would be out
of place.

[1] Venice, 1819.

[2] Memoirs of Madame d'Épinay, Geliotte.

Prague, Klagenfurth, all Moravia, etc. etc. Their women are great wits
and their men are great hunters. Friendship is very common between the
women. The country enjoys its fine season in the winter; among the
nobles of the province a succession of hunting parties takes place,
each lasting from fifteen to twenty days. One of the cleverest of these
nobles said to me one day that Charles V had reigned legitimately over
all Italy, and that, consequently, it was all in vain for the Italians
to want to revolt. The wife of this good man read the Letters of Mlle.
de Lespinasse. (Znaym, 1816.)

[3] Important point. It seems to me that independent of their
education, which begins at eight or ten months, there is a certain
amount of instinct.

[4] The Venetian dialect boasts descriptions of physical love which
for vivacity leave Horace, Propertius, La Fontaine and all the poets
a hundred miles behind. M. Buratti of Venice is at the moment the
first satirical poet of our unhappy Europe. He excels above all in
the description of the physical grotesqueness of his heroes; and he
finds himself frequently in prison. (See _l'Elefanteide, l'Uomo, la

[Pg 123]
                             CHAPTER XXXV

                              OF JEALOUSY

When you are in love, as each new object strikes your eye or your
memory, whether crushed in a gallery and patiently listening to a
parliamentary debate, or galloping to the relief of an outpost under
the enemy's fire, you never fail to add a new perfection to the idea
you have of your mistress, or discover a new means (which at first
seems excellent) of winning her love still more.

Each step the imagination takes is repaid by a moment of sweet delight.
No wonder that existence, such as this, takes hold of one.

Directly jealousy comes into existence, this turn of feelings
continues in itself the same, though the effect it is to produce is
contrary. Each perfection that you add to the crown of your beloved,
who now perhaps loves someone else, far from promising you a heavenly
contentment, thrusts a dagger into your heart. A voice cries out: "This
enchanting pleasure is for my rival to enjoy."[1]

Even the objects which strike you, without producing this effect,
instead of showing you, as before, a new way of winning her love, cause
you to see a new advantage for your rival.

You meet a pretty woman galloping in the park[2]; your rival is famous
for his fine horses which can do ten miles in fifty minutes.

[Pg 124]
In this state, rage is easily fanned into life; you no longer
remember that in love possession is nothing, enjoyment everything.
You exaggerate the happiness of your rival, exaggerate the insolence
happiness produces in him, and you come at last to the limit of
tortures, that is to say to the extremest unhappiness, poisoned still
further by a lingering hope.

The only remedy is, perhaps, to observe your rival's happiness at close
quarters. Often you will see him fall peacefully asleep in the same
_salon_ as the woman, for whom your heart stops beating, at the mere
sight of a hat like hers some way off in the street.

To wake him up you have only to show your jealousy. You may have,
perhaps, the pleasure of teaching him the price of the woman who
prefers him to you, and he will owe to you the love he will learn to
have for her.

Face to face with a rival there is no mean--you must either banter with
him in the most off-hand way you can, or frighten him.

Jealousy being the greatest of all evils, endangering one's life will
be found an agreeable diversion. For then not all our fancies are
embittered and blackened (by the mechanism explained above)--sometimes
it is possible to imagine that one kills this rival.

According to this principle, that it is never right to add to the
enemy's forces, you must hide your love from your rival, and, under
some pretext of vanity as far as possible removed from love, say to
him very quietly, with all possible politeness, and in the calmest,
simplest tone: "Sir, I cannot think why the public sees good to make
little So-and-so mine; people are even good enough to believe that I am
in love with her. As for you, if you want her, I would hand her over
with all my heart, if unhappily there were not the risk of placing
myself into a ridiculous position. In six months, take her as much as
ever you like, but at the present moment, honour, such as people attach
(why, I don't know) to these things,

[Pg 125]
forces me to tell you, to my great regret, that, if by chance you have
not the justice to wait till your turn comes round, one of us must die."

Your rival is very likely a man without much passion, and perhaps a
man of much prudence, who once convinced of your resolution, will
make haste to yield you the woman in question, provided he can find
any decent pretext. For that reason you must give a gay tone to your
challenge, and keep the whole move hidden with the greatest secrecy.

What makes the pain of jealousy so sharp is that vanity cannot help you
to bear it. But, according to the plan I have spoken of, your vanity
has something to feed on; you can respect yourself for bravery, even if
you are reduced to despising your powers of pleasing.

If you would rather not carry things to such tragic lengths, you must
pack up and go miles away, and keep a chorus-girl, whose charms people
will think have arrested you in your flight.

Your rival has only to be an ordinary person and he will think you are

Very often the best way is to wait without flinching, while he wears
himself out in the eyes of the loved one through his own stupidity.
For, except in a serious passion formed little by little and in early
youth, a clever woman does not love an undistinguished man for long.[3]
In the case of jealousy after intimate intercourse, there must follow
also apparent indifference or real inconstancy. Plenty of women,
offended with a lover whom they still love, form an attachment with
the man, of whom he has shown himself jealous, and the play becomes a

I have gone into some detail, because in these moments of jealousy one
often loses one's head. Counsels, made in writing a long time ago, are
useful, and, the essential

[Pg 126]
thing being to feign calmness, it is not out of place in a
philosophical piece of writing, to adopt that tone.

As your adversaries' power over you consists in taking away from you or
making you hope for things, whose whole worth consists in your passion
for them, once manage to make them think you are indifferent, and
suddenly they are without a weapon.

If you have no active course to take, but can distract yourself in
looking for consolation, you will find some pleasure in reading
_Othello_; it will make you doubt the most conclusive appearances. You
will feast your eyes on these words:--

            Trifles light as air
    Seem to the jealous confirmations strong
    As proofs from Holy Writ.    (_Othello_, Act III.)

It is my experience that the sight of a fine sea is consoling.

 The morning which had arisen calm and bright gave a pleasant effect
 to the waste mountain view, which was seen from the castle on looking
 to the landward, and the glorious ocean crisped with a thousand
 rippling waves of silver extended on the other side in awful, yet
 complacent majesty to the verge of the horizon. With such scenes of
 calm sublimity the human heart sympathises even in its most disturbed
 moods, and deeds of honour and virtue are inspired by their majestic
 influence. (_The Bride of Lammermoor_, Chap. VII.)

I find this written by Salviati:--

 _July 20th_, 1818.--I often--and I think unreasonably--apply to life
 as a whole the feelings of a man of ambition or a good citizen, if he
 finds himself set in battle to guard the baggage or in any other post
 without danger or action. I should have felt regret at forty to have
 passed the age of loving without deep passion. I should have had that
 bitter and humiliating displeasure, to have found out too late that I
 had been fool enough to let life pass, without living.

 Yesterday I spent three hours with the woman I love and a rival, whom
 she wants to make me think she favours. Certainly,

[Pg 127]
 there were moments of bitterness, in watching her lovely eyes fixed
 on him, and, on my departure, there were wild transports from utter
 misery to hope. But what changes, what sudden lights, what swift
 thoughts, and, in spite of the apparent happiness of my rival, with
 what pride and what delight my love felt itself superior to his! I
 went away saying to myself: The most vile fear would bleach those
 cheeks at the least of the sacrifices, which my love would make for
 the fun of it, nay, with delight--for example, to put this hand into a
 hat and draw one of these two lots: "Be loved by her," the other--"Die
 on the spot." And this feeling in me is so much second nature, that it
 did not prevent me being amiable and talkative.

 If someone had told me all that two years ago, I should have laughed.

I find in the _Travels to the Source of the Missouri River ... in_
1804-6 of Captains Lewis and Clarke (p. 215):--

 The Ricaras are poor and generous; we stayed some time in three of
 their villages. Their women are more beautiful than those of the other
 tribes we came across; they are also not in the least inclined to let
 their lover languish. We found a new example of the truth that you
 only have to travel to find out that there is variety everywhere.
 Among the Ricaras, for a woman to grant her favours without the
 consent of her husband or her brother, gives great offence. But then
 the brothers and the husband are only too delighted to have the
 opportunity of showing this courtesy to their friends.

 There was a negro in our crew; he created a great sensation among a
 people who had never seen a man of his colour before. He was soon a
 favourite with the fair sex, and we noticed that the husbands, instead
 of being jealous, were overjoyed to see him come to visit them. The
 funny part was that the interior of the huts was so narrow that
 everything was visible.[5]

[1] Here you see one of love's follies; for this perfection, seen by
your eyes, is not one for him.

[2] Montaguola, 13th April, 1819.

[3] _La Princesse de Tarente_. Story by Scarron.

[4] As in the _Curieux-impertinent_, story by Cervantes.

[5] There ought to be instituted at Philadelphia an academy, whose sole
occupation would be the collection of materials for the study of man in
the savage state, instead of waiting till these curious peoples have
been exterminated.

I know quite well that such academies exist--but apparently regulated
in a way worthy of our academies in Europe. (Memoir and Discussion on
the Zodiac of Denderah at the Académie des Sciences of Paris, 1821.) I
notice that the academy of, I fancy, Massachusetts wisely charges a

[Pg 128]
member of the clergy (Mr. Jarvis) to make a report on the religion of
the savage. The priest, of course, refutes energetically an impious
Frenchman, called Volney. According to the priest, the savage has
the most exact and noble ideas of the Divinity, etc. If he lived in
England, such a report would bring the worthy academician a preferment
of three or four hundred pounds and the protection of all the noble
lords in the county. But in America! For the rest, the absurdity of
this academy reminds me of the free Americans, who set the greatest
store on seeing fine coats-of-arms painted on the panels of their
carriages; what upsets them is that, through their carriage-painter's
want of instruction, the blazoning is often wrong.

[Pg 129]
                             CHAPTER XXXVI

                       OF JEALOUSY--(continued)

Now for the woman suspected of inconstancy!

She leaves you, because you have discouraged crystallisation, but it is
possible that in her heart you have habit to plead for you.

She leaves you, because she is too sure of you. You have killed fear,
and there is nothing left to give birth to the little doubts of happy
love. Just make her uneasy, and, above all, beware of the absurdity of

During all the time you have lived in touch with her, you will
doubtless have discovered what woman, in society or outside it, she is
most jealous or most afraid of. Pay court to that woman, but so far
from blazoning it about, do your best to keep it secret, and do your
best sincerely; trust to the eyes of anger to see everything and feel
everything. The strong aversion you will have felt for several months
to all women ought to make this easy.[1] Remember that in the position
you are in, everything is spoiled by a show of passion: avoid seeing
much of the woman you love, and drink champagne with the wits.

In order to judge of your mistress' love, remember:--

1. The more physical pleasure counts for in the basis of her love and
in what formerly determined her to yield, the more prone it is to
inconstancy, and, still more, to infidelity. This applies especially to
love in

[Pg 130]
which crystallisation has been favoured by the fire of sweet seventeen.

2. Two people in love are hardly ever equally in love:[2] passion-love
has its phases, during which now one, now the other is more
impassioned. Often, too, it is merely gallantry or vain love which
responds to passion-love, and it is generally the woman who is
carried away by passion. But whatever the love may be that either of
them feels, directly one of them is jealous, he insists on the other
fulfilling all the conditions of passion-love; vanity pretends to all
the claims of a heart that feels.

Furthermore, nothing wearies gallant-love like passion-love from the
other side.

Often a clever man, paying court to a woman, just sets her thinking
of love in a sentimental frame of mind. She receives this clever man
kindly for giving her this pleasure--he conceives hopes.

But one fine day that woman meets the man, who makes her feel what the
other has described.

I do not know what are the effects of a man's jealousy on the heart of
the woman he loves. Displayed by an admirer who wearies her, jealousy
must inspire a supreme disgust, and it may even turn to hatred, if
the man he is jealous of is nicer than the jealous one; for we want
jealousy, said Madame de Coulanges, only from those of whom we could be

If the jealous one is liked, but has no real claims, his jealousy
may offend that feminine pride so hard to keep in humour or even to
recognise. Jealousy may please women of pride, as a new way of showing
them their power.

Jealousy can please as a new way of giving proof of love. It can also
offend the modesty of a woman who is over-refined.

[Pg 131]
It can please as a sign of the lover's hot blood--_ferrum est quod
amant_. But note that it is hot blood they love, and not courage _à la_
Turenne, which is quite compatible with a cold heart.

One of the consequences of crystallisation is that a woman can never
say "yes" to the lover, to whom she has been unfaithful, if she ever
means to make anything of him.

Such is the pleasure of continuing to enjoy the perfect image we have
formed of the object of our attachment, that until that fatal "yes"--

    L'on va chercher bien loin, plutot que de mourir,
    Quelque prétexte ami pour vivre et pour souffrir.

                                           (_André Chénier_.[3])

Everyone in France knows the anecdote of Mademoiselle de Sommery, who,
caught in flagrant delict by her lover, flatly denied the fact. On his
protesting, she replied: "Very well, I see you don't love me any more:
you believe what you see before what I tell you."

To make it up with an idol of a mistress, who has been unfaithful, is
to set yourself to undo with the point of a dagger a crystallisation
incessantly forming afresh. Love has got to die, and your heart will
feel the cruel pang of every stage in its agony.

It is one of the saddest dispositions of this passion and of life. You
must be strong enough to make it up only as friends.

[1] You compare the branch adorned with diamonds to the branch left
bare, and contrast adds sting to your memories.

[2] e. g. the love of Alfieri for that great English lady (Lady
Ligonier) who also philandered with her footman and prettily signed
herself Penelope. (_Vita_, Epoca III, Chaps. X and XI.)

[3] ["Sooner than die, we will go very far in search of some friendly
pretext to live and suffer."--Tr.]

[Pg 132]
                            CHAPTER XXXVII


As for women's jealousy--they are suspicious, they have infinitely more
at stake than we, they have made a greater sacrifice to love, have far
fewer means of distraction and, above all, far fewer means of keeping
a check on their lover's actions. A woman feels herself degraded by
jealousy; she thinks her lover is laughing at her, or, still worse,
making fun of her tenderest transports. Cruelty must tempt her--and
yet, legally, she cannot kill her rival!

For women, jealousy must be a still more abominable evil than it is for
men. It is the last degree of impotent rage and self-contempt[1] which
a heart can bear without breaking.

I know no other remedy for so cruel an evil, than the death of the
one who is the cause of it or of the one who suffers. An example of
French jealousy is the story of Madame de la Pommeraie in _Jacques le

La Rochefoucauld says: "We are ashamed of owning we are jealous, but
pride ourselves on having been and of being capable of jealousy."[2]
Poor woman dares not own even to having suffered this torture, so much
ridicule does it bring upon her. So painful a wound can never quite
heal up.

If cold reason could be unfolded before the fire of imagination with
the merest shade of success, I would say

[Pg 133]
to those wretched women, who are unhappy from jealousy: "There is a
great difference between infidelity in man and in you. In you, the
importance of the act is partly direct, partly symbolic. But, as an
effect of the education of our military schools, it is in man the
symbol of nothing at all. On the contrary, in women, through the effect
of modesty, it is the most decisive of all the symbols of devotion. Bad
habit makes it almost a necessity to men. During all our early years,
the example set by the so-called 'bloods' makes us set all our pride on
the number of successes of this kind--as the one and only proof of our
worth. For you, your education acts in exactly the opposite direction."

As for the value of an action as symbol--in a moment of anger I upset
a table on to the foot of my neighbour; that gives him the devil of a
pain, but can quite easily be fixed up--or again, I make as if to give
him a slap in the face....

The difference between infidelity in the two sexes is so real, that a
woman of passion may pardon it, while for a man that is impossible.

Here we have a decisive ordeal to show the difference between
passion-love and love from pique: infidelity in women all but kills the
former and doubles the force of the latter.

Haughty women disguise their jealousy from pride. They will spend long
and dreary evenings in silence with the man whom they adore, and whom
they tremble to lose, making themselves consciously disagreeable in
his eyes. This must be one of the greatest possible tortures, and is
certainly one of the most fruitful sources of unhappiness in love. In
order to cure these women, who merit so well all our respect, it needs
on the man's side a strong and out-of-the-way line of action--but,
mind, he must not seem to notice what is going on--for example, a long
journey with them undertaken at a twenty-four hours' notice.

[1] This contempt is one of the great causes of suicide: people kill
themselves to give their sense of honour satisfaction.

[2] _Pensée_ 495. The reader will have recognised, without my marking
it each time, several other thoughts of celebrated writers. It is
history which I am attempting to write, and such thoughts are the facts.

[Pg 134]
                            CHAPTER XXXVIII

                       OF SELF-ESTEEM PIQUED[1]

Pique is a manifestation of vanity; I do not want my antagonist to go
higher than myself and _I take that antagonist himself as judge of
my worth_. I want to produce an effect on his heart. It is this that
carries us so far beyond all reasonable limits.

Sometimes, to justify our own extravagance, we go so far as to tell
ourselves that this rival has a mind to dupe us.

Pique, being an infirmity of honour, is far more common in monarchies;
it must, surely, be exceedingly rare in countries, where the habit is
rampant of valuing things according to their utility--for example, in
the United States.

Every man, and a Frenchman sooner than any other, loathes being taken
for a dupe; and yet the lightness of the French character under the old
monarchic _régime_[2], prevented pique from working great havoc beyond
the domains of gallantry and gallant-love. Pique has produced serious
tragedies only in monarchies, where, through the climate, the shade of
character is darker (Portugal, Piedmont).

The provincial in France forms a ludicrous idea of what is considered
a gentleman in good society--and then he takes cover behind his model,
and waits there all his

[Pg 135]
life to see that no one trespasses. And so good-bye naturalness! He is
always in a state of pique, a mania which gives a laughable character
even to his love affairs. This enviousness is what makes it most
unbearable to live in small towns, and one should remind oneself of
this, when one admires the picturesque situation of any of them. The
most generous and noble emotions are there paralysed by contact with
all that is most low in the products of civilisation. In order to put
the finishing touch to their awfulness, these bourgeois talk of nothing
but the corruption of great cities.[3]

Pique cannot exist in passion-love; it is feminine pride. "If I let my
lover treat me badly, he will despise me and no longer be able to love
me." It may also be jealousy in all its fury.

Jealousy desires the death of the object it fears. The man in a state
of pique is miles away from that--he wants his enemy to live, and,
above all, be witness of his triumph.

He would be sorry to see his rival renounce the struggle, for the
fellow may have the insolence to say in the depth of his heart: "If I
had persevered in my original object, I should have outdone him."

With pique, there is no interest in the apparent purpose--the point of
everything is victory. This is well brought out in the love affairs
of chorus-girls; take away the rival, and the boasted passion, which
threatened suicide from the fifth-floor window, instantly subsides.

Love from pique, contrary to passion-love, passes in a moment; it
is enough for the antagonist by an irrevocable step to own that he
renounces the struggle. I hesitate, however, to advance this maxim,
having only one example, and that leaves doubts in my mind. Here are
the facts--the reader will judge. Dona Diana is a

[Pg 136]
young person of twenty-three, daughter of one of the richest and
proudest citizens of Seville. She is beautiful, without any doubt, but
of a peculiar type of beauty, and is credited with ever so much wit and
still more pride. She was passionately in love, to all appearances at
least, with a young officer, with whom her family would have nothing to
do. The officer left for America with Morillo, and they corresponded
continuously. One day in the midst of a lot of people, assembled round
the mother of Dona Diana, a fool announced the death of the charming
officer. All eyes are turned upon Dona Diana; Dona Diana says nothing
but these words: "What a pity--so young."

Just that day we had been reading a play of old Massinger, which ends
tragically, but in which the heroine takes the death of her lover with
this apparent tranquillity. I saw the mother shudder in spite of her
pride and dislike; the father went out of the room to hide his joy. In
the midst of this scene and the dismay of all present, who were making
eyes at the fool who had told the story, Dona Diana, the only one at
ease, proceeded with the conversation, as if nothing had happened. Her
mother, in apprehension, set her maid to watch her, but nothing seemed
to be altered in her behaviour.

Two years later, a very fine young man paid his attentions to her.
This time again, and, still for the same reason, Dona Diana's parents
violently opposed the marriage, because the aspirant was not of noble
birth. She herself declared it should take place. A state of pique
ensues between the daughter's sense of honour and the father's. The
young man is forbidden the house. Dona Diana is no longer taken to the
country and hardly ever to church. With scrupulous care, every means
of meeting her lover is taken from her. He disguises himself and sees
her secretly at long intervals. She becomes more and more resolute, and
refuses the most

[Pg 137]
brilliant matches, even a title and a great establishment at the Court
of Ferdinand VII. The whole town is talking of the misfortunes of the
two lovers and of their heroic constancy. At last the majority of Dona
Diana draws near. She gives her father to understand that she means to
make use of her right of disposing of her own hand. The family, driven
back on its last resources, opens negotiations for the marriage. When
it is half concluded, at an official meeting of the two families, the
young man, after six years' constancy, refuses Dona Diana.[4]

A quarter of an hour later no trace of anything--she was consoled. Did
she love from pique? Or are we face to face with a great soul, that
disclaims to parade its sorrow before the eyes of the world?

In passion-love satisfaction, if I can call it such, is often only to
be won by piquing the loved one's self-esteem. Then, in appearance, the
lover realises all that can be desired; complaints would be ridiculous
and seem senseless. He cannot speak of his misfortune, and yet how
constantly he knows and feels its prick! Its traces are inwoven, so
to speak, with circumstances, the most flattering and the most fit to
awaken illusions of enchantment. This misfortune rears its monstrous
head at the tenderest moments, as if to taunt the lover and make him
feel, at one and the same instant, all the delight of being loved by
the charming and unfeeling creature in his arms, and the impossibility
of this delight being his. Perhaps after jealousy, this is the
cruellest unhappiness.

The story is still fresh in a certain large town[5] of a man of soft
and gentle nature, who was carried away by a rage of this kind to spill
the blood of his mistress, who only loved him from pique against her
sister. He arranged

[Pg 138]
with her, one evening, to come for a row on the sea by themselves, in
a pretty little boat he had devised himself. Once well out to sea, he
touches a spring, the boat divides and disappears for ever.

I have seen a man of sixty set out to keep an actress, the most
capricious, irresponsible, delightful and wonderful on the London
stage--Miss Cornel.

"And you expect that she'll be faithful?" people asked him.

"Not in the least. But she'll be in love with me--perhaps madly in

And for a whole year she did love him--often to distraction. For three
whole months together she never even gave him subject for complaint.
He had put a state of pique, disgraceful in many ways, between his
mistress and his daughter.

Pique wins the day in gallant-love, being its very life and blood. It
is the ordeal best fitted to differentiate between gallant-love and
passion-love. There is an old maxim of war, given to young fellows new
to their regiment, that if you are billeted on a house, where there are
two sisters, and you want to have one, you must pay your attentions to
the other. To win the majority of Spanish women, who are still young
and ready for love affairs, it is enough to give out, seriously and
modestly, that you have no feelings whatever for the lady of the house.
I have this useful maxim from dear General Lassale. This is the most
dangerous way of attacking passion-love.

Piqued self-esteem is the bond which ties the happiest marriages,
after those formed by love. Many husbands make sure of their wives'
love for many years, by taking up with some little woman a couple of
months after their marriage.[6] In this way the habit is engendered of
thinking only of one man, and family ties succeed in making the habit

[Pg 139]
If in the past century at the Court of Louis XV a great lady (Madame
de Choiseul) was seen to worship her husband,[7] the reason is that he
seemed to take a keen interest in her sister, the Duchesse de Grammont.

The most neglected mistress, once she makes us see that she prefers
another man, robs us of our peace and afflicts our heart with all the
semblance of passion.

The courage of an Italian is an access of rage; the courage of a German
a moment of intoxication; that of a Spaniard an outburst of pride. If
there were a nation, in which courage were generally a matter of piqued
self-esteem between the soldiers of each company and the regiments of
each division, in the case of a rout there would be no support, and
consequently there would be no means of rallying the armies of such
a nation. To foresee the danger and try to remedy it, would be the
greatest of all absurdities with such conceited runaways.

 "It is enough to have opened any single description of a voyage
 among the savages of North America," says one of the most delightful
 philosophers of France,[8] "to know that the ordinary fate of
 prisoners of war is not only to be burnt alive and eaten, but first to
 be bound to a stake near a flaming bonfire and to be tortured there
 for several hours, by all the most ferocious and refined devices
 that fury can imagine. Read what travellers, who have witnessed
 these fearful scenes, tell of the cannibal joy of the assistants,
 above all, of the fury of the women and children, and of their
 gruesome delight in this competition of cruelty. See also what they
 add about the heroic firmness and immutable self-possession of the
 prisoner, who not only gives no sign of pain, but taunts and defies
 his torturers, by all that pride can make most haughty, irony most
 bitter, and sarcasm most insulting--singing his own glorious deeds,
 going through the number of the relations and friends of the onlookers
 whom he has killed, detailing the sufferings he has inflicted on them,
 and accusing all that stand around him of cowardice, timidity and
 ignorance of the methods of torture; until falling limb from limb,
 devoured alive

[Pg 140]
 under his own eyes by enemies drunk with fury, he gasps out his last
 whisper and his last insult together with his life's breath.[9] All
 this would be beyond belief in civilised nations, will look like fable
 to the most fearless captains of our grenadiers, and will one day be
 brought into doubt by posterity."

This physiological phenomenon is closely connected with a particular
moral state in the prisoner, which constitutes, between him on the one
side and all his torturers on the other, a combat of self-esteem--of
vanity against vanity, as to who can hold out longer.

Our brave military doctors have often observed that wounded soldiers,
who, in a calm state of mind and senses, would have shrieked out,
during certain operations, display, on the contrary, only calmness
and heroism, if they are prepared for it in a certain manner. It is a
matter of piquing their sense of honour; you have to pretend, first
in a roundabout way, and then with irritating persistence, that it is
beyond their present power to bear the operation without shrieking.

[1] In Italian _puntiglio_(20).

[2] Three-quarters of the great French noblemen about 1778 would have
been on the high road to prison in a country where the laws were
executed without respect of persons.

[3] As the one keeps strict watch on the other in all that touches
love, there is less love and more immorality in provincial towns. Italy
is luckier.

[4] Every year there is more than one example of women abandoned just
as vilely, and so I can pardon suspiciousness in respectable women.
Mirabeau, _Lettres à Sophie_(21). Opinion is powerless in despotic
countries: there is nothing solid but the friendship of the pasha.

[5] Leghorn, 1819.

[6] See _The Confessions of an Odd-tempered Man_. Story by Mrs. Opie.

[7] Letters of Madame du Deffant, Memoirs of Lauzun.

[8] Volney, _Tableau des États-Unis d'Amérique_, pp. 491-96.

[9] Anyone accustomed to a spectacle like this, who feels the risk of
being the hero of such another, may possibly be interested only in its
heroic aspect, and, in that case, the spectacle must be the foremost
and most intimate of the non-active pleasures.

[Pg 141]
                             CHAPTER XXXIX

                          OF QUARRELSOME LOVE

It is of two kinds:

I. In which the originator of the quarrel loves.

2. In which he does not love.

If one of the lovers is too superior in advantages which both value,
the love of the other must die; for sooner or later comes the fear of
contempt, to cut short crystallisation.

Nothing is so odious to the mediocre as mental superiority. There lies
the source of hatred in the world of to-day, and if we do not have to
thank this principle for desperate enmities, it is solely due to the
fact that the people it comes between are not forced to live together.
What then of love? For here, everything being natural, especially on
the part of the superior being, superiority is not masked by any social

For the passion to be able to survive, the inferior must ill-treat the
other party; otherwise the latter could not shut a window, without the
other taking offence.

As for the superior party, he deludes himself: the love he feels is
beyond the reach of danger, and, besides, almost all the weaknesses in
that which we love, make it only the dearer to us.

In point of duration, directly after passion-love reciprocated between
people on the same level, one must put quarrelsome love, in which the
quarreller does not love. Examples of this are to be found in the
anecdotes, relative to the Duchesse de Berri (Memoirs of Duclos).

Partaking, as it does, of the nature of set habits, which

[Pg 142]
are rooted in the prosaic and egoistic side of life and follow man
inseparably to the grave, this love can last longer than passion-love
itself. But it is no longer love, it is a habit engendered by love,
which has nothing of that passion but memories and physical pleasure.
This habit necessarily presupposes a less noble kind of being. Each day
a little scene is got ready--"Will he make a fuss?"--which occupies
the imagination, just as, in passion-love, every day a new proof of
affection had to be found. See the anecdotes about Madame d'Houdetot
and Saint-Lambert.[1]

It is possible that pride refuses to get used to this kind of
occupation; in which case, after some stormy months, pride kills love.
But we see the nobler passion make a long resistance before giving in.
The little quarrels of happy love foster a long time the illusion of
a heart that still loves and sees itself badly treated. Some tender
reconciliations may make the transition more bearable. A woman excuses
the man she has deeply loved, on the score of a secret sorrow or a
blow to his prospects. At last she grows used to being scolded. Where,
really, outside passion-love, outside gambling or the possession of
power,[2] can you find any other unfailing entertainment to be compared
with it for liveliness? If the scolder happens to die, the victim who
survives proves inconsolable. This is the principle which forms the
bond of many middle-class marriages; the scolded can listen to his own
voice all day long talking of his favourite subject.

There is a false kind of quarrelsome love. I took from the letters of a
woman of extraordinary brilliance this in Chapter XXXIII:--

"Always a little doubt to allay--that is what whets our

[Pg 143]
appetite in passion-love every moment.... As it is never separated from
fear, so its pleasures can never tire."

With rough and ill-mannered people, or those with a very violent
nature, this little doubt to calm, this faint misgiving shows itself in
the form of a quarrel.

If the loved one has not the extreme susceptibility, which comes of a
careful education, she may find that love of this kind has more life in
it, and consequently is more enjoyable. Even with all the refinement
in the world, it is hard not to love "your savage" all the more, if
you see him the first to suffer for his transports. What Lord Mortimer
thinks back on, perhaps, with most regret for his lost mistress, are
the candlesticks she threw at his head. And, really, if pride forgives
and permits such sensations, it must also be allowed that they do wage
implacable warfare upon boredom--that arch-enemy of the happy!

Saint-Simon, the one historian France has had, says:--

 After several passing fancies, the Duchesse de Berri had fallen in
 love, in real earnest, with Riom, cadet of the house of d'Aydie, son
 of a sister of Madame de Biron. He had neither looks nor sense: a
 stout, short youth, with a puffy white face, who with all his spots
 looked like one big abscess--though, true, he had fine teeth. He had
 no idea of having inspired a passion, which in less than no time went
 beyond all limits and lasted ever after, without, indeed, preventing
 passing fancies and cross-attachments. He had little property, and
 many brothers and sisters who had no more. M. and Madame de Pons,
 lady-in-waiting to the Duchesse de Berri, were related to them and
 of the same province, and they sent for the young man, who was a
 lieutenant in the dragoons, to see what could be made of him. He had
 scarcely arrived before the Duchess's weakness for him became public
 and Riom was master of the Luxembourg.

 M. de Lauzun, whose grand-nephew he was, laughed in his sleeve; he was
 delighted to see in Riom a reincarnation at the Luxembourg of himself
 from the time of Mademoiselle. He gave Riom instructions which were
 listened to by him, as befitted

[Pg 144]
 a mild and naturally polite and respectful young fellow, well behaved
 and straightforward. But before long Riom began to feel the power
 of his own charms, which could only captivate the incomprehensible
 humour of this princess. Without abusing his power with others, he
 made himself liked by everyone, but he treated his duchess as M. de
 Lauzun had treated Mademoiselle. He was soon dressed in the richest
 laces, the richest suits, furnished with money, buckles, jewels. He
 made himself an object of admiration and took a delight in making the
 princess jealous or pretending to be jealous himself--bringing her
 often to tears. Little by little he reduced her to the state of doing
 nothing without his permission, not even in matters of indifference.
 At one time, ready to go out to the Opera, he made her stay at home;
 at another he made her go against her will. He forced her to do
 favours to ladies she disliked, or of whom she was jealous, and to
 injure people she liked, or of whom he pretended to be jealous. Even
 as far as dress, she was not allowed the smallest liberty. He used to
 amuse himself by making her have her hair done all over again, or have
 her dress changed when she was completely ready--and this happened
 so often and so publicly, that he had accustomed her to take in the
 evening his orders for dress and occupation for the next day. The
 next day he would change it all and make the princess cry still more.
 At last she came to sending him messages by trusted valets--for he
 lived in the Luxembourg almost from the day of his arrival--and the
 messages had often to be repeated during her toilet for her to know
 what ribbons to wear and about her frock and other details of dress;
 and nearly always he made her wear what she disliked. If sometimes she
 gave herself some liberty in the smallest matter without leave, he
 treated her like a servant, and often her tears lasted several days.

 This haughty princess, who was so fond of display and indulging her
 boundless pride, could bring herself so low as to partake of obscene
 parties with him and unmentionable people--she with whom no one could
 dine unless he were prince of the blood. The Jesuit Riglet, whom she
 as a child had known, and who had brought her up, was admitted to
 these private meals, without feeling ashamed himself or the Duchess
 being embarrassed. Madame de Mouchy was admitted into the secret of
 all these strange events; she and Riom summoned the company and chose
 the days. This lady was the peacemaker between the two lovers,

[Pg 145]
 and the whole of this existence was a matter of general knowledge at
 the Luxembourg. Riom was there looked to, as the centre of everything,
 while on his side he was careful to live on good terms with all,
 honouring them with a show of respect, which he refused in public only
 to his princess. Before everybody he would give her curt answers,
 which would make the whole company lower their eyes and bring blushes
 to the cheeks of the Duchess, who put no constraint upon her idolatry
 of him."

Riom was a sovereign remedy, for the Duchess, against the monotony of

A famous woman said once off-hand to General Bonaparte, then a young
hero covered with glory and with no crimes against liberty on his
conscience: "General, a woman could only be a wife or a sister to you."
The hero did not understand the compliment, which the world has made up
for with some pretty slanders.

The women, of whom we are speaking, like to be despised by their lover,
whom they only love in his cruelty.

[1] Memoirs of Madame d'Épinay, I think, or of Marmontel.

[2] Whatever certain hypocritical ministers may say, power is the
foremost of pleasures. I believe love alone can beat it, and love is a
lucky illness, which cannot be got like a ministry.

[Pg 146]
                             CHAPTER XXXIX

                               (Part II)

                         REMEDIES AGAINST LOVE

The leap of Leucas was a fine image of antiquity. It is true, the
remedy of love is almost impossible. A danger is needed to call man's
attention back sharply to look to his own preservation.[1] But that is
not all. What is harder to realise--a pressing danger must continue,
and one that can only be averted with care, in order that the habit of
thinking of his own preservation may have time to take root. I can see
nothing that will do but a storm of sixteen days, like that in _Don
Juan_[2] or the shipwreck of M. Cochelet among the Moors. Otherwise,
one gets soon used to the peril, and even drops back into thoughts
of the loved one with still more charm--when reconnoitring at twenty
yards' range from the enemy.

We have repeated over and over again that the love of a man, who loves
well, delights in and vibrates to every movement of his imagination,
and that there is nothing in nature which does not speak to him of the
object of his love. Well, this delight and this vibration form a most
interesting occupation, next to which all others pale.

A friend who wants to work the cure of the patient, must, first of all,
be always on the side of the woman

[Pg 147]
the patient is in love with--and all friends, with more zeal than
sense, are sure to do exactly the opposite.

It is attacking with forces too absurdly inferior that combination of
sweet illusions, which earlier we called crystallisation.[3]

The _friend in need_ should not forget this fact, that, if there is
an absurdity to be believed, as the lover has either to swallow it or
renounce everything which holds him to life, he will swallow it. With
all the cleverness in the world, he will deny in his mistress the most
palpable vices and the most villainous infidelities. This is how, in
passion-love, everything is forgiven after a little.

In the case of reasonable and cold characters, for the lover to swallow
the vices of a mistress, he must only find them out after several
months of passion.[4]

Far from trying bluntly and openly to distract the lover, the _friend
in need_ ought to tire him with talking of his love and his mistress,
and at the same time manage that a host of little events force
themselves upon his notice. Even if travel isolates,[5] it is still
no remedy, and in fact nothing recalls so tenderly the object of our
love as change of scene. It was in the midst of the brilliant Paris
_salons_, next to women with the greatest reputation for charm, that I
was most in love with my poor mistress, solitary and sad in her little
room in the depth of the Romagna.[6]

I looked at the superb clock in the brilliant _salon_, where I was
exiled, for the hour she goes out on foot, even in the rain, to call on
her friend. Trying to forget her, I have found that change of scene is
the source of memories of one's love, less vivid but far more heavenly

[Pg 148]
than those one goes in search for in places, where once upon a time one
met her.

In order that absence may prove useful, the _friend in need_ must
be always at hand, and suggest to the lover's mind all possible
reflections on the history of his love, trying to make these
reflections tiresome through their length and importunity. In this
way he gives them the appearance of commonplaces. For example, tender
sentimental talk after a dinner enlivened with good wine.

It is hard to forget a woman, with whom one has been happy; for,
remember, that there are certain moments the imagination can never be
tired of evoking and beautifying.

I leave out all mention of pride, cruel but sovereign remedy, which,
however, is not to be applied to sensitive souls.

The first scenes of Shakespeare's _Romeo_ form an admirable picture;
there is so vast a gap between the man who says sorrowfully to himself:
"She hath forsworn to love," and he who cries out in the height of
happiness: "Come what sorrow can!"

[1] Danger of Henry Morton in the Clyde. (_Old Mortality_, Vol. IV,
Chap. X.)

[2] Of the over-extolled Lord Byron.

[3] Merely in order to abbreviate, and with apologies for the new word.

[4] Madame Dornal and Serigny. _Confessions of le Comte_ ... of Duclos.
See the note to p. 50: death of General Abdallah at Bologna.

[5] I cried almost every day. (Precious words of the 10th of June.)

[6] Salviati.

[Pg 149]
                             CHAPTER XXXIX

                              (Part III)

 Her passion will die like a lamp for want of what the flame should
 feed upon. (_Bride of Lammermoor_, II, Chap. VI.)]

The _friend in need_ must beware of faulty reasoning--for example, of
talking about ingratitude. You are giving new life to crystallisation,
by procuring it a victory and a new enjoyment.

In love there is no such thing as ingratitude; the actual pleasure
always repays, and more than repays, sacrifices that seem the greatest.
In love no other crime but want of honesty seems to me possible: one
should be scrupulous as to the state of one's heart.

The _friend in need_ has only to attack fair and square, for the lover
to answer:--

"To be in love, even while enraged with the loved one, is nothing less,
to bring myself down to your £ s. d. style, than having a ticket in
a lottery, in which the prize is a thousand miles above all that you
can offer me, in your world of indifference and selfish interests. One
must have plenty of vanity--and precious petty vanity--to be happy,
because people receive you well. I do not blame men for going on like
this, in their world, but in the love of Léonore I found a world where
everything was heavenly, tender and generous. The most lofty and almost
incredible virtue of your world counted, between her and me, only as
any ordinary and everyday virtue. Let me at all events dream of the
happiness of passing my life close to such a creature. Although I
understand that

[Pg 150]
slander has ruined me, and that I have nothing to hope for, at least I
shall make her the sacrifice of my vengeance."

It is quite impossible to put a stop to love except in its first
stages. Besides a prompt departure, and the forced distractions of
society (as in the case of the Comtesse Kalember), there are several
other little ruses, which the _friend in need_ can bring into play.
For example, he can bring to your notice, as if by chance, the fact
that the woman you love, quite outside the disputed area, does not
even observe towards you the same amount of politeness and respect,
with which she honours your rival. The smallest details are enough;
for in love everything is a sign. For example, she does not take your
arm to go up to her box. This sort of nonsense, taken tragically by
a passionate heart, couples a pang of humiliation to every judgment
formed by crystallisation, poisons the source of love and may destroy

One way against the woman, who is behaving badly to our friend, is to
bring her under suspicion of some absurd physical defect, impossible
to verify. If it were possible for the lover to verify the calumny,
and even if he found it substantiated, it would be disqualified by
his imagination, and soon have no place with him at all. It is only
imagination itself which can resist imagination: Henry III knew that
very well when he scoffed at the famous Duchesse de Montpensier(22).

Hence it is the imagination you must look to--above all, in a girl
whom you want to keep safe from love. And the less her spirit has of
the common stuff, the more noble and generous her soul, in a word the
worthier she is of our respect, just so much greater the danger through
which she must pass.

It is always perilous, for a girl, to suffer her memories to group
themselves too repeatedly and too agreeably round the same individual.
Add gratitude, admiration or curiosity to strengthen the bonds of
memory, and she is almost certainly on the edge of the

[Pg 151]
precipice. The greater the monotony of her everyday life, the more
active are those poisons called gratitude, admiration and curiosity.
The only thing, then, is a swift, prompt and vigorous distraction.

Just so, a little roughness and "slap-dash" in the first encounter, is
an almost infallible means of winning the respect of a clever woman, if
only the drug be administered in a natural and simple manner.

[Pg 152]
[Pg 153]

                                BOOK II

[Pg 154]
[Pg 155]
                              CHAPTER XL

Every kind of love and every kind of imagination, in the individual,
takes its colour from one of these six temperaments:--

The sanguine, or French,--M. de Francueil (Memoirs of Madame d'Épinay);

The choleric, or Spanish,--Lauzun (the Peguilhen of Saint-Simon's

The melancholy, or German,--Schiller's Don Carlos;

The phlegmatic, or Dutch;

The nervous--Voltaire;

The athletic--Milo of Croton.[1]

If the influence of temperament makes itself felt in ambition, avarice,
friendship, etc. etc., what must it be in the case of love, in which
the physical also is perforce an ingredient? Let us suppose that all
kinds of love can be referred to the four varieties, which we have

Passion-love--Julie d'Étanges;(23)

Gallant-love or gallantry;

Physical love;

Vanity-love--"a duchess is never more than thirty for a bourgeois."

We must submit these four kinds of love to the six different
characters, with which habits, dependent upon the six kinds of
temperament, stamp the imagination. Tiberius did not have the wild
imagination of Henry VIII.

[Pg 156]
Then let us submit all these combinations, thus obtained, to the
differences of habit which depend upon government or national

1. Asiatic despotism, such as may be seen at Constantinople;

2. Absolute monarchy _à la_ Louis XIV;

3. Aristocracy masked by a charter, or government of a nation for the
profit of the rich, as in England--all according to the rules of a
self-styled biblical morality;

4. A federal republic, or government for the profit of all, as in the
United States of America;

5. Constitutional monarchy, or--

6. A State in revolution, as Spain, Portugal, France(24). This state of
things in a country gives lively passions to everyone, makes manners
more natural, destroys puerilities, the conventional virtues and
senseless proprieties[2]--gives seriousness to youth and causes it to
despise vanity-love and neglect gallantry.

This state can last a long time and form the habits of a generation. In
France it began in 1788, was interrupted in 1802, and began again in
1818--to end God knows when!

After all these general ways of considering love, we have the
differences of age, and come finally to individual peculiarities.

For example, we might say:--

I found at Dresden, in Count Woltstein, vanity-love, a melancholy
temperament, monarchical habits, thirty years, and ... his individual

For anyone who is to form a judgment on love, this way of viewing
things is conveniently short and cooling to the head--an essential, but
difficult operation.

Now, as in physiology man has learnt scarcely anything about himself,
except by means of comparative anatomy,

[Pg 157]
so in the case of passions, through vanity and many other causes of
illusion, we can only get enlightenment on what goes on in ourselves
from the foibles we have observed in others. If by chance this essay
has any useful effect, it will be by bringing the mind to make
comparisons of this sort. To lead the way, I am going to attempt a
sketch of some general traits in the character of love in different

I beg for pardon if I often come back to Italy; in the present state
of manners in Europe, it is the only country where the plant, which
I describe, grows in all freedom. In France, vanity; in Germany, a
pretentious and highly comical philosophy; in England, pride, timid,
painful and rancorous, torture and stifle it, or force it into a
crooked channel.[3]

[1] See Cabanis, influence of the physical, etc.

[2] The laces missing from Minister Roland's shoes: "Ah, Monsieur, all
is lost," answers Dumouriez. At the royal sitting, the President of the
Assembly crosses his legs.

[3] The reader will have perceived only too easily that this treatise
is made up of Lisio's Visconti's fragmentary account of events, written
in the order that they were presented to him on his travels. All these
events may be found related at length in the journal of his life;
perhaps I ought to have inserted them--but they might have been found
scarcely suitable. The oldest notes bear the date, Berlin 1807, and the
last are some days before his death, June 1819. Some dates have been
altered expressly to avoid indiscretion; but the changes, which I have
made, go no further than that. I have not thought myself authorised
to recast the style. This book was written in a hundred different
places--so may it be read!

[Pg 158]
                              CHAPTER XLI

                    OF NATIONS WITH REGARD TO LOVE.


I mean to put aside my natural affections and be only a cold
philosopher. French women, fashioned by their amiable men, themselves
creatures only of vanity and physical desires, are less active, less
energetic, less feared, and, what's more, less loved and less powerful,
than Spanish and Italian women.

A woman is powerful only according to the degree of unhappiness, which
she can inflict as punishment on her lover. Where men have nothing but
vanity, every woman is useful, but none is indispensable. It is success
in winning a woman's love, not in keeping it, which flatters a man.
When men have only physical desires, they go to prostitutes, and that
is why the prostitutes of France are charming and those of Spain the
very reverse. In France, to a great many men prostitutes can give as
much happiness as virtuous women--happiness, that is to say, without
love. There is always one thing for which a Frenchman has much more
respect than for his mistress--his vanity.

In Paris a young man sees in his mistress a kind of slave, whose
destiny it is, before everything, to please his vanity. If she resist
the orders of this dominating passion, he leaves her--and is only the
better pleased with himself, when he can tell his friends in what a
piquant way, with how smart a gesture, he waved her off.

A Frenchman, who knew his own country well (Meilhan), said: "In France,
great passions are as rare as great men."

[Pg 159]
No language has words to express how impossible it is for a Frenchman
to play the role of a deserted and desperate lover, in full view of a
whole town--yet no sight is commoner at Venice or Bologna.

To find love at Paris, we must descend to those classes, in which the
absence of education and of vanity, and the struggle against real want,
have left more energy.

To let oneself be seen with a great and unsatisfied desire, is
to let oneself be seen in a position of inferiority--and that is
impossible in France, except for people of no position at all.
It means exposing oneself to all kinds of sneers--hence come the
exaggerated praises bestowed on prostitutes by young men who mistrust
their own hearts. A vulgar susceptibility and dread of appearing in
a position of inferiority forms the principle of conversation among
provincial people. Think of the man who only lately, when told of the
assassination of H. R. H. the Duke of Berri(25), answered: "I knew

In the Middle Ages hearts were tempered by the presence of danger, and
therein, unless I am mistaken, lies another cause of the astonishing
superiority of the men of the sixteenth century. Originality, which
among us is rare, comical, dangerous and often affected, was then of
everyday and unadorned. Countries where even to-day danger often shows
its iron hand, such as Corsica,[2]

[Pg 160]
Spain or Italy, can still produce great men. In those climates, where
men's gall cooks for three months under the burning heat, it is
activity's direction that is to seek; at Paris, I fear, it is activity

Many young men, fine enough to be sure at Montmirail or the Bois de
Boulogne, are afraid of love; and when you see them, at the age of
twenty, fly the sight of a young girl who has struck them as pretty,
you may know that cowardice is the real cause. When they remember what
they have read in novels is expected of a lover, their blood runs cold.
These chilly spirits cannot conceive how the storm of passion, which
lashes the sea to waves, also fills the sails of the ship and gives her
the power of riding over them.

Love is a delicious flower, but one must have the courage to go and
pick it on the edge of a frightful precipice. Besides ridicule, love
has always staring it in the face the desperate plight of being
deserted by the loved one, and in her place only a _dead blank_ for all
the rest of one's life.

Civilisation would be perfect, if it could continue the delicate
pleasures of the nineteenth century with a more frequent presence of

[Pg 161]
It ought to be possible to augment a thousandfold the pleasures of
private life by exposing it frequently to danger. I do not speak only
of military danger. I would have this danger present at every instant,
in every shape, and threatening all the interests of existence, such
as formed the essence of life in the Middle Ages. Such danger as our
civilisation has trained and refined, goes hand in hand quite naturally
with the most insipid feebleness of character.

I hear the words of a great man in _A Voice from St Helena_ by Mr.

 Order Murat to attack and destroy four or five thousand men in such
 a direction, it was done in a moment; but leave him to himself, he
 was an imbecile without judgment. I cannot conceive how so brave
 a man could be so "lâche." He was nowhere brave unless before the
 enemy. There he was probably the bravest man in the world.... He was
 a paladin, in fact a Don Quixote in the field; but take him into the
 Cabinet, he was a poltroon without judgment or decision. Murat and Ney
 were the bravest men I ever witnessed. (O'Meara, Vol. II, p. 95.)

[1] This is historical. Many people, though very curious, are annoyed
at being told news; they are frightened of appearing inferior to him
who tells them the news.

[2] Memoirs of M. Realier-Dumas. Corsica, which, as regards its
population of one hundred and eighty thousand souls, would not form
a half of most French Departments, has produced in modern times
Salliceti, Pozzo di Borgo, General Sebastiani, Cervioni, Abbatucci,
Lucien and Napoleon Bonaparte and Aréna. The Département du Nord,
with its nine hundred thousand inhabitants, is far from being able
to show a similar list. The reason is that in Corsica anyone, on
leaving his house, may be greeted by a bullet; and the Corsican,
instead of submitting like a good Christian, tries to defend himself
and still more to be revenged. That is the way spirits like Napoleon
are forged. It's a long cry from such surroundings to a palace with
its lords-in-waiting and chamberlains, and a Fénelon obliged to find
reasons for his respect to His Royal Highness, when speaking to H. R.
H. himself, aged twelve years. See the works of that great writer.

[3] At Paris, to get on, you must pay attention to a million little
details. None the less there is this very powerful objection.
Statistics show many more women who commit suicide from love at Paris
than in all the towns of Italy together. This fact gives me great
difficulty; I do not know what to say to it for the moment, but it
doesn't change my opinion. It may be that our ultra-civilised life
is so wearisome, that death seems a small matter to the Frenchman of
to-day--or more likely, overwhelmed by the wreck of his vanity, he
blows out his brains.

[4] I admire the manners of the time of Lewis XIV: many a man might
pass in three days from the salons of Marly to the battlefield of Senet
or Ramillies. Wives, mothers, sweethearts, were all in a continual
state of apprehension. See the Letters of Madame de Sévigné. The
presence of danger had kept in the language an energy and a freshness
that we would not dare to hazard nowadays; and yet M. de Lameth killed
his wife's lover. If a Walter Scott were to write a novel of the times
of Lewis XIV, we should be a good deal surprised.

[Pg 162]
                             CHAPTER XLII

                         FRANCE (_continued_)

I beg leave to speak ill of France a little longer. The reader need
have no fear of seeing my satire remain unpunished; if this essay finds
readers, I shall pay for my insults with interest. Our national honour
is wide awake.

France fills an important place in the plan of this book, because
Paris, thanks to the superiority of its conversation and its
literature, is, and will always be, the _salon_ of Europe.

Three-quarters of the _billets_ in Vienna, as in London, are written in
French or are full of French allusions and quotations--Lord knows what

As regards great passions, France, in my opinion, is void of
originality from two causes:--

1. True honour--the desire to resemble Bayard(26)--in order to be
honoured in the world and there, every day, to see your vanity

2. The fool's honour, or the desire to resemble the upper classes, the
fashionable world of Paris. The art of entering a drawing-room, of
showing aversion to a rival, of breaking with your mistress, etc.

The fool's honour is much more useful than true honour in ministering
to the pleasures of our vanity,

[Pg 163]
both in itself, as being intelligible to fools, and also as being
applicable to the actions of every day and every hour. We see people,
with only this fool's honour and without true honour, very well
received in society; but the contrary is impossible.

This is the way of the fashionable world:--

1. To treat all great interests ironically. 'Tis natural enough.
Formerly people, really in society, could not be profoundly affected
by anything; they hadn't the time. Residence in the country has
altered all this. Besides, it is contrary to a Frenchman's nature to
let himself be seen in a posture of admiration,[2] that is to say,
in a position of inferiority, not only in relation to the object of
his admiration--that goes without saying--but also in relation to his
neighbour, if his neighbour choose to mock at what he admires.

In Germany, Italy and Spain, on the contrary, admiration is genuine and
happy; there the admirer is proud of his transports and pities the man
who turns up his nose. I don't say the mocker, for that's an impossible
rôle in countries, where it is not in failing in the imitation of
a particular line of conduct, but in failing to strike the road to
happiness, that the only ridicule exists. In the South, mistrust and
horror at being troubled in the midst of pleasures vividly felt, plants
in men an inborn admiration of luxury and pomp. See the Courts of
Madrid and Naples; see a _funzione_ at Cadiz--things are carried to a
point of delirium.[3]

2. A Frenchman thinks himself the most miserable of men, and almost the
most ridiculous, if he is obliged to spend his time alone. But what is
love without solitude?

3. A passionate man thinks only of himself; a man

[Pg 164]
who wants consideration thinks only of others. Nay more: before 1789,
individual security was only found in France by becoming one of a body,
the Robe, for example,[4] and by being protected by the members of
that body. The thoughts of your neighbour were then an integral and
necessary part of your happiness. This was still truer at the Court
than in Paris. It is easy to

[Pg 165]
see how far such manners, which, to say the truth, are every day losing
their force, but which Frenchmen will retain for another century, are
favourable to great passions.

Try to imagine a man throwing himself from a window, and at the same
time trying to reach the pavement in a graceful position.

In France, the passionate man, merely as such, and in no other
light, is the object of general ridicule. Altogether, he offends his
fellow-men, and that gives wings to ridicule.

[1] In England, the gravest writers think they give themselves a smart
tone by quoting French words, which, for the most part, have never been
French, except in English grammars. See the writers for the _Edinburgh
Review_; see the Memoirs of the Comtesse de Lichtnau, mistress of the
last King of Prussia but one.

[2] The fashionable admiration of Hume in 1775, for example, or of
Franklin in 1784, is no objection to what I say.

[3] _Voyage en Espagne_, by M. Semple; he gives a true picture, and the
reader will find a description of the Battle of Trafalgar, heard in the
distance which sticks in the memory.

[4] _Correspondance_ of Grimm, January, 1783. "Comte de N----,
Captain commanding the guards of the Duke of Orleans, being piqued at
finding no place left in the balcony, the day of the opening of the
new hall, was so ill-advised as to dispute his place with an honest
Procureur; the latter, one Maître Pernot, was by no means willing to
give it up.--'You've taken my place.'--'I'm in my own.'--'Who are
you?'--'I'm Mr. Six Francs'... (that is to say, the price of these
places). Then, angrier words, insults, jostling. Comte de N---- pushed
his indiscretion so far as to treat the poor joker as a thief, and
finally took it upon himself to order the sergeant on duty to arrest
the person of the Procureur, and to conduct him to the guard-room.
Maître Pernot surrendered with great dignity, and went out, only to go
and depose his complaint before a Commissary. The redoubtable body, of
which he had the honour to be a member, had no intention of letting the
matter drop. The affair came up before the Parlement. M. de N---- was
condemned to pay all the expenses, to make reparation to the Procureur,
to pay him two thousand crowns damages and interest, which were to
be applied, with the Procureur's consent, to the poor prisoners of
the Conciergerie; further, the said Count was very expressly enjoined
never again, under pretext of the king's orders, to interfere with
a performance, etc. This adventure made a lot of noise, and great
interests were mixed up in it: the whole Robe has considered itself
insulted by an outrage done to a man who wears its livery, etc. M. de
N----, that his affair may be forgotten, has gone to seek his laurels
at the Camp of St. Roch. He couldn't do better, people say, for no one
can doubt of his talent for carrying places by sheer force. Now suppose
an obscure philosopher in the place of Maître Pernot. Use of the Duel.
(Grimm, Part III, Vol. II, p. 102.)

See further on, p. 496, a most sensible letter of Beaumarchais refusing
a closed box (_loge grillée_) for Figaro, which one of his friends had
asked of him. So long as people thought that his answer was addressed
to a Duke, there was great excitement, and they talked about severe
punishment. But it turned to laughter when Beaumarchais declared that
his letter was addressed to Monsieur le Président du Paty. It is a far
cry from 1785 to 1822! We no longer understand these feelings. And yet
people pretend that the same tragedies that touched those generations
are still good for us!

[Pg 166]
                             CHAPTER XLIII


Italy's good fortune is that it has been left to the inspiration of the
moment, a good fortune which it shares, up to a certain point, with
Germany and England.

Furthermore, Italy is a country where Utility, which was the guiding
principle of the mediæval republic,[1] has not been dethroned by Honour
or Virtue, disposed to the advantages of monarchy.[2] True honour leads
the way to the fool's honour. It accustoms men to ask themselves: What

[Pg 167]
will my neighbour think of my happiness? But how can happiness of the
heart be an object of vanity, since no one can see it.?[3] In proof of
all this, France is the country, where there are fewer marriages from
inclination than anywhere else in the world.[4]

And Italy has other advantages. The Italian has undisturbed leisure and
an admirable climate, which makes men sensible to beauty under every
form. He is extremely, yet reasonably, mistrustful, which increases the
aloofness of intimate love and doubles its charms. He reads no novels,
indeed hardly any books, and this leaves still more to the inspiration
of the moment. He has a passion for music, which excites in the soul a
movement very similar to that of love.

In France, towards 1770, there was no mistrust.; on the contrary, it
was good form to live and die before the public. As the Duchess of
Luxemburg was intimate with a hundred friends, there was no intimacy
and no friendship, properly so-called.

In Italy, passion, since it is not a very rare distinction, is not a
subject of ridicule,[5] and you may hear people in the _salons_ openly
quoting general maxims of love. The public knows the symptoms and
periods of this illness, and is very much concerned with it. They say
to a man who has been deserted: "You'll be in despair for six months,
but you'll get over it in the end, like So-and-so, etc."

In Italy, public opinion is the very humble attendant on passion. Real
pleasure there exercises the power, which elsewhere is in the hands of
society. 'Tis quite simple--for society can give scarcely any pleasure
to a people, who has no time to be vain, and can have

[Pg 168]
but little authority over those, who are only trying to escape the
notice of their "pacha"(29). The _blasés_ censure the passionate--but
who cares for them? South of the Alps, society is a despot without a

As in Paris honour challenges, sword in hand, or, if possible, _bon
mot_ in the mouth, every approach to every recognised great interest,
it is much more convenient to take refuge in irony. Many young men have
taken up a different attitude, and become disciples of J. J. Rousseau
and Madame de Staël. As irony had become vulgar, one had to fall back
on feelings. A. de Pezai in our days writes like M. Darlincourt.
Besides, since 1789, everything tends to favour utility or individual
sensibility, as opposed to honour or the empire of opinion. The sight
of the two Chambers teaches people to discuss everything, even mere
nonsense. The nation is becoming serious, and gallantry is losing

As a Frenchman, I ought to say that it is not a small number of
colossal fortunes, but the multiplicity of middling ones, that makes
up the riches of a country. In every country passion is rare, and
gallantry is more graceful and refined: in France, as a consequence, it
has better fortune. This great nation, the first in the world,[6] has
the same kind of aptitude for love as for intellectual achievements.
In 1822 we have, to be sure, no Moore, no Walter Scott, no Crabbe,
no Byron, no Monti, no Pellico; but we have among us more men of
intellect, clear-sighted, agreeable and up to the level of the lights
of this century, than England has, or Italy. It is for this reason that
the debates in our Chamber of Deputies in 1822, are so superior to
those in the English Parliament, and that when a Liberal from England
comes to France, we are quite surprised to find in him several opinions
which are distinctly feudal.

[Pg 169]
A Roman artist wrote from Paris:--

 I am exceedingly uncomfortable here; I suppose it's because I have no
 leisure for falling in love at my ease. Here, sensibility is spent
 drop by drop, just as it forms, in such a way, at least so I find it,
 as to be a drain on the source. At Rome, owing to the little interest
 created by the events of every day and the somnolence of the outside
 world, sensibility accumulates to the profit of passion.

[1] G. Pecchio, in his very lively _Letters_ to a beautiful young
English woman, says on the subject of free Spain, where the Middle Ages
are not a revival, but have never ceased to exist (p. 60): "The aim of
the Spaniards was not glory, but independence. If the Spaniards had
only fought for honour, the war had ended with the battle of Tudela.
Honour is a thing of an odd nature--once soiled, it loses all its power
of action. ... The Spanish army of the line, having become imbued in
its turn with prejudices in favour of honour (that means having become
modern-European) disbanded, once beaten, with the thought that, with
honour, all was lost, etc."

[2] In 1620 a man was honoured by saying unceasingly and as servilely
as he could: "The King my Master" (See the Memoirs of Noailles, Torcy
and all Lewis XIV's ambassadors). Quite simple--by this turn of phrase,
he proclaims the rank he occupies among subjects. This rank, dependent
on the King, takes the place, in the eyes and esteem of these subjects,
of the rank which in ancient Rome depended on the good opinion of his
fellow-citizens, who had seen him fighting at Trasimene and speaking
in the Forum. You can batter down absolute monarchy by destroying
vanity and its advance works, which it calls _conventions_. The dispute
between Shakespeare and Racine(28) is only one form of the dispute
between Louis XIV and constitutional government.

[3] It can only be estimated in unpremeditated actions.

[4] Miss O'Neil, Mrs. Couts, and most of the great English actresses,
leave the stage in order to marry rich husbands.

[5] One can allow women gallantry, but love makes them laughed at,
wrote the judicious Abbé Girard in Paris in 1740.

[6] I want no other proof than the world's envy. See the _Edinburgh
Review_ for 1821. See the German and Italian literary journals, and the
_Scimiatigre_ of Alfieri.

[Pg 170]
                             CHAPTER XLIV


Only at Rome[1] can a respectable woman, seated in her carriage, say
effusively to another woman, a mere acquaintance, what I heard this
morning: "Ah, my dear, beware of love with Fabio Vitteleschi; better
for you to fall in love with a highwayman! For all his soft and
measured air, he is capable of stabbing you to the heart with a knife,
and of saying with the sweetest smile, while he plunged the knife into
your breast: 'Poor child, does it hurt?'" And this conversation took
place in the presence of a pretty young lady of fifteen, daughter of
the woman who received the advice, and a very wide-awake young lady.

If a man from the North has the misfortune not to be shocked at first
by the candour of this southern capacity for love, which is nothing but
the simple product of a magnificent nature, favoured by the twofold
absence of _good form_ and of all interesting novelty, after a stay of
one year the women of all other countries will become intolerable to

He will find Frenchwomen, perfectly charming, with their little
graces,[2] seductive for the first three days, but boring the
fourth--fatal day, when one discovers that all these graces, studied
beforehand, and learned by

[Pg 171]
rote, are eternally the same, every day and for every lover.

He will see German women, on the contrary, so very natural, and giving
themselves up with so much ardour to their imagination, but often with
nothing to show in the end, for all their naturalness, but barrenness,
insipidity, and blue-stocking tenderness. The phrase of Count
Almaviva(30) seems made for Germany: "And one is quite astonished, one
fine evening, to find satiety, where one went to look for happiness."

At Rome, the foreigner must not forget that, if nothing is tedious in
countries where everything is natural, the bad is there still more
bad than elsewhere. To speak only of the men,[3] we can see appearing
here in society a kind of monster, who elsewhere lies low--a man
passionate, clear-sighted and base, all in an equal degree. Suppose
evil chance has set him near a woman in some capacity or other: madly
in love with her, suppose, he will drink to the very dregs the misery
of seeing her prefer a rival. There he is to oppose her happier lover.
Nothing escapes him, and everyone sees that nothing escapes him; but he
continues none the less, in despite of every honourable sentiment, to
trouble the woman, her lover and himself. No one blames him--"That's
his way of getting pleasure."--"He is doing what gives him pleasure."
One evening, the lover, at the end of his patience, gives him a
kick. The next day the wretch is full of excuses, and begins again
to torment, constantly and imperturbably, the woman, the lover and
himself. One shudders, when one thinks of the amount of unhappiness
that these base spirits have every day to swallow--and doubtless there
is but one grain less of cowardice between them and a poisoner.

It is also only in Italy that you can see young and elegant
millionaires entertaining with magnificence, in

[Pg 172]
full view of a whole town, ballet girls from a big theatre, at a cost
of thirty halfpence a day.[4]

Two brothers X----, fine young fellows, always hunting and on
horseback, are jealous of a foreigner. Instead of going and laying
their complaint before him, they are sullen, and spread abroad
unfavourable reports of this poor foreigner. In France, public opinion
would force such men to prove their words or give satisfaction to
the foreigner. Here public opinion and contempt mean nothing. Riches
are always certain of being well received everywhere. A millionaire,
dishonoured and excluded from every house in Paris, can go quite
securely to Rome; there he will be estimated just according to the
value of his dollars.

[1] September 30th, 1819.

[2] Not only had the author the misfortune not to be born at Paris, but
he had also lived there very little. (Editor's note.)

[3] Heu! male nunc artes miseras haec secula tractant;
      Jam tener assuevit munera velle puer. (Tibull., I, iv.)

[4] See in the manners of the age of Lewis XV how Honour and
Aristocracy load with profusion such ladies as Duthé, La Guerre
and others. Eighty or a hundred thousand francs a year was nothing
extraordinary; with less, a man of fashion would have lowered himself.

[Pg 173]
                              CHAPTER XLV


I have lived a good deal of late with the ballet-girls of the Teatro
Del Sol, at Valencia. People assure me that many of them are very
chaste; the reason being that their profession is too fatiguing. Vigano
makes them rehearse his ballet, the _Jewess of Toledo_, every day, from
ten in the morning to four, and from midnight to three in the morning.
Besides this, they have to dance every evening in both ballets.

This reminds me that Rousseau prescribes a great deal of walking for
Émile. This evening I was strolling at midnight with these little
ballet girls out along the seashore, and I was thinking especially how
unknown to us, in our sad lands of mist, is this superhuman delight
in the freshness of a sea breeze under this Valencian sky, under the
eyes of these resplendent stars that seem close above us. This alone
repays the journey of four hundred leagues; this it is that banishes
thought, for feeling is too strong. I thought that the chastity of my
little ballet girls gives the explanation of the course adopted by
English pride, in order, little by little, to bring back the morals of
the harem into the midst of a civilised nation. One sees how it is that
some of these young English girls, otherwise so beautiful and with so
touching an expression, leave something to be desired as regards ideas.
In spite of liberty, which has only just been banished from their
island, and the admirable originality of their national character, they
lack interesting ideas and originality. Often there is nothing

[Pg 174]
remarkable in them but the extravagance of their refinements. It's
simple enough--in England the modesty of the women is the pride of
their husbands. But, however submissive a slave may be, her society
becomes sooner or later a burden. Hence, for the men, the necessity
of getting drunk solemnly every evening,[1] instead of as in Italy,
passing the evening with their mistresses. In England, rich people,
bored with their homes and under the pretext of necessary exercise,
walk four or five leagues a day, as if man were created and put into
the world to trot up and down it. They use up their nervous fluid by
means of their legs, not their hearts; after which, they may well talk
of female refinement and look down on Spain and Italy.

No life, on the other hand, could be less busy than that of young
Italians; to them all action is importunate, if it take away their
sensibility. From time to time they take a walk of half a league for
health's sake, as an unpleasant medicine. As for the women, a Roman
woman in a whole year does not walk as far as a young Miss in a week.

It seems to me that the pride of an English husband exalts very
adroitly the vanity of his wretched wife. He persuades her, first of
all, that one must not be vulgar, and the mothers, who are getting
their daughters ready to find husbands, are quick enough to seize upon
this idea. Hence fashion is far more absurd and despotic in reasonable
England than in the midst of light-hearted France: in Bond Street was
invented the idea of the "carefully careless." In England fashion is
a duty, at Paris it is a pleasure. In London fashion raises a wall of
bronze between New Bond Street and Fenchurch Street far different from
that between the Chaussée d'Antin and the rue Saint-Martin at Paris.
Husbands are quite

[Pg 175]
willing to allow their wives this aristocratic nonsense, to make up
for the enormous amount of unhappiness, which they impose on them. I
recognise a perfect picture of women's society in England, such as the
taciturn pride of its men produces, in the once celebrated novels of
Miss Burney. Since it is vulgar to ask for a glass of water, when one
is thirsty, Miss Burney's heroines do not fail to let themselves die of
thirst. While flying from vulgarity, they fall into the most abominable

Compare the prudence of a young Englishman of twenty-two with the
profound mistrust of a young Italian of the same age. The Italian must
be mistrustful to be safe, but this mistrust he puts aside, or at least
forgets, as soon as he becomes intimate, while it is apparently just
in his most tender relationships that you see the young Englishman
redouble his prudence and aloofness. I once heard this:--

"In the last seven months I haven't spoken to her of the trip to
Brighton." This was a question of a necessary economy of twenty-four
pounds, and a lover of twenty-two years speaking of a mistress, a
married woman, whom he adored. In the transports of his passion
prudence had not left him: far less had he let himself go enough to say
to his mistress: "I shan't go to Brighton, because I should feel the

Note that the fate of Gianone de Pellico, and of a hundred others,
forces the Italian to be mistrustful, while the young English _beau_ is
only forced to be prudent by the excessive and morbid sensibility of
his vanity. A Frenchman, charming enough with his inspirations of the
minute, tells everything to her he loves. It is habit. Without it he
would lack ease, and he knows that without ease there is no grace.

It is with difficulty and with tears in my eyes that I have plucked up
courage to write all this; but, since I would not, I'm sure, flatter a
king, why should I say of a country anything but what seems to me the

[Pg 176]
truth? Of course it may be all very absurd, for the simple reason that
this country gave birth to the most lovable woman that I have known.

It would be another form of cringing before a monarch. I will
content myself with adding that in the midst of all this variety of
manners, among so many Englishwomen, who are the spiritual victims
of Englishmen's pride, a perfect form of originality does exist, and
that a family, brought up aloof from these distressing restrictions
(invented to reproduce the morals of the harem) may be responsible
for charming characters. And how insufficient, in spite of its
etymology,--and how common--is this word "charming" to render what I
would express. The gentle Imogen, the tender Ophelia might find plenty
of living models in England; but these models are far from enjoying the
high veneration that is unanimously accorded to the true accomplished
Englishwoman, whose destiny is to show complete obedience to every
convention and to afford a husband full enjoyment of the most morbid
aristocratic pride and a happiness that makes him die of boredom.[2]

In the great suites of fifteen or twenty rooms, so fresh and so dark,
in which Italian women pass their lives softly propped on low divans,
they hear people speak of love and of music for six hours in the day.
At night, at the theatre, hidden in their boxes for four hours, they
hear people speak of music and love.

Then, besides the climate, the whole way of living is in Spain or Italy
as favourable to music and love, as it is the contrary in England.

I neither blame nor approve; I observe.

[1] This custom begins to give way a little in very good society,
which is becoming French, as everywhere; but I'm speaking of the vast

[2] See Richardson: the manners of the Harlowe family, translated into
modern manners, are frequent in England. Their servants are worth more
than they.

[Pg 177]
                             CHAPTER XLVI


I love England too much and I have seen of her too little to be able to
speak on the subject. I shall make use of the observations of a friend.

In the actual state of Ireland (1822) is realised, for the twentieth
time in two centuries,[1] that curious state of society which is so
fruitful of courageous resolutions, and so opposed to a monotonous
existence, and in which people, who breakfast gaily together, may
meet in two hours' time on the field of battle. Nothing makes a
more energetic and direct appeal to that disposition of the spirit,
which is most favourable to the tender passions--to naturalness.
Nothing is further removed from the two great English vices--cant and
bashfulness,--moral hypocrisy and haughty, painful timidity. (See the
Travels of Mr. Eustace(32) in Italy.) If this traveller gives a poor
picture of the country, in return he gives a very exact idea of his own
character, and this character, as that of Mr. Beattie(32), the poet
(see his Life written by an intimate friend), is unhappily but too
common in England. For the priest, honest in spite of his cloth, refer
to the letters of the Bishop of Landaff.[2](32).

One would have thought Ireland already unfortunate enough, bled as
it has been for two centuries by the cowardly and cruel tyranny of
England; but now there

[Pg 178]
enters into the moral state of Ireland a terrible personage: the

For two centuries Ireland has been almost as badly governed as Sicily.
A thorough comparison between these two islands, in a volume of five
hundred pages, would offend many people and overwhelm many established
theories with ridicule. What is evident is that the happiest of these
two countries--both of them governed by fools, only for the profit of
a minority--is Sicily. Its governors have at least left it its love of
pleasure; they would willingly have robbed it of this as of the rest,
but, thanks to its climate, Sicily knows little of that moral evil
called Law and Government.[3]

It is old men and priests who make the laws and have them executed,
and this seems quite in keeping with the comic jealousy, with which
pleasure is hunted down in the British Isles. The people there might
say to its governors as Diogenes said to Alexander: "Be content with
your sinecures, but please don't step between me and my daylight."[4]

By means of laws, rules, counter-rules and punishments, the Government
in Ireland has created the potato, and the population of Ireland
exceeds by far that of Sicily. This is to say, they have produced
several millions of degenerate and half-witted peasants, broken down by

[Pg 179]
work and misery, dragging out a wretched life of some forty or fifty
years among the marshes of old Erin--and, you may be sure, paying their
taxes! A real miracle! With the pagan religion these poor wretches
would at least have enjoyed some happiness--but not a bit of it, they
must adore St. Patrick.

Everywhere in Ireland one sees none but peasants more miserable than
savages. Only, instead of there being a hundred thousand, as there
would be in a state of nature, there are eight millions,[5] who allow
five hundred "absentees" to live in prosperity at London or Paris.

Society is infinitely more advanced in Scotland,[6] where, in very many
respects, government is good (the rarity of crime, the diffusion of
reading, the non-existence of bishops, etc.). There the tender passions
can develop much more freely, and it is possible to leave these sombre
thoughts and approach the humorous.

One cannot fail to notice a foundation of melancholy in Scottish women.
This melancholy is particularly seductive at dances, where it gives
a singular piquancy to the extreme ardour and energy with which they
perform their national dances. Edinburgh has another advantage, that
of being withdrawn from the vile empire of money. In this, as well
as in the singular and savage beauty of its site, this city forms
a complete contrast with London. Like Rome, fair Edinburgh seems
rather the sojourn of the contemplative life. At London you have the
ceaseless whirlwind and restless interests of active life, with all its
advantages and inconveniences. Edinburgh seems to me to pay its tribute
to the devil by a slight disposition to pedantry. Those days when Mary
Stuart lived at old Holyrood, and Riccio was assassinated in her arms,
were worth more to Love (and here all

[Pg 180]
women will agree with me) than to-day, when one discusses at such
length, and even in their presence, the preference to be accorded
to the neptunian system over the vulcanian system of ... I prefer a
discussion on the new uniform given by the king to the Guards, or on
the peerage which Sir B. Bloomfield(35) failed to get--the topic of
London in my day--to a learned discussion as to who has best explored
the nature of rocks, de Werner or de....

I say nothing about the terrible Scottish Sunday, after which a Sunday
in London looks like a beanfeast. That day, set aside for the honour
of Heaven, is the best image of Hell that I have ever seen on earth.
"Don't let's walk so fast," said a Scotchman returning from church to a
Frenchman, his friend; "people might think we were going for a walk."[7]

Of the three countries, Ireland is the one in which there is the least
hypocrisy. See the _New Monthly Magazine_ thundering against Mozart and
the _Nozze di Figaro_.[8]

In every country it is the aristocrats, who try to judge a literary
magazine and literature; and for the last four years in England these
have been hand in glove with the bishops. As I say, that of the three
countries where, it seems to me, there is the least hypocrisy, is
Ireland: on the contrary, you find there a reckless, a most fascinating
vivacity. In Scotland there is the strict observance of Sunday, but on
Monday they dance with a joy and an abandon unknown to London. There is
plenty of love among the peasant class in Scotland. The omnipotence of
imagination gallicised the country in the sixteenth century.

The terrible fault of English society, that which in a single day
creates a greater amount of sadness than the national debt and its
consequences, and even than the

[Pg 181]
war to the death waged by the rich against the poor, is this sentence
which I heard last autumn at Croydon, before the beautiful statue of
the bishop: "In society no one wants to put himself forward, for fear
of being deceived in his expectations."

Judge what laws, under the name of modesty, such men must impose on
their wives and mistresses.

[1] The young child of Spenser was burnt alive in Ireland.

[2] To refute otherwise than by insults the portraiture of a certain
class of Englishmen presented in these three works seems to me an
impossible task. Satanic school.

[3] I call moral evil, in 1822, every government which has not got two
chambers; the only exception can be when the head of the government is
great by reason of his probity, a miracle to be seen in Saxony and at

[4] See in the trial of the late Queen of England(33), a curious list
of the peers with the sums which they and their families receive from
the State. For example, Lord Lauderdale and his family, £36,000.
The half-pint of beer that is necessary to the miserable existence
of the poorest Englishman, is taxed a halfpenny for the profit of
the noble peer. And, what is very much to the point, both of them
know it. As a result, neither the lord nor the peasant have leisure
enough to think of love; they are sharpening their arms, the one
publicly and haughtily, the other secretly and enraged. (Yeomanry and

[5] Plunkett Craig, _Life of Curran_.

[6] Degree of civilisation to be seen in the peasant Robert Burns and
his family; a peasants' club with a penny subscription each meeting;
the questions discussed there. (See the Letters of Burns.)

[7] The same in America. In Scotland, display of titles.

[8] January, 1822, _Cant_.

[Pg 182]
                             CHAPTER XLVII


Andalusia is one of the most charming sojourns that Pleasure has chosen
for itself on earth. I had three or four anecdotes to show how my ideas
about the three or four different acts of madness, which together
constitute Love, hold good for Spain: I have been advised to sacrifice
them to French refinement. In vain I protested that I wrote in French,
but emphatically not French literature. God preserve me from having
anything in common with the French writers esteemed to-day!

The Moors, when they abandoned Andalusia, left it their architecture
and much of their manners. Since it is impossible for me to speak
of the latter in the language of Madame de Sévigné, I'll at least
say this of Moorish architecture:--its principal trait consists in
providing every house with a little garden surrounded by an elegant and
graceful portico. There, during the unbearable heat of summer, when
for whole weeks together the Réaumur thermometer never falls below
a constant level of thirty degrees, a delicious obscurity pervades
these porticoes. In the middle of the little garden there is always
a fountain, monotonous and voluptuous, whose sound is all that stirs
this charming retreat. The marble basin is surrounded by a dozen
orange-trees and laurels. A thick canvas, like a tent, covers in the
whole of the little garden, and, while it protects it from the rays of
the sun and from the light, lets in the gentle

[Pg 183]
breezes which, at midday, come down from the mountains.

There live and receive their guests the fair ladies of Andalusia: a
simple black silk robe, ornamented with fringes of the same colour,
and giving glimpses of a charming ankle; a pale complexion and eyes
that mirror all the most fugitive shades of the most tender and ardent
passion--such are the celestial beings, whom I am forbidden to bring
upon the scene.

I look upon the Spanish people as the living representatives of the
Middle Age.

It is ignorant of a mass of little truths (the puerile vanity of its
neighbours); but it has a profound knowledge of great truths and
enough character and wit to follow their consequences down to their
most remote effects. The Spanish character offers a fine contrast to
French intellect--hard, brusque, inelegant, full of savage pride, and
unconcerned with others. It is just the contrast of the fifteenth with
the eighteenth century.

Spain provides me with a good contrast; the only people, that was able
to withstand Napoleon, seems to me to be absolutely lacking in the
fool's honour and in all that is foolish in honour.

Instead of making fine military ordinances, of changing uniforms
every six months and of wearing large spurs, Spain has general _No

[1] See the charming Letters of M. Pecchio. Italy is full of people of
this wonderful type; but, instead of letting themselves be seen, they
try to keep quiet--_paese della virtù scunosciuta_--"Land of mute,
inglorious virtue.

[Pg 184]
                            CHAPTER XLVIII

                            GERMAN LOVE(37)

If the Italian, always agitated between love and hate, is a creature of
passion, and the Frenchman of vanity, the good and simple descendants
of the ancient Germans are assuredly creatures of imagination. Scarcely
raised above social interests, the most directly necessary to their
subsistence, one is amazed to see them soar into what they call their
philosophy, which is a sort of gentle, lovable, quite harmless folly.
I am going to cite, not altogether from memory, but from hurriedly
taken notes, a work whose author, though writing in a tone of
opposition, illustrates clearly, even in his admirations, the military
spirit in all its excesses--I speak of the Travels in Austria of M.
Cadet-Gassicourt, in 1809. What would the noble and generous Desaix
have said, if he had seen the pure heroism of '95 lead on to this
execrable egoism?

Two friends find themselves side by side with a battery at the battle
of Talavera, one as Captain in command, the other as lieutenant. A
passing bullet lays the Captain low. "Good," says the lieutenant,
quite beside himself with joy, "that's done for Francis--now I shall
be Captain." "Not so quick," cries Francis, as he gets up. He had only
been stunned by the bullet. The lieutenant, as well as the Captain,
were the best fellows in the world, not a bit ill-natured, and only
a little stupid; the excitement of the chase and the furious egoism
which the Emperor had succeeded in awakening, by decorating it with the
name of glory, made these enthusiastic worshippers of him forget their

After the harsh spectacle offered by men like this, who

[Pg 185]
dispute on parade at Schoenbrunn for a look from their master and a
barony--see how the Emperor's apothecary describes German love, page

"Nothing can be more sweet, more gentle, than an Austrian woman. With
her, love is a cult, and when she is attached to a Frenchman, she
adores him--in the full force of the word.

"There are light, capricious women everywhere, but in general the
Viennese are faithful and in no way coquettes; when I say that they are
faithful, I mean to the lover of their own choice, for husbands are the
same at Vienna as everywhere else" (June 7, 1809).

The most beautiful woman of Vienna accepts the homage of one of my
friends, M. M----, a captain attached to the Emperor's headquarters.
He's a young man, gentle and witty, but certainly neither his figure
nor face are in any way remarkable.

For some days past his young mistress has made a very great sensation
among our brilliant staff officers, who pass their life ferreting about
in every corner of Vienna. It has become a contest of daring. Every
possible manœuvre has been employed. The fair one's house has been
put in a state of siege by all the best-looking and richest. Pages,
brilliant colonels, generals of the guard, even princes, have gone
to waste their time under her windows, and their money on the fair
lady's servants. All have been turned away. These princes were little
accustomed to find a deaf ear at Paris or Milan. When I laughed at
their discomfiture before this charming creature: "But good Heavens,"
she said, "don't they know that I'm in love with M. M....?"

A singular remark and certainly a most improper one!

Page 290: "While we were at Schoenbrunn I noticed that two young men,
who were attached to the Emperor, never received anyone in their
lodgings at Vienna. We used to chaff them a lot on their discretion.
One of them said to me one day: 'I'll keep no secrets from

[Pg 186]
you: a young woman of the place has given herself to me, on condition
that she need never leave my apartment, and that I never receive anyone
at all without her leave.' I was curious," says the traveller, "to know
this voluntary recluse, and my position as doctor giving me, as in the
East, an honourable pretext, I accepted a breakfast offered me by my
friend. The woman I found was very much in love, took the greatest care
of the household, never wanted to go out, though it was just a pleasant
time of the year for walking--and for the rest, was quite certain that
her lover would take her back with him to France.

"The other young man, who was also never to be found in his rooms, soon
after made me a similar confession. I also saw his mistress. Like the
first, she was fair, very pretty, and an excellent figure.

"The one, eighteen years of age, was the daughter of a well-to-do
upholsterer; the other, who was about twenty-four, was the wife of
an Austrian officer, on service with the army of the Archduke John.
This latter pushed her love to the verge of what we, in our land of
vanity, would call heroism. Not only was her lover faithless to her,
he also found himself under the necessity of making a confession of
a most unpleasant nature. She nursed him with complete devotion; the
seriousness of his illness attached her to her lover; and perhaps she
only cherished him the more for it, when soon after his life was in

"It will be understood that I, a stranger and a conqueror, have had
no chance of observing love in the highest circles, seeing that the
whole of the aristocracy of Vienna had retired at our approach to their
estates in Hungary. But I have seen enough of it to be convinced that
it is not the same love as at Paris.

"The feeling of love is considered by the Germans as a virtue, as an
emanation of the Divinity, as something mystical. It is riot quick,
impetuous, jealous, tyrannical,

[Pg 187]
as it is in the heart of an Italian woman: it is profound and something
like illuminism; in this Germany is a thousand miles away from England.

"Some years ago a Leipsic tailor, in a fit of jealousy, waited for his
rival in the public garden and stabbed him. He was condemned to lose
his head. The moralists of the town, faithful to the German traditions
of kindness and unhampered emotion (which makes for feebleness of
character) discussed the sentence, decided that it was severe and,
making a comparison between the tailor and Orosmanes, were moved to
pity for his fate. Nevertheless they were unable to have his sentence
mitigated. But the day of the execution, all the young girls of
Leipsic, dressed in white, met together and accompanied the tailor to
the scaffold, throwing flowers in his path.

"No one thought this ceremony odd; yet, in a country which considers
itself logical, it might be said that it was honouring a species of
murder. But it was a ceremony--and everything which is a ceremony,
is always safe from ridicule in Germany. See the ceremonies at the
Courts of the small princes, which would make us Frenchmen die with
laughter, but appear quite imposing at Meiningen or Koethen. In the six
gamekeepers who file past their little prince, adorned with his star,
they see the soldiers of Arminius marching out to meet the legions of

"A point of difference between the Germans and all other peoples: they
are exalted, instead of calming themselves, by meditation. A second
subtle point: they are all eaten up with the desire to have character.

"Life at Court, ordinarily so favourable to love, in Germany deadens
it. You have no idea of the mass of incomprehensible _minutiæ_ and the
pettinesses that constitute what is called a German Court,[1]--even the
Court of the best princes. (Munich, 1820).

[Pg 188]
"When we used to arrive with the staff in a German town, at the end
of the first fortnight the ladies of the district had made their
choice. But that choice was constant; and I have heard it said that
the French were a shoal, on which foundered many a virtue till then

       *       *       *       *       *

The young Germans whom I have met at Gottingen, Dresden, Koenigsberg,
etc., are brought up among pseudo-systems of philosophy, which are
merely obscure and badly written poetry, but, as regards their ethics,
of the highest and holiest sublimity. They seem to me to have inherited
from their Middle Age, not like the Italians, republicanism, mistrust
and the dagger, but a strong disposition to enthusiasm and good faith.
Thus it is that every ten years they have a new great man who's going
to efface all the others. (Kant, Steding, Fichte, etc. etc.[2])

Formerly Luther made a powerful appeal to the moral sense, and the
Germans fought thirty years on end, in order to obey their conscience.
It's a fine word and one quite worthy of respect, however absurd
the belief; I say worthy of respect even from an artist. See the
struggle in the soul of S---- between the third [sixth] commandment of
God--"Thou shalt not kill"--and what he believed to be the interest of
his country.

Already in Tacitus we find a mystical enthusiasm for women and love, at
least if that writer was not merely aiming his satire at Rome.[3]

One has not been five hundred miles in Germany,

[Pg 189]
before one can distinguish in this people, disunited and scattered,
a foundation of enthusiasm, soft and tender, rather than ardent and

If this disposition were not so apparent, it would be enough to reread
three or four of the novels of Auguste La Fontaine, whom the pretty
Louise, Queen of Prussia, made Canon of Magdeburg, as a reward for
having so well painted the Peaceful Life.[4]

I see a new proof of this disposition, which is common to all the
Germans, in the Austrian code, which demands the confession of the
guilty for the punishment of almost all crimes. This code is calculated
to fit a people, among whom crime is a rare phenomenon, and sooner
an excess of madness in a feeble being than the effect of interests,
daring, reasoned and for ever in conflict with society. It is precisely
the contrary of what is wanted in Italy, where they are trying to
introduce it--a mistake of well-meaning people.

I have seen German judges in Italy in despair over sentences of death
or, what's the equivalent, the irons, if they were obliged to pronounce
it without the confession of the guilty.

[1] See the Memoirs of the Margrave de Bayreuth and _Vingt ans de
séjour à Berlin_, by M. Thiébaut.

[2] See in 1821 their enthusiasm for the tragedy, the _Triumph of the
Cross_,(38) which has caused _Wilhelm Tell_ to be forgotten.

[3] I have had the good fortune to meet a man of the liveliest wit,
and at the same time as learned as ten German professors, and one who
discloses his discoveries in terms clear and precise. If ever M. F.(39)
publishes, we shall see the Middle Age revealed to our eyes in a full
light, and we shall love it.

[4] The title of one of the novels of Auguste La Fontaine. The peaceful
life, another great trait of German manners--it is the "farniente" of
the Italian, and also the physiological commentary on a Russian droski
and on the English "horseback."

[Pg 190]
                             CHAPTER XLIX

                           A DAY IN FLORENCE

FLORENCE, _February_ 12, 1819.

This evening, in a box at the theatre, I met a man who had some
favour to ask of a magistrate, aged fifty. His first question was:
"Who is his mistress? _Chi avvicina adesso?_" Here everyone's
affairs are absolutely public; they have their own laws; there is
an approved manner of acting, which is based on justice without any
conventionality--if you act otherwise, you are a _porco_.

"What's the news?" one of my friends asked yesterday, on his arrival
from Volterra. After a word of vehement lamentation about Napoleon
and the English, someone adds, in a tone of the liveliest interest:
"La Vitteleschi has changed her lover: poor Gherardesca is in
despair."--"Whom has she taken?"--"Montegalli, the good-looking officer
with a moustache, who had Princess Colonna; there he is down in the
stalls, nailed to her box; he's there the whole evening, because her
husband won't have him in the house, and there near the door you can
see poor Gherardesca, walking about so sadly and counting afar the
glances, which his faithless mistress throws his successor. He's very
changed and in the depths of despair; it's quite useless for his
friends to try to send him to Paris or London. He is ready to die, he
says, at the very idea of leaving Florence."

Every year there are twenty such cases of despair in high circles; some
of them I have seen last three or four

[Pg 191]
years. These poor devils are without any shame and take the whole world
into their confidence. For the rest, there's little society here, and
besides, when one's in love, one hardly mixes with it. It must not be
thought that great passions and great hearts are at all common, even in
Italy; only, in Italy, hearts which are more inflamed and less stunted
by the thousand little cares of our vanity, find delicious pleasures
even in the subaltern species of love. In Italy I have seen love from
caprice, for example, cause transports and moments of madness, such as
the most violent passion has never brought with it under the meridian
of Paris.[1]

I noticed this evening that there are proper names in Italian for a
million particular circumstances in love, which, in French, would need
endless paraphrases; for example, the action of turning sharply away,
when from the floor of the house you are quizzing a woman you are in
love with, and the husband or a servant come towards the front of her

The following are the principal traits in the character of this

1. The attention, habitually at the service of deep passions, cannot
move rapidly. This is the most marked difference between a Frenchman
and an Italian. You have only to see an Italian get into a diligence or
make a payment, to understand "la furia francese." It's for this reason
that the most vulgar Frenchman, provided that he is not a witty fool,
like Démasure, always seems a superior being to an Italian woman. (The
lover of Princess D---- at Rome.)

2. Everyone is in love, and not under cover, as in France; the husband
is the best friend of the lover.

3. No one reads.

4. There is no society. A man does not reckon, in

[Pg 192]
order to fill up and occupy his life, on the happiness which he derives
from two hours' conversation and the play of vanity in this or that
house. The word _causerie_ cannot be translated into Italian. People
speak when they have something to say, to forward a passion, but they
rarely talk just in order to talk on any given subject.

5. Ridicule does not exist in Italy.

In France, both of us are trying to imitate the same model, and I am a
competent judge of the way in which you copy it.[2] In Italy I cannot
say whether the peculiar action, which I see this man perform, does not
give pleasure to the performer and might not, perhaps, give pleasure to

What is affectation of language or manner at Rome, is good form or
unintelligible at Florence, which is only fifty leagues away. The same
French is spoken at Lyons as at Nantes. Venetian, Neapolitan Genoese,
Piedmontese are almost entirely different languages, and only spoken
by people who are agreed never to print except in a common language,
namely that spoken at Rome. Nothing is so absurd as a comedy, with
the scene laid at Milan and the characters speaking Roman. It is only
by music that the Italian language, which is far more fit to be sung
than spoken, will hold its own against the clearness of French, which
threatens it.

In Italy, fear of the "pacha"(29) and his spies causes the useful to be
held in esteem; the fool's honour simply doesn't exist.[3] Its place
is taken by a kind of petty hatred of society, called "petegolismo."
Finally, to make fun of a person is to make a mortal enemy, a
very dangerous thing in a country where the power and activity of
governments is limited to exacting taxes and punishing everything above
the common level.

[Pg 193]
6. The patriotism of the antechamber.

That pride which leads a man to seek the esteem of his fellow-citizens
and to make himself one of them, but which in Italy was cut off, about
the year 1550, from any noble enterprise by the jealous despotism of
the small Italian princes, has given birth to a barbarous product,
to a sort of Caliban, to a monster full of fury and sottishness, the
patriotism of the antechamber, as M. Turgot called it, _à propos_ of
the siege of Calais (the _Soldat laboureur_(40) of those times.) I have
seen this monster blunt the sharpest spirits. For example, a stranger
will make himself unpopular, even with pretty women, if he thinks fit
to find anything wrong with the painter or poet of the town; he will
be soon told, and that very seriously, that he ought not to come among
people to laugh at them, and they will quote to him on this topic a
saying of Lewis XIV about Versailles.

At Florence people say: "our Benvenuti," as at Brescia--"our Arrici":
they put on the word "our" a certain emphasis, restrained yet very
comical, not unlike the _Miroir_ talking with unction about national
music and of M. Monsigny, the musician of Europe.

In order not to laugh in the face of these fine patriots one must
remember that, owing to the dissensions of the Middle Age, envenomed by
the vile policy of the Popes,[4] each city has a mortal hatred for its
neighbour, and the name of the inhabitants in the one always stands in
the other as a synonym for some gross fault. The Popes have succeeded
in making this beautiful land into the kingdom of hate.

This patriotism of the antechamber is the greatest moral sore in
Italy, a corrupting germ that will still show its disastrous effects
long after Italy has thrown off the yoke of its ridiculous little
priests.[5] The form of this patriotism is an inexorable hatred for
everything foreign.

[Pg 194]
Thus they look on the Germans as fools, and get angry when someone
says: "What has Italy in the eighteenth century produced the equal of
Catherine II or Frederick the Great? Where have you an English garden
comparable to the smallest German garden, you who, with your climate,
have a real need of shade?"

7. Unlike the English or French, the Italians have no political
prejudices; they all know by heart the line of La Fontaine:--

 Notre ennemi c'est notre M.[6]

Aristocracy, supported by the priest and a biblical state of society,
is a worn-out illusion which only makes them smile. In return, an
Italian needs a stay of three months in France to realise that a draper
may be a conservative.

8. As a last trait of character I would mention intolerance in
discussion, and anger as soon as they do not find an argument ready
to hand, to throw out against that of their adversary. At that point
they visibly turn pale. It is one form of their extreme sensibility,
but it is not one of its most amiable forms: consequently it is one
of those that I am most willing to admit as proof of the existence of

I wanted to see love without end, and, after considerable difficulty, I
succeeded in being introduced this evening to Chevalier C---- and his
mistress, with whom he has lived for fifty-four years. I left the box
of these charming old people, my heart melted; there I saw the art of
being happy, an art ignored by so many young people.

Two months ago I saw Monsignor R----, by whom I was well received,
because I brought him some copies of the _Minerve_. He was at his
country house with Madame D----, whom he is still pleased, after
thirty-four years, "_avvicinare_," as they say. She is still beautiful,
but there is a touch of melancholy in this household. People

[Pg 195]
attribute it to the loss of a son, who was poisoned long ago by her

Here, to be in love does not mean, as at Paris, to see one's mistress
for a quarter of an hour every week, and for the rest of the time to
obtain a look or a shake of the hand: the lover, the happy lover,
passes four or five hours every day with the woman he loves. He talks
to her about his actions at law, his English garden, his hunting
parties, his prospects, etc. There is the completest, the most tender
intimacy. He speaks to her with the familiar "_tu_," even in the
presence of her husband and everywhere.

A young man of this country, one very ambitious as he believed, was
called to a high position at Vienna (nothing less than ambassador). But
he could not get used to his stay abroad. At the end of six months he
said good-bye to his job, and returned to be happy in his mistress's
box at the opera.

Such continual intercourse would be inconvenient in France, where one
must display a certain degree of affectation, and where your mistress
can quite well say to you: "Monsieur So-and-so, you're glum this
evening; you don't say a word." In Italy it is only a matter of telling
the woman you love everything that passes through your head--you must
actually think aloud. There is a certain nervous state which results
from intimacy; freedom provokes freedom, and is only to be got in this
way. But there is one great inconvenience; you find that love in this
way paralyses all your tastes and renders all the other occupations of
your life insipid. Such love is the best substitute for passion.

Our friends at Paris, who are still at the stage of trying to conceive
that it's possible to be a Persian(71), not knowing what to say, will
cry out that such manners are indecent. To begin with, I am only an
historian; and secondly, I reserve to myself the right to show one day,
by dint of solid reasoning, that as regards

[Pg 196]
manners and fundamentally, Paris is not superior to Bologna.
Quite unconsciously these poor people are still repeating their
twopence-halfpenny catechism.

12 _July_, 1821. There is nothing odious in the society of Bologna. At
Paris the role of a deceived husband is execrable; here (at Bologna) it
is nothing--there are no deceived husbands. Manners are the same, it is
only hate that is missing; the recognised lover is always the husband's
friend, and this friendship, which has been cemented by reciprocal
services, quite often survives other interests. Most love-affairs last
five or six years, many for ever. People part at last, when they no
longer find it sweet to tell each other everything, and when the first
month of the rupture is over, there is no bitterness.

_January_, 1822. The ancient mode of the _cavaliere servente_, imported
into Italy by Philip II, along with Spanish pride and manners, has
entirely fallen into disuse in the large towns. I know of only one
exception, and that's Calabria, where the eldest brother always takes
orders, marries his younger brother, sets up in the service of his
sister-in-law and becomes at the same time her lover.

Napoleon banished libertinism from upper Italy, and even from here

The morals of the present generation of pretty women shame their
mothers; they are more favourable to passion-love, but physical love
has lost a great deal.[7]

[1] Of that Paris which has given the world Voltaire, Molière and so
many men of distinguished wit--but one can't have everything, and it
would show little wit to be annoyed at it.

[2] This French habit, growing weaker every day, will increase the
distance between us and Molière's heroes.

[3] Every infraction of this honour is a subject of ridicule in
bourgeois circles in France. (See M. Picard's _Petite Ville_.)

[4] See the excellent and curious _Histoire de l'Église_, by M. de

[5] 1822.

[6] [Our enemy is our Master.--_Fables_, VI, 8.--Tr.]

[7] Towards 1780 the maxim ran:

    Molti averne,
    Un goderne,
    E cambiar spesso

Travels of Shylock [Sherlock?--Tr.].

[Pg 197]
                               CHAPTER L

                     LOVE IN THE UNITED STATES(41)

A free government is a government which does no harm to its citizens,
but which, on the contrary, gives them security and tranquillity.
But 'tis a long cry from this to happiness. That a man must find for
himself; for he must be a gross creature who thinks himself perfectly
happy, because he enjoys security and tranquillity. We mix these things
up in Europe, especially in Italy. Accustomed as we are to governments,
which do us harm, it seems to us that to be delivered from them would
be supreme happiness; in this we are like invalids, worn out with
the pain of our sufferings. The example of America shows us just the
contrary. There government discharges its office quite well, and does
harm to no one. But we have been far removed, for very many centuries,
thanks to the unhappy state of Europe, from any actual experience of
the kind, and now destiny, as if to disconcert and give the lie to
all our philosophy, or rather to accuse it of not knowing all the
elements of human nature, shows us, that just when the unhappiness of
bad government is wanting to America, the Americans are wanting to

One is inclined to say that the source of sensibility is dried up
in this people. They are just, they are reasonable, but they are
essentially not happy.

Is the Bible, that is to say, the ridiculous consequences and rules of
conduct which certain fantastic wits deduce from that collection of
poems and songs, sufficient to cause all this unhappiness? To me it
seems a very considerable effect for such a cause.

[Pg 198]
M. de Volney related that, being at table in the country at the house
of an honest American, a man in easy circumstances, and surrounded by
children already grown up, there entered into the dining-room a young
man. "Good day, William," said the father of the family; "sit down."
The traveller enquired who this young man was. "He's my second son."
"Where does he come from?"--"From Canton."

The arrival of one of his sons from the end of the world caused no more
sensation than that.

All their attention seems employed on finding a reasonable arrangement
of life, and on avoiding all inconveniences. When finally they arrive
at the moment of reaping the fruit of so much care and of the spirit of
order so long maintained, there is no life left for enjoyment.

One might say that the descendants of Penn never read that line, which
looks like their history:--

 Et propter vitam vivendi perdere causas.

The young people of both sexes, when winter comes, which in this
country, as in Russia, is the gay season, go sleighing together day and
night over the snow, often going quite gaily distances of fifteen or
twenty miles, and without anyone to look after them. No inconvenience
ever results from it.

They have the physical gaiety of youth, which soon passes away with
the warmth of their blood, and is over at twenty-five. But I find no
passions which give pleasure. In America there is such a reasonable
habit of mind that crystallisation has been rendered impossible.

I admire such happiness, but I do not envy it; it is like the happiness
of human beings of a different and lower species. I augur much better
things from Florida and Southern America.[1]

[Pg 199]
What strengthens my conjecture about the North is the absolute lack of
artists and writers. The United States have not yet(42) sent us over
one scene of a tragedy, one picture, or one life of Washington.

[1] See the manners of the Azores: there, love of God and the
other sort of love occupy every moment. The Christian religion, as
interpreted by the Jesuits, is much less of an enemy to man, in this
sense, than English protestantism; it permits him at least to dance on
Sunday; and one day of pleasure in the seven is a great thing for the
agricultural labourer, who works hard for the other six.

[Pg 200]
                              CHAPTER LI

                       BARBARIANS FROM THE NORTH

Love took a singular form in Provence, from the year 1100 up to 1328.
It had an established legislation for the relations of the two sexes in
love, as severe and as exactly followed as the laws of Honour could be
to-day. The laws of Love began by putting completely aside the sacred
rights of husbands. They presuppose no hypocrisy. These laws, taking
human nature such as it is, were of the kind to produce a great deal of

There was an official manner of declaring oneself a woman's lover,
and another of being accepted by her as lover. After so many months
of making one's court in a certain fashion, one obtained her leave to
kiss her hand. Society, still young, took pleasure in formalities and
ceremonies, which were then a sign of civilisation, but which to-day
would bore us to death. The same trait is to be found in the language
of Provence, in the difficulty and interlacing of its rhymes, in its
masculine and feminine words to express the same object, and indeed in
the infinite number of its poets. Everything formal in society, which
is so insipid to-day, then had all the freshness and savour of novelty.

After having kissed a woman's hand, one was promoted from grade to
grade by force of merit, and without extraordinary promotion.

It should be remarked, however, that if the husbands

[Pg 201]
were always left out of the question, on the other hand the official
promotion of the lover stopped at what we should call the sweetness of
a most tender friendship between persons of a different sex.[1] But
after several months or several years of probation, in which a woman
might become perfectly sure of the character and discretion of a man,
and he enjoy at her hand all the prerogatives and outward signs which
the tenderest friendship can give, her virtue must surely have had to
thank his friendship for many a violent alarm.

I have spoken of extraordinary promotion, because a woman could have
more than one lover, but one only in the higher grades. It seems that
the rest could not be promoted much beyond that degree of friendship
which consisted in kissing her hand and seeing her every day. All that
is left to us of this singular civilisation is in verse, and in a verse
that is rhymed in a very fantastic and difficult way; and it need not
surprise us if the notions, which we draw from the ballads of the
troubadours, are vague and not at all precise. Even a marriage contract
in verse has been found. After the conquest in 1328, as a result of
its heresy, the Pope, on several occasions, ordered everything written
in the vulgar tongue to be burnt. Italian cunning proclaimed Latin the
only language worthy of such clever people. 'Twere a most advantageous
measure could we renew it in 1822.

Such publicity and such official ordering of love seem at first sight
to ill-accord with real passion. But if a lady said to her lover: "Go
for your love of me and visit the tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ at
Jerusalem; there you will pass three years and then return"--the lover
was gone immediately: to hesitate a moment would have covered him with
the same ignominy as would nowadays a sign of wavering on a point of
honour. The language of this people has an extreme fineness in

[Pg 202]
expressing the most fugitive shades of feeling. Another sign that their
manners were well advanced on the road of real civilisation is that,
scarcely out of the horrors of the Middle Ages and of Feudalism, when
force was everything, we see the feebler sex less tyrannised over than
it is to-day with the approval of the law; we see the poor and feeble
creatures, who have the most to lose in love and whose charms disappear
the quickest, mistresses over the destiny of the men who approach them.
An exile of three years in Palestine, the passage from a civilisation
full of gaiety to the fanaticism and boredom of the Crusaders' camp,
must have been a painful duty for any other than an inspired Christian.
What can a woman do to her lover who has basely deserted her at Paris?

I can only see one answer to be made here: at Paris no self-respecting
woman has a lover. Certainly prudence has much more right to counsel
the woman of to-day not to abandon herself to passion-love. But does
not another prudence, which, of course, I am far from approving,
counsel her to make up for it with physical love? Our hypocrisy and
asceticism[2] imply no homage to virtue; for you can never oppose
nature with impunity: there is only less happiness on earth and
infinitely less generous inspiration.

A lover who, after ten years of intimate intercourse, deserted his poor
mistress, because he began to notice her two-and-thirty years, was lost
to honour in this lovable Provence; he had no resource left but to bury
himself in the solitude of a cloister. In those days it was to the
interest of a man, not only of generosity but even of prudence, to make
display of no more passion than he really had. We conjecture all this;
for very few remains are left to give us any exact notions....

We must judge manners as a whole, by certain particular facts. You know
the anecdote of the poet who

[Pg 203]
had offended his lady: after two years of despair she deigned at last
to answer his many messages and let him know that if he had one of his
nails torn off and had this nail presented to her by fifty loving and
faithful knights, she might perhaps pardon him. The poet made all haste
to submit to the painful operation. Fifty knights, who stood in their
ladies' good graces, went to present this nail with all imaginable pomp
to the offended beauty. It was as imposing a ceremony as the entry of
a prince of the blood into one of the royal towns. The lover, dressed
in the garb of a penitent, followed his nail from afar. The lady, after
having watched the ceremony, which was of great length, right through,
deigned to pardon him; he was restored to all the sweets of his former
happiness. History tells that they spent long and happy years together.
Sure it is that two such years of unhappiness prove a real passion and
would have given birth to it, had it not existed before in that high

I could cite twenty anecdotes which show us everywhere gallantry,
pleasing, polished and conducted between the two sexes on principles
of justice. I say gallantry, because in all ages passion-love is an
exception, rather curious than frequent, a something we cannot reduce
to rules. In Provence every calculation, everything within the domain
of reason, was founded on justice and the equality of rights between
the two sexes; and I admire it for this reason especially, that it
eliminates unhappiness as far as possible. The absolute monarchy under
Lewis XV, on the contrary, had come to make baseness and perfidy the
fashion in these relations.[3]

Although this charming Provencal language, so full of delicacy and so
laboured in its rhymes,[4] was probably not

[Pg 204]
the language of the people, the manners of the upper classes had
permeated the lower classes, which in Provence were at that time far
from coarse, for they enjoyed a great deal of comfort. They were in
the first enjoyment of a very prosperous and very valuable trade. The
inhabitants of the shores of the Mediterranean had just realised (in
the ninth century) that to engage in commerce, by risking a few ships
on this sea, was less troublesome and almost as amusing as following
some little feudal lord and robbing the passers-by on the neighbouring
high-road. Soon after, the Provencals of the tenth century learnt from
the Arabs that there are sweeter pleasures than pillage, violence and

One must think of the Mediterranean as the home of European
civilisation. The happy shores of this lovely sea, so favoured in
its climate, were still more favoured in the prosperous state of
their inhabitants and in the absence of all religion or miserable
legislation. The eminently gay genius of the Provencals had by then
passed through the Christian religion, without being altered by it.

We see a lively image of a like effect from a like cause in the cities
of Italy, whose history has come down to us more distinctly and which
have had the good fortune besides of bequeathing to us Dante, Petrarch
and the art of painting.

The Provencals have not left us a great poem like the _Divine Comedy_,
in which are reflected all the peculiarities of the manners of the
time. They had, it seems to me, less passion and much more gaiety than
the Italians. They learnt this pleasant way of taking life from their
neighbours, the Moors of Spain. Love reigned with joy, festivity and
pleasure in the castles of happy Provence.

Have you seen at the opera the finale of one of Rossini's beautiful
operettas? On the stage all is gaiety, beauty, ideal magnificence. We
are miles away from all the

[Pg 205]
mean side of human nature. The opera is over, the curtain falls, the
spectators go out, the great chandelier is drawn up, the lights are
extinguished. The house is filled with the smell of lamps hastily put
out; the curtain is pulled up half-way, and you see dirty, ill-dressed
roughs tumble on to the stage; they bustle about it in a hideous way,
occupying the place of the young women who filled it with their graces
only a moment ago.

Such for the kingdom of Provence was the effect of the conquest of
Toulouse by the army of Crusaders. Instead of love, of grace, of
gaiety, we have the Barbarians from the North and Saint Dominic. I
shall not darken these pages with a blood-curdling account of the
horrors of the Inquisition in all the zeal of its early days. As for
the Barbarians, they were our fathers; they killed and plundered
everywhere; they destroyed, for the pleasure of destroying, whatever
they could not carry off; a savage madness animated them against
everything that showed the least trace of civilisation; above all, they
understood not a word of that beautiful southern language; and that
redoubled their fury. Highly superstitious and guided by the terrible
S. Dominic, they thought to gain Heaven by killing the Provencals. For
the latter all was over; no more love, no more gaiety, no more poetry.
Less than twenty years after the conquest (1335), they were almost as
barbarous and as coarse as the French, as our fathers.[5]

Whence had lighted on this corner of the world that charming form of
civilisation, which for two centuries was the happiness of the upper
classes of society? Apparently from the Moors of Spain.

[1] Memoirs of the life of Chabanon, written by himself. The rapping of
a cane on the ceiling.

[2] The ascetic principle of Jeremy Bentham.

[3] The reader should have heard charming General Laclos talk at Naples
in 1802. If he has not had the luck he can open the _Vie privée du
maréchal de Richelieu_, nine volumes very pleasantly put together.

[4] It originated at Narbonne--a mixture of Latin and Arabic.

[5] See _The State of the Military Power of Russia_, a truthful work by
General Sir Robert Wilson.

[Pg 206]
                            CHAPTER LII(39)


I am going to translate an anecdote from the Provençal manuscripts. The
facts, of which you are going to read, happened about the year 1180 and
the history was written about 1250.[1] The anecdote, to be sure, is
very well known: the style especially gives the colour of the society
which produced it.

I beg that I be allowed to translate it word for word, and without
seeking in any way after the elegance of the language of to-day.

"My Lord Raymond of Roussillon was a valiant baron, as you know, and
he took to wife my Lady Marguerite, the most beautiful woman of all
her time and one of the most endowed with all good qualities, with all
worth and with all courtesy. Now it happened that William of Cabstaing
came to the Court of my Lord Raymond of Roussillon, presented himself
to him and begged, if it so pleased him, that he might be a page in his
Court. My Lord Raymond, who saw that he was fair and of good grace,
told him that he was welcome and that he might dwell at his Court. Thus
William dwelt with him, and succeeded in bearing himself so gently
that great and small loved him; and he succeeded in placing himself in
so good a light that my Lord Raymond wished him to be page to my Lady
Marguerite, his wife; and

[Pg 207]
so it was. Then William set himself to merit yet more both in word and
deed. But now, as is wont to happen in love, it happened that Love
wished to take hold of my Lady Marguerite and to inflame her thoughts.
So much did the person of William please her, both his word and his
air, that one day she could not restrain herself from saying to him:
'Now listen, William, if a woman showed you likelihood of love, tell me
would you dare love her well?' 'Yes, that I would, madam, provided only
that the likelihood were the truth.'--'By S. John,' said the lady, 'you
have answered well, like a man of valour; but at present I wish to try
you, whether you can understand and distinguish in matter of likelihood
the difference between what is true and what is not.'

"When William heard these words he answered: 'My lady, it is as it
shall please you.'

"He began to be pensive, and at once Love sought war with him; and
the thoughts that love mingled with his entered into the depth of his
heart, and straightway he was of the servants of Love and began to
'find'[2] little couplets, gracious and gay, and tunes for the dance
and tunes with sweet words,[3] by which he was well received, and the
more so by reason of her for whom he sang. Now Love, that grants to
his servants their reward, when he pleases, wished to grant William
the price of his; and behold, he began to take hold of the lady with
such keen thoughts and meditations on love that neither night nor day
could she rest, thinking of the valour and prowess that had been so
beautifully disposed and set in William.

"One day it happened that the lady took William and said to him:
'William, come now, tell me, have you up to this hour taken note of our
likelihood, whether it truly is or lies?' William answered: 'My lady,
so help me God, from that moment onward that I have been your

[Pg 208]
servant, no thought has been able to enter my heart but that you were
the best woman that was ever born, and the truest in the world and the
most likely. So I think, and shall think, all my life.' And the lady
answered: 'William, I tell you that, if God help me, you shall never
be deceived by me, and that what you think shall not prove vain or
nothing.' And she opened her arms and kissed him softly in the room
where they two sat together, and they began their "_druerie_";[4]
and straightway there wanted not those, whom God holds in wrath, who
set themselves to talk and gossip of their love, by reason of the
songs that William made, saying that he had set his love on my Lady
Marguerite, and so indiscriminately did they talk that the matter
came to the ears of my Lord Raymond. Then he was sorely pained and
grievously sad, first that he must lose his familiar squire, whom he
loved so well, and more still for his wife's shame.

"One day it happened that William went out to hunt with his hawks and
a single squire; and my Lord Raymond made enquiry where he was; and
a groom answered him that he had gone out to hawk, and one who knew
added that it was in such-and-such a spot. Immediately Raymond took
arms, which he hid, and had his horse brought to him, and all alone
took his way towards the spot whither William had gone: by dint of
hard riding he found him. When William saw him approach he was greatly
astonished, and at once evil thoughts came to him, and he advanced to
meet him and said: 'My lord, welcome. Why are you thus alone?' My Lord
Raymond answered: 'William, because I have come to find you to enjoy
myself with you. Have you caught anything?'--'I have caught nothing, my
lord, because I have found nothing; and he who finds little will not
catch much, as the saying goes.'--'Enough of this talk,' said my Lord
Raymond, 'and by the faith

[Pg 209]
you owe me, tell me the truth on all the questions that I may wish to
ask.'--'By God, my lord,' said William, 'if there is ought to say,
certainly to you shall I say it.' Then said my Lord Raymond: 'I wish
for no subtleties here, but you must answer me in all fullness on
everything that I shall ask you.'--'My lord, as it shall please you
to ask,' said William, 'so shall I tell you the truth.' And my Lord
Raymond asked: 'William, as you value God and the holy faith, have
you a mistress for whom you sing and for whom Love constrains you?'
William answered: 'My lord, and how else should I be singing, if Love
did not urge me on? Know the truth, my lord, that Love has me wholly
in his power.' Raymond answered: 'I can well believe it, for otherwise
you could not sing so well; but I wish to know, if you please, who is
your lady.'--'Ah, my lord, in God's name,' said William, 'see what you
ask me. You know too well that a man must not name his lady, and that
Bernard of Ventadour says:--

    "'In one thing my reason serves me,[5]
     That never man has asked me of my joy,
     But I have lied to him thereof willingly.
     For this does not seem to me good doctrine,
     But rather folly or a child's act,
     That whoever is well treated in love
     Should wish to open his heart thereon to another man,
     Unless he can serve him or help him.'

"My Lord Raymond answered: 'And I give you my word that I will serve
you according to my power.' So said Raymond, and William answered him:
'My lord, you must know that I love the sister of my Lady Marguerite,
your wife, and that I believe I have exchange with her of love. Now
that you know it, I beg you to come to my aid and at least not to
prejudice me.'--'Take my word,' said Raymond, 'for I swear to you and

[Pg 210]
myself to you that I will use all my power for you.' And then he gave
his word, and when he had given it to him Raymond said to him: 'I wish
us to go to her castle, for it is near by.'--'And I beg we may do so,
in God's name,' said William. And so they took their road towards
the castle of Liet. And when they came to the castle they were well
received by _En_[6] Robert of Tarascon, who was the husband of my Lady
Agnes, the sister of my Lady Marguerite, and by my Lady Agnes herself.
And my Lord Raymond took my Lady Agnes by the hand and led her into her
chamber, and they sat down on the bed. And my Lord Raymond said: 'Now
tell me, my sister-in-law, by the faith that you owe me, are you in
love with Love?' And she said: 'Yes, my lord.'--'And whose?' said he.
'Oh, that I do not tell you,' answered she; 'what means this parleying?'

"In the end, so insistently did he demand that she said that she loved
William of Cabstaing; this she said because she saw William sad and
pensive and she knew well that he loved her sister; and so she feared
that Raymond might have had evil thoughts of William. Such a reply
gave great joy to Raymond. Agnes related it all to her husband, and
her husband answered her that she had done well and gave her his word
that she was at liberty to do and say anything that could save William.
Agnes was not wanting to him. She called William all alone into her
chamber, and remained so long with him that Raymond thought he must
have had the pleasures of love with her; and all this pleased him, and
he began to think that what he had been told of William was untrue and
random talk. Agnes and William came out of her chamber, supper was
prepared and they supped with great gaiety. And after supper Agnes had
the bed of her two neighbours prepared by the door of her chamber,

[Pg 211]
and so well did the Lady and William act their parts that Raymond
believed he was with her.

"And the next day they dined in the castle with great joy, and after
dinner they set out with all the honours of a noble leave-taking,
and came to Roussillon. And as soon as Raymond could, he separated
from William and went away to his wife, and related to her all that
he had seen of William and her sister, for which his wife was sorely
grieved all night. And the next day she had William summoned to her and
received him ill, and called him false friend and traitor. And William
cried to her for pity, as a man who had done nought of that with which
she charged him, and related to her all that had passed, word for word.
And the lady sent for her sister and from her she learnt that William
had done no wrong. And therefore she called him and bade him make a
song by which he should show that he loved no woman but her, and then
he made the song which says:--

    "The sweet thoughts
    That Love often gives me.

"And when Raymond of Roussillon heard the song that William had made
for his wife, he made him come to speak with him some way from the
castle, and cut off his head, which he put in a bag; he drew out the
heart from the body and put it with the head. He went back to the
castle; he had the heart roasted and brought to his wife at table and
made her eat it without her knowing. When she had eaten it, Raymond
rose up and told his wife that what she had just eaten was the heart
of Lord William of Cabstaing, and showed her his head and asked her if
the heart had been good to eat. And she heard what he said, and saw and
recognised the head of Lord William. She answered him and said that
the heart had been so good and savoury, that never other meat or other
drink could take away from her mouth the taste that the heart of Lord
William had left there. And

[Pg 212]
Raymond ran at her with a sword. She took to flight, threw herself down
from a balcony and broke her head.

"This became known through all Catalonia and through all the lands of
the King of Aragon. King Alphonse and all the barons of these countries
had great grief and sorrow for the death of Lord William and of the
woman whom Raymond had so basely done to death. They made war on him
with fire and sword. King Alphonse of Aragon having taken Raymond's
castle, had William and his lady laid in a monument before the door of
a church in a borough named Perpignac. All perfect lovers of either sex
prayed God for their souls. The King of Aragon took Raymond and let him
die in prison, and gave all his goods to the relatives of William and
to the relatives of the woman who died for him."

[1] The manuscript is in the Laurentian Library. M. Raynouard gives it
in Vol. V of his _Troubadours_, p. 187. There are a good many faults in
his text; he has praised the Troubadours too much and understood them
too little.

[2] i. e. to compose.

[3] He made up both the airs and the words.

[4] A far all' amore.

[5] Word for word translation of the Provençal verses quoted by William.

[6] _En_, a form of speech among the Provençals, which we would
translate by _Sir_.

[Pg 213]
                             CHAPTER LIII


'Tis beneath the dusky tent of the Bedouin Arab that we seek the model
and the home of true love. There, as elsewhere, solitude and a fine
climate have kindled the noblest passion of the human heart--that
passion which must give as much happiness as it feels, in order to be
happy itself.

In order that love may be seen in all the fullness of its power over
the human heart, equality must be established as far as possible
between the mistress and her lover. It does not exist, this equality,
in our poor West; a woman deserted is unhappy or dishonoured. Under the
Arab's tent faith once plighted cannot be broken. Contempt and death
immediately follow that crime.

Generosity is held so sacred by this people, that you may steal, in
order to give. For the rest, every day danger stares them in the face,
and life flows on ever, so to speak, in a passionate solitude. Even in
company the Arabs speak little.

Nothing changes for the inhabitant of the desert; there everything is
eternal and motionless. This singular mode of life, of which, owing to
my ignorance, I can give but a poor sketch, has probably existed since
the time of Homer.[1] It is described for the first time about the year
600 of our era, two centuries before Charlemagne.

Clearly it is we who were the barbarians in the eyes of the East, when
we went to trouble them with our crusades.[2] Also we owe all that is
in our manner to these

[Pg 214]
crusades and to the Moors of Spain. If we compare ourselves with the
Arabs, the proud, prosaic man will smile with pity. Our arts are very
much superior to theirs, our systems of law to all appearance still
more superior. But I doubt if we beat them in the art of domestic
happiness--we have always lacked loyalty and simplicity. In family
relations the deceiver is the first to suffer. For him the feeling of
safety is departed; always unjust, he is always afraid.

In the earliest of their oldest historical monuments we can see the
Arabs divided from all antiquity into a large number of independent
tribes, wandering about the desert. As soon as these tribes were able
to supply, with more or less ease, the simplest human wants, their way
of life was already more or less refined. Generosity was the same on
every side; only according to the tribe's degree of wealth it found
expression, now in the quarter of goat's flesh necessary for the
support of life, now in the gift of a hundred camels, occasioned by
some family connexion or reasons of hospitality.

The heroic age of the Arabs, that in which these generous hearts burnt
unsullied by any affectation of fine wit or refined sentiment, was that
which preceded Mohammed; it corresponds to the fifth century of our
era, to the foundations of Venice and to the reign of Clovis. I beg
European pride to compare the Arab love-songs, which have come down
to us, and the noble system of life revealed in the _Thousand and One
Nights_, with the disgusting horrors that stain every page of Gregory
of Tours, the historian of Clovis, and of Eginhard, the historian of

Mohammed was a puritan; he wished to prescribe pleasures which do no
one any harm; he has killed love in those countries which have accepted
Islamism.[3] It is for this reason that his religion has always been

[Pg 215]
observed in Arabia, its cradle, than in all the other Mohammedan

The French brought away from Egypt four folio volumes, entitled _The
Book of Songs_. These volumes contain:--

1. Biographies of the poets who composed the songs.

2. The songs themselves. In them the poet sings of everything that
interests him; when he has spoken of his mistress he praises his
swiftcoursers and his bow. These songs were often love-letters from
their author, giving the object of his love a faithful picture of all
that passed in his heart. Sometimes they tell of cold nights when he
has been obliged to burn his bow and arrows. The Arabs are a nation
without houses.

3. Biographies of the musicians who have composed the music for these

4. Finally, the notation of the musical setting; for us these settings
are hieroglyphics. The music will be for ever unknown, and anyhow, it
would not please us.

There is another collection entitled _The History of those Arabs who
have died for Love_.

In order to feel at home in the midst of remains which owe so much
of their interest to their antiquity, and to appreciate the singular
beauty of the manners of which they let us catch a glimpse, we must go
to history for enlightenment on certain points.

From all time, and especially before Mohammed, the Arabs betook
themselves to Mecca in order to make the tour of the Caaba or house of
Abraham. I have seen at London a very exact model of the Holy City.
There are seven or eight hundred houses with terraces on the roofs, set
in the midst of a sandy desert devoured by the sun. At one extremity
of the city is found an immense building, in form almost a square;
this building surrounds the Caaba. It is composed of a long course of
colonnades, necessary under an Arabian sun for the performance of the
sacred procession, This colonnade is very

[Pg 216]
important in the history of the manners and poetry of the Arabs;
it was apparently for centuries the one place where men and women
met together. Pell-mell, with slow steps, and reciting in chorus
their sacred songs, they walked round the Caaba--it is a walk of
three-quarters of an hour. The procession was repeated many times in
the same day; this was the sacred rite for which men and women came
forth from all parts of the desert. It is under the colonnade of the
Caaba that Arab manners became polished. A contest between the father
and the lover soon came to be established--in love-lyrics the lover
discovered his passion to the girl, jealously guarded by brothers and
father, as at her side he walked in the sacred procession. The generous
and sentimental habits of this people existed already in the camp;
but Arab gallantry seems to me to have been born in the shadow of the
Caaba, which is also the home of their literature. At first, passion
was expressed with simplicity and vehemence, just as the poet felt it;
later the poet, instead of seeking to touch his mistress, aimed at fine
writing; then followed that affectation which the Moors introduced into
Spain and which still to-day spoils the books of that people.[4]

I find a touching proof of the Arab's respect for the weaker sex in his
ceremony of divorce. The woman, during the absence of her husband from
whom she wished to separate, opened the tent and drew it up, taking
care to place the opening on the opposite side to that which she had
formerly occupied. This simple ceremony separated husband and wife for

[Pg 217]

Gathered and translated from an Arabic Collection entitled: _The Divan
of Love_(39)

Compiled by Ebn-Abi-Hadglat. (Manuscripts of the King's Library, Nos.
1461 and 1462.)

Mohammed, son of Djaafar Elahouazadi, relates that Djamil being sick of
the illness of which he died, Elabas, son of Sohail, visited him and
found him ready to give up the ghost. "O son of Sohail," said Djamil
to him, "what do you think of a man who has never drunk wine, who has
never made illicit gain, who has never unrighteously given death to any
living creature that God has forbidden us to kill, and who confesses
that there is no other God but Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet?"
"I think," answered Ben Sohail, "that such a man will be saved and
will gain Paradise; but who is he, this man of whom you talk?" "'Tis
I," answered Djamil. "I did not think that you professed the faith,"
returned Ben Sohail, "and moreover, for twenty years now you have been
making love to Bothaina, and celebrating her in your verses." "Here I
am," answered Djamil, "at my first day in the other world and at my
last in this, and I pray that the mercy of our Master Mohammed may not
be extended to me at the day of judgment, if ever I have laid hands on
Bothaina for anything reprehensible."

This Djamil and Bothaina, his mistress, both belonged to the
Benou-Azra, who are a tribe famous in love among all the tribes of the
Arabs. Also their manner of loving has passed into a proverb, and God
has made no other creatures as tender in love as they.

Sahid, son of Agba, one day asked an Arab: "Of what people are you?" "I
am of the people that die when they love," replied the Arab. "Then you
are of the

[Pg 218]
tribe of Azra," added Sahid. "Yes, by the Master of the Caaba," replied
the Arab. "Whence comes it that you love in this manner?" Sahid asked
next. "Our women are beautiful and our young men are chaste," answered
the Arab.

One day someone asked Aroua-Ben-Hezam:[5] "Is it really true what
people tell of you, that you of all mankind have the heart most tender
in love?" "Yes, by Allah, it is true," answered Aroua, "and I have
known in my tribe thirty young men whom death has carried oil and who
had no other sickness but love."

An Arab of the Benou-Fazarat said one day to an Arab of the Benou-Azra:
"You, Benou-Azra, you think it a sweet and noble death to die of love;
but therein is a manifest weakness and stupidity; and those whom you
take for men of great heart are only madmen and soft creatures." "You
would not talk like that," the Arab of the tribe of Azra answered him,
"if you had seen the great black eyes of our women darting fire from
beneath the veil of their long lashes, if you had seen them smile and
their teeth gleaming between their brown lips!"

Abou-el-Hassan, Ali, son of Abdalla, Elzagouni, relates the following
story: A Mussulman loved to distraction the daughter of a Christian. He
was obliged to make a journey to a foreign country with a friend, to
whom he had confided his love. His business prolonged his stay in this
country, and being attacked there by a mortal sickness, he said to his
friend: "Behold, my time approaches; no more in the world shall I meet
her whom I love, and I fear, if I die a Mussulman, that I shall not
meet her again in the other life." He turned Christian and died. His
friend betook himself to the young Christian woman, whom he found sick.
She said to him:

[Pg 219]
"I shall not see my friend any more in this world, but I want to be
with him in the other; therefore I confess that there is no other God
but Allah, and that Mohammed is the prophet of God." Thereupon she
died, and may God's mercy be upon her.*

Eltemimi relates that there was in the tribe of the Arabs of Tagleb a
Christian girl of great riches who was in love with a young Mussulman.
She offered him her fortune and all her treasures without succeeding
in making him love her. When she had lost all hope she gave an artist
a hundred dinars, to make her a statue of the young man she loved. The
artist made the statue, and when the girl got it, she placed it in a
certain spot where she went every day. There she would begin by kissing
this statue, and then sat down beside it and spent the rest of the
day in weeping. When the evening came she would bow to the statue and
retire. This she did for a long time. The young man chanced to die; she
desired to see him and to embrace him dead, after which she returned to
her statue, bowed to it, kissed it as usual, and lay down beside it.
When day came, they found her dead, stretching out her hand towards
some lines of writing, which she had written before she died.*

Oueddah, of the land of Yamen, was renowned among the Arabs for his
beauty. He and Om-el-Bonain, daughter of Abd-el-Aziz, son of Merouan,
while still only children, were even then so much in love that they
could not bear to be parted from each other for a moment. When
Om-el-Bonain became the wife of Oualid-Ben-Abd-el-Malek, Oueddah became
mad for grief. After remaining a long time in a state of distraction
and suffering, he betook himself to Syria and began every day to prowl
around the house of Oualid, son of Malek, without at first finding
the means to attain his desire. In the end, he made the acquaintance
of a girl, whom he succeeded in attaching to himself by dint of his
perseverance and his pains. When he thought he could rely on her, he

[Pg 220]
asked her if she knew Om-el-Bonain. "To be sure I do," answered the
girl, "seeing she is my mistress." "Listen," continued Oueddah, "your
mistress is my cousin, and if you care to tell her about me, you will
certainly give her pleasure." "I'll tell her willingly," answered
the girl. And thereupon she ran straight to Om-el-Bonain to tell her
about Oueddah. "Take care what you say," cried Om-el-Bonain. "What?
Oueddah is alive?" "Certainly he is," said the girl. "Go and tell him,"
Om-el-Bonain went on, "on no account to depart until a messenger comes
to him from me." Then she took measures to get Oueddah brought to her,
where she kept him hidden in a coffer. She let him come out to be with
her when she thought it safe; but if someone arrived who might have
seen him, she made him get inside the coffer again.

It happened one day that a pearl was brought to Oualid and he said to
one of his attendants: "Take this pearl and give it to Om-el-Bonain."
The attendant took the pearl and gave it to Om-el-Bonain. As he was
not announced, he entered where she dwelt at a time when she was with
Oueddah, and thus he was able to throw a glance into Om-el-Bonain's
apartment without her noticing him. Oualid's attendant fulfilled his
mission and asked something of Om-el-Bonain for the jewel he had
brought her. She refused him with severity and reprimanded him. The
attendant went out incensed against her, and went to tell Oualid what
he had seen, describing the coffer into which he had seen Oueddah
enter. "You lie, bastard slave! You lie," said Oualid. And he ran in
haste to Om-el-Bonain. There were several coffers in her apartment; he
sat down on the one in which Oueddah was hid and which the slave had
described, saying: "Give me one of these coffers." "They are all yours,
as much as I myself," answered Om-el-Bonain. "Then," continued Oualid,
"I would like to have the one on which I am seated." "There are

[Pg 221]
some things in it that only a woman needs," said Om-el-Bonain. "It is
not them, it is the coffer I desire," added Oualid. "It is yours," she
answered. Oualid had the coffer taken away at once, and summoned two
slaves, whom he ordered to dig a pit in the earth down to the depth
where they would find water. Then placing his mouth against the coffer:
"I have heard something of you," he cried. "If I have heard the truth,
may all trace of you be lost, may all memory of you be buried. If they
have told me false I do no harm by entombing a coffer: it is only the
funeral of a box." Then he had the coffer pushed into the pit and
covered with the stones and the earth which had been dug up. From that
time Om-el-Bonain never ceased to frequent this spot and to weep, until
one day they found her there lifeless, her face pressed towards the

[1] Nine hundred years before Jesus Christ.

[2] 1095.

[3] Morals of Constantinople. The one way of killing passion-love is to
prevent all crystallisation by facility.

[4] There are a large number of Arabic manuscripts at Paris. Those of
a later date show some affectation, but no imitation of the Greeks or
Romans; it is this that makes scholars despise them.

[5] This Aroua-Ben-Hezam was of the tribe of Azra, of which mention has
just been made. He is celebrated as a poet, and still more celebrated
as one of the numerous martyrs to love whom the Arabs enumerate.

[6] These fragments are taken from different chapters of the collection
which I have mentioned. The three marked by an * are taken from the
last chapter, which is a very summary biography of a considerable
number of Arab martyrs to love.

[Pg 222]
                            CHAPTER LIV(43)

                       OF THE EDUCATION OF WOMEN

In the actual education of girls, which is the fruit of chance and the
most idiotic pride, we allow their most shining faculties, and those
most fertile in happiness for themselves and for us, to lie fallow. But
what man is there, who at least once in his life has not exclaimed:--

                ... a woman always knows enough
    If but her range of understanding reaches
    To telling one from t'other, coat and breeches.
                  (_Les Femmes Savantes_, Act II, Scene VII.)
                      [Translation of C. H. Page, New York, 1908. ]

At Paris, this is the highest praise for a young girl of a marriageable
age: "There is so much that's sweet in her character, and she's as
gentle as a lamb." Nothing has more effect on the idiots looking out
for wives. But see them two years later, lunching _tête-à-tête_ with
their wives some dull day, hats on and surrounded by three great

We have seen a law carried in the United States, in 1818, which
condemns to thirty-four strokes of the cat anyone teaching a Virginian
negro to read.[1] Nothing could be more consequent and more reasonable
than a law of this kind.

Were the United States of America themselves more useful to the
motherland when they were her slaves or since they have become her
equals? If the work of a

[Pg 223]
free man is worth two or three times that of a man reduced to slavery,
why should not the same be true of that man's thought?

If we dared, we would give girls the education of a slave; and the
proof of this is that if they know anything useful, it is against our
wish we teach it them.

"But they turn against us the little education which unhappily
they get hold of," some husbands might say. No doubt; and Napoleon
was also quite right not to give arms to the National Guard; and
the reactionaries are also quite right to proscribe the monitorial
system(44). Arm a man, and then continue to oppress him, and you will
see that he can be so perverse as to turn his arms against you, as soon
as he can.

Even if it were permissible to bring girls up like idiots, on _Ave
Marias_ and lewd songs, as they did in the convents of 1770, there
would still be several little objections:--

1. In the case of the husband's death, they are called upon to manage
the young family.

2. As mothers, they give their male children, the young tyrants of
the future, their first education, that education which forms the
character, and accustoms the soul to seek happiness by this route
rather than by that--and the choice is always an accomplished fact by
four or five.

3. In spite of all our pride, the advice of the inevitable partner of
our whole life has great influence on those domestic affairs on which
our happiness depends so particularly; for, in the absence of passion,
happiness is based on the absence of small everyday vexations. Not that
we would willingly accord this advice the least influence, but she may
repeat the same thing to us for twenty years together. Whose is the
spirit of such Roman fortitude as to resist the same idea repeated
throughout a whole lifetime? The world is full of husbands who let
themselves be led, but it is from weakness

[Pg 224]
and not from a feeling for justice and equality. As they yield
perforce, the wife is always tempted to abuse her power, and it is
sometimes necessary to abuse power in order to keep it.

4. Finally, in love, and during a period which, in southern countries,
often comprises twelve or fifteen years, and those the fairest of our
life, our happiness is entirely in the hands of the woman we love. One
moment of untimely pride can make us for ever miserable, and how should
a slave raised up to a throne not be tempted to abuse her power? This
is the origin of women's false refinement and pride. Of course, there
is nothing more useless than these pleas: men are despots and we see
what respect other despots show to the wisest counsels. A man who is
all-powerful relishes only one sort of advice, the advice of those that
tell him to increase his power. Where are poor young girls to find
a Quiroga or a Riego(45) to give the despots, who oppress them, and
degrade them the better to oppress them, that salutary advice, whose
just recompense are favours and orders instead of Porlier's(45) gallows?

If a revolution of this kind needs several centuries, it is because,
by a most unlucky chance, all our first experiences must necessarily
contradict the truth. Illuminate a girl's mind, form her character,
give her, in short, a good education in the true sense of the
word--remarking sooner or later her own superiority over other women,
she becomes a pedant, that is to say, the most unpleasant and the most
degraded creature that there is in the world. There isn't one of us who
wouldn't prefer a servant to a _savante_, if we had to pass our life
with her.

Plant a young tree in the midst of a dense forest, deprived of air and
sun by the closeness of the neighbouring trees: its leaves will be
blighted, and it will get an overgrown and ridiculous shape--_not_ its
natural shape. We ought to plant the whole forest at once. What woman
is there who is proud of knowing how to read?

[Pg 225]
Pedants have repeated to us for two thousand years that women were
more quick and men more judicious, women more remarkable for delicacy
of expression and men for stronger powers of concentration. A Parisian
simpleton, who used once upon a time to take his walk in the gardens of
Versailles, similarly concluded from all he saw that trees grow ready

I will allow that little girls have less physical strength than little
boys: this must be conclusive as regards intellect; for everyone knows
that Voltaire and d'Alembert were the first boxers of their age!
Everyone agrees, that a little girl of ten is twenty times as refined
as a little boy of the same age. Why, at twenty, is she a great idiot,
awkward, timid, and afraid of a spider, while the little boy is a man
of intellect?

Women only learn the things we do not wish to teach them, and only
read the lessons taught them by experience of life. Hence the extreme
disadvantage it is for them to be born in a very rich family; instead
of coming into contact with beings who behave naturally to them,
they find themselves surrounded by maidservants and governesses, who
are already corrupted and blighted by wealth.[2] There is nothing so
foolish as a prince.

Young girls soon see that they are slaves and begin to look about them
very early; they see everything, but they are too ignorant to see
properly. A woman of thirty in France has not the acquired knowledge
of a small boy of fifteen, a woman of fifty has not the reason of a
man of twenty-five. Look at Madame de Sévigné admiring Louis XIV's
most ridiculous actions. Look at the puerility of Madame d'Épinay's

"Women ought to nurse and look after their children." I deny the first
proposition, I allow the second. "They ought, moreover, to keep their
kitchen accounts."--And

[Pg 226]
so have not time to equal a small boy of fifteen in acquired knowledge!
Men must be judges, bankers, barristers, merchants, doctors, clergymen,
etc., and yet they find time to read Fox's speeches and the _Lusiad_ of

The Pekin magistrate, who hastens at an early hour to the law courts
in order to find the means of imprisoning and ruining, in perfect
good faith, a poor journalist who has incurred the displeasure of
an Under-Secretary of State, with whom he had the honour of dining
the day before, is surely as busy as his wife, who keeps her kitchen
accounts, gets stockings made for her little daughter, sees her through
her dancing and piano lessons, receives a visit from the vicar of the
parish who brings her the _Quotidienne_, and then goes to choose a hat
in the Rue de Richelieu and take a turn in the Tuileries.

In the midst of his noble occupations this magistrate still finds time
to think of this walk his wife is taking in the Tuileries, and, if he
were in as good odour with the Power that rules the universe as with
that which rules the State, he would pray Heaven to grant women, for
their own good, eight or ten hours more sleep. In the present condition
of society, leisure, which for man is the source of all his happiness
and all his riches, is for women so far from being an advantage as to
rank among those baneful liberties, from which the worthy magistrate
would wish to help deliver us.

[1] I regret to be unable to find in the Italian manuscript the
quotation of an official source for this fact; I hope it may be found
possible to deny it.

[2] Memoirs of Madame de Staël, Collé, Duclos, the Margrave of Bayreuth.

[3] The first volume.

[Pg 227]
                            CHAPTER LV(43)


"But women are charged with the petty labours of the household." The
Colonel of my regiment, M. S----, has four daughters, brought up on the
best principles, which means that they work all day. When I come, they
sing the music of Rossini, that I brought them from Naples. For the
rest, they read the Bible of Royaumont, they learn what's most foolish
in history, that is to say, chronological tables and the verses of Le
Ragois; they know a great deal of geography, embroider admirably--and I
expect that each of these pretty little girls could earn, by her work,
eight sous a day. Taking three hundred days, that means four hundred
and eighty francs a year, which is less than is given to one of their
masters. It is for four hundred and eighty francs a year that they lose
for ever the time, during which it is granted to the human machine to
acquire ideas.

"If women read with pleasure the ten or twelve good volumes that
appear every year in Europe, they will soon give up the care of their
children."--'Tis as if we feared, by planting the shore of the ocean
with trees, to stop the motion of the waves. It is not in this sense
that education is all-powerful. Besides, for four hundred years the
same objection has been offered to every sort of education. And yet a
Parisian woman has more good qualities in 1820 than she ever had in
1720, the age of Law's system and the Regency, and at that time the
daughter of the richest farmer-general had a less good education

[Pg 228]
than the daughter of the pettiest attorney gets to-day. Are her
household duties less well performed as a result? Certainly not. And
why? Because poverty, illness, shame, instinct, all force her to fulfil
them. It is as if you said of an officer who is becoming too sociable,
that he will forget how to handle his horse; you have to remember that
he'll break his arm the first time he's slack in the saddle.

_Knowledge, where it produces any bad effects at all, does as much
mischief to one sex as to the other_. We shall never lack vanity, even
in the completest absence of any reason for having it--look at the
middle class in a small town. Why not force it at least to repose on
real merit, on merit useful or agreeable to society?

Demi-fools, carried away by the revolution that is changing everything
in France, began twenty years ago to allow that women are capable of
something. But they must give themselves up to occupations becoming
their sex: _educate flowers, make friendships with birds, and pick up
plants_. These are called innocent amusements.

These innocent pleasures are better than idleness. Well! let's leave
them to stupid women; just as we leave to stupid men the glory of
composing verses for the birthday of the master of the house. But
do men in good faith really mean to suggest to Madame Roland or to
Mistress Hutchinson[1] that they should spend their time in tending a
little Bengal rose-bush?

All such reasoning can be reduced to this: a man likes to be able to
say of his slave: "She's too big a fool to be a knave."

But owing to a certain law called _sympathy_--a law of nature which, in
truth, vulgar eyes never perceive--the defects in the companion of your
life are not destructive of your happiness by reason only of the direct
ill they

[Pg 229]
can occasion you. I would almost prefer that my wife should, in a
moment of anger, attempt to stab me once a year, than that she should
welcome me every evening with bad spirits.

Finally, happiness is contagious among people who live together.

Let your mistress have passed the morning, while you were on parade
or at the House of Commons, in painting a rose after a masterpiece of
Redouté, or in reading a volume of Shakespeare, her pleasure therein
will have been equally innocent. Only, with the ideas that she has got
from her rose she will soon bore you on your return, and, indeed, she
will crave to go out in the evening among people to seek sensations a
little more lively. Suppose, on the contrary, she has read Shakespeare,
she is as tired as you are, she has had as much pleasure, and she will
be happier to give you her arm for a solitary walk in the Bois de
Vincennes than to appear at the smartest party. The pleasures of the
fashionable world are not meant for happy women.

Women have, of course, all ignorant men for enemies to their
instruction. To-day they spend their time with them, they make love
to them and are well received by them; what would become of them if
women began to get tired of Boston? When we return from America or the
West Indies with a tanned skin and manners that for six months remain
somewhat coarse, how would these fellows answer our stories, if they
had not this phrase: "As for us, the women are on our side. While you
were at New York the colour of tilburies has changed; it's grey-black
that's fashionable at present." And we listen attentively, for such
knowledge is useful. Such and such a pretty woman will not look at us
if our carriage is in bad taste.

These same fools, who think themselves obliged, in virtue of the
pre-eminence of their sex, to have more knowledge than women, would be
ruined past all hope, if

[Pg 230]
women had the audacity to learn something. A fool of thirty says to
himself, as he looks at some little girls of twelve at the country
house of one of his friends: "It's in their company that I shall spend
my life ten years from now." We can imagine his exclamations and his
terror, if he saw them studying something useful.

Instead of the society and conversation of effeminate men, an educated
woman, if she has acquired ideas without losing the graces of her sex,
can always be sure of finding among the most distinguished men of her
age a consideration verging on enthusiasm.

"Women would become the rivals instead of the companions of man." Yes,
as soon as you have suppressed love by edict. While we are waiting for
this fine law, love will redouble its charms and its ecstasy. These
are the plain facts: the basis on which crystallisation rests will be
widened; man will be able to take pleasure in all his ideas in company
of the woman he loves; nature in all its entirety will in their eyes
receive new charms; and as ideas always reflect some of the refinements
of character, they will understand each other better and will be guilty
of fewer imprudent acts--love will be less blind and will produce less

The _desire of pleasing secures all that delicacy and reserve which are
of such inestimable value to women_ from the influence of any scheme of
education. 'Tis as though you feared teaching the nightingales not to
sing in the spring-time.

The graces of women do not depend on their ignorance; look at the
worthy spouses of our village bourgeois, look at the wives of the
opulent merchants in England. Affectation is a kind of pedantry; for I
call pedantry the affectation of letting myself talk out of season of a
dress by Leroy or a novel by Romagnesi, just as much as the affectation
of quoting Fra Paolo(46) and the Council of Trent _à propos_ of a
discussion on our own mild missionaries. It is the pedantry of dress
and good form, it

[Pg 231]
is the necessity of saying exactly the conventional phrase about
Rossini, which kills the graces of Parisian women. Nevertheless, in
spite of the terrible effects of this contagious malady, is it not
in Paris that exist the most delightful women in France? Would not
the reason be that chance filled their heads with the most just and
interesting ideas? Well, it is these very ideas that I expect from
books. I shall not, of course, suggest that they read Grotius of
Puffendorf, now that we have Tracy's(47) commentary on Montesquieu.

Woman's delicacy depends on the hazardous position in which she finds
herself so early placed, on the necessity of spending her life in the
midst of cruel and fascinating enemies.

_There are, perhaps, fifty thousand females in Great Britain who are
exempted by circumstances from all necessary labour:_ but without work
there is no happiness. Passion forces itself to work, and to work of an
exceedingly rough kind--work that employs the whole activity of one's

A woman with four children and ten thousand francs income works by
making stockings or a frock for her daughter. But it cannot be allowed
that a woman who has her own carriage is working when she does her
embroidery or a piece of tapestry. Apart from some faint glow of
vanity, she cannot possibly have any interest in what she is doing. She
does not work.

And thus her happiness runs a grave risk.

And what is more, so does the happiness of her lord and master, for
a woman whose heart for two months has been enlivened by no other
interest than that of her needlework, may be so insolent as to imagine
that gallant-love, vanity-love, or, in fine, even physical love, is a
very great happiness in comparison with her habitual condition.

"A woman ought not to make people speak about

[Pg 232]
her." To which I answer once more: "Is any woman specially mentioned as
being able to read?"

And what is to prevent women, while awaiting a revolution in their
destiny, from hiding a study which forms their habitual occupation
and furnishes them every day with an honourable share of happiness.
I will reveal a secret to them by the way. When you have given
yourself a task--for example, to get a clear idea about the conspiracy
of Fiescho(48), at Genoa in 1547--the most insipid book becomes
interesting. The same is true, in love, of meeting someone quite
indifferent, who has just seen the person whom you love. This interest
is doubled every month, until you give up the conspiracy of Fiescho.

"_The true theatre for a woman is the sick-chamber._" But you must be
careful to secure that the divine goodness redoubles the frequency of
illnesses, in order to give occupation to our women. This is arguing
from the exceptional.

Moreover, I maintain that a woman ought to spend three or four hours of
leisure every day, just as men of sense spend their hours of leisure.

A young mother, whose little son has the measles, could not, even if
she would, find pleasure in reading Volney's Travels in Syria, any more
than her husband, a rich banker, could get pleasure out of meditating
on Malthus in the midst of bankruptcy.

There is one, and only one, way for rich women to distinguish
themselves from the vulgar: moral superiority. For in this there is a
natural distinction of feeling.[2]

"_We do not wish a lady to write books._" No, but does giving your
daughter a singing-master engage you to make her into an opera-singer?
If you

[Pg 233]
like, I'll say that a woman ought only to write, like Madame de Staël
(de Launay), posthumous works to be published after her death. For a
woman of less than fifty to publish is to risk her happiness in the
most terrible lottery: if she has the good fortune to have a lover, she
will begin by losing him.

I know but one exception: it is that of a woman who writes books in
order to keep or bring up her family. In that case she ought always to
confine herself to their money-value when talking of her own works,
and say, for example, to a cavalry major: "Your rank gives you four
thousand francs a year, and I, with my two translations from the
English, was able last year to devote an extra three thousand five
hundred francs to the education of my two boys."

Otherwise, a woman should publish as Baron d'Holbach or Madame de la
Fayette did; their best friends knew nothing of it. To print a book
can only be without inconvenience for a courtesan; the vulgar, who can
despise her at their will for her condition, will exalt her to the
heavens for her talent, and even make a cult of it.

Many men in France, among those who have an income of six thousand
francs, find their habitual source of happiness in literature, without
thinking of publishing anything; to read a good book is for them one of
the greatest pleasures. At the end of ten years they find that their
mind is enlarged twofold, and no one will deny that, in general, the
larger the mind the fewer will be its passions incompatible with the
happiness of others.[3] I don't suppose anyone will still deny that the
sons of a woman who reads Gibbon and Schiller will have more genius
than the children of one who tells her beads and reads Madame de Genlis.

A young barrister, a merchant, an engineer can be

[Pg 234]
launched on life without any education; they pick it up themselves
every day by practising their profession. But what resources have
their wives for acquiring estimable or necessary qualities? Hidden
in the solitude of their household, for them the great book of life
necessarily remains shut. They spend always in the same way, after
discussing the accounts with their cook, the three _louis_ they get
every Monday from their husbands.

I say this in the interest of the tyrant: the least of men, if he
is twenty and has nice rosy cheeks, is a danger to a woman with no
knowledge, because she is wholly a creature of instinct. In the eyes
of a woman of intellect he will produce as much effect as a handsome

The amusing thing in present-day education is that you teach young
girls nothing that they won't have to forget as soon as they are
married. It needs four hours a day, for six years, to learn to play
the harp well; to paint well in miniature or water-colours needs
half that time. Most young girls do not attain even to a tolerable
mediocrity--hence the very true saying: "Amateur means smatterer."[4]

And even supposing a young girl has some talent; three years after she
is married she won't take up her harp or her brushes once a month.
These objects of so much study now only bore her--unless chance has
given her the soul of an artist, and this is always a rarity and
scarcely helpful in the management of a household.

And thus under the vain pretext of decency you teach young girls
nothing that can give them guidance in the circumstances they will
encounter in their lives. You do more--you hide and deny these
circumstances in order to add to their strength, through the effect (i)
of surprise, and (ii) of mistrust; for education, once

[Pg 235]
found deceitful, must bring mistrust on education as a whole.[5] I
maintain that one ought to talk of love to girls who have been well
brought up. Who will dare suggest in good faith that, in the actual
state of our manners, girls of sixteen do not know of the existence of
love? From whom do they get this idea so important and so difficult
to give properly? Think of Julie d'Étanges deploring the knowledge
that she owes to la Chaillot, one of the maidservants. One must thank
Rousseau for having dared be a true painter in an age of false decency.

The present-day education of women being perhaps the most delightful
absurdity in modern Europe, strictly speaking the less education they
have, the better they are.[6] It is for this reason perhaps that in
Italy and Spain they are so superior to the men, and I will even say so
superior to the women of other countries.

[1] See the Memoirs of these admirable women. I could find other names
to quote, but they are unknown to the public, and moreover one cannot
even point to living merit.

[2] See Mistress Hutchinson refusing to be of use to her family and her
husband, whom she adored, by betraying certain of the regicides to the
ministers of the perjured Charles II. (Vol. II, p. 284.)

[3] It is this that gives me great hopes for the rising generation
among the privileged classes. I also hope that any husbands who read
this chapter will be milder despots for three days.

[4] The contrary of this proverb is true in Italy, where the loveliest
voices are heard among amateurs who have no connection with the theatre.

[5] The education given to Madame d'Épinay. (Memoirs, Vol. I.)

[6] I make an exception as regards education in manners: a woman enters
a drawing-room better in Rue Verte than in Rue St. Martin.

[Pg 236]
                            CHAPTER LVI(43)



In France all our ideas about women are got from a twopence-halfpenny
catechism. The delightful part of it is that many people, who would not
allow the authority of this book to regulate a matter of fifty francs,
foolishly follow it word for word in that which bears most nearly on
their happiness. Such is the vanity of nineteenth-century ways!

There must be no divorce because marriage is a mystery--and what
mystery? The emblem of the union of Jesus Christ with the Church. And
what had become of this mystery, if the Church had been given a name of
the masculine gender?[1] But let us pass over prejudices already giving
way,[2] and let us merely observe this singular

[Pg 237]
spectacle: the root of the tree sapped by the axe of ridicule, but the
branches continuing to flower.

Now to return to the observation of facts and their consequences.

In both sexes it is on the manner in which youth has been employed
that depends the fate of extreme old age--this is true for women
earlier than for men. How is a woman of forty-five received in society?
Severely, or more often in a way that is below her dignity. Women are
flattered at twenty and abandoned at forty.

A woman of forty-five is of importance only by reason of her children
or her lover.

A mother who excels in the fine arts can communicate her talent to
her son only in the extremely rare case, where he has received from
nature precisely the soul for this talent. But a mother of intellect
and culture will give her young son a grasp not only of all merely
agreeable talents, but also of all talents that are useful to man in
society; and he will be able to make his own choice. The barbarism
of the Turks depends in great part on the state of moral degradation
among the beautiful Georgians. Two young men born at Paris owe to their
mothers the incontestable superiority that they show at sixteen over
the young provincials of their age. It is from sixteen to twenty-five
that the luck turns.

The men who invented gunpowder, printing, the art of weaving,
contribute every day to our happiness, and the same is true of the
Montesquieus, the Racines and the La Fontaines. Now the number of
geniuses produced by a nation is in proportion to the number of men
receiving sufficient culture,[3] and there is nothing to prove to me
that my bootmaker has not the soul to write like

[Pg 238]
Corneille. He wants the education necessary to develop his feelings and
teach him to communicate them to the public.[4]

Owing to the present system of girls' education, all geniuses who are
born women are lost to the public good. So soon as chance gives them
the means of displaying themselves, you see them attain to talents the
most difficult to acquire. In our own days you see a Catherine II,
who had no other education but danger and ...; a Madame Roland; an
Alessandra Mari, who raised a regiment in Arezzo and sent it against
the French; a Caroline, Queen of Naples, who knew how to put a stop to
the contagion of liberalism better than all our Castlereaghs and our
Pitts. As for what stands in the way of women's superiority in works of
art, see the chapter on Modesty, article 9. What might Miss Edgeworth
not have done, if the circumspection necessary to a young English girl
had not forced her at the outset of her career to carry the pulpit into
her novel?

What man is there, in love or in marriage, who has the good fortune to
be able to communicate his thoughts, just as they occur to him, to the
woman with whom he passes his life? He may find a good heart that will
share his sorrows, but he is always obliged to turn his thoughts into
small change if he wishes to be understood, and it would be ridiculous
to expect reasonable counsel from an intellect that has need of such a
method in order to seize the facts. The most perfect woman, according
to the ideas of present-day education, leaves her partner isolated amid
the dangers of life and soon runs the risk of wearying him.

[Pg 239]
What an excellent counsellor would a man not find in a wife, if only
she could think--a counsellor, after all, whose interests, apart from
one single object, and one which does not last beyond the morning of
life, are exactly identical with his own!

One of the finest prerogatives of the mind is that it provides old age
with consideration. See how the arrival of Voltaire in Paris makes the
Royal majesty pale. But poor women! so soon as they have no longer the
brilliance of youth, their one sad happiness is to be able to delude
themselves on the part they take in society.

The ruins of youthful talents become merely ridiculous, and it were a
happiness for our women, such as they actually are, to die at fifty. As
for a higher morality--the clearer the mind, the surer the conviction
that justice is the only road to happiness. Genius is a power; but
still more is it a torch, to light the way to the great art of being

Most men have a moment in their life when they are capable of great
things--that moment when nothing seems impossible to them. The
ignorance of women causes this magnificent chance to be lost to the
human race. Love, nowadays, at the very most will make a man a good
horseman or teach him to choose his tailor.

I have no time to defend myself against the advances of criticism. If
my word could set up systems, I should give girls, as far as possible,
exactly the same education as boys. As I have no intention of writing a
book about everything and nothing, I shall be excused from explaining
in what regards the present education of men is absurd. But taking it
such as it is (they are not taught the two premier sciences, logic and
ethics), it is better, I say, to give this education to girls than
merely to teach them to play the piano, to paint in water-colours and
to do needlework.

Teach girls, therefore, reading, writing and arithmetic by the
monitorial(44) system in the central convent

[Pg 240]
schools, in which the presence of any man, except the masters, should
be severely punished. The great advantage of bringing children together
is that, however narrow the masters may be, in spite of them the
children learn from their little comrades the art of living in the
world and of managing conflicting interests. A sensible master would
explain their little quarrels and friendships to the children, and
begin his course of ethics in this way rather than with the story of
the Golden Calf.[5]

No doubt some years hence the monitorial system will be applied to
everything that is learnt; but, taking things as they actually are,
I would have girls learn Latin like boys. Latin is a good subject
because it accustoms one to be bored; with Latin should go history,
mathematics, a knowledge of the plants useful as nourishment or
medicine; then logic and the moral sciences, etc. Dancing, music and
drawing ought to begin at five.

At sixteen a girl ought to think about finding a husband, and get from
her mother right ideas on love, marriage, and the want of honesty that
exists among men.[6]

[1] Tu es Petrus, and super hanc petram
    Ædificabo Ecclesiam meam.
                 (See M. de Potter, _Histoire de l'Église_.)

[2] Religion is a matter between each man and the Divinity. By what
right do you come and place yourself between my God and me? I accept a
proctor appointed by the social contract only in those matters which I
cannot do myself.

Why should not a Frenchman pay his priest like his baker? If we have
good bread in Paris, the reason is that the State has not yet ventured
to declare the provision of bread gratuitous and put all the bakers at
the charge of the Treasury.

In the United States every man pays his own priest. These gentry are
compelled to have some merit, and my neighbour does not see good to
make his happiness depend on submitting me to his priest. (Letters of

What will happen if I have the conviction, as our fathers did, that my
priest is the intimate ally of my bishop? Without a Luther, there will
be no more Catholicism in France in 1850. That religion could only be
saved in 1820 by M. Grégoire(49): see how he is treated.

[3] See the Generals of 1795.

[4] As regards the arts, here we have the great defect of a reasonable
government as well as the sole reasonable eulogy of monarchy _à la_
Louis XIV. Look at the literary sterility of America. Not a single
romance like those of Robert Burns or the Spaniards of the thirteenth
century. See the admirable romances of the modern Greeks, those of the
Spaniards and Danes of the thirteenth century, and still better, the
Arabic poetry of the seventh century.

[5] My dear pupil, your father loves you; this makes him give me forty
francs a month to teach you mathematics, drawing--in a word, how to
earn your living. If you were cold, because your overcoat was too
small, your father would be unhappy. He would be unhappy because he
would sympathise, etc., etc. But when you are eighteen, you yourself
will have to earn the money needed to buy your overcoat. Your father,
I have heard, has an income of twenty-five thousand francs, but there
are four of you children; therefore you will have to accustom yourself
to do without the carriage you enjoy while you live with your father,
etc., etc.

[6] Yesterday evening I listened to two charming little girls of four
years old singing very gay love-songs in a swing which I was pushing.
The maidservants teach them these songs and their mother tells them
that "love" and "lover" are words without any meaning.

[Pg 241]
                              CHAPTER LVI

                               (Part II)

                              ON MARRIAGE

The fidelity of married women, where love is absent, is probably
something contrary to nature.[1]

Men have attempted to obtain this unnatural result by the fear of hell
and sentiments of religion; the example of Spain and Italy shows how
far they have succeeded.

In France they have attempted to obtain it by public opinion--the one
dyke capable of resistance, yet it has been badly built. It is absurd
to tell a young girl: "You must be faithful to the husband of your
choice," and then to marry her by force to a boring old dotard.[2]

[Pg 242]
"But girls are pleased to get married." Because, under the narrow
system of present-day education, the slavery that they undergo in
their mother's house is intolerably tedious; further, they lack
enlightenment; and, lastly, there are the demands of nature. There is
but one way to obtain more fidelity among married women: it is to give
freedom to girls and divorce to married people.

A woman always loses the fairest days of her youth in her first
marriage, and by divorce she gives fools the chance of talking against

Young women who have plenty of lovers have nothing to get from divorce,
and women of a certain age, who have already had them, hope to repair
their reputation--in France they always succeed in doing so--by
showing themselves extremely severe against the errors which have
left them behind. It is generally some wretched young woman, virtuous
and desperately in love, who seeks a divorce, and gets her good name
blackened at the hands of women who have had fifty different men.

[1] Not probably--but certainly. With love there, one has no taste for
any water but that of the beloved fount. So far fidelity is natural.

In the case of marriage without love, in less than two years the water
of this fountain becomes bitter. Now the desire for water always exists
in nature. Habits may conquer nature, but only when it can be conquered
in an instant: the Indian wife who burns herself (October 21st, 1821),
after the death of the old husband whom she hated; the European girl
who barbarously murders the innocent child to whom she has just given
life. But for a very high wall the monks would soon leave the monastery.

[2] Even down to details, with us everything that regards the education
of women is comic. For example, in 1820, under the rule of these very
nobles who have proscribed divorce, the Home Office sends to the town
of Lâon a bust and a statue of Gabrielle d'Estrées. The statue is to be
set up in the public square, apparently to spread love of the Bourbons
among the young girls and to exhort them, in case of need, not to be
cruel to amorous kings and to give scions to this illustrious family.

But, in return, the same office refuses the town of Lâon a bust of
Marshal Serrurier, a brave man who was no gallant, and moreover had
been so vulgar as to begin his career by the trade of private soldier.
(Speech of General Foy, _Courrier_ of 17th June, 1820. Dulaure, in his
curious _History of Paris_, Amours of Henry IV.)

[Pg 243]
                             CHAPTER LVII

                         OF VIRTUE, SO CALLED

Myself, I honour with the name of virtue the habit of doing painful
actions which are of use to others.

St. Simon Stylites, who sits twenty-two years on the top of a column
beating himself with a strap, is in my eyes, I confess, not at all
virtuous; and it is this that gives this essay a tone only too

I esteem not a bit more the Chartreux monk who eats nothing but fish
and allows himself to talk only on Thursday. I own I prefer General
Carnot, who, at an advanced age, puts up with the rigours of exile in a
little northern town rather than do a base action.

I have some hope that this extremely vulgar declaration will lead the
reader to skip the rest of this chapter.

This morning, a holiday, at Pesaro (May 7th, 1819), being obliged to go
to Mass, I got hold of a Missal and fell upon these words:--

 Joanna, Alphonsi quinti Lusitaniae regis filia, tanta divini amoris
 flamma praeventa fuit, ut ab ipsa pueritia rerum caducarum pertaesa,
 solo coelestis patriae desiderio flagraret.

The virtue so touchingly preached by the very beautiful words of the
_Génie du Christianisme_(50) is thus reduced to not eating truffles
for fear of a stomach-ache. It is quite a reasonable calculation, if
you believe in hell; but it is a self-interested calculation, the most
personal and prosaic possible. That philosophic virtue, which so well
explains the return of Regulus to Carthage, and which was responsible
for some similar incidents in our

[Pg 244]
own Revolution,[1] proves, on the contrary, generosity of soul.

It is merely in order not to be burned in the next world, in a great
caldron of boiling oil, that Madame de Tourvel resists Valmont. I
cannot imagine how the idea, with all its ignominy, of being the rival
of a caldron of boiling oil does not drive Valmont away.

How much more touching is Julie d'Étanges, respecting her vows and the
happiness of M. de Wolmar.

What I say of Madame de Tourvel, I find applicable to the lofty virtue
of Mistress Hutchinson. What a soul did Puritanism steal away from love!

One of the oddest peculiarities of this world is that men always think
they know whatever it is clearly necessary for them to know. Hear them
talk about politics, that very complicated science; hear them talk of
marriage and morals.

[1] Memoirs of Madame Roland. M. Grangeneuve, who goes out for a walk
at eight o'clock in a certain street, in order to be killed by the
Capuchin Chabot. A death was thought expedient in the cause of liberty.

[Pg 245]
                             CHAPTER LVIII


So far we have only treated the question of marriage according to
theory;[1] we are now to treat it according to the facts.

Which of all countries is that in which there are the most happy
marriages? Without dispute, Protestant Germany(52).

I extract the following fragment from the diary of Captain Salviati,
without changing a single word in it:--

"Halberstadt, _June 23rd_, 1807.... Nevertheless, M. de Bülow is
absolutely and openly in love with Mademoiselle de Feltheim; he follows
her about everywhere, always, talks to her unceasingly, and very often
keeps her yards away from us. Such open marks of affection shock
society, break it up--and on the banks of the Seine would pass for the
height of indecency. The Germans think much less than we do about what
breaks up society; indecency is little more than a conventional evil.
For five years M. de Bülow has been paying court in this way to Mina,
whom he has been unable to marry owing to the war. All the young ladies
in society have their lover, and he is known to everyone. Among all
the German acquaintances of my friend M. de Mermann(53) there is not a
single one who has not married for love.

"Mermann, his brother George, M. de Voigt, M. de

[Pg 246]
Lazing, etc. He has just given me the names of a dozen of them.

"The open and passionate way in which these lovers pay their court to
their mistresses would be the height of indecency, absurdity and shame
in France.

"Mermann told me this evening, as we were returning from the _Chasseur
Vert_, that, among all the women of his very numerous family, he did
not suppose there was a single one who had deceived her husband.
Allowing that he is wrong about half of them, it is still a singular

"His shady proposal to his sister-in-law, Madame de Munichow, whose
family is about to die out for want of male heirs and its very
considerable possessions revert to the crown, coldly received, but
merely with: 'Let's hear no more of that.'

"He tells the divine Philippine (who has just obtained a divorce from
her husband, who only wanted to sell her to his Sovereign) something
about it in very covert terms. Unfeigned indignation, toned down in its
expression instead of being exaggerated: 'Have you, then, no longer any
respect for our sex? I prefer to think, for the sake of your honour,
that you're joking.'

"During a journey to the Brocken with this really beautiful woman,
she reclined on his shoulder while asleep or pretending to sleep; a
jolt threw her somewhat on to the top of him, and he put his arm round
her waist; she threw herself into the other corner of the carriage.
He doesn't think that she is incorruptible, but he believes that she
would kill herself the day after her mistake. What is certain is that
he loved her passionately and that he was similarly loved by her, that
they saw each other continually and that she is without reproach. But
the sun is very pale at Halberstadt, the Government very meddling, and
these two persons very cold. In their most passionate interviews Kant
and Klopstock were always of the party.

[Pg 247]
"Mermann told me that a married man, convicted of adultery, could be
condemned by the courts of Brunswick to ten years' imprisonment; the
law has fallen into disuse, but at least ensures that people do not
joke about this sort of affair. The distinction of being a man with a
past is very far from being such an advantage here as it is in France,
where you can scarcely refuse it a married man in his presence without
insulting him.

"Anyone who told my Colonel or Ch... that they no longer have women
since their marriage would get a very poor reception.

"Some years ago a woman of this country, in a fit of religious fervour,
told her husband, a gentleman of the Court of Brunswick, that she had
deceived him for six years together. The husband, as big a fool as
his wife, went to tell the news to the Duke; the gallant was obliged
to resign all his employments and to leave the country in twenty-four
hours, under a threat from the Duke to put the laws in motion. "

"HALBERSTADT, _July 7th_, 1807.

"Husbands are not deceived here, 'tis true--but ye gods, what women!
Statues, masses scarcely organic! Before marriage they are exceedingly
attractive, graceful as gazelles, with quick tender eyes that always
understand the least hint of love. The reason is that they are on the
look out for a husband. So soon as the husband is found, they become
absolutely nothing but getters of children, in a state of perpetual
adoration before the begetter. In a family of four or five children
there must always be one of them ill, since half the children die
before seven, and in this country, immediately one of the babies
is ill, the mother goes out no more. I can see that they find an
indescribable pleasure in being caressed by their children. Little by
little they lose all their ideas. It is the same at Philadelphia. There
girls of the wildest and most innocent gaiety become, in less

[Pg 248]
than a year, the most boring of women. To have done with the marriages
of Protestant Germany--a wife's dowry is almost nil because of the
fiefs. Mademoiselle de Diesdorff, daughter of a man with an income of
forty thousand francs, will have a dowry of perhaps two thousand crowns
(seven thousand five hundred francs).

"M. de Mermann got four thousand crowns with his wife.

"The rest of the dowry is payable in vanity at the Court. 'One could
find among the middle class,' Mermann told me, 'matches with a hundred
or a hundred and fifty thousand crowns (six hundred thousand francs
instead of fifteen). But one could no longer be presented at Court; one
would be barred all society in which a prince or princess appeared:
_it's terrible._' These were his words, and they came from the heart.

"A German woman with the soul of Phi..., her intellect, her noble and
sensitive face, the fire she must have had at eighteen (she is now
twenty-seven), a woman such as this country produces, with her virtue,
naturalness and no more than a useful little dose of religion--such
a woman would no doubt make her husband very happy. But how flatter
oneself that one would remain true to such insipid matrons?

"'But he was married,' she answered me this morning when I blamed the
four years'silence of Corinne's lover, Lord Oswald. She sat up till
three o'clock to read _Corinne_. The novel gave her profound emotion,
and now she answers me with touching candour: 'But he was married.'

"Phi... is so natural, with so naive a sensibility, that even in this
land of the natural, she seems a prude to the petty heads that govern
petty hearts; their witticisms make her sick, and she in no way hides

"When she is in good company, she laughs like mad at the most lively
jokes. It was she who told me the story of the young princess of
sixteen, later on so well known.

[Pg 249]
who often managed to make the officer on guard at her door come up into
her rooms. "


I know few families happier than those of the Oberland, the part of
Switzerland that lies round Berne; and it is a fact of public notoriety
(1816) that the girls there spend Saturday to Sunday nights with their

The fools who know the world, after a voyage from Paris to Saint Cloud,
will cry out; happily I find in a Swiss writer confirmation of what I
myself[2] saw during four months.

"An honest peasant complained of certain losses he had sustained in
his orchard; I asked him why he didn't keep a dog: 'My daughters would
never get married.' I did not understand his answer; he told me he had
had such a bad-tempered dog that none of the young men dared climb up
to the windows any longer.

"Another peasant, mayor of his village, told me in praise of his
wife, that when she was a girl no one had had more _Kilter_ or
_Wächterer_--that is, had had more young men come to spend the night
with her.

"A Colonel, widely esteemed, was forced, while crossing the mountains,
to spend the night at the bottom of one of the most lonely and
picturesque valleys in the country. He lodged with the first magistrate
in the valley, a man rich and of good repute. On entering, the stranger
noticed a young girl of sixteen, a model of gracefulness, freshness
and simplicity: she was the daughter of the master of the house. That
night there was a village ball; the stranger paid court to the girl,
who was really strikingly beautiful. At last, screwing up courage, he
ventured to ask her whether he couldn't 'keep watch' with her. 'No,'
answered the girl, 'I share a room with my cousin, but I'll come myself
to yours.' You can judge

[Pg 250]
of the confusion this answer gave him. They had supper, the stranger
got up, the girl took a torch and followed him into his room; he
imagined the moment was at hand. 'Oh no,' she said simply, 'I must
first ask Mamma's permission.' He would have been less staggered by a
thunderbolt! She went out; his courage revived; he slipped into these
good folks' parlour, and listened to the girl begging her mother in a
caressing tone to grant her the desired permission; in the end she got
it. 'Eh, old man,' said the mother to her husband who was already in
bed, 'd'you allow Trineli to spend the night with the Colonel?' 'With
all my heart,' answers the father, 'I think I'd lend even my wife
to such a man.' 'Right then, go,' says the mother to Trineli; 'but
be a good girl, and don't take off your petticoat...' At day-break,
Trineli, respected by the stranger, rose still virgin. She arranged
the bedclothes, prepared coffee and cream for her partner and, after
she had breakfasted with him, seated on his bed, cut off a little
piece of her _broustpletz_ (a piece of velvet going over the breast).
'Here,' she said, 'keep this souvenir of a happy night; I shall never
forget it.--Why are you a Colonel?' And giving him a last kiss, she ran
away; he didn't manage to see her again.[3] Here you have the absolute
opposite of French morals, and I am far from approving them."

Were I a legislator, I would have people adopt in France, as in
Germany, the custom of evening dances. Three times a week girls would
go with their mothers to a ball, beginning at seven and ending at
midnight, and demanding no other outlay but a violin and a few glasses
of water. In a neighbouring room the mothers, maybe a little jealous of
their daughters' happy education,

[Pg 251]
would play boston; in a third, the fathers would find papers and could
talk politics. Between midnight and one o'clock all the families
would collect together and return to the paternal roof. Girls would
get to know young men; they would soon come to loathe fatuity and
the indiscretions it is responsible for--in fact they would choose
themselves husbands. Some girls would have unhappy love-affairs, but
the number of deceived husbands and unhappy matches would diminish to
an immense degree. It would then be less absurd to attempt to punish
infidelity with dishonour. The law could say to young women: "You have
chosen your husband--be faithful to him." In those circumstances I
would allow the indictment and punishment by the courts of what the
English call criminal conversation. The courts could impose, to the
profit of prisons and hospitals, a fine equal to two-thirds of the
seducer's fortune and imprisonment for several years.

A woman could be indicted for adultery before a jury. The jury should
first declare that the husband's conduct had been irreproachable.

A woman, if convicted, could be condemned to imprisonment for life. If
the husband had been absent more than two years, the woman could not be
condemned to more than some years' imprisonment. Public morals would
soon model themselves on these laws and would perfect them.[4]

[Pg 252]
And then the nobles and the priests, still regretting bitterly the
proper times of Madame de Montespan or Madame du Barry, would be forced
to allow divorce.[5]

There would be in a village within sight of Paris an asylum for
unfortunate women, a house of refuge into which, under pain of the
galleys, no man besides the doctor and the almoner should enter. A
woman who wished to get a divorce would be bound, first of all, to go
and place herself as prisoner in this asylum; there she would spend two
years without going out once. She could write, but never receive an

A council composed of peers of France and certain magistrates of repute
would direct, in the woman's name, the proceedings for a divorce
and would regulate the pension to be paid to the institution by the
husband. A woman who failed in her plea before the courts would be
allowed to spend the rest of her life in the asylum. The Government
would compensate the administration of the asylum with a sum of two
thousand francs for each woman who sought its refuge. To be received
in the asylum, a woman must have had a dowry of over twenty thousand
francs. The moral _régime_ would be one of extreme severity.

After two years of complete seclusion from the world, a divorced woman
could marry again.

Once arrived at this point, Parliament could consider

[Pg 253]
whether, in order to infuse in girls a spirit of emulation, it would
not be advisable to allow the sons a share of the paternal heritage
double that of their sisters. The daughters who did not find husbands
would have a share equal to that of the male children. It may be
remarked, by the way, that this system would, little by little, destroy
the only too inconvenient custom of marriages of convenience. The
possibility of divorce would render useless such outrageous meanness.

At various points in France, and in certain poor villages, thirty
abbeys for old maids should be established. The Government should
endeavour to surround these establishments with consideration, in order
to console a little the sorrows of the poor women who were to end their
lives there. They should be given all the toys of dignity.

But enough of such chimeras!

[1] The author had read a chapter called "Dell' amore," in the Italian
translation of the _Idéologie_ of M. de Tracy(51). In that chapter the
reader will find ideas incomparable, in philosophical importance, with
anything he can find here.

[2] _Principes philosophiques du Colonel Weiss_, 7 ed.,Vol. II. p. 245.

[3] I am fortunate to be able to describe in the words of another some
extraordinary facts that I have had occasion to observe. Certainly,
but for M. de Weiss, I shouldn't have related this glimpse of foreign
customs. I have omitted others equally characteristic of Valencia and

[4] _The Examiner_, an English paper, when giving a report of the
Queen's case (No. 662, September 3rd, 1820), adds:--

"We have a system of sexual morality, under which thousands of women
become mercenary prostitutes whom virtuous women are taught to scorn,
while virtuous men retain the privilege of frequenting these very
women, without its being regarded as anything more than a venial

In the land of Cant there is something noble in the courage that dares
speak the truth on this subject, however trivial and obvious it be; it
is all the more meritorious in a poor paper, which can only hope for
success if bought by the rich--and they look on the bishops and the
Bible as the one safeguard of their fine feathers.

[5] Madame de Sévigné wrote to her daughter, December 23rd, 1671: "I
don't know if you have heard that Villarceaux, when talking to the
king of a post for his son, adroitly took the occasion to tell him,
that there were people busy telling his niece (Mademoiselle de Rouxel)
that his Majesty had designs on her; that if it were so, he begged his
Majesty to make use of him; said that the affair would be better in his
hands than in others, and that he would discharge it with success. The
King began to laugh and said: 'Villarceaux, we are too old, you and I,
to attack young ladies of fifteen.' And like a gallant man, he laughed
at him and told the ladies what he had said." See Memoirs of Lauzun,
Bezenval, Madame d'Épinay, etc., etc, I beg my readers not to condemn
me altogether without re-reading these Memoirs.

[Pg 254]
                              CHAPTER LIX

                         WERTHER AND DON JUAN

Among young people, when they have done with mocking at some poor
lover, and he has left the room, the conversation generally ends by
discussing the question, whether it is better to deal with women like
Mozart's Don Juan or like Werther. The contrast would be more exact, if
I had said Saint-Preux, but he is so dull a personage, that in making
him their representative, I should be wronging feeling hearts.

Don Juan's character requires the greater number of useful and
generally esteemed virtues--admirable daring, resourcefulness,
vivacity, a cool head, a witty mind, etc.

The Don Juans have great moments of bitterness and a very miserable old
age--but then most men do not reach old age.

The lover plays a poor rôle in the drawing-room in the evening, because
to be a success and a power among women a man must show just as much
keenness on winning them as on a game of billiards. As everybody knows
that the lover has a great interest in life, he exposes himself, for
all his cleverness, to mockery. Only, next morning he wakes, not to be
in a bad temper until something piquant or something nasty turns up to
revive him, but to dream of her he loves and build castles in the air
for love to dwell in.

Love _à la_ Werther opens the soul to all the arts, to all sweet and
romantic impressions, to the moonlight, to the beauty of the forest, to
the beauty of pictures--in a word, to the feeling and enjoyment of the

[Pg 255]
under whatever form it be found, even under the coarsest cloak. It
causes man to find happiness even without riches.[1] Such souls,
instead of growing weary like Mielhan, Bezenval, etc., go mad, like
Rousseau, from an excess of sensibility. Women endowed with a certain
elevation of soul, who, after their first youth, know how to recognise
love, both where it is and what it is, generally escape the Don
Juan--he is remarkable in their eyes rather by the number than the
quality of his conquests. Observe, to the prejudice of tender hearts,
that publicity is as necessary to Don Juan's triumph as secrecy is to
Werther's. Most of the men who make women the business of their life
are born in the lap of luxury; that is to say, they are, as a result of
their education and the example set by everything that surrounded them
in youth, hardened egoists.[2]

The real Don Juan even ends by looking on women as the enemy, and
rejoicing in their misfortunes of every sort.

On the other hand, the charming Duke delle Pignatelle showed us the
proper way to find happiness in pleasures,

[Pg 256]
even without passion. "I know that I like a woman," he told me one
evening, "when I find myself completely confused in her company, and
don't know what to say to her." So far from letting his self-esteem
be put to shame or take its revenge for these embarrassing moments,
he cultivated them lovingly as the source of his happiness. With this
charming young man gallant-love was quite free from the corroding
influence of vanity; his was a shade of true love, pale, but innocent
and unmixed; and he respected all women, as charming beings, towards
whom we are far from just. (February 20, 1820.)

As a man does not choose himself a temperament, that is to say, a
soul, he cannot play a part above him. J. J. Rousseau and the Duc de
Richelieu might have tried in vain; for all their cleverness, they
could never have exchanged their fortunes with respect to women. I
could well believe that the Duke never had moments such as those
that Rousseau experienced in the park de la Chevrette with Madame
d'Houdetot; at Venice, when listening to the music of the _Scuole_; and
at Turin at the feet of Madame Bazile. But then he never had to blush
at the ridicule that overwhelmed Rousseau in his affair with Madame de
Larnage, remorse for which pursued him during the rest of his life.

A Saint-Preux's part is sweeter and fills up every moment of existence,
but it must be owned that that of a Don Juan is far more brilliant.
Saint-Preux's tastes may change at middle age: solitary and retired,
and of pensive habits, he takes a back place on the stage of life,
while Don Juan realises the magnificence of his reputation among men,
and could yet perhaps please a woman of feeling by making sincerely the
sacrifice of his libertine's tastes.

After all the reasons offered so far, on both sides of the question,
the balance still seems to be even. What makes me think that the
Werthers are the happier, is

[Pg 257]
that Don Juan reduces love to the level of an ordinary affair. Instead
of being able, like Werther, to shape realities to his desires, he
finds, in love, desires which are imperfectly satisfied by cold
reality, just as in ambition, avarice or other passions. Instead of
losing himself in the enchanting reveries of crystallisation, he
thinks, like a general, of the success of his manoeuvres[3] and, in a
word, he kills love, instead of enjoying it more keenly than other men,
as ordinary people imagine.

This seems to me unanswerable. And there is another reason, which is
no less so in my eyes, though, thanks to the malignity of Providence,
we must pardon men for not recognising it. The habit of justice is, to
my thinking, apart from accidents, the most assured way of arriving at
happiness--and a Werther is no villain.[4]

To be happy in crime, it is absolutely necessary to have no remorse.
I do not know whether such a creature can exist;[5] I have never seen
him. I would bet that the affair of Madame Michelin disturbed the Duc
de Richelieu's nights.

One ought either to have absolutely no sympathy or be able to put the
human race to death--which is impossible.[6]

People who only know love from novels will experience

[Pg 258]
a natural repugnance in reading these words in favour of virtue in
love. The reason is that, by the laws of the novel, the portraiture of
a virtuous love is essentially tiresome and uninteresting. Thus the
sentiment of virtue seems from a distance to neutralise that of love,
and the words "a virtuous love" seem synonymous with a feeble love. But
all this comes from weakness in the art of painting, and has nothing to
do with passion such as it exists in nature.[7]

I beg to be allowed to draw a picture of my most intimate friend.

Don Juan renounces all the duties which bind him to the rest of men.
In the great market of life he is a dishonest merchant, who is always
buying and never paying. The idea of equality inspires the same rage
in him as water in a man with hydrophobia; it is for this reason that
pride of birth goes so well with the character of Don Juan. With
the idea of the equality of rights disappears that of justice, or,
rather, if Don Juan is sprung from an illustrious family, such common
ideas have never come to him. I could easily believe that a man with
an historic name is sooner disposed than another to set fire to the
town in order to get his egg cooked.[8] We must excuse him; he is so
possessed with

[Pg 259]
self-love that he comes to the point of losing all idea of the evil he
causes, and of seeing no longer anything in the universe capable of joy
or sorrow except himself. In the fire of youth, when passion fills our
own hearts with the pulse of life and keeps us from mistrust of others,
Don Juan, all senses and apparent happiness, applauds himself for
thinking only of himself, while he sees other men pay their sacrifices
to duty. He imagines that he has found out the great art of living.
But, in the midst of his triumph, while still scarcely thirty years of
age, he perceives to his astonishment that life is wanting, and feels
a growing disgust for what were all his pleasures. Don Juan told me
at Thorn, in an access of melancholy: "There are not twenty different
sorts of women, and once you have had two or three of each sort,
satiety sets in." I answered: "It is only imagination that can for ever
escape satiety. Each woman inspires a different interest, and, what is
more, if chance throws the same woman in your way two or three years
earlier or later in the course of life, and if chance means you to
love, you can love the same woman in different manners. But a woman of
gentle heart, even when she loved you, would produce in you, because of
her pretensions to equality, only irritation to your pride. Your way of
having women kills all the other pleasures of life; Werther's increases
them a hundredfold."

This sad tragedy reaches the last act. You see Don Juan in old age,
turning on this and that, never on himself, as the cause of his own
satiety. You see him, tormented by a consuming poison, flying from
this to that in a continual change of purpose. But, however brilliant
the appearances may be, in the end he only changes one misery for
another. He tries the boredom of inaction, he tries the boredom of
excitement--there is nothing else for him to choose.

At last he discovers the fatal truth and confesses it to himself;
henceforward he is reduced for all his enjoyment

[Pg 260]
to making display of his power, and openly doing evil for evil's sake.
In short, 'tis the last degree of settled gloom; no poet has dared give
us a faithful picture of it--the picture, if true, would strike horror.
But one may hope that a man, above the ordinary, will retrace his steps
along this fatal path; for at the bottom of Don Juan's character there
is a contradiction. I have supposed him a man of great intellect, and
great intellect leads us to the discovery of virtue by the road that
runs to the temple of glory.[9]

La Rochefoucauld, who, however, was a master of self-love, and who in
real life was nothing but a silly man of letters,[10] says(267): "The
pleasure of love consists in loving, and a man gets more happiness from
the passion he feels than from the passion he inspires."

Don Juan's happiness consists in vanity, based, it is true, on
circumstances brought about by great intelligence and activity; but he
must feel that the most inconsiderable general who wins a battle, the
most inconsiderable prefect who keeps his department in order, realises
a more signal enjoyment than his own. The Duc de Nemours' happiness
when Madame de Clèves tells him that she loves him, is, I imagine,
above Napoleon's happiness at Marengo.

Love _à la_ Don Juan is a sentiment of the same kind as a taste for
hunting. It is a desire for activity which must be kept alive by divers
objects and by putting a man's talents continually to the test.

Love _à la_ Werther is like the feeling of a schoolboy writing a
tragedy--and a thousand times better; it is a new goal, to which
everything in life is referred and which changes the face of
everything. Passion-love casts all nature in its sublimer aspects
before the eyes of a

[Pg 261]
man, as a novelty invented but yesterday. He is amazed that he has
never seen the singular spectacle that is now discovered to his soul.
Everything is new, everything is alive, everything breathes the most
passionate interest.[11] A lover sees the woman he loves on the horizon
of every landscape he comes across, and, while he travels a hundred
miles to go and catch a glimpse of her for an instant, each tree, each
rock speaks to him of her in a different manner and tells him something
new about her. Instead of the tumult of this magic spectacle, Don Juan
finds that external objects have for him no value apart from their
degree of utility, and must be made amusing by some new intrigue.

Love _à la_ Werther has strange pleasures; after a year or two, the
lover has now, so to speak, but one heart with her he loves; and this,
strange to say, even independent of his success in love--even under a
cruel mistress. Whatever he does, whatever he sees, he asks himself:
"What would she say if she were with me? What would I say to her about
this view of Casa-Lecchio?" He speaks to her, he hears her answer, he
smiles at her fun. A hundred miles from her, and under the weight of
her anger, he surprises himself, reflecting: "Léonore was very gay that
night." Then he wakes up: "Good God!" he says to himself with a sigh,
"there are madmen in Bedlam less mad than I."

"You make me quite impatient," said a friend of mine, to whom I read
out this remark: "you are continually opposing the passionate man to
the Don Juan, and that is not the point in dispute. You would be right,
if a man could provide himself with passion at will. But what about
indifference--what is to be done then?"--Gallant-love without horrors.
Its horrors always come from a little soul, that needs to be reassured
as to its own merit.

To continue.--The Don Juans must find great difficulty

[Pg 262]
in agreeing with what I was saying just now of this state of the soul.
Besides the fact that they can neither see nor feel this state, it
gives too great a blow to their vanity. The error of their life is
expecting to win in a fortnight what a timid lover can scarcely obtain
in six months. They base their reckoning on experience got at the
expense of those poor devils, who have neither the soul to please a
woman of feeling by revealing its ingenuous workings, nor the necessary
wit for the part of a Don Juan. They refuse to see that the same prize,
though granted by the same woman, is not the same thing.

    L'homme prudent sans cesse se méfie.
    C'est pour cela que des amants trompeurs
    Le nombre est grand. Les dames que l'on prie
    Font soupirer longtemps des serviteurs
    Qui n'ont jamais été faux de leur vie.
    Mais du trésor qu'elles donnent enfin
    Le prix n'est su que du cœur qui le goûte;
    Plus on l'achète et plus il est divin:
    Le los d'amour ne vaut pas ce qu'il coûte.[12]

       (Nivernais, _Le Troubadour Guillaume de la Tour_, III, 342.)

Passion-love in the eyes of a Don Juan may be compared to a strange
road, steep and toilsome, that begins, 'tis true, amidst delicious
copses, but is soon lost among sheer rocks, whose aspect is anything
but inviting to the eyes of the vulgar. Little by little the road
penetrates into the mountain-heights, in the midst of a dark forest,
where the huge trees, intercepting the daylight with their shaggy
tops that seem to touch the sky, throw a kind of horror into souls
untempered by dangers.

[Pg 263]
After wandering with difficulty, as in an endless maze, whose multiple
turnings try the patience of our self-love, on a sudden we turn a
corner and find ourselves in a new world, in the delicious valley of
Cashmire of Lalla Rookh. How can the Don Juans, who never venture along
this road, or at most take but a few steps along it, judge of the views
that it offers at the end of the journey?...

                   *       *       *       *       *

So you see inconstancy is good:

 "Il me faut du nouveau, n'en fût-il plus au monde."[13]

Very well, I reply, you make light of oaths and justice, and what can
you look for in inconstancy? Pleasure apparently.

But the pleasure to be got from a pretty woman, desired a fortnight and
loved three months, is different from the pleasure to be found in a
mistress, desired three years and loved ten.

If I do not insert the word "always" the reason is that I have been
told old age, by altering our organs, renders us incapable of loving;
myself, I don't believe it. When your mistress has become your intimate
friend, she can give you new pleasures, the pleasures of old age. 'Tis
a flower that, after it has been a rose in the morning--the season of
flowers--becomes a delicious fruit in the evening, when the roses are
no longer in season.[14]

A mistress desired three years is really a mistress in every sense of
the word; you cannot approach her without trembling; and let me tell
the Don Juans that a man who trembles is not bored. The pleasures of
love are always in proportion to our fear.

The evil of inconstancy is weariness; the evil of passion is despair
and death. The cases of despair are noted and become legend. No one
pays attention to the

[Pg 264]
weary old libertines dying of boredom, with whom the streets of Paris
are lined.

"Love blows out more brains than boredom." I have no doubt of it:
boredom robs a man of everything, even the courage to kill himself.

There is a certain type of character which can find pleasure only in
variety. A man who cries up Champagne at the expense of Bordeaux is
only saying, with more or less eloquence: "I prefer Champagne."

Each of these wines has its partisans, and they are all right, so
long as they quite understand themselves, and run after the kind of
happiness best suited to their organs[15] and their habits. What ruins
the case for inconstancy is that all fools range themselves on that
side from lack of courage.

But after all, everyone, if he will take the trouble to look into
himself, has his ideal, and there always seems to me something a little
ridiculous in wanting to convert your neighbour.

[1] See the first volume of the _Nouvelle Héloïse_. I should say every
volume, if Saint-Preux had happened to have the ghost of a character,
but he was a real poet, a babbler without resolution, who had no
courage until he had made a peroration--yes, a very dull man. Such men
have an immense advantage, in not upsetting feminine pride, and in
never giving their mistress a fright. Weigh the word well; it contains
perhaps the whole secret of the success of dull men with distinguished
women. Nevertheless love is only a passion in so far as it makes one
forget one's self-love. Thus they do not completely know love, these
women, who, like L., ask of it the pleasures of pride. Unconsciously,
they are on the same level as the prosaic man, the object of their
contempt, who in love seeks love plus vanity. And they too, they want
love and pride; but love goes out with flaming cheeks; he is the
proudest of despots; he will be all, or nothing.

[2] See a certain page of André Chénier (Works, p. 370); or rather look
at life, though that's much harder. "In general, those whom we call
patricians are much further than other men from loving anything," says
the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. (_Meditations_.)

[3] Compare Lovelace and Tom Jones.

[4] See the _Vie privée du duc de Richelieu_, nine volumes in 8vo.
Why, at the moment that an assassin kills a man, does he not fall dead
at his victim's feet? Why is there illness? And, if there is illness,
why does not a Troistaillons die of the colic? Why does Henry IV reign
twenty-one years and Lewis XV fifty-nine? Why is not the length of
life in exact proportion to the degree of virtue in each man? These
and other "infamous questions," English philosophers will say there
is certainly no merit in posing; but there would be some merit in
answering them otherwise than with insults and "cant."

[5] Note Nero after the murder of his mother, in Suetonius, and yet
with what a fine lot of flattery was he surrounded.

[6] Cruelty is only a morbid kind of sympathy. Power is, after love,
the first source of happiness, only because one believes oneself to be
in a position to command sympathy.

[7] If you offer the spectator a picture of the sentiment of virtue
side by side with the sentiment of love, you will find that you have
represented a heart divided between two sentiments. In novels the only
good of virtue is to be sacrificed; _vide_ Julie d'Étanges.

[8] _Vide_ Saint-Simon, _fausse couche_ of the Duchesse de Bourgoyne;
and Madame de Motteville, _passim_: That princess, who was surprised
to find that other women had five fingers on their hands like herself;
that Gaston, Duke of Orleans, brother of Lewis XIII, who found it
quite easy to understand why his favourites went to the scaffold just
to please him. Note, in 1820, these fine gentlemen putting forward an
electoral law that may bring back your Robespierres into France, etc.,
etc. And observe Naples in 1799. (I leave this note written in 1820. A
list of the great nobles in 1778, with notes on their morals, compiled
by General Laclos, seen at Naples in the library of the Marchese
Berio--a very scandalous manuscript of more than three hundred pages.)

[9] The character of the young man of the privileged classes in 1820 is
pretty correctly represented by the brave Bothwell of _Old Mortality_.

[10] See Memoirs of de Retz and the unpleasant minute he gave the
coadjutor at the Parliament between two doors.

[11] Vol. 1819. Honeysuckle on the slopes.

[12] [A prudent man continually mistrusts himself. 'Tis the reason why
the number of false lovers is great. The women whom men worship, make
their servants, who have never been false in their life, sigh a long
time. But the value of the prize that they give them in the end, can
only be known to the heart that tastes it; the greater the cost, the
more divine it is. The praises of love are not worth its pains.--Tr.]

[13] [I must have novelty, even if there were none left in the
world.--Tr. ]

[14] See the Memoirs of Collé--his wife.

[15] Physiologists, who understand our organs, tell you: "Injustice,
in the relations of social life, produces harshness, diffidence and

[Pg 265]

                               BOOK III

[Pg 266]
[Pg 267]
                          SCATTERED FRAGMENTS

Under this title, which I would willingly have made still more modest,
I have brought together, without excessive severity, a selection made
from three or four hundred playing cards, on which I found a few lines
scrawled in pencil. That which, I suppose, must be called the original
manuscript, for want of a simpler name, was in many places made up
of pieces of paper of all sizes, written on in pencil, and joined
together by Lisio with sealing-wax, to save him the trouble of copying
them afresh. He told me once that nothing he ever noted down seemed
to him worth the trouble of recopying an hour later. I have entered
so fully into all this in the hope that it may serve as an excuse for


Everything can be acquired in solitude, except character.


1821. Hatred, love and avarice, the three ruling passions at Rome, and
with gambling added, almost the only ones.

At first sight the Romans seem ill-natured, but they are only very much
on their guard and blessed with an imagination which flares up at the
least suggestion.

If they give a gratuitous proof of ill-nature, it is the case of a man,
gnawed by fear, and testing his gun to reassure himself.

[Pg 268]

If I were to say, as I believe, that good-nature is the keynote of the
Parisian's character, I should be very frightened of having offended
him.--"I won't be good!"


A proof of love comes to light, when all the pleasures and all the
pains, which all the other passions and wants of man can produce, in a
moment cease working.


Prudery is a kind of avarice--the worst of all.


To have a solid character is to have a long and tried experience of
life's disillusions and misfortunes. Then it is a question of desiring
constantly or not at all.


Love, such as it exists in smart society, is the love of battle, the
love of gambling.


Nothing kills gallant love like gusts of passion-love from the other
side. (Contessina L. Forlì--1819).


A great fault in women, and the most offensive of all to a man a
little worthy of that name: The public, in matters of feeling, never
soars above mean ideas, and women make the public the supreme judge
of their lives--even the most distinguished women, I maintain, often
unconsciously, and even while believing and saying the contrary.
(Brescia, 1819).

[Pg 269]

Prosaic is a new word, which once I thought absurd, for nothing could
be colder than our poetry. If there has been any warmth in France for
the last fifty years, it is assuredly to be found in its prose.

But anyhow, the little Countess L---- used the word and I like writing

The definition of prosaic is to be got from _Don Quixote_, and "the
complete contrast of Knight and Squire." The Knight tall and pale; the
Squire fat and fresh. The former all heroism and courtesy; the latter
all selfishness and servility. The former always full of romantic and
touching fancies; the latter a model of worldly wisdom, a compendium
of wise saws. The one always feeding his soul on dreams of heroism and
daring; the other ruminating some really sensible scheme in which,
never fear, he will take into strict account all the shameful, selfish
little movements the human heart is prone to.

At the very moment when the former should be brought to his senses
by the non-success of yesterday's dreams, he is already busy on his
castles in Spain for to-day.

You ought to have a prosaic husband and to choose a romantic lover.

Marlborough had a prosaic soul: Henry IV, in love at fifty-five with a
young princess, who could not forget his age, a romantic heart.[1]

There are fewer prosaic beings among the nobility than in the

This is the fault of trade, it makes people prosaic.

[1] Dulaure, _History of Paris_.

Silent episode in the queen's apartment the evening of the flight of
the Princesse de Condé: the ministers transfixed to the wall and mute,
the King striding up and down.

[Pg 270]

Nothing so interesting as passion: for there everything is unforeseen,
and the principal is the victim. Nothing so flat as gallantry, where
everything is a matter of calculation, as in all the prosaic affairs of


At the end of a visit you always finish by treating a lover better than
you meant to. (L., _November 2nd_, 1818).


In spite of genius in an upstart, the influence of rank always makes
itself felt. Think of Rousseau losing his heart to all the "ladies" he
met, and weeping tears of rapture because the Duke of L----, one of the
dullest courtiers of the period, deigns to take the right side rather
than the left in a walk with a certain M. Coindet, friend of Rousseau!
(L., _May 3rd_, 1820.)


Women's only educator is the world. A mother in love does not hesitate
to appear in the seventh heaven of delight, or in the depth of
despair, before her daughters aged fourteen or fifteen. Remember that,
under these happy skies, plenty of women are quite nice-looking till
forty-five, and the majority are married at eighteen.

Think of La Valchiusa saying yesterday of Lampugnani: "Ah, that man was
made for me, he could love, ... etc., etc," and so on in this strain
to a friend--all before her daughter, a little thing of fourteen or
fifteen, very much on the alert, and whom she also took with her on the
more than friendly walks with the lover in question.

Sometimes girls get hold of sound rules of conduct, For examples take
Madame Guarnacci, addressing her two daughters and two men, who have
never called on

[Pg 271]
her before. For an hour and a half she treats them to profound maxims,
based on examples within their own knowledge (that of La Cercara in
Hungary), on the precise point at which it is right to punish with
infidelity a lover who misbehaves himself. (Ravenna, _January 23rd_,


The sanguine man, the true Frenchman (Colonel M----) instead of being
tormented by excess of feeling, like Rousseau, if he has a rendezvous
for the next evening at seven, sees everything, right up to the
blessed moment, through rosy spectacles. People of this kind are not
in the least susceptible to passion-love; it would upset their sweet
tranquillity. I will go so far as to say that perhaps they would find
its transports a nuisance, or at all events be humiliated by the
timidity it produces.


Most men of the world, through vanity, caution or disaster, let
themselves love a woman freely only after intimate intercourse.


With very gentle souls a woman needs to be easy-going in order to
encourage crystallisation.


A woman imagines that the voice of the public is speaking through the
mouth of the first fool or the first treacherous friend who claims to
be its faithful interpreter to her.


There is a delicious pleasure in clasping in your arms a woman who has
wronged you grievously, who has been

[Pg 272]
your bitter enemy for many a day, and is ready to be so again. Good
fortune of the French officers in Spain, 1812.


Solitude is what one wants, to relish one's own heart and to love; but
to succeed one must go amongst men, here, there and everywhere.


"All the observations of the French on love are well written, carefully
and without exaggeration, but they bear only on light affections," said
that delightful person, Cardinal Lante.


In Goldoni's comedy, the _Innamorati_, all the workings of passion are
excellent; it is the very repulsive meanness of style and thought which
revolts one. The contrary is true of a French comedy.


The youth of 1822: To say "serious turn of mind, active disposition"
means "sacrifice of the present to the future." Nothing develops the
soul like the power and the habit of making such sacrifices. I foresee
the probability of more great passions in 1832 than in 1772.


The choleric temperament, when it does not display itself in too
repulsive a form, is one perhaps most apt of all to strike and keep
alive the imagination of women. If the choleric temperament does not
fall among propitious surroundings, as Lauzun in Saint-Simon (Memoirs),
the difficulty is to grow used to it. But

[Pg 273]
once grasped by a woman, this character must fascinate her: yes, even
the savage and fanatic Balfour (_Old Mortality_). For women it is the
antithesis of the prosaic.


In love one often doubts what one believes most strongly (La R., 355).
In every other passion, what once we have proved, we no longer doubt.


Verse was invented to assist the memory. Later it was kept to increase
the pleasure of reading by the sight of the difficulty overcome. Its
survival nowadays in dramatic art is a relic of barbarity. Example: the
Cavalry Regulations put into verse by M. de Bonnay.


While this jealous slave feeds his soul on boredom, avarice, hatred
and other such poisonous, cold passions, I spend a night of happiness
dreaming of her--of her who, through mistrust, treats me badly.


It needs a great soul to dare have a simple style. That is why Rousseau
put so much rhetoric into the _Nouvelle Héloïse_--which makes it
unreadable for anyone over thirty.


"The greatest reproach we could possibly make against ourselves is,
certainly, to have let fade, like the shadowy phantoms produced by
sleep, the ideas of honour and justice, which from time to time well up
in our hearts." (_Letter from Jena, March_, 1819.)

[Pg 274]

A respectable woman is in the country and passes an hour in the
hot-house with her gardener. Certain people, whose views she has upset,
accuse her of having found a lover in this gardener. What answer is

Speaking absolutely, the thing is possible. She could say: "My
character speaks for me, look at my behaviour throughout life"--only
all this is equally invisible to the eyes of the ill-natured who won't
see, and the fools who can't. (Salviati, Rome, _July 23rd_, 1819.)


I have known a man find out that his rival's love was returned, and yet
the rival himself remain blinded to the fact by his passion.


The more desperately he is in love, the more violent the pressure a man
is forced to put upon himself, in order to risk annoying the woman he
loves by taking her hand.


Ludicrous rhetoric but, unlike that of Rousseau, inspired by true
passion. (Memoirs of M. de Mau..., _Letter of S----_.)



I saw, or I thought I saw, this evening the triumph of naturalness in
a young woman, who certainly seems to me to possess a great character.
She adores, obviously, I think, one of her cousins and must have
confessed to herself the state of her heart. The cousin is in love with
her, but as she is very serious with him, thinks she does not like him,
and lets himself be fascinated by the marks

[Pg 275]
of preference shown him by Clara, a young widow and friend of Mélanie.
I think he will marry her. Mélanie sees it and suffers all that a proud
heart, struggling involuntarily with a violent passion, is capable of
suffering. She has only to alter her ways a little; but she would look
upon it as a piece of meanness, the consequences of which would affect
her whole life, to depart one instant from her natural self.


Sappho saw in love only sensual intoxication or physical pleasure
made sublime by crystallisation. Anacreon looked for sensual and
intellectual amusement. There was too little security in Antiquity for
people to find leisure for passion-love.


The foregoing fact fully justifies me in rather laughing at people who
think Homer superior to Tasso. Passion-love did exist in the time of
Homer, and at no great distance from Greece.


Woman with a heart, if you wish to know whether the man you adore
loves you with passion-love, study your lover's early youth. Every man
of distinction in the early days of his life is either a ridiculous
enthusiast or an unfortunate. A man easy to please, of gay and cheerful
humour, can never love with the passion your heart requires.

Passion I call only that which has gone through long misfortunes,
misfortunes which novels take good care not to depict--what's more they

[Pg 276]

A bold resolution can change in an instant the most extreme misfortune
into quite a tolerable state of things. The evening of a defeat, a man
is retreating in hot haste, his charger already spent. He can hear
distinctly the troop of cavalry galloping in pursuit. Suddenly he
stops, dismounts, recharges his carbine and pistols, and makes up his
mind to defend himself. Straightway, instead of having death, he has a
cross of the Legion of Honour before his eyes.


Basis of English habits. About 1730, while we already had Voltaire and
Fontenelle, a machine was invented in England to separate the grain,
after threshing, from the chaff. It worked by means of a wheel, which
gave the air enough movement to blow away the bits of chaff. But in
that biblical country the peasants pretended that it was wicked to go
against the will of Divine Providence, and to produce an artificial
wind like this, instead of begging Heaven with an ardent prayer for
enough wind to thresh the corn and waiting for the moment appointed by
the God of Israel. Compare this with French peasants.[1]

[1] For the actual state of English habits, see the Life of Mr.
Beattie, written by an intimate friend. The reader will be edified by
the profound humility of Mr. Beattie, when he receives ten guineas from
an old Marchioness in order to slander Hume. The trembling aristocracy
relies on the bishops with incomes of £200,000, and pays in money and
honour so-called liberal writers to throw mud at Chénier. (_Edinburgh
Review_, 1821.)

The most disgusting cant leaks through on all sides. Everything except
the portrayal of primitive and energetic feelings is stifled by it:
impossible to write a joyous page in English.


No doubt about it--'tis a form of madness to expose oneself to
passion-love. In some cases, however, the cure

[Pg 277]
works too energetically. American girls in the United States are so
saturated and fortified with reasonable ideas, that in that country
love, the flower of life, has deserted youth. At Boston a girl can
be left perfectly safely alone with a handsome stranger--in all
probability she's thinking of nothing but her marriage settlement.


In France men who have lost their wives are melancholy; widows, on the
contrary, merry and light-hearted. There is a proverb current among
women on the felicity of this state. So there must be some inequality
in the articles of union.


People who are happy in their love have an air of profound
preoccupation, which, for a Frenchman, is the same as saying an air of
profound gloom. (Dresden, 1818.)


The more generally a man pleases, the less deeply can he please.


As a result of imitation in the early years of life, we contract the
passions of our parents, even when these very passions poison our life.
(L.'s pride.)


The most honourable source of feminine pride is a woman's fear of
degrading herself in her lover's eyes by some hasty step or some action
that he may think unwomanly.

[Pg 278]

Real love renders the thought of death frequent, agreeable,
unterrifying, a mere subject of comparison, the price we are willing to
pay for many a thing.


How often have I exclaimed for all my bravery: "If anyone would blow
out my brains, I'd thank him before I expired, if there were time." A
man can only be brave, with the woman he loves, by loving her a little
less. (S., _February_, 1820.)


"I could never love!" a young woman said to me. "Mirabeau and his
letters to Sophie have given me a disgust for great souls. Those fatal
letters impressed me like a personal experience."

Try a plan which you never read of in novels; let two years' constancy
assure you, before intimate intercourse, of your lover's heart.


Ridicule scares love. Ridicule is impossible in Italy: what's good
form in Venice is odd at Naples--consequently nothing's odd in Italy.
Besides, nothing that gives pleasure is found fault with. 'Tis this
that does away with the fool's honour and half the farce.


Children command by tears, and if people do not attend to their wishes,
they hurt themselves on purpose. Young women are piqued from a sense of

[Pg 279]

'Tis a common reflection, but one for that reason easily forgotten,
that every day sensitive souls become rarer, cultured minds commoner.


                            FEMININE PRIDE

I have just witnessed a striking example--but on mature consideration
I should need fifteen pages to give a proper idea of it. If I dared,
I would much rather note the consequences; my eyes have convinced me
beyond the possibility of doubt. But, no, it is a conviction I must
give up all idea of communicating, there are too many little details.
Such pride is the opposite of French vanity. So far as I can remember,
the only work, in which I have seen a sketch of it, is that part of
Madame Roland's Memoirs, where she recounts the petty reasonings she
made as a girl. (Bologna, _April 18th_, 2 a.m.)


In France, most women make no account of a young man until they have
turned him into a coxcomb. It is only then that he can flatter their
vanity. (Duclos.)


Zilietti said to me at midnight (at the charming Marchesina R...'s):
"I'm not going to dine at San Michele (an inn). Yesterday I said some
smart things--I was joking with Cl...; it might make me conspicuous."

Don't go and think that Zilietti is either a fool or a coward. He is a
prudent and very rich man in this happy land. (Modena, 1820.)

[Pg 280]

What is admirable in America is the government, not society. Elsewhere
government does the harm. At Boston they have changed parts, and
government plays the hypocrite, in order not to shock society.


Italian girls, if they love, are entirely given over to natural
inspiration. At the very most all that can aid them is a handful
of excellent maxims, which they have picked up by listening at the
keyhole. As if fate had decreed that everything here should combine to
preserve naturalness, they read no novels--and for this reason, that
there are none. At Geneva or in France, on the contrary, a girls falls
in love at sixteen in order to be a heroine, and at each step, almost
at each tear, she asks herself: "Am I not just like Julie d'Étanges? "


The husband of a young woman adored by a lover, whom she treats
unkindly and scarcely allows to kiss her hand, has, at the very most,
only the grossest physical pleasure, where the lover would find the
charms and transports of the keenest happiness that exists on earth.


The laws of the imagination are still so little understood, that I
include the following estimate, though perhaps it is all quite wrong.

I seem to distinguish two sorts of imagination:--

1. Imagination like Fabio's, ardent, impetuous, inconsiderate, leading
straight to action, consuming itself, and already languishing at a
delay of twenty-four hours. Impatience is its prime characteristic; it
becomes enraged against that which it cannot obtain. It sees all

[Pg 281]
exterior objects, but they only serve to inflame it. It assimilates
them to its own substance, and converts them straight away to the
profit of passion.

2. Imagination which takes fire slowly and little by little, but which
loses in time the perception of exterior objects, and comes to find
occupation and nourishment in nothing but its own passion. This last
sort of imagination goes quite easily with slowness, or even scarcity,
of ideas. It is favourable to constancy. It is the imagination of the
greater part of those poor German girls, who are dying of love and
consumption. That sad spectacle, so frequent beyond the Rhine, is never
met with in Italy.


Imaginative habits. A Frenchman is really shocked by eight changes of
scenery in one act of a tragedy. Such a man is incapable of pleasure in
seeing Macbeth. He consoles himself by damning Shakespeare.


In France the provinces are forty years behind Paris in all that
regards women. A. C., a married woman, tells me that she only liked to
read certain parts of Lanzi's Memoirs. Such stupidity is too much for
me; I can no longer find a word to say to her. As if that were a book
one _could_ put down!

Want of naturalness--the great failing in provincial women.

Their effusive and gracious gestures; those who play the first fiddle
in the town are worse than the others.


Goethe, or any other German genius, esteems money at what it's worth.
Until he has got an income of six thousand francs, he must think of
nothing but his

[Pg 282]
banking-account. After that he must never think of it again. The fool,
on his side, does not understand the advantage there is of feeling
and thinking like Goethe. All his life he feels in terms of money and
thinks of sums of money. It is owing to this support from both sides,
that the prosaic in this world seem to come off so much better than the


In Europe, desire is inflamed by constraint; in America it is dulled by


A mania for discussion has got hold of the younger generation and
stolen it from love. While they are considering whether Napoleon was
of service to France, they let the age of love speed past. Even with
those who mean to be young, it is all affectation--a tie, a spur, their
martial swagger, their all-absorbing self--and they forget to cast a
glance at the girl who passes by so modestly and cannot go out more
than once a week through want of means.


I have suppressed a chapter on Prudery, and others as well.

I am happy to find the following passage in Horace Walpole's Memoirs:

_The Two Elizabeths_. Let us compare the daughters of two ferocious
men, and see which was sovereign of a civilised nation, which of a
barbarous one. Both were Elizabeths. The daughter of Peter (of Russia)
was absolute, yet spared a competitor and a rival; and thought the
person of an empress had sufficient allurements for as many of her
subjects as she chose to honour with the

[Pg 283]
communication. Elizabeth of England could neither forgive the claim
of Mary Stuart nor her charms, but ungenerously imprisoned her (as
George IV did Napoleon[1]) when imploring protection, and, without the
sanction of either despotism or law, sacrificed many to her great and
little jealousy. Yet this Elizabeth piqued herself on chastity; and
while she practised every ridiculous art of coquetry to be admired
at an unseemly age, kept off lovers whom she encouraged, and neither
gratified her own desires nor their ambition. Who can help preferring
the honest, open-hearted barbarian empress? (Lord Orford's Memoirs.)

[1] [Added, of course, by Stendhal.--Tr.]


Extreme familiarity may destroy crystallisation. A charming girl of
sixteen fell in love with a handsome youth of the same age, who never
failed one evening to pass under her window at nightfall. Her mother
invites him to spend a week with them in the country--a desperate
remedy, I agree. But the girl was romantic, and the youth rather dull:
after three days she despised him.


Ave Maria--twilight in Italy, the hour of tenderness, of the soul's
pleasures and of melancholy--sensation intensified by the sound of
those lovely bells.

Hours of pleasure, which only in memory touch the senses.... (Bologna,
_April 17th_, 1817.)


A young man's first love-affair on entering society is ordinarily one
of ambition. He rarely declares his love for a sweet, amiable and
innocent young girl. How tremble before her, adore her, feel oneself
in the presence of a divinity? Youth must love a being whose qualities
lift him up in his own eyes. It is in the decline of life

[Pg 284]
that we sadly come back to love the simple and the innocent, despairing
of the sublime. Between the two comes true love, which thinks of
nothing but itself.


The existence of great souls is not suspected. They hide away; all that
is seen is a little originality. There are more great souls than one
would think.


The first clasp of the beloved's hand--what a moment that is! The
only joy to be compared to it is the ravishing joy of power--which
statesmen and kings make pretence of despising. This joy also has
its crystallisation, though it demands a colder and more reasonable
imagination. Think of a man whom, a quarter of an hour ago, Napoleon
has called to be a minister.


The celebrated Johannes von Müller(54) said to me at Cassel in
1808--Nature has given strength to the North and wit to the South.


Nothing more untrue than the maxim: No man is a hero before his valet.
Or, rather, nothing truer in the monarchic sense of the word hero--the
affected hero, like Hippolytus in _Phèdre_. Desaix, for example, would
have been a hero even before his valet (it's true I don't know if he
had one), and a still greater hero for his valet than for anyone else.
Turenne and Fénelon might each have been a Desaix, but for "good form"
and the necessary amount of force.

[Pg 285]

Here is blasphemy. I, a Dutchman, dare say this: the French possess
neither the true pleasures of conversation nor the true pleasures of
the theatre; instead of relaxation and complete unrestraint, they mean
hard labour. Among the sources of fatigue which hastened on the death
of Mme. de Staël I have heard counted the strain of conversation during
her last winter.[1]

[1] Memoirs of Marmontel, Montesquieu's conversation.


The degree of tension of the nerves in the ear, necessary to hear each
note, explains well enough the physical part of one's pleasure in music.


What degrades rakish women is the opinion, which they share with the
public, that they are guilty of a great sin.


In an army in retreat, warn an Italian soldier of a danger which it is
no use running--he'll almost thank you and he'll carefully avoid it.
If, from kindness, you point out the same danger to a French soldier,
he'll think you're defying him--his sense of honour is piqued, and he
runs his head straight against it. If he dared, he'd like to jeer at
you. (Gyat, 1812.)


In France, any idea that can be explained only in the very simplest
terms is sure to be despised, even the most useful. The Monitorial
system(43), invented by a Frenchman, could never catch on. It is
exactly the opposite in Italy.

[Pg 286]

Suppose you are passionately in love with a woman and that your
imagination has not run dry. One evening she is tactless enough to
say, looking at you tenderly and abashed: "Er--yes--come to-morrow at
midday; I shall be in to no one but you." You cannot sleep; you cannot
think of anything; the morning is torture. At last twelve o'clock
strikes, and every stroke of the clock seems to clash and clang on your


In love, to share money is to increase love, to give it is to kill love.

You are putting off the present difficulty, and the odious fear of want
in the future; or rather you are sowing the seeds of policy, of the
feeling of being two.--You destroy sympathy.


Court ceremonies involuntarily call to mind scenes from Aretine--the
way the women display their bare shoulders, like officers their
uniform, and, for all their charms, make no more sensation!

There you see what in a mercenary way all will do to win a man's
approval; there you see a whole world acting without morality and,
what's more, without passion. All this added to the presence of the
women with their very low dresses and their expression of malice,
greeting with a sardonic smile everything but selfish advantage payable
in the hard cash of solid pleasures--why! it gives the idea of scenes
from the Bagno. It drives far away all doubts suggested by virtue or
the conscious satisfaction of a heart at peace with itself. Yet I have
seen the feeling of isolation amidst all this dispose gentle hearts to
love. (_Mars at the Tuileries_, 1811.)

[Pg 287]

A soul taken up with bashfulness and the effort to suppress it, is
incapable of pleasure. Pleasure is a luxury--to enjoy it, security is
essential and must run no risks.


A test of love in which mercenary women cannot disguise their
feelings.--"Do you feel real delight in reconciliation or is it only
the thought of what you'll gain by it?"


The poor things who fill La Trappe(55) are wretches who have not had
quite enough courage to kill themselves. I except, of course, the
heads, who find pleasure in being heads.


It is a misfortune to have known Italian beauty: you lose your
sensibility. Out of Italy, you prefer the conversation of men.


Italian prudence looks to the preservation of life, and this allows
free play to the imagination. (Cf. a version of the death of Pertica
the famous comic actor, December 24th, 1821.) On the other hand,
English prudence, wholly relative to the gain and safe-keeping of
just enough money to cover expenses, demands detailed and everyday
exactitude, and this habit paralyses the imagination. Notice also how
enormously it strengthens the conception of duty.


The immense respect for money, which is the first and foremost vice of
Englishmen and Italians, is less felt

[Pg 288]
in France and reduced to perfectly rational limits in Germany.


French women, having never known the happiness of true passion, are
anything but exacting over internal domestic happiness and the everyday
side of life. (_Compiègne_.)


"You talk to me of ambition for driving away boredom," said Kamensky:
"but all the time I used to gallop a couple of leagues every evening,
for the pleasure of seeing the Princess at Kolich, I was on terms of
intimacy with a despot whom I respected, who had my whole good fortune
in his power and the satisfaction of all my possible desires."


Pretty contrast! On the one hand--perfection in the little niceties of
worldly wisdom and of dress, great kindliness, want of genius, daily
cult of a thousand and one petty observances, and incapacity for three
days' attention to the same event: on the other--puritan severity,
biblical cruelty, strict probity, timid, morbid self-love and universal
cant! And yet these are the two foremost nations of the world.


As among princesses there has been an Empress Catherine II, why should
a female Samuel Bernard(56), or a Lagrange(57) not appear among the


Alviza calls this an unpardonable want of refinement--to dare to make
love by letter to a woman you adore and who looks at you tenderly, but
declares that she can never love you.

[Pg 289]

It was a mistake of the greatest philosopher that France has had, not
to have stayed in some Alpine solitude, in some remote abode, thence
to launch his book on Paris without ever coming there himself(58).
Seeing Helvétius so simple and straightforward, unnatural, hot-house
people like Suard, Marmontel or Diderot could never imagine they had
a great philosopher before them. They were perfectly honest in their
contempt for his profound reason. First of all, it was simple--a fault
unpardonable in France; secondly, the author, not, of course, his
book, was lowered in value by this weakness--the extreme importance
he attached to getting what in France is called glory, to being, like
Balzac, Voiture or Fontenelle, the fashion among his contemporaries.

Rousseau had too much feeling and too little logic, Buffon, in his
Botanical Garden, was too hypocritical, and Voltaire too paltry to be
able to judge the principle of Helvétius.

Helvétius was guilty of a little slip in calling this principle
_interest_, instead of giving it a pretty name like _pleasure_;[1] but
what are we to think of a nation's literature, which shows its sense by
letting itself be led astray by a fault so slight?

The ordinary clever man, Prince Eugene of Savoy for example, finding
himself in the position of Regulus, would have stayed quietly at Rome,
and even laughed at the stupidity of the Carthaginian Senate. Regulus
goes back to Carthage. Prince Eugene would have been prosecuting his
own interest, and in exactly the same way Regulus was prosecuting his.

All through life a noble spirit is seeing possibilities

[Pg 290]
of action, of which a common spirit can form no idea. The very second
the possibility of that action becomes visible to the noble spirit, it
is its interest thus to act.

If this noble spirit did not perform the action, which it has just
perceived, it would despise itself--it would be unhappy. Man's duties
are in the ratio of his moral range. The principle of Helvétius holds
good, even in the wildest exaltations of love, even in suicide. It is
contrary to his nature, it is an impossibility for a man not to do,
always and at any moment you choose to take, that which is possible and
which gives him most pleasure at that moment to do.

[1] Torva leoena lupum sequitur, lupus ipse capellam;
    Florentem cytisum sequitur lasciva capella.
    .... Trahit sua quemque voluptas. (Virgil, Eclogue II.)


To have firmness of character means to have experienced the influence
of others on oneself. Therefore others are necessary.


                             ANCIENT LOVE

No posthumous love-letters of Roman ladies have been printed. Petronius
has written a charming book, but it is only debauch that he has painted.

For love at Rome, apart from Virgil's story of Dido[1] and his second
Eclogue, we have no evidence more precise than the writings of the
three great poets, Ovid, Tibullus and Propertius.

Now, Parny's _Elegies_ or Colardeau's _Letter of Héloïse to Abelard_
are pictures of a very imperfect and vague kind, if you compare them
to some of the letters in the _Nouvelle Héloïse_, to those of the
Portuguese Nun, of Mademoiselle de Lespinasse, of Mirabeau's Sophie, of
Werther, etc., etc.

[Pg 291]
Poetry, with its obligatory comparisons, its mythology in which the
poet doesn't believe, its dignity of style _à la_ Louis XIV, and all
its superfluous stock of ornaments called poetical, is very inferior to
prose when it comes to a question of giving a clear and precise idea
of the working of the heart. And, in this class of writing, clearness
alone is effective.

Tibullus, Ovid and Propertius had better taste than our poets; they
have painted love such as it was to be found among the proud citizens
of Rome: moreover, they lived under Augustus, who, having shut the
temple of Janus, sought to debase these citizens to the condition of
the loyal subjects of a monarchy.

The mistresses of these three great poets were coquettes, faithless
and venal women; in their company the poets only sought physical
pleasure, and never, I should think, caught a glimpse of the sublime
sentiments[2] which, thirteen centuries later, stirred the heart of the
gentle Héloïse.

I borrow the following passage from a distinguished man of letters,[3]
and one who knows the Latin poets much better than I do:--

 The brilliant genius of Ovid, the rich imagination of Propertius,
 the impressionable heart of Tibullus, doubtless inspired them with
 verses of a different flavour, but all, in the same manner, they loved
 women of much the same kind. They desire, they triumph, they have
 fortunate rivals, they are jealous, they quarrel and make it up; they
 are faithless in their turn, they are forgiven; and they recover their
 happiness only to be ruffled by the return of the same mischances.

 Corinna is married. The first lessons that Ovid gives her are to teach
 her the address with which to deceive her husband: the signs they are
 to make each other before him and in society,

[Pg 292]
 so that they can understand each other and be understood only by
 themselves. Enjoyment quickly follows; afterwards quarrels, and, what
 you wouldn't expect from so gallant a man as Ovid, insults and blows;
 then excuses, tears and forgiveness. Sometimes he addresses himself to
 subordinates--to the servants, to his mistress' porter, who is to open
 to him at night, to a cursed old beldam who corrupts her and teaches
 her to sell herself for gold, to an old eunuch who keeps watch over
 her, to a slave-girl who is to convey the tablets in which he begs for
 a rendezvous. The rendezvous is refused: he curses his tablets, that
 have had such sorry fortune. Fortune shines brighter: he adjures the
 dawn not to come to interrupt his happiness.

 Soon he accuses himself of numberless infidelities, of his
 indiscriminate taste for women. A moment after, Corinna is herself
 faithless; he cannot bear the idea that he has given her lessons from
 which she reaps the profit with someone else. Corinna in her turn is
 jealous; she abuses him like a fury rather than a gentle woman; she
 accuses him of loving a slave-girl. He swears that there is nothing
 in it and writes to the slave--yet everything that made Corinna angry
 was true. But how did she get to know of it? What clue had led to
 their betrayal? He asks the slave-girl for another rendezvous. If she
 refuse him, he threatens to confess everything to Corinna. He jokes
 with a friend about his two loves and the trouble and pleasure they
 give him. Soon after, it is Corinna alone that fills his thoughts. She
 is everything to him. He sings his triumph, as if it were his first
 victory. After certain incidents, which for more than one reason we
 must leave in Ovid, and others, which it would be too long to recount,
 he discovers that Corinna's husband has become too lax. He is no
 longer jealous; our lover does not like this, and threatens to leave
 the wife, if the husband does not resume his jealousy. The husband
 obeys him but too well; he has Corinna watched so closely, that Ovid
 can no longer come to her. He complains of this close watch, which
 he had himself provoked--but he will find a way to get round it.
 Unfortunately, he is not the only one to succeed therein. Corinna's
 infidelities begin again and multiply; her intrigues become so public,
 that the only boon that Ovid can crave of her, is that she will take
 some trouble to deceive him, and show a little less obviously what she
 really is. Such were the morals of Ovid and his mistress, such is the
 character of their love.

 Cynthia is the first love of Propertius, and she will be his last.

[Pg 293]
 No sooner is he happy, but he is jealous. Cynthia is too fond of
 dress; he begs her to shun luxury and to love simplicity. He himself
 is given up to more than one kind of debauch. Cynthia expects him; he
 only comes to her at dawn, leaving a banquet in his cups. He finds
 her asleep; it is a long time before she wakes, in spite of the
 noise he makes and even of his kisses; at last she opens her eyes
 and reproaches him as he deserves. A friend tries to detach him from
 Cynthia; he gives his friend a eulogy of her beauty and talents.
 He is threatened with losing her; she goes off with a soldier; she
 means to follow the army; she will expose herself to every danger in
 order to follow her soldier. Propertius does not storm; he weeps and
 prays heaven for her happiness. He will never leave the house she has
 deserted; he will look out for strangers who have seen her, and will
 never leave off asking them for news of Cynthia. She is touched by
 love so great. She deserts the soldier and stays with the poet. He
 gives thanks to Apollo and the Muses; he is drunk with his happiness.
 This happiness is soon troubled by a new access of jealousy,
 interrupted by separation and by absence. Far from Cynthia, he can
 only think of her. Her past infidelities make him fear for news. Death
 does not frighten him, he only fears to lose Cynthia; let him be but
 certain that she will be faithful and he will go down without regret
 to the grave.

 After more treachery, he fancies he is delivered from his love; but
 soon he is again in its bonds. He paints the most ravishing portrait
 of his mistress, her beauty, the elegance of her dress, her talents
 in singing, poetry and dancing; everything redoubles and justifies
 his love. But Cynthia, as perverse as she is captivating, dishonours
 herself before the whole town by such scandalous adventures that
 Propertius can no longer love her without shame. He blushes, but he
 cannot shake her off. He will be her lover, her husband; he will never
 love any but Cynthia. They part and come together again. Cynthia is
 jealous, he reassures her. He will never love any other woman. But
 in fact it is never one woman he loves--it is all women. He never
 has enough of them, he is insatiable of pleasure. To recall him to
 himself, Cynthia has to desert him yet again. Then his complaints
 are as vigorous as if he had never been faithless himself. He tries
 to escape. He seeks distraction in debauch.--Is he drunk as usual?
 He pretends that a troupe of loves meets him and brings him back to
 Cynthia's feet. Reconciliation is followed by more storms. Cynthia, at

[Pg 294]
 of their supper parties, gets heated with wine like himself, upsets
 the table and hits him over the head. Propertius thinks this charming.
 More perfidy forces him at last to break his chains; he tries to go
 away; he means to travel in Greece; he completes all his plans for
 the journey, but he renounces the project--and all in order to see
 himself once more the butt of new outrages. Cynthia does not confine
 herself to betraying him; she makes him the laughing-stock of his
 rivals. But illness seizes her and she dies. She reproaches him with
 his faithlessness, his caprices and his desertion of her in her last
 moments, and swears that she herself, in spite of appearances, was
 always faithful.

 Such are the morals and adventures of Propertius and his mistress;
 such in abstract is the history of their love. Such was the woman that
 a soul like Propertius was reduced to loving.

 Ovid and Propertius were often faithless, but never inconstant.
 Confirmed libertines, they distribute their homage far and wide,
 but always return to take up the same chains again. Corinna and
 Cynthia have womankind for rivals, but no woman in particular. The
 Muse of these two poets is faithful, if their love is not, and no
 other names besides those of Corinna and of Cynthia figure in their
 verses. Tibullus, a tender lover and tender poet, less lively and
 less headlong in his tastes, has not their constancy. Three beauties
 are one after the other the objects of his love and of his verses.
 Delia is the first, the most celebrated and also the best beloved.
 Tibullus has lost his fortune, but he still has the country and Delia.
 To enjoy her amid the peaceful fields; to be able, at his ease, to
 press Delia's hand in his; to have her for his only mourner at his
 funeral--he makes no other prayers. Delia is kept shut up by a jealous
 husband; he will penetrate into her prison, in spite of any Argus and
 triple bolts. He will forget all his troubles in her arms. He falls
 ill and Delia alone fills his thoughts. He exhorts her to be always
 chaste, to despise gold, and to grant none but him the love she has
 granted him. But Delia does not follow his advice. He thought he could
 put up with her infidelity; but it is too much for him and he begs
 Delia and Venus for pity. He seeks in wine a remedy and does not find
 it; he can neither soften his regret nor cure himself of his love. He
 turns to Delia's husband, deceived like himself, and reveals to him
 all the tricks she uses to attract and see her lovers. If the husband
 does not know how to keep watch over her, let her be trusted to
 himself; he will manage right enough to ward

[Pg 295]
 the lovers off and to keep from their toils the author of their common
 wrongs. He is appeased and returns to her; he remembers Delia's mother
 who favoured their love; the memory of this good woman opens his heart
 once more to tender thoughts, and all Delia's wrongs are forgotten.
 But she is soon guilty of others more serious. She lets herself
 be corrupted by gold and presents; she gives herself to another,
 to others. At length Tibullus breaks his shameful chains and says
 good-bye to her for ever.

 He passes under the sway of Nemesis and is no happier; she loves only
 gold and cares little for poetry and the gifts of genius. Nemesis is
 a greedy woman who sells herself to the highest bidder; he curses her
 avarice, but he loves her and cannot live unless she loves him. He
 tries to move her with touching images. She has lost her young sister;
 he will go and weep on her tomb and confide his grief to her dumb
 ashes. The shade of her sister will take offence at the tears that
 Nemesis causes to flow. She must not despise her anger. The sad image
 of her sister might come at night to trouble her sleep.... But these
 sad memories force tears from Nemesis--and at that price he could not
 buy even happiness. Neaera is his third mistress. He has long enjoyed
 her love; he only prays the gods that he may live and die with her;
 but she leaves him, she is gone; he can only think of her, she is his
 only prayer; he has seen in a dream Apollo, who announces to him that
 Neaera is unfaithful. He refuses to believe this dream; he could not
 survive his misfortune, and none the less the misfortune is there.
 Neaera is faithless; once more Tibullus is deserted. Such was his
 character and fortune, such is the triple and all unhappy story of his

 In him particularly there is a sweet, all-pervading melancholy, that
 gives even to his pleasures the tone of dreaminess and sadness which
 constitutes his charm. If any poet of antiquity introduced moral
 sensibility into love, it was Tibullus; but these fine shades of
 feeling which he expresses so well, are in himself; he expects no more
 than the other two to find them or engender them in his mistresses.
 Their grace, their beauty is all that inflames him; their favours all
 he desires or regrets; their perfidy, their venality, their loss, all
 that torments him. Of all these women, celebrated in the verses of
 three great poets, Cynthia seems the most lovable. The attraction of
 talent is joined to all the others; she cultivates singing and poetry;
 and yet all these talents, which were found

[Pg 296]
 not infrequently in courtesans of a certain standing, were of no
 avail--it was none the less pleasure, gold and wine which ruled her.
 And Propertius, who boasts only once or twice of her artistic tastes,
 in his passion for her is none the less seduced by a very different

These great poets are apparently to be numbered among the most tender
and refined souls of their century--well! this is how they loved and
whom. We must here put literary considerations on one side. I only ask
of them evidence concerning their century; and in two thousand years a
novel by Ducray-Duminil(59) will be evidence concerning the annals of

[1] Mark Dido's look in the superb sketch by M. Guerin at the

[2] Everything that is beautiful in the world having become a part of
the beauty of the woman you love, you find yourself inclined to do
everything in the world that is beautiful.

[3] Guinguené's _Histoire littéraire de l'Italie_ (Vol. II, p. 490.)


One of my great regrets is not to have been able to see Venice in
1760.[1] A run of happy chances had apparently united, in so small a
space, both the political institutions and the public opinion that are
most favourable to the happiness of mankind. A soft spirit of luxury
gave everyone an easy access to happiness. There were no domestic
struggles and no crimes. Serenity was seen on every face; no one
thought about seeming richer than he was; hypocrisy had no point. I
imagine it must have been the direct contrary to London in 1822.

[1] _Travels in Italy_ of the President de Brosses, _Travels_ of
Eustace, Sharp, Smollett.


If in the place of the want of personal security you put the natural
fear of economic want, you will see that the United States of America
bears a considerable resemblance to the ancient world as regards that
passion, on which we are attempting to write a monograph.

In speaking of the more or less imperfect sketches of passion-love
which the ancients have left us, I see that I have forgotten the Loves
of Medea in the _Argonautica_(60).

[Pg 297]
Virgil copied them in his picture of Dido. Compare that with love as
seen in a modern novel--_Le Doyen de Killerine_, for example.


The Roman feels the beauties of Nature and Art with amazing strength,
depth and justice; but if he sets out to try and reason on what he
feels so forcibly, it is pitiful.

The reason may be that his feelings come to him from Nature, but his
logic from government.

You can see at once why the fine arts, outside Italy, are only a farce;
men reason better, but the public has no feeling.


London, _November 20th_, 1821.

A very sensible man, who arrived yesterday from Madras, told me in a
two hours' conversation what I reduce to the following few lines:--

 This gloom, which from an unknown cause depresses the English
 character, penetrates so deeply into their hearts, that at the end of
 the world, at Madras, no sooner does an Englishman get a few days'
 holiday, than he quickly leaves rich and flourishing Madras and comes
 to revive his spirits in the little French town of Pondicherry,
 which, without wealth and almost without commerce, flourishes under
 the paternal administration of M. Dupuy. At Madras you drink Burgundy
 that costs thirty-six francs a bottle; the poverty of the French in
 Pondicherry is such that, in the most distinguished circles, the
 refreshments consist of large glasses of water. But in Pondicherry
 they laugh.

At present there is more liberty in England than in Prussia. The
climate is the same as that of Koenigsberg, Berlin or Warsaw, cities
which are far from being famous for their gloom. The working classes
in these towns have less security and drink quite as little wine as in
England; and they are much worse clothed.

[Pg 298]
The aristocracies of Venice and Vienna are not gloomy.

I can see only one point of difference: in gay countries the Bible is
little read, and there is gallantry. I am sorry to have to come back
so often to a demonstration with which I am unsatisfied. I suppress a
score of facts pointing in the same direction.


I have just seen, in a fine country-house near Paris, a very
good-looking, very clever, and very rich young man of less than twenty;
he has been left there by chance almost alone, for a long time too,
with a most beautiful girl of eighteen, full of talent, of a most
distinguished mind, and also very rich. Who wouldn't have expected
a passionate love-affair? Not a bit of it--such was the affectation
of these two charming creatures that both were occupied solely with
themselves and the effect they were to produce.


I am ready to agree that on the morrow of a great action a savage pride
has made this people fall into all the faults and follies that lay open
to it. But you will see what prevents me from effacing my previous
praises of this representative of the Middle Ages.

The prettiest woman in Narbonne is a young Spaniard, scarcely twenty
years old, who lives there very retired with her husband, a Spaniard
also, and an officer on half-pay. Some time ago there was a fool
whom this officer was obliged to insult. The next day, on the field
of combat, the fool sees the young Spanish woman arrive. He begins a
renewed flow of affected nothings:--

"No, indeed, it's shocking! How could you tell your wife about it? You
see, she has come to prevent us fighting!" "I have come to bury you,"
she answered.

[Pg 299]
Happy the husband who can tell his wife everything! The result did not
belie this woman's haughty words. Her action would have been considered
hardly the thing in England. Thus does false decency diminish the
little happiness that exists here below.


The delightful Donézan said yesterday: "In my youth, and well on in my
career--for I was fifty in '89--women wore powder in their hair.

"I own that a woman without powder gives me a feeling of repugnance;
the first impression is always that of a chamber-maid who hasn't had
time to get dressed."

Here we have the one argument against Shakespeare and in favour of the
dramatic unities.

While young men read nothing but La Harpe(61), the taste for great
powdered _toupées_, such as the late Queen Marie Antoinette used
to wear, can still last some years. I know people too, who despise
Correggio and Michael Angelo, and, to be sure, M. Donézan was extremely


Cold, brave, calculating, suspicious, contentious, for ever afraid
of being attracted by anyone who might possibly be laughing at them
in secret, absolutely devoid of enthusiasm, and a little jealous of
people who saw great events with Napoleon, such was the youth of that
age, estimable rather than lovable. They forced on the country that
Right-Centre form of government-to-the-lowest-bidder. This temper in
the younger generation was to be found even among the conscripts, each
of whom only longed to finish his time.

All systems of education, whether given expressly or by chance, form
men for a certain period in their life.

[Pg 300]
The education of the age of Louis XV made twenty-five the finest moment
in the lives of its pupils.[1]

It is at forty that the young men of this period will be at their best;
they will have lost their suspiciousness and pretensions, and have
gained ease and gaiety.

[1] M. de Francueil with too much powder: Memoirs of Madame d'Épinay.



"In this discussion, the academic always saved himself by fixing on
little dates and other similar errors of small importance; but the
consequences and natural qualifications of things, these he always
denied, or seemed not to understand: for example, that Nero was a cruel
Emperor or Charles II a perjurer. Now, how are you to prove things of
this kind, or, even if you do, manage not to put a stop to the general
discussion or lose the thread of it?

"This, I have always remarked, is the method of discussion between such
folk, one of whom seeks only the truth and advancement thereto, the
other the favour of his master or his party and the glory of talking
well. And I always consider it great folly and waste of time for an
honest man to stop and talk with the said academics." (_Œuvres badines_
of Guy Allard de Voiron.)


Only a small part of the art of being happy is an exact science, a sort
of ladder up which one can be sure of climbing a rung per century--and
that is the part which depends on government. (Still, this is only
theory. I

[Pg 301]
find the Venetians of 1770 happier than the people of Philadelphia

For the rest, the art of being happy is like poetry; in spite of the
perfecting of all things, Homer, two thousand seven hundred years ago,
had more talent than Lord Byron.

Reading Plutarch with attention, I think I can see that men were
happier in Sicily in the time of Dion than we manage to be to-day,
although they had no printing and no iced punch!

I would rather be an Arab of the fifth century than a Frenchman of the


People go to the theatre, never for that kind of illusion which is
lost one minute and found again the next, but for an opportunity of
convincing their neighbour, or at least themselves, that they have
read their La Harpe and are people who know what's good. It is an old
pedant's pleasure that the younger generation indulges in.


A woman belongs by right to the man who loves her and is dearer to her
than life.


Crystallisation cannot be excited by an understudy, and your most
dangerous rivals are those most unlike you.


In a very advanced state of society passion-love is as natural as
physical love among savages. (M.)

[Pg 302]

But for an infinite number of shades of feeling, to have a woman you
adore would be no happiness and scarcely a possibility. (L., _October


Whence comes the intolerance of Stoic philosophers? From the same
source as that of religious fanatics. They are put out because they are
struggling against nature, because they deny themselves, and because it
hurts them. If they would question themselves honestly on the hatred
they bear towards those who profess a code of morals less severe, they
would have to own that it springs from a secret jealousy of a bliss
which they envy and have renounced, without believing in the rewards
which would make up for this sacrifice. (Diderot.)


Women who are always taking offence might well ask themselves whether
they are following a line of conduct, which they think really and truly
is the road to happiness. Is there not a little lack of courage, mixed
with a little mean revenge, at the bottom of a prude's heart? Consider
the ill-humour of Madame de Deshoulières in her last days. (_Note by M.


Nothing more indulgent than virtue without hypocrisy--because nothing
happier; yet even Mistress Hutchinson might well be more indulgent.


Immediately below this kind of happiness comes that of a young, pretty
and easy-going woman, with a conscience

[Pg 303]
that does not reproach her. At Messina people used to talk scandal
about the Contessina Vicenzella. "Well, well!" she would say, "I'm
young, free, rich and perhaps not ugly. I wish the same to all the
ladies of Messina!" It was this charming woman, who would never be more
than a friend to me, who introduced me to the Abbé Melli's sweet poems
in Sicilian dialect. His poetry is delicious, though still disfigured
by mythology.



The public of Paris has a fixed capacity for attention--three
days: after which, bring to its notice the death of Napoleon or M.
Béranger(63) sent to prison for two months--the news is just as
sensational, and to bring it up on the fourth day just as tactless.
Must every great capital be like this, or has it to do with the good
nature and light heart of the Parisian? Thanks to aristocratic pride
and morbid reserve, London is nothing but a numerous collection of
hermits; it is not a capital. Vienna is nothing but an oligarchy of two
hundred families surrounded by a hundred and fifty thousand workpeople
and servants who wait on them. No more is that a capital.--Naples and
Paris, the only two capitals. (Extract from Birkbeck's _Travels_, p.


According to common ideas, or reasonable-ideas, as they are called
by ordinary people, if any period of imprisonment could possibly be
tolerable, it would be after several years' confinement, when at last
the poor prisoner is only separated by a month or two from the moment
of his release. But the ways of crystallisation are otherwise. The last
month is more painful than the last three years. In the gaol at Melun,
M. d'Hotelans has seen several prisoners die of impatience within a few
months of the day of release.

[Pg 304]

I cannot resist the pleasure of copying out a letter written in bad
English by a young German woman. It proves that, after all, constant
love exists, and that not every man of genius is a Mirabeau. Klopstock,
the great poet, passes at Hamburg for having been an attractive person.
Read what his young wife wrote to an intimate friend:

 "After having seen him two hours, I was obliged to pass the evening
 in a company, which never had been so wearisome to me. I could not
 speak, I could not play; I thought I saw nothing but Klopstock; I
 saw him the next day and the following and we were very seriously
 friends. But the fourth day he departed. It was a strong hour the
 hour of his departure! He wrote soon after; from that time our
 correspondence began to be a very diligent one. I sincerely believed
 my love to be friendship. I spoke with my friends of nothing but
 Klopstock, and showed his letters. They raillied at me and said I
 was in love. I raillied then again, and said that they must have a
 very friendshipless heart, if they had no idea of friendship to a
 man as well as to a woman. Thus it continued eight months, in which
 time my friends found as much love in Klopstock's letters as in me.
 I perceived it likewise, but I would not believe it. At the last
 Klopstock said plainly that he loved; and I startled as for a wrong
 thing; I answered that it was no love, but friendship, as it was
 what I felt for him; we had not seen one another enough to love (as
 if love must have more time than friendship). This was sincerely my
 meaning, and I had this meaning till Klopstock came again to Hamburg.
 This he did a year after we had seen one another the first time. We
 saw, we were friends, we loved; and a short time after, I could even
 tell Klopstock that I loved. But we were obliged to part again, and
 wait two years for our wedding. My mother would not let me marry a
 stranger. I could marry then without

[Pg 305]
 her consent, as by the death of my father my fortune depended not on
 her; but this was a horrible idea for me; and thank heaven that I have
 prevailed by prayers! At this time knowing Klopstock, she loves him as
 her lifely son, and thanks God that she has not persisted. We married
 and I am the happiest wife in the world. In some few months it will be
 four years that I am so happy...." (_Correspondence of Richardson_,
 Vol. III, p. 147.)


The only unions legitimate for all time are those that answer to a real


To be happy with laxity of morals, one wants the simplicity of
character that is found in Germany and Italy, but never in France. (The
Duchess de C----)


It is their pride that makes the Turks deprive their women of
everything that can nourish crystallisation. I have been living for
the last three months in a country where the titled folk will soon be
carried just as far by theirs.

Modesty is the name given here by men to the exactions of aristocratic
pride run mad. Who would risk a lapse of modesty? Here also, as at
Athens, the intellectuals show a marked tendency to take refuge with
courtesans--that is to say, with the women whom a scandal shelters from
the need to affect modesty. (_Life of Fox._)


In the case of love blighted by too prompt a victory, I have seen in
very tender characters crystallisation trying

[Pg 306]
to form later. "I don't love you a bit," she says, but laughing.


The present-day education of women--that odd mixture of works of
charity and risky songs ("Di piacer mi balza il cor," in _La Gazza
Ladra_)(64)--is the one thing in the world best calculated to keep
off happiness. This form of education produces minds completely
inconsequent. Madame de R----, who was afraid of dying, has just met
her death through thinking it funny to throw her medicines out of the
window. Poor little women like her take inconsequence for gaiety,
because, in appearance, gaiety is often inconsequent. 'Tis like the
German, who threw himself out of the window in order to be sprightly.


Vulgarity, by stifling imagination, instantly produces in me a deadly
boredom. Charming Countess K----, showing me this evening her lovers'
letters, which to my mind were in bad taste. (Forlì, _March 17th_,

Imagination was not stifled: it was only deranged, and very soon from
mere repugnance ceased to picture the unpleasantness of these dull


                         METAPHYSICAL REVERIE

Belgirate, _26th October_, 1816.

Real passion has only to be crossed for it to produce apparently more
unhappiness than happiness. This thought may not be true in the case of
gentle souls, but it is absolutely proved in the case of the majority
of men, and particularly of cold philosophers, who, as regards passion,
live, one might say, only on curiosity and self-love.

I said all this to the Contessina Fulvia yesterday

[Pg 307]
evening, as we were walking together near the great pine on the eastern
terrace of Isola Bella. She answered: "Unhappiness makes a much
stronger impression on a man's life than pleasure.

"The prime virtue in anything which claims to give us pleasure, is that
it strikes hard.

"Might we not say that life itself being made up only of sensation,
there is a universal taste in all living beings for the consciousness
that the sensations of their life are the keenest that can be? In the
North people are hardly alive--look at the slowness of their movements.
The Italian's _dolce far niente_ is the pleasure of relishing one's
soul and one's emotions, softly reclining on a divan. Such pleasure is
impossible, if you are racing all day on horseback or in a drosky, like
the Englishman or the Russian. Such people would die of boredom on a
divan. There is no reason to look into their souls.

"Love gives the keenest possible of all sensations--and the proof is
that in these moments of 'inflammation,' as physiologists would say,
the heart is open to those 'complex sensations' which Helvétius, Buffon
and other philosophers think so absurd. The other day, as you know,
Luizina fell into the lake; you see, her eye was following a laurel
leaf that had fallen from a tree on Isola-Madre (one of the Borromean
Islands). The poor woman owned to me that one day her lover, while
talking to her, threw into the lake the leaves of a laurel branch he
was stripping, and said: 'Your cruelty and the calumnies of your friend
are preventing me from turning my life to account and winning a little

"It is a peculiar and incomprehensible fact that, when some
great passion has brought upon the soul moments of torture and
extreme unhappiness, the soul comes to despise the happiness of a
peaceful life, where everything seems framed to our desires. A fine
country-house in a picturesque position, substantial means, a good
wife, three pretty children, and friends charming

[Pg 308]
and numerous--this is but a mere outline of all our host. General
C----, possesses. And yet he said, as you know, he felt tempted to go
to Naples and take the command of a guerilla band. A soul made for
passion soon finds this happy life monotonous, and feels, perhaps,
that it only offers him commonplace ideas. 'I wish,' C. said to you,
'that I had never known the fever of high passion. I wish I could rest
content with the apparent happiness on which people pay me every day
such stupid compliments, which, to put the finishing touch to, I have
to answer politely.'"

I, a philosopher, rejoin: "Do you want the thousandth proof that we
are not created by a good Being? It is the fact that pleasure does not
make perhaps half as much impression on human life as pain...."[1] The
Contessina interrupted me. "In life there are few mental pains that
are not rendered sweet by the emotion they themselves excite, and, if
there is a spark of magnanimity in the soul, this pleasure is increased
a hundredfold. The man condemned to death in 1815 and saved by chance
(M. de Lavalette(65), for example), if he was going courageously to
his doom, must recall that moment ten times a month. But the coward,
who was going to die crying and yelling (the exciseman, Morris, thrown
into the lake, _Rob Roy_)--suppose him also saved by chance--can at
most recall that instant with pleasure because he was _saved_, not for
the treasures of magnanimity that he discovered with him, and that take
away for the future all his fears."

I: "Love, even unhappy love, gives a gentle soul, for whom a thing
imagined is a thing existent, treasures of this kind of enjoyment. He
weaves sublime visions of happiness and beauty about himself and his
beloved. How often has Salviati heard Léonore, with her enchanting

[Pg 309]
smile, say, like Mademoiselle Mars in _Les Fausses Confidences_: 'Well,
yes, I do love you!' No, these are never the illusions of a prudent

Fulvia (raising her eyes to heaven): "Yes, for you and me, love, even
unhappy love, if only our admiration for the beloved knows no limit, is
the supreme happiness."

(Fulvia is twenty-three,--the most celebrated beauty of ... Her eyes
were heavenly as she talked like this at midnight and raised them
towards the glorious sky above the Borromean Islands. The stars seemed
to answer her. I looked down and could find no more philosophical
arguments to meet her. She continued:)

"And all that the world calls happiness is not worth the trouble. Only
contempt, I think, can cure this passion; not contempt too violent, for
that is torture. For you men it is enough to see the object of your
adoration love some gross, prosaic creature, or sacrifice you in order
to enjoy pleasures of luxurious comfort with a woman friend."

[1] See the analysis of the ascetic principle in Bentham, _Principles
of Morals and Legislation_.

By giving oneself pain one pleases a _good_ Being.


_To will_ means to have the courage to expose oneself to troubles; to
expose oneself is to take risks--to gamble. You find military men who
cannot exist without such gambling--that's what makes them intolerable
in home-life.


General Teulié told me this evening that he had found out why, as
soon as there were affected women in a drawing-room, he became so
horribly dry and floored for ideas. It was because he was sure to be
bitterly ashamed of having exposed his feelings with warmth before such
creatures. General Teulié had to speak from his heart, though the talk
were only of Punch and Judy; otherwise he had nothing to say. Moreover,
I could see he never knew the conventional phrase about

[Pg 310]
anything nor what was the right thing to say. That is really where he
made himself so monstrously ridiculous in the eyes of affected women.
Heaven had not made him for elegant society.


Irreligion is bad form at Court, because it is calculated to be
contrary to the interests of princes: irreligion is also bad form in
the presence of girls, for it would prevent their finding husbands.
It must be owned that, if God exists, it must be nice for Him to be
honoured from motives like these.


For the soul of a great painter or a great poet, love is divine in that
it increases a hundredfold the empire and the delight of his art, and
the beauties of art are his soul's daily bread. How many great artists
are unconscious both of their soul and of their genius! Often they
reckon as mediocre their talent for the thing they adore, because they
cannot agree with the eunuchs of the harem, La Harpe and such-like. For
them even unhappy love is happiness.


The picture of first love is taken generally as the most touching. Why?
Because it is the same in all countries and in all characters. But for
this reason first love is not the most passionate.


Reason! Reason! Reason! That is what the world is always shouting at
poor lovers. In 1760, at the most thrilling moment in the Seven Years'
War, Grimm wrote: "... It is indubitable that the King of Russia, by
yielding Silesia, could have prevented the war from

[Pg 311]
ever breaking out. In so doing he would have done a very wise thing.
How many evils would he have prevented! And what can there be in common
between the possession of a province and the happiness of a king? Was
not the great Elector a very happy and highly respected prince without
possessing Silesia? It is also quite clear that a king might have taken
this course in obedience to the precepts of the soundest reason, and
yet--I know not how--that king would inevitably have been the object
of universal contempt, while Frederick, sacrificing everything to the
_necessity_ of keeping Silesia, has invested himself with immortal

"Without any doubt the action of Cromwell's son was the wisest a man
could take: he preferred obscurity and repose to the bother and danger
of ruling over a people sombre, fiery and proud. This wise man won the
contempt of his own time and of posterity; while his father, to this
day, has been held a great man by the wisdom of nations.

"The _Fair Penitent_ is a sublime subject on the Spanish[1] stage,
but spoilt by Otway and Colardeau in England and France. Calista has
been dishonoured by a man she adores; he is odious from the violence
of his inborn pride, but talent, wit and a handsome face--everything,
in fact--combine to make him seductive. Indeed, Lothario would have
been too charming could he have moderated these criminal outbursts.
Moreover, an hereditary and bitter feud separates his family from that
of the woman he loves. These families are at the head of two factions
dividing a Spanish town during the horrors of the Middle Age. Sciolto,
Calista's father, is the chief of the faction, which at the moment has
the upper hand; he knows that Lothario has had the insolence to try to
seduce his daughter. The weak Calista is weighed down by the torment of
shame and passion. Her father has

[Pg 312]
succeeded in getting his enemy appointed to the command of a naval
armament that is setting out on a distant and perilous expedition,
where Lothario will probably meet his death. In Colardeau's tragedy,
he has just told his daughter this news. At his words Calista can no
longer hide her passion:

                                      O dieux!
    Il part!... Vous l'ordonnez!... Il a pu s'y résoudre?[2]

"Think of the danger she is placed in. Another word, and Sciolto will
learn the secret of his daughter's passion for Lothario. The father is
confounded and cries:--

    Qu'entends-je? Me trompé-je? Où s'égarent tes voeux?[3]

"At this Calista recovers herself and answers:--

    Ce n'est pas son exile, c'est sa mort que je veux,
    Qu'il périsse![4]

"By these words Calista stifles her father's rising suspicions; yet
there is no deceit, for the sentiment she utters is true. The existence
of a man, who has succeeded after winning her love in dishonouring her,
must poison her life, were he even at the ends of the earth. His death
alone could restore her peace of mind, if for unfortunate lovers peace
of mind existed.... Soon after Lothario is killed and, happily for her,
Calista dies.

"'There's a lot of crying and moaning over nothing!' say the chilly
folk who plume themselves on being philosophers. 'Somebody with an
enterprising and violent nature abuses a woman's weakness for him--that
is nothing to tear our hair over, or at least there is nothing in
Calista's troubles to concern us. She must console herself with having
satisfied her lover, and she will not be the first woman of merit who
has made the best of her misfortune in that way.'"[5]

[Pg 313]
Richard Cromwell, the King of Prussia and Calista, with the souls given
them by Heaven, could only find peace and happiness by acting as they
did. The conduct of the two last is eminently unreasonable and yet it
is those two that we admire. (Sagan, 1813.)

[1] See the Spanish and Danish romances of the thirteenth century.
French taste would find them dull and coarse.

[2] [                                  "My God!
     He is gone.... You have sent him.... And he had the heart?"--Tr.]

[3] ["What do I hear? I am deceived? Where now are all your vows?"--Tr.]

[4] ["It is not his banishment I desire; it is his death. Let him

[5] Grimm, Vol. III, p. 107.


The likelihood of constancy when desire is satisfied can only be
foretold from the constancy displayed, in spite of cruel doubts and
jealousy and ridicule, in the days before intimate intercourse.


A woman is in despair at the death of her lover, who has been killed
in the wars--of course she means to follow him. Now first make quite
sure that it is not the best thing for her to do; then, if you
decide it is not, attack her on the side of a very primitive habit
of the human kind--the desire to survive. If the woman has an enemy,
one may persuade her that her enemy has obtained a warrant for her
imprisonment. Unless that threat only increases her desire of death,
she may think about hiding herself in order to escape imprisonment. For
three weeks she will lie low, escaping from refuge to refuge. She must
be caught, but must get away after three days.

Then people must arrange for her to withdraw under a false name to
some very remote town, as unlike as possible the one in which she
was so desperately unhappy. But who is going to devote himself to
the consolation of a being so unfortunate and so lost to friendship?
(Warsaw, 1808).


Academical wise-heads can see a people's habits in its language. In
Italy, of all the countries in the world, the

[Pg 314]
word love is least often spoken--always "amicizia" and "avvicinar"
(_amicizia_ or friendship, for love; _avvicinar_, to approach, for
courtship that succeeds).


A dictionary of music has never been achieved, nor even begun. It is
only by chance that you find the phrase for: "I am angry" or "I love
you," and the subtler feelings involved therein. The composer finds
them only when passion, present in his heart or memory, dictates
them to him. Well! that is why people, who spend the fire of youth
studying instead of feeling, cannot be artists--the way _that_ works is
perfectly simple.


In France far too much power is given to Women, far too little to Woman.


The most flattering thing that the most exalted imagination could
find to say to the generation now arising among us to take possession
of life, of public opinion and of power, happens to be a piece of
truth plainer than the light of day. This generation has nothing to
_continue_, it has everything to _create_. Napoleon's great merit is to
have left the road clear.


I should like to be able to say something on consolation. Enough is not
done to console.

The main principle is that you try to form a kind of crystallisation as
remote as possible from the source of present suffering.

In order to discover an unknown principle, we must bravely face a
little anatomy.

[Pg 315]
If the reader will consult Chapter II of M. Villermé's work on prisons
(Paris, 1820), he will see that the prisoners "si maritano fra di loro"
(it is the expression in the prisoners' language). The women also "si
maritano fra di loro," and in these unions, generally speaking, much
fidelity is shown. That is an outcome of the principle of modesty, and
is not observed among the men.

"At Saint-Lazare," says M. Villermé, page 96, "a woman, seeing a
new-comer preferred to her, gave herself several wounds with a knife.
(_October_, 1818.)

"Usually it is the younger woman who is more fond than the other."


Vivacità, leggerezza, soggettissima a prendere puntiglio, occupazione
di ogni momento delle apparenze della propria esistenza agli occhi
altrui: Ecco i tre gran caratteri di questa pianta che risveglia Europa
nell 1808.[1]

Of Italians, those are preferable who still preserve a little savagery
and taste for blood--the people of the Romagna, Calabria, and, among
the more civilised, the Brescians, Piedmontese and Corsicans.

The Florentine bourgeois has more sheepish docility than the Parisian.
Leopold's spies have degraded him. See M. Courier's(12) letter on the
Librarian Furia and the Chamberlain Puccini.

[1] ["Vivacity, levity, very subject to pique, and unflagging
preoccupation with other people's view's of its own existence--these
are the three distinguishing points in the stock which is stirring the
life of Europe in 1808."--Tr.]


I smile when I see earnest people never able to agree, saying quite
unconcernedly the most abusive things of each other--and thinking still
worse. To live is to feel life--to have strong feelings. But strength
must be rated for each individual, and what is painful--that is, too

[Pg 316]
one man is exactly enough to stir another's interest. Take, for
example, the feeling of just being spared by the cannon shot in the
line of fire, the feeling of penetrating into Russia in pursuit
of Parthian hordes.... And it is the same with the tragedies of
Shakespeare and those of Racine, etc., etc.... (Orcha, _August_ 13,


Pleasure does not produce half so strong an impression as pain--that
is the first point. Then, besides this disadvantage in the quantity
of emotion, it is certainly not half as easy to excite sympathy by
the picture of happiness as by that of misfortune. Hence poets cannot
depict unhappiness too forcibly. They have only one shoal to fear,
namely, things that disgust. Here again, the force of feeling must be
rated differently for monarchies and republics. A Lewis XIV increases a
hundredfold the number of disgusting things. (Crabbe's Poems.)

By the mere fact of its existence a monarchy _à la_ Lewis XIV, with
its circle of nobles, makes everything simple in Art become coarse.
The noble personage for whom the thing is exposed feels insulted; the
feeling is sincere--and in so far worthy.

See what the gentle Racine has been able to make of the heroic
friendship, so sacred to antiquity, of Orestes and Pylades. Orestes
addresses Pylades with the familiar "thou."[1] Pylades answers him "My
Lord."[1] And then people pretend Racine is our most touching writer!
If they won't give in after this example, we must change the subject.

[1] ["_Tu_" and "_Seigneur_."]


Directly the hope of revenge is possible, the feeling of hatred
returns. Until the last weeks of my imprisonment it never entered my
head to run away and break the solemn oath I had sworn to my friend. Two

[Pg 317]
confidences these--made this morning in my presence by a gentleman
cut-throat who favoured us with the history of his life. (Faenza, 1817.)


All Europe, put together, could never make one French book of the
really good type--the _Lettres Persanes_, for example.


I call pleasure every impression which the soul would rather receive
than not receive.[1]

I call pain every impression which the soul would rather not receive
than receive.

If I want to go to sleep rather than be conscious of my feelings, they
are undoubtedly pain. Hence the desire of love is not pain, for the
lover will leave the most agreeable society in order to day-dream in

Time weakens pleasures of the body and aggravates its pains.

As for spiritual pleasures--they grow weaker or stronger according
to the passion. For example, after six months passed in the study of
astronomy you like astronomy all the more, and after a year of avarice
money is still sweeter.

Spiritual pains are softened by time--how many widows, really
inconsolable, console themselves with time!--_Vide_ Lady
Waldegrave--Horace Walpole.

Given a man in a state of indifference--now let him have a pleasure;

Given another man in a state of poignant suffering--suddenly let the
suffering cease;

Now is the pleasure this man feels of the same nature as that of the
other? M. Verri(66) says Yes, but, to my mind--No.

Not all pleasures come from cessation of pain.

[Pg 318]
A man had lived for a long time on an income of six thousand francs--he
wins five hundred thousand in the lottery. He had got out of the way
of having desires which wealth alone can satisfy.--And that, by the
bye, is one of my objections to Paris--it is so easy to lose this habit

The latest invention is a machine for cutting quills. I bought one this
morning and it's a great joy to me, as I cannot stand cutting them
myself. But yesterday I was certainly not unhappy for not knowing of
this machine. Or was Petrarch unhappy for not taking coffee?

What is the use of defining happiness? Everyone knows it--the first
partridge you kill on the wing at twelve, the first battle you come
through safely at seventeen....

Pleasure which is only the cessation of pain passes very quickly, and
its memory, after some years, is even distasteful. One of my friends
was wounded in the side by a bursting shell at the battle of Moscow,
and a few days later mortification threatened. After a delay of some
hours they managed to get together M. Béclar, M. Larrey and some
surgeons of repute, and the result of their consultation was that my
friend was informed that mortification had not set up. At the moment I
could see his happiness--it was a great happiness, but not unalloyed.
In the secret depth of his heart he could not believe that it was
really all over, he kept reconsidering the surgeons' words and debating
whether he could rely on them entirely. He never lost sight completely
of the possibility of mortification. Nowadays, after eight years, if
you speak to him of that consultation, it gives him pain--it brings to
mind unexpectedly a passed unhappiness.

Pleasure caused by the cessation of pain consists in:--

1. Defeating the continual succession of one's own misgivings:

2. Reviewing all the advantages one was on the point of losing.

Pleasure caused by winning five hundred thousand

[Pg 319]
francs consists in foreseeing all the new and unusual pleasures one is
going to indulge in.

There is this peculiar reservation to be made. You have to take into
account whether a man is too used, or not used enough, to wishing for
wealth. If he is not used enough, if his mind is closely circumscribed,
for two or three days together he will feel embarrassed; while if he is
inclined very often to wish for great riches, he will find he has used
up their enjoyments in advance by too frequently foretasting them.

This misfortune is unknown to passion-love.

A soul on fire pictures to itself not the last favour, but the
nearest--perhaps just her hand to press, if, for example, your mistress
is unkind to you. Imagination does not pass beyond that of its own
accord; you may force it, but a moment later it is gone--for fear of
profaning its idol.

When pleasure has run through the length of its career, we fall again,
of course, into indifference, but this is not the same indifference as
we felt before. The second state differs from the first in that we are
no longer in a position to relish with such delight the pleasure that
we have just tasted. The organs we use for plucking pleasures are worn
out. The imagination is no longer so inclined to offer fancies for the
enjoyment of desire--desire is satisfied.

In the midst of enjoyment to be torn from pleasure produces pain.

[1] Maupertius.


With regard to physical love and, in fact, physical pleasure, the
disposition of the two sexes is not the same. Unlike men, practically
all women are at least susceptible in secret to one kind of love. Ever
after opening her first novel at fifteen, a woman is silently waiting
for the coming of passion-love, and towards twenty, when she is just
over the irresponsibility of life's first flush, the suspense

[Pg 320]
redoubles. As for men, they think love impossible or ridiculous, almost
before they are thirty.


From the age of six we grow used to run after pleasure in our parents'

The pride of Contessina Nella's mother was the starting-point of that
charming woman's troubles, and by the same insane pride she now makes
them hopeless. (Venice, 1819.)



I hear from Paris that there are heaps and heaps of pictures to be seen
there (Exhibition of 1822), representing subjects taken from the Bible,
painted by artists who hardly believe in it, admired and criticised
by people who don't believe, and finally paid for by people who don't

After that--you ask why art is decadent.

The artist who does not believe what he is saying is always afraid of
appearing exaggerated or ridiculous. How is he to touch the sublime?
Nothing uplifts him. (_Lettera di Roma_, Giugno, 1822.)


One of the greatest poets the world has seen in modern times is, to
my mind, Robert Burns, a Scotch peasant, who died of want. He had
a salary of seventy pounds as exciseman--for himself, his wife and
four children. One cannot help saying, by the way, that Napoleon was
more liberal towards his enemy Chénier. Burns had none of the English
prudery about him. His was a Roman genius, without chivalry and without
honour. I have no space here to tell of his love-affairs with Mary
Campbell and their

[Pg 321]
mournful ending. I shall merely point out that Edinburgh is on the same
latitude as Moscow--a fact which perhaps upsets my system of climates a

"One of Burns' remarks, when he first came to Edinburgh, was that
between the men of rustic life and those of the polite world he
observed little difference; that in the former, though unpolished by
fashion and unenlightened by science, he had found much observation
and much intelligence; but that a refined and accomplished woman was
a being almost new to him, and of which he had formed but a very
inadequate idea." (London, _November 1st_, 1821, Vol. V, p. 69.)


Love is the only passion that mints the coin to pay its own expenses.


The compliments paid to little girls of three furnish exactly the right
sort of education to imbue them with the most pernicious vanity. To
look pretty is the highest virtue, the greatest advantage on earth. To
have a pretty dress is to look pretty.

These idiotic compliments are not current except in the middle class.
Happily they are bad form outside the suburbs--being too easy to pay.


Loretto, _September 11th_, 1811.

I have just seen a very fine battalion composed of natives of this
country--the remains, in fact, of four thousand who left for Vienna
in 1809. I passed along the ranks with the Colonel, and asked several
of the soldiers to tell me their story. Theirs is the virtue of the
republics of the Middle Age, though more or less debased by the

[Pg 322]
Spaniards,[1] the Roman Church,[2] and two centuries of the cruel,
treacherous governments, which, one after another, have spoiled the

Flashing, chivalrous honour, sublime but senseless, is an exotic plant
introduced here only a very few years back.

In 1740 there was no trace of it. _Vide_ de Brosses. The officers of
Montenotte(67) and of Rivoli(67) had too many chances of showing their
comrades true virtue to go and _imitate_ a kind of honour unknown to
the cottage homes from which the soldiery of 1796 was drawn--indeed, it
would have seemed to them highly fantastic.

In 1796 there was no Legion of Honour, no enthusiasm for one man,
but plenty of simple truth and virtue _à la_ Desaix. We may conclude
that honour was imported into Italy by people too reasonable and too
virtuous to cut much of a figure. One is sensible of a large gap
between the soldiers of '96, often shoeless and coatless, the victors
of twenty battles in one year, and the brilliant regiments of Fontenoy,
taking off their hats and saying to the English politely: _Messieurs,
tirez les premiers_--gentlemen, pray begin.

[1] The Spaniards abroad, about 1580, were nothing but energetic agents
of despotism or serenaders beneath the windows of Italian beauties. In
those days Spaniards dropped into Italy just in the way people come
nowadays to Paris. For the rest, they prided themselves on nothing
but upholding the honour of the king, _their master_. They ruined
Italy--ruined and degraded it.

In 1626 the great poet Calderon was an officer at Milan.

[2] See _Life of S. Carlo Borromeo_, who transformed Milan and debased
it, emptied its drill halls and filled its chapels, Merveilles kills
Castiglione, 1533.


I am ready to agree that one must judge the soundness of a system of
life by the perfect representative of its supporters. For example,
Richard Cœur-de-Lion is the perfect pattern on the throne of heroism
and chivalrous valour, and as a king was a ludicrous failure.

[Pg 323]

Public opinion in 1822: A man of thirty seduces a girl of fifteen--the
girl loses her reputation.


Ten years later I met Countess Ottavia again; on seeing me once
more she wept bitterly. I reminded her of Oginski. "I can no longer
love," she told me. I answered in the poet's words: "How changed, how
saddened, yet how elevated was her character!"


French morals will be formed between 1815 and 1880, just as English
morals were formed between 1668 and 1730. There will be nothing finer,
juster or happier than moral France about the year 1900. At the
present day it does not exist. What is considered infamous in Rue de
Belle-Chasse is an act of heroism in Rue du Mont-Blanc, and, allowing
for all exaggeration, people really worthy of contempt escape by a
change of residence. One remedy we did have--the freedom of the Press.
In the long run the Press gives each man his due, and when this due
happens to fall in with public opinion, so it remains. This remedy
is now torn from us--and it will somewhat retard the regeneration of


The Abbé Rousseau was a poor young man (1784), reduced to running all
over the town, from morn till night, giving lessons in history and
geography. He fell in love with one of his pupils, like Abelard with
Héloïse or Saint-Preux with Julie. Less happy than they, no doubt--yet,
probably, pretty nearly so--as full of passion as Saint-Preux, but with
a heart more virtuous, more refined and also more courageous, he seems
to have sacrificed himself to the object of his passion. After dining
in a

[Pg 324]
restaurant at the Palais-Royal with no outward sign of distress or
frenzy, this is what he wrote before blowing out his brains. The
text of his note is taken from the enquiry held on the spot by the
commissary and the police, and is remarkable enough to be preserved.

"The immeasurable contrast that exists between the nobility of
my feelings and the meanness of my birth, my love, as violent
as it is invincible, for this adorable girl[1] and my fear of
causing her dishonour, the necessity of choosing between crime and
death--everything has made me decide to say good-bye to life. Born for
virtue, I was about to become a criminal; I preferred death." (Grimm,
Part III, Vol. II, p. 395.)

This is an admirable case of suicide, but would be merely silly
according to the morals of 1880.

[1] The girl in question appears to have been Mademoiselle Gromaire,
daughter of M. Gromaire, expeditionary at the Court of Rome.


Try as they may, the French, in Art, will never get beyond the pretty.

The comic presupposes "go" in the public, and _brio_ in the actor.
The delicious foolery of Palomba, played at Naples by Casaccia, is an
impossibility at Paris. There we have the pretty--always and only the
pretty--cried up sometimes, it is true, as the sublime.

I don't waste much thought, you see, on general considerations of
national honour.


We are very fond of a beautiful picture, say the French--and quite
truly--but we exact, as the essential condition of beauty, that it
be produced by a painter standing on one leg the whole time he is
working.--Verse in dramatic art.

[Pg 325]

Much less envy in America than in France, and much less intellect.


Since 1530 tyranny _à la_ Philip II has so degraded men's intellect,
has so overshadowed the garden of the world, that the poor Italian
writers have not yet plucked up enough courage to _invent_ a national
novel. Yet, thanks to the naturalness which reigns there, nothing could
be simpler. They need only copy faithfully what stares the world in the
face. Think of Cardinal Gonzalvi, for three hours gravely looking for
flaws in the libretto of an opera-bouffe, and saying uneasily to the
composer: "But you're continually repeating this word _Cozzar, cozzar_."


Héloïse speaks of love, a coxcomb of _his_ love--don't you see that
these things have really nothing but their name in common? Just so,
there is the love of concerts and the love of music: the love of
successes that tickle your vanity--successes your harp may bring you in
the midst of a brilliant society--or the love of a tender day-dream,
solitary and timid.


When you have just seen the woman you love, the sight of any other
woman spoils your vision, gives your eyes physical pain. I know why.


Reply to an objection:--

Perfect naturalness in intimate intercourse can find no place but
in passion-love, for in all the other kinds of love a man feels the
possibility of a favoured rival.

[Pg 326]

In a man who, to be released from life, has taken poison, the moral
part of his being is dead. Dazed by what he has done and by what he is
about to experience, he no longer attends to anything. There are some
rare exceptions.


An old sea captain, to whom I respectfully offered my manuscript,
thought it the silliest thing in the world to honour with six hundred
pages so trivial a thing as love. But, however trivial, love is still
the only weapon which can strike strong souls, and strike home.

What was it prevented M. de M----, in 1814, from despatching Napoleon
in the forest of Fontainebleau? The contemptuous glance of a pretty
woman coming into the Bains-Chinois.[1] What a difference in the
destiny of the world if Napoleon and his son had been killed in 1814!

[1] Memoirs, p. 88. (London edition.)


I quote the following lines from a French letter received from Znaim,
remarking at the same time that there is not a man in the provinces
capable of understanding my brilliant lady correspondent:--

"... Chance means a lot in love. When for a whole year I have read no
English, I find the first novel I pick up delicious. One who is used
to the love of a prosaic being--slow, shy of all that is refined,
and passionately responsive to none but material interests, the love
of shekels, the glory of a fine stable and bodily desires, etc.--can
easily feel disgust at the behaviour of impetuous genius, ardent and
uncurbed in fancy, mindful of love, forgetful of all the rest, always
active and always headlong, just where the other let himself be led and
never acted for himself. The shock, which genius causes, may offend
what, last

[Pg 327]
year at Zithau, we used to call feminine pride, _l'orgueil
féminin_--(is that French?) With the man of genius comes the startling
feeling which with his predecessor was unknown--and, remember, this
predecessor came to an untimely end in the wars and remains a synonym
for perfection. This feeling may easily be mistaken for repulsion by a
soul, lofty but without that assurance which is the fruit of a goodly
number of intrigues."


"Geoffry Rudel, of Blaye, was a very great lord, prince of Blaye, and
he fell in love, without knowing her, with the Princess of Tripoli,
for the great goodness and great graciousness, which he heard tell of
her from the pilgrims, who came from Antioch. And he made for her many
fair songs, with good melodies and suppliant words, and, for the desire
he had to see her, he took the cross and set out upon the sea to go to
her. And it happened that in the ship a grievous malady took him, in
such wise that those that were with him believed him to be dead, but
they contrived to bring him to Tripoli into a hostelry, like one dead.
They sent word to the countess and she came to his bed and took him in
her arms. Then he knew that she was the countess and he recovered his
sight and his hearing and he praised God, giving Him thanks that He
had sustained his life until he had seen her. And thus he died in the
arms of the countess, and she gave him noble burial in the house of
the Temple at Tripoli. And then the same day she took the veil for the
sorrow she had for him and for his death."[1]

[1] Translated from a Provençal MS. of the thirteenth century.


Here is a singular proof of the madness called crystallisation, to be
found in Mistress Hutchinson's Memoirs:

"He told to M. Hutchinson a very true story of a gentleman who not long
before had come for some time

[Pg 328]
to lodge in Richmond, and found all the people he came in company with
bewailing the death of a gentlewoman that had lived there. Hearing her
so much deplored, he made enquiry after her, and grew so in love with
the description, that no other discourse could at first please him nor
could he at last endure any other; he grew desperately melancholy and
would go to a mount where the print of her foot was cut and lie there
pining and kissing it all the day long, till at length death in some
months' space concluded his languishment. This story was very true."
(Vol. I, p. 83.)


Lisio Visconti was anything but a great reader. Not to mention what he
may have seen while knocking about the world, his essay is based on the
Memoirs of some fifteen or twenty persons of note. In case it happens
that the reader thinks such trifling points worthy of a moment's
attention, I give the books from which Lisio drew his reflexions and

  The _Autobiography_ of Benvenuto Cellini.

  The novels of Cervantes and Scarron.

  _Manon Lescaut_ and _Le Doyen de Killerine_, by the Abbé Prévôt.

  The Latin Letters of Héloïse to Abelard.

  _Tom Jones._

  _Letters of a Portuguese Nun._

  Two or three stories by Auguste La Fontaine.

  Pignotti's _History of Tuscany_.



  _Memoirs_ of Carlo Gozzi (Venice, 1760)--only the eighty pages on the
  history of his love affairs.

  The _Memoirs_ of Lauzun, Saint-Simon, d'Épinay, de Staël, Marmontel,
  Bezenval, Roland, Duclos, Horace Walpole, Evelyn, Hutchinson.

  Letters of Mademoiselle Lespinasse.

[Pg 329]

One of the most important persons of our age, one of the most prominent
men in the Church and in the State, related to us this evening
(January, 1822), at Madame de M----'s, the very real dangers he had
gone through under the Terror.

"I had the misfortune to be one of the most prominent members of the
Constituent Assembly. I stayed in Paris, trying to hide myself as
best I could, so long as there was any hope of success there for the
good cause. At last, as the danger grew greater and greater, while
the foreigner made no energetic move in our favour, I decided to
leave--only I had to leave without a passport. Everyone was going off
to Coblentz, so I determined to make for Calais. But my portrait had
been so widely circulated eighteen months before, that I was recognised
at the last post. However, I was allowed to pass and arrived at an inn
at Calais, where, you can imagine, I did not sleep a wink--and very
lucky it was, since at four o'clock in the morning I heard someone
pronounce my name quite distinctly. While I got up and was dressing
in all haste I could clearly distinguish, in spite of the darkness,
the National Guards with their rifles; the people had opened the
main door for them and they were entering the courtyard of the inn.
Fortunately it was raining in torrents--a winter morning, very dark and
with a high wind. The darkness and the noise of the wind enabled me to
escape by the back courtyard and stables. There I stood in the street
at seven o'clock in the morning, utterly resourceless! i I imagined
they were following me from my inn. Hardly knowing what I was doing,
I went down to the port, on to the jetty. I own I had rather lost my
head--everywhere the vision of the guillotine floated before my eyes.

A packet-boat was leaving the port in a very rough sea--it was already
a hundred yards from the jetty. Suddenly

[Pg 330]
I heard a shout from out at sea, as if I were being called. I saw a
small boat approaching. "Hi! sir, come on! We're waiting for you!"
Mechanically I got into the boat. A man was in it. "I saw you walking
on the jetty with a scared look," he whispered, "I thought you might be
some poor fugitive. I've told them you are a friend I was expecting;
pretend to be sea-sick and go and hide below in a dark corner of the

"Oh, what a fine touch!" cried our hostess. She was almost speechless
and had been moved to tears by the Abbé's long and excellently
told story of his perils. "How you must have thanked your unknown
benefactor! What was his name?"

"I do not know his name," the Abbé answered, a little confused.

And there was a moment of profound silence in the room.


                        THE FATHER AND THE SON

                         (A dialogue of 1787)

_The Father_ (Minister of ----): "I congratulate you, my son; it's
a splendid thing for you to be invited to the Duke of ----; it's a
distinction for a man of your age. Don't fail to be at the Palace
punctually at six o'clock."

_The Son:_ "I believe, sir, you are dining there also."

_The Father:_ "The Duke of ---- is always more than kind to our family,
and, as he's asking you for the first time, he has been pleased to
invite me as well."

The son, a young man of high birth and most distinguished intellect,
does not fail to be at the Palace punctually at six o'clock. Dinner was
at seven. The son found himself placed opposite his father. Each guest
had a naked woman next to him. The dinner was served by a score of
lackeys in full livery.[1]

[1] From December 27, 1819, till 3 June, 1820, Mil. [This note is
written thus in English by Stendhal.--Tr.]

[Pg 331]

London, _August_, 1817.

Never in my life have I been so struck or intimidated by the presence
of beauty as to-night, at a concert given by Madame Pasta.

She was surrounded, as she sang, by three rows of young women, so
beautiful--of a beauty so pure and heavenly--that I felt myself lower
my eyes, out of respect, instead of raising them to admire and enjoy.
This has never happened to me in any other land, not even in my beloved


In France one-thing is absolutely impossible in the arts, and that is
"go." A man really carried away would be too much laughed at--he would
look too happy. See a Venetian recite Buratti's satires.

[Pg 332]

                      ON THE COURTS OF LOVE(68)

There were Courts of Love in France from the year 1150 to the year
1200. So much has been proved. The existence of these Courts probably
goes back to a more remote period.

The ladies, sitting together in the Courts of Love, gave out their
decrees either on questions of law--for example: Can love exist between
married people?--

Or on the particular cases which lovers submitted to them.[1]

So far as I can picture to myself the moral side of this jurisprudence,
it must have resembled the Courts of the Marshals of France established
for questions of honour by Louis XIV--that is, as they would have been,
if only public opinion had upheld that institution.

André, chaplain to the King of France, who wrote about the year 1170,
mentions the Courts of Love

    of the ladies of Gascony,
    of Ermengarde, Viscountess of Narbonne (1144-1194),
    of Queen Eléonore,
    of the Countess of Flanders,
    of the Countess of Champagne (1174).

André mentions nine judgments pronounced by the Countess of Champagne.

He quotes two judgments pronounced by the Countess of Flanders.

Jean de Nostradamus, _Life of the Provençal Poets_, says (p. 15):--

 "The '_tensons_' were disputes of Love, which took place between
 poets, both knights and ladies, arguing together on some fair and
 sublime question of love. Where they could not agree,

[Pg 333]
 they sent them, that they might get a decision thereon, to the
 illustrious ladies president who held full and open Court of Love at
 Signe and Pierrefeu, or at Romanin, or elsewhere, and they gave out
 decrees thereon which were called '_Lous Arrests d'Amours_.'"

These are the names of some of the ladies who presided over the Courts
of Love of Pierrefeu and Signe:--

   "Stephanette, Lady of Brulx, daughter of the Count of Provence.
    Adalarie, Viscountess of Avignon;
    Alalète, Lady of Ongle;
    Hermissende, Lady of Posquières;
    Bertrane, Lady of Urgon;
    Mabille, Lady of Yères;
    The Countess of Dye;
    Rostangue, Lady of Pierrefeu;
    Bertrane, Lady of Signe;
    Jausserande of Claustral."--(Nostradamus, p. 27.)

It is probable that the same Court of Love met sometimes at the Castle
of Pierrefeu, sometimes at that of Signe. These two villages are just
next to each other, and situated at an almost equal distance from
Toulon and Brignoles.

In his _Life of Bertrand d'Alamanon_, Nostradamus says:

 "This troubadour was in love with Phanette or Estephanette of Romanin,
 Lady of the said place, of the house of Gantelmes, who held in her
 time full and open Court of Love in her castle of Romanin, near the
 town of Saint-Remy, in Provence, aunt of Laurette of Avignon, of the
 house of Sado, so often celebrated by the poet Petrarch."

Under the heading Laurette, we read that Laurette de Sade, celebrated
by Petrarch, lived at Avignon about the year 1341; that she was
instructed by Phanette of Gantelmes, her aunt, Lady of Romanin; that
"both of them improvised in either kind of Provençal rhythm, and
according to the account of the monk of the Isles d'Or(69), their works
give ample witness to their learning.... It is true (says the monk)
that Phanette or Estephanette, as being most excellent in poetry, had
a divine fury or inspiration, which fury was esteemed a true gift from
God. They were accompanied by many illustrious and high-born[2]

[Pg 334]
ladies of Provence, who flourished at that time at Avignon, when the
Roman court resided there, and who gave themselves up to the study of
letters, holding open Court of Love, and therein deciding the questions
of love which had been proposed and sent to them....

"Guillen and Pierre Balbz and Loys des Lascaris, Counts of Ventimiglia,
of Tende and of Brigue, persons of great renown, being come at
this time to visit Pope Innocent VI of that name, went to hear the
definitions and sentences of love pronounced by these ladies; and
astonished and ravished with their beauty and learning, they were taken
with love of them."

At the end of their "_tensons_" the troubadours often named the ladies
who were to pronounce on the questions in dispute between them.

A decree of the Ladies of Gascony runs:--

 "The Court of ladies, assembled in Gascony, have laid down, with the
 consent of the whole Court, this perpetual constitution, etc., etc."

The Countess of Champagne in a decree of 1174, says:--

 "This judgment, that we have carried with extreme caution, is
 supported by the advice of a very great number of ladies..."

In another judgment is found:--

 "The knight, for the fraud that has been done him, denounced this
 whole affair to the Countess of Champagne, and humbly begged that this
 crime might be submitted to the judgment of the Countess of Champagne
 and the other ladies."

 "The Countess, having summoned around her sixty ladies, gave this
 judgment, etc."

[Pg 335]
André le Chapelain, from whom we derive this information, relates that
the Code of Love had been published by a Court composed of a large
number of ladies and knights.

André has preserved for us the petition, which was addressed to the
Countess of Champagne, when she decided the following question in the
negative: "Can real love exist between husband and wife?"

But what was the penalty that was incurred by disobedience to the
decrees of the Courts of Love?

We find the Court of Gascony ordering that such or such of its
judgments should be observed as a perpetual institution, and that those
ladies who did not obey should incur the enmity of every honourable

Up to what point did public opinion sanction the decrees of the Courts
of Love?

Was there as much disgrace in drawing back from them, as there would be
to-day in an affair dictated by honour?

I can find nothing in André or Nostradamus that puts me in a position
to solve this question.

Two troubadours, Simon Boria and Lanfranc Cigalla, disputed the
question: "Who is worthier of being loved, he who gives liberally, or
he who gives in spite of himself in order to pass for liberal?"

This question was submitted to the ladies of the Court of Pierrefeu and
Signe; but the two troubadours, being discontented with the verdict,
had recourse to the supreme Court of Love of the ladies of Romanin.[3]

The form of the verdicts is conformable to that of the judicial
tribunals of this period.

Whatever may be the reader's opinion as to the degree of importance
which the Courts of Love occupied in the attention of their
contemporaries, I beg him to consider what to-day, in 1822, are the
subjects of conversation among the most considerable and richest ladies
of Toulon and Marseilles.

Were they not more gay, more witty, more happy in 1174 than in 1882?

Nearly all the decrees of the Courts of Love are based on the
provisions of the Code of Love.

This Code of Love is found complete in the work of André le Chapelain.

[1] André le Chapelain, Nostradamus, Raynouard, Crescimbeni, d'Arétin.

[2] Jehanne, Lady of Baulx,
    Hugnette of Forcarquier, Lady of Trects,
    Briande d'Agoult, Countess de la Lune,
    Mabille de Villeneufve, Lady of Vence,
    Beatrix d'Agoult, Lady of Sault,
    Ysoarde de Roquefueilh, Lady of Ansoys,
    Anne, Viscountess of Tallard,
    Blanche of Flassans, surnamed Blankaflour,
    Doulce of Monestiers, Lady of Clumane,
    Antonette of Cadenet, Lady of Lambesc,
    Magdalene of Sallon, Lady of the said place,
    Rixende of Puyvard, Lady of Trans."
                        (Nostradamus, p. 217.)

[3] Nostradamus, p. 131.

[Pg 336]
There are thirty-one articles and here they are:--


     I. The allegation of marriage is not a valid plea against love.

    II. Who can dissemble cannot love.

   III. No one can bind himself to two loves at once.

    IV. Love grows continually or wanes.

     V. That which a lover takes from another by force has no savour.

    VI. Generally the male does not love except in full puberty.

   VII. A widowhood of two years is prescribed to one lover for the
          death of the other.

  VIII. Without over-abundant reason no one ought to be deprived of his
          rights in love.

    IX. No one can love, unless urged thereto by the persuasion of love
          (by the hope of being loved).

     X. Love will be driven out by avarice.

    XI. It is not right to love her whom you would be ashamed to ask in

   XII. True love has no desire for caresses except from the beloved.

  XIII. Love once divulged is rarely lasting.

   XIV. Success too easy takes away the charm of love; obstacles give it

    XV. Everyone who loves turns pale at the sight of the beloved.

   XVI. At the unexpected sight of the beloved the lover trembles.

  XVII. New love banishes old.

 XVIII. Merit alone makes man worthy of love.

   XIX. Love that wanes is quickly out and rarely rekindled.

    XX. The lover is always timid.

   XXI. Real jealousy always increases love's warmth.

  XXII. Suspicion, and the jealousy it kindles, increases love's warmth.

 XXIII. He sleeps less and he eats less who is beset with thoughts of

  XXIV. Every act of the lover ends in thought of the beloved.

[Pg 337]
   XXV. The true lover thinks nothing good but what he knows will please
          the beloved.

  XXVI. Love can deny love nothing.

 XXVII. The lover cannot have satiety of delight in the beloved.

XXVIII. The slightest presumption causes the lover to suspect the
          beloved of sinister things.

  XXIX. The habit of too excessive pleasure hinders the birth of love.

   XXX. The true lover is occupied with the image of the beloved
          assiduously and without interruption.

  XXXI. Nothing prevents a woman from being loved by two men, nor a man
          by two women.[1]

[Pg 338]
Here is the preamble of a judgment given by a Court of Love.

_Question:_ Can true love exist between married people?

_Judgment_ of the Countess of Champagne: We pronounce and determine by
the tenour of these presents, that love cannot extend its powers over
two married persons; for lovers must grant everything, mutually and
gratuitously, the one to the other without being constrained thereto
by any motive of necessity, while husband and wife are bound by duty
to agree the one with the other and deny each other in nothing.... Let
this judgment, which we have passed with extreme caution and with the
advice of a great number of other ladies, be held by you as the truth,
unquestionable and unalterable.

In the year 1174, the third day from the Calends of May, the VIIth:

[1]  I. Causa conjugii ab amore non est excusatio recta.

    II. Qui non celat amare non potest.

   III. Nemo duplici potest amore ligari.

    IV. Semper amorem minui vel crescere constat.

     V. Non est sapidum quod amans ab invito sumit amante.

    VI. Masculus non solet nisi in plena pubertate amare.

   VII. Biennalis viduitas pro amante defuncto superstiti praescribitur

  VIII. Nemo, sine rationis excessu, suo debet amore privari.

    IX. Amare nemo potest, nisi qui amoris suasione compellitur.

     X. Amor semper ab avaritia consuevit domiciliis exulare.

    XI. Non decet amare quarum pudor est nuptias affectare.

   XII. Verus amans alterius nisi suae coamantis ex affectu non cupit

  XIII. Amor raro consuevit durare vulgatus.

   XIV. Facilis perceptio contemptibilem reddit amorem, difficilis eum
          parum facit haberi.

    XV. Omnis consuevit amans in coamantis aspectu pallescere.

   XVI. In repertina coamantis visione, cor tremescit amantis.

  XVII. Novus amor veterem compellit abire.

 XVIII. Probitas sola quemcumque dignum facit amore.

   XIX. Si amor minuatur, cito deficit et raro convalescit.

    XX. Amorosus semper est timorosus.

   XXI. Ex vera zelotypia affectus semper crescit amandi.

  XXII. De coamante suspicione percepta zelus interea et affectus
          crescit amandi.

 XXIII. Minus dormit et edit quem amoris cogitatio vexat.

  XXIV. Quilibet amantis actus in coamantis cogitatione finitur.

   XXV. Verus amans nihil beatum credit, nisi quod cogitat amanti

  XXVI. Amor nihil posset amori denegare.

 XXVII. Amans coamantis solatiis satiari non potest.

XXVIII. Modica praesumptio cogit amantem de coamante suspicari sinistra.

  XXIX. Non solet amare quem nimia voluptatis abundantia vexat.

   XXX. Verus amans assidua, sine intermissione, coamantis imagine

  XXXI. Unam feminam nihil prohibet a duobus amari, et a duabus
          mulieribus unum. (Fol. 103.)

[2] Utrum inter conjugatos amor possit habere locum?

Dicimus enim et stabilito tenore firmamus amorem non posse inter duos
jugales suas extendere vires, nam amantes sibi invicem gratis omnia
largiuntur, nullius necessitatis ratione cogente; jugales vero mutuis
tenentur ex debito voluntatibus obedire et in nullo seipsos sibi ad
invicem denegare....

Hoc igitur nostrum judicium, cum nimia moderatione prolatum, et aliarum
quamplurium dominarum consilio roboratum, pro indubitabili vobis sit ac
veritate constanti.

Ab anno M.C.LXXIV, tertio calend. maii, indictione VII. (Fol. 56.)

This judgment conforms to the first provision of the Code of Love;
"Causa conjugii non est ab amore excusatio recta."

[Pg 339]
                    NOTE ON ANDRÉ LE CHAPELAIN(70)

ANDRÉ LE CHAPELAIN appears to have written about the year 1176.

In the Bibliothèque du Roi may be found a manuscript (No. 8758) of
the work of André, which was formerly in the possession of Baluze.
Its first title is as follows: "Hic incipiunt capitula libri de Arte
amatoria et reprobatione amoris."

This title is followed by the table of chapters.

Then we have the second title:--

"Incipit liber de Arte amandi et de reprobatione amoris editus et
compillatus a magistro Andrea, Francorum aulae regiæ capellano, ad
Galterium amicum suum, cupientem in amoris exercitu militari: in quo
quidem libro, cujusque gradus et ordinis mulier ab homine cujusque
conditionis et status ad amorem sapientissime invitatur; et ultimo in
fine ipsius libri de amoris reprobatione subjungitur."

Crescimbeni, _Lives of the Provençal Poets_, sub voce Percivalle Boria,
cites a manuscript in the library of Nicolo Bargiacchi, at Florence,
and quotes various passages from it. This manuscript is a translation
of the treatise of André le Chapelain. The Accademia della Crusca
admitted it among the works which furnished examples for its dictionary.

There have been various editions of the original Latin. Frid. Otto
Menckenius, in his _Miscellanea Lipsiensia nova, Leipsic_ 1751, Vol.
VIII, part I, pp. 545 and ff., mentions a very old edition without date
or place of printing, which he considers must belong to the first age
of printing: "Tractatus amoris et de amoris remedio Andreae cappellani
Innocentii papae quarti."

A second edition of 1610 bears the following title:--

"_Erotica seu amatoria_ Andreae capellani regii, vetustissimi
scriptoris ad venerandum suum amicum Guualterium scripta, nunquam ante
hac edita, sed saepius a multis desiderata; nunc tandem fide diversorum
MSS. codicum in publicum emissa a Dethmaro Mulhero, Dorpmundae, typis
Westhovianis, anno Una Caste et Vere amanda."

A third edition reads: "Tremoniae, typis Westhovianis, anno 1614.".

[Pg 340]
André divides thus methodically the subjects which he proposes to

1. Quid sit amor et unde dicatur.[1]

2. Quis sit effectus amoris.

3. Inter quos possit esse amor.

4. Qualiter amor acquiratur, retineatur, augmentetur, minuatur,

5. De notitia mutui amoris, et quid unus amantium agere debeat, altero
fidem fallente.

Each of these questions is discussed in several paragraphs.

Andreas makes the lover and his lady speak alternately. The lady raises
objections, the lover tries to convince her with reasons more or less
subtle. Here is a passage which the author puts into the mouth of the

 "... Sed si forte horum sermonum te perturbet obscuritas," eorum tibi
 sententiam indicabo[2]

 Ab antiquo igitur quatuor sunt in amore gradus distincti:

 _Primus_, in spei datione consistit.

 _Secundus_, in osculi exhibitione.

 _Tertius_, in amplexus fruitione.

 _Quartus_, in totius concessione personae finitur."

[1] 1. What love is and whence it is so-called.

2. What are the effects of love?

3. Between whom love can exist.

4. In what way love is won, kept, made to increase, to wane or to end.

5. The way to know if love is returned, and what one of the lovers
should do when the other proves faithless.]

[2] But lest perchance you are troubled by the obscurity of this
discourse, I shall give you the argument:--

From all antiquity there are four different degrees of love:

The first consists in giving hope.

The second in the offer of a kiss.

The third in the enjoyment of the most intimate caresses.

The fourth in the surrender of body and soul.]

[Pg 341]
                          TRANSLATORS' NOTES

1. The Portuguese Nun, Marianna Alcaforado, was born of a distinguished
Portuguese family in the second half of the seventeenth century. About
1662, while still a nun, she fell in love with a French officer, the
Chevalier de Chamilly, to whom she addressed her famous letters. The
worthiness of the object of her passion may be judged by the fact that,
on his return to Paris, the Chevalier handed over these letters to
Sublingy, a lawyer, to be translated and published. They appeared in
1669, published by Barbin, under the title _Lettres Portuguaises_, and
have since been often reprinted. Marianna Alcaforado died at the end of
the seventeenth or the beginning of the eighteenth century.

There are only five original letters, though many editions contain the
seven spurious letters, attributed to a "femme du monde"--they are
already in Barbin's second edition.

There is an admirable seventeenth-century English translation of her
letters by Sir Roger L'Estrange.

The passion of Héloïse for Abelard hardly calls for commentary. There
is no clue to the identity of Captain de Vésel and Sergeant de Cento.
A note in Calmann-Lévy's edition tells us that, in reply to enquiries
about these two mysterious people, Stendhal said that he had forgotten
their stories.

2. _Justine ou les Malheurs de la Vertu_, by the famous Marquis de
Sade, was published in Holland, 1791.

3. Cf. Coleridge, _Love's Apparition and Evanishment_:--

    ... Genial Hope,
    Love's eldest sister.

4. Cf. Chapter VIII, p. 35 below. The ideas contained in these two
passages are the germ of a story written by Stendhal with the obvious
intention of illustrating his theories. The story--"Ernestine"--is
included in the Calmann-Lévy edition of _De l'Amour_.

[Pg 342]
5. Cf. a letter of Sir John Suckling "_to a Friend to dissuade him from
marrying a widow, which he formerly had been in love with_":--

"Love is a natural distemper, a kind of Small Pox: Every one either
hath had it or is to expect it, and the sooner the better."

6. Léonore: under this name Stendhal refers to Métilde Dembowski
(_née_ Viscontini). His passion for the wife of General Dembowski,
with whom he became intimate during his stay in Milan (1814-1821),
forms one of the most important chapters in Stendhal's life, but it
is a little disappointing to enquire too deeply into the object of
this passion. At any rate, as far as one can see, the great qualities
which Stendhal discovered in Métilde Dembowski had their existence
rather in his expert crystallisation than in reality. It was an unhappy
affair. Métilde's cousin used her influence to injure Stendhal, and
in 1819 she cut off all communication with him. Stendhal was still
bemoaning his fate on his arrival in England, 1821. There is, none
the less, something unconvincing in certain points in the history
of this attachment; in spite of his sorrow, Stendhal seems to have
consoled himself in the Westminster Road with "little Miss Appleby."
It is worth noticing that Métilde Dembowski had been the confidante of
Signora Pietra Grua, his former mistress, and it was from the date of
Stendhal's discovery of the latter's shameless infidelity to himself
and other lovers, that his admiration for Métilde seems to have started.

7. It is here worth turning to a passage from Baudelaire--which is
given in the Translators' note (11) below. Liberty in love, he says,
consists in avoiding the kind of woman dangerous to oneself. He
points out that a natural instinct prompts one to this spontaneous
self-preservation. Stendhal here gives a more exact explanation of
the operation of this instinctive selection in love. Schopenhauer's
conception of the utilitarian nature of bodily beauty is a more general
application of the same idea. The breasts of a woman _à la_ Titian
are a pledge of fitness for maternity--therefore they are beautiful.
Stendhal would have said a pledge of fitness for giving pleasure.

8. The well-known Dr. Edwards, in whose house Stendhal was introduced
to one side of English life--and a very bourgeois side. He was
introduced by a brother of Dr. Edwards, a

[Pg 343]
man given to the peculiarly gloomy kind of debauch of which Stendhal
gives such an exaggerated picture in his account of England. See note
31 below.

9. This brings to mind Blake's view of imagination and "the rotten
rags" of memory.

10. _Bianca e Faliero ossia il consiglio di tre_--opera by Rossini

11. Cf. Baudelaire, _Choix de maximes consolantes sur l'amour_ in _Le
Corsaire Satan_ (March 3, 1846) and reprinted in _Œuvres Posthumes_,
Paris, 1908.

"Sans nier les coups de foudre, ce qui est impossible--voyez
Stendhal...--il faut que la fatalité jouit d'une certaine élasticité
qui s'appelle liberté humaine.... En amour la liberté consiste à éviter
les catégories de femmes dangereuses, c'est-à-dire dangereuses pour

["Without denying the possibility of 'thunderbolts,' for that is
impossible (see Stendhal)--one may yet believe that fatality enjoys
a certain elasticity, called human liberty.... In love human liberty
consists in avoiding the categories of dangerous women--that is, women
dangerous for you."]

12. Paul Louis Courier (1772-1825) served with distinction as an
officer in Napoleon's army. He resigned his commission in 1809, in
order to devote himself to literature, and especially to the study
of Greek. His translation of _Daphnis and Chloe_, from the Greek of
Longus, is well known, and was the cause of his long controversy
with Del Furia, the under-librarian of the Laurentian Library at
Florence, to which Stendhal here refers. Courier had discovered
a complete manuscript of this romance in the famous Florentine
Library. By mistake, he soiled with a blot of ink the page of the
manuscript containing the all-important passage, which was wanting
in all previously known manuscripts. Del Furia, jealous of Courier's
discovery, accused him of having blotted the passage on purpose, in
order to monopolise the discovery. A lively controversy followed, in
which the authorities entered. Courier was guilty of nothing worse than
carelessness, and, needless to say, got the better of his adversaries,
when it came to a trial with the pen.

[Pg 344]
13. The Viscomte de Valmont and the Présidente de Tourvel are the two
central figures in Choderlos de Laclos' _Liaisons Dangereuses_ (1782).

14. Modern criticism has made it uncertain who Dante's la Pia really
was. The traditional identification is now given up, but there seems no
reason to doubt the historical fact of the story.

15. Napoleon crowned himself with the Iron Crown of the old Lombard
kings at Milan in 1805.

16. The reader is aware by now that Salviati is none other than
Stendhal. The passage refers to the campaign of 1812, in which Stendhal
played a prominent part, being present at the burning of Moscow.

17. _Don Carlos_, Tragedy of Schiller (1787); Saint-Preux--from
Rousseau's _Nouvelle Héloïse_.

18. Stendhal's first book. For the history of this work, which is an
admirable example of Stendhal's bold method of plagiarism, see the
introduction to the work in the complete edition of Stendhal now in
course of publication by Messrs. Champion (Paris, 1914) or Lumbroso,
_Vingt jugements inédits sur Henry Beyle_ (1902), pp. 10 and ff.

19. _Jacques le Fataliste_--by Diderot (1773).

20. The note, as it stands, in the French text, against the word
"pique," runs as follows:--

"I think the word is none too French in this sense, but I can find
no better substitute. In Italian it is 'puntiglio,' and in English

21. The _Lettres à Sophie_ were written by Mirabeau (1749-1791) during
his imprisonment at Vincennes (1777-1780). They were addressed to
Sophie de Monnier; it was his relations with her which had brought
him into prison. They were published in 1792, after Mirabeau's death,
under the title: _Lettres originales de Mirabeau écrites du donjon de

[Pg 345]
22. Catherine Marie, Duchesse de Montpensier, was the daughter of
the Duc de Guise, assassinated in 1563. In 1570 she married the Duc
de Montpensier. She was lame, but she had other reasons besides his
scoffing at her infirmity for her undying hatred of Henry III; for she
could lay at his door the death of her brother Henry, the third Duke.
She died in 1596.

23. Julie d'Étanges--the heroine of Rousseau's _Nouvelle Héloïse_.

24. Stendhal, we must remember, is writing as a staunch liberal in the
period of reaction which followed the fall of Napoleon and the end of
the revolutionary period. Stendhal had been one of Napoleon's officers,
and the Bourbon restoration put an end to his career. His liberalism
and his pride at having been one of those who followed Napoleon's
glorious campaigns, colour everything he writes about the state of
Europe in his time. In reading Stendhal's criticisms of France, England
and Italy, we must put ourselves back in 1822--remember that in France
we have the Royalist restoration, in England the cry for reform always
growing greater and beginning to penetrate even into the reactionary
government of Lord Liverpool (Peel, Canning, Huskisson), in Italy
the rule of the "Pacha" (see below, note 29) and the beginning of
Carbonarism (of which Stendhal was himself suspected, see below, note
27), and the long struggle for unity and independence.

25. Charles Ferdinand, Duke de Berri (1778-1820), married a Bourbon
Princess and was assassinated by a fanatic enemy of the Bourbons.

26. Bayard. Pierre Bayard (1476-1524), the famous French knight
"without fear or reproach."

27. Of all foreign countries then to which Stendhal went Italy was not
only his favourite, but also the one he knew and understood best. He
was pleased in later years to discover Italian blood in his own family
on the maternal side. The Gagnon family, from which his mother came,
had, according to him, crossed into France about 1650.

He was in Italy with little interruption from 1814-1821, and again from
1830-1841 as consul at Civita Vecchia, during which time he became
intimately acquainted with the best, indeed every

[Pg 346]
kind of Italian society. He tells us that fear of being implicated in
the _Carbonari_ troubles drove him from Italy in 1821.

One can well believe that a plain speaker and daring thinker like
Stendhal would have been looked upon by the Austrian police with
considerable suspicion.

28. Racine and Shakespeare. Very early in life Stendhal refused to
accept the conventional literary valuations. Racine he put below
Corneille--Racine, like Voltaire, he says, fills his works with
"bavardage éternel." Shakespeare became for Stendhal the master
dramatist, and he is never tired of the comparison between him and
Racine. Cf. _Rome, Naples et Florence_ (1817), and _Histoire de la
Peinture en Italie_ (1817). Finally he published his work on the
subject: _Racine et Shakespeare par M. de Stendhal_ (1823).

29. Stendhal knew Italy and was writing in Italy in the dark period
that followed the fall of Napoleon. The "Pacha" is, of course, the
repressive and reactionary government, whether that of the Austrians
in Lombardy, of the Pope in Rome, or of the petty princes in the minor
Italian states. See above, note 27.

30. Count Almaviva--character from Beaumarchais' _Marriage de Figaro_,
first acted April, 1784. The play was censored by Louis XVI and
produced none the less six months later. Its production is an event
in the history of the French Revolution. Almaviva stands for the
aristocracy and cuts a sad figure beside Figaro, a poor barber.


31. Baretti, Dr. Johnson's friend, has the reputation of having learnt
English better than any other foreigner. Stendhal might well claim a
similar distinction for having acquired in a short stay a grasp so
singularly comprehensive of England--of English people and their ways.
He was four times in England--in 1817, 1821, 1826, and 1838--never
for a whole year in succession, and on the first occasion merely on a
flying trip. But Stendhal had not only a great power of observing and
assimilating ideas; he was also capable of accommodating himself to
association with the most varied types. Stendhal was as appreciative of
Miss Appleby--his

[Pg 347]
little mistress in the Westminster Road--as of Lord Byron and Shelley:
he was at home in the family circle of the Edwards and the Clarkes.
From the first he was sensible of the immense value of his friendship
with the lawyer, Sutton Sharpe (1797-1843). Sharpe was one of those
Englishmen who seem made for the admiration of foreigners--possessing
all the Englishman's sense and unaffected dignity and none of his
morbid reserve or insularity. Porson, Opie, Flaxman, Stothard were
familiar figures in the house of Sharpe's father, and Sharpe and his
charming sister continued to be the centre of a large and intelligent
circle. In 1826 Sharpe took Stendhal with him on circuit. Stendhal was
often present in court and learnt from his friend, who in 1841 became
Q. C., to admire the real character, so rarely appreciated abroad, of
English justice. He took this opportunity of visiting also Manchester,
York, and the Lake district. Likewise to Sharpe he owed the privilege
of meeting Hook, the famous wit and famous bibber, at the Athenaeum.
He was present even at one of Almack's balls--the most select
entertainment of that time.

With an acquaintance with England at once so varied, so full and yet
so short, as regards direct intercourse with the country and people,
it is rather natural that Stendhal was wary of subscribing to any
one very settled conception of the English. He felt the incongruity
of their character. At one time he called them "la nation la plus
civilisée et la plus puissante du monde entier"--the most civilised and
powerful people on the face of the earth; at another they were only
"les premiers hommes pour le steam-engine"; and then, he merely felt a
sorrowful affection for them--as for a people who just missed getting
the profit of their good qualities by shutting their eyes to their bad.

As for Stendhal's knowledge of English literature--of that the
foundations were laid early in life. His enthusiasm for Shakespeare
was a very early passion (cf. Translators' note 28). As years went on,
his acquaintance with English thought and English literature became
steadily wider. Significant is his familiarity with Bentham, whose
views were congenial to Stendhal: Stendhal quotes him more than once.
Hobbes he was ready to class with Condillac, Helvétius, Cabanis and
Destutt de Tracy, as one of the philosophers most congenial and useful
to his mind. For the rest, the notes and quotations in this book leave
no doubt of the extent of his English reading--they

[Pg 348]
give one a poorer opinion of his purely linguistic capacities;
Stendhal's own English is often most comical. For a very complete
consideration of his connexion with England see _Stendhal et
l'Angleterre_, by Doris Gunnell (Paris, 1909). Cf. also Chuquet's
_Stendhal-Beyle_ (Paris, 1902), Chap. IX, pp. 178 and ff.

32. Of the three Englishmen referred to here, James Beattie
(1735--1803), the author of _The Minstrel_ (published 1771-1774), and
Richard Watson (1737-1816), Bishop of Llandaff (1782), a distinguished
chemist and a man of liberal political views, will both be familiar to
readers of Boswell. The third, John Chetwode Eustace (1762?-1815) was
a friend of Burke and a Roman Catholic, who seems to have given some
trouble to the Catholic authorities in England and Ireland. His _Tour
through Italy_, to which Stendhal refers, was published in 1813.

33. The Divorce Bill, introduced in 1820 into the House of Lords by
George IV's ministers, to annul his marriage with Queen Caroline, but
abandoned on account of its unpopularity both in Parliament and in the
country generally.

34. The Whiteboys were a secret society, which originated in Ireland
about 1760 and continued spasmodically till the end of the century.
In 1821 it reappeared and gave great trouble to the authorities; in
1823 the society adopted another name. The yeomanry was embodied in
Ulster in September 1796, and was mainly composed of Orangemen and
Protestants. The body was instrumental in disarming Ulster and in
suppressing the rebellion of 1798--not, it has been maintained, without
unnecessary cruelty.

35. Sir Benjamin Bloomfield (1786-1846), a distinguished soldier,
ultimately did get his peerage in 1825. In 1822 he had resigned his
office of receiver of the duchy of Cornwall, having lost the King's
confidence after many years of favour.


36. Stendhal's personal knowledge of Spain was less extensive than that
of Italy, England and Germany. He was early interested in the country
and its literature. In 1808 at Richemont he was reading a _Histoire de
la guerre de la succession d'Espagne_, and the same year speaks of his
plan of going to Spain to study the

[Pg 349]
language of Cervantes and Calderon. In 1810 he actually took Spanish
lessons and the next year applied from Germany for an official
appointment in Spain. In 1837 he made his way as far as Barcelona.


37. In 1806 Stendhal returned to Paris from Marseilles whither he
had followed the actress Melanie Guilbert and taken up a commercial
employment in order to support himself at her side. He now again put
himself under the protection of Daru, and followed him into Germany,
though at first without any fixed title. He was not at Jena, as he
pretends (being still in Paris the 7th October), but on the 27th of the
month he witnessed Napoleon's triumphal entry into Berlin. Two days
later he was nominated by Daru to the post of assistant _commissaire
des guerres_.

Stendhal arrived in Brunswick in 1806 to take up his official duties.
Although his time was occupied with a considerable amount of business,
he found leisure also for visiting the country at ease. In 1807 he
went as far as Hamburg. His observations on the country and people are
occurring continually in his works, particularly in his letters and in
his _Voyage à Brunswick_ (in _Napoléon_, ed. de Mitty, Paris, 1897),
pp. 92-125. In 1808 he left Brunswick, but soon returned with Daru to
Germany. This time he was employed at Strasbourg--whence he passed to
Ingolstadt, Landshut, etc., etc. Facts prove that he was not at the
battle of Wagram, as he says in his _Life of Napoleon_. He was at the
time at Vienna, where he managed to remain for the _Te Deum_ sung in
honour of the Emperor Francis II after the evacuation by the French.
He returned in 1810, after the peace of Schonnbrunn, to Paris. It was
during his stay in Brunswick that Stendhal made the acquaintance of
Baron von Strombeck, for whom he always preserved a warm affection.
He was a frequent guest at the house of von Strombeck and a great
admirer of his sister-in-law, Phillippine von Bülow--who died Abbess
of Steterburg--_la celeste Phillippine_. Baron von Strombeck is
referred to in this work as M. de Mermann. See generally Chuquet,
_Stendhal-Beyle_, Chap. V.

38. Triumph of the Cross. In Arthur Schuig's sprightly, but inaccurate,
German edition of _De l'Amour--Über die Liebe_ (Jena, 1911)--occurs
this note:--

"Stendhal names the piece _Le Triomphe de la Croix_, but must

[Pg 350]
mean either _Das Kruez an der Ostsee_ (1806), or _Martin Luther oder
die Weihe der Kraft_ (1807)--both tragedies by Zacharias Werner."

39. The Provencal story in this chapter, and the Arabic anecdotes in
the next, were translated for Stendhal by his friend Claude Fauriel
(1772-1806)--"the only savant in Paris who is not a pedant," he calls
him in a letter written in 1829 (_Correspondance de Stendhal_, Paris,
Charles Brosse, 1908, Vol. II, p. 516). A letter of 1822 (Vol. II, p.
247) thanks M. Fauriel for his translations. "If I were not so old,"
he writes, "I should learn Arabic, so charmed am I to find something
at last that is not a mere academic copy of the antique.... My little
ideological treatise on Love will now have some variety. The reader
will be carried beyond the circle of European ideas." Saint-Beuve
relates that he was present when Fauriel showed Stendhal, then engaged
on his _De l'Amour_, an Arab story which he had translated. Stendhal
seized on it, and Fauriel was only able to recover his story by
promising two more like it in exchange. M. Fauriel is referred to p.
188, note 3, above.

40. The reference is to a piece by Scribe (1791-1861).

41. Stendhal had no first-hand knowledge of America.

42. Stendhal was writing before Whitman and Whistler; yet he had read

43. The entire material for these three chapters, and to a very great
extent their language too, is taken straight from an article in the
_Edinburgh Review_--January 1810--by Thomas Broadbent. See for a full
comparison of the English and French, Doris Gunnell--_Stendhal et
l'Angleterre_, Appendix B.

Stendhal has not only adapted the ideas--he has to a great extent
translated the words of Thomas Broadbent. He has changed the order of
ideas here and there--not the ideas themselves--and in some cases he
has enlarged their application. Where he has translated the English
word for word, it has often been possible in this translation to
restore the original English, which Stendhal borrowed and turned into
French. Where we have done this, we have printed the words, which
belong to Thomas Broadbent, in italics.

[Pg 351]
However, as Stendhal often introduced slight, but important, changes
of language, we also give below, as an example of his methods, longer
passages chosen from the article in the _Edinburgh Review_, to compare
with the corresponding passages literally translated by us from

These are the passages:--

P. 225, l. 2:

 "As if women were more quick and men more judicious, as if women were
 more remarkable for delicacy of expression and men for stronger powers
 of attention."

P. 228, l. 9:

 "Knowledge, where it produces any bad effects at all, does as much
 mischief to one sex as to the other.... Vanity and conceit we shall of
 course witness in men and women, as long as the world endures.... The
 best way to make it more tolerable is to give it as high and dignified
 an object as possible."

P. 229, l. 21:

 "Women have, of course, all ignorant men for enemies to their
 instruction, who being bound (as they think) in point of sex to know
 more, are not well pleased in point of fact to know less."

P. 230, l. 24:

 "The same desire of pleasing, etc.... We are quite astonished in
 hearing men converse on such subjects to find them attributing such
 beautiful effects to ignorance."

P. 232, l. 31:

 "We do not wish a lady to write books any more than we wish her to
 dance at the opera."

P. 237, l. 13:

 "A merely accomplished woman cannot infuse her tastes into the minds
 of her sons....

 "By having gained information a mother may inspire her sons with
 valuable tastes, which may abide by them through life and carry him up
 to all the sublimities of knowledge."

P. 237, l. 27:

 "Mankind are much happier for the discovery of barometers,
 thermometers, steam-engines and all the innumerable inventions in the
 arts and the sciences.... The same observation is true of such works
 as those of Dryden, Pope, Milton and Shakespeare."

[Pg 352]
Stendhal's habit of quoting without acknowledgment from all kinds of
writings is so curious, that it demands a word to itself. His wholesale
method of plagiarism has been established in other works beside the
present one; almost the whole of his first work--_La Vie de Haydn_
(1814)--is stolen property. See above, note 18. Goethe was amused to
find his own experiences transferred to the credit of the author of
_Rome, Naples et Florence!_

If there is any commentary necessary on this literary piracy--it is to
be found in a note by Stendhal (_vide_ above, Chapter XXXVII, p. 132)
on a passage where, for once, he actually acknowledges a thought from
La Rochefoucauld:--

 "The reader will have recognised, without my marking it each time,
 several other thoughts of celebrated writers. It is history which I am
 attempting to write, and such thoughts are the facts."

44. The monitorial system (_Enseignement mutuel_) was introduced into
France soon after the Bourbon Restoration; but it was not, like our
monitorial system, designed with a view primarily to the maintenance of
discipline, but rather to supplying the want of schools and masters and
remedying the official indifference to popular education, which then
existed in France. As such, it was warmly espoused by the liberals, and
as warmly opposed by the reactionaries. The monitors, it was thought,
could hand on to the younger pupils the knowledge they had already
received; after the Revolution of 1830, when no longer the object
of political controversy, the system gave way to more practical and
efficient methods of public instruction.

45. Porlier (Don Juan Diaz), born in 1783, was publicly hanged in
1815 as the result of a conspiracy against Ferdinand VII of Spain.
After having been one of the most active and bravest supporters of
Ferdinand's cause in the effort to re-establish his throne and the
national honour, he now sacrificed his life to an unsuccessful attempt
to set up a constitutional government.

Antonio Quiroga (born 1784), also after having distinguished himself in
the national struggle against Napoleon, was tried for complicity in the
conspiracy, after the fall of Porlier. After a series of adventures, in
which he was more lucky than Riego, his

[Pg 353]
subaltern, to whom he owed so much, he again distinguished himself,
after a temporary withdrawal from active service in 1822, by the stout
opposition he offered to the French invasion of 1823. His efforts,
however, were of no avail and he escaped to England, and thence made
his way to South America. Some years later he returned to Spain, was
nominated Captain General of Grenada, and died in 1841.

Rafael del Riego (born 1785), after serving against the French,
first became prominent in connexion with the effort to restore the
constitution which Ferdinand had abolished in 1812. He was elected by
his troops second in command to Quiroga, whom he himself proposed as
their leader. This rising was a failure and Riego was exiled to Oviedo,
his birthplace. After being repeatedly recalled and re-exiled, he ended
by being one of the first victims of Ferdinand's restoration in 1823,
and was dragged to the place of execution at the back of a donkey, amid
the outrages of the mob.

46. Father Paolo Sarpi (1552-1623), the famous historian of the
Council of Trent, a Servite monk, and the ecclesiastical adviser of
the Venetian Government, at a time when it seemed not impossible that
Venice would break away, like Northern Europe, from the Roman Catholic

47. Destutt de Tracy (1754-1836) was, according to Stendhal, our only
philosopher. It is on Tracy, one of the Ideologists, that Stendhal,
one might say, modelled his philosophic attitude. Tracy's _Idéologie_
(1801), he says, gave him "milles germes de pensées nouvelles"--gave
him also his worship of logic. He was equally impressed by the _Traité
de la Volonté_ (1815). Cf. Picavet's Sorbonne Thesis (Paris, 1891)
_Les Idéologues_, pp. 489-92, in which he speaks of Stendhal as "a
successor and a defender, _mutatis mutandis_, of the eighteenth-century

48. Giovanni Luigi Fiescho (15 23-1547), a great Genoese noble, formed
a conspiracy in 1547 against the all-powerful Admiral of the Republic,
Andrea Doria. The state fleet in the harbour was to be seized, but in
attempting this Fiescho was drowned, and the conspiracy collapsed.

[Pg 354]
49. Henri Grégoire (1750-1831), one of the most original fearless and
sincere of the Revolutionary leaders, was the constitutional Bishop
of Blois, who refused to lay down his episcopal office under the
Terror, and when the Reign of Terror was over, took an active part in
restoring Religion and the Church. He resigned his bishopric in 1801.
Napoleon made him a count but he was always hostile to the Empire. He
was a staunch Gallican, and never forgave Napoleon his concordat with
the Papacy. He was naturally hated and feared by the Royalists at the
Restoration, but he remained popular with the people, and was elected
a member of the lower chamber in 1819, though he was prevented by the
Government from sitting.

50. _La Génie du Christianisme_, by Chateaubriand (1802).

51. See note 47.

52. See note 37.

53. See note 37.

54. Johannes von Müller--the German historian (1752-1809).

55. La Trappe--the headquarters (near Mortagna) of a monastic body, the
Trappists, a branch of the Cistercian order. The word is used for all
Trappist monasteries.

56. Samuel Bernard (1651-1739), son of the painter and engraver of
the same name, was a man of immense wealth and the foremost French
financier of his day. He was born a Protestant, not, as has been
thought, a Jew, but became a Catholic after the Revocation of the Edict
of Nantes (1685). He was ennobled and became the Comte de Coubert

57. Joseph Louis Lagrange (1736-1813), a celebrated mathematician and

58. Hazlitt, in a note to his essay on _Self-Love and Benevolence_,
remarked on Stendhal's absurdly exaggerated praise of Helvétius. After
quoting this passage, he adds: "My friend Mr. Beyle here lays too much
stress on a borrowed verbal fallacy."

[Pg 355]
Hobbes and Mandeville, he says, had long before stated, and Butler
answered, this fallacy, which not unfrequently vitiates Stendhal's
psychological views.

59. Francois Guillaume Ducray-Duminil (1761-1819), the author of
numerous sentimental and popular novels.

60. The _Argonautica_ of Apollonius of Rhodes (222-181 B. C.).

61. Jean Francois de la Harpe (born 1739) is frequently mentioned by
Stendhal in this hostile spirit. After winning considerable notoriety,
without very much merit, La Harpe in 1786 became professor of
literature at the newly founded Lycée. Having started as a Voltairian
philosopher, and still apparently favourable to the Revolution, he
was none the less arrested in 1794 as a suspect and put into prison.
There he was converted from his former Voltairian principles to Roman
Catholicism. He died in 1803.

62. _Notices sur Mme. de la Fayette, Mme. et Mlle. Deshoulières, lues à
l'Académie française_, Paris, 1822.

63. Pierre Jean de Béranger (born 1780): The bold patriotic songs,
which had made Béranger's name, brought him in 1828, for the second
time, into prison. He refused office after the revolution (1830), for
the principles of which he had already suffered; he died in 1848.

64. _La Gazza Ladra_, an opera by Rossini.

65. Antoine Marie, Comte de Lavalette (1769-1830) was one of Napoleon's
generals. After the Bourbon restoration of 1815 he was condemned to
death, but escaped, chiefly owing to his wife's help.

66. Alessandro, Conte Verri, the contemporary of Stendhal and a
distinguished _littérateur_ (1741-1816).

67. Montenotte (April, 1796), and Rivoli (January, 1797), two victories
in Bonaparte's Italian campaign.

[Pg 356]
68. The existence of these Courts of Love has been denied by many
modern historians. For a brief statement of the arguments against
their historical existence the English reader may be referred to
Chaytor, _The Troubadours_ (in the _Cambridge Manuals of Science and
Literature_, 1912), pp. 19-21. But while the direct evidence for their
existence is very flimsy, the direct evidence against them is no less

69. The monk of the Isles d'Or, on whose manuscript Nostradamus
professed to rely, is now considered to be a purely fictitious person,
an anagram on a friend's name.

70. The date of André le Chapelain's treatise is a disputed point.
Stendhal gives its date as 1176; Reynouard and others, 1170. Others
again have placed it as late as the fourteenth century, though this has
been proved impossible, since thirteenth-century writers refer to the
book. The probability is that it was written at the beginning of the
thirteenth or end of the twelfth century--there is no evidence to fix
the date with precision. For a full discussion of the question see the
preface to the best modern edition of the work--_Andreae Capellani ...
De Amore_ (recensuit E. Trojel), 1892.

71. Cf. Montesquieu, _Lettres Persanes_, passim, and especially Letter
48: ".... Our foreign demeanour no longer gives offence. We even profit
by people's surprise at finding us quite polite. Frenchmen cannot
imagine that Persia produces men.

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