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Title: Romantic Love and Personal Beauty - Their development, causal relations,  historic and national - peculiarities
Author: Finck, Henry T.
Language: English
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                          Transcriber’s Note:

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Italics are delimited with the ‘_’ character as _italic_.

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                             ROMANTIC LOVE
                            PERSONAL BEAUTY




                             HENRY T. FINCK

                           =New York=
                         THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
                     LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.
                         _All rights reserved_

                            COPYRIGHT, 1887
                           BY HENRY T. FINCK


                     SET UP AND ELECTROTYPED, 1887
                      NEW EDITION, FEBRUARY, 1903

                      Press of J. J. Little & Co.
                         Astor Place, New York


 EVOLUTION OF ROMANTIC LOVE                                           1
 FLOWER LOVE AND BEAUTY                                               7
 IMPERSONAL AFFECTION                                                11
 PERSONAL AFFECTIONS                                                 16
      I. Love for Animals                                            16
     II. Maternal Love                                               19
    III. Paternal Love                                               20
     IV. Filial Love                                                 22
      V. Brotherly and Sisterly Love                                 23
     VI. Friendship                                                  24
    VII. Romantic Love                                               26
 OVERTONES OF LOVE                                                   29
      I. Individual Preference                                       30
     II. Monopoly or Exclusiveness                                   30
    III. Jealousy                                                    30
     IV. Coyness                                                     30
      V. Gallantry                                                   31
     VI. Self-Sacrifice                                              31
    VII. Sympathy                                                    31
   VIII. Pride of Conquest and Possession                            31
     IX. Emotional Hyperbole                                         32
      X. Mixed Moods                                                 32
     XI. Admiration of Personal Beauty                               32
     Herbert Spencer on Love                                         33
 LOVE AMONG ANIMALS                                                  33
     Courtship                                                       37
       (_a_) Jealousy                                                39
       (_b_) Coyness                                                 40
       (_c_) Individual Preference                                   42
       (_d_) Personal Beauty and Sexual Selection                    43
             (1) Protective Colours                                  48
             (2) Warning Colours                                     48
             (3) Typical Colours                                     48
             (4) Sexual Colours                                      49
     Love Charms and Love Calls                                      50
     Love Dances and Display                                         52
 LOVE AMONG SAVAGES                                                  54
     Strangers to Love                                               54
     Primitive Courtship                                             56
         (1) Capture                                                 56
         (2) Purchase                                                58
         (3) Service                                                 58
     Individual Preference                                           59
     Personal Beauty and Sexual Selection                            60
     Jealousy and Polygamy                                           62
     Monopoly and Monogamy                                           63
     Primitive Coyness                                               64
     Can American Negroes Love?                                      66
 HISTORY OF LOVE                                                     67
 LOVE IN EGYPT                                                       67
 ANCIENT HEBREW LOVE                                                 69
 ANCIENT ARYAN LOVE                                                  72
     Hindoo Love Maxims                                              73
 GREEK LOVE                                                          75
     Family Affection                                                75
     No Love Stories                                                 76
     Woman’s Position                                                77
     Chaperonage _versus_ Courtship                                  77
     Plato on Courtship                                              78
     Parental _versus_ Lovers’ Choice                                78
     The Hetæræ                                                      79
     Platonic Love                                                   80
     Sappho and Female Friendship                                    81
     Greek Beauty                                                    83
     Cupid’s Arrows                                                  84
     Origin of Love                                                  85
 ROMAN LOVE                                                          86
     Woman’s Position                                                86
     No Wooing and Choice                                            87
     Virgil, Dryden, and Scott                                       89
     Ovid’s Art of Making Love                                       90
     Birth of Gallantry                                              91
 MEDIÆVAL LOVE                                                       92
     Celibacy _versus_ Marriage                                      92
     Woman’s Lowest Degradation                                      93
     Negation of Feminine Choice                                     95
     Christianity and Love                                           97
     Chivalry—Militant and Comic                                     98
     Chivalry—Poetic                                                101
       (_a_) French Troubadours                                     102
       (_b_) German Minnesingers                                    103
     Female Culture                                                 105
     Personal Beauty                                                107
     Spenser on Love                                                108
     Dante and Shakspere                                            109
 MODERN LOVE                                                        111
     A Biologic Test                                                111
     Venus, Plutus, and Minerva                                     112
     Leading Motives                                                114
     Modern Coyness                                                 114
         (1) An Echo of Capture                                     114
         (2) Maiden _versus_ Wife                                   115
         (3) Modesty                                                115
         (4) Cunning to be Strange                                  115
         (5) Procrastination                                        116
         Goldsmith on Love                                          116
         Disadvantages of Coyness                                   118
         Coyness lessens Woman’s Love                               120
         Masculine _versus_ Feminine Love                           120
         Flirtation and Coquetry                                    122
         Flirtation _versus_ Coyness                                123
         Modern Courtship                                           125
     Modern Jealousy                                                127
         Lover’s Jealousy                                           129
         Retrospective and Prospective Jealousy                     131
         Jealousy and Beauty                                        133
     Monopoly or Exclusiveness                                      133
         True Love is Transient                                     135
         Is First Love Best?                                        136
         Heine on First Love                                        137
         First Love is not Best                                     137
     Pride and Vanity                                               141
         Coquetry                                                   142
         Love and Rank                                              143
     Special Sympathy                                               145
         How Love Intensifies Emotions                              146
         Development of Sympathy                                    147
         Pity and Love                                              150
         Love at First Sight                                        152
         Intellect and Love                                         154
     Gallantry and Self-Sacrifice                                   157
     Active and Passive Desire to Please                            159
     Feminine Devotion                                              160
     Emotional Hyperbole                                            162
     Mixed Moods and Paradoxes                                      166
     Lunatic, Lover, and Poet                                       172
     Individual Preference                                          173
     Sexual Divergence                                              174
     Making Woman Masculine                                         175
     Love and Culture                                               176
     Personal Beauty                                                177
     Feminine Beauty in Masculine Eyes                              177
     Masculine Beauty in Feminine Eyes                              178
 CONJUGAL AFFECTION AND ROMANTIC LOVE                               180
     Romance in Conjugal Love                                       184
     Marriages of Reason or Love Matches?                           187
     Marriage Hints                                                 189
 OLD MAIDS                                                          190
 BACHELORS                                                          194
 GENIUS AND MARRIAGE                                                197
 GENIUS AND LOVE                                                    201
 GENIUS IN LOVE                                                     204
     (1) Precocity                                                  204
     (2) Ardour                                                     207
     (3) Fickleness                                                 210
     (4) Multiplicity                                               213
     (5) Fictitiousness                                             215
 INSANITY AND LOVE                                                  218
     Analogies                                                      218
     Erotomania, or Real Love-Sickness                              222
 THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE                                               223
      I. Words                                                      223
     II. Facial Expression                                          224
    III. Caresses                                                   225
 KISSING—PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE                                  227
     Among Animals                                                  227
     Among Savages                                                  228
     Origin of Kissing                                              229
     Ancient Kisses                                                 232
     Mediæval Kisses                                                233
     Modern Kisses                                                  234
     Love Kisses                                                    235
     How to Kiss                                                    237
 HOW TO WIN LOVE                                                    238
     Brass Buttons                                                  238
     Confidence and Boldness                                        239
     Pleasant Associations                                          240
     Perseverance                                                   241
     Feigned Indifference                                           241
     Compliments                                                    244
     Love Letters                                                   246
     Love Charms for Women                                          250
     Proposing                                                      253
     Diagnosis, or Signs of Love                                    254
 HOW TO CURE LOVE                                                   255
     Absence                                                        256
     Travel                                                         257
     Employment                                                     257
     Married Misery                                                 257
     Feminine Inferiority                                           260
     Focussing Her Faults                                           262
     Reason _versus_ Passion                                        263
     Love _versus_ Love                                             264
     Prognosis, or Chances of Recovery                              265
 NATIONALITY AND LOVE                                               265
     French Love                                                    266
     Italian Love                                                   274
     Spanish Love                                                   277
     German Love                                                    280
     English Love                                                   288
     American Love                                                  294
 SCHOPENHAUER’S THEORY OF LOVE                                      301
     Love is an Illusion                                            302
     Individuals Sacrificed to the Species                          302
     Sources of Love                                                303
         (1) Physical Beauty                                        303
         (2) Psychic Traits                                         304
         (3) Complementary Qualities                                305
 FOUR SOURCES OF BEAUTY                                             310
      I. Health                                                     310
             Greek Beauty                                           313
             Mediæval Ugliness                                      314
             Modern Hygiene                                         316
     II. Crossing                                                   318
    III. Romantic Love                                              322
     IV. Mental Refinement                                          324
 EVOLUTION OF TASTE                                                 327
     Savage Notions of Beauty                                       327
     Non-Æsthetic "Ornamentation"                                   328
     Personal Beauty as a Fine Art                                  329
     Negative Tests of Beauty                                       331
      (_a_)  Animals                                                331
      (_b_)  Savages                                                333
      (_c_)  Degraded Classes                                       333
      (_d_)  Age and Decrepitude                                    334
      (_e_)  Disease                                                334
     Positive Tests of Beauty                                       338
      (_a_)  Symmetry                                               338
      (_b_)  Gradation                                              339
      (_c_)  Curvature                                              341
                 Masculine and Feminine Beauty                      342
      (_d_)  Delicacy                                               343
      (_e_)  Smoothness                                             344
      (_f_)  Lustre and Colour                                      345
      (_g_)  Expression, Variety, Individuality                     348
 THE FEET                                                           351
     Size                                                           351
     Fashionable Ugliness                                           352
     Tests of Beauty                                                354
     A Graceful Gait                                                357
     Evolution of the Great Toe                                     359
     National Peculiarities                                         361
     Beautifying Hygiene                                            362
     Dancing and Grace                                              364
     Dancing and Courtship                                          365
     Evolution of Dance Music                                       367
     The Dance of Love                                              369
     Ballet-Dancing                                                 370
 THE LOWER LIMBS                                                    371
     Muscular Development                                           371
     Beautifying Exercise                                           372
     Fashionable Ugliness                                           375
     The Crinoline Craze                                            376
 THE WAIST                                                          378
     The Beauty-Curve                                               378
     The Wasp-Waist Mania                                           379
     Hygienic Disadvantages                                         380
     Æsthetic Disadvantages                                         381
     Corpulence and Leanness                                        382
     The Fashion Fetish Analysed                                    386
     Individualism _versus_ Fashion                                 389
     Masculine Fashions                                             391
 CHEST AND BOSOM                                                    394
     Feminine Beauty                                                394
     Masculine Beauty                                               397
     Magic Effect of Deep Breathing                                 397
     A Moral Question                                               399
 NECK AND SHOULDER                                                  400
 ARM AND HAND                                                       402
     Evolution and Sexual Differences                               402
     Calisthenics and Massage                                       403
     The Second Face                                                405
     Finger Nails                                                   406
     Manicure Secrets                                               407
 JAW, CHIN, AND MOUTH                                               408
     Hands _versus_ Jaws                                            408
     Dimples in the Chin                                            412
     Refined Lips                                                   413
     Cosmetic Hints                                                 421
 THE CHEEKS                                                         423
     High Cheek Bones                                               423
     Colour and Blushes                                             425
 THE EARS                                                           429
     A Useless Ornament                                             429
     Cosmetics and Fashion                                          431
     Physiognomic Vagaries                                          433
     Noise and Civilisation                                         434
     A Musical Voice                                                435
 THE NOSE                                                           436
     Size and Shape                                                 436
     Evolution of the Nose                                          438
     Greek and Hebrew Noses                                         440
     Fashion and Cosmetic Surgery                                   443
     Nose-Breathing and Health                                      445
     Cosmetic Value of Odours                                       446
 THE FOREHEAD                                                       448
     Beauty and Brain                                               448
     Fashionable Deformity                                          450
     Wrinkles                                                       451
 THE COMPLEXION                                                     453
     White _versus_ Black                                           453
     Cosmetic Hints                                                 460
     Freckles and Sunshine                                          462
 THE EYES                                                           464
     Colour                                                         465
     Lustre                                                         469
     Form                                                           472
     Expression                                                     475
       (_a_) Lustre                                                 476
       (_b_) Colour of Iris                                         478
       (_c_) Movements of the Iris                                  479
       (_d_)    ”       ”     Eyeball                               480
       (_e_)    ”       ”     Eyelids                               482
       (_f_)    ”       ”     Eyebrows                              485
     Cosmetic Hints                                                 485
 THE HAIR                                                           486
     Cause of Man’s Nudity                                          486
     Beards and Moustaches                                          489
     Baldness and Depilatories                                      492
     Æsthetic Value of Hair                                         494
 BRUNETTE AND BLONDE                                                496
     Blonde _versus_ Brunette                                       496
     Brunette _versus_ Blonde                                       498
     Why Cupid Favours Brunettes                                    499
 NATIONALITY AND BEAUTY                                             505
 FRENCH BEAUTY                                                      506
 ITALIAN BEAUTY                                                     511
 SPANISH BEAUTY                                                     515
 GERMAN AND AUSTRIAN BEAUTY                                         522
 ENGLISH BEAUTY                                                     528
 AMERICAN BEAUTY                                                    535


                       EVOLUTION OF ROMANTIC LOVE

Of all the rhetorical commonplaces in literature and conversation, none
is more frequently repeated than the assertion that Love, as depicted in
a thousand novels and poems every year, has existed at all times, and in
every country, immutable as the mountains and the stars.

Only a few months ago one of the leading German writers of the period,
Ernst Eckstein, wrote an essay in which he endeavoured to prove that not
only was Love as felt by the ancient Romans the same as modern Love, but
that it was identical with the modern sentiment even in its minutest
details and manifestations. He based this bold inference on the fact
that in Ovid’s _Ars Amoris_ directions are given to the men regarding
certain tricks of gallantry—such as dusting the adored one’s seat at the
circus, fanning her, applauding her favourites, and drinking from the
cup where it was touched by her lips.

Curious and interesting these hints are, no doubt. But a closer
examination of Roman literature and manners shows that Dr. Eckstein has
been guilty of the common blunder of generalising from a single
instance. Gallantry is one of the essential traits of modern Love; and
far from having been a common practice in ancient Rome, the interest of
Ovid’s remarks lies in the fact that they give us the _first_ instance
on record of an attempt at gallant behaviour on the part of the men; as
will be shown in detail in the chapter on Roman Love.

And as with Gallantry, so with the other traits which make up the group
of emotions known to us as Love. We look for them in vain among modern
savages, in vain among the ancient civilised nations. Romantic Love is a
modern sentiment, less than a thousand years old.

Conjugal Love is, indeed, often celebrated by Greek, Hebrew, and other
ancient writers, but regarding Romantic—or pre-matrimonial—Love (which
alone forms the theme of our novelists), they are silent. The Bible
takes no account of it, and although Greek literature and mythology seem
at first sight to abound in allusions to it, critical analysis shows
that the reference never is to Love as we understand it. Greek Love, as
will be shown hereafter, was a peculiar mixture of friendship and
passion, differing widely from the modern sentiment of Love.

It is because among the Romans the position of woman was somewhat more
elevated and modern than among the Greeks, that we find in Roman
literature a vague foreshadowing of _some_ of the elements of modern

In the Dark Ages there is a relapse. The germs of Love could not
flourish in a period when women were kept in brutal subjection by the
men, and their minds refused all nourishment and refinement. The
Troubadours of Italy and France proved useful champions of woman, as did
the German Minnesingers, by teaching the mediæval military man to look
upon her with sentiments of respect and adoration. Yet their conduct
rarely harmonised with their preaching; and the cause of Romantic Love
gained little by their poetic effusions, which were almost invariably
addressed to married women.

Not till Dante’s _Vita Nuova_ appeared was the gospel of modern Love—the
romantic adoration of a maiden by a youth—revealed for the first time in
definite language. Genius, however, is always in advance of its age, _in
emotions as well as in thoughts_; and the feelings experienced by Dante
were obviously not shared by his contemporaries, who found them too
subtle and sublimated for their comprehension. And, in fact, they _were_
too ethereal to quite correspond with reality. The strings of Dante’s
lyre were strung too high, and touched by his magic hand, gave forth
harmonic overtones too celestial for mundane ears to hear.

It remained for Shakspere to combine the idealism with the realism of
Love in proper proportions. The colours with which he painted the
passion and sentiment of modern Love are as fresh and as true to life as
on the day when they were first put on his canvas. Like Dante, however,
he was emotionally ahead of his time, as an examination of contemporary
literature in England and elsewhere shows. But within the last two
centuries Love has gradually, if slowly, assumed among all educated
people characteristics which formerly it possessed only in the minds of
a few isolated men of genius.

Before we proceed to prove all these assertions in detail, it will be
well to cast a brief glance at the analogies to human Love presented by
cosmic, chemical, and vegetal phenomena; as well as to distinguish
Romantic Love from other forms of human and animal affection. This will
enable us to comprehend more clearly what modern Love is, by making
apparent what it is not.


It is a favourite device of poets to invest plants and even inanimate
objects with human thoughts and feelings. The parched, withering flower,
tormented by the pangs of thirst, implores the passing cloud for a few
drops of the vital fluid; and the cloud, moved to pity at sight of the
suffering beauty, sheds its welcome, soothing tears.

           “And ’tis my faith, that every flower
           Enjoys the air it breathes.”—WORDSWORTH.

           “The moon shines bright: in such a night as this,
           When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees,
           And they did make no noise.”
               .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
           “Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
           The winds were love-sick with them.”—SHAKSPERE.

One of the first authors who thus endowed non-human objects with human
feelings was the Greek philosopher Empedokles, who flourished about
twenty-three centuries ago. Just as the last of the great German
metaphysicians, Schopenhauer, believed that all the forces of
Nature—astronomic, chemical, biological, etc.—are identical with the
human Will, of which they represent different stages of development or
“objectivation,” so Empedokles insisted that the two ruling passions of
the human soul, Love and Hate, are the two principles which pervade and
rule the whole universe. In the primitive condition of things, he
taught, the four elements, Earth, Water, Air, and Fire are mingled
harmoniously, and Love rules supreme. Then Hate intervenes and produces
individual, separate forms. Plants are developed, and after them
animals, or rather, at first, only single organs—detached eyes, arms,
hands, etc. Then Love reasserts its force and unites these separate
organs into complete animals. Strange monstrosities are the result of
some of these unions—animals of double sex, human heads on the bodies of
oxen, or horned heads on the bodies of men. These, however, perish,
while others, which are congruous and adapted to their surroundings,
survive and multiply.

Thus Empedokles, “the Greek Darwin,” was the originator of a theory of
evolution based on the alternate predominance of cosmic Love and Hate;
Love being the attractive, Hate the repulsive force.

In the preface to the first volume of _Don Quixote_, Cervantes refers
those who wish to acquire some information concerning Love to an Italian
treatise by Judah Leo. The full title of the book, which appeared in
Rome in the sixteenth century, is _Dialoghi di amore, Composti da Leone
Medico, di nazione Ebreo, e di poi fatto cristiano_. There are said to
be three French translations of it, but it was only after long searching
that I succeeded in finding a copy, at the Bibliothèque Nationale in
Paris. It proved to be a strange medley of astrology, metaphysics,
theology, classical erudition, mythology, and mediæval science. Burton,
in the chapter on Love, in his _Anatomy of Melancholy_, quotes freely
from this work of Leo, whom he names as one of about twenty-five authors
who wrote treatises on Love in ancient and mediæval times.

Like Empedokles, Leo identifies cosmic attraction with Love. But he
points out three degrees of Love—Natural, Sensible, and Rational.

By Natural Love he means those “sympathies” which attract a stone to the
earth, make rivers flow to the sea, keep the sun, moon, and stars in
their courses, etc. Burton (1652) agrees with Leo, and asks quaintly,
“How comes a loadstone to draw iron to it ... the ground to covet
showers, but for love? ... no stock, no stone, that has not some feeling
of love. ’Tis more eminent in Plants, Hearbs, and is especially observed
in vegetals; as betwixt the Vine and Elm a great sympathy,” etc.

“Sensible” Love is that which prevails among animals. In it Leo
recognises the higher elements of delight in one another’s company, and
of attachment to a master.

“Rational” Love, the third and highest class, is peculiar to God,
angels, and men.

But the inclination to confound gravitation and other natural forces
with Love is not to be found among ancient and mediæval authors alone.
Paradoxical as it may seem, it is the “gross materialist,” Dr. Ludwig
Büchner, who exclaims rapturously: “For it is love, in the form of
_attraction_, which chains stone to stone, earth to earth, star to star,
and which holds together the mighty edifice on which we stand, and on
the surface of which, like parasites, we carry on our existence, barely
noticeable in the infinite universe; and on which we shall continue to
exist till that distant period when its component parts will again be
resolved into that primal chaos from which it laboriously severed itself
millions of years ago, and became a separate planet.”

Büchner carries on this anthropopathic process a step farther, by
including all the chemical affinities of atoms and molecules as
manifestations of love: “Just as man and woman attract one another, so
oxygen attracts hydrogen, and, in loving union with it, forms water,
that mighty omnipresent element, without which no life nor thought would
be possible.” And again: “Potassium and phosphorus entertain such a
violent passion for oxygen that even under water they burn—_i.e._ unite
themselves with the beloved object.”

Goethe’s novel, _Elective Affinities_, which was inspired by a late and
hopeless passion of its author, is based on this chemical notion that no
physical obstacle can separate two souls that are united by an amorous
affinity. But the practical outcome of his theory—that the psychic
affinity of two persons suffices to impress the characteristics of both
on the offspring of one of them—has nothing to support it in medical
experience; while the chemical analogy, with all due deference to
Goethe’s reputation as a man of science, is against his view. His notion
was that the children of two souls loving one another will inherit their
characteristics. But what distinguishes a chemical compound (based on
“affinity”) from a mere physical mixture, is precisely the contrary fact
that the compound does not in any respect resemble the parental
elements! Read what a specialist says in Watts’s _Dictionary of

“Definite chemical compounds generally differ altogether in physical
properties from their components. Thus, with regard to _colour_, yellow
sulphur and gray mercury produce red cinnabar; purple iodine and gray
potassium yield colourless iodide of potassium.... The _density_ of a
compound is very rarely an exact mean between that of its constituents,
being generally higher, and in a few cases lower; and the _taste_,
_smell_, _refracting power_, _fusibility_, _volatility_, _conducting
power for heat and electricity_, and other physical properties, are not
for the most part such as would result from mere mixture of their

Chemical affinities, accordingly, cannot be used as analogies of Love.
Not even on account of the violent _individual preference_ shown by two
elements for one another, for this apparently _individual_ preference is
really only _generic_. A piece of phosphorus will as readily unite with
one cubic foot of oxygen as with another; whereas it is the very essence
of Love that it demands a union with one particular _individual_, and no

Equally unsatisfactory are all similar attempts to identify Love with
gravitation or other forms of cosmic attraction. Here is what a great
expert in Love has to say on this subject: “The attraction of love, I
find,” writes Burns, “is in inverse proportion to the attraction of the
Newtonian philosophy. In the system of Sir Isaac, the nearer objects are
to one another, the stronger is the attractive force. In my system,
every milestone that marked my progress from Clarinda awakened a keener
pang of attachment to her.”

How beautifully, in other respects, does the law of gravitation simulate
the methods of Love! Does not the meteor which passionately falls on
this planet and digs a deep hole into it, show its love in this manner,
even as that affectionate bear who smashed his master’s forehead in
order to kill the fly on it? Does not the avalanche which thunders down
the mountain-side and buries a whole forest and several villages, afford
another touching illustration of the love of attraction, or cosmic
Love?—a crushing argument in its favour? Or the frigid glacier, in its
slower course, does it not lacerate the sides of the valley, and strew
about its precious boulders, merely by way of illustrating the amorous
effect of gravitation? And millions of years hence, will not this same
law of attraction enable the sun to prove his ecstatic love for our
earth by swallowing her up and reducing her to her primitive chaotic
state? Imagine a man and a woman whose love consists in this, that they
must be kept widely separated by a hostile force to prevent them from
dashing together, and reducing each other to atoms and molecules! _That_
is the “love” of the stars and planets.

But it is needless to continue this _reductio ad absurdum_ of
pantheistic or panerotic vagaries. The method of the writers on Love
here quoted—Empedokles, Leo, Burton, Büchner—has been to identify Love
with cosmic force simply because they possess in common the one quality
of attraction, by virtue of which the large earth hugs a small stone,
and a large man a small maiden. Modern scientific psychology objects to
this (_i.e._ not the hugging, but the method), because it does not in
the least aid us in understanding the nature of Love; and because it is
as irrational to call attraction Love as it would be to call a brick a
house, a leaf a tree, or a green daub a rainbow. For Love embraces every
colour in the spectrum of human emotion.

Having failed to find a satisfactory solution of the mystery of Love in
the inorganic world, let us now see if the vegetable kingdom offers no
better analogies in its sexual phenomena.

                         FLOWER LOVE AND BEAUTY

Until a few decades ago, it was the universal belief that flowers had
been specially created for man’s exclusive delight. This was such an
easy way, you know, to overcome the difficulty of explaining the immense
variety of forms and colours in the floral world; and it was, above all,
so flattering to man’s egregious vanity. But one fine morning in May a
German naturalist, Conrad Sprengel, published a remarkable book in which
he pointed out that flowers owe their peculiar shape, colour, and
fragrance to the visits of insects. Not that the insects visit the
flowers in order to shape and paint and perfume them. On the contrary,
they visit them for the unæsthetic purpose of eating their pollen and
their honey; while the flowers’ scent and colour exist solely for the
purpose of indicating to winged insects at a distance where they can
find a savoury lunch.

But why should flowers take such pains to attract insects by serving
them with a breakfast of honey, and by hanging out big petals to serve
as coloured and perfumed signal-flags? Nature is economical in the
expenditure of energy; and as the production of honey and large flowers
costs the plant some of its vital energies, we may be sure that this
expenditure secures the plant some superior advantage. Sprengel noticed
that the insects, while pillaging flowers of their honey, unwittingly
brushed off with their wings and feet some of the fertilising dust or
pollen, and carried it to the pistil or female part of a flower. But it
remained for Darwin to point out what advantage this transference of the
pollen secured to the flower. Darwin, says Sir John Lubbock, “was the
first clearly to perceive that the essential service which insects
perform to flowers consists not only in transferring the pollen from the
stamens to the pistil, but in transferring it from the stamens of one
flower to the pistil of another. Sprengel had indeed observed in more
than one instance that this was the case, but he did not altogether
appreciate the importance of the fact. Mr. Darwin however, has not only
made it clear from theoretical considerations, but has also proved it,
in a variety of cases, by actual experiment. More recently Fritz Müller
has even shown that in some cases pollen, if placed on the stigma of the
same flower, has no more effect than so much inorganic dust; while, and
this is perhaps even more extraordinary, in others, the pollen placed on
the stigma of the same flower acted on it like poison”—a curious analogy
to the current belief that close intermarriage is injurious to mankind.

What Darwin and others have proved by their experiments is that
cross-fertilised flowers are more vigorous than those fertilised with
their own pollen, and have a more healthy and numerous offspring. With
this fact before us we need only apply the usual evolutionary formula to
account for the beauty of flowers. It is well known that Nature rarely,
if ever, produces two leaves or plants that are exactly alike. There is
also a natural tendency in all parts of a plant except the leaves to
develop other colours besides green. Now any plant which, owing to
chemical causes, favourable position, etc., developed an unusually
brilliant colour, would be likely to attract the attention of a winged
insect in search of pollen-food. The insect, by alighting on a second
flower soon after, would fertilise it with the pollen of the first
flower that adhered to its limbs, thus securing to the plant the
advantages of cross-fertilisation. Thanks to the laws of heredity, this
advantage would be transmitted to the young plants, among which again
those most favoured would gain an advantage and a more numerous
offspring. And thus the gradual development not only of coloured petals,
but of scents and honey, can be accounted for.

What makes this argument irresistible is the additional fact, first
pointed out by Darwin, that plants which are not visited by insects, but
are fertilised by the agency of the wind, are neither adorned with
beautifully-coloured flowers, nor provided with honey or fragrance. And
another most important fact: Darwin found that flowers which depend on
the wind for their fertilisation follow the natural tendency of objects
to a symmetrical form; whereas the irregular flowers are always those
fertilised by insects or birds. This points to the conclusion that
insects and birds are responsible not only for the colours and fragrance
of flowers, but also for the shape of those that are most unique and
fantastic. And this _a priori_ inference is borne out by thousands of
curious and most fascinating observations described in the works of
Darwin, Lubbock, Müller, and many others. The briefest and clearest
presentation of the subject is in Lubbock’s _Flowers, Fruits, and
Leaves_, which no one interested in natural æsthetics should fail to
read. There is indeed no more interesting study in biology than the
mutual adaptation of flowers, bees, butterflies, humming-birds, etc.;
for just as these animals have modified the forms of flowers, so the
flowers have altered the shape of these animals.

Many of the changes in the shapes of flowers are made not only with a
view to facilitate the visits of winged insects, but also for keeping
out creeping intruders, such as ants, which are very fond of honey,
but which, as they do not fly, would not aid the cause of
cross-fertilisation. Of these contrivances, “the most frequent are the
interposition of _chevaux de frise_, which ants cannot penetrate,
glutinous surfaces which they cannot traverse, slippery slopes which
they cannot climb, or barriers which close the way.”

How obtuse are those who, with Ruskin and Emerson, accuse science of
destroying the poetry of nature! What poetry is there in the thought
that flowers were made for unæsthetic man, when not one man in a
thousand ever takes the trouble to examine one, while for every single
flower on which a human eye ever rests, a million are born to blush

But if we abandon the narrow anthropocentric point of view, and admit
that insects too have a right to live, how the scope of Nature’s poetry
widens! How easy it then becomes to share not only Wordsworth’s belief
that “every flower enjoys the air it breathes,” but to endow it with a
thousand thoughts and emotions like our own—delight in a gaily-coloured
floral envelope; hope that yonder gaudy butterfly will be attracted by
it; anxiety lest that “horrid” ant may steal some of its honey;
determination to breathe the sweetest perfume on this darling honey bee,
so as to induce it to speedily call again.

Love dramas, too, tragic and comic, are enacted in this world of flowers
and insects. Thus the Arum plant resorts to the following stratagem to
secure a messenger of love for carrying its pollen to a distant female

“The stigmas come to maturity first, and have lost the possibility of
fertilisation before the pollen is ripe. The pollen must therefore be
brought by insects, and this is effected by small flies, which enter the
leaf, either for the sake of honey or of shelter, and which, moreover,
when they have once entered the tube, are imprisoned by the fringe of
hairs. When the anthers ripen, the pollen falls on to the flies, which,
in their efforts to escape, get thoroughly dusted with it. Then the
fringe of hairs withers, and the flies, thus set free, soon come out,
and ere long carry the pollen to another plant” (Lubbock).

Then there are male flowers which go a-courting like any amorous swain
of a Sunday night. One of these belongs to the Valisneria plant,
concerning which the same writer observes that “the female flowers are
borne on long stalks, which reach to the surface of the water, on which
the flowers float. The male flowers, on the contrary, have short,
straight stalks, from which, when mature, the pollen detaches itself,
rises to the surface, and, floating freely on it, is wafted about, so
that it comes in contact with the female flowers.”

But alas for the poor flowers! Few of them are thus privileged to roam
about and seek their own bride. Most flowers have no more free choice in
the selection of their spouse than an Oriental or a French girl. There
is no previous acquaintance, no courtship before marriage, hence no
Romantic Love, even if the undifferentiated germs of nervous protoplasm
in the plant were capable of feeling such an emotion.

Poor flowers! Their honeymoon is without pleasure, unconscious. The wind
may woo, the butterfly caress them—but the wind has no thought of the
flower, and the insect’s attachment is mere “cupboard love.” The beauty
of one flower cannot exist for another which has no eyes to see it; its
honey and its fragrance are not for a floral lover’s delight, but for a
gastronomic insect’s epicurean use. No modest coyness, no harmless
flirtation, no gallant devotion and self-sacrifice, enter into the
flower’s sexual life; not even the bitter-sweet pangs of jealousy, for,
as Heine has ascertained, “the butterfly stops not to ask the flower,
‘Has any one kissed thee before?’ nor does the flower ask, ‘Hast thou
already flitted about another?’”

Thus “flower-love,” with all its poetic analogies, has none of the
elements of Romantic Love. Even attraction fails, for plants are
commonly sessile, and cannot go forth to seek a mate.

                   “I prayed the flowers,
                   Oh, tell me, what is love?
                   Only _a fragrant sigh_ was wafted
                   Thro’ the night.”—_German Song._

Two important lessons of this chapter should, however, be carefully
borne in mind; for though our search for Love has so far yielded only
negative results, some light has been thrown on the general laws of
Beauty in Nature. The lessons are:—

(1) That there is in flowers a natural tendency towards Symmetry of
Form, all normal irregularities being due to the agency of insects and

(2) That the superior Beauty of one flower over another is due to its
superior vitality or Health, which, again, is promoted by
cross-fertilisation or intermarriage—the choosing of a mate not in the
same but in another flower-bed.

Regarding the beauty of flowers a further detail may be added. Some of
the coloured lines on flowers are so placed as to guide the visiting
bees to the nectar or honey. More complicated colour-patterns probably
owe their existence to the advantage of having an easy means of
recognition at a distance. It is well known that bees on any single
expedition visit the flowers of one species only. Now it has been
experimentally proved by Lubbock that bees can distinguish different
colours; and, if we may judge by analogy with the human eye, they can
distinguish colours at a greater distance than forms. Hence the
advantage to each flower of having its own colours in its flag.

                          IMPERSONAL AFFECTION

From the sexual life of plants we ought to pass on to that of animals;
but before doing so, it will be advisable to ascertain clearly what is
meant by Romantic Love, and how it differs from other forms of
affection, impersonal and personal; from the love for inanimate objects
and for plants and animals; from the family affections—maternal,
paternal, filial, brotherly, and sisterly love; from friendship; and
from conjugal love.

Love is the most attractive word in the language, as Heine and Oliver
Wendell Holmes have remarked. Out of every half-dozen novels one is
likely to have the word Love in its title, as a bait sure to catch
readers. But whereas novelists always use this word in the sense of
Romantic or pre-matrimonial Love, in common language it is vaguely used
as a synonym for any kind of attachment, from that of Romeo to the
schoolgirl who “just _loves_ caramels.” For the verb _to love_ there is
perhaps no satisfactory and equally comprehensive substitute; but in
place of the noun _love_ it is advisable, at least in a scientific work,
to use the word Affection, which comprehends every form of love
mentioned above. In the present work Love, with a capital L, always
means Romantic Love.

Professor Calderwood, in his _Handbook of Moral Philosophy_, says that
“Affection is inclination towards others, disposing us to give from our
own resources what may influence them either for good or ill. In
practical tendency, the Affections are the reverse of the Desires.
Desires absorb, Affections give out. Affections presuppose a recognition
of certain qualities in persons, and, in a modified degree, in lower
_sentient_ beings, but _not in things_, for the exercise of Affection
presupposes in the object of it the possibility either of harmony or
antagonism of feeling.”

In other words, the eminent Scotch moralist thinks we can entertain
affections only towards human beings, and, to some degree, towards
animals; but not towards plants or inanimate objects. Careful analysis
of our emotions, however, does not sustain this distinction, which is as
unpoetic as it is anthropocentric and unscientific. Dr. Calderwood
obviously confounds affection with sympathy. Sympathy means literally to
suffer with another, or to share his feelings; and this, indeed,
“presupposes in the object of it the possibility either of harmony or
antagonism of feeling.” But affection, in his own words, “gives out,”
and hence can be bestowed, and _is_ bestowed, by all emotional and
refined persons on a variety of “things,” that are neither sentient nor
even animate; and a poetic soul will even feel _sympathy_ with such a
non-sentient thing as a crushed flower, for his imagination
unconsciously endows it with the requisite feeling.

“Things” are of two kinds—those fashioned by man, and those produced by
Nature. A poem, a symphony, a violin, a novel come under the first head;
a tree, a precious metal, a mountain under the second. An author who has
passed through the whole gamut of emotion in writing his book, follows
its fate with a paternal pride and an affectionate anxiety as great as
if his bodily child had been sent into the world to seek its fortune.
Perhaps the story of the German soldier who was carried off his feet by
a cannon-ball, and who grasped first his pipe and then his severed leg,
is not a legend. For was not his pipe, like a good, friend, associated
with all the pleasant hours of his life? An artist certainly can
entertain for his favourite instrument an affection almost, if not
quite, human in quality. When Ole Bull suffered shipwreck on the
Mississippi, he swam ashore, holding his violin high above water, at the
risk of his life. And to an amateur who has often called upon his
pianoforte to feed his momentary mood with a nocturne or a scherzo, the
instrument soon assumes the functions of “a true friend, to whom,” as
Bacon would say, “you may impart griefs, joys, fears, hopes, suspicions,
counsels, and whatever lieth upon the heart to oppress it, in a kind of
civil shrift or confession.”

As for “things” not produced by man, who that has ever spent a summer in
Switzerland is not quite willing to believe the legend of the Swiss
Heimweh—the exiled mountaineer’s reminiscent longing and affection for
his native haunts, which causes him to die of a broken heart, even if
wife and children accompany him in his exile? His feelings are not
identical with the æsthetic admiration of a tourist; for these imply a
certain degree of novelty and artistic perception foreign to his mind.
They are true _impersonal affection_, for the snowy summits, sluggish
glaciers, azure lakes, chasing clouds coyly playing hide-and-seek with
the scenery below; the balmy breezes, and boisterous storm-winds; the
green slopes studded with cows, whose welcome chimes alone interrupt the
sublime silence of the Alpine summits. For these sounds and scenes are
so interwoven with all his experiences, thoughts, and associations, that
he cannot live and be happy without them in a foreign land.

The attitude of an æsthetically-refined visitor is thus expressed by
Byron: “I live not in myself, but I become portion of that around me;
and to me high mountains are a feeling”—a poetic anticipation of
Schopenhauer’s doctrine, that for true æsthetic enjoyment it is
necessary that the percipient subject be completely merged in the
perceived object,—the personal man and the impersonal mountain becoming
one and indistinguishable.

Like Romantic Love, the affection for the grander aspects of Nature
appears to be essentially a modern sentiment. The Greeks, as has often
been pointed out, had little regard for the impersonal beauties of
Nature; and to make the forests, brooks, and mountains attractive to the
popular mind the poets had to people them with personal beauties; with
nymphs and dryads and goddesses.

The latest phase of the modern passion for impersonal nature includes
even its most dismal and awe-inspiring aspects, with an ecstatic
predilection that would have seemed incomprehensible to an ancient
Greek. This phase has been thus beautifully described by Ruskin: “There
is a sense of the material beauty, both of inanimate nature, the lower
animals, and human beings, which in the iridescence, colour-depth, and
morbid (I use the word deliberately) mystery and softness of it—with
other qualities indescribable by any single words, and only to be
analysed by extreme care—is found to the full only in five men that I
know of in modern times; namely, Rousseau, Shelley, Byron, Turner, and
myself, differing totally and in the entire group of us from the delight
in clear-struck beauty of Angelico and the Trecentisti, and separated,
much more singularly, from the cheerful joys of Chaucer, Shakspere, and
Scott, by its unaccountable _affection_ for ‘Rokkes blok’ and other
forms of terror and power, such as those of the ice-oceans, which to
Shakspere were only Alpine rheum; and the Via Malas and Diabolic Bridges
which Dante would have condemned none but lost souls to climb or
cross,—all this love of impending mountains, coiled thunderclouds, and
dangerous sea, being joined in us with a sulky, almost ferine, love of
retreat in valleys of Charmettes, gulphs of Spezzia, ravines of Olympus,
low lodgings in Chelsea, and close brushwood at Coniston.”

Ruskin flatters himself if he still imagines he is the sole living
possessor of this feeling. Though there is much hypocrisy and
guide-book-star-admiration among tourists, there are yet unquestionably
hundreds who enjoy the Via Malas, the ice-oceans and solitary Swiss
valleys they visit; and though their dismal delight may not be so
intense as Ruskin’s, it is yet sufficient to indicate the growth of a
general affection for impersonal nature in all her moods, whether
smiling or frowning.

To a mind that can thus rise above human associations and utilities, the
sublimest thing in the world is the absolute solitude of an Alpine
summit. To the ignorant peasant the harsh cow-bell which interrupts this
silence is sweet music, because it suggests the abodes of mankind; and
on this primitive stage of æsthetic culture Jeffrey placed himself when
he wrote that, “It is man, and man alone, that we see in the beauties of
the earth which he inhabits.”

Inasmuch as mountain solitudes are accessible to only a very small
proportion of mankind, the existence of true impersonal affection on a
large scale can be more easily demonstrated by recurring for a moment to
the floral world. A city belle is apt to look upon flowers merely from a
social or military point of view; the more bouquets, the more evidence
of admiration and conquest. of male hearts. And the city belle can
hardly be blamed for this callousness of feeling; for bunched flowers
have lost as much of their natural charm and grace as butterflies stuck
up on rows of pins in a museum. But watch that fair gardener in a
suburban cottage or a country seat; how she recognises every individual
plant, every single flower, as a friend for whose comfort she provides
with all the affectionate care which as a child she lavished on her
doll. If, after a refreshing shower, the flowers hold up their heads and
look bright and happy, her face reflects the same feeling; if a drouth
has parched them and dimmed their lustre, she will neglect her own
pleasures to bring them water, and derive from this charitable action
the same sympathetic pleasure as if they had been so many suffering
human beings. And if an early frost kills all her floral friends, her
sorrow and despair will find vent in a flood of tears. What is all this
but affection—true affection—though flowers be but “things,” and not
“sentient beings.”

Obviously Professor Calderwood erred in his definition of affection;
for, as the above analysis shows, when the regard for an impersonal
object rises to the fervour of adoring interest, it does not
specifically differ from personal affections any more than, for example,
maternal love differs from friendship. Unemotional persons, who have had
no opportunities to cultivate their love of Nature, may feel inclined to
doubt this; but they should remember that just as there is an
intellectual eminence (Shakspere, Kant, Wagner) which the ignorant are
too lazy or too weak to climb, so there is an emotional horizon, beyond
which those only can see who have taken the trouble to ascend the summit
whence a wider scene is unfolded to the view.

From one point of view, impersonal affections are even higher and nobler
than personal attachments. The evolution of emotions has been but little
studied, but so much is apparent—that there has been a gradual
development from utilitarian attachments to those that are less
utilitarian, or less obviously so. Personal affections are too often
exclusively selfish and based on material interests, as the loss of
“friends,” which commonly follows the loss of wealth or position, shows.
Whereas impersonal attachments are less apt to be interested, selfish,
and fickle, since they presuppose more intellectual power, more
imagination, more refinement.

Again, although it must be admitted that man is the crown and compendium
of Nature, uniting in himself most of the excellences of the lower
kingdoms with others exclusively his own; yet it cannot be denied,
either, that the vast majority of these “crowns” of Nature are so full
of flaws in workmanship, and have lost so many of their jewels, that the
sight of them is anything but exhilarating. Indeed, it is obvious that
the average plant and the average animal are, _in their way_, far
superior to the average man, in beauty, health, vitality; natural
selection, which has been arrested in man, having made them so. No
wonder, then, that some of the greatest minds have turned away from
mankind, and devoted all their thoughts and energies to the world of
“things” and ideas.

Goethe and other men of genius have often been accused of being cold and
unsympathetic, because they refused to shape their conduct so as to
please the people with whom they chanced to come into contact. Had they
wasted their affections and sympathies on their commonplace admirers and
acquaintances, instead of bestowing them on art and science, on the
great ideas that teemed in their brains, we should now be without many
of those glorious works which could never have been created had not
their authors ignored personal relations for the time being, and
bestowed all their warmest impersonal affections on their ideas.

As compared with men of genius, women have achieved but little that can
lay claim to immortal fame; and the principal reason of this is that
their affections are apt to be too exclusively personal. A girl will
assiduously practice on the piano as long as that will assist her in
fascinating her suitors. But how many women, outside the ranks of
teachers, continue their practice after marriage, from the _impersonal_
love of music itself? Needless to say they have no time; for every hour
devoted to emotional refreshment strengthens the nerves for two hours of
extra labour.

As regards the love of Nature, woman is, indeed, artificially hampered.
She may botanise to some extent, but she cannot, as a rule, indulge in
those solitary walks in a virgin forest which alone can establish a deep
communion with Nature. If accompanied by friend, brother, husband, or
lover, her thought will inevitably retain a human tinge. No doubt there
is something comic in the ardent affection with which a German professor
hugs his pet theory regarding the Greek dative, or the origin of honey
in flowers, and in the ferocity with which he will defend it against his
best friends, if they happen to oppose it. But such complete devotion to
abstract crotchets is absolutely necessary to the discovery of original
ideas: and as women are rarely able or willing to emerge from the haunts
of personal emotion, this explains why they have achieved greatness in
hardly anything but novel-writing, which is chiefly concerned with
personal emotions.

                          PERSONAL AFFECTIONS

                          I.—LOVE FOR ANIMALS

Over inanimate objects and plants we have this great emotional advantage
that we can love them, whereas they cannot love us, nor even one
another, though related by marriage, like flowers.

Animals, however, can love both us and one another and be loved; and
this establishes a distinction between them and lower beings, and a
relationship with us, that warrants us in placing their attachments
under the head of Personal Affections.

Calderwood is sufficiently liberal to admit that, to a degree animals
may be included in our affections. But Adolf Horwicz who has written the
most complete, and, on the whole, most satisfactory analysis of the
human feelings in existence, denies this. “Love is and remains a
personal feeling,” he asserts; it “can only be referred to persons, not
to things. The tenderness of American ladies towards dogs and cats is
simply a gross emotional caricature.”

So it is, very often, especially in the case of ladies who neglect their
children and make fashionable pets of animals, changing and exchanging
them with the fashion. But it is simply absurd to mention this case as a
fair instance of human love towards animals. How many of the greatest
geniuses the world has produced have become famous for their
affectionate devotion to their dogs! “A dog!” says an old English
writer, “is the only thing on this earth that loves you more than he
loves himself.” And should we be morally inferior to the dog—unable to
love him in return? especially when we remember that “histories,” as
Pope remarks, “are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of

Vischer, the well-known German writer on æsthetics, goes so far as to
admit that whenever he is in society his only wish is, “Oh, if there was
only a dog here!”

There is something much nobler and deeper than sarcasm on humanity in
Byron’s famous epitaph on his dog:—

                           “Near this spot
               Are deposited the remains of one
               Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
               Strength without Insolence,
               Courage without Ferocity,
             And all the Virtues of man without his Vices.”

I wonder if Horwicz could read the following exquisite prose poem of
Turgenieff without feeling ashamed of himself:—

"We two are sitting in the room: my dog and I. A violent storm is raging

"The dog sits close before me—he gazes straight into my eyes.

"And I too gaze straight into his eyes.

"It seems as if he wished to say something to me. He is dumb, has no
words, does not understand himself; but I understand him.

"I understand that he and I are at this moment governed by the same
feeling, that there is not the slightest difference between us. We are
beings of the same kind. In each of us shines and glows the same flame.

"Death approaches, flapping his broad, cold, moist wings....

"And all is ended.

"Who then will establish the difference between the flames which glowed
within us two?

"No! We who exchange those glances are not animal and man.

"Created alike are the two pairs of eyes that are fixed on each other.

“And each of these eye-pairs, that of the man as well as that of the
animal, expresses clearly and distinctly _an anxious craving for mutual

It is a vicious trait of the human character that it soon grows callous
to caresses, and that the unmasked expression of tender emotion is
regarded as undignified and in “bad form.” It is the absence in the
dog’s mind of this ugly human trait that makes him such a delightful
friend and companion. However much you caress and fondle him, he will
always be anxious and grateful for the next gentle pat on the head, the
next kind look, and will never despise you for any excess of fond
emotion lavished on him.

The greatest flaw in Christian ethics is, that it takes so little
account of this capacity of animals for affection, and our duties
towards them. The duty of kindness towards animals is indeed, as Mr.
Lecky remarks, “the one form of humanity which appears more prominently
in the Old Testament than in the New.” “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth
of the ox that treadeth out the corn,” is a precept which deprecates
even a very modified form of cruelty to animals. Had this precept been
given in a more generalised and comprehensive form, what an incalculable
amount of suffering might have been saved the animals that had the
misfortune to be born in Christian countries, as compared with those in
the Oriental countries.

According to Mr. Lecky, Plutarch was the first writer who placed the
duty of kindness to animals on purely moral grounds; “and he urges that
duty with an emphasis and detail to which no adequate parallel can, I
believe, be found in the Christian writings for at least 1700 years.”
Some of the earlier Greek philosophers had based this duty on the
doctrine of the transmigration of human souls into animal bodies; and it
is related that Pythagoras used to buy of fishermen the whole contents
of their nets, for the pleasure of letting the fish go again. Leonardo
da Vinci, from less superstitious motives, used to buy caged birds for
the same purpose; and similar traits are told of other men of genius who
were sufficiently refined to recognise the evidences of emotion in
animals. In our times, finally, we have a man, Mr. Bergh, who devotes
his whole life to the object of establishing the personal rights of
animals to kind treatment on legal grounds.

But, after all, the most influential friend animals have ever possessed
was Darwin, who, by establishing their relationship to man on grounds
which no one who understands the evidence can question, for ever
vindicated for them the privilege of personal affection. The very
grammar of our language has been affected by Darwinism. Formerly, it was
customary to write “the dog _which_ jumped into the water to save a
child.” Now we say, “the dog _who_ jumped into the water.” In other
words, animals are no longer regarded as “things,” or animated machines,
but as persons.

                           II.—MATERNAL LOVE

Within the range of impersonal emotions and affections, as we have seen,
women are vastly inferior to men; but in personal affections—partly
owing to their almost exclusive devotion to them—women are commonly
superior to men. Not always, however; for, as we shall see later on, the
prevalent dogma that woman’s Romantic Love is deeper and more ardent
than man’s is an absurd myth. But in conjugal affection—which differs
widely from Romantic Love—woman is generally more sincere, devoted, and
self-sacrificing than man. In friendship, too, women are more sincere
and ardent than men; for friendship is an ancient, rather than a modern
sentiment; and as women are more conservative than men, they have
preserved this sentiment (at least in early life), while among men it
has become nearly extinct:—

    “All friendship is feigning, all loving mere folly.”—SHAKSPERE.

But the one affection in which woman stands infinitely above man is the
maternal, compared with which paternal love is ordinarily a mere shadow.
Romantic Love in man and child-love in woman are the two strongest
passions which the human mind entertains.

In depth and strength these two passions are perhaps alike. In point of
antiquity, the maternal feeling has an advantage over the Love-passion;
for, of all personal affections, the maternal was developed first, and
the sentiment of Romantic Love last.

Personal affections are of two kinds: (1) Those based on
blood-relationship—maternal, paternal, filial, brotherly, and sisterly
love; (2) Those not based on blood-relationship—friendship and Romantic
Love. Conjugal affection belongs psychologically to the first class.

That of all relationships the one between mother and child is the most
intimate is obvious. The child is part and parcel of the mother: her own
flesh and blood and soul; and in loving it the mother practically loves
a detached portion of herself—thus uniting the force of selfish with
that of altruistic emotion. This is the primitive fountain of maternal
affection. A second source of it lies in the resemblance of the child to
the father, reviving in the mother’s memory the romantic days of
pre-matrimonial Love. It must be an unending source of interest in a
mother’s mind to note which of the child’s traits are derived from her,
which from the father. If she loves herself, and loves her husband, the
child that unites the traits of both must be doubly dear to her. The
fact that the child is inseparably associated with all the mother’s joys
and sorrows, from the wedding-day to death, constitutes a third source
of her attachment; and a fourth is the social regard and honour which an
energetic and gifted son, or a beautiful and accomplished daughter, may
reflect on her.

The mother herself is of course unconscious of the complex nature of her
feeling and its origin; especially in the first days, when the new
feeling dawns upon her like a revelation. As in the case of budding
Love, the feeling is at first less individual than generic—less the
affection of this particular mother for this particular child than the
bursting out of the general feeling of motherhood, inherited by her in
common with all women.

Natural selection helps us to explain how this general feeling of
motherhood was developed. As among animals, so among our savage and
semi-civilised ancestors, those mothers who fondly cared for their
infants naturally succeeded in rearing a larger and more vigorous
progeny than those mothers who neglected their children. And through
hereditary transmission this instinct gradually acquired, that
marvellous intensity and power which we now admire.

The sublime and almost terrible height to which this emotion can rise is
most realistically depicted in Rubens’s famous picture in Munich,
representing the murder of the children at Bethlehem; in which mothers
grasp the naked daggers, and frantically expose their breasts to receive
the blows intended for their little ones. Throughout the animal kingdom,
including mankind, the female is less pugnacious than the male, less
provided with means of defence, and hence more gentle and timid; yet in
the moment of peril the mother’s affection absolutely annihilates fear,
and makes her face danger and death with a courage, supernatural
strength, and endurance, rarely equalled by man, with all his weapons
and natural consciousness of superior muscle.

It is in this blind, impetuous, passionate willingness of self-sacrifice
that maternal affection most closely resembles the passion of Romantic

                           III.—PATERNAL LOVE

For paternal affection Natural Selection has done much less than for
maternal; and it is easy to understand why. For, useful as the father’s
assistance is in securing various advantages to the growing child, yet
even if he should cruelly abandon it altogether, the maternal love would
still remain interposed to save and rear it.

Nor is it in the human race alone that paternal is weaker than maternal
love. Among mammals, as Horwicz remarks, we even come across a Herr Papa
occasionally who shows a great inclination to dine on his progeny. And
how irregularly the paternal—sometimes even the maternal—instinct is
displayed among savages is graphically shown by this group of cases
collected by Herbert Spencer:—

“As among brutes the philoprogenitive instinct is occasionally
suppressed by the desire to kill, and even devour, their young ones; so
among primitive men this instinct is now and again overridden by
impulses temporarily excited. Thus, though attached to their offspring,
Australian mothers, when in danger, will sometimes desert them; and if
we may believe Angas, men have been known to bait their hooks with the
flesh of boys they have killed. Thus, notwithstanding their marked
parental affection, Fuegians sell their children for slaves; thus, among
the Chonos Indians, a father, though doting on his boy, will kill him in
a fit of anger for an accidental offence. Everywhere among the lower
races we meet with like incongruities. Falkner, while describing the
paternal feelings of Patagonians as very strong, says they often pawn
and sell their wives and little ones to the Spaniards for brandy.
Speaking of the children of the Sound Indians, Bancroft says they ‘sell
or gamble them away.’ According to Simpson, the Pi-Edes ‘barter their
children to the Utes proper for a few trinkets or bits of clothing.’ And
of the Macusi, Schomburgk writes, ‘the price of a child is the same as
an Indian asks for his dog.’ This seemingly heartless conduct to
children often arises from the difficulty experienced in rearing them.”

Some light is thrown on the genesis and composition of parental
affection by the three reasons named by Spencer, why among savages and
semi-civilised peoples in general sons were much more appreciated than
daughters. While daughters were little more than an encumbrance to the
parents, useless before puberty, and lost to them after marriage, the
sons could make themselves useful in warding off the enemy, in avenging
personal injuries, and in performing the funeral rites for the benefit
of departed ancestors.

In a higher stage of civilisation it is probable that utilitarian
considerations of a somewhat different kind still formed a principal
ingredient in parental love. A son was valued as an assistant in
workshop or field, a daughter as a domestic drudge. Feelings of a
tenderer nature were of course sometimes present, but that they were not
general is shown by the fact, attested by numerous historic examples,
that the aim of our paternal ancestors in centuries past was to make
their children fear rather than love them.

A slight element of fear is indeed necessary for the maintenance of
filial respect and discipline; but our forefathers were too prone to
sacrifice their tender feelings of sympathy with their offspring to the
gratification of parental authority, for the obvious reason that the
latter feeling was stronger than the former. The frequency with which
daughters especially were forced to sacrifice their personal preferences
in marriage to the ambitions and whims of their father, affords the most
striking instance of the former embryonic state of parental affection.

In modern parental love Pride is perhaps the most conspicuous trait.
This Pride has two aspects—one comic, one serious. Nothing is more
amusing than the suddenness with which the “pride of authorship”
converts a bachelor’s well-known horror of babies into the young
father’s fantastic worship. Yet though he feels “like a little tin god
on wheels,” he recognises the superior rank of the young prince, spoils
his best trousers in kneeling before him, allows him to pull his
moustache and whiskers, and, indeed, shows a disposition towards
self-sacrifice almost worthy of a lover.

The serious side of the matter reveals one of the greatest differences
between paternal and maternal love. A mother’s love is largely
influenced by pity; hence she is very apt to lavish her fondest caresses
on that child which happens to be imperfect in some way—say a
cripple—and therefore unhappy. The father on the other hand, will show
most favour to his handsomest daughter, his most talented son; and
nothing will so swell a father’s heart and cause it to overflow with
affection as the news of some great distinction acquired by this son.

                            IV.—FILIAL LOVE

Mr. Spencer is doubtless right in asserting that of all family
affections filial love is the least developed; and in tracing this
weakness especially to the parental harshness and disposition to inspire
excessive fear just referred to. In Germany the example of the Prussian
king who so unmercifully treated his children was extensively imitated.
The condition in France is indicated by the words of Chateaubriand: “My
mother, my sister, and myself, transformed into statues by my father’s
presence, only recover ourselves after he leaves the room;” and in
England, in the fifteenth century, says Wright, “Young ladies, even of
great families, were brought up not only strictly, but even
tyrannically.” And even two centuries later “children stood or knelt in
trembling silence in the presence of their fathers and mothers, and
might not sit without permission.”

Among animals filial affection can scarcely be said to exist, except as
a very utilitarian craving for protection and sustenance. Among
primitive men it is a common practice to abandon aged parents to their
fate. The parents do not resent this treatment; and of the Nascopies
Heriot even says that the aged father “usually employed as his
executioner the son who is most dear to him.” Nor are cases of heartless
neglect at all uncommon even among modern civilised communities. But the
gradual change of fathers “from masters into friends” has tended to
multiply and intensify filial love at the same rate as paternal; and the
advance of moral refinement will tend to make the lot of aged parents
more and more pleasant, not only because the duty of gratitude for
favours received will be more vividly realised and enforced by example,
but because the cultivation of the imagination intensifies sympathy,
thus making it impossible for a son or daughter to be happy while they
know their parents to be unhappy.

Our feelings are curiously complicated and subtly interwoven. Parents
feel a natural pride in their children. The best way therefore to repay
them for all their troubles is to act in such a way as to justify and
intensify that pride. On the other hand, the thought that the parental
pride is gratified also gratifies filial vanity, and proves an
additional incentive to ambitious effort.

                     V.—BROTHERLY AND SISTERLY LOVE

Young people of both sexes more frequently make confidants and “bosom
friends” of their playmates and classmates than of their brothers and
sisters. Why is this so? Novelty perhaps has something to do with it.
The domestic experiences and emotions of two brothers or sisters are apt
to be so much alike as to become monotonous; whereas a member of another
family may initiate them into a fresh and fascinating sphere of emotion
and a novel way of looking at things. Moreover, friendship is very
capricious in its choice; and as the number of brothers and sisters is
limited, the selection is apt to be made in the wider field outside the
domestic circle. Again, it is a peculiarity of human nature to appear in
great _négligé_ at home, and to regard the nearest relatives as the best
lightning-rods for disagreeable moods; and this does not tend to deepen
the love of brothers and sisters.

It may be doubted whether this form of affection exists among animals or
among primitive men; and even among civilised peoples the bond is but a
weak one, except in the most refined families. Though brothers feel
bound to protect their sisters, they reserve most of their gallantry for
some one else’s sister; and though a sister will feel proud if her
brother is one of a victorious crew, her heart will beat twice as fast
if it is her lover instead of her brother. The English language has not
even a collective word for the love of brothers and sisters; and even
the partial terms, “sisterly love” and “brotherly love,” have more of an
ecclesiastic than a domestic flavour. The German language has a
collective word—and a big one too,—_Geschwisterliebe_; but it would
perhaps be misleading to infer from its existence and size that this
species of family love is more developed in Germany than in England. The
German’s advantage appears to be philological merely, and not
sociological. He is less of a traveller and colonist than the
Englishman, who is very often separated from his brothers and sisters
for years. Yet this sometimes is rather a gain than a loss; for it
destroys that excessive familiarity which, as just noted, makes
friendship rarer among members of the same hearth than between
individuals of different families.

To the wider circles of blood-relationship—up to “forty-second
cousins”—the Germans pay much more regard than the English; and the
French perhaps go a step beyond the Germans. For in France each family,
with its ramifications, forms a sort of clique into which an outsider
can rarely enter. Needless to say that this forms a great impediment to
Love’s free choice.


If we now turn to the two remaining species of personal
affection—Friendship and Love—the emotional scenery undergoes a great
change. In all the cases so far considered, blood-relationship was _a
source of affection_; whereas in friendship it is commonly a
disadvantage, and in Romantic Love it is positively abhorred, except in
the more remote degrees. Some savage tribes, it is true, allow, or even
prescribe, marriages between brother and sister—especially a younger
sister; and cases occur of marriages between father and daughter, mother
and son. But civilised society—guided by religious precepts, and
possibly also by a vague instinctive recognition of the advantages of
cross-fertilisation—condemns such unions as hideous crimes; and the
mediæval theologians, in their extreme zeal, forbade all marriages
within the seventh degree of relationship.

In the case of friendship the objection to blood-relationship is not
founded on a social or religious precept; but it exists all the same, as
already noted. Perhaps Jean Paul’s maxim that friends may have
everything in common except their room accounts for its existence.
Brothers and sisters are commonly too much alike in their thoughts and
tastes to become friends, in the special sense of the word. Hence it is
that there is apt to be a deeper attachment between those brothers and
sisters who have frequently been separated by school-terms than among
those who are always together. For in friendship, as in love, a short
absence is advantageous.

Friendship is partly an outgrowth of the social instinct and partly a
result of special associations, habit, community of interests and
tastes. As a boy I had an opportunity to make some interesting
observations on friendship among animals, showing that it differed in
degree only, and not in kind or origin, from that of man. Among the
animals we kept at our country-house were a dog, a pet sheep, and some
pigs. The dog showed his confidence in the sheep’s amiable forbearance
by abandoning his cold kennel on winter nights and seeking warmer
quarters by the side of his woolly neighbour. For the pigs his friendly
regards were shown in a less utilitarian manner, by driving away,
unbidden and untaught, any swinish tramps that appeared, uninvited, to
share their meals. But the most peculiar relations existed between the
sheep and the pigs. In the absence of any other means of satisfying its
gregarious or social instincts, the sheep joined the pigs every morning
in their foraging expeditions in the woods, returning with them in the
evening. And, what was still more remarkable, when after a time a dozen
sheep were added to our stock of animals, the old pet remained faithful
to the pigs, and paid no attention whatever to the newcomers. Here the
friendly attachment, based on habitual association and the memory of
mutual pleasures of grazing, was strong enough to overcome the inherited
fellow-feeling for members of its own species.

Between this instance and those ordinary cases of companionship among
men which are called friendship, there is hardly any difference. In the
more intimate cases of special friendship the craving for companionship
is strengthened by a community of thoughts and emotions. Bacon gives us
in a nut-shell three of the ingredients of friendship which are not to
be found in the primitive form just considered. The first is this, that
each friend becomes a sort of secular confessor, to whom the other may
confide all his hopes and fears, joys and sorrows; the second is this,
that “a friend’s wits and understanding do clarify and break up in the
communicating and discoursing with another;” so that “he waxeth wiser
than himself; and that more by an hour’s discourse than by a day’s
meditation;” the third is the “aid and bearing a part in all actions and
occasions” to be expected of a friend.

Friendship is not a modern sentiment. Cases of it such as existed among
the ancient Greeks and Romans, characterised by an ardour that made
Friendship resemble the Love passion, are no longer to be met with,
although a somewhat less intense form frequently occurs among young men
at college or young ladies in high schools: thus illustrating the law
that the individual passes through the same stages of development as the

“The enthusiasm of friendship,” says Voltaire in his _Philosophic
Dictionary_, “was greater among the Greeks and Arabians than it is among
ourselves. The tales which these peoples have imagined on friendship are
delightful; we have nothing to match them. We are somewhat dry in
everything. I do not see a single grand trait of friendship in our
novels, in our histories, on our stage.”

Why is this so? Let another Frenchman, La Rochefoucauld, answer: “The
reason why the majority of women are but little touched by friendship,
is because it seems insipid after one has experienced love.”

Precisely. The reason why the ancients, in their histories and dramas,
made so much of friendship, while modern poets almost ignore it, is that
the latter have a subject a thousand times more fascinating than
friendship, a subject unknown to the ancients—the inexhaustible subject
of Romantic Love.

                           VII.—ROMANTIC LOVE

That Love is superior to friendship is apparent from the one
consideration that it includes _all_ the features of friendship, and
adds to them a thousand ecstasies of which friendship never dreams. The
lover, no less than the friend, gratifies his social instinct, his
desire for companionship, his need of confessing his own and sharing
another’s hopes and fears, his craving for stimulating conversation, his
sympathetic disposition to give and receive aid in the trials of life.
But if modern friendship ever had any moments to compare with the
romantic episodes, the tragic agonies and wild delights of love, would
it be conceivable that our realistic novelists and poets could neglect
it altogether and devote all their attention to Love?

The other personal affections fare no better in comparison with Love.
How prosaic even Conjugal Love seems to us as compared with Romantic
Love, of which it is the metamorphosis and continuation, is shown by the
fact that novelists always end their stories with the marriage of the
hero and heroine.

Maternal Love, however, has four traits which occasionally make it
resemble Romantic Love in intensity. They are: (1) a disposition toward
self-sacrifice; (2) jealousy; (3) an exaggerated adoration; and (4)
pride of ownership. But of these the first is the only one that ever
quite rises to the giddy heights of rapturous Love. Jealousy is often
aroused in mothers if their children display excessive fondness or
partiality for their father or a family friend; and they know well in
such a case how to make the latter understand that his presence is an
impertinence. But this momentary ebullition of feeling is but a storm in
a tea-kettle compared to the ferocity of a jealous lover seeking to
devour his rival. Nor does a mother’s excessive worship of the
self-evident beauty and accomplishments of her offspring ever quite
equal the hyperbolic illusion and folly of a lover.

Again, Romantic Love is a monopolist who never shares his treasures of
affection with another, whereas a mother, if she has more than one
child, is obliged to divide her heart like an apple, so that each may
get a slice. Would you infer from this that the mother has a deeper fund
of affection than the lover, because she can love several at a time?
Impossible. The amount of emotion human nerves can bear is limited. The
more you widen it, the shallower does it become. The general love for
all mankind is the weakest and shallowest of all, the lover’s
concentrated affection for one person the deepest and strongest. See
what a terrible strain on his nerves this deep passion is: how he loses
flesh, grows pale and feverish, and prone to self-destruction. Could a
mother survive if she loved each one of five or ten children with the
depth and intensity of a lover? No, we must take back what we said a few
pages back. Maternal affection is after all a mere phantom compared with
Romantic Love.

And the ace of hearts is yet to be played—in favour of Romantic Love.
The mother’s affection is bestowed on what after all is merely a severed
portion of her own individuality; whereas the two lovers are individuals
utterly unrelated. And herein lies the Miracle of Love: that it can in a
few days, ay, a few minutes, ignite between two young persons who have
perhaps never before seen each other, a passion more intense than that
which in the mother is the growth of months and years.

It follows as a corollary from this that Romantic Love is not only more
intense, more concentrated, more immediate and irresistible than
parental affection, but also more just, more in accordance with the
highest precepts of morality, because more altruistic. For the mother
loves only her own flesh and blood, while the lover adores a stranger;
like Romeo, he may even adore the daughter of an enemy.

Thousands of fathers and mothers, moreover, love their own ugly,
vicious, and stupid children more than the beautiful, well-behaved, and
clever children of their neighbours. Who, on the other hand, ever heard
of a young man loving his ugly sister more than the beautiful and
accomplished daughter of his neighbour?

In consideration of the great importance of the family feelings as a
social cement, the parental injustice in question is pardoned and even
commended. But from the standpoint of progressive culture, under
guidance of the law of Natural Selection, it must be condemned; for it
favours demerit in preference to merit, and retards the advent of the
time when family and national prejudices will be forgotten and replaced
by a loverlike, cosmopolitan admiration of personal excellence wherever
and in whomsoever found.

This matter, though it has a semi-humorous aspect, is of the deepest
philosophic import. If family affection, so important as the first step
in the development of society, were the only form of personal love,
close intermarriage between blood-relations would be unduly encouraged.
Fortunately the all-powerful instinct of Romantic Love comes in as a
corrective of family affection, basing its preferences not on
relationship and resemblance, but on differences and complementary
qualities, thus securing for the human race the advantages of
“cross-fertilisation.” We have already seen that flowers owe their
beauty to the cross-fertilisation brought about through the agency of
bees and butterflies. In the same way the human race owes its supreme
beauty to the cross-fertilisation—the union of complementary
qualities—brought about through the agency of Love. Is it perhaps for
this reason that Love is so much like a butterfly, and that Cupid has

Instead of being merely a transient malady of youth, as cynics aver, or
only an epicurean episode in our emotional life, Love is thus seen to be
one of the greatest (if not _the_ greatest) moral, æsthetic, and
hygienic forces that control human life. And in face of this fact the
few pages, or lines, commonly devoted to this passion in psychologic
text-books, seem wofully inadequate. No apology is therefore needed for
our attempt to subject Romantic Love to a thorough chemical analysis,
and to discover its ingredients. We shall first enumerate and briefly
characterise these ingredients; then proceed to examine how many of them
are to be found in the love of animals and savages, of the ancient
nations and of our mediæval ancestors; and finally, we shall attempt to
describe these various component parts of the passion, as fully
developed in Modern Love.

                       OVERTONES OF ROMANTIC LOVE

First of all it is necessary to get rid of the prevalent illusion that
Love is a single emotion. It is, on the contrary, a most complex and
ever-varying _group_ of emotions. Love is not a diamond which drops from
a celestial body, cut and polished, and ready to be set into the human
soul. Rather is it the crown of life, composed of various jewels, some
of which, mixed with much coarse ore, may be found in the animal
kingdom, among primitive men and ancient civilised nations; but of which
no complete specimens are to be found till we come to comparatively
modern times. Each lover has his own crown, but no two of them are
exactly alike. The component jewels vary in size and brilliancy. Some—as
Coyness, Adoration, Gallantry, Jealousy—are occasionally missing or
lacking in lustre; and in Ancient Love those are habitually absent which
in Modern Love are most prominent and cherished.

Perhaps the composite nature of Love can be still better illustrated by
a comparison with colours, and with “overtones” in music, between which
and the elements of Love there exists a wonderfully close analogy.

Professor Helmholtz has proved that just as white is not a simple
colour, but a combination of all the hues of the rainbow, so any single
tone produced by the voice or a musical instrument is not simple, as it
seems, but contains, besides the _fundamental_ tone which the ordinary
listener alone hears, several partial or “overtones,” which blend so
closely with the fundamental tone, that it takes a very delicate ear and
close attention to distinguish them. Were it not for these overtones,
all instruments would sound alike, and music would lose all its charms
of “colour.” For the fundamental tones of instruments and voices are
identical, and the only thing that enables a musician to tell at a
distance whether a given note proceeds from a piano, voice, or violin,
is the presence of these overtones, which vary in their number, relative
loudness and pitch (or height), thus giving rise to the differences of
quality or _timbre_ in instruments.

In Love the fundamental tone is the sexual relation—the fact that one of
the lovers is male, the other female. This fundamental tone does not
vary throughout Nature. It is the same among animals and savages as
among civilised men; and what distinguishes the passion of one of these
groups from that of the other is alone the overtones of love, which vary
in number, relative prominence, and refinement (“high-toned”).

What are these overtones?

                        I.—INDIVIDUAL PREFERENCE

What first ennobles Love and raises it above mere passion, is the
stubborn preference for a particular individual. A savage chief ignorant
of Love would not hesitate a moment to exchange his bride for two or
three other women equally young and tempting; whereas a man under the
influence of Love would not give his beloved for the choice among all
the beauties of the Caucasus and Andalusia. “If we pass in review the
different degrees of love,” says Schopenhauer, “from the most transient
attachment to the most violent passion, we shall find that the
difference between them springs from their different degrees of

                     II.—MONOPOLY OR EXCLUSIVENESS

Closely connected with the first overtone is that of exclusiveness. True
Love is a monopolist. As in a sun-glass all the solar rays are
concentrated into one burning focus, so are the lover’s emotions on his
beloved. Not only does he care for _her_ alone of all women, but he
voluntarily offers her a monopoly of _his_ thoughts and feelings. In
return for this, however, he expects and exacts of her a like monopoly
of her affection and favours; and this leads to the next overtone.


This is the salt and pepper of Love. A little of it is piquant, too much
of it spoils the soup. The moral mission of Jealousy is, by means of
watchfulness and the inspiring of fear, to ensure fidelity and chastity,
and thus help to develop the romantic features of Love.


This is a specially feminine trait of Love, which, by retarding the
eager lover’s conquest, augments and idealises his passion. In Modern
Love, Coyness varies in two directions—towards prudery on one side,
coquetry on the other.


If Coyness is a peculiarly feminine ingredient of Love, Gallantry, on
the other hand, is a specially masculine attribute. The eager desire to
please, it is true, is also present in a woman’s Love; but it shows
itself less as an active impulse to do something for the lover, than as
a desire to please him by making herself as attractive as possible.


In the most violent cases of Love this overtone may reveal itself in two
ways: either as a mere exaggeration of Gallantry—a desire to please even
at the risk of life; or as a suicidal impulse in cases of hopeless
passion—when the one object which seemed to make life worth living has
been placed beyond reach.


“In order to feel with another’s pain it is enough to be a man; to feel
with another’s pleasure it is needful to be an angel.” If this be true,
then lovers are angels. For not only do they share one another’s
pleasures, but it is impossible for the one to be really happy unless
the other enjoys the same emotion. “Does that other see the same star,
the same melting cloud; read the same book, feel the same emotion that
now delights me?”—these are, in Emerson’s words, the questions which the
lovers, when separated, ask incessantly.


In his suggestive but incomplete analysis of Love, in his _Principles of
Psychology_, Mr. Herbert Spencer names as two of the emotions which
enter into it, the Love of Approbation and Self-Esteem, which he thus
defines: “To be preferred above all the world, and that by one admired
beyond all others, is to have the love of approbation gratified in a
degree passing every previous experience: especially as, to this direct
gratification of it, there must be added that reflex gratification of
it, which results from the preference being witnessed by unconcerned
persons. Further, there is the allied emotion of self-esteem. To have
succeeded in gaining such attachment from, and sway over, another, is a
practical proof of power, of superiority, which cannot fail agreeably to
excite the _amour propre_.”

This is well expressed, but the names are obviously not well chosen. It
is hardly correct to intimate that the “love of approbation” and
“self-esteem” constitute two of the group of emotions which we call
Love. What the lover _feels_ is not a “love of approbation,” etc., but
the emotion of _Pride_ at having conquered and gained possession of so
desirable a prize.

                        IX.—EMOTIONAL HYPERBOLE

The lover sees, thinks, and feels only in superlatives. His eyes are no
longer mere “_windows_ of the soul,” but _microscopes_ which magnify all
the beloved’s merits on the scale of seven square miles to the inch. And
the hyberbolic imagery which constitutes the essence of love-poetry is
his everyday food—with a special _menu_ on Sundays.

                     X.—MIXED MOODS—MAJOR AND MINOR

It is in Love that “confusion makes his masterpiece.” The lover is so
incessantly tossed on the ocean of turbulent emotion that he soon ceases
to know or care which is up and which down, and all that remains is an
all-engrossing sense of love-sickness.

                  “Angels call it heavenly joy,
                  Infernal torture the devils say;
                  And men? They call it—Love.”—HEINE.


This is the æsthetic overtone of Love; and so prominent is it that it is
commonly heard before and above all the others. “Beauty provoketh
thieves sooner than gold,” says Shakspere; and if you tell twenty of
your male acquaintances that you have been introduced to a young lady,
nineteen of them will ask immediately, “Is she pretty?” No reporter ever
writes about a girl murdered by a tramp or burnt in a house, without
describing her as a model of beauty, in order to double the reader’s
interest and quintuple his pity. Madame de Staël confessed that she
would have gladly exchanged her literary genius for beauty. With the
Greeks already the words Love and Beauty were inseparably associated;
and even the Chinese, who are not embarrassed by an excess of beauty,
have a proverb, “With one smile she overthrew a city, with another a

This completes the preliminary analysis of Love. I regret exceedingly
that I have been able to discover only eleven “overtones” in Modern
Love: but inasmuch as at least six of these—Nos. V. to X.—are only about
a thousand years old, there is reason to hope that some fine morning in
May a new one will be born to make up the round dozen. If so, it is to
be hoped it will assume in men the form of an absolute insistance on
feminine health, and an instinctive detestation of the hideous and
love-killing fashions with which women still persist in ruining their

                        HERBERT SPENCER ON LOVE

For the sake of comparison I may cite Mr. Spencer’s summary of the
elements which he thinks compose Love: “Round the physical feeling
forming the nucleus of the whole there are gathered the feelings
produced by personal beauty, that constituting simple attachment, those
of reverence, of love of approbation, of self-esteem, of property, of
love of freedom, of sympathy. All these, each excited in the highest
degree, and severally tending to reflect their excitement on each other,
form the composite psychical state which we call Love. And as each of
these feelings is in itself highly complicated, uniting a wide range of
states of consciousness, we may say that this passion fuses into an
immense aggregation, nearly all the elementary excitations of which we
are capable; and that from this results its irresistible power.”

Let us now see how many of the characters of true Romantic Love are to
be found in the courtship of animals and savages.

                           LOVE AMONG ANIMALS

As comparative psychology is the youngest branch of philosophy, there
are still among us thousands of excellent but ignorant folks who cling
to the old mythologic notion that animals are animated machines or
things “which” are devoid of intellect and feeling, and guided by a
metaphysical fetish called “instinct.” To such the undertaking of a
search for Love—real Romantic Love—among animals, will seem not only
absurd, but a sort of high treason against human conceit. To mitigate
any possible indignation on the reader’s part, it may be advisable,
therefore, to begin by giving a few illustrations demonstrating the
existence of various family affections and friendship in the animal
world; after which, the possibility of finding traces of Love proper
will appear less remote.

_Paternal, filial, brotherly, and sisterly_ love, comparatively weak and
undeveloped in man, are indeed almost absent in the lower animals. Birds
of the same brood do not recognise each other after they have left their
nest; and a dog will not hesitate to attack his own brother as a
stranger after a year’s separation. The part which a male bird takes in
feeding and protecting the young is, as Horwicz suggests, an element of
his conjugal rather than his paternal feeling; and a young animal that
would risk its own life in defence of its mother or father is yet to be
heard from.

_Friendship_, however, does exist between animals, as we have already
seen; and not only among animals of the same species, but of different
species. “Happy families” of animals commonly hostile to each other have
been known outside of the showman’s cage. Büchner cites instances of
friendship between a robin and a cat; a fox and duck; dog and deer; cat
and mouse; and even such absurdly incongruous cases of attachment as
between a crow and a bull; a dog and an elephant; a cat and a
rattlesnake. But the deepest feeling of friendship which any animal is
capable of feeling is undoubtedly the dog’s love of his master.
“Professor Braubach,” says Darwin, “goes so far as to maintain that a
dog looks on his master as on a god.” “It is said,” he adds in a
footnote, “that Bacon long ago, and the poet Burns, held the same

_Maternal and conjugal_ affection, however, are, as in man, so in
animals, the two strongest forms of family attachment. A French author,
M. Menault, has written a special treatise on _L’Amour Maternel chez les
Animaux_, and Dr. Büchner exclaims, _à propos_: “If a human mother, with
certain destruction staring in her face, dashes into a burning house to
save her imperilled child, and thus finds her own death, this sacrifice
is no greater, no more heroic, than that of a stork-mother who, after
vain efforts to save her brood, is voluntarily burnt up with them in her
nest; or of those elephant-mothers who, as Schweinfurth narrates, in the
African hunting expeditions, when the bushes along the shore are ignited
in order to drive out the elephants, seek to save their young ones by
filling their trunks with water and sprinkling it over them, while they
themselves are roasting.”

How low down in the scale of animal life traces of _conjugal_ attachment
are to be found is shown by the following case cited by Darwin: “An
accurate observer, Mr. Lonsdale, informs me that he placed a pair of
landsnails, one of which was weakly, into a small and ill-provided
garden. After a short time the strong and healthy individual
disappeared, and was traced by its track of slime over a wall into an
adjoining well-stocked garden. Mr. Lonsdale concluded that it had
deserted its sickly mate, but after an absence of twenty-four hours it
returned, and apparently communicated the result of its successful
exploration, for both then started along the same track and disappeared
over the wall.” Again, the naturalist, Mr. Bate, experimented on the
conjugal feelings of _Gammarus marinus_, or the sandskipper common on
English shores, by separating a male from its female, and imprisoning
both in the same vessel with many individuals of the same species. “The
female, when thus divorced, soon joined the others. After a time the
male was put again into the same vessel; and he then, after swimming
about for a time, dashed into the crowd, and without any fighting at
once took away his wife. This fact shows that in the Amphipoda, an order
low in the scale, the males and females recognise each other, and are
mutually attached.”

Concerning birds, Darwin remarks: “It has often been said that parrots
become so deeply attached to each other that when one dies the other
pines for a long time; but Mr. Jenner Weir thinks that with most birds
the strength of their affection has been much exaggerated. Nevertheless,
when one of a pair in a state of nature has been shot, the survivor has
been heard for days afterwards uttering a plaintive call; and Mr. St.
John gives various facts proving the attachment of mated birds. Mr.
Bennett relates that in China after a drake of the beautiful mandarin
Teal had been stolen, the duck remained disconsolate, though sedulously
courted by another mandarin drake, who displayed before her all his
charms. After an interval of three weeks the stolen drake was recovered,
and instantly the pair recognised each other with extreme joy.” “Dr.
Buller says (_Birds of New Zealand_) that a male king lory was killed,
and the female ‘fretted and moped, refused her food, and died of a
broken heart.’”

But there are exceptions to this rule of conjugal attachment and
fidelity, as is shown in the following quotation, which completes the
curious analogy between human and bird love connubial: “Mr. Harrison
Weir has himself observed, and has heard from several breeders, that a
female pigeon will occasionally take a strong fancy for a particular
male, and will desert her own mate for him. Some females, according to
another experienced observer, Riedel, are of a profligate disposition,
and prefer almost any stranger to their own mate. Some amorous males,
called by our English fanciers ‘gay birds,’ are so successful in their
gallantries that, as Mr. H. Weir informs me, they must be shut up on
account of the mischief which they cause.”

So there are Don Juans even among pigeons!

_Intermarriages_ or mixed unions also occur among birds. Says Darwin:
“It is certain that distinct species of birds occasionally pair in a
state of nature and produce hybrids. Many instances could be given: thus
Macgillivray relates how a male blackbird and female thrush ‘fell in
love with each other,’ and produced offspring. Several years ago
eighteen cases had been recorded of the occurrence in Great Britain of
hybrids between the black grouse and pheasant.... A male widgeon, living
with females of the same species, has been known to pair with a pintail
duck. Lloyd describes the remarkable attachment between a shield-drake
and a common duck. Many additional instances could be given; and the
Rev. E. S. Dixon remarks that ‘those who have kept many different
species of geese together, well know what unaccountable attachments they
are frequently forming, and that they are quite as likely to pair and
rear young with individuals of a race (species) apparently the most
alien to themselves, as with their own stock.’”

In their _marriages_ animals have anticipated man in every possible
arrangement—promiscuity, polygamy, monogamy, polyandry. According to
Darwin, “Many mammals and some few birds are polygamous, but with other
animals belonging to the lower classes I have found no evidence of this
habit.” He has not “heard of any species in the Orders of Cheiroptera,
Edentata, Insectivora, and Rodents being polygamous, excepting that
among the Rodents the common rat, according to some rat-catchers, lives
with several females.” Among the terrestrial carnivora the lion seems to
be the only polygamist, while the marine carnivora are “eminently

Domestication sometimes has the bad effect of converting wild birds to
Mormonism. Thus “the wild duck is strictly monogamous, the domestic duck
highly polygamous.”

It is among wild birds in general that the most remarkable cases of
conjugal attachment in the animal world are found. And since most birds
are monogamous, pairing sometimes even for life, we may hence draw the
important conclusion that among animals, as among men, monogamy seems to
favour the development of conjugal love. Polygamy, on the other hand,
everywhere introduces jealousies, rivalries, discords. Among Oriental
nations where polygamy prevails, each wife must have her own apartments,
and no one would dare to taste food prepared by another, for fear of
poison. On some animals polygamy seems to have a similar effect, for we
read that “Mr. Bartlett believes that the Lophophorus, like many other
gallinaceous birds, is naturally polygamous, but two females cannot be
placed in the same cage with a male, as they fight so much together.”


The foregoing illustrations, many of which show the gross injustice
lurking in our expression “animal passion,” will have prepared the
reader’s mind for the search after the elements of _romantic_ or
pre-nuptial Love in animals.

The development of romantic, as distinguished from conjugal love,
depends on the existence of _a more or less prolonged period of
courtship_. Where this is absent Love is absent, as among the ancient
nations and those of the moderns who lock up their women until they are
ready to be sold to a husband, at sight.

Among animals the young females are not locked up or chaperoned. They
are free to meet the young males and fall in love with the one that
pleases them most.

As a rule the preliminaries to animal marriages are doubtless brief. If
a healthy, vigorous male comes across a mature, healthy female, it is
usually a case of mutual _veni, vidi, vici_.

In other cases, however, courtship is a more prolonged affair, owing
partly to the coyness of the female, partly to the rivalries among the
male suitors.

Animal courtship is carried on either by single pairs in the romantic
shades of the forests, or else at special _nuptial mass meetings_,
resembling those held by some primitive tribes whose unmarried young
people assemble on certain days in the year to select partners. Of the
common magpie, for instance, Darwin relates that “Some years ago these
birds abounded in extraordinary numbers, so that a gamekeeper killed in
one morning nineteen males, and another killed by a single shot seven
birds roosting together. They then had the habit of assembling very
early in the spring at particular spots, where they could be seen in
flocks, chattering, sometimes fighting, bustling, and flying about the
trees. The whole affair was evidently considered by the birds as one of
the highest importance. Shortly after the meeting they all separated,
and were then observed by Mr. Fox and others to be paired for the

This was known as the “great magpie marriage.” In Germany and
Scandinavia similar assemblages of black game are so common that special
names have been given to them. “The bowers of the bower-birds are the
resort of both sexes during the breeding season; and here the males meet
and contend with each other for the favours of the females, and here the
latter assemble and coquet with the males.”

Two more cases may be cited: “With one of the vultures (_Cathartes
aura_) of the United States parties of eight, ten, or more males and
females assemble on fallen logs, ‘exhibiting the strongest _desire to
please_ mutually,’ and after many caresses each male leads off his
partner on the wing. Audubon likewise carefully observed the wild flocks
of Canada geese, and gives a graphic description of their love-antics;
he says that the birds which had been previously mated ‘renewed their
courtship as early as the month of January, while the others would be
contending or coquetting for hours every day, until all seemed satisfied
with the choice they had made, after which, although they remained
together, any person could easily perceive that they were careful to
keep in pairs. I have observed also that the older the birds the shorter
were the preliminaries of their courtship. The bachelors and old maids,
whether in regret or not caring to be disturbed by the bustle, quietly
moved aside and lay down at some distance from the rest.’”

_Separate courtship_ may be illustrated by the following cases, the
first of which is also interesting as showing that it is not among men
alone that the female occasionally becomes the wooer; and the second as
showing how early in the scale of animal life a primitive sort of
courtship may be found. Concerning a wild duck brought up in captivity
Mr. Hewitt says that “After breeding a couple of seasons with her own
mallard, it at once shook him off on my placing a male pintail on the
water. It was evidently a case of _love at first sight_, for she swam
about the newcomer caressingly, though he appeared evidently alarmed and
averse to her overtures of affection. From that hour she forgot her old
partner. Winter passed by, and the next spring the pintail seemed to
have become a convert to her blandishments, for they nested and produced
seven or eight young ones.”

The second case relates to the landsnail, concerning which Agassiz says:
“Quiconque a eu l’occasion d’observer les amours des limaçons ne saurait
mettre en doute la séduction déployée dans les mouvements et les allures
qui préparent et accomplissent le double embrassement de ces

The opportunities for prolonged Courtship being thus given, the question
arises, “Do animals, while a-wooing, experience the same feelings as a
human lover?” In other words, Are any of the overtones of Romantic Love
present in the amorous passion of animals?

Several of them no doubt are habitually absent. Animals have not
sufficient imagination to meditate consciously on their probable success
or failure in Courtship; and this lack of imaginative power excludes
those “overtones” which are chiefly dependent on that faculty; notably
Sympathy with the beloved’s feelings, Pride of Conquest and Possession,
Hyperbolic Adoration, Voluntary Self-Sacrifice for the other, and the
Woful Ecstasy of Mixed Moods. That Gallantry, or the Desire to Please,
_may_ be present is shown by the words I have italicised in the
quotation just made regarding the courtship of vultures, and is further
shown by the display of their ornamental plumage by male birds to excite
the attention of the female. Exclusiveness of affection is indicated by
the occasional indifference of the wooer to every rival; and when we
read of the German blackcock’s love-dances, during which, “the more
ardent he grows the more lively he becomes, until at last the bird
appears like a frantic creature”; and that “at such times the blackcocks
are so absorbed that they become almost _blind and deaf_, but less so
than the capercailzie,” so that “bird after bird may be shot on the
spot, or even caught by the hand”—when we read this, we feel tempted to
credit these birds even with those highest and most specialised forms of
lover’s madness which lead to oblivion—Self-Sacrifice and Ecstatic

The four traits of Romantic Love which are doubtless present in the
passion of animals are Jealousy, Coyness, Individual Preference, and
Admiration of Personal Beauty.

(_a_) _Jealousy._—Volumes might be filled with accounts of the tragedies
brought about through animal rivalry and jealousy during the season of
love. “The courage and the desperate conflicts of stags have often been
described,” says Darwin; “their skeletons have been found in various
parts of the world, with the horns inextricably locked together, showing
how miserably the victor and vanquished had perished.” “Male
sperm-whales are very jealous” at the season of love; “and in their
battles ‘they often lock their jaws together, and turn on their sides
and twist about’; so that their lower jaws often become distorted.”

When birds gaze at themselves in a looking-glass, as they often do, the
same authority inclines to the belief that they do it from jealousy of a
supposed rival; and Mr. Jenner Weir, he states, “is convinced that birds
pay particular attention to the colours of other birds, sometimes out of
jealousy, and sometimes as a sign of kinship;” while “many naturalists
believe that the singing of birds is almost exclusively ‘the effect of
rivalry and emulation,’ and not for the sake of charming their mates.”

Animal Jealousy is apparently dependent on the immediate presence of the
rival and the female; while the Jealousy of a human lover is also a
matter of the imagination, and smarts even more intensely during Her
absence; for his morbid fancy then loves to picture Her in the arms of
his victorious rival. He does not, however, except in some southern
countries, emulate the jealous lion by seeking to devour his rival, but
is contented if he can ward him off by stratagem, or make him appear in
a disadvantageous light in Her eyes.

(_b_) _Coyness._—Just as the Jealousy displayed by two animals fighting
for a female is a gross, primitive emotion, so the Coyness of female
animals is crude and clumsy compared with the delicious subtlety with
which a human maiden veils a Yes under an apparent No. Yet it plays a
prominent _rôle_ in the courtship of animals.

A human lover would often consider it a special privilege to be eaten
up, skin, bones, and all, by his mistress; but it is doubtful whether
spiders are ever madly enough in love to relish the conduct of their
females, as described by Darwin: “The male is generally much smaller
than the female, sometimes to an extraordinary degree, and he is forced
to be extremely cautious in making his advances, as the female often
carries her coyness to a dangerous pitch. De Geer saw a male that ‘in
the midst of his preparatory caresses was seized by the object of his
attentions, enveloped by her in a web, and then devoured’; a sight
which, as he adds, filled him with indignation and horror. Female fishes
also are apt to give a cannibal tinge to their coyness by eating up the
smaller males—actions to which remote human analogies may be found in
the coyness of mediæval dames, who sent their lovers to wars and into
lions’ dens as conditions of enjoying their favours; or, conversely, in
the habits of those Australians who eat their wives after they have
ceased to be either ornamental or useful.”

Indubitable evidences of Coyness are found as low down as among insects;
as, for example, in the species called _Smynthurnus luteus_, “wingless,
dull-coloured, minute insects, with ugly, almost misshapen heads and
bodies,” concerning which Sir John Lubbock remarks: “It is very amusing
to see these little creatures coquetting together. The male, which is
much smaller than the female, runs round her, and they butt one another
standing face to face and moving backward and forward like two playful
lambs. Then the female pretends to run away, and the male runs after her
with a queer appearance of anger, gets in front and stands facing her
again; then she turns coyly round, but he, quicker and more active,
scuttles round too, and seems to whip her with his antennæ; then for a
bit they stand face to face, play with their antennæ, and seem to be all
in all to one another.”

The Coyness of birds is illustrated by the following cases cited by
Büchner from Brehm and A. and K. Müller: “A genuine coquette is the
female cuckoo, who answers the call of the male with a peculiar
resonant, tittering or laughing love-call. ‘The call is seducing,
promising in advance, and its effect on the male simply enchanting.’ But
how long the lovers pursuing the siren have to wait before she accepts
one of them! A wild flight begins, among bushes and tree-tops, while the
female encourages the pursuers with repeated calls, and finally gets
them into a state of erotic excitement bordering on madness. At the same
time the female is no less excited than her frantic suitors. Her
favourite, no doubt, is the most eager of the lovers, and her apparent
resistance simply the desire to excite him still more!... The female of
the icebird (_Alcedo ispida_) often teases her lover half a day at a
time, by repeatedly approaching him, screaming at him, and flying away
again. At the same time she never loses sight of him, but in her flight
casts glances at him backwards and sidewise, moderates the rapidity of
her flight, and returns in a wide curve if the male suddenly ceases from
his pursuit.”

Could anything be more naïvely, more humanly, more exquisitely feminine?
If a lover, says a French philosopher, fails in his suit, let him desist
for a moment, and she will presently call him back.

No inquiry has ever been made by naturalists, so far as I am aware, as
to the origin of Coyness among animals. Two probable sources of this
feeling may therefore be here suggested. The first is a vague
instinctive presentiment (based on inherited cerebral impressions) that
with mating the labours of life will begin: the painful laying of eggs;
the loss of liberty during incubation—an incalculable loss to these most
active of all animals; and the care of the young, which, again, is not a
trifling matter, inasmuch as a family of starlings, for example, needs
for its daily food more than eight hundred snails, caterpillars, etc.;
and birds sometimes perish from exhaustion in the attempt to feed their

The second source of Coyness is probably another instinctive feeling
(based on inherited experience) which induces the female to defer her
choice until the combats and manœuvres of the males have shown which
one is the most energetic, courageous, and persistent: for he will
obviously be best able to support her brood, and protect it as well as
herself against enemies. Hence, during the combats of rival males, the
female is commonly a passive spectator, and at the end quietly marches
or flies off with the victor. All of which, by the way, shows that among
animals already masculine love is deeper than feminine. Indirectly, it
is true, feminine Coyness is the cause of Love—but only of _masculine_
Love; for if the female animal always accepted the first male who asked

                    “My pretty maiden, may I venture
                    To offer you my arm and escort?”

there would be no opportunity for the growth of pre-matrimonial passion.

(_c_) _Individual Preference._—Owing to our scant information concerning
the courtship of animals in a state of nature, Darwin did not succeed in
discovering any cases among mammals of decided preference shown by a
male for any particular female; and regarding domesticated quadrupeds,
“The general impression amongst breeders seems to be that the male
accepts any female; and this, owing to his eagerness, is, in most cases,
probably the truth.” A few cases of special preference or antipathy in
dogs, horses, bulls, and boars, were, however, communicated to him.
Concerning birds Darwin remarks that “In all ordinary cases the male is
so eager that he will accept any female, and does not, as far as we can
judge, prefer one to the other, but ... exceptions to this rule
apparently occur in some few groups. With domesticated birds, I have
heard of only one case of males showing any preference for certain
females, namely, that of the domestic cock, who, according to the high
authority of Mr. Hewitt, prefers the younger to the older hens.”

This, however, is at best only a polygamous sort of Preference, which,
after all, lacks the essential traits of Individualisation and
Exclusiveness. With the long-tailed duck (_Harelda glacialis_), M.
Ekström says, “It has been remarked that certain females are much more
courted than the rest. Frequently, indeed, one sees an individual
surrounded by six or eight amorous males.” Whether this statement is
credible Darwin does not know; but the Swedish sportsmen, he adds, shoot
these females and stuff them as decoys.

In female animals, on the other hand, the “overtone” of Individual
Preference appears to be more frequently present. Darwin even asserts
that “the exertion of some choice on the part of the female seems a law
almost as general as the eagerness of the male;” but this is not borne
out by the numerous illustrations given by himself, showing that when
two or more males are engaged in jealous combat, “the female looks on as
a passive spectator,” and finally goes off with the victor, whichever of
the rivals he may prove to be, without showing the slightest concern for
the vanquished. An Australian forest-maiden might behave similarly under
these circumstances, but a civilised maiden would cling to the one who
had made the deepest impression on her previous to the combat; and if
wounded, would adore him all the more; for in her Love pity is a
stronger ingredient than even the love of prowess.

That female birds, however, _sometimes_ exert a choice is admitted even
by Mr. A. R. Wallace (_Tropical Nature_, p. 199); and a few of the cases
referred to by Darwin may here be cited: “Audubon—and we must remember
that he spent a long life in prowling about the forests of the United
States and observing the birds—does not doubt that the female
deliberately chooses her mate; thus, speaking of a woodpecker, he says
the hen is followed by half a dozen gay suitors, who continue performing
strange antics ‘until a marked preference is shown for one.’ The female
of the red-winged starling (_Agelæus phœniceus_) is likewise pursued
by several males, ‘until, becoming fatigued, she alights, receives their
addresses, and soon makes a choice.’ He describes also how several male
nightjars repeatedly plunge through the air with astonishing rapidity,
suddenly turning, and thus making a singular noise; ‘but no sooner has
the female made her choice than the other males are driven away.’”

Concerning domesticated birds we have seen that that gallinaceous
sultan, the domestic cock, shows a decided preference for the younger
hens in his harem. But the female is not a bit less frivolous and
capricious; for, according to Mr. Hewitt, she almost invariably prefers
the most vigorous, defiant, and mettlesome male; hence it is almost
useless, he adds, “to attempt true breeding if a game-cock in good
health and condition runs the locality, for almost every hen on leaving
the roosting-place will resort to the game-cock, even though that bird
may not actually drive away the male of her own variety.”

(_d_) _Personal Beauty and Sexual Selection._—Mr. Wallace, who
discovered the law of Natural Selection independently of Darwin, admits,
as just stated, that “in birds the females do sometimes exert a choice”;
but he adds that “amid the copious mass of facts and opinions collected
by Mr. Darwin as to the display of colour and ornaments by the male
birds, there is _a total absence of any evidence that the females admire
or even notice this display_. The hen, the turkey, and the pea-fowl go
on feeding while the male is displaying his finery; and there is reason
to believe that it is his persistency and energy rather than his beauty
which wins the day.”

Briefly stated, the difference between the views of these two eminent
naturalists is this: Darwin believes that in those cases where the sexes
are not alike, the differences are due to the _males_, originally plain,
having become modified through _Sexual_ Selection for _ornamental_
purposes; while Mr. Wallace believes that colour is a normal product in
animal integuments, proportionate to their vitality, and that the sexual
differences in ornamentation are due to the _females_ having been
modified through _Natural_ Selection for the sake of _protection_.

Perhaps the best brief _résumé_ Darwin has made of his views on this
subject is given on page 421 of the _Descent of Man_ (London edition,
1885), which may therefore be here cited in full: "If an inhabitant of
another planet were to behold a number of young rustics at a fair
courting a pretty girl, and quarrelling about her like birds at one of
their places of assemblage, he would, by the eagerness of the wooers to
please her and to display their finery, infer that she had the power of
choice. Now with birds the evidence stands thus: they have acute powers
of observation, and they seem to have some taste for the beautiful both
in colour and sound. It is certain that the females occasionally
exhibit, from unknown causes, the strongest antipathies and preferences
for particular males. When the sexes differ in colour or in other
ornaments, the males with rare exceptions are the more decorated, either
permanently or during the breeding season. They sedulously display their
various ornaments, exert their voices, and perform strange antics in the
presence of the females. Even well-armed males who, it might be thought,
would altogether depend for success on the law of battle, are in most
cases highly ornamented; and their ornaments have been acquired at the
expense of some loss of power. In other cases ornaments have been
acquired at the cost of increased risk from birds and beasts of prey.
With various species many individuals of both sexes congregate at the
same spot, and their courtship is a prolonged affair. There is even
reason to suspect that the males and females within the same district do
not always succeed in pleasing each other and pairing.

“What then are we to conclude from these facts and considerations? Does
the male parade his charms with so much pomp and rivalry for no purpose?
Are we not justified in believing that the female exerts a choice, and
that she receives the addresses of the male who pleases her most? It is
not probable that she consciously deliberates; but she is most excited
or attracted by the most beautiful, or melodious, or gallant males. Nor
need it be supposed that the female studies each stripe or spot of
colour; that the peahen, for instance, admires each detail in the
gorgeous train of the peacock—she is probably struck only by the general
effect. Nevertheless, after hearing how carefully the male Argus
pheasant displays his elegant primary wing-feathers, and erects his
ocellated plumes in the right position for their full effect; or again,
how the male goldfinch alternately displays his gold-bespangled wings,
we ought not to feel too sure that the female does not attend to each
detail of beauty.”

Now it was this very case of the Argus pheasant that first shook Mr.
Wallace’s “belief in ‘sexual,’ or, more properly, ‘female’ selection.
The long series of gradations by which the beautifully-shaped ocelli on
the secondary wing-feathers of this bird have been produced are clearly
traced out; the result being a set of markings so exquisitely shaded as
to represent ‘balls lying loose within sockets’—purely artificial
objects of which these birds could have no possible experience. That
this result should have been attained through thousands and tens of
thousands of female birds all preferring those males whose markings
varied slightly in this one direction, this uniformity of choice
continuing through thousands and tens of thousands of generations, is to
me absolutely incredible. And when, further, we remember that those who
did not so vary would also, according to all evidence, find mates and
have offspring, the actual result seems quite impossible of attainment
by such means.”

According to Darwin’s own admission (_Descent of Man_, p. 211), he
advanced the theory of Sexual Selection because, in his opinion, Natural
Selection did not account for the various ornaments and attractions of
the males in question. Mr. Wallace, on the other hand, believes that
Sexual Selection does _not_, while Natural Selection _does_ account for
these ornaments; so, in place of Darwin’s view that the beauty of
certain male animals leads the females to prefer them to their less
ornamented rivals, he substitutes the theory that it is the superior
vitality, persistence, and vivacity of the favoured males that fascinate
the females, and that masculine beauty is simply a natural result of
superior vigour and superabundant health.

Darwin doubtless errs in claiming an æsthetic sense for animals so low
in the scale of life as butterflies and other insects, and in
attributing to it such extraordinary effects in the development of
personal beauty. What Mr. Wallace has done in _Tropical Nature_ is to
show simply that it is quite unnecessary to invoke the aid of so
questionable an agency as Sexual Selection in order to account for the
ornaments of animals; and that the fundamental principle of Darwinism,
_Natural_ Selection, accounts for everything.

He maintains that colour is a normal product of organisation, and that
not so much its presence as its absence needs accounting for. White and
black are comparatively rare and exceptional in nature, while the
various tints of red, blue, green, etc., are continually appearing
spontaneously and irregularly in the integuments of animals. These
irregular colours, if injurious to the species, will be at once
eliminated by Natural Selection; but if useful for purposes of
identification or protection, they will be preserved and intensified.

Now colour, Mr. Wallace continues, is proportionate to integumentary
development, and is most conspicuous in the wings of butterflies and the
feathers of birds, for the reason that, just as “the spots and rings on
a soap-bubble increase with increasing tenuity,” similarly the
delicately-organised surface of feathers and scales is highly favourable
to the production of varied colour-effects.

Colour being thus proportionate to integumentary development, we find
next that integumentary development is, in turn, proportionate to vigour
and vitality; the strongest animals having the largest feathers, scales,
horns, etc. Hence the most vigorous and healthy animals are also the
most beautiful, the most brilliantly coloured. And this correlation
between healthful vigour and beauty is still more strikingly shown in
this, that “The colours of an animal usually fade during disease or
weakness, while robust health and vigour adds to their intensity.... In
all quadrupeds a ‘dull coat’ is indicative of ill-health or low
condition; while a glossy coat and sparkling eye are the invariable
accompaniments of health and energy. The same rule applies to the
feathers of birds, whose colours are only seen in their purity during
perfect health; and a similar phenomenon occurs even among insects, for
the bright hues of caterpillars begin to fade as soon as they become
inactive preparatory to their undergoing transformation. Even in the
vegetable kingdom we see the same thing: for the tints of foliage are
deepest, and the colours of flowers and fruits richest, on those plants
which are in the most healthy and vigorous condition.”

Add to all these considerations that “this intensity of coloration
becomes most developed during the breeding season, when the vitality is
at a maximum,” and we shall be prepared for Mr. Wallace’s summing up of
his case:—

“If now we accept the evidence of Mr. Darwin’s most trustworthy
correspondents, that the choice of the female, so far as she exerts any,
falls upon ‘the most vigorous, defiant, and mettlesome male’; and if we
further believe, what is certainly the case, that these are as a rule
the most highly-coloured and adorned with the finest developments of
plumage, we have a real and not a hypothetical cause at work. For these
most healthy, vigorous, and beautiful males will have the choice of the
finest and most healthy females; and will be able best to protect and
rear those families. Natural Selection, and what may be termed Male
Selection, will tend to give them the advantage in the struggle for
existence; and thus the fullest and the finest colours will be
transmitted, and tend to advance in each succeeding generation.”

By this strong chain of reasoning (to which my brief _>résumé_ of course
cannot do justice) Mr. Wallace shows that Darwin needlessly introduced
the principle of Sexual Selection into animal courtship; and at the same
time furnishes a new confirmation of Darwin’s compliment that he has “an
innate genius for solving difficulties.”

What makes Mr. Wallace’s argument the more cogent is the fact that
Darwin himself, in speaking of the lowest classes of animals, explains
their beauty on the same principles as those which Mr. Wallace applies
to the higher animals. Thus he says: “We can, in our ignorance of most
of the lowest animals, only say that their bright tints result either
from the chemical nature or the minute structure of their tissues,
independently of any benefit thus derived.” “It is almost certain that
these animals have too imperfect senses, and much too low mental powers,
to appreciate each other’s beauty or other attractions, or to feel
rivalry.” “Nor is it at all obvious how the offspring from the more
beautiful pairs of hermaphrodites would have any advantage over the
offspring of the less beautiful, so as to increase in number, _unless
indeed vigour and beauty generally coincided_.” And once more, “The
sedentary annelids become duller-coloured, according to M. Quatrefages,
after the period of reproduction; and this I presume may be attributed
to their less vigorous condition at that time.”

So far we have only considered the origin of animal colours in general.
Mr. Wallace, however, has not only made clear the general connection
between beautiful and vivid colours and health, but, by utilising his
own researches and those of Mr. Bates and other naturalists, he has been
able to show to what a great extent we can explain even the _particular_
colours of the various classes of animals. He distinguishes four classes
of animal colours—Protective, Warning, Sexual, and Typical.

(1) _Protective Colours._—These “are exceedingly prevalent in nature,
comprising those of all the white arctic animals, the sandy-coloured
desert forms, and the green birds and insects of tropical forests. It
also comprises thousands of cases of special resemblance—of birds to the
surroundings of their nests, and especially of insects to the bark,
leaves, flowers, or soil on or amid which they dwell. Mammalia, fishes,
and reptiles, as well as mollusca, present similar phenomena; and the
more the habits of animals are investigated, the more numerous are found
to be the cases in which their colours tend to conceal them, either from
their enemies or from the creatures they prey upon.”

(2) _Warning Colours._—In this class, on the other hand, the object is
not to conceal the animal, but to make it conspicuous. Certain species
of gorgeously-coloured butterflies, _e.g._ are never eaten by birds,
spiders, lizards, or monkeys, who eagerly feed on other butterflies.
“The reason simply is that they are not fit to eat, their juices having
a powerful odour and taste that is absolutely disgusting to all these
animals. Now we see the reason of their showy colours and slow flight.
It is good for them to be seen and recognised, for then they are never
molested; but if they did not differ in form and colouring from other
butterflies, or if they flew so quickly that their peculiarities could
not be easily noticed, they would be captured, and though not eaten,
would be maimed or killed.”

Mimicry is the name given to a second and still more marvellous class of
Warning Colours. They belong to defenceless creatures which so closely
resemble other brightly-coloured but nauseous or dangerous animals that
they are mistaken for the latter, and therefore left alone. _E.G._
“Wasps are imitated by moths, and ants by beetles; and even poisonous
snakes are mimicked by harmless snakes, and dangerous hawks by
defenceless cuckoos.”

(3) _Typically_-coloured animals are those species which are brilliantly
coloured in both sexes, “and for whose particular colours we can assign
no function or use.” This group “comprises an immense number of showy
birds, such as Kingfishers, Barbets, Toucans, Lories, Tits, and
Starlings; among insects most of the largest and handsomest
butterflies,” etc. “It is a suggestive fact that all the
brightly-coloured birds mentioned above build in holes or form covered
nests, so that the females do not need that protection during the
breeding season which I believe to be one of the chief causes of the
dull colour of female birds when their partners are gaily coloured.”

(4) _Sexual Colours_, comprising those cases in which the sexes differ,
and with which Darwin’s theory of Sexual Selection is directly
concerned. Through no _direct_ fault of his own, Darwin leaves on his
readers the impression—which has become almost a commonplace of
conversation—that it is the general rule among animals for the males of
each species to be more ornamented than the females. The truth is,
however, that “with the exception of butterflies, the sexes are almost
alike in the great majority of insects. The same is the case in mammals
and reptiles; while the chief departure from the rule occurs in birds,
though even here in very many cases the law of sexual likeness

The reason why I have devoted so much space to Mr. Wallace’s colour
theories is to emphasise the truth contained in this last sentence; the
fact, namely, that even if Sexual Selection were accepted as an active
principle, it would account in only a very limited number of cases for
the personal beauty of animals, and the reader of Mr. Wallace’s
_Tropical Nature_ and his _Contributions to the Theory of Natural
Selection_ cannot fail to be convinced that Sexual Selection does not
even hold good in this limited number of cases, but that “the primary
cause of sexual diversity of colour is the need of protection,
repressing in the female those bright colours which are normally
produced in both sexes by general laws.”

Incidentally Mr. Wallace mentions as an additional function of colour
the fact that it may serve as a _means of recognition_ to the sexes.
“This view affords us an explanation of the curious fact that among
butterflies the females of closely-allied species in the same locality
sometimes differ considerably, while the males are much alike; for, as
the males are the swiftest, and by far the highest flyers, and seek out
the females, it would evidently be advantageous for them to be able to
recognise their true partners at some distance off.”

To me it seems that this function of colour is, next to Protection, its
most important object, and that Mr. Wallace does not give it sufficient
prominence. He says, in speaking of _Typical Colours_, that we can
assign “no function or use for them.” But why should they not serve the
sexes as a means of recognition at at a distance? especially as colours
can be recognised at a greater distance than forms. Many years before
Darwin and Mr. Wallace wrote on this subject, Schopenhauer’s genius
anticipated this view of the matter. “The extremely varied and vivid
colours of the feathers of tropical birds,” he wrote, “have been
explained in a very general way, with reference to their efficient
cause, as due to the strong effect of the tropical light. As their final
cause I would suggest that these brilliant plumes are the gala uniforms
by means of which the species, which are so numerous there and often
belonging to the same genus, recognise each other; so that every male
finds his female. The same is true of the butterflies of different zones
and latitudes” (_Welt als Wille u. V._, ii. 381).

Schopenhauer of course errs in attributing, in his ignorance of
Protective, Warning, and other colours, all the hues of birds and
butterflies to this agency. But it is probable that whenever colours and
other ornaments do not serve for purposes of protection (as _e.g._ the
lion’s mane and the horns of beetles, _vide_ _Tropical Nature_, p. 202),
they serve the purpose of sexual recognition of species. A case cited by
Darwin to prove that quadrupeds take notice of colour, is very
suggestive in this connection: “A female zebra would not admit the
addresses of a male ass until he was painted so as to resemble a zebra,
and then, as John Hunter remarks, she received him very readily.”

It is probable, therefore, that in many cases the unique spots and
stripes and colours of animals subserve the special use of facilitating
the finding of a partner; and in this way they relate directly to the
courtship and Romantic Love of animals. Thus we see how the Love affairs
of animals may indirectly affect their Personal Beauty in a way quite
different from that suggested by Darwin.

                       LOVE-CHARMS AND LOVE-CALLS

The same reasoning applies to the music of animals, vocal and
instrumental, on which Darwin lays great stress. In his opinion, the
music of some male animals serves to charm the females æsthetically, and
thus gives to the best musicians special advantages through Sexual
Selection. But the instances cited by him hardly warrant this
conclusion, and seem rather to point to the inference that the function
of animal music is chiefly to facilitate courtship, by making it easy
for the females to discover the whereabouts of a male of the same
species. The evidence tends to show that it is not the male whose voice
is most mellow and melodious that catches the female, but rather the one
who is most vigorous and persistent and has the loudest organ. As Jaques
says in _As You Like It_: “Sing it: ’tis no matter how it be in tune, so
it make noise enough!”

Darwin himself quotes a naturalist’s statement, that “the stridulation
produced by some of the _Locustidæ_ is so loud that it can be heard
during the night at the distance of a mile;” and such cases as “the
drumming of the snipe’s tail, the tapping of the woodpecker’s beak, the
harsh, trumpetlike cry of certain water-fowl,” though Darwin tries to
dispose of them on the ground of a difference in æsthetic taste,
nevertheless incline one to the belief that the music of the forest
troubadours is not so much intended to gratify the æsthetic taste of the
female as to guide her to the spot where the male awaits her; for,
contrary to common opinion, it is the female in these cases that
searches for a male and not _vice versâ_. Montagu, for instance, asserts
that “males of song-birds and of many others do not in general search
for the female, but, on the contrary, their business in spring is to
perch on some conspicuous spot, breathing out their full and amorous
notes, which, by instinct, _the female knows, and repairs to the spot_
to choose her mate.” And Dr. Hartman, speaking of the American _Cicada
septemdecim_, says: “The drums are now heard in all directions. This I
believe to be the marital summons from the males. Standing in thick
chestnut sprouts about as high as my head, where hundreds were around
me, I observed the females coming around the drumming males.” And, says
Darwin, “the _spel_ of the blackcock certainly serves as a call to the
female, for it has been known to bring four or five females from a
distance to a male under confinement; but as the blackcock continues his
_spel_ for hours during successive days, and in the case of the
capercailzie ‘with an agony of passion,’ we are led to suppose that the
females which are present are thus charmed.”

There appears to be no _direct_ evidence, however, that female birds are
more _charmed_ by one male than another, and prefer him on account of
his superior song, as the theory of Sexual Selection postulates. And
when we remember that likewise there is no evidence that birds, etc.,
are ever influenced in their choice by the superior colours of certain
males, and that in fact it is the rule for the female to follow
passively the most vigorous and victorious male, we are brought back to
the conclusion with which we set out—that it is not the superior
songster who wins the female by charming her, but the loudest and most
persistent songster, by guiding her to the courting-place.

Darwin himself evidently felt the weakness of his position, for he
constantly speaks of “love-charms _or_ love-calls” in the same sentence.
Thus, “the true song of most birds and various strange cries are uttered
chiefly during the breeding-season, and serve as a charm, _or merely as
a call-note_, to the other sex.” Again: “It is often difficult to
conjecture whether the many strange cries and notes uttered by male
birds during the breeding-season serve as a charm or merely as a call to
the female.” The distinction between love “charms” and mere “calls” is
of course of the utmost importance. For if male song charms the females
and influences them in their choice, we have Sexual-æsthetic-female
Selection. But if the male song merely serves as a call to the female
and as a sign of species-recognition, then Natural Selection accounts
for everything, because the most vigorous, loudest, and most persistent
male will have the choice of the most numerous females brought to his
side by his musical efforts.

                        LOVE-DANCES AND DISPLAY

There is one more important link in the chain of Darwin’s reasoning,
which must be broken before his theory of Sexual Selection can be
regarded as demolished. The mad antics of the blackcock and other birds
have been already referred to; and some of the lower animals seem to
endeavour to surpass them, as, for example, the male alligator, who
strives to attract the attention of the female by splashing and roaring
in the water; “swollen to an extent ready to burst, with its head and
tail lifted up, he spins or twirls round on the surface of the water,
like an Indian chief rehearsing his feats of war.” “To suppose,” says
Darwin, “that the females do not appreciate the beauty of the males, is
to admit that their splendid decorations, all their pomp and display,
are useless; and this is incredible.”

But are there no other ways of accounting for all this “pomp and
display”? Certainly, several of them. We have seen that the most
vigorous males are those which are most highly ornamented, and that it
is the vigour and vivacity of the males that seems to decide the choice
of the females where there is any. Now instinct, _i.e._ inherited
experience, teaches the female the connection between vigour and display
of ornament, and influences her choice accordingly. Again, the males
indulge in their display for the purpose of arousing the attention of
the passive female. This supposition is rendered the more probable by
Darwin’s admission that “we must be cautious in concluding that the
wings are spread out solely for display, as some birds do so whose wings
are not beautiful.”

A third motive of display is the need of finding an outlet for
overflowing nervous energy and excitement. To this Mr. Wallace refers as
follows: “At pairing time the male is in a state of excitement and full
of exuberant energy. Even unornamented birds flutter their wings or
spread them out, erect their tails or crests, and thus give vent to the
nervous excitability with which they are overcharged.” “It is not
improbable,” he continues,—and this suggests a fourth use of
display—"that crests and other erectile feathers may be primarily of use
in _frightening away enemies_, since they are generally erected when
angry or during combat."

A fifth motive of display is suggested by an analogy furnished by human
butterflies and birds of Paradise. Among animals where the sexes differ,
it is commonly the male who is adorned the most. With us it is the
women. But woman’s fineries are not intended to charm the eyes of men,
but to excite one another’s rivalry and envy. Now it seems that male
birds, with whose plumes our heartless women are so fond of decking
themselves, are guilty of an analogous weakness. They will sometimes
display their ornaments, says Darwin, “when not in the presence of the
females, as occasionally occurs with grouse at their holy places, and as
may be noticed with the peacock; this latter bird, however, evidently
wishes for a spectator of some kind, and, as I have often seen, will
show off his finery before poultry or even pigs. All naturalists who
have closely attended to the habits of birds, whether in a state of
nature or under confinement, are unanimously of opinion that the males
take delight in displaying their beauty.” And, once more, “with birds of
Paradise a dozen or more full-plumaged males congregate in a tree to
hold a _dancing-party_, as it is called by the natives; and here they
fly about, raise their wings, elevate their exquisite plumes, and make
them vibrate; and the whole tree seems, as Mr. Wallace remarks, to be
filled with waving plumes.”

But if it be the unanimous opinion of naturalists who have closely
studied the habits of birds, “that the males take delight in displaying
their beauty,” why should not the females also take pleasure in
witnessing this display? Perhaps they do, sometimes; for even Mr.
Wallace admits that “the display of the various ornamental appendages of
the male during courtship may be attractive” to the female. But there is
a world-wide difference between this assertion and the doctrine that the
females are so greatly and so constantly influenced by their æsthetic
taste that they always prefer among males those that are slightly more
beautiful than the others, thus increasing their personal beauty by
transmission. This is an assumption unsupported by facts, and rendered
unnecessary because Natural Selection accounts for all the phenomena in

Admiration of Personal Beauty does not appear, therefore, to enter
noticeably into animal love, except in so far as a slight amount of
æsthetic taste may be admitted in birds. This taste may be strengthened
by the sight of the brilliant masculine ornaments during the season of
love being associated with the remembered pleasures of courtship.

Indirectly, however, female animals promote the cause of beauty by
preferring the more healthy and vigorous individuals, who are commonly
also the most beautiful ones. And is not the same true of females of the
human persuasion, who likewise are much less influenced in their choice
by the beauty than by the boldness, energy, vivacity, and “manliness” of
their suitors? It seems to hold true throughout nature that the female’s
Love is weak in the æsthetic element, her taste being little developed
and too often neutralised by unconscious utilitarian considerations.

                           LOVE AMONG SAVAGES

                           STRANGERS TO LOVE

In passing from animals to human beings we find at first not only no
advance in the sexual relations, but a decided retrogression. Among some
species of birds, courtship and marriage are infinitely more refined and
noble than among the lowest savages; and it is especially in their
treatment of females, both before and after mating, that not only birds
but all animals show an immense superiority over primitive man; for male
animals only fight among themselves, and never maltreat the females.

This anomaly is easily explained. The intellectual power and emotional
horizon of animals are limited; but in those directions in which Natural
Selection has made them _specialists_, they reach a high degree of
development, because inherited experience tends to give to their actions
an instinctive or quasi-instinctive precision and certainty. Among
primitive men, on the other hand, reason begins to encroach more on
instinct, but yet in such a feeble way as to make constant blunders
inevitable: thus proving that strong instincts, combined with a limited
intellectual plasticity, are a safer guide in life than a more plastic
but weak intellect minus the assistance of stereotyped instincts.

If neither intellect nor instinct guide the primitive man to
well-regulated marital relations, such as we find among many animals, so
again his emotional life is too crude and limited to allow any scope for
the domestic affections. Inasmuch as, according to Sir John Lubbock,
gratitude, mercy, pity, chastity, forgiveness, humility, are ideas or
feelings unknown to many or most savage tribes, we should naturally
expect that such a highly-compounded and ethereal feeling as Romantic
Love could not exist among them. How could Love dwell in the heart of a
savage who baits a fish-hook with the flesh of a child; who eats his
wife when she has lost her beauty and the muscular power which enabled
her to do all his hard work; who abandons his aged parents, or kills
them, and whose greatest delight in life is to kill an enemy slowly amid
the most diabolic tortures?

Or how could a primitive girl love a man whose courtship consists in
knocking her on the head and carrying her forcibly from her own to his
tribe? A man who, after a very brief period of caresses, neglects her,
takes perhaps another and younger wife, and reduces the first one to the
condition of a slave, refusing to let her eat at his table, throwing her
bones and remains, as to a dog, or even driving her away and killing
her, if she displeases him? These are extreme cases, but they are not
rare; and in a slightly modified form they are found throughout

That Love is a sentiment unknown to savages has been frequently noted in
the works of anthropologists and tourists. When Ploss remarks that the
lowest savages “know as little of marriage relations as animals; still
less do they know the feeling we call Love,” he does a great injustice
to animals, as those who have read the preceding chapter must admit.
Letourneau, in his _Sociologie_, remarks: “Among the Cafres Cousas,
according to Lichtenstein, the sentiment of love does not constitute a
part of marriage. ‘The idea of love, as we understand it,’ says Du
Chaillu, in speaking of a tribe of the Gabon, ‘appears to be unknown to
this tribe.’” Monteiro, speaking of the polygamous tribes of Africa,
says: “The negro knows not love, affection, or jealousy.... In all the
long years I have been in Africa I have never seen a negro manifest the
least tenderness for or to a negress.... I have never seen a negro put
his arm round a woman’s waist, or give or receive any caress whatever
that would indicate the slightest loving regard or affection on either
side. They have no words or expressions in their language indicative of
affection or love.”

Mr. Spencer, in commenting on this passage, remarks that “This testimony
harmonises with testimonies cited by Sir John Lubbock, to the effect
that the Hottentots ‘are so cold and indifferent to one another that you
would think there was no such thing as love between them’; that among
the Koussa Kaffirs there is ‘no feeling of love in marriage’; and that
in Yariba, ‘a man thinks as little of taking a wife as of cutting an ear
of corn—affection is altogether out of the question.’”

Mr. Winwood Reade, on the other hand, informed Darwin that the West
Africans “are quite capable of falling in love, and of forming tender,
passionate, and faithful attachments.” And the anthropologist Waitz,
speaking of Polynesia, says that “examples of real passionate love are
not rare, and on the Fiji Islands it has happened that individuals
married against their will have committed suicide; although this has
only happened in the higher classes.” Unfortunately in these cases we
are left in doubt as to whether the reference is to Conjugal or to
Romantic Love; conjugal attachment, being of earlier growth than
Romantic Love, because the development of the latter was retarded by the
limited opportunities for prolonged Courtship and free Choice.

                          PRIMITIVE COURTSHIP

In his anxiety to find cases of Romantic Love among North American and
other primitive peoples, Waitz is obliged to fall back on legends of
Lovers’ Leaps and Maiden Rocks, and on a poem about a South American
maiden who committed suicide on her lover’s grave to avoid falling into
the hands of the Spaniards. Legends and poems, unfortunately, do not
count for much as scientific evidence. At the same time, it would
doubtless be incorrect to assert on the strength of some of the
authorities just quoted that Love does not exist at all among savages,
and therefore to make the chapter on Love among Savages as brief as that
chapter on Snakes in Ireland. We shall find, on the contrary, that
several of Love’s “overtones” are occasionally present; and that though
full-fledged cupids may never appear with their poisoned arrows,
mischievous _amourettes_ sometimes do flit across the field of vision.
For the goddess of Love is ever watchful of an opportunity for one of
her emissaries to bag some game.

Romantic Love is dependent on opportunities for Courtship. Among savages
and semi-civilised nations we find three grades of Courtship—Capture,
Purchase, and Service. These must be briefly examined in turn.

(1) _Capture._—One of the most curious features of savage life is the
widely-prevalent custom called by M‘Lennan Exogamy, or marrying out.
This custom compels a man who wishes a wife of his own to steal or
purchase her of another tribe, private marriage within his own tribe
being considered criminal and even punishable with death. To this rule
of Exogamy Sir John Lubbock traces the origin of Monogamy. In his view
women were at first, like other kinds of property, held in common by the
tribe, any man being any woman’s husband _ad libitum_. No man could
therefore claim a woman for himself without infringing on the rights of
others. But if he stole a woman from another tribe, she became his
exclusive property, which he had a right to guard jealously, and to look
upon with the Pride of Conquest—a pride, however, quite distinct from
that which intoxicates a civilised lover when he finds, or fondly
imagines, that his goddess _has chosen him_ among all his rivals. The
primitive man’s pride is more like that of the warrior who wears a large
number of scalps in his belt; and as in his case marriage immediately
follows Capture, this feeling, moreover, belongs more properly to the
sphere of conjugal sentiment than to that of Love.

This primitive form of courtship, it is obvious, is very much ruder than
that which prevails in the animal kingdom, where the males alone
maltreat one another, while in this early human courtship the woman, if
she resists, is simply knocked on the head, and her senseless body
carried off to the captor’s tent. Diefenbach relates concerning the
Polynesians that “if a girl was courted by two suitors, each of them
grasped one arm of the beloved and pulled her toward him; the stronger
one got her, but in some cases not before her limbs had been pulled out
of joint.” And Waitz says that “the girls were commonly abducted by
force, which led frequently to most violent fights, in which the girl
herself was occasionally wounded, or even killed, to prevent her from
falling into the hands of the enemy.”

Mr. E. B. Tylor, after stating that marriage by Capture may be seen at
the present day among the fierce forest tribes of Brazil, continues:
“Ancient tradition knows this practice well, as where the men of
Benjamin carry off the daughters of Shiloh dancing at the feast, and in
the famous Roman tale of the rape of the Sabines, a legend putting in
historical form the wife-capture which in Roman custom remained as a
ceremony. What most clearly shows what a recognised old-world custom it
was, is its being thus kept up as a formality where milder manners
really prevailed. It had passed into this state among the Spartans, when
Plutarch says that though the marriage was really by friendly settlement
between the families, the bridegroom’s friends went through the pretence
of carrying off the bride by violence. Within a few generations the same
old habit was kept up in Wales, where the bridegroom and his friends,
mounted and armed as for war, carried off the bride; and in Ireland they
used even to hurl spears at the bride’s people, though at such a
distance that no one was hurt, except now and then by accident, as
happened when one Lord Howth lost an eye, which mischance seems to have
put an end to this curious relic of antiquity.”

Moreover, we are told that “in our own marriages the ‘best man’ seems
originally to have been the chief abettor of the bridegroom in the act
of capture.”

In a modified form “wife-capture” cannot be said to be extinct even in
this advanced age. Elopement is the modern name for it When the parents
dissent and the couple are very young, this climax of courtship
doubtless is often reprehensible. But in those cases where the consent
of all parties has been obtained, it ought to be universally adopted.
Sudden flight and an impromptu marriage would add much to the romance of
the honeymoon, and would enable the bridal couple to avoid the terrors
and stupid formalities of the wedding-day, the anticipation of which is
doubtless responsible for the ever-increasing number of cowardly
bachelors in the world.

(2) _Purchase_ represents a somewhat higher stage of Courtship than
Capture. Like Capture this custom has existed among the peoples of the
five continents, and is still retained in some parts of Africa and
elsewhere. In Holstein, Germany, it prevailed in all its purity,
according to Ploss, till the end of the fifteenth century. Nor would it
be doing facts great violence to class our frequent money-marriages
under this head.

There are two grades of the custom of Purchase. In the first the girl
has no choice whatever, but is sold by her father for so many cows or
camels, in some cases to the highest bidder. Among the Turcomans a wife
may be purchased for five camels if she be a girl, or for fifty if a
widow; whereas among the Tunguse a girl costs one to twenty reindeer,
while widows are considerably cheaper. In the second class of cases the
purchased girl is allowed a certain degree of liberty of choice, as we
shall see directly, under the head of Individual Preference.

(3) _Service._—On the custom of securing a wife by means of services
rendered her parents, Mr. Spencer remarks: “The practice which Hebrew
tradition acquaints us with in the case of Jacob, proves to be a
widely-diffused practice. It is general with the Bhils, Ghonds, and Hill
tribes of Nepaul; it obtained in Java before Mahometanism was
introduced; it was common in ancient Peru and Central America; and among
sundry existing American races it still occurs. Obviously, a wife long
laboured for is likely to be more valued than one stolen or bought.
Obviously, too, the period of service, during which the betrothed girl
is looked upon as a future spouse, affords room for the growth of some
feeling higher than the merely instinctive—initiates something
approaching to the courtship and engagement of civilised peoples.”

                         INDIVIDUAL PREFERENCE

All the cases thus far referred to relate to what might be called
indirect or mediate courtship. When a girl is captured and knocked on
the head she can hardly be said to be courted and consulted as to her
wishes; and the man too, in such cases, owing to the dangers of the
sport, is apt to pay no great attention to a woman’s looks and
accomplishments, but to bag the first one that comes along. In courtship
by Purchase, again, the girl is rarely consulted as to her own
preferences, the addresses being paid to the father, who invariably
selects the wealthiest of the suitors, and only in rare cases allows the
daughter a choice, as among the Kaffirs if the suitors happen to be
equally well off. And thirdly, in courtship by Service, the suitor’s
work is not done to please the daughter, but to recompense the parents
for losing her.

Yet there appear to be some instances of real courtship, in the modern
sense of the word, among the lower races, where the lovers pay their
addresses directly to the girl and she chooses or rejects at will. Thus,
among the Orang-Sakai, on the Malayan peninsula, the following custom
prevails, as described by Ploss: “On the wedding-day, the bride, in
presence of her relatives, and those of her lover, and many other
witnesses, is obliged to run into the forest. After a fixed interval the
bridegroom follows and seeks to catch her. If he succeeds in capturing
the bride she becomes his wife, otherwise he is compelled to renounce
her for ever. If therefore a girl dislikes her suitor, she can easily
escape from him and hide in the forest until the time allowed for his
pursuit has expired.”

Darwin remarks, in trying to prove the existence of Sexual Selection
among the lower races, that “in utterly barbarous tribes the women have
more power in choosing, rejecting, and tempting their lovers, or of
afterwards changing their husbands, than might have been expected;” and
he cites the following cases, among others: “Amongst the Abipones, a man
on choosing a wife, bargains with the parents about the price. But ‘it
frequently happens that the girl rescinds what has been agreed upon
between the parents and the bridegroom, obstinately rejecting the very
mention of marriage.’ She often runs away, hides herself, and thus
eludes the bridegroom. Captain Musters, who lived with the Patagonians,
says that their marriages are always settled by inclination; ‘if the
parents make a match contrary to the daughter’s will, she refuses, and
is never compelled to comply.’ In Tierra del Fuego a young man first
obtains the consent of the parents by doing them some service, and then
he attempts to carry off the girl; ‘but if she is unwilling, she hides
herself in the woods until her admirer is heartily tired of looking for
her, and gives up the pursuit; but this seldom happens.’”


Evidence proving that primitive women are influenced in their choice of
a mate by æsthetic considerations appears to be almost as scant as among
animals. Darwin, however, tries to prove that men owe their beards to
sexual or female selection; and the following more general instances may
be cited for what they are worth: Azara “describes how carefully a Guana
woman bargains for all sorts of privileges before accepting some one or
more husbands; and the men in consequence take unusual care of their
personal appearance.” Among the Kaffirs “very ugly, though rich men,
have been known to fail in getting wives. The girls, before consenting
to be betrothed, compel the men to show themselves off first in front
and then behind, and ‘exhibit their paces.’”

In general, however, it seems that the women choose, not the handsomest
men, but those whose boldness, pugnacity, and virility promise them the
surest protection against enemies, and general domestic delights. Thus,
we read that “before he is allowed to marry, a young Dyack must prove
his bravery by bringing back the head of an enemy;” and that when the
Apaches warriors return unsuccessful, “the women turn away from them
with assured indifference and contempt. They are upbraided as cowards,
or for want of skill and tact, and are told that such men should not
have wives.”

It must be remembered, however, that (as we have seen in the case of
plants and animals) the greatest amount of health, vigour, and courage
generally coincide with the greatest physical beauty; hence the
continued preference of the most energetic and lusty men by the superior
women who have a choice, has naturally tended to evolve a superior type
of manly beauty.

In the case of men it seems much more probable that they frequently
select their wives in accordance with an æsthetic standard. The chiefs
of almost every tribe throughout the world have more than one wife; and
Mr. Mantell informed Darwin that until recently almost every girl in New
Zealand who was pretty, or promised to be pretty, was _tapu_ to some
chief; while among the Kaffirs, according to Mr. C. Hamilton, “the
chiefs generally have the pick of the women for many miles round, and
are most persevering in establishing or confirming their privilege.” In
the lower tribes, where “communal marriage” and marriage by Capture
alone prevail, æsthetic choice is of course out of the question, and
cannot make its appearance till we come to less pugnacious tribes, such
as the Dyacks, whose children “have the freedom implied by regular
courtship,” or the Samoans, whose children “have the degree of
independence implied by elopements when they cannot obtain parental
assent to their marriage” (Spencer).

In general, however, among the lower races, Sexual or æsthetic Selection
leads to sorry results, owing to the bad taste of the selectors. The
standard of primitive taste is not harmonious proportion and capacity
for expression, but Exaggeration. The negro woman has naturally thicker
lips, more prominent cheek-bones, and a flatter nose than a white woman;
and in selecting a mate, preference is commonly given to the one whose
lips are thickest, nose most flattened, and cheek-bones most prominent:
thus producing gradually that monster of ugliness—the average negro
woman. What right we have to set ourselves up as judges, and claim that
our taste is superior to the negro’s, is a question which will be
discussed in a subsequent section of this treatise.

One other point, however, may be referred to here, namely, that although
the æsthetic overtone of Love—the Admiration of Personal Beauty—may
enter into a savage’s amorous feelings, it is only the sensuous aspect
of it that affects him, the intellectual and moral sides being unknown
to him. His admiration is purely physical. He marries his chosen bride
when she is a mere child, and before the slightest spark of mental charm
can illumine her features and impart to them a superior beauty; and
subsequently, when experience has somewhat sharpened her intellectual
powers, hard labour has already destroyed all traces of her physical
beauty so that the combination of physical and mental charms which alone
can inspire the highest form of Love is never to be found in primitive

                         JEALOUSY AND POLYGAMY

The moral mission of Jealousy, as stated on a preceding page, is, by
means of watchfulness and the inspiring of fear, to ensure fidelity and
chastity. Darwin says that from the strength of the feeling of jealousy
all through the animal kingdom, as well as from the analogy of the lower
animals, especially those which come nearest to man, he “cannot believe
that absolutely promiscuous intercourse prevailed in times past, shortly
before man attained to his present rank in the zoological scale.” This
may be true, yet it is astonishing to find how many of the lower tribes
are utterly unconcerned regarding the morals both of married and
unmarried women. A vast number of cases illustrating this absence of
jealousy are collected in Waitz’s _Anthropology_, Spencer’s _Sociology_,
the works of Lubbock, and especially in Ploss’s _Das Weib_, i. 205-214.
In some cases girls are allowed to do as they please until after
marriage, when they are jealously guarded; in other cases the reverse is
true. In some parts of Africa a breach of faith on the wife’s part is
regarded as an attack not on the husband’s honour but on his property;
hence a pecuniary compensation is all that is required. Lubbock
enumerates a large number of races among whom the lending of a wife or
daughter is a common and obligatory form of hospitality. And the
Chibchas of South America went so far in their indifference to virginity
that they considered a virgin bride to be unfortunate, “as she had not
inspired affection in men.”

Jealousy for the possession of a woman, however, was much sooner
developed than jealous regard for her conduct. The statement of Sir John
Lubbock about the men of an Indian tribe, that they “fight for the
possession of the women, just like stags,” and similar statements
regarding other savages, imply that, just like stags, these men feel the
pangs of primitive Jealousy.

Among polygamous nations the women, too, often fight for the men,
whose favourites in their absence are apt to suffer much at the hands
of jealous rivals. It is among the polygamous semi-civilised nations
in general that Jealousy asserts itself in the most shrill and
dissonant manner. It is not that bitter-sweet romantic Jealousy which
by its constant fluctuations between hope and doubt fans a modern
lover’s passion into brighter flames; it is a more vicious kind of
conjugal Jealousy which destroys domestic peace and plots the ruin of
rivals. In Madagascar, Mr. Spencer tells us, “the name for
Polygyny—‘fampovafesana’—signifies ‘the means of causing enmity’”; and
that kindred names are commonly applicable to it we are shown by their
use among the Hebrews: in the Mishna a man’s several wives are called
‘tzârot,’ that is, troubles, adversaries, or rivals. In modern Persia,
where polygamy prevails, the same state of affairs is encountered.
Says Ploss: “If there are several women in the house, each one
inhabits a separate division; in the houses of the wealthy each wife,
moreover, has her own servants. Constantly apprehending evil
intentions, no woman touches the dishes of a rival.”

It is among the polygamous nations of the East, too, that history
records such a profusion of bloody wars of succession waged by
half-brothers; for how could fraternal or any other kind of domestic
affection flourish in families where the mothers are constantly goaded
by Jealousy into deadly hatred of one another?

                         MONOPOLY AND MONOGAMY

The United States being a “free country,” its government has sometimes
been blamed by “freethinkers” for attempting to repress Mormon Polygamy.
But a free country is not one in which social experiments injurious to
public welfare are to be necessarily allowed. Readers of history and
anthropology know that polygamy is an experiment which has been tried so
often with disastrous social results, that it may be looked upon safely
as criminal and treated accordingly. Even the forcible argument of that
spiteful old pessimist, Schopenhauer, that polygamy should be introduced
because it would rid the world of old maids, does not save the
institution; since it is well—for the prospects of Beauty, at any
rate—that some women should be “eliminated” in the form of old maids.

Among the causes which tended to make polygamy the commonest form of
marriage among savages, four may be briefly enumerated: (1) The constant
wars among the tribes decimated the men, leaving a larger proportion of
women than men, although this was to some extent neutralised by the
habit of female infanticide, which the women indulged in to make
themselves more cherished through scarcity and, possibly, to preserve
their beauty; (2) The women being commonly secured as booty in war, it
was naturally looked on as an honour and a sign of valour to have more
than one wife; (3) Women being regarded and treated as slaves, the more
a man had of them the more they could, by their combined labour,
increase his wealth and influence in the tribe; (4) The rapid decay of
the youthful beauty of primitive woman, naturally inclined her husband,
whose affection was solely based on those physical charms, to add a
second or third, younger woman to his harem.

As woman’s position improved with advancing civilisation, these
influences favouring polygamy were gradually weakened; and as in
treating of Love among Animals, we found the most remarkable instances
of affection—conjugal and romantic—among birds, who are mostly
monogamous; so, among the lower races of man, monogamy is commonly a
sign of superior culture and higher development of the affections. And
this might have been foreseen _a priori_, inasmuch as monogamy is the
only marital relation compatible with that Monopoly of affection which
is one of the conditions of Romantic Love. How could a man feel an
exclusive amorous interest in his bride, knowing that in a few months or
years another would come to claim half his interest? or how could the
bride concentrate all her Love on a man of whom she knew that he could
give her only half or a smaller fraction of his affection?

A similar view is taken by Mr. Spencer. Monogamic unions, he says, “tend
in no small degree indirectly to raise the quality of adult life, by
giving a permanent and deep source of æsthetic interest. On recalling
the many and keen pleasures derived from music, poetry, fiction, the
drama, etc.; and on remembering that their predominant theme is the
passion of love, we shall see that to monogamy, which has developed this
passion, we owe a large part of the gratifications which fill our
leisure hours.”

                           PRIMITIVE COYNESS

Among the Samoiedes, says Klemm, “a man purchases a wife for a number of
reindeer, varying from five to twenty; the bride, as is the case also in
Greenland, struggles violently against leaving the paternal house, and
commonly she has to be caught forcibly and bound on the bridegroom’s
sledge.” In some of the Bedouin tribes the destined bride runs from tent
to tent to escape being brought to the bridegroom. When an Esquimaux
girl is asked in marriage, says Kranz (quoted by Mr. Spencer), she
“directly falls into the greatest apparent consternation and runs out of
doors, tearing her bunch of hair; for single women always affect the
utmost bashfulness and aversion to any proposal of marriage, lest they
should lose their reputation for modesty.” So among the Bushmen a
lover’s attentions “are received with an affectation of great alarm and
disinclination on her part”; while an Arab bride “defends herself with
stones, and often inflicts wounds on the young men, even though she does
not dislike the lover; for according to custom, the more she struggles,
bites, kicks, cries, and strikes, the more she is applauded ever after
by her own companions.”

Obviously these glacier, forest, and desert belles have a somewhat
cruder way than our city belles of hiding their feelings.

Mr. Spencer refers to the Coyness of these maidens as one motive or
cause of wife-capture, but he does not inquire into the origin of
Coyness itself, which is a much more interesting point in the psychology
of Love. The fear “lest they should lose their reputation for modesty,”
mentioned above, is the most obvious cause of this exaggerated
resistance, as it is of the excessive prudishness often encountered in
some European civilised countries of to-day. Again, the sight of the
harsh treatment to which her married sisters or friends are subjected,
would make the primitive bride naturally averse to exchange her maiden
freedom for conjugal slavery.

It seems, however, that in most cases, the Coyness is less real than
simulated; and for this form of Coyness—reversing Mr. Spencer’s
reasoning—we may say that Exogamy, or Capture, is responsible. For since
Capture implies courage and valour on the part of the husband, it may
have been to secure the “prestige of a foreign marriage”—as fashionable
novelists would say—that the form of Capture was imitated in cases where
there was no opposition, either on the part of the girl or her parents.

Another explanation of sham Coyness is afforded by the following case:
Among the inhabitants of the Volga region, in Russia, the bride is
occasionally captured and carried off, though here too there is no
opposition on her part or from her parents. The cause of this procedure
is the desire to avoid the expenses of the marriage ceremony, which in
that region are out of all proportion to the means of the lower classes.

Finally it may be suggested that Coyness, so far as it really exists in
the primitive maiden, owes its origin to the instinctive perception that
the men value them more if they do not throw themselves into their arms
on the first impulse. And more than anything else, this attitude of
reserve feeds the flames of Romantic Love by transferring its delights
and pangs to the imagination.

Yet, after all, manifestations of Coyness must be the exception and not
the rule in the lower races, inasmuch as in the vast majority of cases,
where no choice is allowed the bride, there is little or no opportunity
for the exercise of such a trait.

Of GALLANTRY I have not succeeded in discovering any traces in the
records of savage life, except possibly in the case of the natives of
Kamtchatka, where the wooer has to go into service for his bride, and
during this time endeavours constantly to lighten her labours and make
himself agreeable to her. So far as Gallantry occurs, it is more likely
to be a feminine trait—as among one of the North American Indian tribes,
where the maiden cooks her suitor’s game, and sends him back the best
morsels with presents; or as with another tribe, the Osages, where the
maidens pay court to the warriors by offering them ears of corn.

As for the remaining characters of Romantic Love, which require a vivid
imagination and persistent emotions for their realisation, it would be
useless to look for them in Savagedom—except perhaps in those
infinitesimal proportions in which various chemical substances are found
by analysts in mineral waters. The following may be offered as an
approximate list of the ingredients in the Love of savage and
semi-civilised peoples:—

               Selfishness                       25·7684
               Inconstancy                       20·3701
               Jealousy                     0 to 20·7904
               Coyness                       ”   10·5523
               Individual Preference         ”    5·0073
               Personal Beauty               ”    5·7002
               Monopoly                      ”    7·3024
               Pride of Possession                4·5082
               Sympathy                           0·0000
               Gallantry                          0·0006
               Self-Sacrifice                     Traces
               Ecstatic Adoration                   ”
               Mixed Emotions                       ”

                       CAN AMERICAN NEGROES LOVE?

It is a very interesting question how far the negroes transplanted to
America, who have adopted so many of the habits and ways of thinking of
their white neighbours, are capable of forming a true romantic
attachment, characterised by the various traits described in this work.
I have not been able to find any conclusive evidence on this head; and
should any readers of this book positively know any cases, I should be
greatly obliged if they would forward a detailed account of them to me,
in care of the publisher.

As regards a negro’s capacity for falling in Love with a white woman,
the following interesting communication[1] appeared in the _New York
Nation_, 12th February 1885: “In corroboration of ‘Bill Arp’s’ view,
referred to in No. 1020 of the _Nation_, that negroes, as a race, do not
desire to ‘mix’ with the white race, I may cite a remark recently made
by a negro carpenter to a friend of mine. The latter said to him, as a
village belle passed them on the street, ‘Charles, don’t you think
that’s a very handsome young lady?’ ‘I reckon so,’ he answered
doubtfully, and immediately added, ‘Fact is, boss, us coloured folks
don’t think white ladies handsome; we like ’em coloured the best.’

“Had it been otherwise there would, doubtless, have been innumerable
instances, in the North as well as at the South, of love-longings on the
part of negro men toward girls of the dominant race. Yet during all the
years I have spent in the Southern States, I never knew or heard of any
instances of this kind, and their exceptional character in the North
must be known to all your readers. The hopelessness of such attachments
would, of course, diminish their number; but fancy is always free, and
‘hopeless attachments’ among members of the same race are as common now
as when Petrarch sighed for Laura, and Tasso wrote ‘The throne of Cupid
has an easy stair,’ himself having climbed it uninspired by hope. The
existence of many persons of mixed blood throughout the country affords
no proof that the two races feel toward each other the attraction of
love; for the fathers, in these cases, are almost invariably white, and
the offspring cannot be called ‘love-children,’ but the fruit of mere
passion linked with opportunity.”

Footnote 1:

  Signed Sue Harry Clagett.

                            HISTORY OF LOVE

It would be a profitless task to hunt for the first traces of the
various elements of Love in the records of all the nations of antiquity;
for we meet almost everywhere with the same old story of Romantic Love
impeded in its growth or its very existence by the degraded position of
women, and by the absence of opportunities for courtship, and for free
matrimonial choice. A few remarks, however, must be made concerning Love
among the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, and our Aryan
kinsfolk in India, before passing on to Mediæval and Modern Love.

                             LOVE IN EGYPT

Dr. Georg Ebers, the Leipzig professor, and author of the popular series
of historic Egyptian novels, remarks that “if it is true that a nation’s
degree of culture can be estimated by the more or less favourable
position accorded its women, then Egyptian culture ranks above that of
all other ancient peoples.”

The women of ancient Egypt were not kept in seclusion like those of
Greece. They did their own marketing, and had other domestic and public
liberties and privileges which astonished the Greek historian Herodotus,
who also mentions that although polygamy was tolerated among them,
monogamy was the rule. Inasmuch as the Egyptians had an advanced
culture, invented many arts, promoted the sciences, and were industrial
rather than militant in their occupations, it is possible that several
of the more refined elements of Romantic Love may have existed among
them; for just as we have seen that some animals have higher notions of
love, conjugal and romantic, than some savages, although the latter
represent a later stage of evolution, so it seems probable that among
the nations of antiquity Love did not progress steadily, year by year;
but that some nations had more and some less of it; while the
acquisitions of one period may have been lost in evil and corrupt times
following, as was certainly the case in India.

Since we have no such extensive literature of Egypt as we have of the
Greeks, Romans, and Hebrews, it is not easy to arrive at definite
conclusions. But the Egyptian custom of forming “trial marriages” for
one year, and the ease with which a husband could divorce and expel his
wife by simply pronouncing three words in her presence do not harmonise
with our modern notions of Love. How scornfully a modern Romeo would
reject the very notion of such a trial-marriage! for does he not feel
_absolutely_ certain that his Love is eternal and unalterable?

The institution of trial-marriages seems to point to the conclusion that
the Egyptians, like the Greeks, looked upon marriage primarily as a
means of augmenting the family and the state, and not as a union of
loving souls—children or no children—which is the modern ideal.

Professor Ebers of course has a right to make use of a poetic license in
painting the Love affairs of his Egyptian heroes and heroines in modern
colours, as Shakspere does in _Antony and Cleopatra_. At the same time
it would give an added flavour to historic romances if their pictures of
domestic and public life were characterised by _emotional realism_ as
well as by general antiquarian accuracy. The elaborate analysis of Love,
for the first time attempted in the present monograph, should facilitate
this task for novelists.

                          ANCIENT HEBREW LOVE

It is almost startling to find, on consulting a Concordance of the Old
and New Testaments, that in the whole of the Bible there is not a single
reference to Romantic Love. Had this sentiment existed among the ancient
Hebrews as it does among their descendants to-day, it is obvious that it
could not possibly have been ignored in the Book of Books, which so
eloquently and poetically discourses of everything else that is of vital
interest to man. Conjugal Love (which apparently antedates Romantic Love
in every nation) is indeed repeatedly referred to and enjoined, as well
as the other family affections; but in the remaining cases the word Love
is always used in the sense of religious veneration, or of regard for a
neighbour or an enemy.

This absence of any reference to Romantic Love is all the more
surprising in view of the fact that among the ancient Hebrews woman was
held more in honour than with any other Oriental nation, ancient or
modern. Thus we are told in M‘Clintock and Strong’s _Cyclopædia of
Biblical etc. Literature_, that “the seclusion of the harem and the
habits consequent upon it were utterly unknown in early times, and the
condition of the Oriental woman, as pictured to us in the Bible,
contrasts most favourably with that of her modern representative. There
is abundant evidence that women, whether married or unmarried, went
about with their faces unveiled. An unmarried woman might meet and
converse with men, even strangers, in a public place; she might be found
alone in the country without any reflection on her character; or she
might appear in a court of justice.” The wife “entertained guests at her
own desire in the absence of her husband, and sometimes even in defiance
of his wishes.”

Since, therefore, the Hebrew woman was not “the husband’s slave but his
companion,” how are we to account for the absence of Love?

Some light is thrown on the matter by the prevalence of polygamy, which,
as we have seen, is inimical to the growth of Love. Polygamy, though not
universal, was sanctioned by the Mosaic law, except in the case of
priests. “The secondary wife was regarded by the Hebrews as a wife, and
her rights were secured by law.” In the cases of Abraham and Jacob,
polygamy was resorted to at the request of their own wives, “under the
idea that children born to a slave were in the eye of the law the
children of the mistress.” Now if a woman advises her own husband to
take another wife, there must be a total absence of Jealousy and
Monopoly—the two elements of Romantic Love which pass into conjugal
affection without diminution of force.

Again, although Hebrew women are said to have had considerable liberty
of going about alone in town and country, this probably refers in most
cases to the privilege of tending sheep and of fetching water at the
well. “From all education in general,” says Ploss, “as well as _from
social intercourse with men, woman was excluded_; her destination being
simply to increase the number of children, and take care of household
matters. She lived a quiet life, merely for her husband, who, indeed,
treated her with respect and consideration, but without feeling any
special tenderness toward her.”

It is the line which I have italicised in the above quotation that
suggests the principal reason of the non-existence of Love in Biblical
times: There were no meetings of the young, no opportunities for
Courtship, the indispensable condition of Love, which requires time and
opportunity for its growth. And not only were there no regular
opportunities for Courtship, but if they offered themselves casually,
the young folks could not derive much benefit, from them; for not only
the daughter’s choice, but even the son’s was neutralised by the
parental command. “Fathers from the beginning considered it both their
duty and prerogative to find or select wives _for their sons_ (Gen.
xxiv. 3; xxxviii. 6). In the absence of the father, the selection
devolved upon the mother (Gen. xxi. 21). Even in cases where the wishes
of the son were consulted, the proposals were made by the father (Gen.
xxxiv. 4, 8); and the violation of this parental prerogative on the part
of the son was ‘a grief of mind’ to the father (Gen. xxvi. 35). The
proposals were generally made by the parents of the young man, except
when there was a difference of rank, in which case the negotiations
proceeded from the father of the maiden (Exod. ii. 21), and when
accepted by the parents on both sides, sometimes also consulting the
opinion of the adult brothers of the maiden (Gen. xxiv. 51; xxxiv. 11),
the matter was considered as settled, _without requiring the consent of
the bride_” (M‘Clintock and Strong).

But how about the Song of Solomon—the Song of Songs? Is not that a song
of Love, and an exception to our general statement? It appears so at
first sight; and the German writer Herder, in his detailed and glowing
analysis of it, declares that it depicts love “from its first origin,
from its tenderest bud, through all stages and conditions of its growth,
its flowering, its maturing, to the ripe fruit and new offshoot.”
Herder, however, is a very unsafe and shallow guide in this matter. An
attempt has lately been made to rehabilitate him in Germany, where his
fame has become almost extinct; but in vain, for his pompous, stilted
rhetoric and imagery cannot conceal from modern readers his lack of
ideas and limited knowledge of facts. He asserts that, as there is only
one Goodness, one Truth, so there is but one Love (or Affection). If you
do not love your wife, he says, you will not love your friend, parents,
or child. A writer whose notions of the psychology of love are so
excessively crude cannot be considered a trustworthy judge in the matter
in question. So far as love is referred to in the Song of Solomon, it is
probable that conjugal affection is meant.

It is a curious fact that of the famous German, English, and French
theologians who have written commentaries on the Song of Songs, no two
seem to agree in their interpretation of its plot and significance. It
is now generally agreed, too, that the Song was not written by Solomon,
but some time after him. It seems, indeed, incredible that a monarch who
had a thousand wives, and whose affections must have been torn into a
thousand shreds, and cannot have been very lasting, should have written
these marvellous lines: “For love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel
as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most
vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods
drown it: if a man should give all the substance of his house for love,
it would utterly be contemned.”

This passage has a remarkably modern and romantic sound—so modern and
romantic that it would not seem out of place in Shakspere. But it needs
no knowledge of Hebrew to see that the responsibility for this modern
sound rests with the English translators. Luther’s more literal version
appears much less modern. Indeed, throughout the Song of Solomon the
English translators have idealised the language of passion, in harmony
with modern notions on the subject; so that it is only on reading
Luther’s version that one begins to understand why the Talmudists did
not allow the Jews to read this book before their thirtieth year.

Perhaps the most ingenious and consistent of the numerous
interpretations of the Song of Solomon is that given by M. Chas. Bruston
in the _Encyclopædie des Sciences Religieuses_ (ii. 610-612). The
repetition of the flatteries occurring in the poem he explains by
showing that the second time they refer, not to the Sulamite, but to a
princess of Lebanon whom Solomon married. Hence, he insists, the
repetition is not so much a literary blemish as an indication “combien
est vil et méprisable l’amour sensuel et polygame, qui prodigue
indifférement les mêmes flatteries a des femmes différentes.”

The imaginative and poetic terms in which feminine charms are depicted
in the Song of Songs show that, nevertheless, at least the sensuous
phase of the overtone of Personal Admiration was strongly developed
among the ancient Hebrews; not strongly enough, however, to lead them,
as it led other ancient nations, to embody their ideals of feminine and
masculine beauty in marble monuments of sculpture.

                           ANCIENT ARYAN LOVE

As it is among the Aryan or “Indo-Germanic” races of Europe and America
that Modern Love has produced its most beautiful blossoms, it is, even
more than in the case of the non-Aryan Jews and Egyptians, of interest
to know something concerning its prevalence among the Asiatic peoples
who appear as the nearest modern representatives of our remote Aryan

In no country, perhaps, has the position of woman differed so greatly at
various epochs as in India. Previous to the introduction of Brahminism,
women were held in esteem, enjoyed diverse privileges, and were allowed
free social intercourse with the men, while monogamy was the recognised
form of marriage. The Brahmins, however, introduced polygamy, setting a
good example by sometimes marrying a whole family, “old and young,
daughters, aunts, sisters, and cousins”; and one case is known of a
Brahmin who had 120 wives, according to Schweiger Lerchenfeld. Family
feeling was subordinated to considerations of caste, and by a
sophistical interpretation of ancient laws the Brahmins introduced the
custom of Suttee, or the burning alive of widows on the deceased
husband’s funeral pyre. This habit is sometimes regarded as the very
apotheosis of conjugal affection, but it was simply what is known in
modern psychology as an epidemic delusion; the poor women being rendered
willing to sacrifice themselves by the doctrine that to die in this way
was something specially voluptuous and meritorious; while those who
refused to be immolated were treated as social outcasts who were not
allowed to marry again or to adorn their persons in any way.

The references to women in the laws of Manu show in what low esteem they
came to be held in India. A few of the maxims contained in this work may
be cited: “Of dishonour woman is the cause; of enmity woman is the
cause; of mundane existence woman is the cause; hence woman is to be
avoided.” “A girl, a maiden, a wife shall never do anything in
accordance with her own will, not even in her own house.” “A woman shall
serve her husband all life long, and remain true to him even after
death; even though he should deceive her, love another, and be devoid of
good qualities, a good wife should nevertheless revere him as if he were
a god; she must not displease him in anything, neither in life nor after
his death.” So wretched, indeed, became woman’s lot that Indian mothers,
it is said, “often drown their female children in the sacred streams of
India, to preserve them from the fate awaiting them in life.” Letourneau
states that “up to modern times Hindoo laws and manners have been
modelled after the sacred precepts. When Somerat made his voyage, it was
considered improper for a respectable woman to know how to read or
dance. These futile accomplishments were left to the courtesan, the

                           HINDOO LOVE MAXIMS

That such a state of affairs was not favourable to Romantic Love is
obvious. Nevertheless there appears to have been a period—about 1200 or
1500 years ago—when some of the inhabitants of India were familiar with
most of the emotions which enter into Modern Love. This evidence is
contained in the _Seven Hundred Maxims of Hâla_, a collection of poetic
utterances dating back not further than the third century of our era,
and comprising productions by various authors, including as many as
sixteen of the female persuasion. They are written in a sister-language
of Sanscrit, the Prâkrit; and their form indicates that they were
intended to be sung. Herr Albrecht Weber remarks in the _Deutsche
Rundschau_ with reference to this collection: “At the very beginning of
our acquaintance with Sanscrit literature, towards the end of the last
century, it was noticed, and was claimed forthwith as an eloquent proof
of antique relationship, that Indian poetry, especially of the amatory
kind, is in character remarkably allied to our own modern poetry. The
sentimental qualities of modern verse, in one word, were traced in
Indian poetry in a much higher degree than they had been found in Greek
and Roman literature; and this discovery awakened at once, notably in
Germany, a sympathetic interest in a country whose poets spoke a
language so well known to our hearts, as though they had been born among

Some of these maxims apparently depict the family life of the lower
classes; others appear rather as if they had been intended to be sung by
the Bayaderes, or singing and dancing girls of the Buddhist temples, who
emancipated themselves from the domestic and educational restrictions
placed on other women, and sought to fascinate men with their wit, love,
and æsthetic accomplishments. This suggestion is borne out by the fact
that most of the maxims are feminine utterances, and often of
questionable moral character. Although, therefore, some of these
revelations of early Aryan Love have an unpleasant by-flavour, they are
yet extremely interesting as showing how dependent Romantic Love is on
the freedom and the intellectual and æsthetic culture of woman.

We find in the maxims of Halâ evidences of that important overtone of
Love, Ecstatic Adoration or Poetic Hyperbole, which we have not
encountered elsewhere, so far. What could be more modern than this:—

“Although all my possessions were burnt in the village fire, yet is my
heart delighted, since _he_ took the buckets from me when they were
passed from hand to hand.”

Or this:—

“O thou who art skilled in cookery, restrain thy anger! The reason why
the fire refuses to burn, and only smokes, is that it may the longer
drink in the breath of your mouth, fragrant as the red potato-blossoms.”

The following two show how Personal Beauty was appreciated:—

“He sees nothing but her face, and she too is quite intoxicated by his
looks. Both, satisfied with each other, act as if in the whole world
there were no other women or men.”

“Other beauties likewise have in their faces beautiful, wide black eyes,
with long lashes,—but no one else understands as she does how to use

How Love establishes his Monopoly in heart and mind, tolerating no other
thought, is thus shown:—

“She stares without a (visible) object, draws a deep sigh, laughs into
empty space, mutters unintelligible words—forsooth, there must be
something on her heart.”

Ovid himself might have written the following, showing Love’s

“Love departs when lovers are separated; it departs when they see too
much of each other; it departs in consequence of malicious gossip; aye,
it departs also without these causes.”

The nature of Coyness is evidently understood, for the lover is thus

“My son, such is the nature of love, suddenly to get angry, to make up
again in a moment, to dissemble its language, to tease immoderately.”

And yet the poet deems it necessary to tell a sweetheart that—

“By forgiving him at first sight, you foolish girl, you deprived
yourself of many pleasures,—of his prostration at your feet [a trace of
Gallantry], of a kiss passionately stolen.”

The sadness of separation thus finds utterance:—

“As is sickness without a physician; as living with relatives when one
is poor,—as the sight of an enemy’s prosperity,—so is it difficult to
endure separation from you.”

Thus we find in Ancient Aryan Love some of the leading features of
modern romantic passion.

                               GREEK LOVE

The Greeks, too, were Aryans, and they were the most refined and
æsthetic nation of antiquity; yet we look in vain in their literature
for delineations of that Romantic Love which, according to our notions,
ought to accompany so high a degree of culture.

                           FAMILY AFFECTIONS

Conjugal tenderness and the other family affections appear; indeed, to
have been known and cherished by the Greeks at all times, in the days of
Athenian supremacy, when women were kept in entire seclusion, no less
than in Homeric times, when they seem to have enjoyed more liberty of
action. Plutarch tells us in his _Conjugal Precepts_ that “With women
tenderness of heart is indicated by a pleasing countenance, by sweetness
of speech, by an affectionate grace, and by a high degree of
sensitiveness;” and Mr. Lecky thus eloquently sums up the evidence that
the Greeks appreciated the various forms of domestic affection:—

“The types of female excellence which are contained in the Greek poems,
while they are among the earliest, are also among the most perfect in
the literature of mankind. The conjugal tenderness of Hector and
Andromache; the unwearied fidelity of Penelope, awaiting through the
long revolving years the return of her storm-tossed husband, who looked
forward to her as the crown of all his labours; the heroic love of
Alcestis, voluntarily dying that her husband might live; the filial
piety of Antigone; the majestic grandeur of the death of Polyxena; the
more subdued and saintly resignation of Iphigenia, excusing with her
last breath the father who had condemned her; the joyous, modest, and
loving Nausicaa, whose figure shines like a perfect idyll among the
tragedies of the _Odyssey_—all these are pictures of perennial beauty,
which Rome and Christendom, chivalry and modern civilisation, have
neither eclipsed nor transcended. Virgin modesty and conjugal fidelity,
the graces as well as the virtues of the most perfect womanhood, have
never been more exquisitely portrayed.”

                            NO LOVE-STORIES

But Mr. Lecky, ignoring, like most writers, the enormous difference
between conjugal and romantic love, forgets to notice the absolute
silence of Greek literature on the subject of pre-matrimonial
infatuation. Not one of the Greek tragedies is a “love-drama”; romantic
love does not appear even in the writings of Euripides, who has so much
to say about women, and who named most of his plays after his heroines.
Had Love been known to Sophokles and Euripides, as it was known to
Shakspere and Goethe, we should no doubt have a Greek _Romeo and Juliet_
and a Greek _Faust_. For although there were certain limitations as to
the scope and the _dramatis personæ_ of a Greek play, there was nothing
whatever to exclude a love-story. And when we consider how the sentiment
of Love colours all modern literature; how almost impossible it is for a
play or a novel to succeed unless it embodies a love-story: the absolute
ignoring of this passion in Greek literature forces on us the inevitable
conclusion that Romantic Love was unknown to them, or only so faintly
developed as to excite no interest whatever.

And this conclusion harmonises with the dictum of the best Greek
scholars. It is true that Becker, in his _Charikles_, referring to the
frequency with which the comedians introduce a youth desperately
enamoured of a girl, faintly objects to the statement that “There is no
instance of an Athenian falling in love with a free-born woman, and
marrying her from violent passion,”—made by Müller in his famous work on
the Dorians. But he makes the fatal admission that “Sensuality was the
soil from which such passion sprang, and none other than a sensual love
was acknowledged between man and wife.” No one, of course, would deny
that sensual passion prevailed in Athens; but sensuality is the very
antipode of Romantic Love.

                            WOMAN’S POSITION

How are we to account for this anomaly—the absence of sexual romance in
a nation which was so passionately enamoured of Beauty in its various

The answer is to be found in the non-existence of opportunities for
courtship, and the degraded position of woman. The following sentences,
culled at random from Becker’s classical work, show how the Greek men
regarded their women, whom they considered inferior to themselves in
heart as well as in intellect. Iphigenia herself is made to admit by
Euripides that one man is worth more than a myriad of women:—

                 εἶς γ’ ανὴρ κρείσσων γυναικῶν μυρίων.

“The ἀρετή (virtue) of which a woman was thought capable in that age
differed but little from that of a faithful slave.” “Except in her own
immediate circle, a woman’s existence was scarcely recognised.” “It was
quite a Grecian view of the case to consider a wife as a necessary
evil.” "Athenians, in speaking of their wives and children, generally
said τέκνα καὶ γυναῖκας, putting their wives last: a phrase which
indicates very clearly what was the tone of feeling on this subject"

Women “were not allowed to conclude any bargain or transaction of
consequence on their own account,” though Plato urged that this
concession should be made to them; and it was even “enacted that
everything a man did by the counsel or request of a woman should be
null.” “There were no educational institutions for girls, nor any
private teachers at home.” “Hence there were no scientifically-learned
ladies, with the exception of the Hetæræ.”


In such an arid, rocky soil Love of course could not grow or even
germinate. Still more fatal to the romantic passion, however, was the
absolute seclusion of the sexes, precluding all possibility of courtship
and free choice among the young. Greek women were not allowed to enjoy
the society of men, nor to attend “those public spectacles which were
the chief means of Athenian culture,” and which would have afforded the
young folks an opportunity of seeing and falling in love with one
another. The wife was not even permitted to eat with her husband if male
visitors were present, but had to retire to her private apartments, so
absurd was the jealousy of the men. “The maidens lived in the greatest
seclusion till their marriage, and, so to speak, regularly under lock
and key,” which had the “effect of rendering the girls excessively
bashful, and even prudish,” and so stupid, in all probability, that no
wonder the men considered marriage a punishment, and sought
entertainment with the educated Hetæræ—as to-day in France. Even young
married women were obliged to have a chaperon. “No respectable lady
thought of going out without a female slave.” “Even the married woman
shrank back and blushed if she chanced to be seen at the window by a

                           PLATO ON COURTSHIP

It is one of the most remarkable facts in the history of Love and of
social philosophy that Plato, the most modern of all ancient thinkers,
_foresaw the importance of pre-matrimonial acquaintance_ as the basis of
a rational and happy marriage choice long before any other writer.
Making allowance for the fact that Greek notions as to what is within
“the rules of modesty” differed from our own, the following passage
cannot be too deeply pondered: “People,” Plato tells us in the sixth
book of the _Laws_ (p. 771), “must be acquainted with those into whose
families and to whom they marry and are given in marriage; in such
matters as far as possible to avoid mistakes is all-important, and with
this serious purpose let games be instituted, in which youths and
maidens shall dance together, seeing and being seen naked, at a proper
age and on a suitable occasion, not transgressing the rules of modesty.”

                    PARENTAL _VERSUS_ LOVERS’ CHOICE

Marriages in Greece were often arranged for girls while they were mere
children, of course without any reference to their choice, since they
were looked upon as the _property_ of the father, who could dispose of
them at his pleasure. Besides these early betrothals there was an
obstacle to free choice in the Athenian law which forbade a citizen
under very severe penalties to marry a foreigner. And again, “In the
case of a father dying intestate, and without male children, his heiress
had no choice in marriage; she was compelled by law to marry her nearest
kinsman, not in the ascending line.... Where there were several
co-heiresses, they were respectively married to their kinsmen, the
nearest having the first choice”—a law resembling one in the Jewish
code, and exemplified by Ruth, as pointed out in Smith’s _Dictionary_.

How Sexual Selection was rendered impracticable in Greece is further
shown in the following citations from Becker: “The choice of the bride
seldom depended on previous, or at least on intimate acquaintance. More
attention was generally paid to the position of a damsel’s family, and
the amount of her dowry, than to her _personal qualities_.” "It was
usual for a father to choose for his son a wife, and one perhaps whom
the bridegroom had never seen." “Widows frequently married again; this
was often in compliance with the testamentary dispositions of their
husbands, as little regard being paid to their wishes as in the case of

Thus we see that three causes combined to prevent the growth of Romantic
Love in Greece—the degraded position of women, the absence of direct
Courtship, and the impossibility of exercising Individual Preference.

                               THE HETÆRÆ

That the absolute seclusion and chaperonage of the young women, and
their consequent ignorance and insipidity, were the reasons why they
could neither feel nor inspire Romantic Love, is shown by the fact that
there existed in Greece in the time of Perikles a mentally superior
class of women who appear to have aroused Love, or something very like
it, by means of the artistic and intellectual charms which they united
with their physical beauty. These women were called Ἡταίραι, or
_companions_, evidently to distinguish them from the domestic women who
were no “companions” after the first charm of novelty had worn away: a
state of affairs for which of course the men themselves, who gave them
no education and locked them up, were to blame.

What seems paradoxical is that these women, who were morally inferior to
the others, should have been the first to inspire in men a more
_refined_ sort of Love; but the paradox is rendered the more probable by
the circumstance that in India, likewise, we found the first traces of
Romantic Love among the Bayaderes, a class corresponding to the Hetæræ.

There is reason to believe that Aspasia, who aided the greatest
statesman of antiquity in writing his stirring speeches, inspired not
only him but other great contemporaries with true Romantic passion—which
they were enabled to feel because men of genius are not only
intellectually but also emotionally ahead of their time.

Diotima was another of these women. She was also revered as a
prophetess, and is credited by Plato with having given Sokrates, and
through him Greece, the first adequate discourse on Love—a discourse, we
may add, in which some flashes of true modern insight are mingled with
the curiously confused notions of the Greeks on the subject of Love and
Friendship. What these notions were is best seen by briefly considering
the peculiarities of

                             PLATONIC LOVE

On this subject the most incorrect and absurd notions universally
pervade modern literature and conversation. As commonly understood,
“Platonic Love” means a friendship between a man and a woman from which
all traces of passion are excluded. Such a notion is utterly foreign to
Plato’s way of thinking, and is nowhere referred to in his writings.
Platonic love has nothing to do with women whatever. It is an attachment
between a man and a youth, which may be defined as friendship united
with the ecstatic ardour which in modern life is associated only with
Romantic Love.

Mr. George Grote thus describes what he calls the “truly Platonic
conception of love”. It is “a vehement impulse towards mental communion
with some favoured youth, in view of producing mental improvement, good,
and happiness to both persons concerned: the same impulse afterwards
expanding, so as to grasp the good and beautiful in a larger sense, and
ultimately to fasten on goodness and beauty in the pure Ideal.”

Once more, Platonic love might be defined as _creative friendship_,
which has for its object the conception of great ideas,—of works of art,
literature, philosophy. Such a friendship, Plato tells us, should be
formed between a man and a youth, not too young, but when his beard
begins to grow and his intellect to develop; and such a friendship is
apt to last throughout life.

Perhaps the most striking instance in Greek literature of Platonic love
is that given in Plato’s _Symposium_ as existing between the pure-minded
Sokrates, who kept aloof from all Greek vices, and the beautiful young
Alkibiades. This youth thus describes the effect which the discourse of
Sokrates has on him: “When I hear him, my heart leaps in my breast, more
than it does among the Korybantes, and tears roll down my cheeks at his
words, and I notice that many others have the same experience. When I
heard Perikles and other excellent orators, I came to the conclusion
that they spoke well; but this experience was different from the other,
and my soul did not lose its control or gnash its teeth like a prostrate
slave, but by this Marsyas (= Sokrates) I was put into such a mood that
the condition in which I found myself did not seem praiseworthy.”

He further describes Sokrates as being always “in love with beautiful
youths, and talking with them, and being quite beside himself”; hence
when he (Alkibiades) appears at the Symposium, and finds Sokrates
sitting next to the most beautiful man in the company, he chides him in
words which have exactly the sound of Jealousy inspired by _Romantic_
Love: “And why did you recline here and not next to Aristophanes, or
some other wit, or would-be wit, but, instead, crowded forward in order
to be next to the handsomest?”

To which Sokrates replies: “Agathon, come to my assistance; for my love
for this person has cost me dearly. Ever since I have loved him, I have
not been allowed to look at anybody, or to talk with any one who is
beautiful, or else this youth, in his jealousy and envy, does
unheard-of-things, and chides me, and hardly refrains from violence. Be
on your guard, therefore, that he may not resort to violence now, and
reconcile us, or if he dares to become unruly, assist me; for I very
much fear his madness and infatuation.”

Although this was probably said in the playful tone common to Sokrates,
it yet is noticeable how closely the language used resembles the
language of modern Romantic Love.

                      SAPPHO AND FEMALE FRIENDSHIP

To this form of Platonic or mono-sexual love there existed a female
counterpart, as shown in some of the lyric effusions of Greek poets.
Some of these poets, it is true, especially Anakreon, knew naught of the
imaginative side of Love—of its protracted tortures and intermittent
joys. Like a butterfly that kisses every flower on its way, he “cared
only for the enjoyment of the passing moment.” But Sappho apparently
wrote of Love in terms worthy of Heine or Byron, as shown even in this
crude translation of one of her poems:—

               “While gazing on thy charms I hung,
               My voice died faltering on my tongue,
               With subtle flames my bosom glows,
               Quick through each vein the poison flows;
               Dark dimming mists my eyes surround,
               My ears with hollow murmurs sound.
               My limbs with dewy chillness freeze,
               On my whole frame pale tremblings seize,
               And losing colour, sense, and breath,
               I seem quite languishing in death.”

Longinus calls this the most perfect expression in all ancient
literature of the effects of Love. It happens, however, to have nothing
to do with Love. For, as Plato’s “love” is merely ecstatic friendship
between man and youth, so Sappho’s love is friendship between two women.
This is the opinion of Bode and Müller, and it is entirely borne out by
the language of the original text.

It has been suggested that Sappho, being a woman, and a Greek woman,
could not have addressed such glowing words to a man without violating
the current notions of decorum; and hence wrote as if she were a man
addressing a woman. But Sappho was one of the Æolian women who had
greater liberty than the Athenians; and she was, moreover, a
blue-stocking who would not have stuck at such a trifle as shocking
Greek notions regarding woman’s privileges. And in some of her poems she
_does_ mention a youth “to whom she gave her whole heart, while he
requited her passion with cold indifference” (Müller).

One of the Platonists, Maximus Tyrius (_dis._ 24, p. 297), takes the
same view regarding Sappho. “The love of the Lesbian poet,” he says,
“what can it be, if we may compare remote with more recent things than
the Sokratic art of love? For both appear to promote the same
_Friendship_, she among women, he among men. They both confess they love
many, and are captivated by all beauties. For what Alkibiades and
Charmides are to Sokrates, Gyrinna and Atthis and Anaktoria are to
Sappho.” “Even Sokrates confesses that it was from Sappho that he partly
derived his noble views of the enthusiastic _love of mental beauty_”
(_Phædon_, c. 225).

To one of the girls just referred to, Sappho addresses these words:
“Again does the strength-dissolving Eros, that bittersweet, resistless
monster, agitate me; but to thee, O Atthis, the thought of me is
importunate; thou fliest to Andromeda.” “It is obvious,” says Müller,
“that this attachment bears less the character of maternal interest than
of passionate love; as amongst Dorians in Sparta and Crete analogous
connections between men and youths, in which the latter were trained to
noble and manly deeds, were carried on in a language of high-wrought and
passionate feeling, which had all the character of an attachment between
persons of different sexes. This mixture of feelings, which among
nations of a calmer temperament have always been perfectly distinct, is
an essential feature of the Greek character.”

Greek Love, _i.e._ Friendship, being thus tinged and strengthened, as we
see in the cases of Sokrates and Alkibiades, Sappho and Atthis, by
jealousy, ecstatic adoration, exclusiveness, admiration of personal
beauty, and other qualities which modern civilisation has transferred to
Romantic Love, we are enabled to understand why Friendship was so much
more potent and prevalent in antiquity than it is now, when, having lost
these traits _through the differentiation of emotions_, it seems
“insipid to those who have tasted Love.”

The lesson to be learned from this whole discussion on Greek Friendship
is of extreme importance to the psychology of Love. It is this: The
Greeks were too intellectual and refined not to have at least a vague
presentiment of the higher possibilities and charms of imaginative Love.
But Greek women—with the rare exceptions referred to—were too stupid to
enable the men to realise their vague ideal. Hence they sought it in
ardent attachments to youths, who _were_ quick-minded and able to
_sympathise_ with their intellectual aspirations. And thus Greek Love
became identical with male friendship—the female friendship referred to
being a sort of compensating echo.

Greek Love is symbolised in the mythic youth Narcissus, who scorns all
the beautiful nymphs that are eager for his caresses, and falls in love
with his own image reflected in the water.

                              GREEK BEAUTY

It even seems as if, apart from Love, the Greeks admired youthful
masculine beauty more than feminine charms; and many of them would
probably have agreed with Schopenhauer that men are more beautiful than
women. Certain it is that, as the most eminent critic of Greek art,
Winckelmann, points out “the supreme beauty of Greek art is male rather
than female.”

The following citation from Grote’s famous work on Plato suggests some
reasons for this fact, besides reflecting further light on points
discussed in the preceding pages:—

“In the Hellenic point of view, upon which Plato builds, the attachment
of man to woman was regarded as a natural impulse and as a domestic,
social sentiment; yet as belonging to _a commonplace rather than to an
exalted mind_, and seldom or never rising to that pitch of enthusiasm
which overpowers all other emotions, absorbs the whole man, and aims
either at the joint performance of great exploits, or the joint
prosecution of intellectual improvement by continued colloquy. We must
remember that the wives and daughters of citizens were seldom seen
abroad; that she had learned nothing except spinning and weaving; that
the fact of her having seen so little and heard as little as possible,
was considered as rendering her more acceptable to her husband; that her
sphere of duty and exertion was confined to the interior of the family.
The beauty of women yielded satisfaction to the senses, but little
beyond. It was the masculine beauty of youth that fired the Hellenic
imagination with glowing and impassioned sentiment. The finest youths,
and those, too, of the best families and education, were seen habitually
uncovered in the Palæstra and at the public festival-matches; engaged in
active contention and graceful exercise, under the direction of
professional trainers. The sight of the living form in such perfection,
movement, and variety, awakened a powerful emotional sympathy, blended
with æsthetic sentiment, which in the more susceptible natures was
exalted into intense and passionate devotion. The terms in which this
feeling is described, both by Plato and Xenophon, are among the
strongest which the language affords—and are predicated even of Sokrates
himself. Far from being ashamed of this feeling, they consider it
admirable and beneficial, though very liable to abuse, which they
emphatically denounce and forbid. In their view it was an idealising
passion, which tended to raise a man above the vulgar and selfish
pursuits of life, and even above the fear of death. The devoted
attachments which it inspired were dreaded by the despots, who forbade
the assemblage of youths for exercise in the Palæstra.”

Another reason for the Greek preference of masculine beauty is suggested
by Mr. Lecky, who attributes it to the fact that the principal art of
the Greeks, sculpture, is “especially suited to represent male beauty,
or the beauty of strength”; whereas “female beauty, or the beauty of
softness,” became the principal object of the painters, after
Christianity had won attention for the feminine virtues of gentleness
and delicacy. (For further remarks on Greek Beauty, see the chapters on
“Four Sources of Beauty,” and “The Nose.”)

                             CUPID’S ARROWS

Possibly some of my readers have not yet quieted all their doubts
regarding the existence of real Love among the Greeks; for did they not
have special deities of love—Aphrodite and Eros, Venus and Cupid? Quite
so; but those familiar with Greek history know that the cult of Venus
had but a remote connection with imaginative or Romantic Love, which
alone is here under consideration. Yet our modern poets owe a vast debt
of gratitude to the ancient bards for these mythic deities, whom they
have simply taken and idealised, like Love itself. There is, especially,
the mischievous Dan Cupid, who, in his modern metamorphosis, is still
“the anointed sovereign of sighs and groans.” This little fellow seems
to have been taken very seriously indeed by the earliest Greeks. He has
one attribute—wings—which we readily understand, as Love is inconstant
ever; but another of his attributes would excite the greatest surprise
in our minds were we not so accustomed to it as to accept it as a matter
of course, namely, his arrows. It would seem more in accordance with
modern notions that he should produce his magic effects by means of
Love-potions or other Love-charms, rather than with such a warlike
weapon as an arrow.

A German feuilletonist, Dr. Michael Haberlandt, has lately advanced an
ingenious theory to account for this weapon. The ancient Greeks had the
peculiar belief that all diseases were caused by the invisible poisoned
arrows of evil or angry deities; as in the well-known case of the
offended Apollo sending his pest-laden arrows among the Hellenes. Now
love, in the irresistible and maddening, though primitive form known to
the early Greeks, was doubtless looked on as a real, mysterious
affliction, and not merely as love sickness in the figurative modern
sense: what more natural therefore than to attribute it to the arrows of
a mischievous deity?

In course of time poetic fancy added to the image of Cupid other
attributes that naturally suggested themselves: the wings to symbolise
fickleness; a bandage to indicate blindness; while the arrows were
represented as dipped in poison, gall, or honey. The curious fact may be
added that the ancient East Indians, whose deities numbered 330,000,000
(in round numbers), likewise had a god of love armed with bow and
arrows: a conception which they seem to have originated independently of
the Greeks.

                             ORIGIN OF LOVE

Plato’s _Symposium_ contains two curious theories of the cause and
origin of love, which, in conclusion, may be briefly summarised, as they
help to characterise Greek notions on this subject. The first is placed
in the mouth of Sokrates, who says he heard it of the Hetaira Diotima.
What, she asks, is the cause of this love-sickness, this anxiety of men
and animals, first to get a mate, and then to take care of the
offspring? It is, she replies, the desire to perpetuate themselves. For
just as the famous heroes and heroines—Alkestis, Achilles, Kadros—would
not have so nobly sacrificed their lives had they not been sustained by
the thought that their fame and glory would survive among future
generations; so the fact that parents in the affection for their young
will even go so far as to sacrifice their own lives to protect them, is
due to their craving for immortality in their offspring.

This theory may be regarded as a vague foreshadowing of Schopenhauer’s,
which will be considered in another place.

The second theory of the origin of love is attributed by Plato to
Aristophanes, who relates it in the form of a myth. Human nature, he
begins, was not always as it is now. At the beginning there were three
sexes: one, the male, descended of the sun-god; the second, female,
descended of the earth; and the third, which united the attributes of
both sexes, descended of the moon. Each of these beings, moreover, had
two pairs of hands and legs, and two faces, and the figure was round,
and in rapid motion revolved like a wheel, the pairs of legs alternately
touching the ground and describing an arc in the air.

These beings were fierce, powerful, and vain, so they attempted to storm
heaven and attack the gods. As Zeus did not wish to destroy them—since
that would have deprived him of sacrifices and other forms of human
devotion—he resolved to punish them by diminishing their strength. So he
directed Apollo to cut each of them into two, which was done; and thus
the number of human beings was doubled. Each of these half-beings now
continually wandered about, seeking its other half. And when they found
each other, their only desire was to be reunited by Vulcan and never be
parted again. “And this longing and striving after union—this is what is
meant by the name of Love.”

The waggish Aristophanes appends a caution to human beings not to offend
Zeus again, because it was that god’s intention, on a repetition of the
offence, to split human beings once more, so that they would have to hop
about on one leg!

One of the metaphors used by the comic poet is very pretty, even if
translated into terms of Modern Love. He compares the two divided halves
of one human being to the dice which among the ancients were used as
marks of hospitality, being broken into two pieces, of which each person
received one, and which were afterwards fitted together in token of
recognition. A pair of lovers, then, are like these halved dice,
naturally belonging to each other, and craving to be reunited.

                               ROMAN LOVE

                            WOMAN’S POSITION

Among the Romans the domestic position of women was on the whole much
more favourable to the growth of feminine culture than in Greece. They
were not jealously guarded in special apartments, but were allowed to
retain their seat at the table and join in the conversation when guests
arrived, as Cornelius Nepos points out with a pardonable sense of
superiority. Becker, in his _Gallus_, thus states the difference between
Greek and Roman treatment of women: “Whilst we see that in most of the
Grecian states, and especially in Athens, the women (_i.e._ the whole
female sex) were little esteemed and treated as children all their
lives, confined to the gynaikoreitis, shut out from social life and all
intercourse with men and their amusements, we find that in Rome exactly
the reverse was the case. Although the wife is naturally subordinate to
the husband, yet she is always treated with open attention and regard.
The Roman housewife always appears as the mistress of the whole
household economy, instructress of the children, and guardian of the
honour of the house, equally esteemed with the paterfamilias both in and
out of the house.”

“Walking abroad was only limited by scruple and custom, not by a law or
the jealous will of the husband. The women frequented public theatres as
well as the men, and took their places with them at festive banquets.”
"Even the vestals participated in the banquets of the men." Although
“learned women were dreaded,” a knowledge of Greek and the fine arts was
in later times counted an essential part of feminine culture. “Certain
advantages accrued to those who had many children, _jus trium
liberorum_.” Masculine “voluntary celibacy was considered, in very early
times, as censurable and even guilty;” and from Festus “we learn that
there was a celibate fine.” The statement apparently credited by Mr.
Lecky that for 520 years there was no case of divorce in Rome, has been
shown to rest on a misconception of a passage in Gellius. Yet “manners
were so severe, that a senator was censured for indecency because he had
kissed his wife in the presence of their daughter.” It was also
considered “in a high degree disgraceful for a Roman mother to delegate
to a nurse the duty of suckling her child.”

                          NO WOOING AND CHOICE

Yet amid all these domestic virtues and family affections we search in
vain for the prevalence of Romantic Love. We have already seen that for
the growth of this sentiment something more is needed than domestic
affection, and that something is comprised in the word WOOING. There was
no wooing at Rome. In most cases, the father took his daughter’s heart
in his hand, and, treating it as a piece of personal property, bestowed
it on the suitor who best “suited” him. “From the earliest times,” says
Ploss, “it was customary in Rome to marry girls when they had barely
reached their twelfth or thirteenth year; engagements were probably made
at a still earlier age. Although legally the daughter’s consent was
required, in actual practice _she exercised no choice_; her extreme
youth in itself preventing this. Often a marriage contract was a mere
matter of agreement between two families in which love and personal
favour were disregarded; nor did even the betrothal bring the future
couple into closer intimacy.” With reference to the laws of the Twelve
Tablets, M. Legouvé remarks, in his _Histoire Morale des Femmes_, that
“Rome was worthy of Athens. Not only did a Roman father dispose of his
daughter against her inclination, but he even had the right to dissolve
a marriage into which she had entered, and to take away from his
daughter the husband he had given her, whom she loved, and by whom she
had children.” In justice, however, it must be added that this latter
right was rarely exercised; but the fact that the Romans could tolerate
the very notion of such a law shows what little account was made of

Another absurd impediment to personal choice was raised by the
Theodosian Code, which compelled a girl to marry a man who had the same
calling as her father—a custom which, indeed, seems to prevail in parts
of Europe to the present day, and which is as incompatible with Love as
the ancient Hebrew rule that the oldest daughter must be married first—a
rule which compelled Jacob to marry Leah before he could get his beloved
Rachel, for whom he had laboured seven years. “First come first served”
is a rule which Cupid rarely heeds in the case of several sisters.

In the case of the men it is possible that Sexual Selection occasionally
came into play, when early betrothals did not prevent it; for the old
Romans were too rational to anticipate the silly and criminal French
custom of bargaining for a bride before they had even seen her. In such
a case, if the bride was attractive, the suitor’s imagination, dwelling
on the fact that this vision of loveliness was to be his own,
exclusively, for ever, may have been warmed for a moment with something
very like romantic sentiment. But beauty in Rome, Ovid informs us, was
very rare—"How few are able to boast it!"—so that even with the men who
had a choice, Individual Preference based on Personal Beauty could have
been rarely exercised. And as for the women who had no choice, they may
have felt a temporary elation on first meeting their destined husbands;
but this feeling was merely the manifestation of a vague instinct,
comparable to the “love” which a bevy of modern boarding-school “buds”
show for the only man they are allowed to see regularly,—their ugly
teacher,—and the unreality and silliness of which they laugh at
themselves when they are at last allowed to meet the man of their own,
individual, free choice, who teaches them the feeling of real Romantic

                       VIRGIL, DRYDEN, AND SCOTT

Nevertheless, compared with Greek literature, the works of the Roman
poets show an advance in their conception of Love; for they avoid at
least the Hellenic confusion of love with friendship. Compared with the
best modern poets, however, who labour with the pure gold of Love alone,
the Roman poet’s productions still show much of the base ore from which
the modern gold has been extracted. It is interesting, in this
connection, to read what Dryden has to say concerning Virgil’s
conception of Love, and Scott’s comments on Dryden.

In his dedication of the _Æneid_, Dryden speaks of Book IV. as "This
noble episode, wherein the whole passion of love is more exactly
described than in any other poet. Love was the theme of his fourth book;
and though it is the shortest of the whole Æneis, yet there he has given
its beginning, its progress, its traverses, and its conclusion; and had
exhausted so entirely his subject, that he could resume it but very
slightly in the eight ensuing books.

“She was warmed with the graceful appearance of the hero; she smothered
those sparkles out of decency; but conversation blew them up into a
flame. Then she was forced to make a confidante of her whom she might
best trust, her own sister, who approves the passion, and thereby
augments it: then succeeds her public owning it; and after that the
consummation. Of Venus and Juno, Jupiter and Mercury, I say nothing; for
they were all machining work; but, possession having cooled his love, as
it increased hers, she soon perceived the change, or at least grew
suspicious of a change; this suspicion soon turned to jealousy, and
jealousy to rage; then she disdains and threatens, and again is humble
and entreats, and nothing availing, despairs, curses, and at last
becomes her own executioner. See here the whole process of that passion,
to which nothing can be added.”

Sir Walter Scott, however, does add, in a foot-note to his edition of
Dryden: “I am afraid this passage, given as a just description of love,
serves to confirm what is elsewhere stated, that Dryden’s ideas of the
female sex and of the passion were very gross and malicious.”

                       OVID’S ART OF MAKING LOVE

Gross and malicious also are the ideas of the female sex and the passion
frequently encountered in the poems of Ovid; not so coarse and cynical,
indeed, as in Martial and Catullus, but sufficiently so to have
confounded the æsthetic judgment of the present generation, and spread
the notion that Virgil and Horace are greater poets than Ovid, whereas,
from the point of view of originality and imaginativeness, by far the
greatest of the three is Ovid, who also had much more influence on the
great writers of the best period of English literature than his rivals,
as Professor W. Y. Sellar has pointed out.

Both these circumstances are to be regretted—the undervaluation of
Ovid’s genius as well as his frequent frivolity on which it is based.
For Ovid was unquestionably the first poet who had a conception of the
higher possibilities of Love; in fact he was the greatest, and the only
great, Love-poet before Dante. His rare genius enabled him to anticipate
and depict the modern imaginative side of Love, even while he seemed
wholly devoted to the ancient sensual side. And, in reading his poems,
great caution is necessary, lest these _emotional anticipations_ of his
quasi-modern genius be supposed to have been common and prevalent among
less gifted Romans of his time.

Ovid was a profound observer and psychologist, and had a most subtle
knowledge of contemporary feminine nature; Although the principal object
of his _Ars Amoris_ is to teach men how to out-trump the natural cunning
of women, yet he does not forget his feminine readers, but gives them
numerous hints regarding the best way of fascinating fickle men. In the
_Remedia Amoris_ he describes various remedies for healing Cupid’s
wounds, most of which are approved to the present day; and the _Elegies_
and _Heroides_, too, are full of pretty modern touches and flashes of
insight. A few of these points may be briefly alluded to.

Coyness, although often manifested by the Roman women in almost as crude
a manner as among savages, does not appear to have been appreciated by
all of them at its full value; so the poet frequently counsels them as
to the more subtle ways of exercising it; one of his rules for women
being, that if they have offended an admirer, the best way to make him
forget it is to pretend to be offended themselves, which will restore
the equilibrium. How the consciousness of being beautiful makes a woman
courageous, coy, and cruel is shown in another place. That eyes have a
language plainer than speech is not a modern discovery; and that a short
absence favours, long absence kills, passion was also known to Ovid. He
warns men against the danger of feigning love, because this may end in
arousing genuine passion. Men are informed that courage and confidence
in one’s ability to win a woman are half the battle. And disappointed
lovers are assured that failure sometimes turns into an advantage, for
it may arouse pity, and love enter in the guise of friendship.

The emotional hyperbole and mixed feelings of Love are not strangers to
Ovid. He compares the tortures of Love to the berries on the trees in
number, to the shells on the sea-beach; for true Love, he says, always
creates anguish and pain; and “the sweetest torment on earth is woman.”
Among the companions of Cupid are “flattery and illusion.” But “even if
the beloved deceives me with false words, hope itself will yield me
great enjoyment,” could only have been written by one who realised the
imaginative side of love. And in another passage the poet directly
enjoins the necessity of intellectual culture to take the place of the
faded charms of youth.

Hero’s Letter to Leander in the _Heroides_ contains some pretty touches.
Leander has informed his love that when the storm prevents him from
swimming over to her, his mind yet hastens to meet her. But Hero is in
great trouble at his prolonged absence, and her deepest anguish is
Jealousy of a possible rival: in the absence of real grounds of
apprehension, her imagination invents them, as in a modern lover’s mind.
She suspects that his passion has lost the ardour which sustained him in
his difficult feat; and, too weak to quite swim over to him and back
again, and anxious to save him the double journey, she suggests that
they should meet in the middle of the sea, exchange a kiss, and each
return to the shore whence they came.

Is there anything more exquisitely romantic or pathetic in all modern
Love-poetry—in Shakspere, Heine, Burns, or Byron?

                           BIRTH OF GALLANTRY

Becker says of the Greeks that “The men were very careful as to their
behaviour in the presence of women, but they were _quite strangers to
those minute attentions which constitute the gallantry of the moderns_.”
This holds true apparently of all other nations of antiquity; and to a
student of the history of Love it is therefore of exceeding interest to
find in Ovid’s poetry the first evidences of the existence of
Gallantry—a disposition on the part of the men to sacrifice their own
comfort to the pleasures and whims of women.

Mr. G. A. Simcox was the first writer, so far as I know, who pointed out
Ovid’s priority in this matter (in his _History of Latin Literature_).
In Ovid, he says, “The whole description of gallantry implies that the
idea was a novelty, and that the lover would require a great deal of
encouragement to enable him to make the sacrifice of paying such
attentions as could be commanded from a servant. This throws a new light
on the habit the Augustan poets have of calling their mistress _domina_,
which is more noteworthy, for they call no man _dominus_. One does not
trace the idea at all in Latin comedy, where the heroines are for the
most part _only too thankful to be caressed and protected_. One finds
the word in Lucilius, but even in Catullus it is hardly established.”

Instances of gallant behaviour are not rare in Ovid’s poetry; but the
didactic tone in which they are detailed makes it almost appear as if
the poet were recommending to his countrymen the value of a nice little
discovery of his own which would convert crude love-making into a fine
art. Never be so ungallant—he says in effect, though he does not use the
word—as to refer to a woman’s faults or shortcomings. Compliment her, on
the contrary, on her good points—her face, her hair, her tapering
fingers, her pretty foot. At the circus applaud whatever she applauds.
Adjust her cushion, put the footstool where it ought to be, and keep her
comfortable by fanning her. And at dinner, when she has tasted the wine,
quickly seize the cup and put your lips to the place where she has

Unfortunately this morning dawn of Romantic Love, as depicted in the
pages of Ovid, was soon hidden beneath the dark clouds of mediæval
barbarism, not to emerge again till a thousand years later.

                             MEDIÆVAL LOVE

                       CELIBACY _VERSUS_ MARRIAGE

Were I asked to name the four most refining influences in modern
civilisation I would answer: Women, Beauty, Love, and Marriage. Were I
asked to name the essence of the early mediæval spirit I would say:
Deadly Enmity toward Women, Beauty, Love, and Marriage.

This pathologic attitude of the mediæval mind was at first a natural
reaction against the incredible depravity and licentiousness that
prevailed under the Roman Empire. But the reaction went to such
preposterous extremes that the resulting state of affairs was even more
degrading and deplorable than the original evil. It was like inoculating
a man with leprosy to cure him of smallpox. It was bad enough to treat
marriage as a _farce_, as did the later Romans, among whom there were
women who had their eighth and tenth husband, while one case is related
of a woman “who was married to her twenty-third husband, she herself
being his twenty-first wife”; while the public looked upon this case as
a “match” in a double sense, the survivor being publicly crowned and
feted as champion. But a thousand times worse was the mediæval notion
that marriage is a _crime_. And this preposterous notion—that a relation
on which all civilisation is based, which is sanctioned even by many
animals and ignored by only the very lowest of the savages—this criminal
notion was foisted on the world by the fanatical priesthood in whose
hands unfortunately Christianity was placed for centuries, to be
distorted, vitiated, and utilised for political, criminal, and selfish

“The services rendered,” says Mr. Lecky, “by the ascetics in imprinting
on the minds of men a profound and enduring conviction of the importance
of chastity, though extremely great, were seriously counterbalanced by
their noxious influence upon marriage. Two or three beautiful
descriptions of this institution have been culled out of the immense
mass of patristic writings; but in general it would be difficult to
conceive anything more coarse and more repulsive than the manner in
which they regarded it.... The tender love which it elicits, the holy
and beautiful domestic qualities that follow in its train, were almost
absolutely omitted from consideration. The object of the ascetic was to
attract men to a life of virginity, and, as a necessary consequence,
marriage was treated as an inferior state.”

“The days of Chivalry were not yet,” we read in Smith’s _Dictionary of
Christian Antiquities_, “and we cannot but notice even in the greatest
of the Christian fathers a lamentably low estimate of woman, and,
consequently, of the marriage relationship.”

What an inexhaustible source of mediæval immorality this contemptuous
treatment of marriage by the most influential class of society proved,
has been so often depicted in glaring colours that these pages need not
be tainted with illustrations.

                       WOMAN’S LOWEST DEGRADATION

Woman was represented by the Fathers “as the door of hell, as the mother
of all human ills. She should be ashamed at the very thought that she is
a woman; she should live in continual penance on account of the curses
she has brought upon the world. Women were even forbidden by a
provincial council in the sixth century, on account of their impurity,
to receive the Eucharist into their naked hands. Their essentially
subordinate position was continually maintained” (Lecky).

Not even the Koran took such a degrading view of woman as these early
“Christian Fathers.” For the current notion that the existence of a soul
in woman is denied by the Mahometan faith is contradicted by several
passages in the Koran.

The lowest depths of feminine degradation and the sublimest heights of
fanatical folly and crime, however, were not reached in this early
period, but some centuries later, when the incredible brutalities of the
witchcraft trials began. The vast majority of the victims were women;
and Professor Scherr, in his _Geschichte der Deutschen Frauenwelt_,
estimates that _in Germany alone_ at least one hundred thousand
“witches” were burnt at the stake. No one on reading the accounts of
these trials can help feeling that Shakspere made a mistake when he
wrote that

                     “All the world’s a stage,
               And all the men and women merely players.”

He should have said,

                       “All the world’s a madhouse,
                 And all the men are fools and demons.”

More demons than fools, however. Superstition was, indeed, epidemic
during the Middle Ages; but those who superintended the witches’
trials—the rulers and the clergy—were not the persons affected by it. If
they did execute 100,000 victims in Germany; if they did murder girls of
twelve, ten, eight, and even seven years, on the accusation of having
borne children whose father was Satan, or of having murdered persons who
in some cases were actually present at the trial—the reason of this was
not because the authorities believed this cruel nonsense. The real
reason is given by Scherr: “The circumstance that the property of those
who were burnt at the stake was confiscated, two-thirds of it getting
into the hands of the landowner (Grundherr), the other third into those
of the _judges, clergy, accusers, and executioners_, has beyond doubt
kindled countless witch-fires.... During the Thirty Years’ War,
especially, the trials for witchcraft became a greedily-utilised source
of profit to many a country nobleman in reduced circumstances, and no
less to bishops, abbots, and councillors, who were in financial straits.
Indeed, as early as the sixteenth century, one of the opponents of
witches’ trials, Cornelius Loos, justly observed that the whole
proceeding was simply ‘a newly-invented alchemy for converting human
blood into gold.’”

What difference is there between these civilised savages and the
Australian who eats his wife when he gets tired of her? Let those who
are fond of seeking needles in haystacks search for traces of Romantic
Love under such circumstances.

                      NEGATION OF FEMININE CHOICE

Feudal legislation combined with clerical contempt and criminal
persecution in lowering woman’s position. There were numerous and
stringent enactments which “rendered it impossible for women to succeed
to any considerable amount of property, and which almost reduced them to
the alternative of marriage or a nunnery. The complete inferiority of
the sex was continually maintained by the law; and that generous public
opinion which in Rome had frequently revolted against the injustice done
to girls, in depriving them of the greater part of the inheritance of
their fathers, totally disappeared.” Beaumanoir says that “Every husband
may beat his wife if she refuses to obey his orders, or if she speaks
ill of him or tells an untruth, provided he does so with moderation.”
Early German law permitted the father, and subsequently the husband, to
sell, punish, or even kill the wife; and in England wife-beating has not
yet died out.

“If, in the times of St. Louis,” says Legouvé, “a young vassal of some
royal fief was sought in marriage, it was necessary for her father to
get his seigneur’s permission for her marriage; the seigneur asked the
king’s consent to his permission, and not till after all these
agreements (father, seigneur, king) was _she_ consulted regarding this
contract which affected her whole life.” How beautifully such a law must
have fostered the sentiment of Love which depends on Individual
Preference and Special Sympathy!

Such laws no doubt were simply echoes of clerical teachings. “The girl,”
says St. Ambrose of Rebecca, whom he holds up herein as an example, “is
not consulted about her espousals, for she awaits the judgment of her
parents; inasmuch as a girl’s modesty will not allow her to choose a
husband” (!). Irish “bulls” appear to have crept even into ecclesiastic
enactments, for we read in Smith’s _Dictionary of Christian Antiquities_
that “An Irish council in the time of St. Patrick, about the year 450
lays it down that the will of the girl is to be inquired of the father,
and that the girl is to do what her father chooses, inasmuch as man is
the head of the woman.” “Even widows,” we read further, “under the age
of twenty-five were forbidden by a law of Valentinian and Gratian to
marry without their parents’ consent; and St. Ambrose desires young
widows to leave the choice of their second husbands to their parents.”

Compayré states in his _History of Pedagogy_ that in the seventeenth
century “woman was still regarded as the inferior of man, in the lower
classes as a drudge, in the higher as an ornament. In her case
intellectual culture was regarded as either useless or dangerous; and
the education that was given her was to fit her for a life of devotion
or a life of seclusion from society.”

Still more, of course, was this the case in the times of St. Jerome, who
in his letter to Læta on the education of her daughter Paula, tells her
that the girl must never eat in public, or eat meat. “Never let Paula
listen to musical instruments.” Even her affections must be
suppressed—all except the devotional sentiments. She must not be “in the
gatherings and in the company of her kindred; let her be found only in
retirement.” “Do not allow Paula to feel more affection for one of her
companions than for others.” And this ascetic moralist even recommends
uncleanliness as a virtue: “I entirely forbid a young girl to bathe;”
which may be matched with the following, also cited from Compayré: “The
first preceptors of Gargantua said that it sufficed to comb one’s hair
with the four fingers and the thumb; and that whoever combed, washed,
and cleansed himself otherwise was losing his time in this world.”

In such a rough atmosphere of masculine ignorance, fanaticism, and
cruelty the feminine virtues of sympathy, tenderness, grace, and
sweetness could not have flourished very luxuriantly. Consequently there
is doubtless more than a grain of truth in mediæval proverbs about
women, cynical and brutal as some of them are. Here are a few

“Women and horses must be beaten.”

“Women and money are the cause of all evil in the world.”

“Women only keep those secrets which they don’t know.”

“Trust no woman, and were she dead.”

“Between a woman’s yes and no there isn’t room for the point of a

“If you are too happy, take a wife.”

When we read that “Montaigne is of that number, who, through false
gallantry, would keep woman in a state of ignorance, on the pretext that
instruction would mar her natural charms;” and that the same author
recommends poetry to women, because it is “a wanton, crafty art,
disguised, all for pleasure, all for show, just as they are”; we recall
with a smile John Stuart Mill’s sarcastic reference to the time, “Some
generations ago, when satires on women were in vogue, and men thought it
a clever thing to insult women for being what men made them.”

                         CHRISTIANITY AND LOVE

Christianity claims to be pre-eminently the religion of love, in the
widest sense of that term, including, especially, religious veneration
of a personal Deity and love of one’s enemy. It has been asserted by
Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others that Christianity has done little
or nothing in aid of woman’s elevation; and it cannot be denied that
much good would have resulted if more emphasis had been placed by the
Apostles on certain phases of the domestic relations. That Romantic Love
is not alluded to in the New Testament need not cause any surprise, for
that sentiment cannot have existed in those days when Courtship and
Individual Choice were unknown. But there are passages in St. Paul’s
writings which were probably the seeds from which grew the mediæval
contempt for marriage and women. And although marriage is now zealously
guarded by the Church, Love of the romantic sort is no doubt looked upon
even to-day by many an austere clergyman as a harmless youthful
epidemic—a sort of emotional measles—rather than as a new
æsthetico-moral sentiment destined to become the strongest of all
agencies working for the improvement of the personal appearance, social
condition, and happiness of mankind.

On the other hand, even agnostics must admit on reflection that
Christianity contained elements which, despite the vicious fanaticism of
many of its early teachers, slowly helped to ameliorate woman’s lot. In
the first place, Protestantism, as embodied in Luther, performed an
invaluable service by restoring and enforcing universal respect for the
marriage-tie. He set a good example by not only defying the degrading
custom of obligatory celibacy, but by marrying a most sensible woman—a
nun who had escaped with eight others from a convent at Nimtsch.

Mariolatry, or the cult of the Virgin Mary, is the second avenue through
which Christianity influenced the development of the tender emotions.
The halo of sanctity which it spread at the same time over virginity and
motherhood has been of incalculable value in raising woman in the
estimation of the masses.

A third way in which Christianity influenced woman’s position is
suggested by the following remarks of Mr. Lecky, who has done valuable
service to philosophy, in showing how emotions as well as ideas change
with time: “In antiquity,” he says, “the virtues that were most admired
were almost exclusively those which were distinctively masculine.
Courage, self-assertion, magnanimity, and, above all, patriotism, were
the leading features of the ideal type; and chastity, modesty, and
charity, the gentler and the domestic virtues, which are especially
feminine, were greatly undervalued. With the single exception of
conjugal fidelity, none of the virtues that were highly prized were
virtues distinctively or pre-eminently feminine.” Now the “religion of
love,” by especially insisting on these “feminine virtues,” became a
powerful agent in undermining the coarse mediæval spirit with its
masculine, military “virtues,” _alias_ barbarisms.

                      CHIVALRY—MILITANT AND COMIC

In the howling wilderness of mediæval masculine brutality and feminine
degradation there was one sunny oasis in which the flowers of Love were
allowed to grow undisturbed for a few generations,—until military
ambition trod them again underfoot. This brief episode of gentler
manners is known as the period of Chivalry.

Ever since the fifth century the worship of the Virgin Mary had
increased in ardour, and it was to be expected that at some favourable
moment this adoration would be extended to the whole female sex, or at
least its nobler representatives. This was the mission taken upon
themselves by the knights and poets of chivalrous times.

Chivalry, it is true, was so often a mixture of clownishness and
licentiousness, its practice was so much less refined than its theory,
that in opposition to those historians who have sung its praises others
have doubted whether its influence was on the whole for good or for
evil. For, although the knights vowed especially to protect widows and
orphans, and respect and honour ladies, yet it was precisely under their
_régime_ that, when cities were taken and castles stormed, women were
subjected to the most brutal treatment.

The difficulty is best solved by distinguishing between two kinds of
Chivalry—the Militant and the Poetic. The militant type of
knight-errantry was less inspired by the desire to benefit womankind
than by ambition to gratify silly masculine vanity. So thoroughly was
the mediæval mind imbued with ideas of war that these knights could not
conceive even of love except in a military guise. So they rode about the
country in quest of adventure, ostensibly in the service of an adored
mistress, but really to find an outlet, in times of peace, for pent-up
military energy and ambition.

Spain and Southern France were the principal home of Chivalry Militant,
because there a warm climate and smiling nature offered most favourable
conditions to wandering knights in quest of adventure. Fortunately the
world possesses, in _Don Quixote_, a lifelike picture of
knight-errantry; for although the aim of Cervantes was to make fun, not
so much of Chivalry as of trashy contemporaneous romances of Chivalry,
yet in doing this he could not avoid depicting the comic side of the
institution itself, concerning which it is indeed _difficile satiram non

It appears to have been the custom of these knights to wander about the
country interfering in every quarrel, and, in default of a disturbance,
creating one.

Each knight had a Dulcinea, whom he had perhaps never seen, but in whose
honour and for whose love he engages in all these combats. And whenever
he meets another knight he forthwith challenges him to admit that this
Dulcinea, whom the other has of course never seen, is the most beautiful
lady in the world. The other knight echoes the challenge in behalf of
_his_ Dulcinea; and the result is a combat in which the victor, by the
inexorable logic of superior strength, proves the superior beauty of his
chosen lady-love.

The vanquished knight is then sent as prisoner to the victor’s mistress
with a message of love.

The Germans do not often originate anything; but if they take up an idea
or institution they work it more thoroughly than any other nation. So
with the fantastic side of Chivalry, which was introduced after the
second crusade, during which German knights had come into close contact
with French knights.

“Spain,” says Professor Scherr, “has imagined a Don Quixote, but Germany
has really produced one.”

His name was Ulrich von Lichtenstein, and he was born in the year 1200.
“From his boyhood, Herr Ulrich’s thoughts were directed towards
woman-worship, and as a youth he chose a high-born and, be it well
understood, a married lady as his patroness, in whose service he infused
method into his knightly madness. The circumstance that meanwhile he
himself gets married does not abate his folly. He greedily drinks water
in which his patroness has washed herself; he has an operation performed
on his thick double underlip, because she informs him that it is not
inviting for kisses; he amputates one of his fingers which had become
stiff in an encounter, and sends it to his mistress as a proof of his
capacity of endurance for her sake. Masked as Frau Venus, he wanders
about the country and engages in encounters, in this costume, in honour
of his mistress; at her command he goes among the lepers and eats with
them from one bowl.... The most remarkable circumstance, however, is
that Ulrich’s own spouse, while her husband and master masquerades about
the land as a knight in his beloved’s service, remains aside in his
castle, and is only mentioned (in his poetic autobiography) whenever he
returns home, tired and dilapidated, to be restored by her nursing.”

When a German knight had chosen a Dulcinea, he adopted and wore her
colour, for he was now her _love-servant_, and stood to his mistress in
the same relation as a vassal to his master. “The beloved,” Scherr
continues, “gave her lover a love-token—a girdle or veil, a ribbon, or
even a sleeve of her dress; this token he fastened to his helmet or
shield, and great was the lady’s pride if he brought it back to her from
battle thoroughly cut and hewn to pieces. Thus (in _Parzival_) Gawan had
fastened on his shield a sleeve of the beautiful Olibet, and when he
returned it to her, torn and speared, ‘Da ward des Mägdlein’s Freude
gross; ihr blanker Arm war noch bloss, darüber schob sie ihn zuhand.’”

The attitude of the knight-errants may be briefly described as
_Gallantry gone mad_. We have seen that a few traces of Gallantry are
found in the pages of Ovid; but it was during the age of Chivalry that
this overtone of Love made itself heard for the first time distinctly
and loudly. And as, when a new popular melody appears, everybody takes
it up and sings and whistles it _ad nauseam_; so these knights,
intoxicated with the novel idea of gallant behaviour toward women, took
it up and carried it to the most ridiculous extremes.

The women, naturally enough, unused to such devotion, became as
extravagantly coy as the men were gallant. They subjected this Gallantry
to the most absurd and even cruel tests. The knights were sent to war,
to the crusades, into the dens of wild animals, to test their devotion;
and few were so manly as the knight in Schiller’s ballad, who, after
fetching his lady’s glove from the lion’s den, threw it in her face,
instead of accepting her willing favours.

It is with reference to these coy and cruel tests of Gallantry that
Wolfram von Eschenbach bitterly accuses Love of having caused the death
of many a noble knight.

Yet, despite these absurdities, the trials and procrastinations to which
the knights were subjected had one good result: they helped to give Love
a supersensual, imaginative basis. This fact is brought out clearly in
the following statement made by Dr. Bötticher in his learned work on
_Parzival_. When, he says, after the middle of the twelfth century, the
Troubadour love-poetry became known in Austria, “it was especially the
idea of Minnedienst (love-service) that was seized upon with avidity:
the knight wooes and labours for a woman’s love, but she holds back and
grants no favours until after a long trial-service. The final object of
this service, the possession of the beloved, is regarded as _quite
subordinate to the pangs and pleasures of wooing and waiting_.”

Here was a novelty in Love, indeed! And, as good luck would have it,
fashion lent its powerful aid to the innovation. The sentiment was that
“Whoever is not in the service of love is unworthy to be a courtier”;
and thus many a boor who would have very much preferred to continue
treating women as servants, had to put his head into the yoke of
Gallantry, in order to be “fashionable.”


If these knights of Chivalry bestrode their warlike Rosinantes to show
an astonished world for the first time what could be done in the way of
Gallantry, the peaceful poets of Chivalry—the Troubadours and
Minnesingers—in turn mounted their winged Pegasus, and soared for the
first time to the dizzy heights of Ecstatic Adoration or Emotional

“Woman was regarded,” says Mr. Symonds, “as an ideal being, to be
approached with worship bordering on adoration. The lover derived
personal force, virtue, elevation, energy from his enthusiastic passion.
Honour, justice, courage, _self-sacrifice_, contempt of worldly goods
flowed from that one sentiment, and love united two wills in a single
ecstasy. Love was the consummation of spiritual felicity, which
surpassed all other modes of happiness in its beatitude. Thus, Bernard
de Ventadour and Jacopo da Lentino were ready to forego Paradise, unless
they might behold their lady’s face before the throne of God. For a
certain period in modern history this mysticism of the amorous emotion
was no affectation. It formulated a genuine impulse of manly hearts,
influenced by beauty, and touched with the sense of moral superiority in
woman, perfected through weakness, and demanding physical protection. By
bringing the tender passions into accord with gentle manners and
unselfish aspirations, it served to temper the rudeness of primitive
society; and no little of its attraction was due to the conviction that
_only refined natures could experience it_. This new aspect of love was
due to chivalry, to Christianity, to the Teutonic reverence for woman,
in which religious awe seems to have blended with the service of the
weaker by the stronger.”

These remarks, though applicable to Chivalrous poetry in general, refer
especially to the Italian species. The most important varieties of
Chivalrous poetry, however, are those of the Provençal, or French,
Troubadours, and the German Minnesingers. These must be briefly
considered in turn, as they present national differences of importance
to the history and psychology of Love.

(_a_) _French Troubadours._—As we live in a period in which the
newspaper has become the greatest of moral forces, we can most easily
realise the social influence of the Troubadours on reading, in Thierry,
that “In the twelfth century the songs of the troubadours, circulating
rapidly from castle to castle, and from town to town, supplied the place
of periodical gazettes in all the country between the rivers Isère and
Vienne, the mountains of Auvergne and the two seas.”

The wandering minstrels who wielded this poetic power were recruited
from all classes—nobility, artisans, and clergy. But, as Dr. F. Hueffer
remarks in his entertaining work on Provençal life and poetry, “By far
the largest number of the Troubadours known to us—fifty-seven in
number—belong to the nobility, not to the highest nobility in most
cases, it is true. In several instances, poverty is distinctly mentioned
as the cause for adopting the profession of a troubadour. It almost
appears, indeed, as if this profession, like that of the churchman, and
sometimes in connection with it, had been regarded by Provençal families
as a convenient mode of providing for their younger sons.”

In a time when distinctions of rank were so closely observed, it was
perhaps of special importance that these singers should be chiefly
persons of noble blood. Women, it is true, have at all times shown a
disposition to ignore rank in favour of bards and tenors; but the
mediæval nobles might have hesitated, frequently, to extend to commoners
the unlimited hospitality of their castles, and the privilege of adoring
their wives in verse and action. These husbands, in fact, appear to have
shown remarkable forbearance towards their poetic guests. No doubt it
flattered their vanity (overtone of _Pride_) to have the charms of their
spouse sung by a famous poet in person; and on account of the social
influence wielded by the Troubadours, owing to their successive
appearance at all the castles in the land, it was, moreover, wise not to
forfeit their goodwill. Sometimes, however, Jealousy held high carnival,
as, in the case of Guillem, the hero of Hueffer and Mackenzie’s opera,
_The Troubadour_, who was murdered by the injured husband, and the
faithless wife compelled to drink of the wine called “the poet’s blood,”
adulterated in a horribly realistic manner. The women, likewise, were
frequently moved by Jealousy—not in behalf of their husbands but of the
Troubadours, of whose art and adoration they desired a Monopoly, whereas
these bards were very apt to transfer their fickle affections to other

Fickleness, however, was not the greatest fault of these Troubadours.
Their great moral shortcoming was that they paid no attention to the
borderline between conjugal and romantic love. Dr. Hueffer does not
recollect a single instance amongst the numerous love-stories told in
connection with the Troubadours, in which the object of passion was not
a married lady—a strange point of affinity with the modern French novel
to which he calls the attention of those interested in national
psychology. A case in point is that of Guirant (1260), one of whose
pastorals is analysed by Hueffer: “The idea is simple enough: an amorous
knight, whose importunate offers to an unprotected girl are kept in
check by mere dint of graceful, witty, sometimes tart reply.” These
offers of love are repeated at intervals of two, three, seven, and six
years, and finally transferred to the woman’s daughter, always with the
same bad luck. His own wife, meanwhile, is never considered a proper
object for his poetic effusions. Concerning the German imitator of
foreign customs—Ulrich von Lichtenstein, mentioned a few pages back—we
have likewise seen that his wife never entered his mind except when he
came home “tired and dilapidated, to be restored by her nursing.”

Besides pastorals of the kind just referred to, the Troubadours had
several other classes of songs, among them the tensons, or contentions
which were “metrical dialogues of lively repartee on some disputed
points of gallantry.” These may have given ground for the myth that
aristocratic ladies of this period “instituted Courts of Love, in which
questions of gallantry were gravely discussed and determined by their
suffrages,” as, _e.g._ whether a husband could really love his wife. The
question whether any such debating clubs for considering the ethics and
etiquette of love existed is still debated by scholars; but the best
evidence appears to be negative.

(_b_) _German Minnesingers._—The German wandering minstrels also
belonged mainly to the aristocracy, and imitated their French colleagues
in paying their addresses chiefly to married women—a fact for which, in
both cases, the rigid chaperonage of the young must be held responsible;
for man _will_ make love, and if not allowed to do so properly he will
do it improperly. Yet on the whole the Minnesingers, at least in their
verse, were less amorous than the Troubadours. As Mr. L. C. Elson
remarks in his _History of German Song_: “The Troubadour praised the
eyes, the hair, the lips, the form of his chosen one; the Minnesinger
praised the sweetness, the grace, the modesty, the tenderness of the
entire sex. The one was concrete, the other abstract.”

Abstractness, however, is not a desirable quality in poetry, the very
essence of which is concrete imagery. Accordingly we find that with few
exceptions the German Minnesingers are not as poets equal to their
French prototypes. It was Schiller himself who passed the severest
judgment on these early colleagues of his. “If the sparrows on the
roof,” he once remarked to a friend, “should ever undertake to write, or
to issue an almanac of love and friendship, I would wager ten to one it
would be just like these songs of love. What a poverty of ideas in these
songs! A garden, a tree, a hedge, a forest, and a sweetheart—these are
about all the objects that are to be found in a sparrow’s head. Then we
have flowers which are fragrant, fruits which grow mellow, twigs on
which a bird sits in the sunshine and sings, and spring which comes, and
winter which goes, and nothing that remains except—_ennui_.”

Schiller’s criticism, however, is too sweeping, for there were notable
exceptions to these sparrow-poets, concerning one of whom, Hadlaub, the
late Professor Scherer gives the following fascinating information in
his _History of German Literature_: "He introduces human figures into
his descriptions of scenery, and shows us, for instance, in the summer a
group of beautiful ladies walking in an orchard, and blushing with
womanly modesty when gazed at by young men. He compares the troubles of
love with the troubles of hard-working men, like charcoal-burners and

“Hadlaub tells us more of his personal experiences than any other
Minnesinger. Even as a child, we learn, he had loved a little girl, who,
however, would have nothing to say to him, but continually flouted him,
to his great distress. Once she bit his hand, but her bite, he says, was
so tender, womanly, and gentle, that he was _sorry the feeling of it
passed away so soon_. Another time, being urged to give him a keepsake,
she threw her needle-case at him, and he seized it with sweet eagerness,
but it was taken from him and returned to her, and she was made to give
it him in a friendly manner. In later years his pains still remained
unrewarded; when his lady perceived him, she would get up and go away.
Once, he tells us, he saw her fondling and kissing a child, and when she
had gone he drew the child towards him and embraced it as she had
embraced it, and kissed it in the place where she had kissed it.”

The gradual change in woman’s position, social and amorous, is indicated
by the differences between the earlier and the later Minnesongs. In the
early poems Professor Scherer remarks, "The social supremacy of noble
woman is not yet recognised, and the man wooes with proud
self-respect.... Another refuses himself to a woman who desired his
love.... A fourth boasts of his triumphs. ‘_Women_,’ says he, ‘_are as
easily tamed as falcons_.’ In another song a woman tells how she tamed a
falcon, but he flew away from her, and now wears other chains....

“In the later Minnesongs it is _the women who are proud, and the men who
must languish_.”

A still more remarkable change is noticed in the German Folk-songs which
followed the periods of Minnesong proper. “The women of these popular
love-songs are not mostly married women; _they are, as a rule, young
maidens_” [at last, pure Romantic Love!] “who are not only praised but
also turned to ridicule and blamed. The woes of love do not here arise
from the capricious coyness of the fair one, but are called forth by
parting, jealousy, or faithlessness. Feeling is stronger than in the
Minnesong, and seeks accordingly for stronger modes of expression.”

It is not a mere accident that true Romantic Love should have first
appeared in these Folk-songs. For these were the products of gifted
individuals in the lower classes, where chaperonage—arch enemy of
Love—was less strict than among the higher classes.

                             FEMALE CULTURE

That the women were not ungrateful to the mediæval bards who first
discovered in them the possibilities of higher charms and virtues, is
shown by their treatment of Heinrich von Meissen, Minnesinger, who was
called Frauenlob, because he constantly sang the “praise of woman.” When
he died at Mainz in 1317 they carried his bier to church with their own
hands, and then, in accordance with the custom of the time, poured
libations of wine on his bier so freely that the whole floor of the
church was covered.

And there is every reason to believe that the women of Frauenlob’s
period deserved his praises, because they were in æsthetic, moral, and
intellectual culture far superior to the women before or directly after
their time. We read in Gottfried von Strassburg’s poem how Tristan,
while Isolde healed his wound, instructed her in the arts and manners of
court life. Isolde knew French and Latin besides her own language. She
played the violin and the harp, and sang; she wrote letters and poems,
and would indeed have been a model of culture even at the present day.
The twelfth century even had a genuine blue-stocking, the nun Herrad von
Landsberg, who wrote a cyclopædia of all human knowledge, in the Latin
tongue, called the _Hortus Deliciarum_. Learning throughout the mediæval
ages was all concentrated in the monasteries; but at the period in
question the monks did not retain everything for themselves, but aided
the knights and the poets in instructing the women of the court and

Nor did these women neglect their domestic affairs or physical exercise.
They accompanied the men on their falcon-hunting parties, and at home
learned to spin, weave, sew, and make clothing for themselves and their
husbands and children. At the tournaments and other games they appeared
as Queens of Beauty to distribute prizes and inspire their admirers to
heroic deeds; and at banquets and other social gatherings they seem to
have supplied more of the wit and entertainment than the men, whose
military occupations left them less time for the cultivation of the

At the same time one cannot help smiling at the elementary rules of
conduct which had to be given even to women of the nobility. You must
not stare at a man long, or refuse to return his salutation, young
ladies were told; nor must you in walking take too long or too short
steps. A poet of the middle of the thirteenth century (quoted by Mr.
Hueffer) gives this advice to a girl: “If a gentleman takes you aside
and wishes to talk of courtship to you, do not show a strange or sullen
behaviour, but defend yourself with pleasant and pretty repartees. And
if his talk annoys you and makes you uneasy, I advise you to ask him
questions,” and contradict his statements, in order “to give a harmless
turn to the conversation.”

Like Greek and Roman civilisation, like the palmy days of Persian and
Arabian culture, this mediæval period of feminine ascendancy and
refinement unfortunately did not last many generations. Although,
undoubtedly, chivalry accomplished real good for the time being, most of
what went by that name was, after all, too much of a sham—less a matter
of actuality than of poetic fancy. “Sincere and beautiful as the
chivalrous ideal may have been,” says Mr. Symonds, “it speedily
degenerated. Chivalry, though a vital element of feudalism, existed,
even among the nations of its origin, more as an aspiration than a
reality. In Italy it never penetrated the life or subdued the
imagination of the people. For the Italo-Provençal poets that code of
love was almost wholly formal.” Petrarch, like Alberti and Boccaccio,
indulges again in abuse of women as coarse and brutal as that of the
early “Christian Fathers”; and when we come to the sixteenth century,
the scholar Cornelius Agrippa complains of the old state of
affairs—woman’s complete subjection: “Unjust laws,” he says, “do their
worst to repress women; custom and education combine to make them
nonentities. From her childhood a girl is brought up in idleness at
home, and confined to needle and thread for sole employment. When she
reaches marriageable years, she has this alternative: the jealousy of a
husband, or the custody of a convent. All public duties, all legal
functions, all active ministrations of religion are closed against her.”

The manner in which a great English poet, much later still, treated the
women of his household was quite in consonance with the customs of
preceding times. As an English author wrote, forty years ago, “Milton
taught his daughters to pronounce Greek and Latin, so that they might
read the classics aloud for his pleasure, but forbade their
understanding the meaning of a word for their own—for which he deserved
to be blind.”

Regarding France we read in Compayré that “Even in the higher classes,
woman held herself aloof from instruction, and from things intellectual.
Madame Racine had never seen played, and had probably never read, the
tragedies of her husband.” Mme. de Lambert “reproaches Molière for
having excluded women from recreation, pastime, and pleasure.” Fénelon
advised girls to learn to read and write correctly and to learn grammar,
which “surpassed in the time of Fénelon the received custom.” “No one
knew better than Fénelon the faults that come to woman through
ignorance—unrest, unemployed time, inability to apply herself to solid
and serious duties, frivolity, indolence, lawless imagination,
indiscreet curiosity concerning trifles, levity, and talkativeness,
sentimentalism, and ... a mania for theology: women are too much
inclined to speak decisively on religious questions.”

                            PERSONAL BEAUTY

Rarer even than feminine culture, Personal Beauty appears to have been
throughout the Middle Ages. Most of the portraits of women and men, as
well as the ideal heads and figures in paintings and sculpture, are
repulsively ugly and inexpressive of higher traits. The general causes
of mediæval ugliness—neglect of personal hygiene and sanitary measures,
hard manual labour, prevention of love-matches, etc.—will be considered
elsewhere. In this place only one cause need be alluded to. The old
Church Fathers, it is well known, were not only unæsthetic but
positively anti-æsthetic. Everything pleasing to the senses was
denounced by them, especially the physical beauty of women, which they
looked upon as a special gift of the devil. Such an attitude on the part
of the leading social class could hardly tend to encourage the
cultivation of personal charms; and during the trials for witchcraft
special efforts appear to have even been made to eliminate beauty
forcibly; for the mere possession of unusual beauty sometimes sufficed
to bring a poor girl to trial, outrage, torture, and death.

It may have been due partly to a natural reaction against asceticism,
partly to the rarity of spiritual beauty, that the mediæval poets in
enumerating the charms of their mistresses, confine themselves almost
exclusively to their physical features. Professor Scherr, after quoting
Ariosto’s description of his heroine Alcina in _Orlando Furioso_ (vii.
11, _seq._), for comparison with similar efforts of German poets,
observes: “It is very remarkable that, as in this female portrait
sketched by Ariosto, so with mediæval poets in general, including those
of Germany, the principal accent is placed on the bodily charms of the
women. Almost all sketches of this kind are purely material.
Intellectual beauty, as expressed in the features, is barely mentioned.
These old romanticists were much more sensual than modern writers would
have us believe.”

                            SPENSER ON LOVE

That Love, too, continued to be looked at from a material point of view,
long after the chivalric efforts to idealise it, is shown strikingly by
the way in which Spenser compares love with friendship and family
affection. In the fifth book of the _Faery Queene_ he asks—

             “Whither shall weigh the balance down; to wit,
             The dear affection unto kindred sweet,
             Or raging fire of love to womankind,
             Or zeal of friends, combined by virtues meet?”

Like an ancient Greek he decides in favour of friendship—

           “For natural affection soon doth cease,
           And quenched is with Cupid’s greater flame,
           But faithful friendship doth them both suppress,”
           “_Love of soul doth love of body pass._”

Could anything attest better than this the general mediæval ignorance of
the psychic traits or “overtones” which constitute Romantic Love?

                          DANTE AND SHAKSPERE

Long before the day of Spenser there lived, however, in Florence, a poet
whose transcendent genius enabled him to feel and describe for the first
time the real romantic sentiment of Love. It is true that some of the
poets of Chivalry had before him attempted to depict the supersensual,
æthereal side of the passion. But their portraits lacked the touch of
realism: they described what they imagined; Dante what he felt.

Dante was born in 1265: Modern Love was born nine years later—613 years
ago. “Nine times already since my birth,” says Dante, “had the heaven of
light returned to the self-same point almost, as concerns its own
revolution, when first the glorious lady of my mind was made manifest to
mine eyes; even she who was called Beatrice (she who confers blessing)
by many who knew not wherefore.... From that time onward, Love quite
governed my soul.... But seeing that were I to dwell overmuch on the
passions and doings of such early youth, my words might be counted
something fabulous, I will therefore put them aside,” etc.

These are the opening lines of the _Vita Nuova_, in which Modern Love is
for the first time portrayed with an air of sincerity, and concerning
which Professor C. E. Norton justly remarks that “so long as there are
lovers in the world, and so long as lovers are poets, will this first
and tenderest love-story of modern literature be read with appreciation
and responsive sympathy.”

What a privilege to describe First Love not only in an individual but a
_historic_ sense, as Dante did in this poem, which Rossetti calls “the
auto-biography or auto-psychology of Dante’s youth, till his
twenty-seventh year.”

After that first sight of Beatrice one of her sweet smiles was the
highest goal of his desires; but so powerful was the spell of her
presence that he was obliged to avoid her. “From that night forth the
natural functions of my body began to be vexed and impeded, for I was
given up wholly to thinking of this most gracious creature; whereby in
short space I became so weak and so reduced that it was irksome to many
of my friends to look upon me ... the thing was so plainly to be
discerned in my countenance that there was no longer any means of
concealing it.” Such words as “trembling,” “confusion,” “weeping,”
constantly occur as the narrative proceeds. Love, he says, “bred in me
such overpowering sweetness that my body, being all subjected thereto,
remained many times helpless and passive.” When for the first time
Beatrice denied him her smile, “I became possessed with such grief that,
parting myself from others, _I went into a lonely place_ to bathe the
ground with most bitter tears.” And in one of the sonnets interspersed
he says—

             “My face shows my heart’s colour,
             No sooner do I lift mine eyes to look
             Than the blood seems as shaken from my heart,
             And all my pulses beat at once and stop.”

But by far the most remarkable thing in the _Vita Nuova_, is Dante’s own
indirect testimony that such Love as he felt, such supersensual,
æsthetic Love, _was a novelty and a puzzle to his contemporaries_. For
he tells how he met some ladies who gazed at him and laughed till one of
them asked: “To what end lovest thou this lady, seeing that thou canst
not support her presence? Now tell us this thing that we may know it:
for certainly the end of such a love must be worthy of knowledge.”

No doubt it was worth knowing; for, as the author of the admirable
article on “Poetry,” in the eighth edition of the _Encyclopædia
Britannica_ (1859), remarks: “When in modern times the attempt was made
to revive tragedy, it proved totally unsuccessful until this principle
(of romantic love) was admitted into the drama to give it warmth and
life. Of that species of composition which in its proper sense is
peculiar to the moderns, viz. the novel and romance, it forms, as we all
know, the moving power. In short, it influences, more or less, every
department in which the imagination has exerted itself with success
since the revival of literature.”

Once more it is well to state that there are geniuses in the emotional
as in the intellectual world. Dante was both; and the realistic
descriptions he has given of the effects of Romantic Love have helped to
sustain the notion that Love is immutable, and has existed at all times.
But the indirect testimony to the contrary just quoted, and the whole
argument of this chapter on Mediæval Love, make it apparent that Dante’s
Love was the exception which proves that among the others Love did not
exist. And even Dante was not entirely modern in his Love. A modern
lover would not have attempted to conceal the object of his Love, but
would have made it apparent to all by his foolish actions that he was in
Love with this particular girl and no other; he would perhaps have wooed
more persistently, and his feelings would not have remained unchanged
after her marriage to another. Like Petrarch, moreover, Dante cannot be
quite acquitted of the suspicion that, after the first flush of
excitement, the excessive and persistent purification and idealisation
of his passion was based not so much on real amorous feelings and
motives, as on an author’s craving for an object on which to lavish his
literary art of embellishment.

Dante, in a word, hyper-idealised his passion. He became quite deaf to
the fundamental tone of Love, and heard only its overtones. And herein
lies his inferiority to Shakspere. It is in the works of Shakspere that
the various motives and emotions which constitute Love—sensuous,
æsthetic, intellectual—are for the first time mingled in proper
proportions. Shakspere’s Love is Modern Love, full-fledged, and
therefore calls for no separate analysis. It is a primitive passion,
purified and refined by intellectual, moral, and æsthetic culture. And
though by no means universal, or even common, at the present day, it is
yet of frequent occurrence, and will become more and more prevalent as
time rolls on. To facilitate its progress by pointing out its
characteristics, its evolution, and the measures that must be taken to
foster it, is one of the principal objects of this monograph.

                              MODERN LOVE

                            A BIOLOGIC TEST

Writers on evolution have a very simple and convenient way of verifying
their inferences, by applying the rule—which seems to hold true
universally—that the different stages through which an individual passes
in his development—physical and mental—correspond to the periods of
development through which the whole race has passed.

This principle, applied to our present problem, fits exactly, and proves
that the account given in the preceding pages of the development of Love
is correct.

Historically we have seen that of all affections Maternal Love is the
earliest and (until after Romantic Love appears) the strongest. Then
paternal, filial, and fraternal love are gradually developed, followed
by friendship (Greek), and finally by Love proper.

Just so with the individual. The baby’s first love is for its mother,
whose tender expression and beaming eyes throw the first reflected smile
on its face, and touch the first cord of sympathetic attachment. Then
the father comes in for his share of attention, followed by sisters and
brothers. At school begins the era of friendship, representing
“classical” love, and often as ardent and Love-like as among the ancient
Greeks. Finally Romantic Love appears on the scene, eclipsing every
other emotion. And, like historic Love, it generally passes through a
blind, silly, chivalric stage, known as “calf-love,” which at last is
succeeded by real, intense romantic passion, that leads to monogamous
marriage, the central pillar of modern civilisation.

Not only have we seen that Romantic Love is the latest and the strongest
of all affections, but the causes which retarded its development have
been indicated. Chief among these were the negation of Individual
Preference, and the absence of opportunities for Courtship, already
deplored by Plato. As long as women were captured, or bought, or
disposed of by father or mother without any reference to their own will,
Sexual Selection on the female’s part was of course out of the question;
and on the man’s part it was rendered impossible by the absence of
Courtship. Wooing a woman was not winning _her_ favour, but impressing
her father with a display of wealth or social power. Thus there were no
opportunities on her part for the display of personal charms or the
cunning art of Coyness, or for inflaming and feeding his passion through
Jealousy by bestowing an occasional mischief-making smile on his rivals;
there were no lover’s quarrels followed by sweet reconciliations and an
increase of Love; no short absences fanning Love with sighs; no
alternate feelings of hope and despair, inspired by his or her fickle or
uncertain actions; no chance for displays of Gallantry and mutual
Self-sacrifice and assistance; no sympathetic exchange and consequent
doubling of pleasures, real or anticipated; none, in fact, of the more
subtle traits and emotions which make Romantic Love what it is.

                       VENUS, PLUTUS, AND MINERVA

It cannot be said that these obstacles to Love have been as radically
removed as they ought to be. Oriental chaperonage is still rampant in
France, to the extinction of all true romantic sentiment. In other
countries Parental Tyranny has considerably abated, but the Goddess of
Love still has formidable rivals in Plutus, the god of wealth, and
Minerva, the goddess of “wisdom” or expediency. Thus it happens that
even in the case of persons who are refined enough to experience Love,
it is too often absent when they marry; and, as a German pessimist
sneeringly points out, no one has yet dared to tempt bride and
bridegroom to perjury, by asking when the knot is tied, “Do you _love_
this woman?” “Do you _love_ this man?”

Nevertheless public sentiment is continually making war on Plutus and
Minerva, and siding with Venus. Probably the mercantile element in
marriage will not die out till a few weeks before the millennium,
although Herbert Spencer is optimistic enough to believe it will sooner.
“After wife-stealing,” he says, “came wife-purchase; and then followed
the usages which made, and continue to make, considerations of property
predominate over considerations of personal preference. Clearly,
wife-purchase and husband-purchase (which exists in some semi-civilised
societies), though they have lost their original gross form, persist in
disguised forms. Already some disapproval of those who marry for money
or position is expressed; and this growing stronger may be expected to
purify the monogamic union, by making it in all cases real instead of
being in some cases nominal.”

It is indeed a most hopeful sign of progress, this strong and growing
modern sentiment in favour of Romantic Love as against rival motives
matrimonial. Novelists, when the wills of the lovers and the parents
clash, invariably and unconsciously side with the lovers; and should a
novelist make an exception, many of his readers would close the book,
and the others would finish it under protest and disappointedly. Even
when we read a newspaper reporter’s thrilling and dramatic narrative of
the elopement of a foolish young couple, fresh from the high-school, our
hearts throb with sympathetic anxiety lest the irate parent should
succeed in capturing the runaway couple.

No doubt this instinctive modern prejudice in favour of Romantic Love
will ultimately throw a halo of sacredness around it, which will raise
Cupid’s will to the dignity of an Eleventh Commandment—a consummation
devoutedly to be wished; for although the conjugal affection which grows
out of Romantic Love is not always deeper than that which results from
unions not based on Love, the physical and mental qualities of the
children commonly show at a glance whether or not the parents were
brought together by Sexual Selection.

                            LEADING MOTIVES

The psychic elements of Love which thus far have been compared to
overtones, might also be regarded from a Wagnerian point of view as
_Leitmotive_ or leading motives in the Drama of Historic Love. In the
first scenes, where the actors are animals and savages, followed by
Egyptians, Hebrews, Hindoos, Greeks, and Romans, and mediæval clowns and
fanatics, these leading motives are heard only as short melodic phrases,
and at long intervals, pregnant, indeed, with future possibilities, but
isolated and never combined into a symphony of Love. In the last act,
however, which we have now reached, all these motives appear in various
combinations, in the gorgeous and glowing instrumentation of modern
poets, with all possible figurative, harmonic, and dynamic nuances; and
at the same time so intertwined and interwoven that no one apparently
has ever succeeded in unravelling the poetic woof and distinguishing the
separate threads. For us, however, who have followed these motives from
the moment when they first appeared in a primitive form, it will be easy
to distinguish them and subject each one to a separate analysis. We
shall first consider those which, like Coyness and Jealousy, are already
familiar and need only be considered in their modern forms, and then
pass on to those which are more and more exclusively modern.

                             MODERN COYNESS

At least five sources or causes of modern female Coyness may be

(1) _An Echo of Capture._—Why are modern city-folks so fond of picnics?
It was Mr. Spencer, I believe, who suggested somewhere that it is
because picnics awaken in civilised men and women a vague and agreeable
reminiscence of the time when their ancestors habitually took their
meals on meadows in the shade of a tree. If it is possible for such
experiences to re-echo, as it were, in our nervous system through so
many generations, thanks to the conservatism of oft-repeated cerebral
impressions, then it does not seem so very fantastic to suggest that one
cause of female Coyness may be a similar echo, or reminiscence, of the
time when the primitive ancestresses of modern women were “courted” by
Capture or Purchase, and so badly treated as wives that in course of
time an instinctive impulse was formed in their minds to shrink back and
say No to man’s proposals.

(2) _Maiden_ versus _Wife_.—It is hardly necessary, however, to rely
upon such a remote sociological echo, so to speak, for an explanation of
a girl’s hesitation to become a wife even if her suitor pleases her. The
thought of exchanging her maiden freedom for conjugal restrictions and
duties; of giving up the homage and admiration of all men for the
possible neglect of one; of probably soon losing her youthful beauty,
etc.—such thoughts would make many girls even more coy than they now
are, did not the fear of becoming an old maid act as a counterbalancing
motive in favour of marriage.

(3) _Modesty._—Esquimaux girls, as we have seen, “affect the utmost
bashfulness and aversion to any proposal of marriage, lest they should
lose their reputation for modesty.” And the greatest analyst of the
human heart puts the same philosophy into the mouth of Juliet in a
passage which, although everybody knows it by heart, must yet be quoted

                                 “O gentle Romeo,
           If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully:
           Or if thou think’st I am too quickly won,
           I’ll frown and be perverse and say thee nay,
           So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.
           In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
           And therefore thou may’st think my ’haviour light:
           But trust me, gentleman, I’ll prove more true
           Than those that have more _cunning to be strange_.
           I should have been more strange, I must confess,
           But that thou overheard’st, ere I was ware,
           My true love’s passion: therefore pardon me,
           And _not impute this yielding to light love_,
           Which the dark night hath so discovered.”

(4) _Cunning to be Strange._—No huntsman (except a monarch) would care
to go to an enclosure and shoot the deer confined therein, nor a
fisherman to catch trout conveniently placed in a pond. But to wade up a
mountain brook all day long, climbing over slippery rocks, and enduring
the discomforts of a hot sun and wet clothes, with nothing to eat, and
only a few speckled trifles to reward him—that is what he considers
“glorious sport.”

The instinctive perception that a thing is valued in proportion to the
difficulty of its attainment is what taught women the “cunning to be
strange.” Seeing that they could not compete with man in brute force,
they acquired the arts of Beauty and of Coyness, as their best weapons
against his superior strength—the Beauty to fascinate him, the Coyness
to teach him that in Love, as in fishing, the _pleasure of pursuit_ is
the main thing.

At first this Coyness was manifested in a very crude manner, as among
the primitive maidens who hid in the forest; or among the Roman women
celebrated by Ovid, who locked their door and compelled the lover to beg
and whine for admission by the hour; or among the mediæval women who, to
gratify their caprices and enjoy the sense of a newly-acquired power,
sent their admirers to participate in bloody wars before recognising
their addresses. And so coarse-grained were the men that as soon as the
women ceased to tease they ceased to woo; as, for instance, in mediæval
France, about the time of the _Chansons de Geste_, “the man who desires
a woman yet does not appear as a wooer; for he knows he is certain of
her favour,” as we read in Ploss. Hence Cleopatra’s brief and pointed
rejoinder to Charmian when he advises her, in order to win Antony’s
love, to give him way in everything, cross him in nothing: “Thou
teachest like a fool; the way to lose him.”

(5) _Procrastination._—Love at first sight is frequent at the present
day, but in ancient Greece and Rome marriage at first sight appears to
have been more common. The classical suitor’s wooing was generally
comprised in three words: _Veni, Vidi, Vici_; _i.e._ I Came, Saw the
girl’s father, Conquered his scruples by proving my wealth or social
position. Sufficient brevity in this, no doubt: but _brevity is not the
soul of Love_.

“Tant plus le chemin est long dans l’amour, tant plus un esprit délicat
sent de plaisir,” says Pascal, announcing a truth of which ancient and
mediæval nations had no conception until female Coyness taught it them.
Goethe evidently had the same truth in mind when he mentioned as a phase
of ancient love (Roman _Elegies_)—

        “In der heroischen zeit, da Götter und Göttinen liebten
        Folgte Begierde dem Blick folgte Genuss der Begier.”

That is, in prose, there were no preliminaries in the love-drama, which
had only one act, the fifth, in which the marriage is celebrated.

_Goldsmith on Love._—In Goldsmith’s _Citizen of the World_ there is a
chapter on “Whether Love be a Natural or Fictitious Passion,” in which
reference is likewise made to the value of procrastination. As this
passage shows Goldsmith to have been the first author who had an
approximate conception of the development and psychology of Love, I will
quote it almost entire. It is in the form of a dialogue, and one of the
speakers remarks: "Whether love be natural or no ... it contributes to
the happiness of every society in which it is introduced. All our
pleasures are short and can only charm at intervals; love is a method of
protracting our greatest pleasure; and surely that gamester who plays
the greatest stake to the best advantage will, at the end of life, rise
victorious. This was the opinion of Vanini, who affirmed that ‘every
hour was lost which was not spent in love.’ His accusers were unable to
comprehend his meaning; and the poor advocate for love was burned in
flames; alas! no way metaphorical. But whatever advantages the
individual may reap from this passion, society will certainly be refined
and improved by its introduction; all laws calculated to discourage it
tend to embrute the species, and weaken the state. Though it cannot
plant morals in the human breast, it cultivates them when there: pity,
generosity, and honour receive a brighter polish from its assistance;
and a single _amour_ is sufficient entirely to brush off the clown.

“But it is an exotic of the most delicate constitution: it requires the
greatest art to introduce it into a state, and the smallest
discouragement is sufficient to repress it again. Let us only consider
with what ease it was formerly _extinguished in Rome_, and with what
difficulty it was _lately revived in Europe_: it seemed to sleep for
ages, and at last fought its way among us through tilts, tournaments,
dragons, and all the dreams of chivalry. The rest of the world, _China
only excepted_, are, and have ever been, utter strangers to its delights
and advantages. In other countries, as men find themselves stronger than
women, they lay a claim to rigorous superiority: this is natural, and
love, which gives up this natural advantage, must certainly be the
effect of art—an art calculated to lengthen out our happier moments, and
add new graces to society.”

To this conclusion the lady interlocutor in the dialogue objects on the
ground that “the effects of love are too violent to be the result of an
artificial passion”; and suggests, by way of accounting for the absence
of love, that “the same efforts that are used in some places to suppress
pity, and other natural passions, may have been employed to extinguish
love”; and that “those nations where it is cultivated only make nearer
advances to nature.”

Goldsmith thus leaves it in doubt whether he considers Love a natural or
an artificial passion. In the three passages which I have italicised, he
errs: first, in saying that Love was “extinguished” in Rome, when in
fact it never existed there, except incompletely in the poetic intuition
of Ovid and possibly one or two other poets; secondly, he errs in
remarking that it was lately “revived” in Europe, when in fact it was
newly-born; and his excepting China, in speaking of the absence of Love,
can only be looked on in the light of a joke in view of the absolute
subjection of women to parental dictation, and the fact that, as one
writer remarks, “a union prompted solely by love would be a monstrous
infraction of the duty of filial obedience, and a predilection on the
part of the female as heinous a crime as infidelity.” But his definition
of Love as “the effect of art—an art calculated to lengthen out our
happier moments and add new graces to society” is exceedingly good. The
art in question is known as Courtship: and it is the latest of the fine
arts, which even now exists in its perfection in two countries
only—England and America. The Italian language has no equivalent for
Courtship, as Professor Mantegazza tells us in his _Fisiologia dell’
Amore_; and a German commentator on this passage in Mantegazza comments
dubiously: “Das Eutsprechende deutsche Wort _dürfte wohl_ Werbung sein;”
“the corresponding German word is presumably _Werbung_.” “Presumably” is
very suggestive. Yet the Germans have another expression of mediæval
origin apparently, namely, “Einem Mädchen den Hof machen”—"to pay court
to a girl," which, though somewhat conversational, has evidently the
same historic origin as our word Court-ship; implying that formerly it
was the custom at court alone to prolong the agony of Love by gallant
attentions to women, which enabled them to exercise the “cunning to be

_Disadvantages of Coyness._—Beneficial as are no doubt the effects which
have been brought about by female Coyness in developing the art of
Courtship, there are corresponding evils inherent in that mental
attitude which make it probable that Coyness will gradually disappear
and be succeeded by something more modern, more natural, more refined.

There are four serious objections to Coyness, one from a masculine,
three from a feminine point of view.

Men, in the first place, can hardly approve of Coyness; for it certainly
indicates a coarse mediæval fibre in a man if he is obliged to confess
that he can love a girl not for her beauty and amiability, but only
because she tantalises and maltreats him:

              “Spaniel-like, the more she spurns my love,
              The more it grows and fawneth on her still.”

Or, in Heine’s delightful persiflage of this attitude—

                   “Ueberall wo du auch wandelst,
                   Schaust du mich zu allen Stunden,
                   Und jemehr du mich misshandelst,
                   Treuer bleib ich dir verbunden.

                   “Denn mich fesselt holde Bosheit
                   Wie mich Güte stets vertrieben;
                   Willst du sicher meiner los sein
                   Musst du dich in mich verlieben.”

In one English sentence: Your amiability repels, your malice attracts
me; if you wish to get rid of my attentions, you must fall in love with

If a refined man can feel ardent affection for an animal, a friend, a
relative, without being “spurned” and consequently “fawning,” why should
not the same be true of his love for a beautiful girl? It is true; and
hence the cleverest women of the period, feeling this change in the
masculine heart, have adopted a different method of fascinating men and
bringing them to their feet, as we shall presently see.

Women, in turn, are injured by Coyness; first, because it makes them act
foolishly. French and German girls are systematically taught to take
immediate alarm at sight of a horrid man (whom they secretly consider a
darling creature, with _such_ a moustache) and conceal themselves behind
their mamma or chaperon, like spring chickens creeping under the old hen
at sight of a hawk. This sort of _spring-chicken coyness_ does
infinitely more harm than good; it makes the girls weak and frivolous,
and as for the men, if they are systematically treated as birds of prey,
how can they avoid falling in with their _rôle_? If men are to behave
like gentlemen they must be treated as gentlemen, as they are in England
and America.

Coyness, again, makes women deceitful and insincere. “Amongst her other
feminine qualities,” says Thackeray of one of his characters, “she had
that of being a perfect dissembler.” And in another place, “I think
women have an instinct of dissimulation; they know by nature how to
disguise their emotions far better than the most consummate courtiers
can do.” It cannot be said that dissimulation is a virtue, though it may
be a useful weapon against coarse and selfish men. If not the same thing
as hypocrisy, it is next door to it; and it cannot have a beneficial
effect on a woman’s general moral instincts if she is compelled
constantly to act a part contrary to her convictions and feelings.
Though as deeply in love as her suitor, she is commanded to treat him
with indifference, coldness, even cruelty,—in a word, to do constant
violence to her and his feelings, and to lacerate her own heart perhaps
even more than the unhappy lover’s. Thus instead of mutually enjoying
the period of Courtship, and indulging in harmless banter, “they gaze at
each other fiercely, though ready to die for love”; or, as Heine puts

                    “Sie sahen sich an so feindlich,
                    Und wollten vor Liebe vergehen.”

And why all this perverseness, this unnaturalness, this emotional
torture? Simply because—once more be it said—the men of former days, the
men who lived on pork and port, who delighted in bear-baiting,
cock-fights, and similar æsthetic amusements, had nerves so coarse and
callous that to make any impression on them the women had to play with
them as a cat does with a mouse to make it tender and sweet.

_Coyness lessens Woman’s Love._—One more charge, the gravest of all,
remains to be piled on top, as a last crushing argument against crude
Coyness. An emotion, like a plant, requires for its growth sunshine,
light, and open air; if kept in a dark cellar and stifled, it soon
becomes weak and pale and languishes. Man’s superior strength and
selfish exercise of it have compelled women to cultivate Coyness as an
art of dissembling, hiding, and repressing their real feelings. But to
repress the manifestations of anger, of pity, of Love, is to suppress
them; hence Coyness has necessarily had the effect of weakening woman’s
Love. It weakens it in the same proportion as it strengthens man’s. And
hence, as I have said before, the current notion that women love more
ardently, more deeply, than men is an absurd myth. The poets have always
shown a predilection for this, as for all other myths; and as it is
still served up as a self-evident truth in a thousand books every year,
it is worth while to clear away the underbrush and let in some daylight
on the subject.

_Masculine_ versus _Feminine Love_.—One thing may be conceded at the
outset: that woman’s Love, when once kindled, is apt to endure longer
than man’s. Shakspere’s “’Tis brief, my Lord, as woman’s love” is
therefore a libel on the sex. The difficulty is to get it under way. It
takes so much of the small kindling wood of courtship (“sparking” it is
called) to set a female heart aflame, that many men give it up in
despair and remain bachelors; or else, like the young man in _Fidelio_,
they finally tell their girl, “If you will not love me, at least marry

It may also be conceded that Rousseau exaggerates when he says that
“Women are a hundred times sooner reasonable than passionate: they are
as unable to describe love as to feel it.” This may have been true in
his day; but that there have since been some female authors who have
correctly described Love, and thousands of women who have been deeply in
Love, it would be absurd to deny. All that is here maintained is that
Love is of less frequent occurrence in women than in men; and when it
does occur in women it is not usually so deep, so passionate, so
maddening. The average woman knows little of Romantic Love. She has read
about it in novels, in poems, and thinks how delightful it must be. The
faintest symptom is taken for an attack, just as in perusing a medical
book people commonly fancy they have symptoms of the disease they chance
to be reading about. Thus it happens that young girls so easily “fall in
love,” as they imagine, and are ready to elope with the first music
teacher or circus rider that comes along—

            “A blockhead with melodious voice
            In boarding-school may have his choice,
            And oft the dancing-master’s art
            Climbs from the toe to touch the heart.”—SWIFT.

It is quite probable that Coleridge was right when he wrote—

               “For maids as well as youths have perished
               From fruitless love too fondly cherished;”

although this does not seem to agree with the opinion of Shakspere and
Thackeray regarding the rarity of broken lovers’ hearts. Morselli’s work
on Suicide does not contain any definite statistics _à propos_; but I
have seen the statement in a newspaper that in Italy, during 1883,
thirty-six men and nine women committed suicide—four to one; and the
proportion will appear larger still if it is remembered that girls often
commit suicide from an anguish deeper than a refusal.

The myth that woman’s passion is deeper than man’s is commonly expressed
in the form given to it by Byron: that in man’s life love is only an
episode, whereas to a woman it is all in all. Allowing for poetic
exaggeration, it does not at all follow that because a man does not
brood all his life over Love, he therefore loves less. The fact that
Goethe, the poet, also wrote treatises on botany and physics, and made
landscape sketches, did not decrease the depth of his poetic feeling but
added to it. For it is a fundamental law of psychology—except in
pathologic cases—that continuous brooding over an emotion weakens and
exhausts it; but after intervals of rest it emerges more fresh than
ever. The various objects and ambitions that occupy man only serve to
strengthen his feelings, his capacity for Love. That women are more
easily swamped and carried away by emotions does not prove their
feelings to be deeper, but themselves to be weaker. One lake may be
entirely full, and yet not contain half as much water as a larger lake
which is only half-full.

It was evidently with a vague desire to justify or excuse woman’s
comparative weakness in Love that Ninon de L’Enclos wrote “Women and
flowers are made to be loved for their beauty and sweetness, rather than
themselves to love.” And that intelligent observer Mrs. Childs adds the
weight of her feminine testimony by confessing her belief “That men more
frequently marry for love than women.”

To remove all lingering doubt, consider the “overtones” of Love
separately. Is woman ordinarily as absurdly or ferociously Jealous as
man, or quite so Proud of her conquest? Is she so deeply absorbed in
Admiration of his Personal Beauty? Is she as Gallant, and as ready for
Sacrifices? or does she not rather take his devoted services for
granted, and consider them rewarded by a smile or some other trifle?
Indeed, the only element of Love which in woman is stronger than in man
is Coyness; and Coyness, as has been shown, weakens woman’s Love in the
same degree as it increases man’s.

Of course it would be unjust to attribute to the effects of Coyness all
the difference between man’s and woman’s Love. Much is due to the
physiologic law that emotional capacity—amorous included—depends on
brain capacity (_not_ on the “heart”); and man’s brain is more powerful
than woman’s. But crude mediæval Coyness must bear a large share of the
blame; and it is probable that now, having played its _rôle_ of bringing
men to terms and making them gallant and polite towards women, it will
disappear gradually.

“Der Mohr hat seine Schuldigkeit gethan, Der Mohr kann gehen.”

Already, however, there is, especially in America and England, a
superior class of women who, despising Coyness as crude, artificial, and
silly, have adopted in its place a much more refined method of making
men fall in love with them. In one word, they have substituted
Flirtation for Coyness. As this statement will to many appear
paradoxical, if not absurd, it is necessary first to distinguish between
Flirtation and Coquetry before trying to justify it.

_Flirtation and Coquetry._—These two words are so constantly confused by
careless or ignorant writers that some girls are almost as much offended
if accused of Flirtation as of Coquetry. It was bad enough for Winthrop
to say that “A woman without coquetry is as insipid as a rose without
scent, champagne without sparkle, or corned beef without mustard” (!),
but there is no excuse whatever for “Ik Marvel’s” saying that “Coquetry
whets the appetite; flirtation depraves it. Coquetry is the thorn that
guards the rose (!), easily trimmed off when once plucked. Flirtation is
like the slime on water-plants, making them hard to handle, and when
caught only to be cherished in slimy waters.” No excuse, I say, because
the dictionaries on our table tell us the very reverse. Flirtation, in
Webster, is simply “playing at courtship,” without any cruel intentions;
while Coquetry is an attempt “to attract admiration, and gain
matrimonial offers, from a desire to gratify vanity, and with the
intention to reject the suitor.”

That this is the correct definition is shown beyond question by the
adjectives which are commonly coupled with those nouns: a “harmless
Flirtation,” a “heartless Coquette.”

A Coquette seeks to fascinate for the sake of fascinating. Like a miser,
she mistakes the means for the end, and feeds on one-sided passion and
admiration, until one morning she wakes up and finds her beauty gone,
and herself the most disappointed and unamiable of old maids. Or again,
she might be compared to a bank clerk who refused his salary because he
was satisfied with the tinkling of the money which he heard all day
long. The Flirt, on the other hand, displays her accomplishments, her
wit, and personal charms, for the sake of enlarging the facilities of
Courtship, the possibilities of rational Choice.

One reason why Flirtation and Coquetry are so apt to be confounded is
because the English peoples alone have the word Flirtation—naturally
enough, as they alone allow their young people the blessings of
Courtship and rational choice promoted by it. Foreigners, not
appreciating exactly what is meant by the word, are apt to translate it
as Coquetry. One Frenchman, who has lived long in England, has tried to
define Flirtation for his countrymen by saying it consisted of
“attentions without intentions.” This definition was widely welcomed as
very clever. Clever it may be, but it is a definition of Coquetry not of
Flirtation. For Flirtation never excludes _possible_ intentions.

_Flirtation_ versus _Coyness_.—Flirtation, from the feminine point of
view, may be defined as _the art of fascinating a man and leaving him in
doubt whether he is loved or not_. There is no reason why a beautiful
and bright girl should not charm, _i.e._ flirt with, every man who
interests her, and to whom she has been properly introduced. No reason
why she should not dispense her sweet smiles with complete impartiality,
until she has made up her mind whom she wishes to marry. In so far as
Coyness simply means reserve and dignity, she will of course still be
coy; but she will not run away to conceal herself in the forest, or lock
the front door, or hide behind a chaperon’s back, or affect to be
cynically indifferent to men, or treat the one she likes best with
affected cruelty. With refined men of the period Flirting, _i.e._
fascinating and leaving in doubt, is quite as effective in kindling
adoration to ecstasy as crude Coyness was with the coarse-fibred men of
the past. Flirtation, indeed, is much more tantalising than Coyness, and
therefore a complete modern substitute for it.

There is a passage in Hume’s _Dissertation on the Passions_ which,
though occurring in a different connection, strikes home the truth of
the last sentence most forcibly. “Uncertainty,” he says, “has the same
effect as opposition. The agitation of the thought, the quick turns
which it makes from one view to another, the variety of passions which
succeed each other, according to the different views: all these produce
an agitation in the mind; and this agitation transfuses itself into the
predominant passion. Security, on the other hand, diminishes the
passions. The mind, when left to itself, immediately languishes; and in
order to preserve its ardour, must be supported every moment by a new
flow of passion.”

Of course to those of a girl’s admirers who are for a while left in
doubt and finally “get left” altogether, female flirtation may seem a
cruel pastime. But there is a sort of _historic justice_ in this torture
which, indeed, almost amounts to an excuse for _Coquetry_; it is a
species of feminine revenge for the long centuries of slavery in which
muscular man held weak woman. Besides, no man has ever died of a broken
heart, except in novels. And, again, who is to blame a pretty girl for
having fascinated an unsuccessful lover? A rose yields its fragrance and
beauty to all who wish to admire it. If a conceited young man comes
along, imagines that all its beauty is for him alone, and tries to pluck
it, he has only himself to blame if he feels the thorn of

When Lord Chesterfield wrote, “I assisted at the birth of that most
significant word ‘flirtation,’ which dropped from the most beautiful
mouth in the world,” he perhaps hardly realised how very significant a
factor of social life Flirtation was destined to become. Mr. Galton
wrote, not long ago, that without female Coyness “there would be no more
call for competition among the males for the favour of the females; no
more fighting for love in which the strongest male conquers; no more
rival display of personal charms in which the best-looking or
best-mannered prevails. The drama of courtship, with its prolonged
strivings and doubtful success, would be cut quite short, and the race
would degenerate through the absence of that sexual selection for which
the protracted preliminaries for love-making give opportunity.” When Mr.
Galton wrote this, he did not apparently realise the social revolution
that is going on, or understand that frank and natural Flirtation, which
recognises every man as a gentleman until he has proved the contrary,
affords much better opportunity for Sexual Selection and “protracted
preliminaries of love-making” than crude, hypocritical, unnatural
Coyness, which regards every gentleman as a beast of prey and a

Flirtation being the modern art of widening the field of amorous
competition and prolonging the duration of Courtship, it follows that
there cannot be too much of it—quantitatively speaking. Qualitatively it
easily degenerates into frivolity, as in the case of those girls who get
engaged repeatedly before marriage, which shows a lack of judgment, of
tact, and especially of delicacy, because a peach should never be
touched on the tree but allowed to retain its first blush for the man
who is to eat it.

Refined flirtation, in truth, requires much more wit, more tact and
culture, than Coyness, or than Prudery, which is the north-pole of
Coyness. Prudery bears much resemblance to the artificial dignity of a
certain class of young men who, by means of persistent reticence, gain a
reputation for aristocratic and cynical superiority. Coquetry even is
preferable to Prudery, for it is at any rate entertaining.

To sum up this matter in one sentence: The coy Prude says No, even when
she means Yes; the cold Coquette says Yes and always means No; the
modest and refined Flirt says neither Yes nor No, but looks and smiles a
sweet “Perhaps—if you can win my Love.”

_Modern Courtship._—What a grotesque and topsy-turvy parody of history
it is, this modern comedy of Courtship, in which the man is the slave
and walks on his knees! And how gracefully the newly-crowned girl-queen
plays her _rôle_, little suspecting that in the next act the husband
will probably throw away his self-assumed mask, and insist again on his
historic rights as lord and master of the household!

The shock which follows this transition from the romance of Courtship to
the realism of conjugal life is much the greatest in the case of the
Prude. The Coquette need not be considered; she was born without a
heart, and marriage will not give her one. But the Prude often owes her
unnaturalness solely to an absurd educational system, and may be at
heart the best of women. Previous to marriage she is taught to rely on
passive Coyness to arouse the desires of man. After marriage, when she
yields herself up, body and soul, she loses this weapon, the lover
recovers his courage and lowers the pitch of his devotional ecstasy.
This alarms the girl, who eagerly endeavours to recover the romantic
Adoration by trying to please and coax and caress. But pleasing—or
_active_ fascination—being an art which she never has practised, she
does it in a bungling way—overdoes it, in fact—thus increasing the
husband’s indifference. Had she learned the art of refined Flirtation,
_i.e._ active fascination with wit and accomplishments, this domestic
tragedy would never have been enacted. Her skill and tact would then
have enabled her to preserve her husband’s Gallantry, by supplying a
constant variety and novelty in those feminine charms and graces in
which a superior woman is as fertile as a man of genius in ideas.

By her extremely reserved and passive attitude during Courtship the
Prude not only mars the probabilities of conjugal happiness, she also
weakens her own Love directly, through Coyness, and indirectly, by
making the man too servile and over-anxious to worship. For if a man
immediately yields up his sword and proclaims himself fatally stabbed by
a white wench’s black eye, there can be in her mind none of those small
obstacles and doubts which, like short absences, increase Love.
Love-making should be a duel of wit and mutual fascination. The Flirt
does her part of the fencing; the Prude simply hides behind her shield
and waits to see if the man can break it, or coax her to throw it away.
With a Flirt a man need not be a servile worshipper, but he may be a
Flirt likewise: which is a much more desirable attitude, not only
because male flirtation will fan the woman’s Love into a brighter flame
through the stimulus of uncertainty, but also because it enables the man
to preserve his dignity. Hence Beatrix’s pointed advice to Henry Esmond:
“Shall I be frank with you, Harry, and say that if you had not been down
on your knees, and so humble, you might have fared better with me? A
woman of my spirit, cousin, is to be won by gallantry and not by sighs
and rueful faces. All the time you are worshipping I know very well I am
no goddess, and grow weary of the incense.”

The girl of the period is the girl who flirts, and who expects every
eligible man to take up her challenge for a tournament of wit and
playing at Courtship. The reason why there is much more Romantic Love in
America and England than in other countries is because there is more
Flirtation, more opportunity for Courtship. On the Continent young folks
are too constantly regarded from the marriage point of view. In Italy
and France, when a young lady comes back from boarding-school, she is
married as quickly as possible before she has had a chance to fall in
love with a man of her choice. Consequence: she falls in love _after_
marriage, and not always with her husband. In Germany a young lady is
allowed to see young men and even to walk with them in the street, in
the daytime or in the evening, if properly chaperoned; but under no
circumstances will she take a young man’s arm, for that would imply an
engagement. In America it is otherwise; but even there, in the South, it
is taken for granted that if a young man calls on a young lady three or
four times he can have no other object than to marry her. His object may
be to marry, but not necessarily _her_. What he wants is to become
acquainted, and if acquaintance “by summer’s ripening breath” blossoms
into Love, so much the better; if not, it is a thousand times better he
should be allowed to depart in peace than that two beings should be
mated who do not feel really sympathetic and companionable. How is a
young man to find his Juliet if he is not allowed to see a number of
women, without being called fickle? And how is Juliet to find her Romeo,
if mothers frighten young men into bachelorhood by such absurd customs?

The word Courtship, in fact, should have a wider meaning than it has
now. It should be almost synonymous with Flirtation, which provides the
means of bringing together, from a wide circle of acquaintances, two
beings who are really suited to each other, instead of two whom blind
chance, a few “calls,” or the advantages of intimacy resulting from
cousinship, have fortuitously mated for a life of probable conjugal

Plato’s advice that opportunity should be given to the sexes to become
acquainted before marriage is much more followed to-day than at any
previous time in the world’s history; but there is still vast room for

                            MODERN JEALOUSY

Jealousy may be defined as a painful emotion on noticing, or imagining,
that some one dear to us loves another more than us. Unlike affection in
general, and like sympathy, it therefore necessarily refers to a
sentient being and a possible reciprocation of affection. It is a form
of rivalry, of which there are two kinds: rivalry for the possession of
an object or a position; and rivalry for the first place in a person’s
affections. The first is not incompatible with friendship, for two rival
candidates for a political office or a college fellowship are not
necessarily personal enemies. But the second kind, which, when allied
with doubt is called Jealousy, is a deadly enemy of good-will; and there
is probably no cause that has broken so many friendships as the
“green-eyed monster,” among women no less than among men.

Modern psychology agrees with St. Augustine that “he that is
not jealous, is not in love.” There can be no love without
Jealousy—potential at any rate, for in the absence of provocation it may
perhaps never manifest itself. But there can be Jealousy without love,
_i.e_ without sexual love; for that passion is often aroused in
connection with other kinds of affection—parental, filial, etc. Stories
are told of dogs practically committing suicide by disappearing or
pining away if displaced by a younger pet in the affection of a family;
and those who have seen specimens of canine jealousy find nothing
improbable in these stories. Yet as a rule all these general forms of
jealousy—as when a husband is jealous of his wife if the children show
her special favour, or as when a mother is jealous of a visitor loved by
her children—are mere trifles compared with sexual Jealousy, romantic
and conjugal. It is in painting this form of Jealousy that poets have
exhausted the strength of language. “Of all the passions in the mind
thou vilest art,” says Spenser of this “king of torments,” “the injured
lover’s hell.” With this, when once the lover’s mind is affected—

                 “’Tis then delightful misery no more,
                 But agony unmixt, incessant gall.”

         “But, O, what damnéd minutes tells he o’er
         Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves.”

In the animal kingdom sexual Jealousy and rivalry play so important a
part that Darwin attributes to their agency the superior size and
strength (in most classes) of the male over the female. Among savages,
as has been pointed out, we see sometimes a curious absence of Jealousy,
both as regards brides and wives; whereas in other cases, the passion
manifests itself with brutal ferocity. Thus among the American Indians
infidelity is sometimes punished by cutting off the nose, sometimes by
the shearing of the hair, which is considered a great disgrace. On the
Fiji Islands, Waitz tells us, the wives of a polygamist “lead a life of
bitter strife and commit ... the most atrocious cruelties against one
another from hate and Jealousy; biting or cutting off the nose is quite
a common occurrence.” Stanley, in his work on the Congo, remarks that
the Langa-Langa women scar their faces and busts in a hideous manner,
probably because compelled to do so by the Jealousy of the men. In
Hebrew literature the case of Jacob’s two wives urging him of their own
accord to become still further polygamous, presents a strange example of
this passion being neutralised by other motives. What prompted the
ancient Greeks, and what prompts Oriental nations to this day, to keep
their women under lock and key, was, and is, of course, simply a
perverse and ignorant feeling of Jealousy. In this feeling also, no
doubt, originated the Chinese custom compelling women to mutilate their
feet to prevent them from going about; as well as the custom indulged in
until recently by Japanese ladies of shaving off their eyebrows and
blackening their teeth after marriage—a custom which shows how much
stronger Jealousy must be than Admiration of Personal Beauty in the
affection of these nations. No doubt, however, all these excesses and
cruelties of Jealousy are counter-balanced by the good it has done in
enforcing the laws of morality.

Civilisation does not weaken sexual Jealousy, but only gives it a less
brutal form of manifesting itself. Conjugal Jealousy still produces the
greatest number of domestic tragedies, of which _Othello_ is the
immortal type. It is already typified in Hera, for, as Zeus says in
Homer, “She is always meddling, whatever I may be about.” But then she
had good cause to meddle in the affairs of this Olympian Don Juan.

_Lovers’ Jealousy._—As for Lovers’ Jealousy proper, there is reason to
believe that it will grow stronger and more common as general culture
advances. For the men who are most ahead of our century emotionally, the
men of genius, are usually very jealous. Heine’s Jealousy went so far
that he even poisoned a poor parrot of whom his Mathilde was
extravagantly fond; and it is probable that Byron’s savage attack on the
Waltz was dictated by a sort of wholesale Jealousy in regard to all
pretty girls. For in Love Byron was omnivorous.

The lover’s and the husband’s Jealousy are alike in their extreme

                              “Trifles light as air
                Are to the jealous confirmations strong
                As proofs of holy writ;”

nor is there probably any difference in the intenseness of their agony.

To the lover Jealousy is not only his greatest torture, but also his
deadliest enemy. With this fever in his blood even the man of the world
who knows his “Ars Amoris” by heart, is apt to ruin his cause by excess
of blind rivalry and clumsy passion: which perhaps explains why so many
great men have been refused by their best loves. To endure and ignore a
rival is, as Ovid already declared, the highest and most difficult
achievement in the Art of Love; as for himself, he frankly admits, he
was unequal to it.

There are several ways in which lovers ruin their chances by awkward
excess of passion. It makes them appear selfish and unamiable; and the
pallor which Jealousy inspires is not that which makes a girl consider a
man “interesting,” and leads her through pity to Love. If the lover is
not yet accepted, his Jealousy arouses her opposition, because he seems
to take it for granted that he has a right to be jealous, and that she
will necessarily accept him. Again, his attitude repels her by
suggesting that he would indulge in impertinent supervision and
tyrannical dictation after marriage. Even if he has successfully
proposed, she does not like to have him make his victory and prospective
ownership so conspicuous by his jealous glances and manœuvres.
Besides, a fascinating girl likes to preserve her apparent freedom as
long as possible, and let others admire her beauty while it lasts.

Most fatal is it for a man to assume a jealous attitude towards a woman
before he has been able to inspire her with interest in him. Her
indifference will thus be inevitably changed into positive dislike. For,
as Madame de Coulanges says, “L’on ne veut de la jalousie que de ceux
dont on pourrait être jalouse”—We do not desire any jealousy except from
those for whom we could ourselves feel jealousy. Stendhal, who quotes
this aphorism, adds a reason why women may be gratified by a display of
Jealousy: “Jealousy may please proud women, as a new way of showing them
their power.” And to a woman in love and in doubt, the man’s Jealousy,
which is so easily detected, is of course a most welcome symptom of

For Jealousy is the first sign of Love, as it is also the last. If a man
is in doubt whether he is really in Love with a girl or only admires her
beauty, let him observe her when talking or dancing with another man: if
he then feels “queer”—from a mere uneasiness to a desire to pulverise
the other fellow—he may be assured that his emotion has passed the
borderline which separates disinterested æsthetic admiration from the
desire for exclusive possession which is popularly known as Love.

Conversely, if a man who has been repeatedly refused, or who for some
other reason endeavours to suppress his passion, feels in doubt whether
the cure is complete, he need only imagine his former love in the arms
of another man, or before the altar with him: if that does not make him
turn pale and frown and bite his lips, he is cured. This test, however,
is not so certain as the other, for sometimes Jealousy outlives Love;
and Longfellow believed that every true passion leaves an eternal scar.

Like Coyness, Jealousy is a discord in the harmony of Love. A little of
it is piquant and rouses desire. “Jealousy,” says Hume, “is a painful
passion, yet without some share of it the agreeable affection of love
has difficulty to subsist in all its force and violence.... Jealousy and
absence in love compose the _dolce piccante_ of the Italians, which they
suppose so essential to all pleasure.”

Unfortunately, Jealousy is rarely content to remain “agreeably piquant,”
but is apt to grow into a tornado of passion which devastates body and
soul, and makes it the keenest agony known to mankind. It is often said
that the agony inspired by a refusal is the only thing that excuses
tears in a man. This agony is a mixed emotion, including wounded Pride
and the sense of having lost all that makes life worth living. But its
keenest sting comes from the green-eyed monster, who hisses into the
lover’s ears that now a rival will enjoy her sweetness and beauty. Dante
did not correctly describe the lowest depth of hell: it is this thought
in the lover’s mind that “now another will marry her.” It is _that_
thought which drives lovers to lunatic asylums and suicide.

“Some lines I read the other day,” Keats wrote to Fanny Brawne, "are
continually ringing a peal in my ears—

            “To see those eyes I prize above mine own
            Dart Favours on another—
            And those sweet lips (yielding immortal nectar)
            Be gently press’d by any but myself—
            Think, think, Francesca, what a cursed thing
            It were beyond expression.”

“Get thee to a nunnery,” would be every lover’s advice to the girl who
rejected him. If she obeyed, his agony would be diminished one-half.

But why, if he cannot have her, should she not make some one else happy?
Because Jealousy is the one absolutely selfish trait of Love. The lover
who in other respects is the very model of altruism and Self-Sacrifice
is in point of jealous rivalry for possession an absolute egotist to
whom even _her_ happiness is torture if he cannot share it. Is this an
aberration of Lovers’ Sympathy, or does it mark its climax? The answer
will be found in the chapter on Sympathy.

_Retrospective and Prospective Jealousy._—There are three kinds of
modern Jealousy—Retrospective, Present, and Prospective. The rejected
lover’s Jealousy is of the third kind; it refers not to what is, but to
what will or may be. Another variety of Prospective Jealousy is
illustrated by a story told in a Moscow journal of an old peasant who
married a young girl of whom he was very jealous. On his deathbed he
expressed a desire to give her a last kiss. But hardly had she touched
him, when he seized her under lip and fastened his teeth so tightly in
it that a knife had to be used to pry them open. With his dying breath
he confessed that his object had been to mutilate her, so that no one
else might marry her.

Is it not possible that the custom of burning widows in India was at
first an outcome of the Jealousy of some influential ruler who set the

Present Jealousy does not call for any special remarks, but
Retrospective Jealousy has some curious features. It is entirely
non-existent not only among those savage tribes who scorn virgin brides,
but among some semi-civilised peoples in Africa and Asia where the men
prefer to marry women with a dowry, no matter how they may have earned

In modern love Retrospective Jealousy is often very strong, especially
in men who, though they do not hesitate to marry a girl who has been
engaged before, would not care to dwell on the details of the previous
engagement. Women, too, have been known to indulge in this futile form
of Jealousy. Thus Heine relates in one of his letters that at the
special request of his Mathilde, he got her a copy of the French edition
of his _Pictures of Travel_. “But hardly had she read a few pages, when
she turned deadly pale, trembled in all her limbs, and begged me for
heaven’s sake to close the book. She had come upon a love-scene in it,
and jealous as she is, she does not even want me to have adored another
_before_ her _régime_; indeed, I had to promise her that in future I
would not address any language of love even to the imaginary ideal
personages in my books.”

The trouble with Heine is that one never knows exactly when he is
relating facts and when indulging in fun and fiction. As a rule,
certainly women are not much troubled by Jealousy regarding the past. If
the lover promises to be a good boy in future and give them a monopoly
of his adoration, they are rarely disquieted by the question, “Has he
been in love before?” Indeed, there is a current notion that women
admire a man all the more for being a Don Juan or professional
lady-killer. Perhaps, however, this is putting the cart before the
horse: for, instead of admiring him because he is a lady-killer, is it
not possible that he is a lady-killer because they all admire him?

Yet some truth there seems to be in that old notion regarding gay
Lotharios; for the average woman’s ideal man still wears a certain
mediæval military cast: he is conceived as a muscular dare-devil,
reckless, irresistible, a universal conqueror of female hearts as well
as of other fortresses.

_Jealousy and Beauty._—As Love becomes more and more idealised, _i.e._
transferred to the imagination, its overtones combine and produce
various new emotional clang-tints—sometimes agreeable, sometimes harsh
and dissonant. Among the Japanese and Chinese, as just stated, Jealousy
neutralises the Admiration of Personal Beauty to such an extent as to
breed indifference to shaved eyebrows, black teeth, deformed feet, and a
consequent utter absence of grace in gait. But there is a more subtle
way in which Jealousy may cast a cloud on Personal Admiration, even in a
refined Western imagination. Once in a while it happens to a sensitive
man, a worshipper of Beauty, that he beholds a vision of grace and
loveliness—perhaps in a ballroom, perhaps in a theatre or the street.
But this sight instead of delighting him, gives him a painful sting in
the heart. Partly, this paradoxical sadness of a discoverer may be due
to the sudden fancy that this fairylike being perhaps will never again
cross his field of vision. Yet it seems more likely that the tinge of
pain which o’ercasts the rosy feelings of Admiration is due to Jealousy,
especially if she is seen in company with a man. For a moment the
Beauty-worshipper fancies himself in that man’s place; the next moment
the consciousness of isolation flashes on his mind, and the reaction
brings out the painful contrast between what is and what might be. For
man, as Mr. Howells has remarked, is still imperfectly monogamous. He
has occasional visions of a Mahometan heaven peopled with black-eyed
Houris; or envies the knight in Heine’s poem, who lies on the beach and
enjoys the caresses of the mermaids, who come and kiss him because they
know not that he only pretends to be asleep.

That the Beauty-worshipper’s sadness is due to a vague Jealousy seems
the more probable from the fact that the same feeling never tinges his
admiration of a living Apollo of masculine perfection. Whether women
ever have the same emotions remains for them to tell.

                       MONOPOLY OR EXCLUSIVENESS

In the case of this trait of Love, Priority of discovery obviously
belongs to the author of these lines—

            “Love, well thou knowest, no partnership allows,
            Cupid averse rejects divided vows.”

Monopoly, the imperious desire for exclusive devotion and possession, is
the mother of Jealousy. Though less grim and melancholy than her son,
she is equally presumptuous and meddlesome, and woe to the man who will
so much as breathe or smile upon what she claims as hers. Monopoly, like
Jealousy, is one of the selfish elements of Love. All lovers join hands
and declaim in unison the words of Jean Paul: “What pleases us is to see
her shrink from everybody else, growing hard and frozen to them on our
account, handing _them_ nothing but ices and cold pudding, but serving
_us_ with the glowing goblet of love.”

Historically, Monopoly is of the utmost significance, since in it is
rooted monogamy, which, as previously explained, probably originated in
exogamous Capture giving a man the right to exclusive possession of one
woman in communities where, as one writer puts it, every man might claim
“a thousand miles of wives.”

The desire for exclusiveness, for undivided worship, sometimes enters
into non-sexual affections; and an anonymous writer has suggested that
the main reason why Byron was so devoted to his dog was because the dog
was “a creature exclusively devoted to himself, and hostile to every one

Yet all this is child’s play compared with the imperious form Monopoly
assumes in Modern Romantic Love. In the fever-heat of his passion the
lover’s chief desire is to be cast on a desert island, and remain there
all alone with her. “On ne se soucie plus de ce que dit le monde,” says
Pascal; public opinion is scorned; all social feelings annihilated.
Relatives and friends exist no longer—what are they to him? his pet
occupations bore him; and there is only one thought which fascinates—the
picture of a small and cosy house, all his own, a small parlour with one
sofa, barely large enough for two, a book of poems in very fine print,
compelling two heads to touch in reading from it, and a breakfast-table
with only two chairs; all visitors excluded from the unsocial
atmosphere, because “three are a crowd.” ’Tis a “double selfishness,”
doubly as strong as single selfishness.

Surely Emerson—as the German professor did with the camel—evolved his
idea of a lover from his inner consciousness. “All mankind love a
lover,” he exclaims. Obviously he had never seen a lover. The fact is
that all the world thinks a lover a tremendous and ridiculous bore—a man
whose whole mind is monopolised by one unvarying topic—_her_ perfections
and _his_ chances of winning her; and who stubbornly insists on
monopolising _your_ attention, too, with that everlasting exclusive
topic. Like every other lunatic he has one fixed idea; and it’s no
wonder the poets always paint him blind, like Cupid; for on the wide,
wide ocean of humanity, he sees nothing with his two big eyes but one
little solitary transient bubble.

In this matter, it must be admitted, woman’s Love is superior to man’s.
“Oh, Arthur,” says Ella, in the _Fliegende Blätter_, “how happy I would
be alone with you on a quiet island in the distant ocean!” “Have you any
other desire, dearest Ella?” “Oh yes, do get me a season ticket for the

_True Love is transient._—Boswell tells us that Johnson “laughed at the
notion that a man can never be really in love but once, and considered
it a mere romantic fancy.” And though this romantic fancy is as current
as ever in society and literature, Johnson was right in his verdict, as

True Love, indeed, is absolutely exclusive of every other Love _while it
lasts_; but it rarely lasts more than two or three years; and then the
heart, freed from one monopoly, is ready for another, perhaps even more
tyrannical, _while it lasts_.

That Love is transient is most fortunate, for it is, in its truest and
most ardent form, such a consuming fever, that the strongest man would
not be able to endure its mingled ecstasies and anguish more than a few
years. The lover’s fancies are his only food; coarser nourishment he
scorns; he loses his appetite, and becomes “pale and interesting”—to
women, who like to see a powerful man thus wincing under their superior
might, and melting away before their radiant beauty.

Yet its transitoriness detracts not in the least from the magic and the
charm of Love. It is in the life of man what the flowering period is in
the life of a plant. As, for the sake of its fragrant blossoms, a plant
is tenderly nursed and watered weeks and months though it flowers but a
week; so, even if brief Love were the only flower of life, yet would
life be worth living for its sake alone.

How long Love may last depends on individuals and circumstances.
Sainte-Beuve, I believe, has said that it never can outlive five years.
Favouring circumstances are slight obstacles, rivalries and jealousies,
short absences, etc.; while long absences, the distractions of travel,
professional occupations, etc., tend to shorten it. In uninterrupted
absence, without epistolary encouragement, the most ardent Love would
hardly survive a year, unless the lover lived on a desert island, with
no other woman to engross his attention. Return, however, is apt to
bring on a relapse, as with Henry Esmond, who “went away from his
mistress, and was cured a half-dozen times; he came back to her side,
and instantly fell ill again of the fever.”

Thus it is the fate of all unrequited Love to die for want of food; or,
if successful, to leave the stormy ocean of passion and sail into the
more tranquil haven of conjugal affection.

Woman’s Love is less transient than man’s, because there are fewer
ambitions to neutralise it.

_Is First Love best?_—If Love’s Monopoly lasted for life, if passion
were not transient, it would follow that most men would marry, or
endeavour to marry, the schoolgirls who were the first object of their
amorous attentions. But is there one man in a hundred, is there one in
three hundred, who marries his first Love? Cases are known of men of
genius who fell in love at an age varying from six to nine years; and
there are few lads, in America at any rate, and if they have an artistic
temperament, who do not have their cases of “calf-love,” beginning with
their tenth or twelfth year.

A boy’s first Love is a girl of about his own age, towards whom he shyly
makes his way by offering her an apple, a bunch of wild strawberries, or
a large hailstone picked up during a storm before her eyes, to impress
her with his reckless Gallantry and courage. The second and third
loves—for schoolboys are fickle, and schoolgirls more so—are probably
not different in character from the first. At fifteen and sixteen, boys
scorn girls of their own age, and fall in love with young married women,
Troubadour-like. Perhaps the Dulcinea is a Spanish beauty, with large
thrilling black eyes, who, seeing the poor cub’s infatuation, teases and
tortures him to distraction with her unfathomable wealth of fascination.

And let no one imagine that these cases of early passion are anything
short of true Romantic Love. For follow that poor boy enamoured of the
Spanish brunette; see him hiding himself in a lonely forest, gazing with
rapture on her photograph—perhaps only with his mind’s eye—throwing
himself on the ground in an anguish of tears, wishing that either _he_
was dead ... or her husband ... and behaving altogether like a premature

Such is calf—beg pardon—first Love. And is this first Love best of all?
Perhaps, in one respect, and in one only: it believes in its own
unchangeableness. Goethe remarks in his autobiography that nothing is so
calculated to make us disgusted with life “as a return of Love.... The
notion of the eternal and infinite, which forms its basis and support,
is destroyed; it appears to us transitory, like everything that recurs.”

_Heine on First Love._—Heinrich Heine, whose poetry is next to
Shakspere’s the most valuable depository of Modern Love, enlarges on
this question in his fragmentary but admirable Analysis of Shakspere’s
Female Characters: "Love is a flickering flame between two darknesses
... [the dots are in the original]. Whence comes it?... From sparks
incredibly small.... How does it end?... In nothingness equally
incredible.... The more raging the flame, the sooner it is burnt out....
Yet that does not prevent it from abandoning itself entirely to its
fiery impulses, as if this flame were to burn eternally....

"Alas, when we are seized a second time in life by the grand passion, we
lack this faith in its immortality, and painful memories tell us that in
the end it will consume itself. Hence the melancholy by which second
differs from first love.... In first love we fancy our passion can only
end with death; and indeed, if the threatening difficulties in our way
cannot be removed in any other manner, we readily make up our mind to
accompany our beloved to the grave.... But in second love the thought
occurs to us that time will change our wildest and most ecstatic
feelings to a tame, apathetic state; that these eyes, these lips, these
contours, which now throw us into transports of rapture, will some day
be regarded with indifference. This thought, alas! is more melancholy
than a presentiment of death.... It is a disconsolate feeling, in the
midst of intoxication, to think of the sober, frigid moments that will
follow, and to know from experience that these ultra-poetic, heroic
passions will have such a lamentably prosaic ending....

“I do not, in the least, presume to find fault with Shakspere, yet
cannot but express my surprise that he makes Romeo enamoured of Rosaline
before he brings him face to face with Juliet. Though absolutely devoted
to his second love, there yet dwells in his soul a certain scepticism,
which finds utterance in ironic expressions, and not rarely reminds one
of Hamlet. Or is second love the stronger in a man for the very reason
that it is paired with lucid self-consciousness? A woman cannot love
twice, her nature is too tender to endure a second time the terrific
emotional earthquake. Look at Juliet! Would she be able a second time to
endure those ecstatic delights and horrors, a second time suppress her
fear and empty the dreadful cup? In my opinion once is enough for this
poor, blessed creature, this pure martyr to a great passion.”

_First Love is not best._—Thus even Heine, while lamenting the
transitoriness of Love, cannot help suggesting that in man, at any rate,
second Love may be stronger than first. On this point it is curious to
note the difference of opinion among thoughtful writers. La Bruyère
declares that “we can love well once only—the first time; the loves
which follow are less involuntary.” Another French author, Letourneau,
on the contrary, thinks that one love-affair only whets the appetite for
more: “on a besoin de vivre fort;” and hence “an expiring passion
ordinarily leaves the ground admirably prepared for the germination of
another passion.” Stendhal held that a young girl of eighteen, “owing to
her inadequate experience of life, is not comprehensive enough in her
desires to be able to love with as much passion as a woman of
twenty-eight;” and a lady-friend having objected to this on the ground
that in her first love a girl must love more ardently because her
feelings are not distracted by doubt and distrust, as they are
subsequently, he replied that this very _méfiance_, in its struggle with
love, will make it come out a thousand times more brilliant and
substantial than the gay and thoughtless first love.” Mr. P. G. Hamerton
seems to cast his vote in the same urn, for he thinks, “it is, indeed,
one of the signs of a healthy nature to retain for many years the
freshness of the heart which makes one liable to fall in love, as a
healthy palate retains the natural early taste for delicious fruits.”
And, finally, George Eliot asks: “How is it that the poets have said so
many fine things about our first love, so few about our later love? Are
their first poems their best? or are not those the best which come from
their fuller thought, their larger experience, their deeper-rooted
affections? The boy’s flute-like voice has its own spring charm; but the
man should yield a richer, deeper music.”

So doctors evidently disagree. But the facts that Heine is in doubt,
that the greatest authority makes Romeo’s unparalleled passion his
second love, and that even Werther’s famous love, notwithstanding
Goethe’s theory, is not his first, certainly make the scale incline in
favour of a second or later passion.

          “Now old desire doth in his deathbed lie,
          And young affection gapes to be his heir;
          That fair for which love groaned for, and would die,
          With tender Juliet matched, is now not fair.”

These last two lines suggest the whole psychology of First Love. Romeo’s
first Love was not his best Love. When his soul had reached manly
maturity, and looked about for a proper object of affection, he did not
at once have the good luck to encounter his Juliet. Rosaline was the
_nearest approach_ to his ideal; so he worked himself into a
semi-fictitious passion and groaned for her, and would die, until
suddenly he saw his real ideal, and found that his first passion was a
fragile soap-bubble in comparison to his true Love for Juliet, which no
rival could have altered one speck.

In his first Love, in a word, he had _fallen in love with the species_,
rather than with an individual. Sexual Selection, or Individual
Preference, had come in more as a matter of chance than of decisive,
final choice. And so it is with most cases of first love. Man falls in
Love with woman, woman with man, not with a particular man or woman.
Thus it is that at an early age thousands of impatient youths marry
their Rosalines before they have had time or opportunity to meet their
Juliets. Doubtless there is a Juliet for every man in the world; but it
generally happens that she does not attend the same school, work in the
same manufactory, or live in the same village, or belong to the same
city-clique as he does; so, being less adventurous than Romeo, who went
outside of his clique for a sort of exogamous marriage by Capture, he
weds his first Love, _i.e._ his Rosaline; and this is one of the reasons
why so few cases of true Romantic Love are encountered even to-day,
outside of novels.

Most marriages, in truth, are brought about through accidental
acquaintance or companionship, not through Love. Suppose that a score of
young men who have never loved were cast on a desert island with one
pretty girl. Though she were as unamiable as Juno, cold and coy as
Diana, in less than a month nineteen of the twenty youths would be in
love with her and bitter personal enemies. Here the man would fall in
love with the woman; the fundamental tone of passion would prevail;
whereas if there had been a choice, eighteen of those men perhaps would
never have dreamed of proposing to that girl. Now second Love is much
more apt to be thus influenced by Individual Preference than first; and
the more Love is individualised the deeper it is. Failure to find
lasting satisfaction in the first choice makes a man more slow and
cautious in his second choice.

At the same time the mind expands and grows, and age strengthens not
only the intellect but the emotions as well. _For his size_, a boy may
love as ardently as a man; but the man is bigger.

The history of the race agrees with that of the individual in showing
that Love at first is a general passion, only slightly discriminative,
but becomes more and more so as time goes on.

Even the objection urged against second Love by Goethe and Heine appears
of no special significance when brought face to face with facts. Very
few men, if any, who are in Love a second or third time, sit in a corner
to muse over the transitoriness of passion till they become “disgusted
with life.” On the contrary, they feel convinced that the preceding
infatuation was, after all, not real indomitable Love, such as they now
experience towards Daisy No. 2; which second infatuation they absolutely
_know_ is the genuine article; just as they _know_ that no one ever
before loved so deeply and devotedly. This naïve self-confidence of the
lover in the unprecedented ardour and uniqueness of his passion is one
of the most sublime _and_ ridiculous aspects of Love.

And here it may be said, for the benefit of timid souls who may possibly
fear that harm may result to the cause of Love from exposing its
perishableness, that the only persons who could be injured by the
destruction of this illusion—those who happen to be in Love—will
positively and absolutely refuse to believe that _their_ particular
passion is fugitive. They will simply laugh in the face of any one who
questions the immortality of their Love; and a year or two later,
perhaps, they will laugh again—for a different reason.

Indeed, the notion that true Love never dies and will for ever
monopolise the soul, may actually do harm, and sometimes does so. The
disappointed lover commits suicide not because his torments seem
intolerable for the moment, but because he is convinced they will last
for ever, and thus make life not worth living.

A review of the situation brings out the truth that the only apparent
advantage which First Love has over later passions is Novelty. Yet even
this advantage proves to be illusory; for though the Second Love may not
be a novelty, the Girl is; and does not Moore, the modern Anakreon,

                 “Enough for me that she’s a new one”?

One more consideration. There is an adage, not entirely unknown, that
practice makes perfect; and psychology teaches that feelings tend to
become deeper by repetition. Why should Love be an exception? The
channels worn in the brain by the first emotions will be reopened and
widened by the new flood of passion; and thus _remembered emotion_ will
add its force to that of the present moment.

Has the reader ever heard Wagner’s _Nibelung Tetralogy_? If so, he will
remember with what a thrill of delight he recognised in the later dramas
some of the motives and melodies he had heard in the preceding ones. In
the later dramas these melodies are appreciated not only for their own
intrinsic beauty, but because they come laden with the sad and joyous
associations and memories of the preceding scenes which they

Wagner was not only a great musician and dramatist, he was also a most
subtle psychologist. He _doubled_ the power of music by adding to the
enjoyment of the moment the strong current of _remembered emotion_. And
this is precisely what a later passion of manhood adds to the naïve
delights of First Love.

It is remarkable how many analogies there are between Music and Love—the
youngest art and the youngest sentiment; and how the love of the divine
art enables one to understand and feel more deeply the music of the
divine passion.

                            PRIDE AND VANITY

Jealousy and Monopoly are the two selfish features of Love which urge an
enamoured couple to flee society and friends, and take refuge on a
desert island. Fortunately there is in the chemistry of Love a third
selfish element—the Pride of successful wooing, which commonly is strong
enough to neutralise the antisocial tendencies of the other two. If a
lover’s passion has not yet risen to fever-heat, nothing (except
Jealousy) will so suddenly raise it as the Pride and conceit inspired by
noticing that people in general admire his chosen girl; the more of the
admirers, the greater his Pride. And if, in addition, sympathising
friends directly approve his choice and laud her merits in detail, then
his transports of ecstasy become celestial.

Inasmuch as in moments of elation over success of any kind a man feels
as if nothing were beyond his power, an accepted lover is as proud (I
suppose) as if he had conquered not only one girl, but the whole
feminine kingdom—or queendom: for surely the one chosen by him is the
cleverest and most beautiful of all; whence it follows that all the
inferior ones would of course have been only too proud if he had
condescended to pay his addresses to them.

Why do great men so often marry women who are not especially attractive
as to personal appearance, when often they might have had their choice
among a group of beauties? Because the spoiled beauties did not
understand the art of flattery, sincere or otherwise. Every man wishes
to be considered either a creative genius or a hero. The woman who knows
how to touch the sympathetic chord, to make each one’s particular kind
of Pride vibrate, has him at her feet in an instant.

In conjugal life the most ludicrous of all sights is the royal
self-complacency with which a man accepts the eager worship of his wife.

Conversely, a rejected lover’s heart bleeds from so many wounds that it
is difficult to count them; but of all these wounds the one inflicted by
the jealous thought that she will now marry another is alone deep as
that of his offended Pride. The sense of superiority which every man
feels over every other man is crushed, and cannot be laid as a
flattering unction to the soul. Hence a girl who refuses a proposal and
does not at least keep it a secret, is not only quite as mean, but a
thousand times more cruel than a man who will “kiss and tell.”

_Coquetry._—Yet of all secrets the compliment of an offer is the hardest
for a woman to keep; so, in strictest confidence, she tells it to only
one solitary person, who ditto, who ditto, who ditto, etc. etc. etc.
etc. and so on.

There is a class of women whose sole pleasure in life appears to be
derived from vanity gratified by offers of Love and Marriage. Of all the
elements of Love—and there are at least eleven—her soul is affected by
one alone—the overtone of Pride. The Coquette has already been
superficially examined, and distinguished from the Flirt. But this is
the place where she must be placed under the microscope and more closely
examined. A great many distinguished observers have dissected her, and
here are a few of their discoveries.

Congreve lets her off easily—

              “’Tis not to wound a wanton boy,
              Or amorous youth, that gives the joy;
              But ’tis the glory to have pierced the swain
              For whom inferior beauties sighed in vain.”

Fielding is less lenient: “The life of a coquette is one constant lie.”
“The coquette,” says Mr. T. B. Aldrich—"all’s one to her; above her fan
she’d make sweet eyes at Caliban." According to Victor Hugo, “God
created the coquette as soon as He had made the fool;” and Byron asks,
“What careth she for hearts when once possessed?” When Moore wrote—

                  “More joy it gives to woman’s breast
                  To make ten frigid coxcombs vain,
                  Than one true manly lover blest;”

he had evidently just left the chill atmosphere of a coquette. “A
coquette,” says A. Duprey, “is more occupied with the homage we withhold
than with that which we bestow upon her.” “Coquettes are the quacks of
love,” says Rochefoucauld. “Heartlessness and fascination, in about
equal proportions, constitute,” according to Mme. Deluzy, “the receipt
for forming the character of a coquette.” And Poincelot caps the climax:
“An asp would render its sting more venomous by dipping it into the
heart of a coquette.”

There are masculine as well as feminine Coquettes; but there is one
striking difference between them. To the female Coquette all is game
that gets into her net; she will turn away from a man of genius, an
Apollo, already at her feet, to fascinate a rough and freckled country
lad at first sight; whereas a male Coquette rarely wastes his powder on
a girl who isn’t pretty. And even herein is seen the superiority of
man’s Love to woman’s. The male Coquette is actuated by Admiration of
Beauty as well as by Pride; the female Coquette by Pride alone.

Cannibals have a quaint old custom of eating certain parts of a
formidable enemy’s body, in the belief that they will thus inherit his
qualities,—as by eating his tongue, his eloquence; his heart, his
courage. What a delicious gastronomic morsel a Coquette’s heart would be
to these savages, whose principal amusement is cruelty!

Perhaps the best description ever given of a Coquette is Thackeray’s
portraiture of Beatrix—"A woman who has listened to" her admirers, “and
played with them and laughed with them,—who, beckoning them with lures
and caresses, and with Yes smiling from her eyes, has tricked them on to
their knees, and turned her back and left them.”

_Love and Rank._—Not so many years ago the newspapers of a certain
European country made a great deal of ado about a forthcoming marriage
between a blue-blooded youth and a ditto maiden, for the reason that it
was “a real Love-match.” Poor princes! so rarely are they allowed to
choose their own Juliet, they who are supposed to be the rulers of the
land. Until quite recently, it is true, public opinion on the Continent
sanctioned a Love-marriage between an aristocrat and a non-aristocrat
_provided it was unlawful_, _i.e._ morganatic, a special royal euphemy
for bigamy; but now even this privilege is abolished, and princes can
marry one of equal rank only, in pursuance of a custom more tyrannical,
more restrictive than the parental command on which marriage-unions
depended in ancient and mediæval times.

German novelists have made considerable progress in their art in recent
years, but in one respect it seems to be very difficult for them to
substitute realism for romance. In every love story, almost, one of the
leading characters must be either a prince or a princess. As if it were
not the very essence of a prince and a princess that they shall not be
allowed to love and marry for Love—unless they are clever enough to fall
in Love with the partner singled out for them, which happens once in a
hundred times, perhaps.

But it is not only in the highest circles that aristocratic Pride is
opposed to free Sexual Selection. It extends through a hundred scales of
the social ladder. Germany presents a remarkable example. The
metaphysician Eduard von Hartmann credits the government of that country
with great astuteness. Not having much money to pay its officials, it
has established a legion of distinctions of rank and titles, for the
sake of which the officials are quite willing to forego a larger salary.
Of the ludicrous conceit inspired by this distinction of having even the
slightest kind of a “handle” to their name, I can give an amusing
instance from my own experience. Some years ago, desiring to see the
Intendant, or Manager, of the Munich Opera-house, I entered a little
room, marked Portier, and found that gentleman comfortably seated, _with
his cap on_. He took my card, on which there was no “handle” of any
sort, and replied sternly, “The Intendant is in; I will send up your
card;” adding, more severely still, “And, young man, let me tell you,
that when you come into the presence of _a royal official_, it behoves
you to remove your hat!”

Harmless as such childish vanity may seem, it is yet one of the reasons
why there are fewer good-looking women in Germany than in most European
countries—France always excepted. For a girl, whose father wears on his
coat the order of the black eagle, to marry a young man whose father
only has the order of the green eagle, would be considered an
unpardonable _mésalliance_, and would scandalise the whole
neighbourhood. Of course it does not make much difference in a woman’s
own looks whether she marries a man she loves or one whom she can barely
tolerate, and who is forced on her by parental desire and public
opinion, but it does make a difference with her children; and even in
her own case, is it not self-evident that the smile of pleasure at being
happily married is a better preservative of youthful beauty than the
constant frown of disappointment, perhaps of disgust?

The highest treason against Cupid, however, is committed by those
American women, who, without the excuse of inherited custom, come to
Europe with their money to marry a baron. Fortunately such marriages
have almost always ended so wretchedly that the fashion has somewhat
lost its popularity. What is a baron? Perhaps a man whose
great-great-great-grandfather “lent” some duke or king a few thousand
gold pieces, in return for which he was allowed to place “von” or “de”
before his name. And on the strength of this little word the family
Pride has gone on steadily increasing through various generations—or
rather, degenerations.

Physiology is not usually considered an ironic science, but it cannot
help writing a satire when it teaches that “blue” blood is venous blood,
charged with the waste products of the bodily tissues. How much better
than this irony would iron be, _i.e._ some fresh, _red_, arterial blood
infused in the bodies of the Continental aristocracy. The English
aristocracy, on the other hand, presents one of the finest types of
manhood and womanhood; and the reason is suggested by Darwin: “Many
persons are convinced, as appears to me with justice, that our
aristocracy, including under this term all wealthy families in which
primogeniture has long prevailed, from having chosen during many
generations _from all classes_ the more beautiful women as their wives,
have become handsomer, according to the European standard, than the
middle classes.”

Vivid as the feeling of pride must be in a man of humble origin who has
succeeded in winning the Love of a woman of a higher social grade; and
greatly as a Coquette must be tickled in counting off the number of
hearts offered to her, on her fingers if she has enough to go round: yet
the climax of Lover’s Pride, it seems to me, must be reached by a man of
noble birth who, scorning mediæval puerilities, marries the girl who has
won his heart, and were she but a plump, rosy-cheeked peasant girl. This
vivid feeling was doubtless realised by the Grand Duke of Austria when
he married Philippine Welser, by the Duke of Bavaria when he married
Maria Pettenbeck.

                            SPECIAL SYMPATHY

Thanks to the social instinct, our pains are halved, our pleasures
doubled, if we can share them with others. The proverb that misery loves
company expresses only half the truth; happiness, too, loves company.
The late King of Bavaria used to enjoy an opera most if he was the sole
spectator in the house; but most persons would lose half their pleasure
in this way. Nor is this a purely imaginary feeling; for in a successful
performance there are moments when the intensely-silent and universal
absorption seems to raise a magnetic wave, which crosses the house and
makes all nerves vibrate and thrill in unison. Again, if a man whom
constant attendance at places of amusement has rendered _blasé_, happens
to sit next to a young girl who visits the theatre for the first time,
the emotional play of her features, by reviving the memory of his first
experiences, enables him to share her feelings sympathetically, and thus
to enjoy the performance doubly. And is it not a universal experience
that if we witness sublime or beautiful scenes—if we approach the
Niagara Falls in a small boat from below, or if, standing on the top of
the Breithorn near Zermatt, we see almost the whole of Switzerland and
the Tyrol, parts of France and Italy, down to Lago Maggiore, at the same
moment—almost our first thought is, “Oh, if So-and-so could only see me
now and share this wondrous sight with me!”

Nor is this instinctive craving for Sympathy absent in the mind of the
poet who _prefers_ to be alone with Nature; on the contrary, it is even
deeper in his case. For to him Nature is personal; he

         “Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
         Sermons in stones;”

nor does Nature refuse her sympathy; for does she not harmonise with all
his moods, looking gloomy if he is sad, bright if he is cheerful?

From these general manifestations of emotional partnership Lover’s
Sympathy differs in being omnipresent and more exclusively concentrated
on one person. There is an association of emotions as well as of ideas:
and as every idea of excellence recalls _her_ Perfection, so every
emotion inspired by a beautiful object calls up the image of _the_
Beauty _par excellence_. Thus Love gets the benefit of all these
associated emotions—waggon-loads of kindling wood.

_How Love intensifies Emotions._—But is it literally true that in Love,
as Mr. Spencer puts it, “purely personal pleasures are doubled by being
shared with another?” It is true; though the way in which this is done
is difficult to explain. No psychologist, so far as I am aware, has
cracked the nut. I have given considerable thought to the subject, and
venture to offer the following three suggestions as to the method by
which Love doubles our pleasures:—

(1) The lover’s pleasures are increased by the simple process of
_emotional addition_. That is, supposing him to be reading a poem or
story to his beloved, he will experience at one and the same moment not
only the emotions inspired by the poem or novel he is reading, but those
due to the sense of her presence. As the mind does not stop to analyse
its feelings at such moments, all these various pleasurable emotions
will coalesce into one seemingly homogeneous feeling of happiness; just
as two complementary colours, or all the colours of the rainbow, if
mixed, will produce the simple sensation called white.

(2) The second way in which sympathetic companionship intensifies a
lover’s feelings is through what may be called _emotional resonance_. If
you take a violin-string in your hands, stretch it tightly, and then get
some one to pluck it, a very faint sound only will be heard. But put it
in its proper place, over the resonant surface of the instrument, and it
will produce a full, loud, mellow tone. A human countenance is such an
instrument—a sort of emotional sounding-board. Every man feels more or
less pleased with himself if he gets off at table what he considers a
wise or witty remark. If the sounding-boards of his neighbours vibrate
responsively to his jokes, he feels proud and is doubly pleased; but if
they only grin politely, the tone of his self-satisfaction is
immediately lowered an octave and dies away pianissimo. Now between
lovers such a fiasco is absolutely impossible. _They_ never grin at one
another’s sayings for the sake of politeness merely. His most
platitudinous remarks are sure to start a symphony of smiles on her
countenance, where another man’s wittiest epigrams would be barely
rewarded with a slight curl of the lips; and as for him, she may say
anything she pleases, he never knows what she says but hears only the
music of her voice—as if her words were the text, the rising and falling
of her voice the melody, of an Italian opera. No wonder lovers are so
exclusively interesting to each other, and such unmitigated bores to
other people.

Unfortunately lovers’ sympathy is rarely complete or durable. Sooner or
later some difference of taste or opinion is discovered which has the
same effect as a crack in the sounding-board—the resonance is destroyed.
Yet it can be restored by using glue; and violin-builders will tell you
that a glued instrument is often better than one which has never had a

(3) Thirdly, Love intensifies human feelings by producing a state of
_emotional hyperæsthesia_, or supersensitiveness, which has the effect
of a microphone in multiplying the loudness of every impression. Music
teachers whose acoustic nerves are rendered excessively irritable by
overwork; students whose eyes, from reading late at night, are in the
same condition, are annoyed by sights and sounds which ordinary mortals
barely notice. But Love with its sleepless night daily fevers, and
prolonged fastings is more potent than any other cause in producing such
a state of extreme sensitiveness to every impression. Lovers’ souls may
therefore be aptly compared to Æolian harps. If you leave the strings of
such an instrument in a state of very loose tension, they resemble the
souls of ordinary mortals not in Love: for it takes a very strong breeze
to elicit any sound from them. But raise them to a higher state of
tension, like the souls of lovers, and the faintest breath of air will
cause them to sound in sympathetic unison all their harmonics—which is
another name for _overtones_.

_Development of Sympathy._—Not only does Love thus owe much of its
unique intenseness to Sympathy, but there are weighty reasons for
believing that Love has already played an important _rôle_, and is
destined to play a still more important one, in modifying the meaning of
Sympathy and in extending its influence to society in general.

When the absence of true Romantic Love among savages was being pointed
out more emphasis should have been placed on the fact that they seem to
be utter strangers to sympathy. Far from sharing another’s delights and
sorrows, a savage takes an intense delight in witnessing a man enduring
the agonies of deliberate torture. Cruelty seems to give him the same
thrill of joy that sympathetic assistance gives to a refined person.

How are we to account for this strange delight in another’s sufferings?
By noting the extreme coarseness and callousness of the primitive man’s
nerves. Just as some savages are known to have such hardened hides and
lungs that they can sleep naked in a snowstorm with impunity, where a
white man would be sure to perish of cold or subsequent pneumonia; so
the savage requires the coarsest of stimulants to make any impression on
his sluggish emotions. The sight of an enemy tied to a tree and being
flayed alive tickles his nerves by suggesting his own comfortable
freedom in comparison, and by showing him an enemy absolutely in his
power; while his imagination is not sufficiently vivid to enable him to
put himself in the other’s place to feel his contortions and suppressed
moans re-echoing in his own soul.

And have we not in our very midst thousands of so-called civilised
beings who require stimulants almost as coarse as the savage to amuse
their dull imaginations?—people who would hesitate to pay silver for a
book, a concert, or an art exhibition, but gladly give gold to witness
the execution of a criminal or an exhibition of animals torturing one
another to death. To suppose that such people can ever fall in
Love—Romantic Love—is more than absurd.

Children represent this savage stage of the evolution of sympathy; as
their imagination, like all their mental powers, is still in embryo.
Nothing delights the average boy so much as a chance to torture a
beetle, a cat, or a dog. And Mr. Galton somewhere refers to the sense of
blood-curdling produced on him and other sensitive persons in the London
Zoological Gardens at the sight of snakes devouring living animals.
“Yet,” he adds, “I have often seen people—nurses, for instance, and
children of all ages—looking unconcernedly and amusedly at the scene.”

To substitute Sympathy for this delight in torture—to arouse the
sluggish imagination from its thousand years’ sleep, and quicken its
sense of suffering in man and animals—is one of the greatest problems of
moral culture, and—so far as man is concerned—forms one of the keynotes
of Christianity. St. Paul bids us both to bear one another’s burdens and
to rejoice with one another. The second part of his injunction, however,
has been comparatively neglected, as is best shown by the circumstance
that we have several terms to express the sharing of sorrow (compassion,
pity, sympathy), whereas for the sharing of joy there is no special noun
in the English language. The Germans have a word for it—_Mitfreude_—yet
it rarely occurs out of philosophical treatises. The word Sympathy,
which literally means “suffering with,” has also been most commonly used
in that sense. But it is now frequently being used in the sense of
sharing joy too, and perhaps, despite its etymology, it will, for lack
of another word, be chiefly used in this sense in future. Even at
present, when persons are spoken of as sympathetic or antipathetic, much
less regard is paid to their willingness to bear our burdens or share
our sorrows than to the chances of their sharing in our pleasures by
having similar tastes and opinions.

For this change in the meaning of Sympathy, Romantic Love must, I
believe, be held chiefly responsible. To some extent, no doubt, friends
and relatives shared one another’s joys before the advent of Love. Yet
even the mother—taking the most favourable case—cannot enter into all
her child’s feelings, while to the child most of her mature emotions are
utterly incomprehensible; so that we miss here that reciprocation which
is the very essence of Sympathy; whereas a lover cannot even conceive a
pleasure unless the other shares it—another point in the psychology of
Modern Love to which Shakspere has given the most poetic expression—

                 “Except I be by Sylvia in the night,
                 There is no music in the nightingale.”

Thus we see that there are three stages in the evolution of Sympathy:
the first, in which cruelty neutralises it; the second, in which this
universal enjoyment of cruelty, with its attendant lack of imagination
and altruistic feeling, compelled moralists to lay more stress on the
virtue of compassion than on the refining pleasures of mutual enjoyment;
the third, the epoch of Romantic Love, in which the positive side of the
emotional partnership is specially emphasised, so that a lover cannot
pour forth a song of happiness except in the form of a duo.

And this brings us back again to a question left unanswered in the
section on Jealousy. A rejected lover’s deepest anguish is the thought
that “She will now be happy in another’s arms.” To hear that she has
entered a convent and will never enjoy the pleasures of Love denied him
would be his only consolation. Is this an aberration of Sympathy, or
does it mark its climax—its remorseless logical consistency? The answer
lies in the second suggestion. Were Love an altruistic passion, it would
be otherwise. _He_ would delight in _her_ happiness under all
circumstances. But Love is selfish—a double selfishness; and its sense
of justice demands that each side be considered. “If I cannot be happy
without her, how can she without me?” The lover does not consider that
the passion is one-sided—he cannot fathom that mystery—cannot understand
why his flame, which reduces him to ashes, is not strong enough to set
her on fire, and were she a stone image.

_Pity and Love._—According to Darwin, one of the chief mental
differences between man and woman is woman’s greater tenderness. Of this
feminine tenderness the world has been able to judge on a vast scale
during the last two or three years.

According to a statement in _Nature_, 30,000 ruby and topaz
humming-birds were sold in London some years ago in the course of one
afternoon, “and the number of West Indian and Brazilian birds sold by
one auction-room in London during the four months ending April 1885, was
404,464, besides 356,389 Indian birds, without counting thousands of
Impeyan pheasants, birds of paradise,” etc. A writer in _Forest and
Stream_ mentioned a dealer in South Carolina who handled 30,000
bird-skins per annum. “During four months 70,000 birds were supplied to
New York dealers from a single village on Long Island, and an
enterprising woman from New York contracted with a Paris millinery firm
to deliver during this summer 40,000 or more skins of birds at 40 cents
a piece. From Cape Cod, one of the haunts of terns and gulls, 40,000 of
the former birds were killed in a single season, so that at points where
a few years since these beautiful birds filled the air with their
graceful forms and snowy plumage, only a few pairs now remain.” “It is
estimated that not less than 5,000,000 birds of all sorts were killed
last year for purposes of ornamentation,” wrote Mr. E. P. Powell in the
New York _Independent_. A correspondent of the New York _Evening Post_
saw at an art exhibition a young lady, with “nothing in her face to
denote excessive cruelty,” who wore a hat trimmed with “the heads of
_over twenty little birds_”; and the same paper remarked editorially:
“No one can tell how large a bird can be worn on a woman’s head, by
walking in Fifth Avenue. It is necessary to take a ride in a Second
Avenue car to get the full effect of the prevailing fashion. There one
may see on the head-gear of poorer classes, and especially of coloured
women, every species of the feathered kingdom smaller than a prairie
chicken or a canvas-back duck and every colour of the rainbow.”

“Think of women!” exclaims Diderot; “they are miles beyond us in

It was _Science_, edited by men, that started the agitation against
woman’s cruel and tasteless fashion—a fashion which not one woman in a
hundred apparently refused to conform to. It was Messrs. J. A. Allen, W.
Dutcher, G. B. Sennett, and other ornithologists, who raised their
voices in behalf of the murdered birds, for whom no woman seemed to have
a thought except Mrs. Celia Thaxter—all honour to her—and a small circle
of ladies in England. It was Oliver Wendell Holmes who wrote how he felt
“the shame of the wanton destruction of our singing-birds to feed the
demands of a barbaric vanity;” another man, Charles Dudley Warner, who
pertinently suggested that “a dead bird does not help the appearance of
an ugly woman, and a pretty woman needs no such adornment.”

That the average woman’s imagination is not sufficiently refined and
quick to feel for these winged poems of the air is historically proven
by this fashion, which, characteristically enough, was first introduced
by a member of the Paris _demi-monde_.

It has disappeared for the moment, but is almost absolutely certain to
reappear within five years.

But who, after all, is responsible for this sluggish condition of the
feminine imagination, this lack of sympathy for the fate of harmless
happy birds, who in their domestic affections and love-affairs so
closely resemble man? Is it not the men who, till within a few years,
have refused to give their daughters a rational education? It must be
so, for in that sphere where woman has been able to educate herself, and
where she is queen—in the domestic circle, she _does_ possess that
tender sympathy which she withholds from lower beings.

Within the range of human affections woman manifests more pity, is
stirred to nobler needs of self-sacrifice, than man. Is Love included in
this category? Dryden tells us that “pity melts the heart to love,” and
novelists delight to make their heroines first refuse their suitors and
subsequently accept them from real Love born of pity. For my part, I
doubt this assumed relationship between Pity and Love; and I do not
believe that a girl who has refused a lover ordinarily feels any more
pity for him than a cat does for a mouse, or a person who is all right
on a steamer does for another who is sea-sick—though he be his best
friend. There is an instinctive belief in the human mind that
love-sickness and sea-sickness are never fatal.

It does, indeed, very often happen—perhaps in half the cases; it would
be interesting to have approximate statistics on the subject—that a girl
first refuses the man whose second or third offer she accepts; for, as
an anonymous writer remarks, “women are so made (happily for men) that
gratitude, pity, the exquisite pleasure of pleasing, the sweet surprise
at finding themselves necessary to another’s happiness ... altogether
obscure and confuse the judgment.” But in such cases there are other
factors which probably influence the girl much more than Pity does. She
is, in the first place, largely influenced by this “exquisite pleasure
of pleasing”—another name for Pride. Then there is a certain advantage
to a man in having proposed, even unsuccessfully; for whenever
subsequently the girl reads about Love she will involuntarily think of
him; and thus his image will become associated with all the pleasure she
derives from Love stories—which may prove the first step for her—and a
long one—into the romantic passion. Besides, to propose to a girl is the
greatest compliment a man can pay a girl; and this cannot be without

Thus it is possible that Pity, allied with Pride, association, and
flattery, may work a change of feeling in a feminine mind; but Pity
alone will rarely lead her into the realms of Cupid. A man certainly
would never dream of marrying from Pity, on seeing that she loves him
deeply, a woman for whom he does not otherwise care. Nor should either
man or woman ever marry from Pity, any more than for money or rank. Love
should ever be the sole guide to matrimony.

_Love at First Sight._—La Bruyère gives his opinion that “the love which
arises suddenly takes longest to cure;” and that “love which grows
slowly and by degrees resembles friendship too much to be an ardent
passion.” Schopenhauer, too, asserts that “great passions, as a rule,
arise at first sight.” He refers to Shakspere’s

            “Who ever lov’d that lov’d not at first sight?”

and then cites Mateo Aleman’s old Spanish romance, _Guzman de
Alfarache_, in which, three centuries ago, the following observation was
made: “To fall in love one does not require much time or reflection and
choice; all that is needed is that in that first and only sight there
should be a mutual suitability and harmony, or what in common life we
call a sympathy of the blood, and which is due to a special influence of
the stars.”

As it is not permissible, in these degenerate days of positive science,
to explain a thing by a vague reference to poetic astrology, an attempt
must be made to account for the possibility of Love at first sight on
more prosaic grounds.

Physiognomy furnishes a simple solution of the problem. In every man’s
face is painted his personal history, as well as his favourite and
customary sphere of thoughts and feelings. As Sir Charles Bell remarks,
“Expression is to passion what language is to thought.” The gift of
reading correctly this facial language of passion is given to different
persons in different degrees, though all have some share of it: and on
their more or less accurate and subtle interpretation of the “lines and
frowns and wrinkles strange” in another’s features depends the art of
reading character and being sympathetically attracted or repulsed, as
the case may be. A young man who has unconsciously associated certain
peculiarities of facial expression in his sisters or female friends with
habitual cheerfulness, amiability, and brightness will, on recognising
similar features in a new acquaintance, take for granted similar charms
of character: this, which is the work of a second, may result in
sympathy at first sight, which very often is the beginning of Romantic

Love at First Sight may be inspired by this instinctive perception of
beauty of character, _i.e._ amiability; or by the sight of mere physical
beauty; or, thirdly, by Personal Beauty in the highest sense of the
word, uniting intellectual fascination with bodily charms.

Inasmuch as there are not a few men whose æsthetic taste is so weak that
they would rather marry a useful, companionable girl and imagine her
beautiful, than take a beauty and imagine her useful; and inasmuch as
there are a great many more amiable and vivacious girls in the world
than pretty ones, it happens that in a large number of cases Love is
inspired by the physiognomic interpretation of sympathetic traits of
character just referred to. Hence plain girls need never despair of
finding husbands. There is even a current notion that the deepest
passions are commonly inspired by plain women who are otherwise
attractive. But what inspires the Love in these cases is not so much the
woman’s amiability—and certainly not her plainness—as the fact that the
style of her homeliness is of an opposite kind from the faults of the
lover, and promises to neutralise them in the offspring.

Plain and homely, moreover, are terms often applied to women whose faces
only are so, while their figures are sometimes superb. But a fine figure
is quite as essential a part of Personal Beauty as a fine face, and is,
in the opinion of Schopenhauer, even more potent as a love-inspirer. If
the figure is disregarded in favour of the face, Romantic Love is apt to
become hyper-romantic, as in the days of Dante.

Perhaps the largest number of cases of Love at First Sight, so called,
are inspired by mere _beauté du diable_—a female “bud” whose sole charm
apparent is sparkling health and fragrant, dew-bejewelled freshness.
That this kind of Love at sight, which consists in being dazzled for the
moment by a set of regular features and a pair of bright eyes, is often
of brief duration, does not militate against the statement that the
deepest Love is also born of such a flash of æsthetic admiration. An
incipient passion may be crushed by the discovery of some disagreeable
trait in the person who inspired it; but when, owing to want of early
opportunity to discover unsympathetic traits, Love has been allowed to
make some progress, the subsequent discovery of a flaw is not nearly so
serious a matter, for then Master Cupid simply puts a daub of whitewash
on it and calls it a beauty-spot.

_Intellect and Love._—But, after all, the deepest Love at Sight, and
that which gives promise of greatest permanence, is that inspired by a
handsome woman in whose face Intellect has written its autograph.
Goethe, indeed, has remarked that “intellect cannot warm us, or inspire
us with passion;” but the view he takes here of the relations between
intellect and passion is obviously very crude and superficial. No man,
of course, would ever fall in Love with a woman who showed her
intellectuality—as not a few do—by a parrotlike repetition of
encyclopædic reading or magazine epitomes of knowledge. This gives
evidence of only one form of intellect, the lowest, namely, Memory. It
is the higher forms—imagination, wit, clever reasoning, that constitute
the essence of intellectual culture; and though woman may never quite
equal man in this sphere, such cases as Mme. de Staël, George Sand, and
George Eliot show how much she _can_ accomplish by means of application.

Now this higher kind of intellectual culture is able to influence the
amorous feelings in two ways: first, by refining and vivifying the
features; secondly, by enabling a woman to appreciate her lover’s
ambitions and afford him sympathetic assistance, thereby awakening a
responsive echo in his grateful mind.

Look at Miss Marbleface in yonder corner, surrounded by a group of
admirers. Everybody wonders why she, whose features might inspire a
sculptor, remains unmarried at twenty-six. Her friends, indeed, whisper
that she never even got an offer. Yet all the men to whom she is
introduced admire her immensely—the first evening; but strange to say,
after they have seen her a few times, they are not a bit jealous to
leave her to a new group of admirers; who, in turn, cede her to another.
Her beauty, in truth, is but skin-deep, _literally_; the muscles under
the skin are never vivified by an electric flash of wit from the brain;
there is nothing but marble features and a stereotyped smile; no
animation, no change of expression, no Intellect. Were her intellect as
carefully cultivated as her features are chiselled, she would inspire
_Love_, not mere momentary admiration; and she would have been married
six years ago to a man chosen at will from the whole circle of her

It is easy to explain how the absurd and fatal notion that intellectual
application mars women’s peculiar beauty and lessens the feminine graces
in general must have arisen. The inference seems to follow logically
from the two undeniable premises that pretty girls very often _are_
insipid, and intellectual women commonly _are_ plain. But this is only
another case of putting the cart before the horse. Pretty girls, on the
one hand, are so rare that they are almost sure to be spoiled by
flattery. They receive so much attention that they have no time for
study; and ambitious mothers take them into society prematurely, where
they get married before their intellectual capacities—which sometimes
are excellent—have had time to unfold. Ugly girls, on the other hand,
being neglected by the men, have to while away their time with books,
music, art, etc., and thus they become bright and entertaining.
Therefore it is not the intellect that makes them ugly, but the ugliness
that makes them intellectual.

The culture that can be compressed into a single lifetime unfortunately
does not suffice to modify the bony and cartilaginous parts of the human
face sufficiently to change homeliness into beauty; but the muscles can
be mobilised, the expression quickened and beautified by an individual’s
efforts at culture; hence some of these reputed plain intellectual
women, in moments when they are excited, become more truly fascinating,
with all their badly-chiselled features, than any number of cold marble
faces. If men only knew it!—but they are afraid of them—the average men
are—because they do not constantly wish to be reminded of their own
mental shortcomings in a tournament of wit, pleasantry, or erudition.

Even Schopenhauer, who was convinced that women are too stupid to
appreciate a man’s intellect, if abnormal, held that women, on the
contrary, gain an advantage in Love by cultivating their minds; adding
that it is owing to the appreciation of this fact that mothers teach
their daughters music, languages, etc.; thus artificially padding out
their minds, as on occasion they do parts of the body.

No doubt, as a rule, women are more influenced in love-affairs by a man
who excels in athletic qualities of manly energy than by one of
intellectual supereminence. But the adoration of women for a Liszt, a
Rubinstein, and other men of genius, whose eminence lies in a department
that has been made accessible to women for centuries, shows what might
be if women were trained in other spheres of human activity and

Regarding the mental padding, however, we might continue in the old
pessimist’s vein by saying that it is a trick which has had its day. Men
do not marry girls quite so blindly as in the days when Romantic Love
was a novelty. They keep their eyes open; and when they find that their
girl’s musical “culture” consists in the mechanical drumming of three
pieces, and that her other “accomplishments” are similar shams, they are
apt to take their throbbing hearts and put them into a refrigerator
until the young lady has become a faded, harmless old maid, still
drumming her three pieces on the piano. The fact that so many mothers
persist in thus “padding” their daughters’ minds, instead of educating
them properly, is largely responsible for the ever-increasing number of
self-conscious and disgusted bachelors in the world.

The example of Aspasia illustrates both the physical advantages beauty
derives from intellectual culture—through the refinement of
expression—and the emotional advantages a woman secures by being able to
sympathise intelligently with her lover’s or husband’s enterprises.
Nothing more irresistibly fascinates a man than genuine questioning
interest shown by a woman in his life-work. Or, as Mr. Hamerton puts it,
“the most exquisite pleasure the masculine mind can ever know, is that
of being looked upon by a feminine intelligence with clear sight and
affection at the same time.” But on this topic Mr. Mill has discoursed
so enthusiastically in his _Subjection of Women_ that anything that
might be added here could be little more than a faint echo of his
persuasive eloquence, tinged though it be with true lovers’

Goethe illustrated his maxim that “intellect cannot warm us or inspire
us with passion” by marrying a pretty, brainless doll of whom he soon
got heartily tired. Heine followed his example by marrying a Parisian
labouring girl who, like Madame Racine, probably never read her
husband’s writings. And in his _Unterwelt_ he laments his “verfehlte
Liebe, verfehltes Leben”—his mistaken love and wasted life.

Why did the ancient Greeks neglect their women? Why did they remain
strangers to Love and seek refuge in Friendship? Their women were
modest, domestic, good mothers and wives; but they lacked one thing, and
that was Intellect.

                      GALLANTRY AND SELF-SACRIFICE

Primitive tribes have a delightfully simple way of arranging their
division of labour. The men do the hunting and carry on wars, the women
do everything else. If a warrior on “moving day” should say to his wife
and daughters: “See here, this will never do for me to have nothing but
my weapons and my pipe, while you carry the babies, the cooking
utensils, the remnants of the game, and the tent: let me help you!”—if
he should say this, his comrades would consider him crazy, or rather,
possessed of a demon, and would burn two or three persons at the stake
for having bewitched him.

Gallantry, in other words, is unknown to savages either between lovers,
or, in a general sense, towards all women. Nor is it known to
semi-civilised peoples. Among the nomadic Arab tribes of the Sahara the
wife has to do all the work unless her husband is rich enough to own a
slave; and among the poorer Bedouins the husband traverses the desert
comfortably seated on his camel, while his wife plods along behind on
foot, loaded with her bed, her kitchen utensils, and her child on top.

The ancient Greeks were not so ungallant as these peoples towards their
women, as they had slaves to do their hard work; but the constant
devoted attention and desire to please which constitute modern Gallantry
did not, as we have seen, exist among them. Among the Romans we find
traces—but traces only—of this virtue. Mediæval Gallantry reached its
extremes in the witches’ fires on the one side, and the grotesque
performances of the knight-errants on the other. The intermediate ground
apparently remained uncultivated, except during the brief period of
chivalrous poetry, and then only in the highest classes. Wherever, in
short, Romantic Love was absent, Gallantry, as one of its ingredients,
was unknown.

Coming to modern times, we see the same parallelism between general
Gallantry and the freedom granted to the young to form Love-matches.

In France, Germany, Italy, the women still have to do the hardest field
work, though the men assist. The French, indeed, who systematically
suppress Romantic Love, are apparently the most gallant nation in the
world. But there is a general agreement among tourists that in _real_
Gallantry, which calls for self-sacrificing actions and not mere polite
words and bows, the French are inferior to all other European nations.
It is in England and America that true general Gallantry, like true
Romantic Love, flourishes most. In America, indeed, owing to the former
scarcity of women, Gallantry was for a time carried to a ludicrous
excess, almost reminding one of the days of Don Quixote; as in that
story of the Western miners who surrounded an emigrant’s waggon and
insisted on his “trotting out” his wife; which being done by the
trembling man, who feared the worst, the “roughs” passed round the hat
and collected a large sum of gold for the woman. Perhaps American women
still are, as we read in _Daisy Miller_, “the most exacting in the world
and the least endowed with a sense of indebtedness.” But the constant
sight in New York and elsewhere of street-cars in which every man has a
seat while every woman is standing, seems to indicate that there is a
reaction which may go to the opposite extreme. But after a while the
pendulum will doubtless swing back to the middle and remain stationary;
and this will be in the new golden age when men will always give up
their seats to old and infirm women, to pretty girls, and to all the
others who display truly refined instincts and good taste by abjuring
crinolines, bustles, high heels, stuffed birds on their hats, and other
“ornaments” fatal to Personal Beauty.

From the facts thus hastily sketched we may safely infer that, as we saw
in the case of Sympathy with another’s joys, so again with Gallantry,
what was born as a trait of Romantic Love was subsequently transferred
to the social and domestic relations of men and women in general. Had
Romantic Love done nothing more than this, it would deserve to rank
among the most refining influences in modern civilisation.

Perhaps the most remarkable existing illustration of the way in which
Lovers’ Gallantry may assume a general form, is to be found in Mr.
Ruskin’s recent confession regarding girls: “My primary thought is how
to serve _them_ and make them happy; or if they could use me for a
plank-bridge over a stream, or set me up for a post to tie a swing to,
or anything of the sort not requiring me to talk, I should be always
quite happy in such a promotion.”

This reads precisely like Heine’s poem in which the lover wishes he were
his mistress’s footstool, or again her needle-cushion, that he might
experience the delights of pain inflicted by her foot or hand.

Such excess of amorous Gallantry is a favourite theme for poetic
hyperbole, and it hardly can be exaggerated; for the lover really _does_
entertain such wishes. With him, _romance is realism_.

No slave could be so meek and humble, no well-trained dog so obedient as
the amorous swain. Again and again will he, without a moment’s
hesitation, plunge into a wintry stream and triumphantly snap up and
bring back to her the chip she has thrown in to amuse herself.

_Active and Passive Desire to Please._—"Love, studious how to please"
(Dryden), has two ways of accomplishing its purpose—one passive, one
active. Women, owing to their prescribed Coyness, are not allowed to
indulge in actions that would imply a desire to please a suitor, except
in the later stages of Courtship, when all is settled or understood.
Hence their desire to please can only show itself passively in their
efforts to make their personal appearance attractive to the lover. Nor
are men indifferent to this passive phase of Gallantry. As nothing so
fills a man with Pride as the thought that She, a paragon of beauty,
adorns herself so carefully all for his delight; so in turn he feels it
incumbent on him to follow her example. Even the habitually slovenly
become dandies for the moment, brush their hair, buy a new hat and
clothes; the lazy become industrious, the cowards assume heroic airs and
strut about like tragedians—

                “I was the laziest creature,
        The most unprofitable sign of nothing,
        The veriest drone, and slept away my life
        Beyond the dormouse, till I was in love!
        And now I can outwake the nightingale,
        Outwatch an usurer, and out-walk him too,
        Stalk like a ghost that haunted ’bout a treasure,
        And all that fancied treasure, it is love.”—BEN JONSON.

Active Gallantry has been sufficiently characterised in the foregoing
pages. It is that form of the Desire to Please which readily merges into
Self-Sacrifice. A man who would never dream of exposing himself to the
slightest danger in his own behalf will, if his sweetheart expresses
admiration of a flower growing near a dangerous precipice, rush to pluck
it with an audacity which may cost him his life. A fatal case of this
sort occurred not long ago on the Hudson River near New York. A man’s
life thrown away for the slight æsthetic gratification to be derived by
his love from the sight and fragrance of a flower!

How frequently, again, do lovers sacrifice their family bonds, the love
of parents and relatives, as well as rank and fortune, for the sake of
the romantic passion!

A mother willingly dies in defence of her offspring’s life. But will
she, like Romeo, drink the apothecary’s poisonous draught over the
corpse of her dead darling? No, herein again Romantic Love is the
deepest of the passions.

_Feminine Devotion._—Self-Sacrifice is one of the traits of Romantic
Love which may remain unaltered and unweakened in conjugal affection.
“Those who have traced the course of the wives of the poor,” says Mr.
Lecky, “and of many who, though in narrowed circumstances, can hardly be
called poor, will probably admit that in no other class do we so often
find entire lives spent in daily persistent self-denial, in the patient
endurance of countless trials, in the ceaseless and deliberate sacrifice
of their own enjoyments to the wellbeing or the prospects of others.”

It is in Wagner’s music-dramas that the modern ideal of feminine
devotion unto death has found its most stirring embodiment. Elizabeth,
having lost her Tannhäuser, thanks to the allurements of Venus, dies of
a broken heart; Senta, realising that only by her self-sacrifice can the
unhappy Dutchman be released from his terrible doom of eternally sailing
the stormy seas until he should find a woman faithful to him unto death,
tears herself away from her family and plunges into the ocean. Isolde
sings her death-song over the body of Tristan; and Brünnhilde immolates
herself on Siegfried’s funeral pyre. Wagner’s theory of the music-drama
was a theory of Love in which each lover sacrifices selfish
idiosyncrasies in order to produce a happy union in marriage.

Mr. Mill, forgetting the difference between masculine maltreatment of
women, and voluntary female self-denial, thought it expedient to sneer
at the exaggerated self-abnegation which is the present artificial ideal
of feminine character; and those unsexed viragoes who wish to “reform”
women by robbing them of all womanly attributes and converting them into
caricatures of masculinity, re-echo Mill’s sneer in shrill chorus.
Women, they shout, must no longer waste their best years in staying at
home, educating their children and taking care of their husbands. These
brutes have been caressed and fondled long enough; the time has come for
women to be manly and independent. Let them take away from men the
employments, of which even now there are not enough for three-fourths of
the men; let them thus drive another 20 per cent of men and women into
celibacy because the men cannot afford any longer to marry. Let the
women strip off their artificial air of domestic refinement by mingling
with the foul-mouthed, tobacco-reeking crowds and making political stump
speeches; or by visiting the loathsome criminals in prisons, treating
them to cakes and flowers and other methods of feminine reform, so that
when set free they may be eager to do something which will bring them
back to their cakes and flowers! The children meanwhile being left at
home in charge of coarse, ignorant, careless servants, copying their
manners, and the husband compelled to seek companionship at the club, or
much worse.

How the selfish husband will wince under this cold neglect and
retaliation—he who never does anything but amuse himself while his wife
toils at home; who never risks his life in war for his wife and
children; who never toils at his desk from morn to night, to earn the
daily bread of all by the sweat of his brow; who never goes to lunatic
asylums from overwork and worry! How sly in man to set up his
“artificial ideal of woman’s self-abnegation,” while he is having such a
good time! But why try to paint in weak prose the hideousness of man’s
selfish conduct, when Shakspere has done it in immortal verse?

           “Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
           Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
           And for thy maintenance commits his body
           To painful labour both by sea and land,
           To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
           Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
           And craves no other tribute at thy hands
           But love, fair looks and true obedience;
           Too little payment for so great a debt.”

There is another very curious aspect of Self-Sacrifice which will be
fully discussed in the chapter on Schopenhauer’s Theory of Love, but
which may be stated here, without comment, that the reader may reflect
on the pessimist’s paradox. Schopenhauer held that Love is based on the
possession by the lovers of traits which mutually complement each other.
In the children these incongruous traits will so neutralise each other
as to produce a harmonious result; but in the life of the parents they
will produce only discords. True love, therefore, as he claims, rarely
results in a happy conjugal life: Love causes the parents to sacrifice
their mutual happiness to the welfare of their offspring.

Meanwhile it may be stated that France offers a curious confirmation of
Schopenhauer’s theory, not noted by himself. Romantic Love, it is well
known, hardly exists in France _as a motive to marriage_, being
systematically suppressed and craftily annihilated. Nevertheless, as
many observers attest, the French commonly lead a happy family life. But
look at the offspring, at the birth-rate, the lowest in Europe; look at
the puny men, at the women, among whom there is hardly a single beauty
in all the land. In a word, whereas Love sacrifices, according to
Schopenhauer, the parents to the children, the French sacrifice the
offspring, and Love itself, to the happiness of the individuals, married
according to motives of personal expediency.

                          EMOTIONAL HYPERBOLE

              “I loved Ophelia: forty thousand brothers
              Could not, with all their quantity of love,
              Make up my sum.”

“It is a strange thing,” says Bacon, “to note the excess of this
passion, and how it braves the nature and value of things by this, that
the _speaking in a perpetual hyperbole_ is comely in nothing but in

It is the nature of all passions to exaggerate: and Love, being of all
passions the most violent, exaggerates the most—more even than Hate,
which alone competes with Love in the power to tinge every object with
the colour of its own spectacles. The lover’s constant sigh is for
something stronger than a superlative; and to the limit between the
sublime and the ridiculous he is absolutely blind. Like Schumann, every
lover calls his Clara “Clarissima,” and of two superlative facts he is
quite certain: That _she_ is the most wonderful being ever created; and
that _his_ passion is the deepest ever felt by mortal.

           “Transparent heretics, be burnt for liars!
           One fairer than my love! The all-seeing sun
           Ne’er saw her match since first the world begun.”

If you try to convince him that others have loved as ardently—and ceased
to love, he will smile a cynical smile and then close his eyes and
declaim melodramatically—

                “And I will luve thee still, my dear,
                Till a’ the seas gang dry—
                Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
                And the rocks melt wi’ the sun.”—BURNS.

In such hyperbolic effusions a lover sees no exaggeration, for they
describe his feelings and convictions precisely as they are.

           “What we mortals call romantic,
           And always envy though we deem it frantic” (BYRON)

is to him bare reality, nothing more. Romeo expresses his real wish for
the moment when he says—

                 “O that I were a glove upon that hand
                 That I might touch that cheek;”

Byron really feels that

             “O, if the streets were paved with thine eyes
             Her feet were much too dainty for such tread.”

And every lover would agree with Coleridge that

                   “Her very frowns are fairer far
                   Than smiles of other maidens are.”

“The air I breathe in a room empty of you is unhealthy,” wrote Keats to
his sweetheart; and Burns, in the sketch of his first love, thus
describes the emotional hyperæsthesia produced by Love: “I didn’t know
myself why the tones of her voice made my heart-strings thrill like an
Æolian harp, and particularly why my pulse beat such a furious rattan
when I looked and fingered over her little hand to pick out the cruel
nettle-stings and thistles.”

This is the true ecstasy of Love—the most delicious and thrilling
emotion of which the human soul is capable. Nor is it necessary to be a
poet to feel it. While in Love even a coarser-grained man “feels the
blood of the violet, the clover, and the lily in his veins” (Emerson).
But if Jealousy rouses him, it is flower-blood no longer that courses in
his veins, nor human blood, but vengeful Spanish wine. It is then that
Love’s intoxication reaches its climax: delirious ecstasy followed by
angry waves of dire despair, rocking and tossing the unhappy victim till
he is pale and sick as death.

Like other drunkards, the Love-intoxicated youth sees and feels
everything double. His darling seems doubly beautiful, and all his joys
and sorrows are doubled in intensity. And, like other drunkards, he
imagines that all the world is drunk and reeling; whereas the rapid
oscillation of surrounding objects between the rosy hue of hope and the
gray cloud of doubt, is all in his own mind.

How this erotic intoxication multiplies the lover’s courage and
confidence in his success! The most insignificant smile raises him over
all obstacles to the summit of his hopes, as easily as a cloud-shadow
climbs a mountain side o’er treetops, rocks, and snowy walls.

How, on her part, it magnifies his heroism, his genius, converting the
most insipid commonplace into an immortal epigram, full of wit and

That Lovers’ Hyperbole is nothing but Love-intoxication shows itself
also in the ludicrous tasks they undertake when under the spell. Who but
a lover would ever attempt to gild refined gold, to paint the lily
white, the sky blue? Who mix up physiology, astronomy, gastronomy, in
such an absurd way as in “sweet-heart,” “honey-moon,” etc.?

And when, during the “honey-moon,” the lover recovers from his
intoxication, how surprised he looks, how he rubs his eyes and wonders
where the deuce he has been! He remembers Ovid’s caution that after wine
every woman seems beautiful; he remembers something about seeing
“Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt.” And the girl by his side—he thought
she _was_ Helen; but now, “really—this is most extraordinary: just look
at that large mouth, and that snub-nose—well, I knew she had it, and
thought I loved her all the more for this imperfection, which proved her
human and not a goddess: yet, by Jove, I almost wish ... in fact, I
_quite_ wish, her mouth was smaller and her nose larger.”

Poor deluded youth! He was taken in by Cupid’s favourite trick of
dazzling a lover with a pair of brown or blue orbs, till he can see
nothing else. For this girl, beyond question, has a pair of eyes which
Venus might envy—mid-ocean-blue, with a dewdrop sparkle, and a
mischievous expression that is more commonly found in brown eyes; and
these deep-blue eyes are framed in with black brows and long black
lashes, without which no eyes are ever perfect, whatever their colour.
It was these expressive orbs, this visible music of the spheres, that
ravished all his senses and made him blind to every other feature of her

Thus we see how Love comes to be blind. One feature—most commonly the
eyes—dazes the victim so completely that all the other features are seen
but vaguely as in a dream; while the imagination is ever busy in
chiselling them into harmony with the fine eyes. And it is only after
marriage, or assured possession, that the other features emerge from
their blurred vagueness, and are found less perfect than the fond
imagination had painted them.

In this eagerness of Love to see only superlative excellence, and its
disposition to imagine a thing perfect if it is not, we get a deep
insight into the mission and _raison d’être_ of this passion. If women
and men would only try to live up to Love’s exalted ideal of personal
perfection—and most persons _could_ be 50 per cent more beautiful, if
they attended to the laws of hygiene and cultivated their minds—what a
lovely planet this would be!

Why have so many of the greatest men of genius been unhappy in their
Love and Marriage? Because they had in their minds the loveliest visions
of possible feminine perfection, but did not find them realised in life.
For a while their pre-eminently strong imaginations helped them to keep
up the illusion; but the truth would out at last; and in the pangs of
disappointment they threw themselves upon the poetic device of
Hyperbole, and tried to console themselves by painting the images of
perfection which did not exist in life.

Love, it is true, is not the only theme which they have embellished with
the ornaments of Hyperbole. A wonderful example of non-erotic Hyperbole
occurs in Macbeth—

            “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
            Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
            The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
            Making the green one red.”

But as a rule the finest specimens of poetic imagery are to be found in
erotic Hyperbole; and it seems most strange that Goldsmith, who had so
deep an insight into Love, does not mention this variety at all in his
essay on Hyperbole.

Love, says Emerson, is “the deification of persons”; and though the
poet, like every other lover, “beholding his maiden, half-knows that she
is not verily that which he worships,” this does not prevent him from
idealising her portrait, and sketching her as he would like to have her.
A few additional specimens of such poetic Hyperbole may fitly close this


                             “She is mine own,
             And I as rich in having such a jewel
             As twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl,
             The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold.”


                 “A honey shower rains from her lips.”


                “O, thou art fairer than the evening air
                Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars.”

And again—

           “Many would praise the sweet smell as she past,
           When ’twas the odour which her breath forth cast;
           And there for honey bees have sought in vain,
           And, beat from thence, have lighted there again.”

Or, as Lamb puts it, lovers sometimes

                         “borrow language of dislike;
                   And instead of ‘dearest Miss,’
                   Jewel, honey, sweetheart, bliss,
                   And those forms of old admiring.
                   Call her cockatrice and siren,
                   Basilisk and all that’s evil,
                   Witch, hyena, mermaid, devil,
                   Ethiop, wench, and blackamoor,
                   Monkey, ape, and twenty more;
                   Friendly traitress, loving foe,—
                   Not that she is truly so,
                   But no other way they know
                   A contentment to express,
                   _Borders so upon excess_,
                   That they do not rightly wot,
                   _Whether it be pain or not_.”

                       MIXED MOODS AND PARADOXES

“That they do not rightly wot, whether it be pain or not.” That is the
keynote of Modern Love.

To a superficial Anakreon, who knows but its rapturous phase, Love is
all honey and moonshine. The celibate Spinoza, too, ignorant of the
agonies of Love, defined it as _lætitia concomitante idea causæ
externæ_—a pleasure accompanied by the idea of its external cause.
Burton, on the other hand, claims Love as “a species of melancholy”; and
Cowley sings—

                   “A mighty pain to love it is,
                   And ’tis a pain that pain to miss;
                   But of all pains the greatest pain
                   It is to love, but love in vain.”

The poets generally have taken a less one-sided view of the matter by
depicting Love under a thousand images, as a mysterious _mixture_ of joy
and sadness, of agony and delight.

So Bailey—

              “The sweetest joy, the wildest woe is love.”


                     “Pains of love be sweeter far
                     Than all other pleasures are.”


                 “Thou bitter sweet, easing disease
                 How dost thou by displeasing please?”


           “Love is ever sick, and yet is never dying;
           Love is ever true, and yet is ever lying;
           Love does doat in liking, and is mad in loathing,
           Love, indeed, is anything, yet indeed is nothing.”


                      “Amidst an ocean of delight
                       For pleasure to be starved.”

                  “’Tis nothing to be plagued in hell
                   But thus in heaven tormented.”


             “To live in hell, and heaven to behold,
             To welcome life, and die a living death,
             To sweat with heat, and yet be freezing cold,
             To grasp at stars, and lie the earth beneath.”


                 “She offereth joy, but bringeth grief;
                  A kiss——where she doth kill.”

                        “Tears kindle sparks.”

                “Her loving looks are murdering darts.”

                  “Like winter rose and summer ice.”

                  “May never was the month of love,
                   For May is full of flowers;
                   But rather April, wet by kind,
                   For love is full of showers.”


         “Good-night, good-night, parting is such sweet sorrow,
         That I shall say good-night till it be morrow.”

           “Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
            Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes;
            Being vex’d, a sea nourished with lovers’ tears;
            What is it else? a madness most discreet,
            A choking gall and a preserving sweet.”

Petrarch’s poems, says Shelley, “are as spells which unseal the inmost
enchanted fountains of the delight which is the grief of love.” In that
part of the _Romance of the Rose_ which was written by Jean de Meung,
and translated by Chaucer, occur many similar phrases depicting Love as
an _emotional paradox_: “Also a sweet hell it is, and a sorrowful
paradise;” “delight right full of heaviness, and drearihood full of
gladness;” “a heavy burden light to bear;” “wise madness,” “despairing
hope,” etc. Mr. Ruskin, who quotes the whole passage in his _Fors
Clavigera_, declares: “I know of no such lovely love-poem as his since

As for Dante, he fully realised the “sweet pain” of Love, as he called
it. As far back as Plato’s _Timæus_ we find that love, as then
understood, was regarded as “a mixture of pleasure and pain.”

“’Tis the pest of love,” sings Keats, “that fairest joys bring most
unrest.” Thackeray speaks of “the delights and tortures, the jealousy
and wakefulness, the longing and raptures, the frantic despair and
elation, attendant upon the passion of love.” But it is superfluous to
cite modern authors, for volumes might be filled with quotations
attesting that Love is neither a simple “lætitia,” as Spinoza defined
it, nor “a species of melancholy,” but a mixture of joy and sadness, of
rapture and woe.

Shakspere’s “_violent sorrow seems a modern ecstasy_” might be adopted
as a general motto for a book on the psychology and history of Love.

Love, it is true, is not the only passion characterised by such a
paradoxical mixture of moods. Thus in _Macbeth_ the sentence, “on the
torture of the mind to lie in restless ecstasy,” does not refer to Love;
and John Fletcher, too, sings in a general way—

                   “There’s naught in this life sweet
                   If man were wise to see’t,
                   But only melancholy,
                   O sweetest Melancholy!”

A German author, Oswald Zimmermann, has even written a volume of almost
two hundred pages, wherein he endeavours to analyse various emotions and
historic phenomena, in which pleasure and pain are intimately
associated. He has chapters on the Beautiful in Art and in Nature, on
Death, on Mysticism, on the ancient festivals of Dionysus and Aphrodite,
on the mediæval flagellants, on lust and cruelty, on various epochs of
modern literature, etc. His book bears the curious title _Die Wonne des
Leids_, because he holds that there is in these phenomena an “Ecstasy of
Woe,” distinct from pleasure and pain, pure and simple, and superior to

Hartmann, the pessimist philosopher, goes a step farther, and claims
that “there is _no_ pleasure which does not contain an element of grief;
and no pain without a tinge of pleasure.” This is obviously an
exaggeration; for what is the element of anguish that enters into the
feelings of a successful lover when he imprints the first kiss on the
lips of the girl who has just promised to be his wife? or what the
element of pleasure in the feelings of a jealous lover the moment he
hears that his rival has won the prize?

Yet, if we except a pleasurable or painful climax, like these,
Hartmann’s maxim may be accepted as approximating the truth, especially
in the case of Love, which, more than any other passion, constantly
changes its moods, so that, from their close proximity, each one cannot
fail to rub off some of its colour on the others. Who but a lover can
experience in one brief second both the thrill of heavenly delight and
the sting of deadly anguish—“Himmelhoch jauchzend zum Tode betrübt,” as
Schiller puts it? A whole lifetime of emotion is crowded into the one
night preceding a lover’s proposal: hope and fear chasing one another
across his weary brain like a Witches’ Sabbath on the Brocken.

One would imagine that the moment when an admirer calls on his girl, to
be fascinated by her smiles and graceful manners, and to be thrilled by
her melodious voice, must be one of unmixed delight and ecstasy. But if
the slightest doubt as to her feelings lurks in his mind, he is much
more apt to be harassed by a peculiar bitter-sweet feeling. Will he make
a good impression on her this time? he will ask himself; has she perhaps
changed, or found another more acceptable admirer, and is she going to
hint as much by her altered manner? These and a hundred other
apprehensions will torture and depress him; so that he will more than
probably lose that “easy manner and gay address” which are such mighty
weapons in winning a woman’s heart.

Nor is the girl, on her part, free from the anguish of doubt. Though her
admirer seems to be truly devoted to her, she has read in the song that
“all men are not gay deceivers,” which somehow seems to imply logically
that most men _are_ gay deceivers. Perhaps, she will muse, he will only
worship me as long as I leave him in absolute doubt as to my feelings;
and subsequently, having gratified his vanity and secured my photograph,
he will place it in his album to show to all his friends as his latest
conquest, and then flit to another flower.

After all, Schopenhauer was right in saying that when we have no great
sorrows the imagination invents small ones which torment us quite as
much as the others. When one sees the peculiar delight lovers take in
teasing and torturing each other, one feels tempted to believe with
Zimmermann that there _is_ “eine Lust am Schmerze”—that pain in itself
contains a gratification, an “ecstasy of woe,” distinct from positive
pleasure itself.

Yet it is hardly necessary to take refuge in such an emotional paradox
in order to account for the value and luxury of Lovers’ Quarrels and all
the various mixed moods of Love. A sufficient explanation is afforded by
the principles of _Contrast_ and emotional _Persistence_.

Owing to the fact that feeling seems to have a regular pulsation or
rhythm, our hours of anguish are always interrupted by intervals of hope
and happy retrospection—as in Chopin’s funeral march, where the gloomy
dirge is interrupted for a time by a delicious melody of happy
reminiscence, like a heavenly voice of consolation. When the nervous
tension has become too great the string breaks and the bow resumes its
straightness and elasticity. Hence it is that an uncertain lover
actually gloats over the anguish of doubt and jealousy: for he has an
instinctive fore-feeling that when the reaction of hope and confidence
will come, he will enjoy an ecstasy of the imagination of which an
always confident love has no conception.

Uninterrupted enjoyment of lovers’ bliss would soon dull the edge of
pleasure, as an unbroken succession of sweet concords in music would
cloy the æsthetic sense. The introduction of discords raises a longing
for their resolution which, if gratified, restores to the concords their
original charm and freshness, and thus prolongs the pleasures of music.
A tourist after spending a month on the top of a Swiss mountain becomes
comparatively indifferent to the scene of which he knows every detail by
heart; but let his peak be hidden in dense clouds for a few days, and he
cannot fail, on emerging again into sunlight, to greet the view with the
same thrill of delight as on the day of his arrival.

It is their constant and unexpected changes from joy to sadness, from
tears to smiles, that constitute the greatest charm of Heine and Chopin
and make them the lyric poet and musician _par excellence_ for lovers.
Either a gladsome rainbow suddenly appears to illumine their lurid
landscape; or, again, “their plenteous joys, wanton in fulness, seek to
hide themselves in drops of sorrow.”

Even the famous

             “For ought that I could ever read,
             Could ever hear by tale or history,
             The course of true love never did run smooth”—

what is it but another way of stating that that Love which has met with
no impediments, in which anguish and delight have not warmed one another
by mutual friction, has never broken out into a conflagration
sufficiently brilliant to be recorded “by tale or history” as a
remarkable specimen of “true love.” It is the plot-interest that
fascinates the reader as well as the lover himself; it is the
impediments and emotional conflicts, the _coyness of fate_, that
constitute the principal charm in a tale of love; and it would take a
very clever novelist to attract readers by an account of a courtship of
which the happy result was a foregone conclusion at every stage.

Thus the magic effect of contrasted emotions suggests why pleasure
alternating with woe in Love is more intense than pleasure
uninterrupted. A mountaineer who has been wading through snowfields all
day up to his knees enjoys the comforts of his slippers, a bright fire,
and a cup of tea in the evening, twice as much as a man who has been all
day at home.

On reflection, however, it seems as if Contrast, far from reducing
things to their first principles, itself needed an explanation. _Why_ is
it that by contrasting two emotions we heighten their colour? A partial
explanation was, indeed, suggested in speaking of discords: anguish
begets desire, and the more intense desire has been, the more lively is
its gratification. A more profound solution of the problem, however, is
found in the fact that feelings have their _echoes_, which continue
sometimes long after the original tone has ceased; and if meantime a new
tone is sounded, it blends with the echo and produces a mixed feeling.

The sense of Temperature affords a simple illustration of this “echo.”
Place two basins before you, one filled with tepid, the other with
ice-cold, water. Put your right hand in the ice-water one minute,
leaving the left in your pocket. Then put both hands into the tepid
water. It will seem still tepid to the left, but quite warm to the right

Some psychologists, however, deny that pleasures and pains ever coalesce
into one feeling—that there is such a thing as a mixed feeling. They
contend that the attention can be fixed on only one feeling at a time,
that the stronger crowds out the weaker, and that it is only their rapid
succession that makes two feelings appear simultaneous, just as a
firebrand swung around rapidly _seems_ to form a fiery circle.

Now it is quite true that the _attention_ can be fixed on only one
feeling at any given moment, and that the stronger crowds out the weaker
so far as the attention is concerned: yet this does not prevent the
prevailing feeling from being affected by the echo of the one which
preceded it. If a man, buried in the labyrinths of a big hotel, is waked
up in the night by cries of fire; though it may prove a false alarm, yet
the effect of the fright will remain with him and cast a gloom over his
whole day’s doings, however pleasant in themselves. And a doubtful
lover’s enjoyment of his sweetheart’s sweetest smiles is often galled by
the remembrance that on the preceding day she smiled just as sweetly on
his odious rival. “For sorrow ends not when it seemeth done,” says

In his admirable _Dissertation on the Passions_, Hume cleverly makes use
of a musical analogy to explain how different emotions may be mixed: “If
we consider the human mind, we shall observe that, with regard to the
passions, it is not like a wind-instrument of music, which, in running
over all the notes, immediately loses the sound when the breath ceases;
but rather resembles a string-instrument, where, after each stroke, the
vibrations still retain some sound which gradually and insensibly
decays. The imagination is extremely quick and agile, but the passions
in comparison are slow and restive; for which reason, when any object is
presented which affords a variety of views to the one and emotions to
the other, though the fancy may change its views with great celerity,
each stroke will not produce a clear and distinct note of passion, but
the one passion will always be mixt and confounded with the other.”

_Lunatic, Lover, and Poet._—A still better analogy of the manner in
which one feeling may be modified by another is furnished by the optical
phenomenon of after-images. If we gaze very steadily for half a minute
at a green wafer and then at a sheet of white paper, we see on it a
_purple_ image of the wafer; purple being the complementary colour of
green, _i.e._ the colour which, if mixed with green, produces white. The
reason of this phenomenon is that, after looking at the green wafer, the
nervous fibres in the eye which perceive that colour have become so
fatigued that the fainter green waves in the white paper fail to make
any perceptible impression on them; so that purple alone prevails for
the moment. So to the infatuated swain who has been tortured by the
green-eyed monster, Jealousy, the moment of remission, which would else
be one of neutral indifference, assumes the hue of rosy hope and
positive delight. Hours which to sober mortals would seem perfect blanks
are thus to him full of intense feeling, simply because they are
rebounds from a state of extreme tension in the opposite direction. He
might be likened to a schoolboy whose sleigh is carried across the
frozen river by its downward impetus and even ascends the hill on the
other side some distance before it stops. Hence, like the madman and the
man of genius, the amorous swain is always either down in a fit of
melancholy, or in an exalted ecstasy of joy, rapidly alternating and
weirdly intermingled—

                 “The lunatic, the lover, and the poet,
                 Are of imagination all compact.”

Now poets are proverbially melancholy; and madmen, as Professor
Krafft-Ebing tells us, are also more commonly tortured by depressing
delusions than elated by pleasant ones. Hence, if the poet’s maxim, just
quoted, be true, we should expect the lover’s prevailing cast of mind to
be melancholy too; and so it is. Though he enjoys moments of delirious
rapture, to which sober mortals are utter strangers, yet his misgivings
are incessant, even when he is almost certain of success: and it takes
but little to poison his cup; for, as Professor Volkmann remarks, “one
drop of anguish suffices to gall a whole ocean of joy.” So the lover
becomes “pale and interesting,” loses weight and appetite, and sighs
away his soul. Were this emotional fermenting process allowed to last
too long, his health would suffer seriously: but fortunately it
ordinarily ceases in a year or so, yielding a wine which, though less
sparkling and ebullient, is more mellow and less intoxicating. Romantic
Love, in other words, is metamorphosed into conjugal affection which,
among other attributes of Love, strips off its characteristic trait of
melancholy, whereby it is easily distinguished from all other forms of
affection. Before, however, we can pass on to consider in detail the
differences between Romantic and Conjugal Love, the two remaining
ingredients of Romantic Love—Individual Preference and Personal
Beauty—must be briefly considered.

                         INDIVIDUAL PREFERENCE

It happens occasionally, in the Western regions of the United States,
that an Indian brave casts his eyes on a buxom pale-face girl and
desires her in marriage. He offers her parents two ponies for her; he
offers three, five, and even seven ponies; and when still refused he is
the most mystified man in the world: cannot understand how any man can
be so egregiously stupid or avaricious as to refuse his daughter for
_seven_ ponies! Ugh!!

It is needless to recapitulate the numerous instances cited in preceding
pages, showing that throughout the world, until within a few centuries,
Romantic Love could not exist because the girl’s choice, on the one
hand, was utterly ignored, while the man, on the other, was equally
prevented, by the lack of opportunities for courtship, from basing his
choice on a real knowledge of the selected bride. The parents who did
the selecting, always for the bride, and sometimes even for the
bridegroom, were guided in their choice by money and rank and not by
Health and Beauty, which inspire Love and follow as its fruits. The
history of Love, till within three or four centuries ago, might, in
short, be summed up in six words: No Choice, no Love, no Beauty—except
in those rare cases where special hygienic advantages prevailed, or
where lucky chance brought together a youth and a maiden who in the
ordinary course of events would have fallen in Love with one another.

There is reason to believe, however, that even if in the early ages of
the world the young had been allowed greater freedom in choosing a
lover, Romantic Love, in its more ardent phases, would not have
flourished to any great extent among primitive, ancient, and mediæval
nations: for the reason that Love depends on Individualisation, and our
remote ancestors were not so diversely individualised as we are.

_Sexual Divergence._—Comparative ethnology, psychology, and biology show
that specialisation is a product of higher evolution, _i.e._ that
individual traits are developed in proportion as we proceed higher in
the scale of life, physical and intellectual. It is true there are no
two flowers in the fields, no two leaves in a forest, exactly alike in
every detail: but the differences are infinitesimal, and almost require
a microscope to see them. It is also true that the sheep in a flock,
which appear almost alike to a casual observer, are individually known
to the shepherd. _Possibly_ a sharp-sighted and patient naturalist might
live to distinguish himself by distinguishing the individuals in a swarm
of bees, or a caravan of ants: but this would be counted little short of
a miracle.

Furthermore, ordinary observers find it almost as difficult to
distinguish individuals in a crowd of Chinese, Negroes, or Indians, as
in a bee-hive. Closer acquaintance does reveal differences: but they are
rarely so great as those between individuals in civilised communities.
And in these civilised communities themselves we find greater
differences, sexual differences pre-eminently, the higher we ascend.
Between a peasant and his wife the difference, both physical and mental,
is surely not half so great as that between a lawyer and his wife, a
physician or professor and his wife. “The lower the state of culture,”
says Professor Carl Vogt, “the more similar are the occupations of the
two sexes;” and similarity of occupation entails similarity of attitude,
expression, and mental habits. Mr. Higginson’s notion that civilisation
tends to make the sexes more and more alike is true only as regards
legal rights and social privileges; regarding their mental traits and
physical appearance exactly the reverse is true. The peasant’s wife may
have a tender heart for him and her children, but her domestic drudgery
and hard labour in the fields make her features, her voice, and manners
harsh and masculine. And who has not read a hundred times that the
Indian squaws look quite as stern, stolid, unemotional, and masculine as
their husbands?

That the ancient Greeks, though they may have possessed it, had but
little regard for Individuality is shown especially in their sculpture,
and in the fact that with them even marriage was considered less a
private than a social matter. Lycurgus, Solon, and Plato agreed in
viewing marriage as “a matter in which the state had a right to
interfere;” and for the purpose of providing the state with legitimate
citizens, it was therefore regarded as obligatory. The absence of
emotional expression in Greek statues equally shows their indifference
to Individualisation and their ignorance of Love: for Love is inspired
not so much by regularity of features as by fascinating variety of
emotional expression.

Thus the absence or disregard of individual traits among ancient nations
helps, like the absence of individual Choice, to account for the absence
of Romantic Love, the very essence of which—as distinguished from mere
sexual passion—is the insistance on individual traits and the mutual
adaptation of the lovers.

What sublime—or ridiculous—extremes, this absorption in individual
traits reaches in Modern Love, no one need be told. Not only does the
lover consider his maiden’s frowns more beautiful than other maidens’
smiles, but he longs to kiss the floor on which she has walked; and
every ribbon that has clasped her waist, every jewel that has touched
her ear or neck, becomes charged with a subtle and mysterious electric
current that would shock him with a thrill of recognition should his
fingers come in contact with them on a table, even in a dark room.

_Making Women Masculine._—Nothing proves so irrefutably the hopelessness
of the task undertaken by a few “strong-minded” women—namely, to
equalise the sexes by making women more masculine—than the fact thus
revealed by anthropology and history: that the tendency of civilisation
has been to make men and women more and more unlike, physically and
emotionally. Whatever approximation there may have been has been
entirely on the part of the men, who have become less coarse or “manly,”
in the old acceptation of that term, and more femininely refined; while
women have endeavoured to maintain the old distance by a corresponding
increase of refinement on their part. Should the Woman’s Rights viragoes
ever succeed in establishing their social ideal, when women will share
all the men’s privileges, make stump speeches, and—of course—go back to
the harvest fields and to war with them—then good-bye, Romantic Love!
But there is no danger that these Amazons will ever carry their point.
They might as well try to convince women to wear beards; or men,

Were any further proof needed that the sexes have been continually
diverging instead of converging, it would be found in the fact that the
young of both sexes are more alike than adults: in accordance with the
law that the individual goes through the same stages of development as
the race. And there are embryological facts which indicate even that
there is some truth in the Platonic myth that the sexes at first were
not separated; but that such separation took place probably for three
reasons: to secure a division of labour; to prevent the full hereditary
transmission of injurious qualities; and, thirdly, to secure the
benefits of cross-fertilisation,—a result which in the higher spheres of
human life is attained through Love, which is based on opposite or
complementary qualities, and scorns near relationship.

_Love and Culture._—The dependence of Love on Individualisation, and the
dependence of Individualisation, in turn, on Culture, help us also to
explain an apparent difficulty regarding the non-existence of Love among
the lower classes in ancient Greece and elsewhere. For these classes
were not subjected to the same chaperonage as the higher circles: and it
might be inferred therefore that the possibility of free Choice must
have led to real love-matches. Perhaps it did in those rare cases where
culture had sent a rootlet down into a lower social stratum. But as a
rule one would have looked in vain among the lower classes—as one does
to-day, despite poetic fiction—for minds sufficiently refined to
comprehend and feel the highly-complex and idealised group of emotions
which constitute Romantic Love. Of course it would be absurd to include
in this statement people of refinement who through misfortune have been
plunged into abject poverty. They do not belong to the “Great
Unwashed”—ὁἱ πολλοί.

When Stendhal asserts that in France Love exists only in the lower
classes, while Max Nordau states that in Germany it is to be found in
the higher classes only, they are probably both right—allowance being
made for rare exceptions. What Love _does_ exist in France—and it is
preciously scarce—cannot possibly prevail except among the working
people; and in Germany among the corresponding class it must be equally
scarce, whereas in the middle and higher classes, where chaperonage is
not nearly so strict and idiotic as in France, Cupid does contrive to
find an occasional target for his arrows.

                            PERSONAL BEAUTY

Fanny Brawne having complained to Keats that he seemed to ignore all her
other qualities and have eyes for her beauty alone, Keats thus justified
himself: “Why may I not speak of your beauty, since without that I could
never have loved you? I cannot conceive any beginning of such love as I
have for you but beauty. There may be a sort of love for which, without
the least sneer at it, I have the highest respect, and can admire it in
others: but it has not the richness, the bloom, the full form, the
enchantment of love after my own heart.”

Fanny Brawne is not the only girl who has thus complained to her lover
about his exclusive emphasising of her Personal Beauty. But all such
complaints are useless. In Modern Love the Admiration of Personal Beauty
is by far the strongest of all ingredients, and is becoming more so
every year: fortunately, for thereby Romantic Love is becoming more and
more idealised and converted into a pure æsthetic sentiment. Goldsmith,
indeed, laid stress on the virtue of choosing a wife on the same
principle that guided her in choosing a wedding-ring—for qualities that
will wear. But Personal Beauty _does_ wear, with proper hygienic care.

_Feminine Beauty in Masculine Eyes._—In masculine Love, regard for
youthful feminine Beauty has always played a _rôle_ more or less
important. But the effects of this kind of sexual selection in the lower
races in increasing the amount of physical beauty in the world, have
been commonly neutralised by the crude æsthetic notions prevailing among
men as to what constituted feminine beauty. The weakness of the æsthetic
overtone in Love, moreover, has hitherto prevented it from competing
successfully with other marriage-motives. On the continent of Europe, to
this day, the ugliest girl with a dowry of a few thousands is sure to
find a husband and transmit her bodily and his mental ugliness to her
offspring; while girls who could transmit a considerable amount of
beauty, physical and mental, to their children, are left to fade away as
old maids, because they have no money.

In this respect America sets a noble example to most parts of Europe.
Thousands of young Americans marry penniless beauties every year,
although they might have rich ugly girls for the asking. This is one of
the things Frenchmen and Germans cannot understand, and class as
“Americanisms.” And then they wonder why it is that there are so many
pretty girls in Canada and the United States. Another “Americanism,”
gentlemen. These pretty girls are the issue of Love-matches. Their
mothers were selected for their Beauty, not for money or rank.

Not but that there are numerous exceptions to this golden rule of Love.
Were there not, ugly women would be scarcer than they are, even in

_Masculine Beauty in Feminine Eyes._—In woman’s Love the admiration of
Personal Beauty has played a much less significant _rôle_ than in man’s
Love. If, nevertheless, the average man in most countries is perhaps a
better specimen of masculine Beauty than the average woman of feminine
Beauty, this is owing to the facts that sons as well as daughters may
inherit their mother’s beauty, and that men, leading a more active and
athletic life, are more beautiful than women in proportion as they are
more healthy.

In the past barbarous times the constant wars and the unsettled state of
social affairs made it important for women to select men not for their
beauty, but for their energy, courage, and manly prowess. Desdemona
falls in Love with the Moor despite his colour and ugliness; and why?
Othello himself tells us—

              “She loved me for the dangers I had passed,
              And I loved her that she did pity them.”

And it is on beholding Orlando vanquishing the Duke’s wrestler that
Rosalind falls in Love with him. As Celia remarks: “Young Orlando, that
tripped up the wrestler’s heels and your heart, both in an instant.”

Women are conservative; and in the ludicrous feminine eagerness to make
immortal heroes of the ephemeral victors in a boat-race or baseball
match, we see an echo, in these peaceful days, of a feminine trait
imprinted on them in warlike times.

Intellectual supereminence, in the meantime, was ignored by women.
Petrarch’s verses made no impression on Laura, and Dante could not even
win Beatrice with such poetic beauties as these lines—

           “Whatever her sweet eyes are turned upon,
           Spirits of Love do issue thence in flame,
           Which through their eyes who then may look on them
           Pierce to the heart’s deep chamber every one.
           And in her smile Love’s image you may see
           Whence none can gaze upon her steadfastly.”

There is, however, already a large class of superior women who have
discovered that brains have displaced muscle in the successful struggle
for existence, and that strong nerves are the true storage-batteries of
courage and vigour in modern life. Hence the homage paid to men of

In regard to masculine Beauty a change likewise has come over the
feminine mind. Fashionable young ladies appear, indeed, to be as
exacting in the matter of what they consider Personal Beauty as their
beaux are. A barber’s pet is their pet, even as the fashionable man’s
ideal of femininity is a milliner’s model. There can be hardly any doubt
that this is an improvement on the taste of those savages who prefer
their women black, with thick lips, flat noses, and tattooed, or smeared
with a half-inch coat of paint.

Says a writer in the _London Magazine_ (1823): “The pale poet, whose
works enchant us all, is nobody in the park: with his shrunk cheeks and
spindle legs, he sneaks along as little noticed as a fly; while a
thousand fond eyes are fixed on the gay and handsome apprentice there,
with just enough intellect to make the clothes which make him.”

Serves the pale poet quite right. His genius does not give him any right
to neglect his health, or to allow the tailor’s apprentice to surpass
him in attention to his personal appearance. _Génie oblige._ And whether
geniuses or not, men should pay just as much attention to their dress
and personal attractiveness as women.

A convincing illustration of my thesis that Personal Beauty is to-day a
more important factor in woman’s Love than formerly, is afforded by the
circumstance that formerly Love had the effect of making a man neglect
his beard, and hands, and clothes, and indulge in general slovenliness,
as we see in Rosalind’s summary of the symptoms of masculine Love, as
well as in various passages in Cervantes and other authors; whereas
to-day it is just the reverse, as noted under the head of Gallantry. It
is most amusing to watch a man smitten with sudden passion: how
carefully he adjusts his cravat, curls his moustache, brushes his hat
and boots, polishes his finger-nails, removes spots from his coat,
regards himself in the mirror, and—wishes he were a millionaire.

So much for the general relations between Love and Beauty. It now
remains to consider in detail what peculiarities of personal appearance
are and have been specially favoured by Love. This involves an
æsthetico-anatomical analysis of every part of the human body from toe
to top. To this analysis almost one half of this work will be
devoted—showing the preponderating importance of Personal Beauty over
the other factors in Modern Love. But before proceeding to this pleasant
task it will be well, for the sake of continuity, to discuss the
remaining aspects of Modern Love: how it differs from conjugal
affection; how men of genius behave when in Love; what are the
peculiarities of the physical expression of Love in features and
actions; how Love maybe won and cured; and how the leading modern
nations differ in their amorous peculiarities. A consideration of
Schopenhauer’s theory of Love will then naturally lead us to the second
part of this treatise, in which Personal Beauty alone will form our


Perhaps the main reason why no one has anticipated me in writing a book
showing that Love is an exclusively modern sentiment, and tracing its
gradual development, is because no distinction has been commonly made
between Romantic Love and Conjugal Affection, though they differ as
widely as maternal love and friendship. The occurrence of noble examples
of conjugal attachment as far back as Homer has obscured the fact that
pre-nuptial or Romantic Love is almost as modern as the telegraph, the
railway, and the electric light.

Two thousand and four hundred years ago the Greek philosopher Empedokles
taught that there are four elements—fire, air, water, earth—which remain
unchanged amid all combinations. Chemistry has long since shown that
these supposed elements are compounds, and that the number of real
elements is much larger.

In a similar way the tender or family emotions have been gradually
distinguished from one another. Among the ancient Greeks φιλότης meant
both friendship and sexual love, which, as we have seen, they strangely
confounded, both in theory and in practice. To-day we distinguish not
only between friendship and sexual love, but between the two phases of
sexual love—Romantic and Conjugal Affection—the former of which was
unknown to the Greeks. We do this not only because, as in the case of
the chemical elements, our knowledge has become more precise and subtle,
but because these emotions have been gradually developed, and have
assumed different characteristics, so that it would be difficult at
present to mistake one for the other.

As regards the difference between Conjugal and Romantic Love, however,
the current conceptions are not yet so clear and definite; many good
folks being, in fact, inclined to frown upon the suggestion that there
is any such difference. Yet it is useless for them to endeavour, with
well-meant hypocrisy, to impress upon the young the notion that Love is
unchangeable, since no one who keeps his eyes open can help noticing how
differently married couples behave from lovers. In marriage the dazzling
blue flame of Romantic Love gradually grows smaller and dies away. But
the coals may retain their glow and perchance keep the heart warmer than
the former flickering flames of Love.

There is, indeed, a great moral advantage to be gained by frankly
acknowledging that Love undergoes a metamorphosis in wedlock. It _breaks
the sting of cynicism_. For if we are told that “marriage is the sunset
of love,” or that “the only sure cure for love is marriage,” we may
calmly retort, “What of it?” When the romantic passion subsides, its
place is taken by another group of emotions, equally noble and conducive
to the welfare of society. It is not an annihilation of anything, but
simply a change: losing some pleasures, but gaining others in their
place; getting rid of some pains to be burdened with others. Love’s
metamorphosis into conjugal affection is like that of a wild rose into
its red berry. Though less fragrant and lovely than the rose, the berry
is almost as warm in colour, endures longer, and brings forth fresh
plants to adorn future seasons.

Similes, however, are not arguments; and it behoves us therefore, for
the benefit of bachelors and old maids, and of married folks who never
were in love, to point out definitely wherein conjugal differs from
Romantic Love; which at the same time will explain why conjugal
affection was able to exist so many centuries before Romantic Love.

In preceding pages a fragmentary attempt has been made to characterise
Love, and to show how its growth was impeded through the inferior social
and intellectual status of women and the absolute chaperonage of the
young. Maidens and youths had no opportunity to meet and become
acquainted. Barter, and considerations of rank and expediency, took the
place of affection, and parental authority that of individual choice.
There was no prolonged courtship, hence no jealousy of rivals, no female
coyness and coquetry, no alternating hopes and doubts, no monopoly of
mutual admiration, no ecstatic adoration, sympathetic sharing of lovers’
joys and griefs, or pride of conquest and possession.

Conjugal affection, on the other hand, was much less retarded in its
growth by such artificial arrangements, the outcome of strong man’s
brutal selfishness. Polygamy was the chief impediment; but as soon as
woman became sufficiently “emancipated” to claim a husband of her own,
the soil was ready for the growth of conjugal affection. In its early
stages this form of affection must have been much more crude and simple
than it is in modern society. In most instances it was probably little
more than a mere superficial attachment, growing out of the habit of
living together for some time; the husband being attached to his wife on
account of the domestic comforts and ease she provided for him, and the
wife to the husband very much as a dog is to his master, who, though
cruel, yet takes care of and feeds him.

How crudely utilitarian the conjugal bond is among primitive men may be
inferred from Mr. Wallace’s remarks already quoted as to the motives
which guide the maidens of certain Amazon-valley tribes in choosing
their husbands. There is, he says, “a trial of skill at shooting with
the bow and arrow, and if the young man does not show himself a good
marksman, the girl refuses him, on the ground that he will not be able
to shoot fish and game enough for the family.”

With the ancient “classical” nations there were, unless the poets have
strongly idealised their characters, examples of conjugal affection
hardly differing from the most refined modern instances. Owing to the
then prevalent contempt for the female mind, however, such cases cannot
be accepted as fair samples of the “general article”; and they only
allow us to infer that, as with Love and with genius, so with conjugal
affection, there were some early perfect instances anticipating by many
centuries the general course of emotional evolution.

In the dark and warlike mediæval ages Conjugal Love, on the woman’s
side, was apparently little more, as a rule, than a sense of devotion to
her husband based on her need of protection against barbarous enemies;
and what it was on the husband’s side may be inferred from his stern and
often tyrannic rule in his own house, which was calculated to breed in
his wife and children fear but neither conjugal nor filial affection.

In modern Conjugal Affection the elements are as diverse and as
variously intermingled as in Love, if not more so; and it would be as
difficult to find two cases of conjugal love exactly alike as two human
faces, or two leaves in a forest. One man cherishes his wife chiefly on
account of the home comfort she provides—the neat and tasteful domestic
interior, the well-cooked dinners, the economic attention to household
affairs, etc. Another man’s pride in his spouse is based on her
conversational skill, her diplomatic art of asserting her place among
the upper ten in society, and of adorning her drawing-rooms with the
presence of prominent people of the day. A third husband loves his wife
for her artistic accomplishments or her personal charms. Still another,
an author, is devoted to his spouse because she cleverly assists his
labours by criticism and suggestion, and still more because she takes
such a sympathetic interest in his creations, and _really_ thinks that
no one since Shakspere has written like her own dear Adolphus.

These and a thousand like circumstances, with their attendant feelings,
enter into the highly complex group of emotions subsumed under the name
of Conjugal Love. Yet, since any one of these feelings may be absent
without extinguishing Conjugal Affection, they cannot be regarded as its
essentials or framework, but only as colouring material.

Nor is that which is commonly regarded as the strongest of all cements
between husband and wife—the common love of their children—to be
accepted as the essence of conjugal love. For childless couples present
many of the most remarkable cases of devotion, while in many other cases
the children not only fail to rekindle the torch of love, but even
arouse jealousies and ill-feeling between their parents by showing a
special preference for one or the other. Nevertheless, though not
absolutely essential to conjugal love, the common parental feeling is
one of its most important and constant ingredients; and there is none of
its tributaries which adds more to the deep current of connubial bliss.
It enables the parents to enjoy once more the simple pleasures of life,
to which they had grown callous; it brings back the peculiarly delicious
memories of their own childhood and youth; enables the father to
discover his former sweetheart renewed in his daughter, and the mother
her former lover in her son; while their common pride in the beauty or
accomplishments of the children supplies them with a never-failing topic
of conversation and source of sympathy.

And this suggests what must be regarded as the real kernel of conjugal
attachment—a perennial mutual sympathy regarding not only the affairs of
their children but every other domestic affair—in other words, a
complete and _necessary_ harmony of feelings and interests. The accent
rests on the word _necessary_; for it is this feeling of necessary
communion of interests that distinguishes conjugal affection from Love
and from friendship, in both of which there is a mutual sympathy, but
not so far-reaching and inevitable. A lover’s fame or disgrace may be
keenly felt by his sweetheart or his friend, yet society does not
associate them with the other’s reputation or disgrace; and if the
infamy is too great, they can easily sever their bond, without leaving a
spot on their own good name. Not so with husband and wife. His promotion
is her honour, and his fall her humiliation; for they are inseparably
associated in the public mind, and cannot be parted except through
divorce, which is equivalent to social suicide. Therefore theirs is “one
glory an’ one shame,” and their destiny to “share each other’s gladness
and weep each other’s tears.”

To make this matrimonial harmony complete, it is necessary that there
should be a real sense of companionship, _i.e._ common tastes and topics
of conversation. “Unlikeness may attract,” says Mill, “but it is
likeness which retains; and in proportion to the likeness is the
suitability of the individuals to give each other a happy life.” The
opposite qualities by which lovers are often attracted are chiefly of a
physical nature. Where the mental differences are great—where he, for
instance, is fond of books and music, while she wishes his books and his
piano in Siberia; or she fond of parties, pictures, and theatres, and he
bored to death by them: in such cases genuine Romantic Love cannot
survive a few weeks of constant companionship, and hopes of nuptial
bliss must end in disappointment.

                        ROMANCE IN CONJUGAL LOVE

Horwicz places the essence of Conjugal Love in the feeling of being
indissolubly united; and this agrees substantially with our conclusion
that it lies in a necessary mutual Sympathy concerning every affair of
vital interest. Now if this _obligato_ Sympathy is facilitated by a
communion of tastes, as just suggested, there is no reason why conjugal
life should not retain some of the other elements which constitute the
charm of Romantic Love. Novelists and dramatists will perhaps continue
to avoid wedded life as a theme because it lacks the plot-interest, the
uncertainty, and the consequent Mixed Moods of pre-nuptial Love.
Emotional Hyperbole, too, will rarely survive the honeymoon, for, as
Addison remarks, “When a man becomes familiar with his goddess, she
quickly sinks into a woman.” Yet a woman, too, is not such a bad thing
after all, if you know how to manage her. Jealousy is a trait of
Romantic Love that is only too apt to survive in marriage. By a
judicious use of its sting a neglected wife can bring her husband back
to her feet. But it is a double-edged tool, dangerous to toy with. The
Pride of Conquest becomes changed into Pride of Possession or a vain
feeling of Proprietorship, which will continue so long as the husband or
the wife retains those self-sacrificing qualities which distinguished
them during Courtship—which, however, rarely happens. Where possession
is assured and sanctioned by law, Coyness is of course out of the
question; yet a clever woman can by a judicious adaptation of the arts
of Flirtation do much to keep alive the glowing coals of former romantic
passion. All she has to do is to devise some novel methods of
fascinating the husband, and then keep him at a distance till he resumes
the tricks of devoted Gallantry which had once made him such an
acceptable lover.

It is the growing indifference to Gallantry, to the Desire to Please,
active and passive, that is responsible for the usual absence of romance
in conjugal life. And there seems to be a general ungallant consensus
among writers, masculine and feminine, that women are more responsible
for this state of affairs than men. “The reason,” says Swift, “why so
few marriages are happy, is because young ladies spend their time in
making nets, not in making cages.” Young ladies have, no doubt, greatly
improved since the days of Swift; but in the vast majority of cases
their device still is to learn a few superficial tricks of “culture,”
and to practise the art of personal adornment, until they have caught a
husband, and then to bid good-bye to all music, and art, and study, and
improvement of the mind, as well as to the “bother” of attending to
Personal Beauty while the husband _only_ is about. As if it were not a
thousand times more important to retain the husband’s romantic adoration
and Gallantry, originally based on that beauty, than to enjoy the
momentary admiration of a third person!

On this topic the German poet Bodenstedt has some remarks which show
that, after all, the excessive Oriental Jealousy which forbids women to
appear unveiled in public rests on a basis of common sense:—

“Just as it is possible to trace most absurdities to an originally quite
reasonable idea, so not a few things may be said in favour of the
Oriental custom which allows women to adorn themselves only for their
husband, and to unveil their face only before him, while outside of the
house it is their duty to appear veiled and in as unattractive a costume
as possible. With us, it is well known, the opposite is true: at home
the women devote little attention to their toilet, and only adorn
themselves when they have company or go out visiting; in one word, they
display their charms and their finery more to please others than their
own husband,” etc.

Surely no one wishes our women to reserve their charms exclusively for
their husbands. On the contrary, such a proceeding would be considered
quite as unreasonable and selfish as to lock up a Titian or a Murillo in
a room accessible to a single person only; but certainly the husband
should not be entirely overlooked in his wife’s Desire to Please by her
Personal Beauty. His Pride on seeing others admire her does not alone
suffice to prolong his romantic adoration. Don’t be too sure, Amanda,
that your husband is yours because you are married. He is yours in Law,
but not in Love, unless you preserve your personal charms in his

The fact that, whereas in Romantic Love men are superior to women; in
conjugal life, on the other hand, woman’s love is commonly much deeper
and more lasting than man’s, indicates in itself that marriages are made
or marred by women. (For the sake of the lovely alliteration some
writers would have said—against their conscience—that “marriages are
made or marred by men;” but alliteration will have to be ignored in this
place in favour of facts.) Before marriage, women are more beautiful and
fascinating than men, wherefore men love them more ardently than _they_
love the men. After marriage, it is the men who grow more beautiful,
more manly, in body as well as in mind; hence it is but natural that
their wives should love them more and more. So would wives be loved more
and more if they did not so soon after thirty lose their physical
charms, without trying, by reading books or at least the newspapers, to
make themselves intellectual companions of their husbands, able to
converse interestingly on various topics.

The old excuse that motherhood inevitably lessens woman’s charms is all
nonsense. Married women at thirty are almost always handsomer than old
maids of thirty. Women grow stout and clumsy, or thin and faded so soon,
not because they are mothers, but because they are indifferent to the
laws of health; because they refuse to go out to get fresh air and
exercise, which would preserve the freshness of their complexion, the
graceful contours of their bodies, and the elasticity of their gait. The
morbid fondness for a hot-house atmosphere, and the horror of fresh air,
draughts, and vigorous exercise, have done more to shorten man’s Love
and woman’s Beauty than all other causes combined. _The road to lasting
Love is paved with lasting Beauty._

Inasmuch as Conjugal Affection was not—as might be naturally
supposed—historically developed from Romantic Love, since it existed
long before Romantic Love, the peculiarities of this later passion are
not normally present in Conjugal Love. To what extent, however, they can
be smuggled in, has just been shown; and it is one of the great social
tasks of the future to make Conjugal and Romantic Love as much alike as
possible: not by making the poetry of romance more prosaic, but by
making the prose of conjugal life more poetic. But so long as Romantic
Love is discouraged, Conjugal Affection, too, will of course be unable
to borrow its unique charms. Hence an additional reason for facilitating
the opportunities for Courtship and prolonging its duration.


The number of parents who believe that their infallible wisdom is a
better guide matrimonial than their daughters’ choice inspired by Love,
is still so large that it is worth while to add a few words in the hope
of removing this obstacle to the universal rule of Cupid. Let Mrs.
Lynn-Linton be their spokeswoman. “If it seems a horrible thing,” she
says, in _The Girl of the Period_, “to marry a young girl without her
consent, or without any more knowledge of the man with whom she is to
pass her life than can be got by seeing him once or twice in formal
family conclave, it seems quite as bad to let our women roam about the
world at the age when their instincts are strongest and their reason
weakest—open to the flatteries of fools and fops—the prey of professed
lady-killers—objects of loverlike attentions by men who mean absolutely
nothing but the amusement of making love—the subjects for erotic
anatomists to study at their pleasure. Who among our girls after twenty
carries an absolutely untouched heart to the man she marries?”

No doubt there is force in these remarks: but they do not apply to the
Girl of the Period. They apply only to the girl brought up on the old
system of being left in complete ignorance regarding man and his wicked
ways of heartless and meaningless flattery. But modern girls are not
such fools as some people would think them. _Tell them_ that men are
only amusing themselves; a hint will suffice: and the man who imagines
himself a “lady-killer” will suddenly find himself a victim of
counter-flirtation and a butt of feminine sarcasm.

Tell girls, furthermore, not that every man loves his wife, but that
many hate and maltreat their unfortunate spouse. This will make them
cautious. Tell them that Love is not an absolute but a _tentative_
passion, and that they must not yield to the first apparent symptoms and
throw their hearts away frivolously. Tell them, above all, that men who
are extremely gallant and complimentary, _without being in the least
embarrassed_, are always insincere and sometimes dangerous: because a
man who is truly in Love is always embarrassed. Tell them a few more
such pessimistic truths about men, instead of allowing them to perish
through optimistic ignorance, and the objections against free choice
urged by Mrs. Lynn-Linton will vanish like vapour in sunlight. English
and American girls are quite able to take care of themselves, because
they are allowed to read all sorts of books, and therefore to know the
world as it is. And if any one says that such knowledge has rendered
English and American girls less delicate, less sweet and pure, than
French and German hothouse buds, he utters an unmitigated falsehood.

Advocates of so-called “wisdom” marriages are fond of pointing out cases
of unhappy married life, based originally on free Choice. But free
Choice by no means always implies Love. Its motives are often pecuniary,
or social; and in these cases the marriage actually comes under the head
of “wisdom marriages,” whose champions are thus boxing their own ears.
Besides, we must remember Byron’s words, that “many a man thinks he
marries by choice who only marries by accident.” If a man marries his
Rosaline before he has met his Juliet, he has only himself or his bad
luck to blame, not Love.

The frequency with which runaway “love-matches” end unhappily, is
adduced as another argument in favour of wisdom marriages. Two things
are here forgotten: that in nineteen runaway matches out of twenty, the
predominant passion is frivolity, not Love; and that quite a
considerable proportion of unions not preceded by an elopement end
unhappily; but being less romantic they are not so much talked about.

“Wisdom” marriages based on parental choice are those which have
prevailed in the past: and we have seen how beautifully they coincided
with woman’s degradation, ignorance, and social debasement.

Wisdom marriages are incompatible with Courtship, which becomes a
superfluous preliminary to marriage. Modern methods of Courtship and
engagement ordinarily prolong this period to about a year or two. This
is the honeymoon, not of marriage, but of life itself, the time when
earth is a paradise. During these two years the soul makes more progress
in refinement, maturity, and insight than during any other _decade_ of
life. Shall all this happiness, all this refining influence, be thrown
away with Love?

Compatibility of temper is the most important of all prerequisites to a
happy marriage. Should Love be allowed to find out during Courtship if
there is such a compatibility, before it is too late, or shall the
inadequate judgment of parents unite two souls with as much mutual
affinity as oil and water?

Self-sacrifice for their children is considered the noblest of parental
traits. Were Schopenhauer right in claiming that in Love-matches the
parents sacrifice their individual happiness to the wellbeing of their
children—would not this be an additional motive for abhorring wisdom
marriages, in which the interests of the parents alone are consulted?

                             MARRIAGE HINTS

It would be foolish to deny, on the other hand, that Reason should be
consulted as much as possible as long as Love allows it to have the
floor for a moment. Thus men might, before it is too late, have an eye
to Benjamin Franklin’s advice in regard to large families and the age of

Mr. F. W. Holland of Boston has collected some statistics concerning
which Mr. Galton says, “One of his conclusions was that morality is more
often found among members of large families than among those of small
ones. It is reasonable to expect this would be the case, owing to the
internal discipline among members of large families, and to the
wholesome sustaining and restraining effects of family pride and family
criticism. Members of small families are apt to be selfish, and when the
smallness of the family is due to the deaths of many of its members at
early ages, it is some evidence either of weakness of the family
constitution, or of deficiency of common sense or of affection on the
part of the parents in not taking better care of them. Mr. Holland
quotes in his letter to me a piece of advice by Franklin to a young man
in search of a wife, ‘to take one out of a bunch of sisters,’ and a
popular saying that kittens brought up with others make the best pets,
because they have learned to play without scratching. Sir W. Gull has
remarked that those candidates for the Indian Civil Service who are
members of large families are on the whole the strongest.”

A second bit of advice given by Franklin is perhaps less unquestionable:
“From the marriages that have fallen under my observation,” he says, "I
am rather inclined to think that early ones stand the best chances of
happiness. The temper and habits of the young are not become so stiff
and uncomplying as when more advanced in life: they form more easily to
each other, and hence many occasions of disgust are removed.... ‘Late
children,’ says the Spanish proverb, ‘are early orphans.’ With us in
America (1768) marriages are generally in the morning of life; our
children are therefore educated and settled in the world by noon; and
thus, our business being done, we have an afternoon and evening of
cheerful leisure to ourselves.... By these early marriages we are
blessed with more children; and from the mode among us founded by
nature, every mother suckling and nursing her own child [1768], more of
them are raised. Thence the swift progress of population among us,
unparalleled in Europe."

“Marriages,” says Theodore Parker, “are best of dissimilar materials;”
and Coleridge remarks, similarly: “You may depend upon it that a slight
contrast of character is very material to happiness in marriage.” But
would it be possible to find two individuals who did not present “a
slight contrast of character”? Coleridge apparently did not think much
of the average conjugal union of his day: “To the many of both sexes I
am well aware,” he says, “this Eden of matrimony is but a
kitchen-garden, a thing of profit and convenience, in an even
temperature between indifference and liking.” What a married person
wants is “a soul-mate as well as a house or yoke-mate.”

Young men are often warned not to marry for beauty, because it is but
skin-deep. But surely a millimetre of beauty is worth more than a yard
of ugliness, though whitewashed with rank, money, or general utility. “A
thing of beauty is a joy for ever.”

                               OLD MAIDS

One way in which Romantic Love fulfils its mission of increasing the
amount of Personal Beauty in the world, is by _eliminating ugly and
masculine women as Old Maids_, and thus preventing them from
transmitting their characteristics to the next generation. Were it not
for the fact that the average man is quite devoid of æsthetic taste and
incapable of ardent Romantic Love, and that therefore considerations of
wealth and social advantages guide him in his choice of a wife, _ugly_
women would rarely be found outside the ranks of Old Maids. As it is, it
happens only too often that dowerless beautiful women are condemned to
live and die in single blessedness, while the ugly people fill the world
with photographic copies of themselves.

Why is it that every refined man feels an instinctive aversion to
_masculine_ women? Because a masculine woman is an exception to the laws
of nature, a _lusus naturæ_, a monstrosity. We find even among the lower
animals that the females differ widely, as a rule, in traits and
appearance from the males—sometimes so much so that there are instances
on record of females and males having been for a time supposed to belong
to different species; and the differences grow greater the more the
sexual functions are developed and specialised. Yet Amazons occur even
among animals. “Characters common to the male,” says Darwin, “are
occasionally developed in the female _when she grows old or becomes
diseased_, as, for instance, when the common hen assumes the flowing
tail-feathers, hackles, combs, spurs, voice, and even _pugnacity_ of the

Among the warlike Greeks, who knew only masculine or mono-sexual love,
Amazons were naturally esteemed, as they did not clash with their
feminine ideal. “How popular a subject the Amazons were for sculptors,”
says Grote, “we learn from the statement of Pliny that the most
distinguished sculptors executed Amazons, and that this subject was the
only one upon which a direct comparison could be made between them.” But
the progress of time, as we have seen, has more and more differentiated
men and women, in appearance and traits of character; and the modern
ideal of woman is exclusively feminine, _i.e._ devoid of hackles, spurs,
cock-a-doodle-doo, and pugnacity. Hence the political Virago movement is
an evil which will never make any progress, thanks to the constant
elimination of masculine women through that adorable process of Sexual
Selection known as Modern Love.

Masculine women are always condemned to bury their unwomanly
proclivities with their spinster-selves, unless they are very rich, or
unless they can find a correspondingly effeminate man who wishes to
neutralise his abnormalities in his children by marrying a spouse whose
faults are an excess in the opposite direction. In such a case a virago
may possibly even inspire Romantic Love, _mirabile dictu!_

An ugly woman, on the other hand, need never despair of finding a
husband; she has at least eight chances of getting married. In the first
place, she may, like a masculine woman, inspire true Love in a man whose
faults are the opposite of hers; secondly, she may fall in love with a
man of faultless proportions, and while in Love her features will be so
transfigured and beautified that he cannot help returning her Love;
thirdly, she may meet a man who, from want of æsthetic taste, prefers a
chromo to a Titian; or a fourth, who would rather marry an amiable and
useful ugly girl than a spoiled beauty. Wealth and social position
supply two more resources. Accident may favour her, through the absence
of prettier rivals, giving no opportunities for odious comparisons; and,
finally, she may meet an elderly bachelor who has wearied of his single
blessedness and longs for double strife.

As for those Old Maids who are neither ugly nor masculine, some of them
are quondam coquettes who practised their arts just one season too long
and “got left” in consequence; others are girls whom silly methods of
chaperonage or ill-luck have prevented from making the acquaintance of
men whom they could have respected and loved; so that it is often the
most refined and intelligent women who are thus doomed to remain single
because they are unwilling to marry beneath their station, socially or
intellectually. They form that class of whom De Quincey says, that they
“combine more intelligence, cultivation, and thoughtfulness than any
other in Europe—the class of unmarried women above twenty-five—an
increasing class, women who, from mere dignity of character, have
renounced all prospects of conjugal and parental life rather than
descend into habits unsuitable to their birth.”

Women who are too ugly to inspire Love may nevertheless feel proud of
being a class of Vestal Virgins who serve the cause of Love by
abstaining from adding to the number of unattractive people in the world
by hereditary transmission. On the other hand, Old Maids who are blessed
with beauty, owe it to the cause of Love to make every effort,
consistent with feminine modesty, to get married. Not only because their
children will be beautiful, but because a woman who never marries can
never experience the two emotions which do more than any others to
ennoble and mature the feminine mind—conjugal and maternal love.

Those Old Maids, however, who have not yet passed their thirtieth year,
may even claim that they represent the most perfect and advanced type of
maidenhood, and look down on girls who marry before twenty-five as
little better than savages. For it is well known that the age of
marriage advances with civilisation. Among Australians and other savages
girls marry at eleven, ten, or even nine years; among semi-civilised
Egyptians, Hindoos, etc., the age is from twelve to fourteen; southern
European peoples marry their girls between the ages of fifteen and
eighteen; while with those nations who lead modern civilisation, the
average age of marriage for a woman is now twenty-one, with a tendency
to rise. Does it not follow from this, by inexorable logic, that girls
who remain single at twenty-five or twenty-nine are forerunners of a
still higher type of civilisation? and that the only trouble with them
is that they are so far in advance of their age and civilisation? True,
ungrateful man does not look upon them in that light; but herein they
share the fate of all true greatness. There is one difference, however,
between undervalued men of genius and Old Maids: the men of genius admit
they are in advance of their age, and are proud of it; the Old Maids
never, at least, hardly ever.

In one of his most fascinating essays on _The Main Currents of Modern
Literature_, the Danish critic, Dr. Georg Brandes, discusses the proper
age of feminine Love in a manner which Old Maids will especially
appreciate. He points out that Eleonore, the heroine of Benjamin
Constant’s novel _Adolphe_, is the first specimen of a modern type
subsequently made fashionable by Balzac and George Sand, namely, _the
woman of thirty in Love_. Formerly, as Jules Janin remarks, the woman
between thirty and forty years of age was lost for passion, for romance,
and the drama; now she rules alone. The girl of sixteen, as adored by
Racine, Shakspere, Molière, Voltaire, Ariosto, Byron, Lesage, Scott, is
no more to be found. And Mme. Emile de Girardin thus attempts to defend
Balzac: “Is it Balzac’s fault that the age of thirty to-day is the age
of love? Balzac is compelled to depict passion where he finds it, and at
this day it is not to be found in the heart of a girl of sixteen.”

So far as these remarks are true they afford a new confirmation of my
assertions that true Romantic Love is dependent on a certain amount of
intellectual power and maturity, and that in consequence man loves more
deeply than woman at the age preceding marriage. In England and America
novelists still persist in making women love at any age from eighteen,
and they have a right to do so, because in these two countries women are
well enough educated and experienced in life at eighteen to be able to
love. In France girls receive such a superficial education that they are
ordinarily quite impervious to any deep emotions before they are either
Old Maids or married. But in most cases they are married before twenty
without regard to their own wishes. And then happens what is indicated
in Fuller’s aphorism: “It is to be feared that they who marry where they
do not love, will love where they do not marry.” And hence it is that
the only love depicted by French novelists and playwrights is the
adulterous love of a faithless wife. Could anything more vividly
illustrate the criminal absurdities of French education and the French
system of chaperonage?

In France a girl is not even allowed to cross the street alone until she
is willing to assume the name and with it the comparative freedom of an
Old Maid. In Spain, the author of _Cosas de España_ tells us, Old Maids
are rare because a girl generally accepts her first offer; and there are
probably not many girls who do not receive at least one offer in their
life—masculine women always excepted. In Russia, where women, according
to Schweiger-Lerchenfeld, enjoy almost as much liberty as in America, a
curious custom prevails by which a girl of uncertain age may escape the
appellation of Old Maid. She may leave home and become lost for two or
three years in Paris, London, or some other howling wilderness of
humanity. Then she may return to her friends neither as maid nor wife,
but as a widow. And it is “good form” in Russian society to accept this
myth without asking for details.

Finally the important question remains: “What is an Old Maid?” That
depends very much on individuals and the care they take of their Health
and Beauty. Some women are Old Maids at twenty, the majority at thirty,
and some not before forty; while those girls who will read the chapters
on Personal Beauty in the last part of this treatise, and follow all the
advice there given, will never become Old Maids at all, but will be
gobbled up before twenty-three by eager bachelors previously considered
hopeless cases of celibacy.

Even if it were possible to name a definite age as that when a girl
begins to be an Old Maid, it would be a bit of useless information,
because nobody ever knows how old a woman is. Often it is easier to tell
a woman’s age by her conversation than by her looks: some incipient Old
Maids constantly hint at their former numerous flirtations, which they
never did while they really had them.


                  “Pirates of Love who know no duty.”

Of all the brutes enumerated in the human branch of zoology the
deliberate bachelor is the most unreasonable and selfish. Unreasonable,
because he voluntarily deprives himself of connubial bliss, domestic
comforts, and the prospect of being cheered and cared for in his old age
by a family of loving children. Selfish, because at present the
bread-winning arrangements are almost entirely framed for man’s
convenience alone, wherefore it is his duty to support a wife.

Masculine selfishness, however, is not exclusively responsible for the
rapid increase of bachelordom. The women themselves are largely at
fault—in two ways. The modern tendency of concentrating population in
large cities makes domestic life a much more expensive affair than it is
in smaller towns or in rural districts; and at the same time women are
gradually invading every sphere of masculine employment, thus reducing
wages by competition and making it more and more difficult for a man to
earn an income which allows him to marry. This aspect of the question,
once before alluded to, is one which the advocates of Woman’s Rights are
too apt to ignore. For the benefit of poor young girls, and widows, and
old maids, it is, indeed, but just that various employments adapted to
female hands should be thrown open to them and properly remunerated; but
if the effect of this is simply and constantly to _increase_ the number
of single poor women, by making marriage impossible, what is gained by
the change? A certain amount of misery is inevitable in the world; and
it seems better that it should be distributed where it will not imperil
the popularity and possibility of marriage.

After all, self-supporting women must always be the exception, not the
rule; for it is the destiny of the vast majority of women to be wives;
and regarding these even Mr. Mill admits “it is not ... a desirable
custom that the wife should contribute by her labour to the income of
the family.” Now surely it would be most absurd, as some “strong-minded”
women are trying to do, to arrange the educational scheme of all women
so as to benefit the exceptional women who are excluded from matrimony.
A thousand times more important is it to change woman’s education so as
to enable her to look after her household affairs. It is by neglecting
to do this that women supply the second cause for the increasing
prevalence of Bachelors. Every man is expected to learn his trade
properly before marriage; but woman’s proper occupation—the art of
taking care of home and making it a paradise, is commonly supposed to be
a thing that can be learned easily enough after marriage. Even when a
woman is so wealthy that she is not obliged to do any housework at all,
she should, like a ship’s captain, learn all about the duties of
subordinates, else she will be unable to command them properly. A
captain who displayed ignorance on any point before his sailors would
lose their respect and attitude of prompt obedience; and it has been
suggested that one reason why American women, especially, have so much
trouble with their servants, is because they know so little about
domestic economy that the servants, ignorant as they are, become
arrogant because of their superior knowledge.

On the subject of woman’s sphere, Herbert Spencer has written words
which should be hung in golden letters in every schoolroom: “When we
remember that up from the lowest savagery civilisation has, among other
results, brought about an increasing exemption of women from
bread-winning labour, and in the highest societies they have become most
restricted to domestic duties and the rearing of children; we may be
struck by the anomaly that at the present time restriction to indoor
occupations has come to be regarded as a grievance, and a claim is made
to free competition with men in all outdoor occupations.... Any
extensive change in the education of women, made with the view of
fitting them for business and professions, would be mischievous. _If
women comprehended all that is contained in the domestic sphere, they
would ask no other._ If they could see all that is implied in the right
education of children, to a full conception of which no man has yet
risen, much less any woman, they would seek no higher function”
(_Principles of Sociology_, vol. i. § 340).

When every woman has learned how to cultivate flowers and vegetables in
her domestic garden at the same time, the millennium will have arrived,
and the word Bachelor be found only in Dictionaries of Antiquities.

Women are sometimes held responsible in still another way for the
continuance of Bachelors in single boredom, viz. by refusing their Love
and breaking their hearts. But surely, as the shepherdess in _Don
Quixote_ has so eloquently shown, it does not at all follow that if a
man falls in Love with a woman, she must necessarily fall in Love with
him; and if she does _not_ love him, it is her _duty_ not to marry him.

Besides, a broken heart is a very rare article in this world, and every
nation has discovered a peculiar local remedy for it: the Spaniards by
stabbing the girl who broke it; the Italians by annihilating the rival;
the Germans by soaking the fragments in Rhine wine; the Englishmen by a
change of air; and ultimately they all follow the example of the
Frenchman who, on the day following the catastrophe, casts his eyes
about for a new charmer; or, if they do not, but like a snail withdraw
into their shell for the rest of their life, abusing all women as
heartless, they are bigger fools than they look. What would you say of a
fisherman who went out for a day’s sport and returned after an hour
because the first trout that nibbled at the bait escaped?

It is the happy privilege of every Bachelor to have loved fully and
deeply once in his life; but if his passion is not appreciated, it is
his duty to try again; for, even as a stolen kiss is not a real kiss
because it lacks the thrill of mutuality, so Love is not Love

                “Till heart with heart in concord beats,
                And the lover is beloved.”—WORDSWORTH.

True, La Rochefoucauld says that “The pleasure of love is in loving;”
and Shelley echoes the same sentiment in his _Prometheus_—

                          “All love is sweet,
      Given or returned....
      They who inspire it most are fortunate
      As I am now; but those who feel it most, are happier still.”

Yet neither the English poet nor the French essayist appears to have
fathomed the full depth of the problem. It is as incorrect to say, “the
pleasure of love is in loving,” as to say, the pleasure of Love is in
being loved. To be loved by one I do not love is a matter of complete
indifference, except so far as my Pride or Pity may be involved. To love
where I am not loved, or am left in uncertainty, is more of anguish than
of delight. To attain the highest ecstacy of Love I must both be in Love
and able to say at the same time, “she loves me.” Reciprocity is not
only “that which alone gives stability to love,” as Coleridge remarks,
but that without which consummate Love is impossible.

Apparent exceptions occur only when the illusion of being loved is so
vividly kept up by the imagination as to counterfeit reality; as in the
case of Eleonore, who “became so intoxicated with her Love that she saw
it double and mistook her own feeling for that of both” (Dr. Brandes).

Therefore a Bachelor who has been unsuccessful in his first or second
Love has never enjoyed the highest bliss a human soul can attain, and is
bound to try again. Nor need he ever despair. There are a thousand
Juliets in the world for every man, and all he needs is the good luck to
_meet_ the one adapted to him: for she is his as soon as found; though
she may at first have the “cunning to be strange.”

                          GENIUS AND MARRIAGE

Though it is man’s duty and destiny to get married, yet the concurrent
testimony of several famous authors appears to indicate that there is
one thing which excuses celibacy, and may even make it a virtue—and that
thing is the possession of Genius. Bacon claims that “certainly the best
works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the
unmarried or childless men.” A more modern philosopher, Schopenhauer,
expresses himself to the same effect: “For men of higher intellectual
avocation, for poets, philosophers, for all those, in general, who
devote themselves to science and art, celibacy is preferable to married
life, because the conjugal yoke prevents them from creating great

The same counsel is indirectly given in Moore’s _Life of Byron_, where
he argues that “In looking back through the lives of the most
illustrious poets—the class of intellect in which the characteristic
features of genius are, perhaps, most strongly marked—we shall find that
with scarcely one exception, from Homer down to Lord Byron, they have
been, in their several degrees, restless and solitary spirits, with
minds wrapped up, like silkworms, in their own tasks, either strangers
or rebels to domestic ties, and bearing about with them a deposit for
posterity in their souls, to the jealous watching and enriching of which
almost all other thoughts and considerations have been sacrificed.”

“Either strangers or rebels to domestic ties.” Among the strangers,
Moore names Newton, Gassendi, Galileo, Descartes, Bayle, Locke,
Leibnitz, and Hume, to whom may be added Kant, Schopenhauer, Handel,
Beethoven, Schubert, Plato, and many others.

Quite as large is the list of “rebels to domestic ties” among men of
poetic genius. Says Moore: “The coincidence is no less striking than
saddening that, on the list of married poets who have been unhappy in
their homes, there should already be found four such illustrious names
as Dante, Milton, Shakspere, and Dryden.” “The poet Dante, a wanderer
away from wife and children, passed the whole of a restless life in
nursing his immortal dream of Beatrice.” “The dates of the birth of his
[Shakspere’s] children, compared with that of his removal from
Stratford, the total omission of his wife’s name in the first draft of
his will, and the bitter sarcasm of the bequest by which he remembers
her afterwards—all prove beyond a doubt his separation from the lady
early in life, and his unfriendly feeling towards her at the close.”
“Milton’s first wife, it is well known, ran away from him within a month
after their marriage, ‘disgusted,’ says Phillips, ‘with his spare diet
and hard study,’ and his later domestic misery is universally known.”
“The poet Young, with all his parade of domestic sorrows, was, it
appears, a neglectful husband and a harsh father.”

Sir Walter Scott remarks, in his _Life of Dryden_: “The wife of one who
is to gain his livelihood by poetry, or by any labour (if any there be)
equally exhausting, must either have taste enough to relish her
husband’s performances, or good-nature sufficiently to pardon his
infirmities. It was Dryden’s misfortune that Lady Elizabeth had neither
the one nor the other; and I dismiss the disagreeable subject by
observing, that on no one occasion when a sarcasm against matrimony
could be introduced, has our author failed to season it with such
bitterness, as spoke of an inward consciousness of domestic misery.”

Richard Wagner when a young man married an actress, “pretty as a
picture”; but she appears to have had little sympathy with his
ambitions, so he lived apart from her. Subsequently he was very happy
with Cosima, the daughter of Liszt, who _did_ appreciate his genius.
Liszt himself, after living some years with the Countess D’Agoult in
Italy, separated from her. The girl whom Haydn married soon turned out a
shrew, who had no sympathy whatever with his musical genius. Berlioz was
one of the most passionate of lovers: “Oh, that I could find her, the
Juliet, the Ophelia that my heart calls to. That I could drink in the
intoxication of that mingled joy and sadness that only true love knows!
Could I but rest in her arms one autumn evening, rocked by the north
wind on some wild heath, and sleeping my last, sad sleep.” A few years
after these rapturous effusions he arranged a _séparation à l’aimable_
from his wife, his former flame, and left her to die in solitude and

Handel, after all, was the wisest of the composers. He was never in
Love, and had an aversion to marriage. In 1707 he went to Lübeck to
compete for the place of successor to the famous organist Buxtehude; but
when he found that one of the conditions of obtaining the place was the
compulsory privilege of marrying the daughter of his predecessor, he got
alarmed and fled precipitately.

Besides the disposition to wrap up their minds, like silkworms, in their
own tasks, Poverty and the extreme difficulty of finding congenial
companions appear to be the principal causes that have tended to make
men of genius strangers or rebels to domestic ties.

There is an old saying that if Poverty comes in by one window, Love goes
out by another. But Poverty, unfortunately, seems to be an almost
necessary companion of Genius, at least in the early stages of its
career, till the inertia natural to the human brain has been overcome.
It is so much easier for the richest soils to grow a luxuriant crop of
weeds than a useful crop which needs constant care, that there can be no
doubt that wealth is responsible for the loss of much Genius to the
world. There have been men of genius in whom the creative impulse was so
strong, and the pleasure of creating so sweet—Goethe, Schopenhauer,
Byron, etc.—that they needed not the goad of hunger; but as a rule a
well-filled pocketbook does not encourage the habit of “infinite
painstaking,” which is essential to Genius. But if a genius marries
while he is poor, he will have to waste his time on rapid, ephemeral
work to support his family; which will leave him neither leisure nor
energy for work of enduring value. Hence he should either not marry at
all or wait till he has an assured income. If money-marriages are ever
justifiable, they are in such cases; and rich girls should make it the
one object of life to capture a man of Genius, so as to give him leisure
for immortal work. It appears, indeed, as if a sort of Conjugal Pride of
this description were becoming fashionable; for one hears every month of
some author or artist marrying an heiress. This is certainly the easiest
way for a woman to become immortal; and what is a coquette’s gratified
ephemeral vanity, compared with the proud consciousness of passing down
to posterity linked with an immortal name, and of having helped to make
that name immortal by removing the necessity for bread-winning drudgery!

Furthermore, there can be no doubt that the number of persons able to
read a work of genius _at sight_, as it were, is growing larger every
year. Great men do not have to wait for recognition so long as formerly,
and this enables them to neglect ephemeral drudgery in favour of
creative work.

As there has been an unparalleled unfolding and increase in feminine
charms, both of body and mind, within the last half-century, it is not
too optimistic to hope that the other source of domestic difficulties
among men of genius—the extreme difficulty of finding a congenial
companion—will also be removed, in course of time. Men of genius, as
Moore remarks, have such rich resources of thinking within themselves,
that “the society of those less gifted than themselves becomes often a
restraint and burden to which not all the charms of friendship or even
love can reconcile them.” To be completely happy a Genius should
accordingly have a wife as remarkable among women for the womanly
qualities of receptivity, grace, and sympathy, as he is among men for
the manly quality of creative energy. Yet if it is so difficult for an
ordinary man to meet his ordinary Juliet, how much more so will it ever
be for an extraordinary man to find an extraordinary Juliet!

Thanks to their passion for Beauty, men of Genius are too prone to
follow the impulse of the moment and marry a pretty doll, in the hope of
being able to educate her into an attractive companion. Unluckily it
rarely happens that the minds of these beauties are “wax to receive and
marble to retain.” Pretty girls are commonly lazy—spoiled by the thought
that their beauty atones for everything, and regardless of the future
when this apology for indolence will have lost its persuasiveness.

Among the objections to the celibacy of Genius, the strongest is
supplied by the laws of heredity—the desirability of having their
superior mental qualities—often associated with corresponding physical
beauty—transmitted to the next generation. Genius, it is true, depends
on so many fortuitous circumstances that cases of direct transmission
from father to son are rare enough; and Mr. Galton’s researches show
that “the ablest child of one gifted pair is not likely to be as gifted
as the ablest of all the children of very many mediocre pairs;” and that
“the more exceptional the gift, the more exceptional will be the good
fortune of a parent who has a son who equals, and still more if he has a
son who overpasses him.” Nevertheless, it remains true that “the
children of a gifted pair are much more likely to be gifted than the
children of a mediocre pair.” Just as a professor’s son is born with a
brain naturally more plastic and receptive than that of a young savage
or peasant, so the children of a Genius who has not shattered his health
by overwork or dissipation are likely to be of a mental calibre superior
to that of an ordinary professor’s son. So that it is the duty of a man
of genius to get married even at a sacrifice of personal
happiness—provided that sacrifice is not so great as to interfere with
his intellectual duties.

                            GENIUS AND LOVE

If we take the word Genius in the Kantian, imaginative, or æsthetic
sense, it may be said that _all Geniuses are amorous_; and that the
degree of their greatness may as a rule be measured by their
susceptibility to feminine charms. The most poetic part of the
Scriptures is the Song of Solomon with its glowing pictures of feminine
charms. Homer, though he lived long before the age of Romantic Love,
spent his life in describing the mischief caused by Helen’s beauty.
Among the Roman poets the most original was also the most amorous. As
Professor Sellar remarks of Ovid, “In the most creative periods of
English literature he seems to have been more read than any other
ancient poet, not even excepting Virgil; and it was on the most creative
minds, such as those of Marlowe, Spenser, Shakspere, Milton, and Dryden,
that be acted most powerfully ... and although the spirit of antiquity
is better understood now than it was in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, yet in the capacity of appreciating works of brilliant fancy
we can claim no superiority over the centuries which produced Spenser,
Shakspere, and Milton, nor over those which produced the great Italian,
French, and Flemish painters,” to whom Ovid supplied such abundant

Coming to more recent times, we have seen that Dante, the first modern
poet, was also the first modern lover, rarely if ever surpassed in
rapturous adoration. How the greatest of the Spanish bards was
influenced by feminine beauty may be inferred from the glowing
descriptions of it and its influence in _Don Quixote_; and as for
Shakspere, even had he not written _Romeo and Juliet_, his early poems
alone would prove him to have been in his youth every inch a lover; for
no one, not even with Shakspere’s imagination, could have painted such
unique feelings with his realistic and infallible touch, unless he had
felt them more than once and had them indelibly branded on his heart’s

In the galaxy of German poets Goethe ranks first, owing to his
manysidedness. Yet he lacked the very highest of literary gifts—wit; and
in this respect as well as through his deeper insight into Modern Love,
Heine must be rated higher than Goethe. Heine’s personal loves are but
thinly covered over by the clear amber of his lyrics, in which they are
imbedded. Goethe’s loves have become proverbial for their
number—Kätchen, Friederike, Lili, Charlotte, Christiane, etc. Schiller,
Wieland, Bürger, Bodenstedt, and the lesser lights might all have
appended a D.L., or Doctor of Love, to their names.

Shelley, Mr. Hamilton tells us, “had an irresistible natural tendency to
fall in love”; and Byron, speaking of one of his loves, says, “I had and
have been attached fifty times since, yet I recollect all we said to
each other, all our caresses, her features, my restlessness,
sleeplessness,” etc. And in the next chapter on “Genius in Love,” we
shall meet with numerous similar cases of English, German, and French
men of genius constantly in Love.

To account for this amorous propensity of Genius is easy enough. Genius
means creative power allied with a taste for the Beautiful. This taste
may be gratified by the contemplation of the beauties of Nature—the
creative power by reproducing them on canvas or manuscript. But Nature’s
masterpiece is lovely woman, who not only yields the highest
gratification of artistic taste, but inspires Love: and what is Love but
a creative impulse—a desire to link one’s name and personality, in
future generations, with this embodiment of consummate human beauty?


            “Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind,
            And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind,”

suggests another reason why men of Genius are eternally involved in
Love-affairs. The lover becomes infatuated not with the girl he sees but
with the girl he imagines, using her features as a mere sketch to be
filled up _ad libitum_—

                “Such tricks hath strong imagination,
                That if it would but apprehend some joy,
                It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
                Or in the night, imagining some fear,
                How easy is a bush supposed a bear!”

To imagine a feeling is to entertain it; for an imagined impression
revives the same cerebral processes that were aroused by the original
sense impression. In ordinary minds the remembered image of a girl’s
lovely features, the echo of her sweet voice, are much fainter than the
original sight and sound; whereas the imagination of genius paints a
face and recalls a voice as vividly as if they were present: so that
here _to think of Love is to be in Love_—_pro tempore_.

Besides his refined taste and vivid imagination—which retouches every
defective negative—it is the natural depth of his emotions that urges a
Genius to fall in Love with every lovely woman. Passions are like dogs:
the big ones need more food than the little ones. A peasant cannot
experience the subtle and multitudinous emotions that fill the heart of
an artist, a statesman, a scientific discoverer; much less the complex
group of ethereal emotions that make up Romantic Love. The higher we
rise in the intellectual scale, the more varied, complex, and deep are
the emotional groups which delight and torment the soul. As Genius
represents the climax of intellectual power, Love the climax of
emotional intensity, is it wonderful that there should be an affinity
between the two? The higher a mountain peak the more does it attract
every passing cloud and clasp it to its breast—hoping—vainly hoping—to
warm a heart chilled by its isolation above the rest of the world.

As men of genius are more prone to love than common sluggish minds, it
is a lucky fact, for the future growth of Romantic Love, that Genius
grows more and more abundant—_pace_ the _laudatores temporis acti_ who
ignorantly compare the number of living geniuses with all those that
have ever been—as if they had all lived at one epoch. It may even be
granted that there have been epochs that had more geniuses than we have
at present; but of genius there is more to-day than ever in the world’s
history. We see almost daily in ephemeral periodicals lines and epigrams
worthy of the highest genius, written by men whose names perhaps will
never be known. Shaksperes, indeed, will always tower Mont Blanc-like
over all other peaks; but if summits of the second magnitude seem less
imposing to-day than formerly, it is because the general level of
creativeness has been raised a few thousand feet. The mountains that
enclose the Engadine valley, though 10,000 to 12,000 feet in height,
seem only half as high, because the valley from which you see them lies
at an altitude of 6000 feet.

                             GENIUS IN LOVE

Were there not a natural affinity between Genius and Love, authors and
artists would cultivate Love as the source of their deepest inspiration.
For if it makes a temporary poet of every peasant, what must be its
effect in exalting the poet’s inborn power!

        “When beauty fires the blood, how love exalts the mind;”


             “Which awakes the sleepy vigour of the soul;”

and first

        “Softened the fierce, and made the coward bold.”—DRYDEN.

                          “For indeed I knew
        Of no more subtle master under heaven
        Than is the maiden passion for a maid
        Not only to keep down the base in man,
        But teach high thought and amiable words,
        And courtliness, and the desire of fame,
        And love of truth, and all that makes a man.”—TENNYSON.

The Love of men of Genius, as distinguished from that of ordinary
mortals, is characterised by five traits—Precocity, Extravagant Ardour,
Fickleness, Multiplicity, and Fictitiousness—which must be briefly
considered in succession.


Turgenieff makes the narrator of one of his novelettes speak of his
first Love as having been experienced at the age of six. That this is
not a poetic license is abundantly proved by historic facts. “Dante, we
know, was but nine years old,” says Moore, “when, at a May-day festival,
he saw and fell in love with Beatrice; and Alfieri, who was himself a
precocious lover, considers such early sensibility to be an unerring
sign of a soul formed for the fine arts.... Canova used to say that he
perfectly well remembered having been in love when but five years old.”

Byron’s first Love was at the age of eight. Concerning this he wrote at
twenty-five: “How the deuce did all this occur so early? Where could it
originate? I certainly had no sexual ideas for years afterwards; and yet
my misery, my love for that girl [Mary Duff] were so violent that I
sometimes wonder if I have ever been really attached since.’” Of his
second Love-affair Byron says: “My first dash into poetry was as early
as 1800. It was the ebullition of a passion for my first cousin,
Margaret Parker, one of the most beautiful of evanescent beings. I have
long forgotten the verses, but it would be difficult for me to forget
her—her dark eyes [Byron had a passion for black eyes]—her long
eyelashes—her completely Greek cast of face and figure. I was then about
twelve—she rather older, perhaps a year. She died about a year or two

Burns was somewhat older when Love and poetry were born in his soul
simultaneously: “You know our country custom,” he writes, “of coupling a
man and woman together as partners in the labours of the harvest. In my
fifteenth summer my partner was a bewitching creature, a year younger
than myself. My scarcity of English denies me the power of doing her
justice in that language, but you know the Scottish idiom. She was a
bonnie, sweet, sonsie lass. In short, she, altogether unwittingly to
herself, initiated me in that delicious passion, which, in spite of acid
disappointment, gin-horse prudence, and bookworm philosophy, I hold to
be the first of human joys here below.”

Heine’s first boyish love appears to have been a girl who died as a
child, and is alluded to in his _Pictures of Travel_ as the “little
Veronica.” His second love was a most extraordinary case of Love at
Sight. It was at a school examination, Robert Proelsz relates, “and
Harry was just declaiming Schiller’s _Taucher_, when the lovely girl
entered the room by the side of her father, who was one of the
inspectors. The boy stuttered, gazed with large eyes on the beautiful
figure, mechanically repeated the verse he had just recited—‘And the
King his lovely daughter beckoned’—and was unable to proceed. In vain
the teacher prompted him, the poor fellow’s senses failed him, and he
fell on the floor in a swoon.”

Of another early visitation of sudden Love he gives an account in his
posthumous memoirs. The girl on this occasion was the red-haired
Sefchen, the sheriff’s daughter, who, when she was only eight years old,
had witnessed the mysterious burial of her grandfather’s sword, which
had done its duty a hundred times, and which some years later her aunt
had dug out and secreted in the garret. “One day, when we were alone, I
begged Sefchen to show me that curiosity. She willingly complied, went
into the room, and soon came out with an enormous sword, which she swung
vigorously despite her weak arms, while with a roguish, threatening tone
she sang—

                    “‘Will you kiss the naked sword
                    Which the Lord has given us?’

I replied in the same tone, ‘I will not kiss the naked sword, I will
kiss the red-haired Sefchen;’ and as she could not defend herself, for
fear of hurting me with the fatal steel, she had to let me boldly put my
arms round her slender waist and kiss her defiant lips.”

Berlioz had his first passion at twelve, Rousseau at eleven. “When I saw
Mlle. Goton,” writes Rousseau, “I could see nothing else, all my senses
were in confusion.... In her presence I was agitated, and trembled....
If Mlle. Goton had ordered me to throw myself into the fire, I believe I
would have obeyed her instantly.”

As old age is in many respects a second childhood, it seems natural that
men of genius should appear “precocious” in this belated sense too. The
case of Berlioz is one of the most extraordinary on record. The girl who
was his first love at twelve he saw again at sixty-one: “I recognised
the divine stateliness of her step; but, oh heavens! how changed she
was! her complexion faded, her hair gray. And yet at the sight of her my
heart did not feel one moment’s indecision; my whole soul went out to
its idol, as though she were still in her dazzling loveliness....
Balzac, nay, Shakspere himself, the great painter of the passions, never
dreamt of such a thing.” And in a letter to her he writes, “I have loved
you, I still love you, I shall always love you. And yet I am sixty-one
years of age.... Oh, madame, madame, I have but one aim left in the
world—that of obtaining your affection.”

Another composer who had a passion at sixty was “Papa” Haydn—poor Haydn,
whose wife led him such a terrible life, and used his manuscripts for
curl-papers. Concerning her he wrote, “She is always in a bad temper,
and does not care whether I am a shoemaker or an artist.” Indeed, she
had never been his true Love, but was only taken in lieu of her younger
sister, whom Haydn adored, but who refused him and became a nun. At
sixty, however, in London, he had the fortune, or misfortune, to fall in
Love again, with a widow named Schrolter, concerning whom he wrote, “She
was a very attractive woman, and still handsome, though over sixty; and
had I been free I should certainly have married her.”

Goethe, in his old days, fell in Love with Minna Herzlieb, a
bookseller’s daughter. “In the sonnets addressed to her,” says Lewes,
“and in the novel of _Elective Affinities_, may be read the fervour of
his passion, and the strength with which he resisted.”

Rousseau’s last Love forms one of the most romantic episodes in his
life, concerning which nothing was known until a few years ago when the
French historian, R. Chantslauze, discovered in a bookstall the MS. of a
letter by Rousseau to Lady Cecile Hobart, dated 1770, when Rousseau was
almost sixty years of age. He appears to have met this lady in England
at the time when he was writing his _Confessions_. She had first won his
affection by her admiration of his works; and in course of his long and
hyper-sentimental letter he remarks, “Why is it that I have never felt
any other true love but that for the products of my own fancy? Wherein
lies the reason, Cecile? In these fancied beings themselves; they made
me dissatisfied with everything else. For forty years I have carried in
my mind the image of her I adore. I love her with a constancy, an
ecstasy inexpressible.... I had no hope of ever meeting her, had given
up the eager search for her, when you appeared before me. It was folly,
infatuation, if you like, that made me surrender myself for a moment to
the magic of your sight; but I could not but say to myself: There she
is! No other woman ever inspired that thought in me. And stranger still
is it that I could hear you speak without changing my opinion. What the
ideal of my heart thought, you spoke it to my ears.”


If Bacon did not write the plays of Shakspere, it was the biggest
mistake of his life. Second among his mistakes must rank the opinion
expressed in the following sentence: “You may observe that amongst all
the great and worthy persons (whereof the memory remaineth, either
ancient or modern), there is not one that hath been transported to the
mad degree of love.”

If the advocates of the Baconian theory had as much sense of humour as
they stimulate in other people, they would see that such a sentence—and
there are others like it in Bacon—could not by any possibility have been
penned by the author of _As You Like It_, _Venus and Adonis_, or _Romeo
and Juliet_.

Dante was by no means the only “great and worthy person” before Bacon’s
day who had been “transported to the mad degree of love”; and since
Bacon’s day the word Genius has become almost synonymous with the
capacity for lovers’ madness.

Yet there is a grain of truth in Bacon’s sentence as it stands. He
evidently had in mind chiefly the _ancient_ “great and worthy persons”;
and of these, as we have seen, but one or two had even a vague
presentiment of what was to be some day the moral lever of the universe.
Bacon probably had a dim perception of the fact that the ancients knew
nothing of passionate Love, of the imaginative type; but he did not
quite succeed in grasping the idea.

As regards Modern Genius, Bacon’s assertion is so far from the truth,
that it is quite safe to reverse it and say that it is doubtful whether
any one but a man of genius is capable of that intense ardour of feeling
which marks the climax of Love; doubtful whether even Romeo at his age
could have felt a passion such as Shakspere’s glowing imagination
painted. Love is based, not on what a man sees with his eyes, but on the
mental image retouched by the imagination; and a man of genius, being a
_virtuoso of the imagination_, can adorn his ideal of love with
ornaments unknown to ordinary mortals; whence it follows that the
passion inspired by his more vivid and beautiful image must be more
intense than the passion inspired by less perfect visions in common,
sluggish brains. And since artistic thought can no more crystallise into
verse or epigram without the warm glow of emotion than a flower can grow
into a thing of beauty without its daily bath of warm sunshine, it is
fortunate that Genius implies a natural susceptibility to the æsthetic
passion of Love.

Fortunate also for the prospects of Romantic Love is the fact that
Genius is king in its realms. Had not the sacred mysteries of Love been
revealed to the world in the glowing language of poetry, it would
probably have remained a thing unknown to ordinary mortals for centuries
to come; even as the beauties of Nature, for which common minds have no
eyes, would have remained undetected, had not the poets and artists
disclosed the bonds that connect them with human sympathies.

As all the quotations from poets given in this chapter (and in that on
Hyperbole) practically bear witness to the exceptional ardour of Love in
men of genius, only two cases need be cited as specimens—those of Burns
and Heine. Gilbert Burns, the brother of the poet, writes that the
latter “was constantly the victim of some fair enslaver. The symptoms of
his passion were often such as nearly to equal those of the celebrated
Sappho. I never, indeed, knew that he ‘fainted, sunk, and died away’;
but the agitations of his mind and body exceeded anything of the kind I
ever knew in real life.”

Heine has given evidence in his letters as well as his poems that few
even of his equals have ever felt the power of love so profoundly. It is
well to emphasise this fact; for there are not a few who fancy that,
like Petrarch, Heine embodied in his songs not the real feelings of his
heart but fictitious emotions depicted to gratify poetic ambition. He
did no such thing. His Love-poetry is the echo of real passion, of his
first and only true Love, which cast a shadow over his whole life, and
goaded him into bitter reflections more than a decade after its sad
ending. He loved his cousin Molly, and writes to a friend, after an
absence from home: “Rejoice with me! rejoice with me! in four weeks I
shall see Molly. With her my muse will also return.” The muse did
return, but in a different way from that which he had anticipated; with
a smile in her face of cynicism, mockery, melancholy, which never again
left her. “She loves me _not_!” he writes, in 1816. “Softly, dear
Christian, pronounce that last word softly. In the first words lies the
eternal living heaven, but in the last lies eternal living hell. If you
could only see your friend’s countenance, how pale he looks, how
bewildered, how insane, your righteous indignation at my long silence
would vanish soon; better still were it if you could have one glance at
my soul—then would you really learn to love me.” “I have seen her again—

                      “‘The devil take my soul,
                      My body be the sheriff’s,
                      Yet I for me alone
                      Select the loveliest woman.’

Hui! do you not shudder, Christian! Well may you shudder even as I do.
Burn the letter, the Lord have mercy on my soul. I did not write these
words. There on my chair sits a pale man; he wrote them. And this
because it is midnight. Oh heavens! Madness cannot sin!”

“There, there, do not breathe so heavily, there I have just built a
lovely card-house, and on the top of it I stand and hold her in my
arms!... But indeed you can hardly fancy, dear Christian, how
delightful, how lovely my ruin appears. Far from her, to carry burning
desires in my heart for years, is torture infernal; but to be near her
and yet oft sigh in vain, whole endless weeks, for my only delight, the
sight of her and—and—O! O! O! Christian! that is enough to make the
purest, most pious soul flare up in wild, delirious ungodliness!”

And the object of this passion, who might have saved a poet’s soul and
changed him from a negative ferment into a positive agent of culture?
She was the daughter of a millionaire, who, of course, in German
fashion, had to marry into another rich family. To marry a poor poet
would have been deemed a terrible _mésalliance_. Yet was he not a
millionaire too—of ideas, as she was in beauty, her father in money? But
that is reasoning _à la_ Millennium.

What a comedy it will be to future generations, entirely emancipated
from mediæval puerilities, to read that two such _Kings_ in the realm of
Genius as Schubert and Beethoven, could not marry their true loves on
account of differences in social position—rank and money!

We are accustomed to look down on China and Chinese culture. But China
anticipated Europe by several centuries in the discovery of gunpowder;
and there is another thing in which that country is centuries ahead of
Europe. “In China there is no aristocracy of birth or money. The
aristocracy which here ranks socially above the other classes is solely
and only that of the _Intellect_.”


Love is a tissue of paradoxes. The very ardour of their passion inclines
men of genius to fickleness. “Love me little love me long” is a short
way of saying that whereas a blazing, roaring fire consumes itself in an
hour, the quiet, glowing coals covered with ashes will outlast the

Lamartine’s “heureuse la beauté que le poète adore”—happy the beauty
whom the poet adores—may be endorsed by a maiden who is willing to
become the secondary wife of a poetic polygamist already wedded to a
muse, for the sake of having it said in his biography that she inspired
him with some of his prettiest conceits—

              “Cynthia, facundi carmen juvenile Properti,
              Accepit famam nec minus ilia dedit,”

as Martial says of a Roman beauty. Others will hesitate on reading the
following, from _London Society_:—

“Lord Byron has said that nothing can inflict greater torture upon a
woman than the mere fact of loving a poet; and though Lamartine calls it
a glory to be the object of immortal songs, we half-suspect that the
English bard is right, and that it would be impossible to describe the
moral sufferings of those frail beings who seem to be the mere toys of
an hour. The world may be indebted to them for some great poem which
their love has had the power to inspire, but they themselves were
probably no more thought of by the poet than the daisy he might tread on
as he passed by.”

Here is a case in point: “Swift,” says Byron, “when neither young nor
handsome, nor rich nor even amiable, inspired two of the most
extraordinary passions on record—Vanessa’s and Stella’s.... He requited
them bitterly, for he seems to have broken the heart of the one and worn
out that of the other; and he had his reward, for he died a solitary
idiot in the hands of servants.”

It would be unjust, however, in all cases to trace poetic fickleness to
heartless or deliberate cruelty. May not the poet and the artist be
regarded as martyrs to art and science—students of beauty, obliged to
take a purely æsthetic, _disinterested interest_ in feminine charms—as
they do in a picture or a landscape—without any desire of exclusive
possession? They flirt, apparently, not to break hearts, but merely to
educate their sense of beauty. For is not a woman’s face the compendium
of all beauty in the world? and a woman’s eyes, expressing incipient
Love, are they not so exquisitely beautiful that an epicure of Love
could for ever be contented with that expression alone, feeling that
marriage, which might alter it, if ever so little, would be a _bétise_?
Perhaps some similar thought was in Heine’s mind when he wrote his

                    "Du bist wie eine Blume
                    So hold und schön und rein;
                    Ich schau’ dich an, und Wehmuth
                    Schleicht mir ins Herz hinein.

                    “Mir ist, als ob ich die Hände
                    Aufs Haupt dir legen sollt‘,
                    Betend, dass Gott dich erhalte
                    So rein und schön und hold.”

In quite a different kind of a poem Heine bluntly announces to his
“Queen Mary IV.” his declaration of independence, and informs her that
not a few who ruled before her have been unceremoniously deposed—

                      “Manche die vor dir regierte
                      Wurde schmählich abgesetzt.”

And in his narrative of the sheriff’s daughter he says, “I shall not
describe my love for Josepha in detail. This, however, I will confess,
that it was after all only a prelude to the great tragedies of my riper
years. Thus does Romeo become infatuated with Rosaline before he finds
his Juliet.”

Byron’s confession, in speaking of an early love, that he had been
“attached fifty times since” has been referred to already; and although
Byron loved to exaggerate his foibles, his record in this case does not
belie his words. Of Burns, Principal Shairp writes that “There was not a
comely girl in Tarbolton on whom he did not compose a song, and then he
made one which included them all.” Burns himself confesses, “In my
conscience, I believe that my heart has been so often on fire that it
has been vitrified.” And Washington Irving remarks on Goldsmith’s first
love as “a passion of that transient kind which grows up in idleness and
exhales itself in poetry.”

Of this kind were two passions of Lamb, concerning which a biographer
says, “A youthful passion, which lasted only a few months, and which he
afterwards attempted to regard lightly as a folly past, inspired a few
sonnets of very delicate feeling and exquisite music.” And of his second
flame, “His stay at Pentonville is remarkable for the fugitive passion
conceived by Lamb for a young Quakeress named Hester Savory, which he
has enshrined and immortalised in the little poem of _Hester_.”

Goethe has the reputation of having been of all famous lovers the most
fickle. Like Byron, Goethe appears to have endeavoured to make himself
appear more frivolous than he was. His amorous Roman _Elegies_, which
have given so much offence, were in reality written in Thuringia, after
his return from Italy; and their heroine was no one but the girl who
subsequently became his wife.

It remained for a Scotchman to write the best apology for Goethe’s
love-affairs. “To Goethe,” says Professor Blackie, “the sight of any
beautiful object was like delicate music to the ear of a cunning
musician; he was carried away by it, and floated in its element
joyously, as a swallow in the summer air, or a sea-mew on the buoyant
wave. Hence the rich story of Goethe’s loves, with which scandal, of
course, and prudery have made their market, but which, when looked into
carefully, were just as much part of his genius as _Faust_ or
_Iphigenia_—a part, indeed, without which neither _Faust_ nor
_Iphigenia_ could have been written.... Let no one, therefore, take
offence when I say that Goethe was always falling in love, and that I
consider this a great virtue in his character.”

One more case: “Beethoven constantly had his love-affairs,” says
Wegeler. His first love was a Cologne beauty, who coquetted with him and
another man till both discovered she was engaged to a _third_! Several
times Beethoven made up his mind to marry; he made two definite
proposals, both of which were refused. One fatal objection was his habit
of falling in love with women above him in “rank.” “It is a frightful
thing,” he once wrote, “to make the acquaintance of such a sweet
creature and to lose her immediately; and nothing is more insupportable
than thus to have to confess one’s own foolishness.” One of his flames,
an opera singer, gave as a reason why she refused him that he was “so
ugly and half-cracked!”


Perhaps the most unique trait in the love of men of genius is the
apparent occasional absence of the element of Monopoly. It was Ovid who
first discussed the question whether a man could love two women at once.
His friend Græcinus denied the possibility of such a thing; but in one
of his _Elegies_ Ovid refutes him by citing his own case of a double
simultaneous infatuation. He hesitates which of the two to choose,
chides Venus for torturing him with double love—for adding leaves to the
trees, stars to the heavens, water to the ocean.

Of modern authors not a few appear to have followed in Ovid’s footsteps.
We have seen how madly Heine was in love for a long time with his cousin
Amalie. Yet, as one of his biographers, Robert Proelsz, remarks, this
ardent though hopeless infatuation saved him neither at Hamburg nor at
Bonn, nor at Hanover or Berlin, from a number of love-affairs, some of
which are vaguely commemorated in his writings. Another German poet,
Wieland, after various romantic adventures, fell in love with Julia
Bondeli, a pupil of Rousseau’s, and asked for her heart and hand; but
she mistrusted him, and asked the pertinent question, “Tell me, will you
never be able to love another besides me?” “Never!” he replied, “that is
impossible.... Yet it might be possible for a moment, if I should chance
to see a more beautiful woman than you who is at the same time very
unhappy and very virtuous.” “Poor Wieland,” Scherr continues, “who
subsequently understood the anatomy of the female heart so well, appears
not to have known then that _no_ woman pardons in her lover the thought
that he might find another more beautiful than her. Julia knew what she
had to do, and with deeply-wounded heart allowed the poet to depart.”

Of Burns his brother Gilbert says, “When he selected any one out of the
sovereignty of his good pleasure, to whom he should pay his particular
attention, she was instantly invested with a sufficient stock of charms
out of the plentiful stores of his own imagination; and there was often
a great disparity between his fair captivator and her attributes. One
generally reigned paramount in his affections; but as Yorick’s
affections flowed out toward Madame de L—— at the remise door, while the
eternal vows of Eliza were upon him, so Robert was frequently
encountering other attractions, which formed _so many under-plots in the
drama of his love_.”

In Goethe’s life these “under-plots” played a like prominent part. “He
always needed a number of feminine hearts of more or less personal
interest, in which to mirror himself,” we read; and he himself told his
Charlotte (in 1777) that her love was “the thread by which all his other
little passions, pastimes, and flirtations hung.”

So that, after all, it seems possible to love two at a time; but it
_takes genius to do it_!

Yet even with men of genius it is only possible in ordinary
love-affairs. A supreme love-affair allows but one goddess under any

Schumann was one of the most multitudinous lovers on record. Apparently
his first love was Nanni, his “guardian angel,” who saved him from the
perils of the world, and hovered before his vision like a saint. “I feel
that I could kneel before her and adore her like a Madonna,” he says in
a letter. But Nanni had a dangerous rival in Liddy. Not long, however,
for he found Liddy silly, cold as marble, and—fatal defect! she could
not sympathise with him regarding Jean Paul. “The exalted image of my
ideal disappears when I think of the remarks she made about Jean Paul.
Let the dead rest in peace.” Curiously enough, there are references to
both these girls at various dates, showing that, like Ovid, he
vacillated between the two. He had a number of other flames, and after
his engagement to Clara Wieck gave her warning that he had the “very
mischievous habit” of being a great admirer of lovely women. “They make
me positively smirk, and I swim in panegyrics on your sex. Consequently,
if at some future time we walk along the streets of Vienna and meet a
beauty, and I exclaim, ‘Oh Clara! see this heavenly vision!’ or
something of the sort, you must not be alarmed nor scold me.”

But the most enterprising lover ever known to the world was Alfieri; for
his first Love seems to have _embraced a whole female seminary_! In his
_Mémoires_, at any rate, he uses the plural in speaking of the object of
his first passion. He was indeed only nine years old, which may excuse
this amorous anomaly. He had seen in church a number of young novices,
and thus describes his feelings (the italics are mine): “My innocent
attraction towards _these_ novices became so strong that I thought of
them and their doings incessantly. At one moment my imagination painted
_them_ holding their candles in their hands, serving mass with an air of
angelic submission, and again raising the smoke of incense at the foot
of the altar; and, entirely absorbed in these images, I neglected my
studies; every occupation and all companionship bored me.”


If Shakspere could identify woman with frailty, one might with equal
propriety exclaim, Vanity, thy name is man! Clever men have a habit of
paying pretty girls neat compliments, less to please the girls than to
show off their wit. And clever women, though they may not accept these
remarks literally, still have cause to be gratified with them, in
proportion to the excellence of the wit; for ugliness or inferior beauty
never inspires a happy thought in a clever man.

Poets represent the climax of masculine vanity. Though their first
Love-poems may be the embodiment of real passion, in subsequent efforts
the purely literary origin is too often apparent. Since poetic
composition is in itself a mingled agony and delight, very like Love
itself, nothing so facilitates its progress as exciting Love-memories.
Hence poets are for ever urged on to compose Love ditties in which they
endeavour to out-Romeo Romeo, to out-hyperbolise one another, as women
try to out-dress one another. This is one aspect of their vanity; the
other lies in their desire for sympathetic admiration. So, whenever a
poet meets a damsel who comes within half a mile of his ideal, he
forthwith unfolds before her eyes his gaudy dithyrambs and sonnets, and
indulges in various Love-antics, very much like an infatuated peacock.

Even the great Dante is not free from the reproach of having used his
true love for mere literary purposes. Beatrice became to him gradually
an abstraction, an allegory, a name for woman in general. But it is in
his countryman Petrarch that the tendency to use a sweetheart for purely
ornamental purposes, as if she were a feather to be stuck in one’s hat,
is most vividly illustrated. Petrarch is a conspicuous illustration of
the fact that a poetic reputation once established will live on for
ever, for the simple reason that very few people ever take the trouble
to read and judge for themselves; so that an undeserved reputation, like
a disease, is inherited by generation after generation.

No one, of course, can question Petrarch’s learning and his influence on
the progress of modern culture. I speak of him only as a love-poet; and
as such he occupies a wofully low rank. I have read and reread his
sonnets, and have found them one of the dreariest deserts the quest for
information has ever driven me into. To say with Mr. Symonds, in the
_Encyclopædia Britannica_, that “he was far from approaching the
analysis of emotion with the directness of a Heine or De Musset,” is
putting it very mildly indeed. Professor Scherr points out his lack of
poetic imagination in these words: “Though he took so much trouble to
hand down the beauty of his Laura to posterity, yet (he) never gets
beyond a tedious enumeration of her charms. Petrarch never gives us a
clear portrait of his lady.” “The poems of her lover,” says Mr. Symonds,
“demonstrate that she was a _married woman_, with whom he enjoyed a
respectful and not very intimate friendship.” Moore refers to Petrarch
as one “who would not suffer his only daughter to reside beneath his
roof, [but] expended thirty-two years of poetry and passion on an
idealised love.” Schopenhauer naïvely accepted the reality of Petrarch’s
passion, which the poor fellow had to drag through life “like a
prisoner’s chain,” because the case suited his argument; but Mr.
Macaulay more justly remarks that “to readers of our time, the love of
Petrarch seems to have been of that kind which breaks no hearts.”
Finally Professor Scherr’s opinion may be cited, which agrees with the
view here taken.

In 1327 Petrarch “made the acquaintance of Laura, the wife of Hugo de
Sade, who has become famous through him, and whom during twenty-one
years he continued to love, or at least to celebrate in song; for one
feels somewhat uncertain regarding this love, and is very much tempted
to regard it more as a matter of the head than of the heart and the
senses—more as a welcome theme for his troubadour art and Provençal
amorous subtlety than as a genuine, true passion. Petrarch’s qualities
in general, both as a man and as a poet, are tainted by an appearance of
hollowness, a want of substance and character. He lacked genuine
originality, the power of spontaneous creation.”

Petrarch, it is true, was an extreme case of the poet’s inclination to
give Love a fictitious permanence and depth; and he lived, moreover, at
a time when the novelty of the spiritual aspect of Love naturally
inclined the mind to exaggeration in that direction. In the case of
modern poets, much less allowance has to be commonly made for motives of
purely poetic or literary origin.

Such being the leading characteristics of Love in men of genius, and
such men being emotionally a few centuries ahead of others, the
questions arise, “Is it likely that the Love of ordinary mortals will
gradually assume those traits? and is it desirable that it should?”

There seems no immediate danger that the world will be peopled largely
by geniuses, though there is a rapid and steady advance in culture,
which in a thousand years may greatly lessen the difference between men
of genius and average men of the future as compared with those of
to-day. When that millennium arrives the man of genius may have advanced
another step, but not so great, perhaps, as that which now raises him
above the common herd. He will not then be so great an anomaly, and will
find society less willing than in the past to make allowance for his
irregularities, such as his fickleness and multiplicity of Love-affairs.

Yet, after all, these great men are only partly to blame for their
fickleness. Beethoven once boasted of having loved one woman for _seven
months_ as something unusual. But had Beethoven been so fortunate as to
meet and marry a woman having those qualities which Sir Walter Scott
says the wife of a genius should have—either “taste enough to relish her
husband’s performances, or good nature enough to pardon his
infirmities,”—he might have been blessed with a love not of seven
months, but of seven times seven years. Of Shelley, Mr. Symonds tells us
that, “In his own words, he had loved Antigone before he visited this
earth: and no one woman could probably have made him happy, because he
was for ever demanding more from love than it can give in the mixed
circumstances of mortal life.”

Mr. Galton, who has made such a careful study of the phenomena of genius
and marriage (_Hereditary Genius_), remarks on the “great fact ... that
able men take pleasure in the society of intelligent women, and, if they
can find such as would in other respects be suitable, they will marry
them in preference to mediocrities.” Unfortunately, as before dwelt on,
great beauty and great intellect, or amiability, do not always coincide,
owing to the fact that pretty girls do not feel the necessity of
cultivating their minds. But in men of genius their own store of
intellect is so great, and their admiration for Beauty so intense, that
they are constantly liable to marry silly girls; or before marriage to
flirt with one beauty after another without finding satisfaction. In a
few generations, however, there will doubtless be many more women than
now or in the past who will be intelligent, amiable, and beautiful at
the same time; and such women will be able to fetter even the erratic
love of geniuses with adamantine chains, impervious to rust and
alteration, and thus cure them of their Fickleness and their constant
effort to love more than one at a time.

Poetic Fictitiousness, of course, is a trait which does no one any harm,
and often enriches literature with charming fancies. And as for the two
remaining characters of genius-Love—Ardour and Precocity—it is evident
that there cannot be too much of them in the world. The dawn of Love is
always the dawn of so much refinement of the soul, the awakening of so
much ambition, that it cannot be too precocious; and the more ardent it
is the more thoroughgoing will be its results. Nor need a big fire go
out sooner than a small one, provided there is a constant supply of
fresh fuel—a point which Balzac has discussed with much eloquence in his
_Physiologie du Mariage_.

Coleridge says “It is the business of virtue to give a feeling and a
passion to our purer intellect, and to intellectualise our feelings and
passions.” Now this is precisely what is done by Romantic Love, which
first originated in the minds of men of genius.

             “The might of one fair face sublimes my love,
             For it hath weaned my heart from low desires.”

“Sublimes my love.” These three words of Michael Angelo contain the
whole philosophy of our subject. And what is it that sublimes Love
chiefly? “The might of one fair face”—the magic effect of Personal
Beauty. Perhaps, after all, the greatest difference between the Love of
a genius and an ordinary mortal is that in the former the æsthetic
element—the Admiration of Beauty—is so much stronger, making up
two-thirds of the whole passion. And as a taste for the beautiful in art
and nature becomes more common, the Love of common mortals, in
approaching that of genius, will more and more partake of this æsthetic
refinement—this worship of Personal Beauty for the sake of the higher
gratifications it yields to the imagination.

                           INSANITY AND LOVE


The poets, who have in all ages insisted on the analogies between genius
and insanity, have also long since discovered a general resemblance
between Love and Insanity. Indeed, the notion that Love is a sort of
madness is as old as Plato. Love, as understood by him—that is, man’s
“worship of youthful masculine beauty”—is, he says, mad, irrational,
superseding reason and prudence in the individual mind. And the Stoics,
who regarded all affections as maladies, looked upon the severest of the
passions as a grave mental disease.

Modern poetry is full of allusions to the fatuous folly of Love. Thus

                 “A lover is the very fool of nature.”


                 “The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
                  Are of imagination all compact.”

          “Thou blind fool, Love, what dost thou to mine eyes,
          That they behold and see not what they see?”

And the mischievous Rosalind informs us that “Love is merely a madness,
and, I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do;
and the reason why they are not so punished and cured is, that the
lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love too.”

All this is mere poetic banter; but there is a substratum of truth which
the poets must have dimly felt. Modern alienists do not treat their
patients to dark rooms and whips, as their predecessors did. They regard
the maladies of their patients as brain diseases, which have been
studied and classified, and are treated on general hygienic and
therapeutic principles. A comparison of the classifications adopted in
psychiatry with the symptoms of Love shows that Insanity and Love
resemble each other especially in three common traits,—the presence of
Illusions, a sort of Delirium of Persecution, and the Desire for

There are two ways in which madmen people the outside world with
phantoms of their own imaginations—by means of illusions and of

Hallucinations are pure figments of the imagination, without any object
corresponding to them or suggesting them in the outer world. A patient
suffering from them will stare into vacancy and see a friend, or perhaps
the devil with horns, tail, and hoofs; and he sees him as vividly as if
he were really there to be touched; the reason being that in that part
of the brain where impressions of sight are localised a diseased action
is set up which suggests a picture that is forthwith projected into
outward space—as usual with all sense-impressions. In a word, the
patient paints the devil in his mind’s eye, and there he is.

Illusions, on the other hand, have real external objects for their
cause; but the diseased imagination so falsifies the objects that there
is little or no resemblance between the mental vision and the outside
reality. A patient suffering from illusions sees a candle and thinks it
is the sun, hears a footstep and thinks it thunder.

Is not this precisely what Shakspere chides Cupid for—that he makes our
eyes “behold and see not what they see?” or makes them “see Helen’s
beauty in a brow of Egypt?” Concerning Burns we have just read that
“there was often a great disparity between his fair captivator and her
attributes”—that is, the attributes with which she was invested by her

The lover, like the lunatic, has had moments when, “beholding his
maiden, he half-knows she is not that which he worships”; but such
intervals are rare. Take a madman who believes his body is made of
glass, and throw him downstairs: none the less will he believe in his
vitreous constitution. Show a lover the most beautiful woman in the
world, still will he believe his own Dulcinea a hundred times more

There is, in the second place, a very common form of insanity, called
the Delirium of Persecution. The sufferer imagines that everybody he
passes notices him, suspects him of something, or even intends him some
harm. Dr. Hammond speaks of a patient of this class “who was sure that
all the clergymen had entered into a conspiracy to ‘pray him into hell’!
He went to the churches to hear what they had to say, and discovered
adroit allusions to himself, and hidden invocations to God for his
eternal damnation, in the most harmless and platitudinous expressions.
He wrote letters to various pastors of churches, denouncing them for
their uncharitable conduct toward him, and threatening them with bodily
damage if they persisted in their efforts to secure the destruction of
his soul.”

“Quand nous aimons,” says Pascal, “nous nous imaginons que tout le monde
s’en aperçoit”—when we are in love we imagine that everybody perceives
it. The lover feels so awkward and embarrassed that he thinks every one
about him must discover his secret; and this constant apprehension
doubles his awkwardness, and in most cases does lead to his detection.
And the jealous lover to whom “trifles light as air” are confirmations
of infidelity, who sees dangerous rivalry in the most superficial
attentions, and inconstancy in the most harmless smile she bestows on
another—how does he differ from the man who thought the clergy were
trying to pray him into hell, except that in the one case the disordered
imagination is more easily restored to its normal functions than in the

Thirdly, the lunatic and the lover, in their melancholy stages, have a
common fondness for Solitude. For days and weeks a patient will sit
motionless, indifferent to everybody and everything in the world except
the one idea that has fixed on his brain like a leech, and is sucking
its life-blood. Nothing, says an observer, is so noticeable on visiting
an asylum where the patients are allowed some liberty, as the way in
which each one seeks a solitary place regardless of his fellows.

Are not, in the same way—

              “Fountain-heads and pathless groves
              Places which pale passion loves?”—FLETCHER.

But what madman in his wildest flights ever conceived anything quite so
sublimely solitary as the flight which Burns projected for himself and
Clarinda (in lovers’ arithmetic twice one are one) in the following
epistle: "Imagine ... that we were set free from the laws of gravitation
which bind us to this globe, and could at pleasure fly, without
inconvenience, through all the yet unconjectured bounds of creation,
what a life of bliss would we lead, in our mutual pursuit of virtue and
knowledge, and our mutual enjoyment of love and friendship!

“I see you laughing at my fairy fancies, and calling me a voluptuous
Mahometan; but I am certain I would be a happy creature beyond anything
we call bliss here below; nay, it would be a paradise congenial to you
too. Don’t you see us, hand in hand, or rather, my arm about your lovely
waist, making our remarks on Sirius, the nearest of the fixed stars; or,
surveying a comet flaming innoxious by us, as we just now would mark the
passing pomp of a travelling monarch; or, in a shady bower of Mercury or
Venus, dedicating the hour to love, in mutual converse, relying honour,
and revelling endearment, while the most exalted strains of poesy and
harmony would be the ready, spontaneous language of our souls.”

Thus we have in the madman’s Illusions an analogy with Love’s
Hyperbolising tendency; in the Delirium of Persecution a suggestion of
Jealousy; in the Desire for Solitude a reminder of Love’s Exclusiveness,
and desire to be cast on a desert island.

Gallantry, again, has in the past frequently assumed an extravagant form
bordering on madness. Thus, with reference to a Greek girl to whom Byron
made love in Athens, Moore says, “It was, if I recollect right, in
making love to one of these girls that he had recourse to an act of
courtship often practised in that country—namely, giving himself a wound
across the breast with his dagger. The young Athenian, by his own
account, looked on very coolly during the operation, considering it a
fit tribute to her beauty, but in no wise moved to gratitude.”

In Spain, toward the beginning of the last century, Gallantry appears to
have assumed a form of mad extravagance. As Mme. d’Aunoy relates in her
_Mémoires sur l’Espagne_, no man who accompanied a lady was so rude as
to give her his hand or to take her arm under his. He only wrapped his
cloak around his arm, and then allowed her to rest her arm on the elbow.
Nor was even a lover permitted to kiss his love or caress her otherwise
than by tenderly grasping her arm with his hands.

Of mediæval lovers’ madness cases have been cited elsewhere, showing to
what crazy excess the Knight-errants and Troubadours sometimes carried
their gallant devotion. One more amusing illustration may here be added:
the oft-cited cases of Peire Vidal, a Troubadour of the twelfth century,
who, to please his beloved, whose name was Loba (wolf), had himself
sewed up in a wolf’s hide and went about the mountains howling until his
manœuvres were brought to a sad end by some shepherd dogs, who,
having no sense of humour, gave him such a shaking that he was only too
glad to resume his normal attitude.

There is, in fact, hardly a feature of Love which, in its exalted
manifestations, does not occasionally suggest a madhouse. The
extravagant Pride shown by a commonplace man in his more commonplace
bride, is quite as ludicrous as a lunatic’s delusion that he is a
millionaire or emperor of the five continents. The sham capture of a
bride still practised among many nations when all parties are willing,
illustrates a form of Coyness which would appear as pure lunacy to one
unfamiliar with the origin of that custom.


Besides these general analogies there is a form of mental disease which
is genuine love-sickness, the outcome of brain disease, and which often
seems, for all the world, like a deliberate caricature of Coquetry.

“It often happens,” says Dr. Hammond, “that the subjects of emotional
monomania of the variety under consideration do not restrict their love
to any one person. They adore the whole male sex, and will make advances
to any man with whom they are brought into even the slightest
association. If confined in an asylum they simper and clasp their hands,
and roll their eyes to the attendants, especially the physicians, and
even the male patients are not below their affections. There is very
little constancy in their love. They change from one man to another with
the utmost facility and upon the slightest pretext. ‘I am very much in
love with Dr. ——,’ said a woman to me in an asylum that I was visiting,
‘but he was late yesterday in coming to the ward, and now I love you.
You will come often to see me, won’t you?’ While she was speaking the
superintendent entered the ward. ‘Oh, here comes my first and only
love!’ she exclaimed. ’Why have you stayed away so long from your

Professor von Krafft-Ebing, in his admirable _Lehrbuch der Psychiatrie_,
thus characterises Erotomania in general: "The kernel of the whole
matter is the delusion of being singled out and loved by a person of the
other sex, who regularly belongs to a higher social sphere. And it
deserves to be noted that the love felt by the patient towards this
person is a romantic, ecstatic, but entirely ‘Platonic’ affection. In
this respect these patients remind one of the knight-errants and
minstrels of bygone times, whom Cervantes has so incisively lashed in
his _Don Quixote_....

"From the looks and gestures of the beloved individual they draw the
inference that they in return are not regarded with indifference. With
astonishing rapidity they lose their self-possession. The most harmless
incidents are regarded by them as signs of love, and an encouragement to
draw near. Even newspaper advertisements relating to others are supposed
to come from the person in question. Finally, hallucinations make their
appearance, by the aid of which the patients begin to be conversant with
the object of their love. Illusions also supervene; in the conversations
of others the patient fancies he hears references to his love-affairs.
He feels happy, exalted in his estimate of himself....

“At last the patient compromises himself by acting in consonance with
his delusion, thus making himself ridiculous and impossible in society,
and necessitating his confinement in an asylum.”

                          THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE

The insane freaks of erotomaniacs, and the analogous, ludicrous
exaggerations in the expression and conduct of lovers, may be regarded
as the pathologic and the comic sides of Love’s Language.

Normally, Romantic Love has no fewer than three languages:—Words, Facial
Expression, and Caresses, including Kisses. It will at once be seen that
this classification involves a crescendo <, from the weakest form of
expression to its climax in kissing. Kissing, indeed, though it comes
under the head of Caresses, is of so much significance that it may be
regarded, if not as a separate language of Love, at least as a special
dialect—perhaps the long-sought world-language intelligible to all?


Though the greatest poets have striven to become virtuosi in the art of
expressing Love in written language, yet words are the weakest and least
trustworthy mode of expressing the amorous emotions. Least trustworthy,
because the male flatterer, as well as the female coquette, constantly
use language to conceal their thoughts and real emotions. Weakest,
because words are less eloquent even than silence. For—

            “They that are rich in words must needs discover
            They are but poor in that which makes a lover;”


              “Silence in Love bewrays more woe
              Than words though ne’er so witty.”—RALEIGH.

Cordelia’s love was deeper than that of her sisters—too deep to be
expressed in formal words. And King Lear scorned her and favoured her
sisters; even as shallow maidens constantly look down on silent, awkward
adorers of deep affections, and throw themselves away on shallow,
fickle, loquacious Lotharios, because they do not understand the real
Language of Love, which, according to a stupid old myth, every woman is
supposed to know by intuition or instinct.

                         II.-FACIAL EXPRESSION,

although more trustworthy than written or spoken words, may sometimes
prove deceptive too; for the cunning coquette who daily feigns Love to
attract poor moths by her brilliant fascinations, becomes in time so
perfect an actress that the coldest of cynics may be deceived by her

In his great work on the _Expression of the Emotions_, Darwin remarks
that although, “when lovers meet, we know that their hearts beat
quickly, their breathing is hurried, and their faces flush;” yet “love
can hardly be said to have any proper or peculiar means of expression;
and this is intelligible, as it has not habitually led to any special
line of action. No doubt, as affection is a pleasurable sensation, it
generally causes a gentle smile and some brightening of the eyes.”

Inasmuch as a flushed face and transient blushes, a gentle smile and
brightening of the eyes, are characteristic of other emotions besides
Love, Darwin is right; yet he ignores two peculiarities of expression by
which a person in Love may be instantaneously recognised.

“A lover,” says Chamfort, “is a man who endeavours to be more amiable
than it is possible for him to be; and this is the reason that almost
all lovers appear ridiculous.” Who has not seen this unmistakable,
ludicrous expression of masculine Love—head slightly inclined to the
left; face as near her face as possible, echoing every expression of
hers; a saccharine, beseeching smile on the kiss-hungry lips, producing
on the spectator an uneasy sense of unstable equilibrium—as if in one
more moment the force of amorous gravitation would draw down his face to

Add to this his embarrassed gestures, the over-sweet falsetto of his
voice—an octave higher than when he speaks to others,—and the peculiar
lover’s pallor, and the picture is complete—

                “Why so pale and wan, fond lover?
                  Prithee, why so pale?
                Will, when looking well can’t move her,
                  Looking ill prevail?”—SUCKLING.

To women Cupid is kinder. Instead of making them appear ludicrous, Love
has the power of transforming even a homely feminine face into a vision
of loveliness by throwing a halo of tender expression around it. This
wondrous transformation effected by Love is one of its greatest
miracles; and to one who has seen the girl previously it immediately
betrays her infatuation. It is a kind of _emotional calligraphy_ in
which the merest tyro can read, “I love him.”

And this temporary transformation of homely into beautiful faces, this
fusing and moulding of the features into forms of voluptuous expression,
is of extreme psychologic interest; for it shows that, after all, the
exalted, extravagant image of Her perfections in the lover’s mind is not
purely imaginary. It is not so much owing to a difference of “taste”
that he loves her more than others do, as because she actually _does_
look more beautiful when her eyes are fastened on him than when looking
at any other man.


“Tenderness,” says Professor Bain, “is a pleasurable emotion, variously
stimulated, whose effort is to draw human beings into mutual embrace.”
Darwin finds the peculiarity of love in the same desire for contact;
and, as usual, he seeks for the origin of this desire, and endeavours to
trace it to analogous peculiarities of the animals most closely related
to us.

“With the lower animals,” he says, “we see the same principle of
pleasure derived from contact in association with love. Dogs and cats
manifestly take pleasure in rubbing against their masters and
mistresses, and in being rubbed or patted by them. Many kinds of
monkeys, as I am assured by the keepers in the Zoological Gardens,
delight in fondling and being fondled by each other, and by persons to
whom they are attached. Mr. Bartlett has described to me the behaviour
of two Chimpanzees, rather older animals than those generally imported
into this country, when they were first brought together. They sat
opposite, _touching each other with their much-protruded lips_, and the
one put his hand on the shoulder of the other. Then they mutually folded
each other in their arms. Afterwards they stood up, each with one arm on
the shoulder of the other, lifted up their heads, opened their mouths
and yelled with delight.”

Concerning human beings Darwin remarks: “A strong desire to touch the
beloved person is commonly felt; and love is expressed by this means
more plainly than by any other. Hence we long to clasp in our arms those
we tenderly love. We probably owe this desire to _inherited habit_, in
association with the nursing and tending of our children, and with the
mutual caresses of lovers.”

When love first dawns on the mind, the faintest superficial contact
flashes along the nerves as a thrill of delicious emotion. To walk along
the beach in a stiff breeze, and have her veil accidentally flutter in
his face, is a romantic incident on which a youthful lover’s memory
feasts for a month. If allowed to carry her shawl on his arm, he would
not feel the cold of a Siberian winter. And later, what a variety of
tell-tale caresses are there by which mutual Love may be revealed! It is
not the voice alone that can say “I love you”; nor the speaking eyes.
Confessions of Love, proposals and acceptance—complete dramas of
Love—have been enacted by the language of two pairs of feet that have
accidentally touched under the table. A slight pressure of the hand in
the ballroom has told thousands of lovers, before a word was spoken,
that now they may soon put their arms round that lovely waist without
the excuse of a waltz or polka.

One form of hand-caress, dear alike to mothers and lovers, is thus
described by Professor Mantegazza: “In a caress we give and receive at
the same time. The hand which distributes love, as by a magnetic
effusion, receives it in return from the skin of the beloved person.
Hence it is that one of the most common and most thrilling of the
expressions of love consists in passing the hand through the hair. The
hand finds, in this labyrinth of supple, living threads, the means of
multiplying infinitely the points of amorous contact. It appears as if
each hair were an electric wire, putting us into direct connection with
the senses, with the heart, and even with the thoughts, of those we
love. It is not without reason that woman’s hair has long been given as
a token of love.”

What a clumsy thing is language, what an awkward thing a formal proposal
stuttered out by a lover more embarrassed than if he were an amateur
actor appearing on the stage for the first time, as Romeo before an
international audience of actors and critics! How much less natural,
less poetic, it is to hear the confession of Love than to feel it—

               “When panting sighs the bosom fill,
               And hands, by chance united, thrill
               At once with one delicious pain.”—CLOUGH.

What poet, and were he a genius in condensation, could compress into a
line, a page, a volume, such an ocean of emotion as is contained in a
momentary caress of the hand? Not even the moment when the lovers are
“imparadised in one another’s arms” surpasses this in ecstasy.

Yet there is a more delicious rapture still in the drama of Courtship.
“Love’s sweetest language is,” as Herrick says, “a kiss.” All other
caresses are valueless without a kiss; for is not a kiss the very
autograph of Love?

But labial contact is a subject of such supreme importance in the
philosophy and history of Love that it cannot be disposed of briefly as
one form of caressing, but demands a chapter by itself.


“The lips,” says Sir Charles Bell, “are of all the features the most
susceptible of action, and the most direct index of the feelings.” No
wonder that Cupid selected them as his private seal, without which no
passion can be stamped as genuine.

For the expression of all other emotions, by words or signs, one pair of
lips suffices. Love alone requires for its expression two pairs of lips.
Could anything more eloquently demonstrate the superiority of the
romantic passion over all others?

Steele said of kissing that “Nature was its author, and it began with
the first courtship.” Steele evidently evolved this theory out of his
“inner consciousness,” for the facts do not agree with it. The art of
Kissing has, like Love itself, been gradually developed in connection
with the higher stages of culture. Traces of it are found among animals
and savages; the ancients often misunderstood its purport and object, as
did our mediæval ancestors; and it is only in recent times that Kissing
has tended to become what it should be—the special and exclusive
language of romantic and conjugal love.

                             AMONG ANIMALS

Honour to whom honour is due. The Chimpanzee seems to have been the
first who discovered the charm of mutual labial contact. In the
description by Mr. Bartlett just referred to, the two Chimpanzees “sat
opposite, touching each other with their much-protruded lips.” And in
some notes on the Chimpanzee in Central Park, New York, by Dr. C.
Pitfield Mitchell, published in the _Journal of Comparative Medicine and
Surgery_, January 1885, we find the following: “That tender emotions are
experienced may be inferred from the fact that he pressed the kitten to
his breast and kissed it, holding it very gently in both hands. In
kissing, the lips are pouted and the tongue protruded, and both are
pressed upon the object of affection. The act is not accompanied by any
sound, thus differing from ordinary human osculation.”

Dogs, especially when young, may be seen occasionally exchanging a sort
of tongue-kiss; and who has not seen dogs innumerable times make a
sudden sly dash at the lips of master or mistress and try to _steal_ a
kiss? The affectionate manner in which a cow and calf eagerly lick one
another in succession may be regarded as quite as genuine a kiss as a
human kiss on hand, forehead, or cheek; and it is probable that even in
the billing of doves the motive is a vague pleasure of contact.

                             AMONG SAVAGES

we meet once more with the anomalous fact that they seem ignorant, on
the whole, of a clever invention known even to some animals. Sir John
Lubbock, after referring to Steele’s opinion that kissing is coeval with
courtship, remarks: “It was, on the contrary, entirely unknown to the
Tahitians, the New Zealanders, the Papuas, and the aborigines of
Australia, nor was it in use among the Somals or the Esquimaux.” Jemmy
Button, the Fuegian, told Darwin that kissing was unknown in his land;
and another writer gives an amusing account of an attempt he made to
kiss a young negro girl. She was greatly terrified, probably imagining
him a new species of cannibal who had made up his mind to eat her on the
spot, raw, and without salt and pepper.

Monteiro, in a passage previously quoted, says that in all the long
years he has been in Africa he has “never seen a negro put his arm round
a woman’s waist, or give or receive any caress whatever that would
indicate the slightest loving regard or affection on either side.”

Considering the general obtuseness of a savage’s nerves, it is no wonder
that the subtle thrill of a kiss should be unknown to him. In many
cases, moreover, Kissing is rendered physically impossible by the habit
indulged in of mutilating and enlarging the lips. For instance,
Schweinfurth, in his _Heart of Africa_, says that among the Bongo women
“the lower lip is extended horizontally till it projects far beyond the
upper, which is also bored and fitted with a copper plate or nail, and
now and then by a little ring, and sometimes by a bit of straw, about as
thick as a lucifer match.” Many other similar cases could be cited.

Evidently, under these circumstances, kissing would prove a snare and a

                         THE ORIGIN OF KISSING

is a topic on which doctors disagree, the opinions of Darwin and Mr.
Spencer in particular differing as widely as their views regarding the
origin of music. Mr. Spencer traces the primitive delight in osculation
to the gustatory sense, Darwin to contact.

“Obviously,” says Mr. Spencer, "the billing of doves or pigeons, and the
like action of love-birds, indicates an affection which is gratified by
the gustatory sensation. No act of this kind on the part of an inferior
creature, as of a cow licking a calf, can have any other origin than the
direct prompting of a desire which gains by the act satisfaction; and in
such a case the satisfaction is that which vivid perception of offspring
gives to the maternal yearning. In some animals like acts arise from
other forms of affection. Licking the hand, or, where it is accessible,
the face, is a common display of attachment on a dog’s part; and when we
remember how keen must be the olfactory sense by which a dog traces his
master, we cannot doubt that to his gustatory sense, too, there is
yielded some impression—an impression associated with those pleasures of
affection which his master’s presence gives.

“The inference that kissing, as a mark of fondness in the human race,
has a kindred origin, is sufficiently probable. Though kissing is not
universal—though the negro races do not understand it, and though, as we
have seen, there are cases where sniffing replaces it—yet, being common
to unlikely and widely-dispersed peoples, we may conclude that it
originated in the same manner as the analogous action among lower
creatures.... From kissing as a natural sign of affection, there is
derived the kissing which, as a means of simulating affection, gratifies
those who are kissed; and, by gratifying them, propitiates them. Hence
an obvious root for the kissing of feet, hands, garments, as a part of

Darwin, on the other hand, holds that kissing “is so far innate or
natural that it apparently depends on pleasure from close contact with a
beloved person; and it is replaced in various parts of the world, by the
rubbing of noses, as with the New Zealanders and Laplanders, by the
rubbing or patting of the arms, breasts, or stomachs, or by one man
striking his own face with the hands or feet of another. Perhaps the
practice of blowing, as a mark of affection, on various parts of the
body may depend on the same principle.”

Has Mr. Spencer ever kissed a girl? Certainly, to one who has, his
theory of the gustatory origin of Kissing would seem like a joke were it
not stated with so much scientific pomp and circumstance. The billing of
doves and love-birds, in the first place, cannot be regarded as a matter
of taste, literally, because in birds the sense of taste is commonly
very rudimentary or quite absent, as their habit of swallowing seeds and
other food whole and dry would make a sense which can only judge of
things in a state of solution quite useless. The sense of touch, on the
other hand, is exceedingly delicate in the bill of birds, which is, as
it were, their feeler or hand.

That the motive which prompts cows and calves to lick one another is
likewise tactile rather than gustatory, I had occasion to observe only a
few days ago in a place worthy of so romantic a subject as the
experimental study of kissing. Scene: a green mountain-meadow above
Mürren, Switzerland. Frame of the picture, a semicircle of snow-giants,
including Wetterhorn, Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, Breithorn, etc. Cows and
calves in the meadow, not in the least disturbed by the avalanches
thundering down the side of the Jungfrau every twenty minutes. Cow licks
calf, and calf retaliates by licking the cow’s neck. Cow enjoys it
immensely, holding her head up as high as possible, with an expression
of intense enjoyment, just like a dog when you rub and pat his neck.
Ergo, as cow was not licking but being licked, her enjoyment must have
been tactile, not gustatory. To the cow her tongue is what the bill is
to a bird—her most mobile organ, her feeler, and hand.

Possibly Mr. Spencer was misled into his gustatory theory by a too
literal interpretation of a habit poets have always had of calling a
kiss sweet. Among the Romans a love-kiss was distinguished from other
kisses by being called a _suavium_ or sweet thing; and a modern German
poet boldly compares the flavour of kisses to wild strawberries (perhaps
she had just been eating some). Yet all this belongs to fancy’s
fairyland. Kisses are called sweet for the same reason that we speak of
the sweet concords of music, _i.e._ because the language of æsthetics is
so scantily developed that we are constantly compelled to borrow terms
from one sense and apply them to another, when their only resemblance is
that they are both agreeable or otherwise.

There is a very prevalent impression that the senses of savages are more
delicate than ours. In one way they are. A savage can often see an
object at a greater distance, and hear a fainter sound, than a white
man. But in what may be called æsthetic as distinguished from physical
refinement, savages are vastly our inferiors. A savage can hardly tell
the difference between two adjacent notes in the musical scale, while a
musician can distinguish the sixtieth part of a semitone. And why would
the wondrous harmonies of a Chopin nocturne seem a mere chaos of sound
to a savage? Because his ears have not been trained through his
imagination and intellect to discriminate sounds and sound-combinations,
or to follow the plot or development of a musical narrative or “theme.”

Just so with the sense of touch. A sweetheart’s veil fluttering in a
Hottentot’s face would only annoy him. A squeeze of the hand would leave
him cold; and would he refrain from putting his arm round her waist if
that gave him any pleasure? Obviously, then, the reason why the art of
kissing is unknown to him is because his senses are too callous, his
imagination too sluggish.

Kissing, like every other fine art, has its sensuous and its imaginative
or intellectual side. Of all parts of the visible body the lips are the
most sensitive to contact. Here the layer in which the nerves and
blood-vessels are contained is not covered over, as elsewhere on the
skin, by a thick leathery epidermis, but only thinly veiled by a
transparent epithelium; so that when lips are applied to lips, the
blood-vessels which carry the vital fluid straight from the two loving
hearts, and the soul-fibres, called nerves, are brought into almost
immediate contact: whence that interchange of soul-magnetism—that
electric shock which makes the first mutual kiss of Love the sweetest
moment of life—

               “What words can ever speak affection
               So thrilling and sincere as thine?”—BURNS.

Yet herein the imagination plays a much more prominent _rôle_ than it
appears to do at first sight. The real reason why a savage cannot enjoy
a kiss is not so much because his lips are deficient in tactile
sensibility, as because he has no imagination to invest labial contact
with the romance of individualised passion. If a lover’s pleasure lay in
the mere labial contact, he would as soon exchange a kiss with any other
girl. But should a sweetheart, on being asked for a kiss, refer him,
say, to his sister or her sister; though the latter be a hundred times
more beautiful, he would chide his love for offering a stone where bread
was wanted. His imagination has so long painted to him the superior
ecstasy of a kiss from her that, when he finally gets it, the
long-deferred gratification ensures the unparalleled rapture

                             ANCIENT KISSES

As the ancient civilised nations were much more addicted than we are to
gesture language, it seems natural that so expressive a sign as kissing
should have been used for a variety of purposes—for indicating not only
family affection, sexual passion and friendship, but general respect,
reverence, humility, condescension, etc. Among idolatrous nations, as
M‘Clintock and Strong remark, “it was the custom to throw kisses towards
the images of the gods, and towards the sun and moon.” Kissing the hand
appears to be a modern custom, but many other parts of the body were
thus saluted by the ancients: “Kissing the feet of princes was a token
of subjection and obedience, which was sometimes carried so far that the
print of the foot received the kiss, so as to give the impression that
the very dust had become sacred by the royal tread, or that the subject
was not worthy to salute even the prince’s foot, but was content to kiss
the earth itself near or on which he trod.” A similar observance is the
kissing of the Pope’s toe, or rather, the cross on his slipper—a custom
in vogue since the year 710. Among the Arabs the women and children kiss
the beards of their husbands or fathers. Among the ancient Hebrews,
“kissing the lips by way of affectionate salutation was not only
permitted, but customary among near relatives of both sexes, both in
patriarchal and in later times.” The kiss on the cheek “has at all times
been customary in the East, and can hardly be said to be extinct even in

Among the ancient Greeks, Jealousy prompted the husbands to “make their
wives eat onions whenever they were going from home.” And in the Roman
Republic, “Among the safeguards of female purity,” says Mr. Lecky, “was
an enactment forbidding women even to taste wine.... Cato said that the
ancient Romans were accustomed to kiss their wives for the purpose of
discovering whether they had been drinking wine.”

Breath-sweetening cloves and cachous were evidently unknown in the good
old times.

The Romans had special names for three kinds of kisses—_basium_, a kiss
of politeness; _osculum_, between friends; _suavium_, between lovers. If
a man kissed his betrothed, she gained thereby the half of his effects
in the event of his dying before the celebration of the marriage; and if
the lady herself died, under the same circumstances, her heirs or
nearest of kin took the half due to her, a kiss among the ancients being
a sign of plighted faith. So seriously, indeed, was a kiss regarded by
the ancient Romans, that a husband would not even kiss his wife in
presence of his daughters.

It was on account of this strict feeling regarding kisses exchanged by
man and woman that the early Christians subjected themselves to fierce
attacks and slander, because of the kisses that were exchanged as a
symbol of religious union at the Love-Feasts of the first disciples.
“But, in 397, the Council of Carthage thought fit to forbid all
religious kissing between the sexes, notwithstanding St. Paul’s
exhortation, ‘Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity.’”

                            MEDIÆVAL KISSES

Among many other refinements of the ancients, the mediæval nations lost
the sense of the sacredness of kissing between the sexes. England was
apparently the greatest sinner in this respect; for it appears to have
been customary on visiting to kiss the host’s wife and daughters.
Indeed, up to a comparatively recent time, kissing on every occasion was
almost as prevalent and permissible as handshaking is at the present
day. In the sixteenth century it was customary in England for ladies to
reward their partners in the dance with a kiss; and for a long time the
minister who united a couple in the holy bonds of matrimony had the
privilege of kissing not only the bride but even the bridesmaids! No
wonder the ministry was the most popular profession in those days.

“It is quite certain,” says a writer in the _St. James’s Magazine_
(1871), “that the custom of kissing was brought into England from
Friesland, as St. Pierius Wensemius, historiographer to their High
Mightinesses, the states of Friesland, in his _Chronicle_, 1622, tells
us that the pleasant practice of kissing was utterly ‘unpractised and
unknown in England till the fair Princess Romix (Rowena), the daughter
of King Hengist of Friesland, pressed the beaker with her lippens, and
saluted the amorous Vortigern with a kusjen’ (little kiss).”

Having recovered this lost art, however, the English lost no time in
making up for neglected opportunities. Erasmus writes in one of his
epistles: “If you go to any place (in Britain) you are received with a
_kiss_ by all; if you depart on a journey, you are dismissed with a
kiss; you return, kisses are exchanged ... wherever you move, nothing
but kisses. And if you, Faustus, had but once tasted them,—how soft they
are, how fragrant! on my honour, you would wish not to reside here for
ten years only, but for life!!!”

Bunyan, however, frowned on this practice, and inquired most
pertinently—and impertinently—why the men only “salute the most handsome
and let the ill-favoured alone?”

Pepys, in his _Diary_ for 1660, gives this account of some Portuguese
ladies in London: “I find nothing in them that is pleasing; and I see
they have _learnt to kiss_, and look freely up and down already, and I
do believe will soon forget the recluse practice of their own country.”

One of the luckiest of mortals was Bulstrode Whitelock, who at the Court
of Christine of Sweden was asked to teach her ladies “the English mode
of salutation; which, after some pretty defences, their lips obeyed, and
_Whitelock most readily_!”

The following extraordinary kissing story is told in _Chambers’s
Journal_ for 1861:—

“When the gallant cardinal, Count of Lorraine, was presented to the
Duchess of Savoy, she gave him her hand to kiss, greatly to the
indignation of the irate churchman. ‘How, madame,’ exclaimed he, ‘am I
to be treated in this manner? I kiss the queen, my mistress, who is the
greatest queen in the world, and shall I not kiss you, a _dirty little
duchess_? I would have you know I have kissed as handsome ladies, and of
as great or greater family than you.’ Without more ado he made for the
lips of the proud Portuguese princess, and, despite her resistance,
kissed her thrice on her mouth before he released her with an exultant

The fashion of universal kissing appears to have gone out about the time
of the Restoration.

                             MODERN KISSES

The history of kissing, thus briefly sketched, shows that among
primitive men this art is unknown because they are incapable of
appreciating it. To the ancient civilised nations its charms were
revealed; but as usual in the intoxication of a new discovery, they
hardly knew what to do with it, and applied it to all sorts of stupid
ceremonial purposes. The tendency of civilisation, however, has been to
eliminate promiscuous kissing, and restrict it more and more to its
proper function as an expression of the affections. And even within this
sphere the circle becomes gradually smaller. Although in some parts of
Europe men still kiss one another as a token of relationship,
friendship, or esteem, yet the habit is slowly dying out, the example
having been set in England, where it was abandoned toward the close of
the seventeenth century. The senseless custom which women to-day indulge
in of kissing each other on the slightest provocation, often when they
would rather slap one another in the face, is also doomed to extinction.
The witticism that women kiss one another because they cannot find
anything better to kiss, differing herein from men, was not perpetrated
by a woman. The practice of kissing little children has been often
enough condemned on medical grounds, which also hold good in the case of
adults. That contagious diseases are thus often conveyed from one person
to another was already known to the ancient Romans, one of whose
emperors issued a special proclamation in consequence against
promiscuous kissing.

From a sentimental point of view, the most objectionable of modern
kisses are those which are allowed between cousins. As long as a man may
become a suitor for the hand of his cousin he should, both for the sake
of his own love-drama and in justice to a possible rival, be debarred
from this privilege. Imagine the feelings of a lover who knows that his
rival has been permitted to steal the virgin kiss from the lips of his
adored one simply because his father happens to be her uncle! Family
kisses should, therefore, be allowed only within that degree of
relationship which precludes the idea of Love and marriage. Cousins will
have to be satisfied in future with a warmer grasp of the hand and an
extra lump of sugar in a maiden’s smile.


The happiest moment in the life of the happiest man is that when he is
allowed for the first time to “steal immortal blessing” from the lips of
her who has just promised to be his for ever. No wonder the poets have
grown eloquent over this supreme moment of pre-heavenly rapture—


                “O love, O fire! once he drew
                With one long kiss my whole soul through
                My lips, as sunlight drinketh dew.”


                  “Grow to my lips thou sacred kiss.”


                “As if he plucked up kisses by the root
                That grew upon my lips.”


           “Meine Liebste, mit den frommen treuen
           Braunen Rehesaugen, sagt, sie habe
           Blaue einst als Kind gehabt. Ich glaub’es.
           Neulich da ich, seliges Vergessen
           Trinkend hing an ihren Lippen,
           Meine Augen unterm langen Kusse
           Oeffnend, schaut’ ich in die nahen ihren,
           Und sie kamen mir in solcher Nähe
           Tiefblau wie ein Himmel vor. Was ist das
           Wer gibt dir der Kindheit Augen wieder?
           Deine Liebe, sprach sie, deine Liebe,
           Die mich hat zum Kind gemacht, die alle
           Liebesunschuldsträume meiner Kindheit
           Hat gereift zu sel’ger Erfüllung.
           Soll der Himmel nicht, der mir im Herzen
           Steht durch dich, mir blau durch’s Auge blicken?”

Love-kisses are silent like deep affection—

          “Passions are likened best to floods and streams:
          The shallow murmur, but the deep are dumb.”—RALEIGH.

True, Petruchio kissed Katrina “with such a clamorous smack, that at the
parting all the church did echo”; but his object was not to express his
Love, but to tease and tame the shrew. Loud kisses, moreover, might
betray the lovers to profane ears, and bring on a fatal attack of
Coyness on the girl’s part—

                “The greatest sin ’twixt heaven and hell
                Is first to kiss and then to tell.”

Love-kisses are passionate and long; for Love is Cupid’s lip-cement—

                    “Oh, a kiss, long as my exile,
                    Sweet as my revenge.”—SHAKSPERE.

             “A long, long kiss, a kiss of youth and love.”

                             “For a kiss’s strength
           I think it must be measured by its length.”—BYRON.

                 “A kiss now that will hang upon my lip
                 As sweet as morning dew upon a rose,
                 And full as long.”—THOMAS MIDDLETON.

Perhaps the longest kiss on record is that which Siegfried gives
Brünnhilde in the drama of _Siegfried_. But this is not an ordinary
kiss, for the hero has to wake with it the Valkyrie from the twenty
years’ sleep into which old Wotan had plunged her for disobeying his
orders. Thanks to Wagner’s art, the thrill of this Love-kiss, magically
transmuted into tones, is felt by a thousand spectators simultaneously
with the lover.

Love-kisses are innumerable. Thus sings the Italian poet, Cecco
Angiolieri, in the thirteenth century—

             “Because the stars are fewer in heaven’s span
             Than all those kisses wherewith I kept time
             All in an instant (I who now have none!)
             Upon her mouth (I and no other man!)
             So sweetly on the twentieth day of June
             On the New Year twelve hundred ninety-one.”
                                         ROSSETTI’S TRANSL.

Novelists and poets have exhausted their ingenuity in finding adjectives
descriptive of Love-kisses and others. An anonymous essayist has
compiled the following list:—

“Kisses are forced, unwilling, cold, comfortless, frigid, and frozen,
chaste, timid, rosy, balmy, humid, dewy, trembling, soft, gentle,
tender, tempting, fragrant, sacred, hallowed, divine, soothing, joyful,
affectionate, delicious, rapturous, deep-drawn, impressive, quick, and
nervous, warm, burning, impassioned, inebriating, ardent, flaming, and
akin to fire, ravishing, lingering, long. One also hears of parting,
tear-dewed, savoury, loathsome, poisonous, treacherous, false, rude,
stolen, and great fat, noisy kisses.”

                              HOW TO KISS

Kissing comes by instinct, and yet it is an art which few understand
properly. A lover should not hold his bride by the ears in kissing her,
as appears to have been customary at Scotch weddings of the last
century. A more graceful way, and quite effective in preventing the
bride from “getting away,” is to put your right arm round her neck, your
fingers under her chin, raise the chin, and then gently but firmly press
your lips on hers. After a few repetitions she will find out it doesn’t
hurt, and become as gentle as a lamb.

The word adoration is derived from kissing. It means literally to apply
to the mouth. Therefore girls should beware of philologists who may ask
them with seemingly harmless intent, “May I adore you?”

In kissing, as in everything else, honesty is the best policy. Stolen
kisses are not the sweetest, as Leigh Hunt would have us believe. A kiss
to be a kiss must be mutual, voluntary, simultaneous. “The kiss snatched
hasty from the sidelong maid” is not worth having. A stolen kiss is only
half a kiss.

                 “These poor half-kisses kill me quite;
                 Was ever man thus served?
                 Amidst an ocean of delight,
                 For pleasure to be starved?”—MARLOWE.

                            HOW TO WIN LOVE

                             BRASS BUTTONS

Inasmuch as language is the least eloquent and effective mode of
expressing Love, and inasmuch as Love is commonly inspired in woman by
the possession of qualities which she lacks, it is obvious that
Shakspere did not show his usual insight into human nature when he

            “That man that hath a tongue is, I say, no man,
            If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.”

It seems, indeed, quite probable that Bacon wrote those two lines; if
Shakspere had written them he would have said—

            “That man that hath a uniform is, I say, no man,
            If with his uniform he cannot win a woman.”

The extraordinary infatuation for military uniforms shown by women of
all times and countries is one of the most obscure problems in mental
and social philosophy. Whenever an officer, though ever so humble in
rank, is present at a ball or other social gathering, all other men, be
they merchants, politicians, lawyers, physicians, artists, students,
ministers, are simply “nowhere.”

What is the cause of this singular infatuation? Is it the colour-harmony
formed by the complementary blue cloth and yellow buttons? No, for
various officials, as well as messenger boys, wear similar uniforms
without making any special impression on the feminine heart. Is it the
beauty or the wit of the soldier? No, for he may be as stupid as a log,
and red-nosed and smallpox-pitted, without losing a jot of his
popularity. Nor can it be his valour, for he has perhaps never yet been
opposite the “business end” of a rifle, as they say out West. Nor,
again, is it likely that women admire soldiers from an inherited sense
of gratitude for the services they rendered in former warlike times in
protecting their great-great-grandmothers from the enemy’s barbarity;
for woman’s gratitude is not apt to be so very retrospective, while
gratitude itself is less apt to inspire Love than aversion.

Whatever may be the cause of this mysterious phenomenon, the fact
remains that officers are woman’s ideals. Hence the first and most
important hint to those who would win a woman’s Love is: Put brass
buttons on your coat, have it dyed blue, and wear epaulettes and a waxed
moustache. This love-charm has never been known to fail.

                        CONFIDENCE AND BOLDNESS

Women secretly detest bashful men. It is their own duty, prescribed by
etiquette, to be passive, shy, and diffident; hence if men were shy and
diffident too, no advances would be made, and all progress in
Love-making would be retarded.

Women love courage. He who robs lions of their hearts can easily win a

                   “Our doubts are traitors,
               And make us lose the good we oft might win
               By fearing to attempt,”

says Shakspere; and Chesterfield remarks _à propos_, that “that silly
sanguine notion which is firmly entertained here, that one Englishman
can beat three Frenchmen, encourages and has sometimes enabled one
Englishman in reality to beat two.”

Ovid knew the value of boldness. And although his object was not to
teach how to win permanent Love, but how to get honey without taking
care of the bees, yet his psychology is correct, and agrees with
Goethe’s aphorism that “if thou approachest women with tenderness thou
winnest them with a word; but he who is bold and saucy comes off

Perhaps this is one reason why officers are so successful in Love, for
several of them have been known to be bold and saucy.

Another reason may be that their pursuit is more distinctively and
exclusively masculine than any other profession.

What, for instance, could be more delightfully masculine, _i.e._
mediæval, than the way in which, according to the _Chronicon Turonense_,
William the Conqueror wooed and won Mathilde, the daughter of Count
Baldwin, Prince of Flanders. At first he was unsuccessful, “for the
young girl,” says Professor Scherr, “declared proudly she would not
marry a bastard. Then William rode to Bruges, waylaid Mathilde, attacked
her when she came from church, pulled her long hair, and maltreated her
with his fists and with kicks, after which heroic performance he made
his escape. Strange to say, this peculiar mode of Love-making imposed so
greatly on the beauty that she declared with tears in her eyes that she
would marry no one but the Norman Duke, whom she actually did marry. A
parallel case may be found in the German _Nibelungenlied_ (str. 870 and

Since, according to the old philosophy, human nature, including Love and
Love-making, is the same at all times and in all countries, it follows
that a modern lover, after donning his brass buttons, should administer
his sweetheart a sound thrashing. That will make her mellow and docile.

                         PLEASANT ASSOCIATIONS

The Germans, it is well known, are deficient in Gallantry, at least in
conjugal life, and often treat their wives more as upper servants than
as companions. Perhaps it was the unconscious desire to justify this
conjugal attitude that induced one of the leading German psychologists,
Horwicz, to pen these lines:—

“Love can only be excited by strong and vivid emotions, and it is almost
immaterial whether these emotions are agreeable or disagreeable. The Cid
wooed the proud heart of Donna Ximene, whose father he had slain, by
shooting one after another of her pet pigeons. Such persons as arouse in
us only weak emotions, or none at all, are obviously least likely to
incline us toward them.... Our aversion is most apt to be bestowed on
individuals who, as the phrase goes, are ‘neither warm nor cold’;
whereas impulsive, choleric people, though they may readily offend us,
are just as capable of making us warmly attached to them.”

How that modern genius, who lived two thousand years ago and called
himself Ovid, would have opened his eyes in wonder at this
German-mediæval Art of Love! He, queer fellow, believed that a lover
should never be otherwise than pleasantly associated in his sweetheart’s
mind. If she is spoiled by over-indulgence, do not, he says in effect,
take away her dainties with your own hand. If she is unwell, do not hand
her the bitter medicine in person: “Let your rival mix the cup for her.”

So long as the professional manslayer is the highest ideal of woman’s
tender heart, lovers will do well to follow mediæval methods of
Courtship and make themselves as disagreeable as possible. When the
millennium arrives, and wholesale duels to avenge offended national
“honour” will, like private duels to avenge individual “honour,” have
become obsolete, then the Ovidian psychology of Love will begin to
prevail. Then will the lover endeavour to avoid all harshness and to be
only agreeably associated in the mind of his goddess—through bright,
cheerful conversation, harmless and sincere compliments, mutual
enjoyment of excursions and artistic entertainments, the avoidance of
disagreeable topics, of jealous suspicions and reproaches, etc.; hoping
thus to become the nucleus around which her dreams of matrimonial
happiness will gradually crystallise.


Persistence alone may win a woman where all other means fail. She may
dream of an ideal lover and vainly wait for his appearance for several
years; and in the meantime the image of her ever-present suitor will
become brighter and more inviting in her mind. For is not perseverance,
is not unflagging devotion to a single aim, one of the noblest of manly
attributes, a guarantee of success in life and the highest test of
genuine passion?

Perseverance may neutralise more than one refusal.

                 “Have you not heard it said full oft
                 A woman’s nay doth stand for naught?”

asks Shakspere; and Byron teaches that she

                  “Who listens once will listen twice;
                  Her heart, be sure, is not of ice,
                  And one refusal no rebuff.”

The fact that a proposal is the sincerest compliment a man can pay a
woman, contributes not a little to make a second proposal more
acceptable. A third should rarely be attempted. The first proposal may
have been refused more from momentary embarrassment than from real
indifference. The second, being weighted by reflection, is generally
final, though numerous exceptions have occurred; yet in such cases it is
probable that the woman gives her hand without her heart, having at last
discovered that her heart is impervious to all Love. There are hundreds
of thousands of such women, and some of them are very sweet and pretty.
The fault lies in their shallow education.

                          FEIGNED INDIFFERENCE

Of every ten disappointed lovers seven might say: Had I been a less
submissive slave, I might have been a more successful suitor.

“It is a rule of manners,” says Emerson, “to avoid exaggeration.... In
man or woman the face and the person lose power when they are on the
strain to express admiration.”

In other words, one of the ways of winning Love is through stolidity and
indifference, real or feigned.

Were women the paragons of subtle insight they are painted, they would
favour those who are most visibly affected by their charms, as being
best able to appreciate and cherish them. There are such women—a few;
but the majority are partial coquettes, to whom Love is known only as a
form of Vanity, who neglect a man already won, and reserve their
sweetest smiles for those that seem less submissive. The artificial
dignity under which so many young society men hide their mental vacuity
has an irresistible fascination for the average society girl. And the
high collar, which helps to keep the head in a dignified position,
unswerved by emotion, is responsible for innumerable conquests.

Ergo, to win a society girl’s heart, wear a high collar, appear awfully
dignified and stolid, and show not the slightest interest in anything.
Above all, if you are of superior intelligence, carefully conceal the
fact. Brains are not “good form” in society; for what’s the use of
having flint where there is no steel to strike a spark? “Stolidity,”
says Schopenhauer, “does not injure a man in a woman’s eye: rather will
mental superiority, and still more genius, as something abnormal, have
an unfavourable influence.”

A passage from Diderot’s _Paradox of Acting_ (Pollock’s translation) may
be cited in illustration of Schopenhauer’s remark.

“Take two lovers, both of whom have their declarations to make. Who will
come out of it best? Not I, I promise you. I remember that I approached
the beloved object with fear and trembling; my heart beat, my ideas grew
confused, my voice failed me, I mangled all I said; I cried _yes_ for
_no_; I made a thousand blunders; I was inimitably inept; I was absurd
from top to toe, and the more I saw it the more absurd I became.
Meanwhile, under my very eyes, a gay rival, light-hearted and agreeable,
master of himself, pleased with himself, losing no opportunity for the
finest flattery, made himself entertaining and agreeable, enjoyed
himself; he implored the touch of a hand which was at once given him, he
sometimes caught it without asking leave, he kissed it once and again. I
the while, alone in a corner, avoided a sight which irritated me,
stifling my sighs, cracking my fingers with grasping my wrists, plunged
in melancholy, covered with a cold sweat, I could neither show nor
conceal my vexation. People say of love that it robs witty men of their
wit, and gives it to those who had none before: in other words, makes
some people sensitive and stupid, others cold and adventurous.”

Another specialist in Love-lore, Lord Byron, discourses on this text in
five pithy lines—

             “Not much he kens, I ween, of woman’s breast
             Who thinks that wanton thing is won by sighs,
             Do proper homage to thine idol’s eyes,
             _But not too humbly or she will despise;
             Disguise even tenderness, if thou art wise_.”

And even the king of German metaphysicians, old Kant, understood this
feminine foible, which may have been the reason why he never found a
wife: “An actor,” he says, “who remains unmoved, but possesses a
powerful intellect and imagination, may succeed in producing a deeper
impression by his feigned emotion than he could by real emotion. One who
is truly in love is, in presence of his beloved, confused, awkward, and
anything but fascinating. But a clever man who merely plays the _rôle_
of a lover may do it so naturally as to easily ensnare his poor victim;
simply because, his heart being unmoved, his head remains clear, and he
can, therefore, make the most of his wits and his cleverness in
presenting the counterfeit of a lover.”

“The counterfeit of a lover.” It is he, then, whom women, according to
these French, English, and German witnesses, encourage, instead of the
true lover. So that women are not only less capable of deep Love than
men, but they do not even promote the growth and survival of Love by
favouring the men most deeply affected by it. And the fault, be it said
once more, lies in the superficial education not only of their intellect
but of their emotions, for the heart can only be reached and refined
through the brain. The average woman, being incapable of feeling Love,
is incapable of appreciating it when she finds it in a man. She sees
only its ridiculous side—and ridicule is fatal, even to Love. Ridicule
killed Love in France, which to-day is the most loveless country in the
civilised world, its women the most frivolous and heartless,—and its
population gradually diminishing.

The ridiculous exaggerations of a lover are indeed harmless if the girl
is in love too, for then she does not see them; but to one who has yet
to win Love, as girls are now constituted, they are fatal. Perhaps this
is the reason why the list of men of genius who failed in their truest
Love is so extraordinarily large: for, their Love being more ardent than
that of others, they were unable to restrain its excesses and feign
indifference; while another way in which they “lost power” was through
their extravagant admiration of Beauty, which put their faces “on the
strain” to express it.

However this may be, lovers should keep in mind this paradoxical rule,
which follows as a corollary from the foregoing discussion:

In order to win a woman, first cure yourself of your passion, then,
having won her through feigned indifference (which is easy), fall in
love again and bag her before she has had time to discover your change
of feeling.

The only difficulty herein lies in the cure. Should this be found
impossible, even with the aid of our next chapter, one last resource is
open to the lover. Says La Bruyère: “Quand l’on a assez fait auprès
d’une femme pour devoir l’engager, il y a encore une ressource, qui est
de ne plus rien faire; _c’est alors qu’elle vous rappelle_.” In other
words, if you have failed to win her love, with all your attentions,
change your policy: leave her alone, and she will be sure to recall you.

This trait is not simply the outcome of feminine perverseness or
coquetry. The explanation lies deeper. Every sensible woman, be she ever
so vain and accustomed to flattery, is painfully conscious of certain
defects, physical or mental. “Has he discovered them?” she will
anxiously ask herself when the sly lover suddenly withdraws; “I must
recover his good opinion.” So she sets herself the task of fascinating
and pleasing him; and this desire to please (Gallantry) being one of the
constituent parts of Love, it is apt to be soon joined by the other
symptoms which make up the romantic passion.


             “O flatter me, for love delights in praises,”

exclaims one of Shakspere’s characters; and again—

           “Flatter and praise, commend, extol their graces;
           Tho’ ne’er so black, say they have angels’ faces.”

There is one advantage in writing about the romantic passion. Love is
such a tissue of paradoxes, and exists in such an endless variety of
forms and shades that you may say almost anything about it you please,
and it is likely to be correct. So again here. It is true, no doubt,
that skill in the art of flattery helps a man to win a woman’s goodwill,
but how does this rhyme with the doctrine that Feigned Indifference is
the lover’s sharpest weapon?

Answer: A compliment is not so much an expression of Love as of simple
æsthetic admiration; or else it may spring from the flatterer’s desire
to show off his wit. A man may compliment a woman for whom he does not
feel the slightest Love; and women know it. Therefore even a coquette
does not despise and ignore a man who flatters her, as she invariably
does one whose _actions_ brand him as her captive and slave.

At the same time, since the desire to be considered beautiful is the
strongest passion in a woman’s heart, the avenue to that heart may often
be found by a man who can convince her honestly that she is considered
beautiful by himself and others. For, as every man of ability has
moments when he doubts his genius, so every woman has moments when she
doubts her beauty and longs to see it in the mirror of a masculine eye.

The most common mistake of lovers is to compliment a woman on her most
conspicuous points of beauty. This has very much the same effect on her
as telling Rubinstein he is a wonderful pianist. He knows that better
than you do, and has been told so so many million times that he is sick
and tired of hearing it again. But show him that you have discovered
some special subtle detail of excellence in his performance or
compositions that had escaped general notice, and his heart is yours at
once and for ever. A lover can have no difficulty in discovering such
subtle charms in his sweetheart, for Cupid, while blinding him to her
defects, places her beauties under a microscope.

A man who attends a social gathering comes home pleased, not at having
heard a number of bright things, but in proportion to his own success in
amusing the company. On the same principle, if you give a
girl—especially one who mistrusts her conversational ability—a chance to
say a single bright thing, she will love you more than if you said a
hundred clever things to her.

Sincerity in compliments is essential; else all is lost. It is useless
to try to convince a woman with an ugly mouth or nose that those
features are not ugly. She knows they are ugly, as well as Rubinstein
knows when he strikes a wrong note. “Very ugly or very beautiful women,”
says Chesterfield, “should be flattered on their understanding, and
mediocre ones on their beauty.”

A clever joke is never out of place. You may intimate to a comparatively
plain woman that she is good-looking, and if she retorts with a
sceptical answer, you may snub her and score ten points in Love by
telling her you pity her poor taste.

Indeed, the art of successful flattery, especially with modern
self-conscious girls, consists in the ability of giving “a heartfelt
compliment in the disguise of playful raillery,” as Coleridge puts it.
Conundrums are very useful. For instance, Angelina is patting a dog. “Do
you know why all dogs are so fond of you?” asks Adolphus. Angelina gives
it up. “Because dogs are the most intelligent of all animals.” Angelina
goes to Paris, and Adolphus enjoys his last walk with her. They pass a
weeping willow. “Why are we two like this tree?” She gives it up again.
“A weeping willow is graceful and melancholy; you are graceful, I

“How old am I?” asks Angelina. “I don’t know. Judging by your
conversation thirty-five, by your looks nineteen.”

Tell a woman—casually, as it were—of the effect of her charms on a third
party, and it will please her more than a bushel of your neatest
compliments. As Lessing remarks, Homer gives us a more vivid sense of
Helen’s beauty by noting its effect even on the Trojan elders, than he
could have done by the most minute enumeration of her charms. Put your
flatteries into actions rather than words—“mettre la flatterie dans les
actions et non en paroles”—is Balzac’s advice. But “flattery in actions”
is simply another name for Gallantry.

There is no danger that the subtlest compliment will ever escape notice.
In the discovery of praise the commonest mind has the quickness of


The great trouble with compliments is that they have an annoying habit
of occurring to the mind about ten or twenty minutes after the natural
opportunity for getting them off has passed away. It is here that
Love-letters come to the rescue. They enable a man to excogitate the
most excruciatingly subtle and hyperbolic compliments, and then “lead up
to them” most naturally.

There is an old superstition that Love-letters _must_ be incoherent
trash to be genuine evidences of passion. When Keats’s Love-letters to
Fanny Brawne were sold at auction, a spicy journalist commented as
follows on the occasion:—

“It is open to question whether, like so many of the letter-writers of
the age of which Keats inherited the traditions, the singer of
_Endymion_ had not a shrewd eye to posterity when he wrote the laboured
compositions which the world regards as the record of his wooing. The
manuscript is painfully correct, the punctuation worthy of a printer’s
reader, the capitals much nicer than fiery lovers usually form, and the
periods rounded with painful care. Like so many cultivators of the art
of letter-writing, the sensitive poet, ‘who was snuffed out by a
review,’ seems to have copied the gush, which last week sold for ten
times more than _Endymion_ fetched, before he committed it to the
fourpenny post. Hence the veriest scrawl, the most illegible postcard of
these times is, as an index to the writer’s character, infinitely more
valuable than the ponderous pieces of rhetoric which last century passed
for love-making between Strephon, who quotes the elegant Tully, and
Chloe, who makes free use of the ‘Elegant Extracts.’ Duller fustian than
such priggish love-letters it is hard to conceive. They remind one of
nothing so much as the epistles copied out of _The Complete
Letter-Writer_, and must recall to some middle-aged men certain painful
experiences of those salad days when their young affections suffered a
sudden blight by missives of so severely correct an order that they
suggest the idea of having undergone maternal supervision.”

Yet why, pray, should Keats _not_ have written his Love-letters so
carefully and copied them so neatly? Is it not a fact that when a man is
in love he cares more to make a pleasing impression on one particular
person than on all the rest of the world combined? and that even his
ambition and fame, for which he labours so hard, seem valuable in his
eyes solely as a means of winning Her Love? And if Love is a deeper
passion, even in a poet, than ambition, why should he not go to the
extent even of _taking notes_ and utilising his very best conceits in
his Love-letters? The truth is, in the writing of Love-letters
everything depends on the man’s habits. If he is accustomed to writing
carelessly, his Love-letters will probably be hasty and slovenly enough
to suit orthodox notions on this subject. But if he is a literary
artist, he will probably polish his _billets-doux_ more than anything
else _con amore_, considering the probable effect on her mind of every
sentence. And although the thought of future publication may enter his
mind, it will appear as the veriest trifle compared with the more
important object of winning a woman’s Love by a display of complimentary
wit and passionate protestations of undying affection.

Sir Richard Steele evidently did not believe that Love-letters, to be
genuine, must be slovenly. In one of his letters to Miss Scurlock he
apologises for not having time to revise what he had written. In another
letter he exclaims: “How art thou, oh my soul, stolen from thyself! how
is all my attention broken! my books are blank paper, and my friends
intruders.” Again: “It is the hardest thing in the world to be in love,
and yet attend business. As for me, all that speak to find me out, and I
must lock myself up, or other people will do it for me. A gentleman
asked me this morning, ‘What news from Holland?’ and I answered, ‘She is
exquisitely handsome.’ Another desired to know when I had been last at
Windsor; I replied, ‘She designs to go with me.’” And once more: “It is
to my lovely charmer I owe that many noble ideas are continually affixed
to my words and actions: it is the natural effect of that generous
passion to create in the admirers some similitude of the object admired;
thus, my dear, am I every day to improve from so sweet a companion.”

The first score or so of Keats’s Love-letters have the ring of true
gold. Here are a few specimens in which the thermometer of endearments
rises steadily from My Dearest Lady, through My Sweet Girl, My Dear
Girl, My Dearest Girl, My Sweet Fanny, to My Sweet Love, Dearest Love
and Sweetest Fanny. In the very first letter he writes:—

“Ask yourself, my love, whether you are not very cruel to have so
entrammelled me, so destroyed my freedom. Will you confess this in the
letter you must write immediately? and do all you can to console me in
it—make it rich as a draught of poppies to intoxicate me—write the
softest words and kiss them, that I may at least touch my lips where
yours have been. For myself, if I do not know how to express my devotion
to so fair a form, I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word
than fair. I almost wish we were butterflies, and lived but three summer
days—three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty
common years could ever contain.”

“All I can bring you is a swooning admiration of your beauty.”

“I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks—your loveliness and the
hour of my death. O that I could have possession of them both in the
same minute.”

“I hate the world: it batters too much the wings of my self-will, and
would I could take a sweet poison from your lips to send me out of it.
From no others would I take it.”

“At Winchester I shall get your letters more readily; and it being a
cathedral city, I shall have a pleasure, always a great one to me when
near a cathedral, of reading them during the service up and down the

All this is in the true Shaksperian key of Romantic Love, as are the
Love-letters of Burns, Byron, Moore, Heine, Bürger, Lenau, and most
other poets. Room must be made here for a few extracts from Lenau’s
letters to his love, which, in some respects, resemble those of
Keats—equally polished, poetic, deep, and sincere:—

“It makes me melancholy to see how incapable I am of sympathizing with
the pleasures of my friends. My Love goes out afar towards you; it
hearkens and listens and stares in the distance for you, and takes no
note of all the love by which it is surrounded here. I am truly ill. I
constantly think of you alone and death. It often seems to me as if my
time had expired. I cannot write poetry, I cannot rejoice in anything,
cannot hope, can only think of you and death. The other day I wrote to
you to take good care of your health—though I myself feel so little
desire to live.”

“The whole evening I was unable to think of anything but of you and the
possibility of losing you. The large crowd of people seemed to have
assembled on purpose to show me most painfully what a mere nothing the
world would be to me if I had to part from you. I constantly saw but
your face, your lovely, divine eye.”

“Alexander wishes me to go to the baths at Leuk with him. He is quite
ill. But I cannot go. If I have to see Switzerland without you, I prefer
not to see it at all.”

“My poetic composition is in a bad way. Though a thought sprouts in me
here and there, it withers before it has reached maturity. When I go to
see you I shall bring along a dry wreath of prematurely-faded poetic
blossoms, and make them revive in your presence, as there are warm
fountains dipped into which faded flowers blossom again.”

“I have lost all pleasure in other people when you are absent. If you
had only been at Weinsberg! Even the Æolian harps did not produce the
usual impression on me.” It is noticeable how the overtone of Monopoly
is accented in all these plaints.

“I have found in your companionship more evidence of an eternal life
than in all my investigations and studies of nature. Whenever, in a
happy hour, I believed I had reached the climax of Love and the proper
moment for death, since a more delicious moment could never follow: it
was on each occasion an illusion, for another hour followed in which I
loved you still more deeply. These ever new, ever deeper abysses of life
convince me of its immortality. To-day I saw in your eyes the full
measure of the divine. Most distinctly did I perceive to-day that the
swelling and sinking of the eye is the breathing of the soul. In an eye
of such beauty as yours we can see, as in a prophetic hieroglyphic, the
essence of which some day our immortal body will consist. If I die, I
shall depart rich, for I have seen what is most beautiful in the world.”

“The rose you gave me at parting has a most delicious fragrance, as if
it were a Good-Night from you! Sleep well, dearest heart! Preserve the
second rose as a memento. I love you immeasurably.”

No doubt the average Love-letters read in courts of justice in breach of
promise cases, to the intense amusement of the audience, are very
different in character from these poetic effusions. But to say that,
because the average Love-letters are ludicrous, therefore all
Love-letters, to be genuine, must be ludicrous and incoherent, is the
very Bedlam of absurdity. What makes common Love-letters so laughable is
the fact that the writer, previously a paragon of prosiness, suddenly
gets some poetic fancies and tries to put them into language. But as the
writing of poetry—in verse or prose—is a more difficult art than
piano-playing, first attempts cannot be otherwise than harrowing or
amusing. On the other hand, just as a pianist can never improvise so
soulfully as when he is in love, so a poet will write his best prose in
the letters addressed to his love; the only ludicrous feature being that
extravagant and exclusive admiration of one person which is the very
essence of Love.

Surely Hawthorne was neither “insincere” nor “thinking of posterity”
when he finished one of his Love-letters with this poetic conceit,
expressed in his best prose style:—

“When we shall be endowed with spiritual bodies I think they will be so
constituted that we may send thoughts and feelings any distance, in no
time at all, and transfuse them warm and fresh into the consciousness of
those we love. Oh, what happiness it would be, at this moment, if I
could be conscious of some purer feeling, some more delicate sentiment,
some lovelier fantasy than could possibly have had its birth in my own
nature, and therefore be aware that you were thinking through my mind
and feeling through my heart! Perhaps you possess this power already.”

This is true epistolary Love-making—the sublimated essence of
complimentary Gallantry.

                         LOVE-CHARMS FOR WOMEN

As women are not allowed to make Love actively, they resort to various
cunning arts with which they indirectly reach the hard hearts of men.
Magic is the most potent of these arts, and always has been so
considered by women; for, curiously enough, one finds on looking over
the folklore of various nations, ancient and modern, that in nineteen
cases out of twenty where a Love-charm is spoken of, it is one used by
women to win the affection of men.

Probably the real reason why the vast majority of women are so curiously
indifferent to the hygienic arts of increasing and preserving Personal
Beauty—as shown in their devotion to tight-lacing, their aversion to
fresh air, sunshine, and brisk exercise—is because they know they can
infallibly win a man’s Love by the use of some simple powder or potion.
It is well known that the Roman poet Lucretius took his life in an
amorous fit caused by a love-potion; and Lucullus lost his reason in the
same way. The grandest musical work in existence would never have been
written had not Brangäne given to Tristan and Isolde a love-potion which
was so powerful that it made not only both the victims die of the fever
of Love, but united them even after death: "For from the grave of
Tristan sprang a plant which descended into the grave of Yseult. Cut
down thrice by order of the Cornish king, the irrepressible vegetable
bloomed verdant as ever next morning, and even now casts its shadow over
the tombs of the lovers—

                    “‘An ay it grew, an ay it threw,
                    As they would fain be one.’”

In mediæval times Personal Beauty was such a rare thing, and created
such havoc among men, that the unhappy possessors of it were frequently
accused of using forbidden Love-charms, and burnt at the stake as

To-day, thanks to our superior sanitary and educational arrangements,
Beauty is such a common affair that it has lost all its effect on the
masculine heart; hence girls should carefully note a few of the ways by
which a man may be irresistibly fascinated.

Italian girls practise the following method: A lizard is caught, drowned
in wine, dried in the sun and reduced to powder, some of which is thrown
on the obdurate man, who thenceforth is theirs for evermore.

A favourite Slavonic device is to cut the finger, let a few drops of her
blood run into a glass of beer, and make the adored man drink it
unknowingly. The same method is current in Hesse and Oldenburg,
according to Dr. Ploss. In Bohemia, the girl who is afraid to wound her
finger may substitute a few drops of bat’s blood.

Cases are known where invocations to the moon were followed by the
bestowal of true Love. And if a girl will address the new moon as

               “All hail to thee, moon! All hail to thee!
               Prithee, good moon, reveal to me,
               This night who my husband shall be,”

she will dream of him that very night.

A four-leaved clover secretly placed in a man’s shoes will make him the
devoted lover of the woman who puts it in.

“Inside a frog is a certain crooked bone, which, when cleaned and dried
over the fire on St. John’s Eve, and then ground fine and given in food
to the lover, will at once win his love for the administerer.”

If a girl sees a man washing his hands—say at a picnic—and lends him her
apron or handkerchief to dry them, he will forthwith declare himself her
amorous slave to eternity.

There _are_ men, however, who, owing to some constitutional defect or
inherited anomaly, remain unaffected by these and similar arts. Should
any woman be so foolish as to crave such a man’s Love, she will do well
to bear in mind that _Vanity is the backdoor by which every man’s heart
may be entered_. Thus Byron says of a Venetian flame of his: “But her
great merit is finding out mine—there is nothing so amiable as
discernment.” “Let her be,” says Thackeray, “if not a clever woman, an
appreciator of cleverness in others, which, perhaps, clever folks like
better.” “Ne’er,” says Scott,

                  “‘Was flattery lost on poet’s ears:
                  A simple race! they waste their toil
                  For the vain tribute of a smile.’”

Rousseau’s last love was inspired by a woman’s admiration of his
writings. Balzac, celibate for many years, was at last captured by a
woman who returned to a hotel room for a volume of his works she had
left there, informing him, without suspecting who he was, that she never
travelled without it and could not live without it.

“The story of the marriage of Lamartine,” says the author of _Salad for
the Solitary_, “is also one of romantic interest. The lady, whose maiden
name was Birch, was possessed of considerable property, and when past
the bloom of youth she became passionately enamoured of the poet from
the perusal of his _Meditations_. For some time she nursed this
sentiment in secret, and, being apprised of the embarrassed state of his
affairs, she wrote him, tendering him the bulk of her fortune. Touched
with this remarkable proof of her generosity, and supposing it could
only be caused by a preference for himself, he at once made an offer of
his hand and heart. He judged rightly, and the poet was promptly

Sympathy, beauty, wit, elegant manners, amiability—these are woman’s
arrows of Love, ever sure of their aim. “She loved me for the dangers I
had passed,” says Othello, “and I loved her that she did pity them.” Or,
as Professor Dowden comments on this passage, “the beautiful Italian
girl is fascinated by the regal strength and grandeur, and tender
protectiveness of the Moor. _He_ is charmed by the sweetness, the
sympathy, the gentle disposition the gracious womanliness of Desdemona.”

“The _gracious womanliness_ of Desdemona.” There lies the secret—the
charm of charms. It is fortunate that the political viragoes of to-day,
who would remove woman from her domestic sphere, have opposed to them
the greatest force in the universe—_the power of man’s Love!_ When they
have overcome that, they will find it easy to dam the current of the
Niagara River, and curb the force of the ocean’s countless breakers.


Countless as the stars, and only too apposite, are the jokes about
lovers who evolve masterpieces of eloquence wherewith to lay their
hearts at their idol’s feet; but who, when the crucial moment of the
trial arrives, like Beckmesser in Wagner’s comic opera, stutter out the
veriest parody of their song of Love. And no wonder, considering what is
at stake; for the Yes or No decides whether the lover is to
be—literally—the happiest or the unhappiest of all men for weeks or
months to come.

Ovid cautions a man not to select a sweetheart in the twilight or
lamplight, since “spots are invisible at night and every fault is
overlooked; at that time almost every woman is held to be beautiful.”

But proposing is a different matter from selecting. When once the choice
is made, and her choice alone remains to be decided, twilight is the
only proper time to “pop the question.” For a maiden’s independence and
Coyness are inversely related to the degree of light. In the morning, in
broad daylight, she can boldly face even the terrible thought of being
left an old maid; but in the twilight she feels the need of a man’s
protection, and it is at that time that the imagination is least deaf to
the whispered and self-suggested fancies of Romantic Love and wedded
bliss. A man who proposes in the morning deserves, therefore, to be

Nature herself has provided a safeguard against morning proposals. No
woman is so beautiful in the daytime as is in the evening; and the
moon’s romantic associations are largely due to its magic effect of
beautifying the complexion and features of women, and thus urging the
lover’s courage to the point of amorous confession.

There is still another reason why a tender and considerate lover should
propose in the chiaroscuro of subdued light—to spare her blushes—

            “But ’neath yon crimson tree,
            Lover to listening maid might breathe his flame,
            Nor mark, within its roseate canopy,
            Her blush of maiden shame.”—BRYANT.

Not many years ago a plan was described in the newspapers by which a
number of Southern youths who had not the courage to propose were
happily mated and wedded. An elderly person was selected, vowed to
eternal secrecy, and to him each youth and maiden who was in love
confided in writing the name of the beloved. Those couples that had
chosen one another were informed of the fact, and went away rejoicing,
arm in arm.

A fairy story, on the face of it. A woman would sooner cut off her hand
than write with it the secret of her Love before she knew it was
returned; and that man that hath a tongue is, I say, no man, if he is
afraid to ask for a woman’s hand—or to take it unasked, and let it
respond to the touching question. “Love sought is good, but given
unsought is better,” says Shakspere. The only true proposals are those
where spoken words are dispensed with; where the magnetic thrill of the
hands, the eloquence of the tell-tale eyes, draw the lovers into mutual
embrace, and lips become glued on lips in unpremeditated ecstasy.

                       DIAGNOSIS OR SIGNS OF LOVE

Though women may often feel in doubt concerning the intentions of men
who pay them attentions, they cannot help recognizing deep Love in a man
instantly; for the symptoms, as described in a previous chapter, are
absolutely unmistakable. A woman, too, who loves deeply, can hardly help
betraying herself, by the sly opportunities she finds for meeting her
lover (purely accidental, of course), and by the special pains she takes
to make it clear to her friends that she does not care for _that_ man
certainly; often also by the fact, pointed out by Jean Paul, that “Love
increases man’s delicacy and lessens woman’s”; tempting her occasionally
to throw away all prudence and regard for public opinion, in the wild
intoxication of her passion and her confidence in her lover.

But in cases of doubt—how is a lover to decide whether it is safe and
worth while to proceed? A woman’s Coyness, of course, means nothing, and
may have been brought on by an assumption of excessive confidence and
boldness on the man’s part. Girls are like wild colts. They may be
safely approached to a certain distance, whence one step more will cause
them to stampede; but stand still at that point, and before long they
will cast away fear and meet you half-way.

Trifles are the only safe tests of Love. For they are not so apt as
weighty words and actions to be the outcome of a deliberate coquettish
desire to deceive. To ascertain if you are loved—and this holds true for
both sexes—allude (with a careless assumption of indifference) to some
trifling details of previous conversation or common experience. If she
(or he) remembers them all, especially if of remote occurrence, the
chances are you are loved.

Shakspere evidently had this in mind when he wrote—

              “If thou rememberest not the slightest folly
              That ever love did make thee run into,
              Thou hast not loved.”

                            HOW TO CURE LOVE

All hope abandon ye who enter here. It is a terrible haunt of pessimism,
for disappointed lovers only. All others will please pass it by, for the
object of this book is to advocate the cause of Love, not to weaken it.
Only when all hope of reciprocation is abandoned, should the tender
plant ever be crushed underfoot.

An exception must be made in favour of those hopeful lovers who merely
wish to cure themselves in order to improve their chances of winning, as
explained in the last chapter, under the head of Feigned Indifference.

It is useless to quote to a rejected lover Rosalind’s philosophy: “Our
poor world is almost six thousand years old, and in all this time there
was not any man died in his own person, _videlicet_, in a love cause....
Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for
love.” Useless to tell him, as Emerson does, that it is not a disgrace
to love unrequitedly: “It never troubles the sun that some of his rays
fall wide and vain into ungrateful space, and only a small part on the
reflecting planet.”

To all such efforts at consolation the poor wretch may retort with
Shakspere: “Every one may master a grief but he who has it.” Yet he may,
at any rate, endeavour to “patch his grief” with the following
reflections, based on the experience of centuries.


Two thousand years ago Ovid advised the readers of his _Remedia Amoris_
who wished to cure themselves of an unwelcome attachment to flee the
capital, to travel, hunt, or till the soil till all danger of a relapse
should he averted. “Out of sight, out of mind,” wrote Thomas à Kempis;
and this theme has been varied by a hundred writers in prose and verse.
“Love is a local anguish,” exclaims Coleridge; “I am fifty miles away
and am not half so miserable.” Carew puts it thus—

                    “Then fly betimes, for only they
                    Conquer love, that run away.”

Even the unspeakable Turk has a proverb advising a lover to fly to the
mountains. The Himalayas are probably meant, for no other chain would be
high enough to allay the anguish of a polygamist rejected by a whole

On the other hand, “I find that absence still increases love,” wrote
Charles Hopkins in the seventeenth century; and Bayly gave this paradox
the familiar form of “absence makes the heart grow fonder”—to which a
modern realistic wag has added the coda “of the other man.” “La
Rochefoucauld has well remarked,” says Hume, “that absence destroys weak
passions, but increases strong ones; as the wind extinguishes a candle
but blows up a fire.”

This simile is not very appropriate, nor is the statement
unquestionable. It is more correct to say that short absence increases
Love, while long absence cures it.

There are two ways in which a short absence favours Love:

Like the thirst of a man who would wean himself of strong liquor, the
lovers ardour is at first increased when he is placed where he can no
longer drink in the intoxicating sight of her beauty. Time is needed to
annihilate the maddening memory of that pleasure.

Secondly, short absence favours the idealising process in the lover’s
mind. Removed from the corrective influence of her actual presence, his
imagination may abandon itself to the delightful task of painting a
gloriously unreal counterfeit of her charms—which is oil in the flames.

This idealising process is facilitated by the strange difficulty which
most people—and lovers in particular—experience in recalling the
features of those specially dear to them.

Given sufficient time to fix the idealised image of the beloved in the
memory, and a cure may be effected through the shock subsequently felt
on comparing this image with the greatly inferior reality.


It is safer, however, not to risk a return, but to avoid sight of her
altogether for several years. The advantages of travel are twofold, not
to mention the security from the danger of an accidental meeting. At
home the surrounding world is too familiar to afford distraction,
whereas in a strange place every object claims the attention and diverts
the mind from its amorous reveries. More important still is the fact
that in a foreign country the strangeness of national physiognomy
invests all women with a heightened charm, so that it is easier to find
an antidote by falling in love anew.


“Great spirits and great business do keep out the weak passion of love,”
said Bacon; but long before him Ovid knew that Leisure is Cupid’s chief
ally. “If you desire to end your love, employ yourself and you will
conquer; for Amor flees business.” He advises military service,
agriculture, and hunting as excellent diversions.

Poetry and music, however, as the same poet tells us, and all other
occupations tending to stir up the tender feelings, are to be carefully
avoided. Novel-reading is particularly bad, for to imagine another’s
Love is to revive your own. “Lotte Hartmann played some melodies of
Bellini on the piano this evening,” writes Lenau; “I ought to avoid
music when I am away from you, for it arouses in me a longing and an
anguish of consuming violence. I feel how my heart sadly shrinks within
itself, and unwillingly continues to beat.”

                             MARRIED MISERY

Surely the thought that his romantic adoration will cease with marriage
ought to cure a rejected wooer. Unquestionably, marriage is the best
cure of Love. For though cynics are wrong in claiming that wedlock
changes Love to indifference, it does change it to conjugal affection,
which is an entirely different group of emotions. To the rejected lover,
unfortunately, matrimony is not available as a cure of his Love. But he
may give his overheated imagination an ice-bath by reflecting on the
dark side of conjugal life, the promised bliss of which has been
described as a mirage by so many great minds.

Professor Jowett thus discourses on how a modern Sokrates in a cynical
mood might discourse on the seamy side of married life:—

“How the inferior of the two drags the other down to his or her level;
how the cares of a family ‘breed meanness in their souls.’... They
cannot undertake any noble enterprise, such as makes the names of men
and women famous, from domestic considerations. Too late their eyes are
opened; they were taken unawares, and desire to part company. Better, he
would say, a ‘little love at the beginning,’ for heaven might have
increased it; but now their foolish fondness has changed into mutual
dislike.... How much nobler, in conclusion he will say, is friendship,
which does not receive unmeaning praises from novelists and poets, is
not exacting or exclusive, is not impaired by familiarity, is much less
expensive, is not so likely to take offence, seldom changes, and may be
dissolved from time to time without the assistance of the courts.”

Dr. Johnson, in a letter to Baretti, points out the difference between
Love and Marriage:

“In love, as in every other passion of which hope is the essence, we
ought always to remember the uncertainty of events. There is, indeed,
nothing that so much seduces reason from vigilance as the thought of
passing life with an amiable woman; and if all would happen that a lover
fancies, I know not what other terrestrial happiness would deserve
pursuit. But love and marriage are different states. Those who are to
suffer the evils together, and to suffer often for the sake of one
another, _soon lose that tenderness of look_ and that benevolence of
mind which arose from the participation of unmingled pleasure and
successive amusement.”

“Lose that tenderness of look!” Have you reflected that it is that
exquisite tenderness of look which chiefly fascinated you, and have you
not noticed that, as Johnson implies, married people rarely regard one
another with that look which constantly intoxicated them during
Courtship? For “beauty soon grows familiar to the lover, fades in his
eye, and palls upon the sense,” says Addison; or, as Hazlitt puts it,
“though familiarity may not breed contempt, it takes off the edge of

“With most marriages,” says Goethe, “it is not long till things assume a
very piteous look.” Raleigh: “If thou marry beauty, thou bindest thyself
all thy life for that which, perchance, will neither last nor please
thee one year.” Seneca: “Beauty is such a fleeting blossom, how can
wisdom rely upon its momentary delight?” Howells: “Marian Butler was at
that period full of those airs of self-abnegation with which women adorn
themselves in the last days of betrothal and the first of marriage, and
never afterwards.” Alexander Walker: “It looks as if woman were in
possession of most enjoyments, and as if man had only an illusion held
out to him to make him labour for her.”

Montaigne: “As soon as women are ours we are no longer theirs.” “The
land of marriage has this peculiarity that strangers are desirous of
inhabiting it, while its natural inhabitants would willingly be banished
thence.” Boucicault: “I wish that Adam had died with all his ribs in his
body.” De Finod: “Marriage is the sunset of love.” Goldsmith: “Many of
the English marry in order to have one happy month in their lives.”
Hood: “You can’t wive and thrive both in the same year.” Southey: “There
are three things a wise man will not trust,—the wind, the sunshine of an
April day, and a woman’s plighted faith.” Byron: “I remarked in my
illness the complete inertion, inaction, and destruction of my chief
mental faculties. I tried to rouse them, and yet could not—and this is
the _Soul_!!! I should believe that it was married to the body if they
did not sympathise so much with each other.” Colley Cibber: “Oh, how
many torments lie in the small circle of a wedding-ring!” Alphonse Karr:
“Women for the most part do not love us. They do not choose a man
because they love him, but because it pleases them to be loved by him.”

Lady Montagu: “It goes far toward reconciling me to being a woman, when
I reflect that I am thus in no immediate danger of ever marrying one.”
Schopenhauer: “It is well known that happy marriages are rare.” “The
lover, contrary to expectation, finds himself no happier than before.”

              “Think you if Laura had been Petrarch’s wife
              He would have written sonnets all his life?”

Burton: “Paul commended marriage, yet he preferred a single life.”
Buxton: “Juliet was a fool to kill herself, for in three months she’d
have married again, and been glad to be quit of Romeo.” Heine: “The
music at a marriage procession always reminds me of the music which
leads soldiers to battle.” Lessing—

          “Ein einzig böses Weib gibt’s höchstens in der Welt,
          Nur schade dass ein jeder es für das seine hält.”

      “Of shrewish women in the world there’s surely only one,
      A pity, though, that every man says she’s the wife he won.”

Selden: “Marriage is a desperate thing. The frogs in Æsop were extremely
wise; they had a great mind to some water, but they would not leap into
the well, because they could not get out again.”

When the Pope heard of Father Hyacinthe’s marriage, says Cheales, he
exclaimed: “The saints be praised! the renegade has taken his punishment
into his own hands. Truly the ways of Providence are inscrutable!”

                          FEMININE INFERIORITY

Why are women so mysterious, so inscrutable? Cynics say because you
cannot calculate what they will do, as they have no fixed compass by
which they steer, _i.e._ no character. But Heine takes up their defence.
Far from having no character, he says, they have a new one every day.

The world’s opinion of women is best revealed in the crystallised
wisdom, based on experience, called proverbs. It will soothe the wounded
lover’s heart to note the unanimity with which woman’s foibles are dwelt
on in the proverbs of all nations from ancient Greece to modern China
and France. To give only three instances of a thousand that may be found
in any collection of proverbs: “Women,” says a French proverb, “have
quicksilver in the brain, wax in the heart.” The old Greek poet
Xenarchus sang, “Happy the cicadas live, since they all have voiceless
wives.” “There is no such poison in the green snake’s mouth or in the
hornet’s sting as in a woman’s heart,” says a Chinese maxim.

But it is not necessary to rely on such anonymous collections of wisdom
as proverbs to convince a man of the folly of linking himself for life
with such a miserable inferior being as a woman. From Plato to Darwin
there is a consensus of opinion as to woman’s vast inferiority to man.

According to Plato, says Mr. Grote, “men are superior to women in
everything; in one occupation as well as in another.” Cookery and
weaving having been named as two apparent exceptions, Plato denies
woman’s superiority even in these.

“The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes,”
says Darwin, “is shown by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in
whatever he takes up, than can woman—whether requiring deep thought,
reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands. If
two lists were made of the most eminent men and women in poetry,
painting, sculpture, music (inclusive both of composition and
performance), history, science, and philosophy, with half a dozen names
under each subject, the two lists would not bear comparison.”

“I found, as a rule,” says Mr. Galton, "that men have more delicate
powers of discrimination than women, and the business of life seems to
confirm this view. The tuners of pianofortes are men, and so, I
understand, are the tasters of tea and wine, the sorters of wool, and
the like. These latter occupations are well salaried, because it is of
the first moment to the merchant that he should be rightly advised on
the real value of what he is about to purchase or to sell. If the
sensitivity of women were superior to that of men, the self-interest of
merchants would lead to their being always employed; but as the reverse
is the case, the opposite supposition is likely to be the true one.

“Ladies rarely distinguish the merits of wine at the dinner-table, and
though custom allows them to preside at the breakfast-table, men think
them, on the whole, to be far from successful makers of tea and coffee.”

This disposes of the old myth that women are more sensitive than men.
And De Quincy, in his essay on _False Distinctions_, refutes the equally
absurd notion that “women have more imagination than men.” He comes to
the conclusion that, “as to poetry in its highest form, I never yet knew
a woman, nor yet will believe that any has existed, who could rise to an
entire sympathy with what is most excellent in that art.”

One proof of this statement lies in the fact that as a rule men of
genius have been refused by the women they loved most deeply.

Regarding the emotional sphere, we have seen that it is only in parental
and conjugal feeling that woman surpasses man. In Romantic Love, in all
the impersonal feelings for art and nature, she is vastly his inferior.
Her superficial education gives her no intellectual interests, and that
is the reason why so many married men prefer the club and friendship to
home and conjugal devotion—even as did the ancient Greeks.

It is in the seventh book of the _Laws_, p. 806, that Plato remarks:
“The legislator ought not to let the female sex live softly and waste
money and have no order of life, while he takes the utmost care of the
male sex, and leaves half of life only blest with happiness, when he
might have made the whole state happy.”

Is it not humiliating to man, who loves to call himself a “reasoning
animal,” to find that, after so many centuries, one of our greatest and
most liberal thinkers, Professor Huxley, is obliged to write in this
same Platonic tone that “the present system of female education stands
self-condemned, as inherently absurd,” because it fosters and
exaggerates instead of removing woman’s natural disadvantages? “With few
insignificant exceptions,” Professor Huxley continues, “girls have been
educated either to be drudges or toys beneath man, or a sort of angels
above him; the highest ideal aimed at oscillating between Clärchen and
Beatrice. The possibility that the ideal of womanhood lies neither in
the fair saint nor in the fair sinner; that women are meant neither to
be men’s guides nor their playthings, but their comrades, their fellows,
and their equals, so far as Nature puts no bar to their equality, does
not seem to have entered into the minds of those who have had the
conduct of the education of girls” (_Lay Sermons_, p. 25).

Woman, in short, is a failure; and let any disappointed lover ask
himself, Is it businesslike to begin life with a failure?

                          FOCUSSING HER FAULTS

Love being a magic emotional microscope which ignites passion by
magnifying the most beautiful features of the beloved, leaving
everything else indistinct and blurred, it follows that the simplest way
of arresting this flame is to _change the focus of this microscope_, to
fix the attention deliberately on her faults, while throwing her merits
and charms into an unfavourable light.

This method is too self-evident and effective not to have occurred to
the ingenious Ovid. He advises the lover who wishes to be cured to study
the girl’s charms in a hypercritical spirit. Call her stout if she is
plump, black if she is dark, lean if slender. Ask her to sing if she has
no talent for music, to talk if unskilled in conversation, to dance if
awkward, and if her teeth are bad, tell her funny stories to make her

Her mental faults require no microscope to reveal them. Certainly her
taste is execrable, for does she not prefer that vulgar fellow Jones to
you, one of the cleverest fellows that ever condescended to be born on
this miserable planet?

What folly, indeed, to love such a girl! What fascinates you is simply
the mysterious brilliancy of her coal-black eyes—of which you may find
ten thousand duplicates in Italy or Spain. Don’t you see that no flashes
of wit are ever mirrored in those eyes? that, though beautiful, they are
soulless, like a black pansy? that they look at one person as at
another, incapable of expressing shades and modulations of tender
emotion, because the soul of which they are the windows has never been,
and never will be, moved by Love?

She never thinks of anything but her own pleasure; does nothing but
visit the dressmaker and the theatre and read novels; never thinks it
her duty to provide for her future husband’s comfort and happiness by
educating herself in domestic economy and æsthetic accomplishments of
real depth—as you have toiled and studied in anticipation of providing
for her comfort and happiness. She takes no sympathetic interest in your
affairs—how can you expect to be happy with her? If she loves you not,
you would be more than a fool to try to get her consent to marriage, for
is it not the ecstasy of Love to be loved and worshipped alone and
beyond any other mortal?

The beauty of her eyes will not last,—it is nothing, anyway, but
sunlight mechanically reflected from a darkly-painted iris—and when its
youthful brilliancy vanishes there will be no soul-sparks to take its
place. And for this brief honeymoon mirage you are willing to give up
your bachelor comforts and pleasures, your freedom to do what you
please, go where you please, and travel whenever you please; to exchange
your refreshing sleep o’ nights for domestic cares and the pleasure of
trotting up and down the room with a bawling baby at two o’clock in the
morning? Bah! Are you in your senses?

True, if you are rich some of these disadvantages may be avoided. But if
you are rich you will not be refused, for—

           “Mammon wins his way where seraphs might despair,”

as Byron remarks; and again: “For my own part, I am of the opinion of
Pausanias, that success in love depends upon _Fortune_.”

But of all her shortcomings the most galling and fatal is that she loves
you not. This thought alone, says Stendhal, may succeed in curing a man
of his passion. You will notice, he says, that she whom you love favours
others with little attentions which she withholds from you. They may be
mere trifles, such as not giving you a chance to help her into her
carriage, her box at the opera. The thought of this, by “associating a
sense of humiliation with every thought of her, poisons the source of
love and may destroy it.”

Thus wounded Pride is the easiest way out of Love, as gratified Pride is
the straightest way in.

                        REASON _VERSUS_ PASSION

According to Shakspere, though Love does not admit Reason as his
counsellor, he _does_ use him as his physician. The most effective way
of using Reason to cure Love is by way of comparison. By dwelling on the
miseries of married life as just detailed, the disappointed lover may
mitigate his pains somewhat, as did that Italian mentioned by
Schopenhauer, who resisted the agony of torture by constantly keeping in
his mind’s eye the picture of the gallows that would have been the
reward of confession.

Again, he may compare his present Love with a former infatuation that
seemed at the time equally deep and eternal, though now he wonders how
he could have _ever_ loved that girl. History repeats itself.

Compare, moreover, your present idol with her stout and faded mother. In
a few years she will perhaps resemble her mother more than her present

Compare her charms, feature by feature, with some recognised paragon of
beauty. Look at her in the glaring light of the sun, which reveals every
spot on the complexion.

                           LOVE _VERSUS_ LOVE

Longfellow says it is folly to pretend that one ever wholly recovers
from a disappointed passion; and Mr. Hamerton believes that “a wrinkled
old maid may still preserve in the depths of her own heart, quite
unsuspected by the young and lively people about her, the unextinguished
embers of a passion that first made her wretched fifty years before.”

Occasionally this may be true, in the sense in which psychology teaches
that no impression made on the mind is ever completely effaced, but may,
though forgotten for years, be revived in moments of great excitement,
or in the delirium of fever; as, for example, in the case mentioned by
Duval, of a Pole in Germany, who had not used his native language for
thirty years, but who, under the influence of anæsthetics, “spoke,
prayed, and sang, using only the Polish language.” The persistence of an
old passion is the more probable from the fact that in mental disease
and age, as Ribot points out, the emotional faculties are effaced much
more slowly than the intellectual. Feelings form the self; _amnesia_ of
feeling is the destruction of self.

Ordinarily, however, and for the time being, it may be possible to
practically obliterate a passion. “All love may be expelled by love, as
poisons are by other poisons,” says Dryden. And if the allopathic
remedies described in the preceding paragraphs should fail to effect a
cure, the lover may find the homœopathic principle of _similia
similibus_ more successful.

Heine, in his posthumous Memoirs, thus refers to this principle of
curing like with like:—

“In love, as in the Roman Catholic religion, there is a provisional
purgatory in which mortals are allowed to get used gradually to being
roasted before they get into the real eternal hell.... In all honesty,
what a terrible thing is love for a woman. Inoculation is herein of no
use.... Very wise and experienced physicians counsel a change of
locality in the opinion that removal from the presence of the
enchantress will also break the charm. Perhaps the homœopathic
principle, by which woman cures us of woman, is the best of all.... It
was ordained that I should be visited more severely than other mortals
by this malady, the heart-pox.... The most effective antidote to women
are women; true, this implies an attempt to expel Satan with Beelzebub;
and in such a case the medicine is often more noxious still than the
malady. But it is at any rate a change, and in a disconsolate
love-affair a change of the inamorata is unquestionably the best


After carefully following all the foregoing rules regarding absence,
travel, employment, dwelling on the miseries of marriage, the weaknesses
of women in general and one woman in particular, the disappointed lover
may boldly return and face her again. The chances are ten to one he will
find himself—more in love than ever!

Women are magicians. No wonder they were burned as witches in the Middle

                          NATIONALITY AND LOVE

Romantic love—commonly considered immutable—not only displays countless
individual variations in regard to duration and degrees of intensity,
but has a sort of “local colour” in each country; or, to keep up our old
metaphor, a varying clangtint, depending on the greater or less
prominence of certain “overtones.”

To describe all these varieties of Love would require a separate volume.
And since all the most interesting forms of the romantic passion are to
be met with in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, England, and America, it
will suffice to briefly characterise Love in those countries.

                              FRENCH LOVE

As literary luck would have it, the subject of French Love follows
naturally upon the subject of the last chapter, the _Remedia Amoris_.

The French are too clever a nation to leave to individual effort the
difficult task of curing the mind of such an obstinate thing as Love.
All the papas and mammas in the land have put their heads together and
devised two methods of _killing Love wholesale_, compared with which all
the remedies named in the last chapter are mere fly-bites.

These two methods are Chaperonage and Parental Choice, as opposed to
Courtship and Individual Sexual Selection.

Paradoxical as it may seem, there is in the midst of modern Europe a
nation which, in the treatment of women, Love, and marriage, stands on
the same low level of evolution as the ancient, mediæval, and Oriental

This is not a theory, but a fact patent to all, and attested by the best
English, German, and French authors.

One of the deepest of French thinkers, whose eyes were opened by travel
and comparison, De Stendhal, in 1842, says in his book _De l’Amour_:
“Pour comprendre cette passion, que depuis trente ans la peur du
ridicule cache avec tant de soin parmi nous, il faut en parler comme
d’une maladie”—"To understand this passion, which during the last thirty
years has been concealed among us with so much solicitude, from fear of
ridicule, it is necessary to speak of it as a malady."

But Stendhal greatly understates the case. It was not only within thirty
years from the time when he wrote, and by means of ridicule, that the
French had tried hard to kill Love. They have never really emancipated
themselves from mediæval barbarism. Pure Romantic Love between two young
unmarried persons has never yet flourished in France—because it has
never been allowed to grow. To-day, as in the days of the Troubadours,
the only form of Love celebrated in French plays and romances is the
form which implies conjugal infidelity.

“Marriage, as treated in the old French epics,” says Ploss, “is rarely
based on love;” the woman marries for protection, the man for her wealth
or social affiliations. In the eighteenth century girls were compelled
from their earliest years to live only for appearance sake: “The most
harmless natural enjoyment, every childish ebullition, is interdicted as
improper. Her mother denies her the expression of tender emotion as too
bourgeois, too common. The little one grows up in a dreary, heartless
vacuum; her deeper feelings remain undeveloped.... Real love would be
too ordinary a motive of marriage, and therefore extremely ridiculous.
It is not offered her, accordingly, nor does she feel any.”

Heine wrote from Paris in 1837 that “girls never fall in love in this
country.” "With us in Germany, as also in England and other nations of
Germanic origin, young girls are allowed the utmost possible liberty,
whereas married women become subjected to the strict and anxious
supervision of their husbands.

"Here in France, as already stated, the reverse is the case: young girls
remain in the seclusion of a convent until they either marry or are
introduced to the world under the strict eye of a relative. In the
world, _i.e._ in the French salon, they always remain silent and little
noticed, for it is neither good form here nor wise to make love to an
unmarried girl.

“There lies the difference. We Germans, as well as our Germanic
neighbours, bestow our love always on unmarried girls, and these only
are celebrated by our poets; among the French, on the other hand,
married women only are the object of love, in life as well as in

The difficulty of becoming acquainted with a young lady, Mr. Hamerton
tells us, is greatest “in what may be called the ‘respectable’ classes
in country-towns and their vicinities. In Parisian society young ladies
go out into _le monde_, and may be seen and even spoken to at

“And even spoken to” is good, is very good. What a privilege for the
young men! The iron bars which formerly separated them from the young
ladies have actually been removed, and they are allowed to speak to
them—in presence of a heart-chilling, conversation-killing dragon. No
wonder Parisian society is so corrupt!

Mr. Hamerton has given in _Round My House_ the most realistic and
fascinating account of French courtship and marriage-customs ever
written. He is a great admirer of the French, always ready to excuse
their foibles, and his testimony is, therefore, doubly valuable as that
of an absolutely impartial witness. He had an opportunity for many years
of studying French provincial life with an artist’s trained faculties;
and here are a few sentences culled from his descriptions:—

“It is not merely difficult, in our neighbourhood, for a young man in
the respectable classes to get acquainted with a young lady, but _every
conceivable arrangement is devised to make it absolutely impossible_.
Balls and evening-parties are hardly ever given, and when they are given
great care is taken to keep young men out of them, and young
marriageable girls either dance with each other or with mere children.”

Whereas in England “a young girl may go where she likes, without much
risk to her good name,” a French girl “may not cross a street alone, nor
open a book which has not been examined, nor have an opinion about
anything.” “The French ideal of a well-brought-up young lady is that she
should not know anything whatever about love and marriage, that she
should be both innocent and ignorant, and both in the supreme
degree—both to a degree which no English person can imagine.”

“The young men are not to blame; they would be ready enough, perhaps, to
fall in love if they had the chance, like any Englishman or German, but
the respectable parents of the young lady take care that they shall
_not_ have the chance of falling in love.”

The only opportunity a young man has of seeing a girl is at a distance,
at church or in a religious procession. Here he may see her face; her
character he can only ascertain through gossip, a lady friend, or the
parish priest. It is much more respectable, however, to show no such
curiosity, for its absence implies the absence of such a ridiculous
thing as Love. “_There is nothing which good society in France
disapproves of so much as the passion of Love_, or anything resembling
it.” “When Cœlebs asks for the hand of a girl he has seen for a
minute, he may just possibly be in love with her, which is a degrading
supposition; but if he has never seen her, you cannot even suspect him
of a sentiment so unbecoming.”

There is but one way for the young man to gain admission to a house
where there is a marriageable young lady: “He must first, through a
third party, ask to marry the young lady, and, if her _parents_ consent,
he will then be admitted to see her and speak to her, but not otherwise.
_The respectable order of affairs is that the offer and acceptance
should precede and not follow courtship._”

Would it be possible to conceive a more diabolically ingenious social
machinery for massacring Romantic Love _en gros_?

“Marriages in France are generally arranged by the exercise of reason
and prudence, rather than by either passion or affection.” Mr. Hamerton
gives an amusing account of how he was asked to be matrimonial
ambassador by a young man who had never seen the girl he wanted to
marry. Mr. Hamerton obliged the young man, but was told by the mother
that if the young man would wait two years he might have a fair chance,
provided a _richer_ or _nobler_ suitor did not turn up in the meantime.

Money and Rank _versus_ Love. French mammas have at least one virtue.
They are not hypocrites.

The Countess von Bothmer, who lived in France a quarter of a century,
says in her _French Home Life_: “Where we so ordinarily listen to what
we understand by love—to the temptations of the young heart in all their
forms (however transitory), to our individual impressions and our own
opinions—the French consult fitness of relative situation, reciprocities
of fortune and position, and harmonies of family intercourse.”

To annihilate the last resource of Love—elopement—the _Code Napoléon_
forbids all marriages without either the consent of the father and
mother, or proof that they are both dead. “It is very troublesome to get
married in France; the operation is surrounded by difficulties and
formalities which would make an Englishman stamp with rage.”

Social life, of course, suffers as much from this idiotic system as
Romantic Love. French hospitality “does not extend beyond the family
circle,” we are informed by M. Max O’Rell, who also gives this amusing
instance of the imbecility or mental slavery (he does not use these
words) produced by the French system of education and chaperonage:—

“I remember I was one day sitting in the Champs Elysées with two English
ladies. Beside us was a young French girl with her father and mother.
The person on the right of papa rose and went away, and we heard the
young innocent say to her mother: ‘Mamma, may I go and sit by papa?’ It
was a baby of about eighteen or twenty. Those English ladies laugh over
the affair to this day.”

Boys suffer as well as girls. As the author of an article on “Parisian
Psychology” remarks: “There are no mothers in France; it is a nation of
‘mammas,’ who, in the most unlimited sense of the word, spoil their
boys, weaken them in body and soul, dwarf their thought, dry their
hearts, and lower them to below even their own level, hoping thereby to
rule over them through life, as they too often do. Frenchwomen having
been at best but half-wives, regard their children as a sort of
compensation for what they have themselves not had; and after the
mischievous fashion of weak ‘mammas’ prolong babyhood till far into
mature life.”

The French, in fact, are a nation of babies. Their puerile conceit,
which prevents them from learning to read any language but their own,
and thus finding out what other nations think of them, is responsible in
part for the mediæval barbarism of their matrimonial arrangements. The
Parisian is the most provincial animal in the world. In any other
metropolis—be it London, New York, Vienna, or Berlin—people understand
and relish whatever is good in literature, art, and life, be it English,
American, French, German, or Italian. But the Parisian understands only
what is narrowly and exclusively French. And this is the dictionary
definition of Provincialism.

The consequences of this mediævalism and provincialism in modern France
are thus eloquently summed up by a writer in the _Westminster Review_

“Such education as girls receive is not only not a preparation for the
wedded state, it is a positive disqualification for it. They are not
taught to read, they are not taught to reason; they are _launched into
life without a single intellectual interest_. The whole effort of their
early training goes to fill their mind with puerilities and
superstitions. As regards God, they are instructed to believe in relics
and old bones; as regards man, they are instructed to believe in dress,
in mannerisms, and coquetry. Their love of appreciation, after being
enormously developed, is bottled up and tied down until a husband is
found to draw the cork. What else, then, can we look for but an
explosion of frivolity? Can we expect that such a provision of
coquettishness will be reserved for the husband’s exclusive use? He will
be tired of it in three months—unless it is tired of him before; and
then the pent-up waters will forsake their narrow bed and overflow the
country far and wide.”

No wonder Napoléon remarked that “Love does more harm than good.” And
right he was, most emphatically, for the only kind of Love _possible_ in
France does infinite harm. It poisons life and literature alike.

We can now understand the fierceness of Dumas’s attacks on _mariages de
convenance_: “The manifest deterioration of the race touches him; it
does not touch us. Nor do we at all realise the next to impossibility of
a man ever marrying for love in France. There are those who have tried
to do it, but they can never get on in life; they are reputed of ‘bad
example’” (_St. James’s Gazette_).

And now we come upon a paradox which has puzzled a great many thinkers.
The Countess von Bothmer, while deploring the absence of Love in French
courtship, endeavours to show that domestic happiness and conjugal
affection are, nevertheless, not rare in France. French husbands “are
ordinarily with their wives, accompany them wherever they can, and share
their friendships and distractions.” Mr. Hamerton likewise bears witness
that French girls “become excellent wives, faithful, orderly, dutiful,
contented, and economical. They all either love their husbands, _or
conduct themselves as if they did so_.” He says the notion fostered by
novels “that Frenchmen are always occupied in making love to their
neighbours’ wives” is nonsense; that there is no more adultery than
elsewhere. “There exists in foreign countries, and especially in
England, a belief that Frenchwomen are very generally adulteresses. The
origin of the belief is this,— the manner in which marriages are
generally managed in France leaves no room for interesting love-stories.
Novelists and dramatists _must_ find love-stories somewhere, and so they
have to seek for them in illicit intrigues.”

This is all very ingenious, but the argument is not conclusive. Even
granted for a moment that Mr. Hamerton is right in his defence of French
conjugal life, is it not a more than sufficient condemnation of the
French system of “courtship” that one-half of the nation are prevented
from reading its literature because it is so foul and filthy—because
Love has been made synonymous with adultery?

But Mr. Hamerton’s assertion loses its probability when viewed in the
light of the following considerations. He himself admits that the French
are anxious to read about Love, that the novelists and dramatists _must_
find stories of Love somewhere—mind you, not of conjugal but of Romantic
Love—and the Paris _Figaro_ not long ago denounced the French novelists
of the period for devoting their stories to Love almost exclusively,
whereas Balzac, Dumas, Thackeray, and Scott, at least introduced various
other matters of interest. Now French novels have the largest editions
of any books published; and if so vast an interest is displayed by the
French in reading about Love, is it likely that their interest is purely
literary? Certainly not. They will seek it in real life. And in real
life it can only be found in one sphere, which elsewhere is protected
against such invasions, by the young being allowed to meet one another.
“It is to be feared that they who marry where they do not love, will
love where they do not marry.’” In _this_ respect human nature is the
same the world over. The testimony of scores of unprejudiced authors on
this head cannot be ignored.

This, however, is only one of the evils following from the French
suppression of pre-matrimonial Love. The parents may or may not suffer
through conjugal jealousy and infidelity, one thing is certain,—that the
children suffer from it, in body and mind. It is leading to the
depopulation of France. It was M. Jules Rochard who called attention to
the fact that “France, which two centuries ago included one-third of the
total population of Europe, now contains but one-tenth”; although the
death-rate is smaller in France than in most European countries, and
although there has been a gradual increase of wealth throughout the

That the suppression of Romantic Love and of all opportunities for
courtship is the principal cause of the decline of France, is apparent
from the fact that the countries in which population increases most
rapidly—as America and Great Britain—are those in which Romantic Love is
the chief motive to marriage.

Romantic Love goes by complementary qualities, the defects of the
parents neutralising one another in the offspring; so that the children
who are the issue of a love-match are commonly more beautiful than their
parents. In France there is no selection whatever, except with reference
to money and rank. Not even Health is considered, the _sine qua non_ of
Love as well as Beauty. Hence the absence of Love in France has led to
the almost absolute absence of beauty. And it would be nothing short of
a miracle if the offspring of a young maiden, still in her teens, and an
old broken-down sinner, chosen by her parents for his wealth or social
position, were any different from the puny, hairy men and
coarse-featured, vulgar women that make up the bulk of the French

In Paris one does occasionally see a fine figure and a rather pretty
face, but they almost always belong to the lower classes. As the lower
classes allow the young considerable freedom, it would seem as if beauty
in this class ought to be as common an article as in England or the
United States. But the incapacity of the young women for feeling and
reciprocating Love neutralises these opportunities. For of what use is
it for a man to feel Love if the woman invariably bases her choice on
money? This matter is most clearly brought out by Mr. Hamerton:—

“Amongst the lower classes, the peasantry and workmen ... girls have as
much freedom as they have in England. The great institution of the
_parlement_ gives them ample opportunities for becoming acquainted with
their lovers; indeed the acquaintance, in many cases, goes further than
is altogether desirable. A peasant girl requires no parental help in
looking after her own interests. She admits a lover to the happy state
of _parlement_, which means that he has a right to talk with her when
they meet, and to call upon her, dance with her, etc. The lover is
always eager to fix the wedding-day, the girl is not so eager. She keeps
him on indefinitely until a richer one appears, on which No. 1 has the
mortification of seeing himself excluded from _parlement_, whilst
another takes his place. In this way a clever girl will go on for
several years, amusing herself by torturing amorous swains, until at
length a sufficiently big fish nibbles at the bait, when she hooks him
at once, and takes good care that _he_ shall not escape. Nothing can be
more pathetically ludicrous than the condition of a young peasant who is
really in love, especially if he is able to write, for then he pours
forth his feelings in innumerable letters full of tenderness and
complaint. On her part the girl does not answer the letters, and has not
the slightest pity for the unhappy victim of her charms. After seeing a
good deal of such love-affairs I have come to the conclusion that in
humble life young men do really very often feel

                “‘The hope, the fear, the jealous care,
                The exalted portion of the pain
                And power of love.’”

And they ‘wear the chain’ too. Young women, on the other hand, seem only
to amuse themselves with all this simple-hearted devotion—

        “‘And mammon wins his way where seraphs might despair.’”

Schopenhauer pointed out that the French lack the _Gefühl für das
Innige_—the tenderness and emotional depth which characterise the
Germans and Italians. It is this that accounts for the inability of the
French to appreciate Love, and for the fact that even vice is coarser in
France than elsewhere, as remarked by Mr. Lecky, who, in his _History of
European Morals_, contrasts “the coarse, cynical, ostentatious
sensuality, which forms the most repulsive feature of the French
character,” with “the dreamy, languid, and æsthetical sensuality of the
Spaniard or Italian.” And it remained for the French to attempt to deify
vice as in that over-rated and repulsive story of _Manon Lescaut_.

Mme. de Staël, who suffered so much from the provincialism (_alias_
patriotism) of her countrymen, saw clearly the immorality of the French
system of marrying girls without consulting their choice. Brandes
relates the following anecdote of her: “One day, speaking of the
unnaturalness of marriages arranged by the parents, as distinguished
from those in which the young girls choose for themselves, she
exclaimed, ‘I would _compel_ my daughter to marry the man of her

An attempt is being made at present in Paris to introduce the
Anglo-American feminine spirit into society. The word _flirter_ has been
adopted, and the thing itself experimented with. But the French girl
does not know how to draw the line between coquetry and flirtation. She
needs a better education before she can flirt properly. This education
the Government is trying to give her at present; but it meets with
stubborn resistance from the priests, and from the old notion that
intellectual culture is fatal to feminine charms and the capacity for
affection. If this book should accomplish nothing else than prove that
without intellect there can be no deep Love, it will not have been
written in vain.

                              ITALIAN LOVE

In Italy, in the sixteenth century, women were kept in as strict
seclusion as to-day in France; and with the same results,—conjugal
infidelity and a great lack of Personal Beauty, as noted by Montaigne,
who remarks at the same time that it was regarded as something quite
extraordinary if a young lady was seen in public.

Byron wrote in 1817 that “Jealousy is not the order of the day in
Venice”; and that the Italians “marry for their parents, and love for

In Crowe and Cavalcaselle’s _Life and Times of Titian_ we read that
“Though chroniclers have left us to guess what the state of society may
have been in Venice at the close of the fifteenth century, they give us
reason to believe that it was deeply influenced by Oriental habit. The
separation of men from women in churches, the long seclusion of
unmarried females in convents or in the privacy of palaces, were but the
precursors to marriages in which husbands were first allowed to see
their wives as they came in state to dance round the wedding

But even at this early period when women were still treated as babies
unable to take care of themselves, we find at least one trace of the
Gallantry which is so essential an element in modern love. It was
customary for the men, on festive occasions, to stand behind their
wives’ chairs at table and serve them.

Extremely ungallant, on the other hand, are some of the Italian proverbs
about women of this and other periods. “A woman is like a
horse-chestnut—beautiful outside, worthless inside.” “Two women and a
goose make a market.” “Married man—bird in cage.” “In buying a horse and
taking a wife shut your eyes and commend your soul to heaven.”

Her exuberant health makes an Italian woman naturally prone to Love; but
though she falls in love most readily, the passion is apt to be fugitive
and superficial. She rarely loves with the passionate ardour of a
Spanish woman. “What we notice especially in Italian women,” says
Schweiger-Lerchenfeld, “is the absence of that alternation between those
extremes of temperament which are so conspicuous in other Southern
women. Energy is almost as unknown to her as the moral power of
resignation and sacrifice. Hence it can hardly surprise us that Italian
history records so few heroic women or pious female martyrs. Italy has
produced neither a Jeanne d’Arc nor an Elizabeth of Thuringia; the
crowns were too oppressive to be borne by these beauties, and life too
enchanting for them to invite to tragic self-sacrifice.”

Probably the most realistic, and certainly the most fascinating, account
of Italian love-making ever given is to be found in Mr. Howells’s
_Venetian Life_. As it is too long to quote, I will attempt to condense
it, though at some sacrifice of that literary “bouquet,” as an epicure
would say, which constitutes the unique charm of Mr. Howells’s style:—

"The Venetians have had a practical and strictly businesslike way of
arranging marriages from the earliest times. The shrewdest provision has
always been made for the dower and for the good of the state; private
and public interest being consulted, the small matters of affection have
been left to the chances of association.

"Herodotus relates that the Assyrian Veneti sold their daughters at
auction to the highest bidder; and the fair being thus comfortably
placed in life, the hard-favoured were given to whomsoever would take
them, with such dower as might be considered a reasonable compensation.
The auction was discontinued in Christian times, but marriage contracts
still partook of the form of a public and half-mercantile transaction.

“These passionate, headlong Italians look well to the main chance before
they leap into matrimony, and you may be sure Todaro knows, in black and
white, what the Biondina has to her fortune before he weds her.”

“With the nobility and with the richest commoners marriage is still
greatly a matter of contract, and is arranged without much reference to
the principals, though it is now scarcely probable in any case that they
have not seen each other. But with all other classes, except the
poorest, who cannot or will not seclude the youth of either sex from
each other, and with whom, consequently, romantic contrivance and
subterfuge would be superfluous, love is made to-day in Venice as in the
_Capa y espada_ comedies of the Spaniards, and the business is carried
on with all the cumbrous machinery of confidants, _billets-doux_, and
stolen interviews.”

The “operatic method of courtship” thence resulting commonly assumes
this form:—

“They follow that beautiful blonde, who, marching demurely in front of
the gray-moustached papa and the fat mamma, after the fashion in Venice,
is electrically conscious of pursuit. They follow during the whole
evening, and, at a distance, softly follow her home, where the burning
Todaro photographs the number of the house upon the sensitised tablets
of his soul. This is the first step in love: he has seen his adored one,
and she knows that he loves her with an inextinguishable ardour.”

The next step consists in his frequenting the _caffé_, where she goes
with her parents, and feasting his eyes on her beauty. After some time
he may possibly get a chance to speak a few words to her under her
balcony; or, what is more likely, he will bribe her servant-maid to
bring her a love-letter. Or else he goes to church to admire her at a
convenient distance.

“It must be confessed that if the Biondina is not pleased with his
looks, his devotion must assume the character of an intolerable bore to
her; and that to see him everywhere at her heels—to behold him leaning
against the pillar near which she kneels at church, the head of his
stick in his mouth, and his attitude carefully taken with a view to
captivation—to be always in deadly fear lest she shall meet him in
promenade, or turning round at the _caffé_ encounter his pleading
gaze—that all this must drive the Biondina to a state bordering upon
blasphemy and finger-nails. _Ma, come si fa? Ci vuol pazienza?_ This is
the sole course open to ingenuous youth in Venice, where confessed and
unashamed acquaintance between young people is extremely difficult; and
so this blind pursuit must go on till the Biondina’s inclinations are at
last laboriously ascertained.” Then follow the inquiries as to her
dowry, after which nothing remains but “to demand her in marriage of her
father, _and after that to make her acquaintance_.”

Topsy-turvy as this last arrangement may seem to Anglo-American notions,
here at least Love has some chance to bring about real Sexual Selection,
for a Southerner’s passions are momentarily inflamed, and the Italian
Cupid needs but a moment to fix his choice. And what distinguishes Italy
still more favourably from France is that, whereas the French consider
Love ridiculous, and have made the most ingenious contrivances for
annihilating it, the Italians worship it, revel in it, and are inclined
rather to make too many concessions to it than to ignore it.

The result is patent to all eyes. For every attractive Frenchwoman there
are to-day a hundred beautiful Italians. And were Anglo-American methods
of courtship introduced in Italy, beauty would again be doubled in
amount. It must not be forgotten, however, that Love, as a beautifier of
mankind, has in Italy very strong allies in the balmy air and sunshine,
tempting to constant outdoor life, which mellows the complexion,
brightens the eyes, and fills out the figure to those full yet elegant
proportions which instantaneously arouse the romantic passion.

                              SPANISH LOVE

Spanish veins contain more Oriental blood than those of any other
European nation; and to the present day Eastern methods of treating
women cast their shadow on Spanish life. But the shadow is so light, and
so much mitigated by the rosy hue of romance, that the “local colour” of
Love in Spain presents an unusually fascinating spectacle, which
countless literary artists have attempted to depict.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Oriental shadow was
much darker, and kept the women in extreme subjection and ignorance.
“Their life,” says Professor Scherr, speaking even of the queens,
“passed away in a luxurious tedium which dulled the sentiments to the
point of idiocy. They were only crowned slaves. As an instance of their
absolute deprivation of liberty may be cited the case of Elizabeth, wife
of Philip II., who, when in 1565 she went to Bayonne to meet her mother,
had to wait three days before the gates of Burgos before it was possible
to ascertain the king’s decision whether the queen should pass through
the city or around it.”

“Women of rank,” he continues, "lived in a seclusion bordering on that
of a convent, if not surpassing it. For nuns were at least allowed to
speak to male visitors behind bars, whereas married women were strictly
forbidden to receive the visit of a man, except with the special
permission of the husband. And only during the first year of their
wedded life were they allowed to frequent public drives in open
carriages by the side of their husband; subsequently they were only
allowed to go out in closed carriages. Of cosy family life not a
trace.... Even the table did not unite the husband and wife; the master
took his meal alone, while his wife and children sat respectfully on the
floor on carpets, with their legs crossed in Oriental fashion.

“The poor women, excluded from every refined social diversion, were
confined to manual work, gossip with their duennas, mechanical praying,
playing with their rosaries, and—intriguing. For the greater the
subjection of women, the more does their cunning grow, the more
passionate becomes their desire to avenge themselves on their tyrants.
The Spaniards found this out to their cost. The most inexorable spirit
of revenge, all the parade of ‘Spanish honour,’ bordering in its excess
on clownishness, could not prevent the Spanish dames from loving and
being loved.”

In course of time this Oriental despotism, with its fatal consequences
to conjugal fidelity—as in France—has been greatly mitigated in Spain.
In Pepys’s _Diary_, 1667, we read of an informant who told the writer
“of their wooing [in Spain] by serenades at the window, and that their
friends do always make the match; but yet they have opportunities to
meet at masse at church, and there they make love.”

In an interesting book on Spain, written almost two and a quarter
centuries after Pepys’s _Diary_—Mr. Lathrop’s _Spanish Vistas_—we still
read concerning this ecclesiastic Love-making, in the Seville Cathedral:
“Every door was guarded by a squad of the decrepit army, so that
entrance there became a horror. These sanctuary beggars serve a double
purpose, however. The black-garbed Sevillan ladies, who are perpetually
stealing in and out noiselessly under cover of their archly-draped lace
veils—losing themselves in the dark, incense-laden interior, or emerging
from confession into the daylight glare again—are careful to drop some
slight conscience-money into the palms that wait. Occasionally, by
pre-arrangement, one of these beggars will convey into the hand that
passes him a silver piece, a tightly-folded note from some clandestine
lover. It is a convenient underground mail, and I am afraid the
venerable church innocently shelters a good many little transactions of
this kind.”

How greatly the facilities for falling in love and for making love have
been increased in modern Spain is vividly brought out in the following
citation from Schweiger-Lerchenfeld regarding the scenes to be witnessed
every evening on the crowded promenade or Rambla at Barcelona:—

“Are these elegantly-attired ramblers one and all suitors, since they
put no limit nor restraint on their whispered flatteries? No, that is
simply the custom in Barcelona. The women and girls are beautiful, and
though they are well aware of it, they nevertheless allow their charms
to be whispered in their ears hundreds of times every evening—a freedom
of intercourse which is only possible on Spanish soil.... And thus one
of these adored beauties walks up and down in the glare of the lamps,
and sweet music is wafted to her ears: ‘Your beauty dazzles me,’
whispers one voice; and another, ‘Happiness and anguish your eyes are
burning into my soul.’ One compliments the chosen one on her hair,
another on her figure, a third on her graceful gait. Young adorers feel
a thrill running down their whole body if her mantilla only touches
them; while mature lovers are contented with nothing less than a
pressure of the hand. It is a picture that is possible, conceivable only
in Spain.”

The same writer quotes some specimens of Spanish Love-songs, one of
which may be transferred to this page—

                      “Échame, niña bonita,
                      Lágrimas en tu pañuelo,
                      Y los llevaré a Madrid
                      Que los engarce un platero.”

“Show me, my little charmer, the tear in your handkerchief; to Madrid
will I take it and have it set by a jeweller.”

What a contrast between this modern complimentary and poetic form of
Gallantry and the form prevalent in the good old times when lovers
endeavoured to win a maiden’s favour by flagellating themselves under
her window until the blood ran down their backs; and when, as Scherr
adds, “it was regarded as the surest sign of supreme gallantry if some
of the blood bespattered the clothes of the beauty to whom this crazy
act of devotion was addressed!”

Nevertheless, the Spanish still have much to learn from England and
America regarding the proper methods of Courtship; for, according to a
writer in _Macmillan’s Magazine_ (1874), the unmarried maiden of the
higher classes, “like her humbler sister, can never have the privilege
of seeing her lover in private, and very rarely, indeed, if ever, is he
admitted into the _sala_ where she is sitting. He may contrive to get a
few minutes’ chat with her through the barred windows of her _sala_; but
when a Spaniard leads his wife from the altar, he knows no more of her
character, attainments, and disposition than does the parish priest who
married them, and perhaps not so much.”

In one respect Spanish lovers have a great advantage over their
unfortunate colleagues in France. There marriage is impossible without
parental consent, whereas in Spain a law exists concerning which the
writer just quoted says:—

“Should a Spanish lad and lassie become attached to one another, and the
parents absolutely forbid the match, and refuse their daughter liberty
and permission to marry, the lover has his remedy at law. He has but to
make a statement of the facts on paper, and deposit it, signed and
attested, with the alcalde or mayor of the township in which the lady’s
parents dwell. The alcalde then makes an order, giving the young man the
right of free entry into the house in question, within a certain number
of days, for the purpose of wooing and carrying off his idol. The
parents dare not interfere with the office of the alcalde, and the lady
is taken to her lover’s arms. From that moment he, and he alone, is
bound to provide for her: by his own act and deed she has become his
property.” Should he prove false “the law comes upon him with all its
force, and he is bound to maintain her, in every way, as a wife, under
pain of punishment.”

Thus a Spanish girl is protected against perfidious lovers as well as is
an English and American girl through the possibility of suing for breach
of promise. If the short stories told in _Don Quixote_ may be taken as
examples, faithless lovers were very common in Spain at that time;
which, doubtless, accounts for the origin of this law. The girls on
their part erred by yielding too easily to the promises of the men;
though they are partially excused by the great strength of their

In his work on Suicide, Professor Morselli has statistics showing that
more women take their life in Spain than in any other country; and he
attributes this to the force of their passions, which is greater than in
Italy, where the number of female suicides is considerably lower.

Thus Love has a more favourable ground in Spain than either in Italy or
in France, notwithstanding certain restrictions. And the result shows
itself in this, that all tourists unite in singing the praises of
Spanish Beauty. Spain, indeed, unites in itself all the conditions
favourable to Beauty: a climate tempting to outdoor life; a considerable
amount of intellectual culture and æsthetic refinement; a mixture of
nationalities, fusing _ethnic_ peculiarities into a harmonious whole;
and Love, which fuses _individual_ complementary qualities into a
harmonious ensemble of beautiful features, graceful figure, amiable
disposition, and refined manners.

                              GERMAN LOVE

When Tacitus penned his famous certificate of good moral character for
the Germans of his time, he little suspected how many thousand times it
would be quoted by the grateful and proud descendants of those early
Teutons, and pinned to the lapels of their coats as a sort of prize
medal in the competition for ancestral virtue. The more candid
historians, however, admit that the Roman historian somewhat overdrew
his picture in order to teach his own profligate countrymen a sort of
Sunday school lesson, by the vivid contrast presented by these
inhabitants of the northern virgin forests.

There is no question that women were held in considerable honour among
these early Germans. Many of them served as priestesses, and adultery
was punished with death. Polygamy existed only among the chiefs, and
even among them it was not common. Yet the men did not treat the women
as their equals. “They had more duties than privileges,” says
Schweiger-Lerchenfeld. Their husbands were addicted to excessive
drinking or gambling when not engaged in war or the chase, leaving the
hard domestic and field labour to the women: and all this cannot have
tended to refine the women.

“Marriage in the old Germanic times,” says Ploss, “was mostly an affair
of expediency.... In the choice of a wife beauty was of less moment than
property and good social antecedents. Love _before_ the betrothal rarely

Gustav Freytag, in his _Pictures of German Life_, during the fifteenth,
sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, remarks: “Marriage was considered
by our ancestors less as a union of two lovers than as an institution
replete with duties and rights, not only of married people towards one
another, but also towards their relatives, as a bond uniting two
corporate bodies.... Therefore in the olden time the choice of husband
and wife was always an affair of importance to the relatives on both
sides, so that a German wooing from the oldest times, _even until the
last century_, had the appearance of a business transaction, which was
carried out with great regard to suitability.”

And a business transaction it is, unfortunately, to the present day, in
the vast majority of cases. A certain amount of dower or property on the
bride’s part is the first and most essential requisite. Second in
importance is the desirability of not descending even a step in the
social ladder, though an extra lump of gold commonly suffices to pull
down social Pride to a lower level. Health, temper, Personal Beauty, and
mutual suitability—these are the trifles which, other things being
equal, come in as a third consideration. And thus is the order of Sexual
Selection, as ordained by Love, commonly reversed.

What would an English or American youth of twenty-two say to his father
if the latter should undertake to write to all his relatives, asking
them to look about for an eligible partner for his son, and capping the
climax by starting himself on a trip in search of a bride for his son?
Would he accept without a murmur the girl thus found, and would an
English or American girl thus allow herself to be given away like a cat
in a bag, not knowing whither she was going? I have seen several such
cases with my own eyes. One of them was most pathetic. For when the
blooming bride, a sweet and refined girl, was introduced to the
bridegroom selected for her by her parents—a repulsive-looking brute,
twice her age—she conceived a perfect loathing for him, and almost wept
out her eyes before the wedding-day. But the man was rich, and that
settled the matter.

What aggravated this outrage was the fact that the bride’s father also
was rich. And herein, in fact, lies the canker of the German system.
Money is such a comfortable thing to have that it is useless to preach
against it. There are money-marriages enough in England and America. But
in these countries it is generally considered sufficient if one party
has the money. Not so in Germany. It is not so much the comfort ensured
by a certain amount of money that is aimed at as the superior social
influence ensured by a large amount of wealth. Hence the rich marry the
rich, regardless of other consequences, and poor Cupid is left shivering
in the cold. So that, after all, the silly pride of social position is a
greater enemy of Romantic Love than money.

And the consequences of such a matrimonial system? They have been most
eloquently set forth by the blind old philosopher, Dr. Dühring:—

“The amalgamation of fortunes, and the resulting enervating luxury of
living, are the ruling matrimonial motives; and the want of mutual
adaptation of the individuals becomes the cause of the degenerate
appearance of the offspring. The loathsome products of such marriages
then walk about as ugly embodiments and witnesses of such a degraded
system of legalised prostitution (_Kuppelwirthschaft_). They bear the
stamp of incongruity on body and mind; for their appearance shows them
to be the offspring of disharmonious parents, blindly associated, or
even, in many cases, of parents who themselves are already products of
this new matrimonial method. This degeneracy necessarily continues from
one generation to another, and in this manner maltreated Nature avenges
herself by leading to personal decrepitude and the formation of a new
sort of idiocy.”

“It is true,” he adds, “that love is not an infallible sign of mutual
suitability; but when it is absent, or even replaced by aversion, it is
certain that it is useless to expect a specially harmonious composition
of the offspring.”

Is this one of the reasons why Personal Beauty is so rare,
comparatively, in Germany?

But Individual Preference is not the only element of Love which thus
suffers in Germany through false Pride and parental tyranny. Gallantry
is another factor which needs mending. German women are sweet and
amiable. In fact, they are _too_ sweet and good-natured. They have
spoiled the men, who in consequence are excessively selfish in their
relations to women—the most selfish men in the world, outside of Turkey
or China. True, the German officer in a ballroom seems to be the very
essence of officious Gallantry. But his motives are too transparently
Ovidian: it is not true Anglo-American politeness of the heart that
inspires his conduct. He is either after forbidden sweets or parading
his uniform and his vanity. Take the same man and watch him at home. His
wife has to get him his chair, move it up to the fire, bring him his
slippers, put the coffee in his hand, and do errands for him. When he
goes out she puts on his overcoat and buttons it up carefully for him as
if he were a helpless big baby. This would be all very well—for why
should not women be gallant too?—if he would only retaliate. But he
never dreams of it. Even if it comes to a task which calls for masculine
muscular power—the carrying of bundles, etc.—he makes the wife do it. He
is, in fact, matrimonially considered, not only a big baby but also a
big brute, the very incarnation of masculine selfishness.

In former centuries it was customary in Germany, as it is now with us,
for women to bow first to men. The modern German has reversed this.
Woman has no right to bow until her lord and superior has invited her to
do so by doffing his hat.

The German girl, says the Countess von Bothmer in _German Home Life_,
“is taught that to be womanly she must be helpless, to be feminine she
must be feeble, to endear herself she must be dependent, to charm she
must cling.” “To keep carefully to the sheep-walk, to applaud in concert
and condemn in chorus, is the only behaviour that can be tolerated.”
“They have one bugbear and one object of idolatry, these monotonous
ladies,—a fetish which they worship under the name of Mode; a monster
between public opinion and Mrs. Grundy. To say a thing is not ‘Mode’
here, is to condemn it as if by all the laws of Media and Persia. It is
not her centre [_sic_], but the system of her social education, that
renders the German woman so hopelessly provincial.”

Of course it is the men who are responsible for this social education
and this feminine ideal of absolute dependence. It suits their selfish
pleasure to be worshipped and obeyed by the women without any efforts at
gallant retaliation on their part.

A native writer tells us that “a true German philosophises occasionally
while he embraces his sweetheart; while kissing even, theories will
sprout in his mind.”

No wonder, therefore, that one of the German metaphysicians, Fichte,
should have made a sophistic attempt to reduce masculine selfishness to
a system. He proves to his own satisfaction that it is woman’s duty to
sacrifice herself in man’s behalf; while man, on his part, has no such
obligations. His reasoning is too elaborate to quote in full; but is too
amusingly naïve to be omitted, so I will translate the summary of it
given by Kuno Fischer in his _History of Philosophy_:—

“What woman’s natural instincts demand is self-abandonment to a man; she
desires this abandonment not for her own sake, but for the man’s sake;
she gives herself to him, for him. Now abandoning oneself for another is
self-sacrifice, and self-sacrifice from an instinctive impulse is LOVE.
Therefore love is a kind of instinctive impulse which the sexual
instinct in woman necessarily and involuntarily assumes. She feels the
necessity of loving.... This impulse is peculiar to woman alone; woman
alone loves [!!!]; only through woman does love appear among mankind....
The woman’s life should disappear in the man’s without a remnant, and it
is this relation that is so beautifully and correctly indicated in the
fact that the wife no longer uses her own name, but that of her husband

The latest (and it is to be hoped the last) of the German
metaphysicians, the pessimist Hartmann, goes even a step beyond
Fichte in arrogating for man special privileges in Love. If Fichte
makes Love synonymous with Self-Sacrifice—feminine, mind you, not
masculine—Hartmann tries to prove that man may love as often as he
pleases, but woman only once. And what aggravates the offence, he
does it in such a poetic manner. “Though it may be doubtful,” he
says, “whether a man can truly love two women at the same time, it
is beyond all doubt that he can love several in succession with all
the depth of his heart; and the assertion that there is only one
true love is an unwarranted generalisation to all mankind of a maxim
which is true of woman alone.... Woman can learn but once by
experience what love is, and it is painful for the lover not to be
the one who teaches her first. True it is that a tree nipped by a
spring frost brings forth a second crown of leaves, but so rich and
luxuriant as the first it will not be; thus does a maiden-heart
produce a second bloom, if the first had to wither before maturity,
but its full and complete floral glory is unfolded only where love,
aroused for the first time, passes in full vigour through all its

Yet it is not ungallant selfishness alone that prompts German men to
bring up their women so that they shall be mere playthings at first and
drudges after marriage, never real soul-mates. They have the same old
stupid continental fear that culture of the intellect weakens the
feelings. This fear is based on slovenly reasoning—on the inference that
because a few blue-stockings have at all ages made themselves ridiculous
by assuming masculine attributes and parading their lack of tenderness
and feminine delicacy, therefore intellectual training must be fatal to
feminine charms. As if there were not plenty of masculine
blue-stockings, or pedants, without disproving the fact that the men of
the greatest intellectual power—men of genius—are also the most
emotional and refined of all men; or the fact proved by this whole
monograph, that Love and general emotional refinement grow with the
general intellectual culture of women.

A typical illustration of German feeling on the subject of female
education is to be found in Schweiger-Lerchenfeld’s _Frauenleben der
Erde_, p. 530. Referring to the attempts now being made in France to
give young girls a rational education, he quotes the opinion of a French
legislator that a girl thus brought up would not love less deeply than
heretofore, while she would love more intelligently; and then comments
as follows: “How far this anticipation may be realised cannot be decided
now or in the near future. At any rate we must leave to the French
themselves the task of getting along with this classical female
generation of the future. Certain it is that their experiment will
hardly be imitated, and that the old Romans and Greeks may eventually
become more dangerous to masculine supremacy (Autorität) than the
pilgrimage stories of Lourdes.”

It is time for German woman to rise in revolt against this mediæval
masculine selfishness. Not in active revolt, for a warlike woman is an
abomination. But in passive revolt. Let them cease to spoil the men, and
these bears will become more gallant. Germany is later in almost every
phase of literary and social culture than England. It was not an
accident that Shakspere came before Heine, the English before the German
poet of Love; for Love is much less advanced in Germany than in England.
It has not even passed the stage where a harsh sort of Coyness is still
in place. German women want to learn the cunning to be strange, They are
too deferential to the men, too easily won. They want to learn to
indulge in harmless flirtation, and they want the education which will
give them wit enough to flirt cleverly and make the men mellow.

It must be admitted, however, notwithstanding all these strictures, that
there is much genuine Romantic Love in Germany, often differing in no
wise from Anglo-American Love. At first sight it seems, indeed, as if
chaperonage were as strict as in France; and no doubt many German girls
are brought up on the spring-chicken-coyness system which regards every
man as a hawk, and a signal for hiding away in a corner. But in general
German girls have much more freedom than French girls. They may walk
alone in the street in the daytime, go alone to the conservatory to
attend a music-lesson. They meet the young men freely at evening
parties, dances, musical entertainments, etc.; and the chaperons are not
nearly so obtrusive and offensive as in France. The mothers appear to
have taken to heart Jean Paul’s saying that “in the mother’s presence it
is impossible to carry on an edifying conversation with the daughter.”
So that there is plenty of opportunity for falling in love; and were it
not for parental dictation, Love-matches would perhaps be as common as
in England. But the girls lack independence of spirit to defy parental
tyranny, which it is their _moral duty_ to defy where money or rank are
pitted against Love. For the health and happiness of the next generation
are at stake.

German girls also enjoy an advantage over the French in having a
literature which is pure and wholesome; and by reading about Romantic
Love they train and deepen their feelings. It is often said that Heine’s
influence has been chiefly negative. The truth is, _Heine is the
greatest emotional educator Germany has ever had_. More young men and
girls have wept over his pathetic lyrics than over any other poetry. His
_Buch der Lieder_ has done more to foster the growth of Romantic Love in
Germany than all other collections of verse combined; not only by their
own unadorned beauty, but through the soulful music wedded to these
poems by Schubert, Schumann, and other magicians of the heart. The fact
that the copyright on Heine’s works was soon to expire, and the country
to be flooded with cheap editions, has long caused Master Cupid to rub
his hands in gleeful anticipation of brisk business; and he has just
given orders in his arsenal for one hundred thousand new golden arrows.

Heine indeed fathomed the secrets of Love much more deeply than Goethe.
Whereas Heine sang of Love in every major and minor key, Goethe appears
to have emphasised chiefly its transitoriness. “Love, as Goethe knows
it,” says Professor Seeley, “is very tender, and has a lyric note as
fresh as that of a song-bird. In his _Autobiography_ one love-passage
succeeds another, but each comes speedily to an end. How far in each
case he was to blame is a matter of controversy. But he seems to betray
a way of thinking about women such as might be natural to an Oriental
sultan. ‘I was in that agreeable phase,’ he writes, ‘when a new passion
had begun to spring up in me before the old one had quite disappeared.’
About Frederika he blames himself without reserve, and uses strong
expressions of contrition; but he forgets the matter strangely soon. In
his distress of mind he says he found riding, and especially skating,
bring much relief. This reminds us of the famous letter to the Frau von
Stein about coffee. He is always ready in a moment to shake off the
deepest impressions and receive new ones; and he never looks back....
Goethe was a man of the old _régime_.... Had he entered into the
reforming movement of his age, he might have striven to elevate
women.... He certainly felt at times that all was not right in the
status of women (‘woman’s fate is pitiable’), and how narrowly confined
was their happiness (wie enggebunden ist des Weibes Glück) ... but he
was not a reformer of institutions.”

A reformer of institutions, however, has apparently just arisen in
Berlin. For we read that at a private female seminary the girls received
the following subject for an essay: “There is from the Ideas of Plato,
the atoms of Democritus, the Substance of Spinoza, the monads of
Leibnitz, and from the subjective mental forms of Kant, the proof to
bring, that the philosophy it never neglected has the to-be-calculated
results of their hypotheses with their into-perception-falling effects
to compare.”

Such subjects, so elegantly expressed, are no doubt eminently calculated
to bring out the latent possibilities of feminine feeling and culture.

To close this chapter with a sweet, soothing concord—major triad, horns
and ’cellos, _smorzando_—it must be admitted that the Germans have one
ingredient of Romantic Love which all other nations must envy them. They
have one more thrill in the drama of Love, in the ascending scale of
familiarities, than we have, namely, the word _Du_, which is something
very different from the stilted _Thou_, because still a part of everyday
language. The second person singular is used in Germany towards pet
animals and children, between students, intimate friends, relatives, and
lovers. French “lovers” do not say _tu_ to each other till after
marriage, and even then they do not use it in public. But the German
lover has the privilege, as soon as he is engaged, of exchanging the
formal _Sie_ for the affectionate _Du_; and the first _Du_ that comes
from her lips can hardly be less sweet than the first kiss.

There is a game of cards, popular among young folks in Germany, during
which you have to address every one with _Du_ whom you otherwise would
have to call _Sie_, and _vice versâ_; cards have to be called spoons,
white black, etc. If there is a young man in the company secretly in
love with a young lady, you can always “spot” him by the eagerness he
shows to speak to her, and the fact that he always gets the _Du_ right
and everything else wrong; while she, strange to say, appears to have
never heard of such a thing at all as a personal pronoun.

                              ENGLISH LOVE

Concerning Romantic Love in England and America, there is less to be
said under the head of National Peculiarities than in case of the
continental nations of Europe, for the simple reason that almost
everything said in the pages on Modern Love refers especially to these
two countries. Anglo-American Love is Romantic Love, pure and simple, as
first depicted by Shakspere, and after him, with more or less accuracy,
by a hundred other poets and novelists. There is no lack of colour in
this Love—colour warm and glowing—but it is no longer a mere local
colour, a national or provincial peculiarity, but Love in its essence,
its cosmopolitan aspect; Love such as will in course of time prevail
throughout the world, when the Anglisation of this planet—which is only
a question of time—shall have been completed.

England has many a bright jewel in the crown of her achievements in
behalf of civilisation, but the brightest of all is this, that she was
the first country in the world—ancient, mediæval, or modern—that removed
the bars from woman’s prison-windows, opened every door to Cupid, and
made him thoroughly welcome and comfortable. And grateful Cupid has
retaliated by setting up English manners and customs as a model which
all other nations are slowly but surely copying. Eighteen million souls
in the United States, or almost two persons in every five, are not of
English origin; yet of these there are not one million who have not
given up their old country methods of courtship as antiquated, and
adopted the Anglo-American style. The Germans in America make love not
after the German but after the English fashion. So do the French, though
somewhat more reluctantly and tardily. In San Francisco and Chicago it
is said that but one name in ten is of English origin; yet who ever
heard of a San Franciscan or Chicagoan making love in foreign style?
During the last hundred years the majority of the immigrants to America
have come from non-English countries; yet, though the parents enter the
country as adults with all their national traditions stamped on their
memories, they invariably allow their sons and daughters to court and be
courted in American style. And now that England is gradually extending
her influence to every one of the five continents, Romantic Love—to
whose sway, quite as much as to their outdoor active life, the English
owe the fact that they are to-day the handsomest and most energetic race
in the world—is also rapidly extending its sphere, and will finally oust
the last vestiges of Oriental despotism, feminine suppression, and
mediæval masculine barbarism.

For some centuries woman has been more favoured by law, and especially
by national custom, in England than in any other European state. It is
true that the Englishman who beats his wife is the most brutal savage on
the face of the globe, but he is to be found only among the lowest
classes. Nor has wife-selling ever been quite such a universal custom in
England as foreigners imagine; although cases are on record as far back
as 1302 and as late as 1884. In an article in _All the Year Round_ (Dec.
20, 1884) more than twenty cases are enumerated with full details, the
price of a wife varying from twenty-five guineas to a pint or half a
pint of beer, or a penny and a dinner; and the _Times_ of July 22, 1797,
remarks sarcastically: “By some mistake or omission, in the report of
the Smithfield market, we have not learned the average price of wives
for the week. The increasing value of the fair sex is esteemed by
several eminent writers the certain criterion of increasing
civilisation. Smithfield has, on this ground, strong pretensions to
refined improvement, as the price of wives has risen in that market from
half a guinea to three guineas and a half.”

That these cases occurred only among the lowest classes is self-evident;
yet even the lowest classes often resented the brutal transaction by
pelting the offenders with stones and mud; whereas, as far as the women
were concerned, the offence was mitigated by the fact that in all cases
on record they appear to have been only too glad to be sold, so as to
get rid of their tyrants.

It cannot be said that English women are all exempt from the hardest
manual labour even to-day; but the tendency to relieve them of tasks
unsuited to feminine muscular development has existed longer in England
than elsewhere. The difference can be best observed with regard to
agricultural labour. Any one who travels through Italy, Switzerland,
France, or Germany in the autumn, gets the impression that most of the
harvesting is done by the women; whereas in England, as shown by
statistics, there are twenty-two men to every woman engaged as
field-labourers. Yet even at that rate there are still 64,840 women in
England engaged in agricultural labour unsuited to their sex.

On the other hand, English women, like American women, are manifesting a
great disposition at present to try their hand or brain at almost every
employment heretofore considered exclusively masculine. The census
enumerates 349 different classes of work, and of these all but about 70
have been invaded by women; including 5 horse-dealers, 14 bicycle makers
and dealers, 16 sculptors, 18 fence makers, 19 fossil diggers, etc.;
whereas there are as yet no female pilots, dentists, police officers,
shepherds, law students, architects, cab-drivers, commercial travellers,
barristers, etc. [Full list in _Pall Mall Gazette_, Oct. 3, 1884.]

Inasmuch as there are almost a million more women than men in England,
it is not surprising that women should thus seek to extend their sphere
of usefulness. We live in an experimental epoch, when it is to be
ascertained what is and what is not becoming to woman regarded as a
labourer. It is therefore of the utmost importance that there should be
some standard by which each employment is to be judged. And this
standard, fortunately, is supplied by Romantic Love.

We have seen that the tendency of civilisation has been to differentiate
the sexes more and more in appearance, character, and emotional
susceptibilities, and that on this differentiation depends the existence
and power of Love, because it _individualises_ man and woman, and Love
is the more intense the more it is individualised.

Hence every employment which tends to make woman masculine in appearance
or habits is to be tabooed by her because antagonistic to Love. If she,
nevertheless, persists in it, Love will have its revenge by eliminating
her through Sexual Selection. No man will marry a masculine woman, or
fall in love with her, so that her unnatural temperament will not be
transmitted to the next generation and multiplied.

But what is to be accepted as the standard of femininity? The answer is
given us by Nature. Throughout the animal world, with a few
insignificant exceptions, the sexes are differentiated distinctly; and
the female is the more tender and gentle of the two, the more devoted to
domestic affection and the care and education of the young, the more
amiable, and, above all, less aggressive, bold, and pugnacious than the
male. “Any education which women undergo,” says the _Spectator_, “should
be an education not for the militant life of war against evil but for
the spiritual life inspiring a persuasive or patient charity.... Even in
a field properly suited to them—the field of charitable institutions, of
poor-law work, of educational representation—women no sooner take up the
cudgels than they lose their appropriate influence, and are either
unsexed or paralysed.”

According to Mr. Ruskin, “woman’s work is—(1) To please people. (2) To
feed them in dainty ways. (3) To clothe them. (4) To keep them orderly.
(5) To teach them.”

Statistics concerning the employments instinctively sought by the
majority of women bear out Mr. Ruskin’s table quite well. Woman’s first
duty is to please people by being beautiful, amiable, and fascinating in
conversation and manners. No man would marry a woman unless she pleased
him in one way or another; hence matrimony is the most successful female
profession, which in England includes 4,437,962 women. But there are
other ways in which women seek to please and prosper; hence there are in
England 2368 actresses as against 2197 actors, and 11,376 women whose
profession is music, as against 14,170 men.

Domestic service, which includes the “feeding in dainty ways” (though
too often the “dainty” must be omitted), employs 1,230,406 women in
England—about 30,000 fewer than industrial employments, which are
somewhat more popular owing to the greater individual liberty they allow
the employed. Yet domestic service is a much better preparation for
married life than labour in a manufactory; so that, other things being
equal, a labouring man looking for a wife would be apt to select one who
has learned how to take care of his home. This thought ought to help to
render domestic service more popular.

“To clothe them.” Dressmaking, staymaking (alas!), and millinery, employ
357,995 women in England.

“To keep them orderly.” Bathing and washing service employ 176,670
women; medicine and nursing, almost 50,000; missions, 1660.

“To teach them.” This, one of woman’s special vocations, eminently
suited to her capacity, employs 123,995 females.

If I have failed in correctly interpreting Mr. Ruskin’s oracle, I stand
subject to correction from that earnest labourer in the task of finding
for woman her proper sphere—a work for which he has not yet received the
recognition and thanks he deserves.

That marriage, and not miscellaneous employment, is woman’s true
destiny, is shown by the way in which Cupid influences statistics. Thus
there are in England about 29,000 school-mistresses aged 15-20, and
28,500 aged 25-45; but the time from 20-25, the period of courtship and
marriage, has only 21,000. In the case of dressmakers this fact is
brought out still more strikingly: 15-20—84,000; 20-25—76,000;
25-45—129,000, in round numbers.

Although, therefore, as Emerson remarks, “the circumstances may be
easily imagined in which woman may speak, vote, argue cases, legislate,
and drive coaches, if only it comes by degrees,” facts show that there
is more philosophy of the future in Mrs. Hawthorne’s remark that “Home,
I think, is the great arena for women, and there, I am sure, she can
wield a power which no king or emperor can cope with.”

A consideration of all the foregoing facts shows that Love may be safely
accepted as a guiding-star in making a proper division of the world’s
labour between men and women. And the reason why England and America
have made so much more progress than other nations in ascertaining
woman’s true capacity and sphere, is because she has been educated to a
point where she can assert her independence, and where she can inspire
as well as feel Love—thus making man humble, gallant, gentle, ready to
make concessions and remove restrictions. It is in England and America
alone that Love plays a more important _rôle_ in marriage than money and
social position; that the young are generally permitted to consult their
own heart instead of parental command; and that the opportunities for
courtship are so liberal and numerous that the young are enabled to fall
in love with one another not only for dazzling qualities of Personal
Beauty, viewed for a moment, but for traits of character, emotional
refinement, and a cultured intellect.

These two nations alone have fully taken to heart and heeded Addison’s
maxim that “Those marriages generally abound most with love and
constancy that are _preceded by a long courtship_. The passion should
strike root and gather strength before marriage be grafted on it. A long
course of hopes and expectations fixes the idea in our minds, and
habituates us to a fondness of the person beloved.”

There is, however, a difference between English and American Love which
shows that we have learned Addison’s lesson even better than his own
countrymen. As Mr. Robert Laird Collier remarks in _English Home Life_:
“The American custom, among the mass of the people, of leaving young men
and young women free to associate together and to keep company with each
other for an indefinite length of time, without declaring their
intentions, is almost unknown in any country of Europe. It is not long
after a young man begins to show the daughter attentions before the
father gives intimation that he wishes to know what it means, and either
the youth declares his intentions or is notified to ‘cut sticks.’”
“Courtships in England are short, and engagements are long.”

The London _Standard_ doubtless exaggerates the difference between
English and American girls and their attitude toward men in the course
of an article, part of which may, nevertheless, be cited: “American
girls offer a bright example to their English sisters of a happy,
unclouded youth, and instances seem to be few of their abusing the
liberty which is accorded to them. Perhaps their immunity from
sentimental troubles arises from the fact that from earliest childhood
they have been comrades of the other sex, and are therefore not disposed
to turn a man into a demi-god because they only see one at rare
intervals under the eagle eye of a mother or aunt. A great revolution in
public opinion would be required ere English girls could be emancipated
to the extent which prevails on the other side of the Atlantic, and even
then it is doubtful whether the system would work well. The daughters of
Albion, with but few exceptions, are single-hearted, earnest, and prone
to look upon everything seriously. They often make the mistake of
imagining that a man is in love because he is decently civil.”

Yet in _German Home Life_, written from an English point of view, we
read that “There is no such thing as country life, as we understand it,
in Germany; no cosy sociability, smiling snugness, pleasant bounties and
hospitalities; and, above all, for the young folk, no freedom,
flirtation, boatings, sketchings, high teas, scamperings, and merriments
generally.” And again: “The sort of frank ‘flirtation,’ beginning openly
in fun and ending in amusement, which is common amongst healthy,
high-spirited boys and girls in England, and has no latent element of
intrigue or vanity in it, but is born of exuberant animal spirits,
youthful frolics, and healthy pastimes shared together, is forbidden to
her” (the German girl).

The _Standard_ itself apparently contradicts itself in another article
on “Flirtation,” concerning which it says: “It is usually so innocent
that it has become part of the education most of our young women pass
through in their training for society. The British matron smiles
contentedly when she sees that her daughter, just entered on her teens,
exhibits a partiality for long walks and soft-toned confabulations with
her cousin Fred or her brother’s favourite schoolmate. Three or four
such juvenile attachments will do the girl no harm, if they are gently
watched over by the parental eye. They serve to evolve the sexually
social instincts in a gradual way. Through them the bashful maiden
learns the nature of man in the same fashion as she takes lessons on the
piano. In a word, she is ‘getting her hand in’ for the real game of
matrimony that is to be played in a few years. Her youthful swains, of
course, derive their own instructions from these innocent amours....
Chivalrous feeling is developed which it takes a deal of worldly wisdom
to smother in after years.... When we observe this sentimentality in a
boy, we derive great amusement from it, but it should raise the lad in
our estimation. He has something in him to which ideals appeal, and his
early-developed susceptibility will—to use a beautiful but forgotten
word—engentle his nature.”

Perhaps the difference between English and American courtship and
flirtation is not so great as often painted, and is becoming less every
year, owing to the Americanisation of Europe.

                             AMERICAN LOVE

It is in the United States of America that Plato’s ideal—so completely
ignored by his countrymen—that young men and women should have ample
opportunity to meet and get acquainted with one another before marriage,
is most perfectly realised; as well as Addison’s supplementary advice
that marriage should be preceded by a long courtship.

As boys and girls in America are commonly educated in the same schools,
they are initiated at an early age into the sweets and sorrows of
Calf-love Courtship, which has such a refining influence on the boys,
and renders the girls more easy and natural in society when they get
older; destroying among other puerilities that spring-chicken Coyness
which makes many of their European sisters appear so silly. In the
Western country-schools each girl has her “beau”—a boy of fourteen to
seventeen—who brings her flowers, apples, or other presents, accompanies
her home, and performs various other gallant services; nor has any harm
ever been known to result from this juvenile Courtship—except an
occasional elopement, in case of a prematurely frivolous couple, whom it
was just as well to get rid of in that way as any other.

When they get a little older, the young folks go to picnics without a
chaperon, or they enjoy a drive or sleigh-ride, or go a-skating
together; and after a party, dance, church fair, or other social
gathering, where the elders commonly keep out of the way considerately,
each young man accompanies a young lady home. Were you to insinuate to
him the advisability of having a chaperon for the young lady, he would
inform you pointedly that the young lady needed no protection inasmuch
as he was a _gentleman_ and not a tramp. It is this high sense of
gentlemanly honour that protects women in America—a hundred times better
than all the barred windows of the Orient and the dragons of Europe.
Thanks to this feeling of modern chivalry, a young lady may travel all
alone from New York to Chicago, or even to San Francisco, and, if her
manners are modest and refined, she will not once be insulted by word or
look, not even in passing through the roughest mining regions.

It is the consciousness of this chivalrous code of honour among the men
that gives an American girl the frank and natural gaze which is one of
her greatest charms, and that allows her to talk to a man just
introduced as if they were old acquaintances. It is a knowledge of this
gentlemanly code that makes parents feel perfectly at ease in leaving
their daughter alone in the parlour all the evening with a visitor. In a
word, American customs prove that if you treat a man as a gentleman he
will behave like a gentleman.

Unquestionably there are girls who abuse the liberty allowed them, and
encourage the men to encourage them in their freedom. Mr. Henry James
has done a most valuable service in holding up the mirror to one of
these girls, to serve as a warning to all Daisy Millers and semi-Daisy
Millers. There are not a few of the latter kind, and I have myself met
three full-fledged specimens of the real “Daisy” in Europe—girls who
would not have hesitated to go out rowing on a lake at eleven o’clock in
the evening with a man known to them only a few hours, or to go next day
with him to visit an old tower, or to say that mamma “always makes a
fuss if I introduce a gentleman. But I _do_ introduce them—almost
always. If I didn’t introduce my gentlemen friends to mother, I
shouldn’t think I was natural.” It is this class of American tourists
that have, unfortunately, given foreigners a caricatured notion of the
American girl’s deportment.

Etiquette differs somewhat in various American cities and among the
different classes. For instance, a young lady of the “upper circles,”
who in Chicago is permitted to drive to the theatre in a carriage with a
young man, is not allowed the same privilege in New York.

The New York _Sun_, an excellent authority in social matters, gives the
whole philosophy of American Courtship and Love in answering a young
man’s question as to whether, in asking a young lady of the highest
circles to accompany him to a place of amusement, it is necessary to
invite a chaperon at the same time. He is told that he must,—in those

"But these people are only a few among the many. What is called society
more exclusively in New York comprises, all told, no more than a hundred
or two hundred families. Outside of them, of course, there are larger
circles, to which they give the law to a greater or less extent, but the
whole number of men and women in this great town of a million and a half
of inhabitants who pay obedience to that law is not over a few thousand.

"Nine girls out of ten in New York, with the full consent of their
parents and as a matter of course, accompany young men to amusements
without taking a chaperon along. They feel, and they are, entirely able
to look out for themselves, and they would regard the whole fun as
spoiled if a third person was on hand to watch over them. A large part
of the audience at every theatre is always made up of young men and
young women who have come out in pairs, and who have no thought of
violating any rule of propriety. Very many of these girls would never be
invited to the theatre by their male acquaintances if they were under
the dominion of such a usage, for the men want them to themselves, else
they would not ask their company, and besides do not feel able to pay
for an extra ticket for an obnoxious third person; or, if they have a
little more money to spare, they prefer to expend it at an ice-cream
saloon after the play.

"Nor can it be said that the morals of these less formal young people
are any worse than those of the more exacting society. Probably they are
better on the average, and if the laws of Murray Hill prevailed
throughout this city, the marriage-rate of New York would be likely to
decline, for nothing discourages the passion of the average young man so
much as his inability to meet the charmer except in the presence of a
third person, who acts as a buffer between him and her. He feels that he
has no show, and cannot appear to good advantage under the eyes of a
cool critic, whereas if he could walk with the girl alone in the shades
of the balmy evening, the courage to declare his affection would come to

“Therefore it is that engagements, even in the most fashionable society,
are commonly made in the country during the summer, where the young
people come together more freely and more constantly than in the town.”

The attempt made in certain corners of New York “Society” to introduce
the foreign system of chaperonage is one of the most absurd and
incongruous efforts at aping foreign fashions (which are on the decline
even in Europe) ever witnessed in our midst. In Europe Chaperonage is in
so far excusable, as it is a modified survival from barbarous times when
men were mostly brutes, being drunk half the time and on military
expeditions the other half. To treat American men, who are brought up as
gentlemen, and commonly behave as such, as mediæval ruffians, is a
gratuitous insult, which they ought to resent by avoiding those houses
where Oriental experiments are being tried with the daughters. That
would bring the “mammas” to reason very soon.

Yet it would seem as if New York “Society” had already had enough of the
Oriental experiment; for the same high authority just quoted asserted
last autumn that “A regular stampede in favour of the liberty of the
young unmarried female is to be undertaken this winter by a number of
‘three-years-in-society’ veterans, supported and encouraged by nearly
all this seasons _débutantes_. The first step is to be the establishment
of a right on the part of young girls to form parties for theatre
_matinées_ and afternoon concerts, untrammelled by the presence of even
a matron of their own age, and to which all ‘reliable and well-behaved
young men are to be eligible.’... Rule No. 2 establishes beyond all
dispute the often-mooted question whether the presence of a brother and
sister in a party of young people going to any place of evening
amusement throws a shield of respectability over the others of the
party. Society long ago frowned upon this mongrel kind of chaperonage;
but upon the principle that no young man would permit indiscretions or
improprieties in a party of which his sister made one, the ‘veterans’
have voted in favour of it. The young man with a sister is therefore to
enact the part of dragon on these occasions, and will be largely in
demand. Failing a convenient sister, he may get a cousin, perhaps, to
take her place.”

When it comes to the cousin, the reversion to Americanism, pure and
simple, will be complete.

The gentlemanliness and Gallantry of Americans have at all times been
acknowledged by observers of all nationalities; and it is indeed hardly
too much to say that the average American is disposed to treat the whole
female sex with a studied Gallantry, which in most European countries is
reserved by men for the one girl with whom they happen to be in love.
Even the irate and vituperative Anthony Trollope in his book on North
America was obliged to admit that “It must be borne in mind that in that
country material wellbeing and education are more extended than with us,
and that therefore men there have learned to be chivalrous who with us
have hardly progressed so far. The conduct of the men to the women
throughout the states is always gracious.... But it seems to me that the
women have not advanced as far as the men have done.... In America the
spirit of chivalry has sunk deeper among men than it has among women.”

Anthony Trollope is by no means the only writer who has put his finger
on the greatest foible of American women. No doubt they have, as a
class, been spoiled by excessive masculine Gallantry. They do not, like
the women of the Troubadour period, who were similarly spoilt, go quite
so far as to send their knights on crusades and among lepers, but they
often shroud themselves in an atmosphere of selfishness which is very
unfeminine—to choose a complimentary adjective.

In the East, where there is already a large excess of women over men,
this evil is less marked than in the West, where women are still in a
minority. Thus the Denver _Tribune_, in an article on “The Impoliteness
of Women,” remarks: “If there is any characteristic of Americans of
which they are more proud than any other, it is the courtesy which the
men who are natives of this country exhibit towards women, and the
respect which the gentler sex receives in public. This is a trait of the
American character of which Americans are justly proud, and in which
they doubtless excel the people of any other country. But while this is
true of the men, it is a matter to be deeply regretted that as much
cannot be said of the women of this country.” After praising American
women for their beauty, vivacity, high moral character, and other
charms, the _Tribune_ adds that they “seem very generally to be prompted
in their conduct in public by a spirit of selfishness which very often
finds expression in acts of positive rudeness.” They are ungrateful, it
continues, to the men who give up their seats in street-cars; they
compel men to step into a muddy street, instead of walking one behind
the other at a crossing; and at such places as the stamp-window of the
post-office they do not wait for their turn, but force the men to stand

Another Western paper, the Chicago _Tribune_, complains that in that
city there are 10,000 homes in which the daughters are ignorant of the
simplest kind of household duties. It adds “That they do not desire to
learn; that, having been brought up to do nothing except appear
gracefully in society, their object in life is to marry husbands who can
support them in idle luxury; that this state of things has substituted
for marriages founded on love and respect a market in which the men have
quoted money-values, and where a young man, however great his talents,
has no chance of winning a wife from the charmed circle.”

So that the pendulum has apparently swung to the other extreme. In
mediæval times the women were married for their money by the lazy,
selfish men; now the women are lazy and selfish, while the men toil and
are married for their money.

Yet there is much exaggeration in this view, which applies to only a
small portion of the American people. We are far from the times when
Miss Martineau complained of the feeble health of American women, and
attributed it to the vacuity of their minds. Their health is still, on
the average, inferior to that of English and German damsels, from whom
they could also learn useful lessons in domestic matters; but
intellectually the American woman has no equal in the world; while her
sweetness, grace, and proverbial beauty combine into an ensemble which
makes Cupid chuckle whenever he looks at a susceptible young man.

Goldsmith says somewhere that “the English love with violence, and
expect violent love in return.” Certainly this holds true no less of the
Americans. There are indeed several favourable circumstances which
combine to make Romantic Love more ardent and more prevalent in the
United States than in any other part of the world.

(1) The first is the intellectual culture of women just referred to,
which they owe partly to the leisure they enjoy, partly to the fact that
America has the best elementary schools in the world, so that their
minds are aroused early from their dormant state. As Bishop Spalding
remarks: “Woman here in the United States is more religious, more moral,
and more intelligent than man; more intelligent in the sense of greater
openness to ideas, greater flexibility of mind, and a wider acquaintance
with literature.” Now the whole argument of this book tends to show that
the capacity for feeling Romantic Love is dependent on intellectual
culture, and increases with it; hence we might infer that there is more
Love among the women of America than among those of any other country,
even if this were not so patent from the greater number of Love-matches
and various subtle signs known to international observers.

And as the sweetest pleasure and goad of Love lies in the conviction
that it is really returned, man’s Love is thus doubled in ardour through
woman’s responsive sympathy.

(2) That Courtship proper is longer than in England, and engagement
shorter, is a circumstance in favour of America. For nothing adds so
much to the ardour of Love as the uncertainty which prevails during
Courtship; whereas, after engagement, all these alternate hopes and
doubts, confidences and jealousies, are quieted, and the ship approaches
the still waters of the harbour of matrimony, which may be quite as deep
but are less sublime and romantic than mid-ocean, with its possibilities
of storm and shipwreck.

Moreover, the longer the time of tentative Courtship, the fewer are the
chances of a mistake being made in selecting a sympathetic spouse.

In Germany an engagement is so conclusive an affair that it is announced
in the papers, and cards are sent out as at a wedding. In America we
meet with the other extreme, for it is not very unusual for a couple to
be engaged some time before even the parents know it. Though there is
such a thing as breach of promise suits against fickle young men, such
engagements, if unsatisfactory to either side, are commonly broken off
amicably. And, as one of Mr. Howells’s characters remarks in _Indian
Summer_: “A broken engagement _may_ be a bad thing in some cases, but I
am inclined to think it is the very best thing that could happen in most
cases where it happens. The evil is done long before; the broken
engagement is merely sanative, and so far beneficent.”

Were engagements less readily dissolved, divorces would be more frequent
even than they are now.

(3) Parental dictation is almost unknown in America; nowhere else have
young men and women such absolute freedom to choose their own soul-mate.
Hence Individual Preference, on which the ardour of Love depends in the
highest degree, has full sway. The comparative absence of barriers of
rank and social grade also makes it easier for a man to find and claim
his real _Juliet_.

(4) This dependence of Love on Individualisation gives it another
advantage in America. For nowhere is there so great a mixture of
nationalities as here; and, _away from home_, a national peculiarity of
feature or manners has a sort of individualising effect. Till we get
used to such national peculiarities through their constant recurrence we
are apt to judge almost every woman in a new city attractive. From this
point of view Love may be defined as an instinctive longing to absorb
national traits, and blend them all in the one cosmopolitan type of
perfect Personal Beauty.

(5) There are beautiful women in all countries of the world, but no
country has so many pretty girls as America. Money and rank find it hard
to compete with such loveliness, hence Love has its own way. Here alone
is it possible to find heiresses who have failed to get married through
lack of Beauty. Personal Beauty is the great matchmaker in America; and
thus it comes that Beauty is ever inherited and multiplied. For Love is
the cause of Beauty as Beauty is the cause of Love.

One more characteristic of American Love remains to be noted—the most
unique of all. American women are of all women in the world the most
self-conscious, and have the keenest sense of humour. To these
quick-witted damsels the sentimental sublimities of amorous Hyperbole,
which may touch the heart of a naïve German or Italian girl, are apt to
appear dangerously near the ludicrous; hence an American lover, if he is
clever enough, deliberately covers the step which separates the sublime
from the ridiculous. He gilds the gold of his compliments by using the
form of playful exaggeration, which is the more easy to him because
exaggeration is a national form of American humour. Mr. Howells’s heroes
often make love in this fashion. The lover in _The Lady of the
Aroostook_ spices his flatteries with open burlesque, and succeeds
admirably with this new _Ars Amoris_; and Colville in _Indian Summer_
says to Imogene: “Come, I’ll go, of course, Imogene. A fancy-ball to
please you is a very different thing from a fancy-ball in the abstract.”

“Oh, what nice things you say! Do you know, I always admired your
compliments? I think they’re the most charming compliments in the

“I don’t think they’re half so pretty as yours; but they’re more

“No, honestly. They flatter, and at the same time they make fun of the
flattery a little; they make a person feel that you like them even while
you laugh at them.”

Perfect success in this form of flattery requires a talent for epigram.
Not many, unfortunately, even in America, are poets and wits at the same
time, like Mr. Howells; but there is an abundance of clever compliments
nevertheless, and they are apt to assume the form of playful

                     SCHOPENHAUER’S THEORY OF LOVE

A first hasty perusal of Schopenhauer’s brilliant essay on the
“Metaphysics of Sexual Love” (in the second volume of his _Welt als
Wille und Vorstellung_) will dispose most readers to agree with Dühring
that the great pessimist “makes war on love.” But a more careful
consideration of his profound thoughts shows that this is not the case,
notwithstanding his habitual cynical tone.

In the first place, his theory can do no possible harm, because, as he
himself admits, no lover will ever believe in it. Secondly, the gist of
Schopenhauer’s theory is to show that a lover is the most noble and
unselfish martyr in the world, because his usual attitude and fate is

                          LOVE IS AN ILLUSION

The fundamental truth which Schopenhauer claims to have discovered is
that love is an illusion—an _instinctive_ belief on the lover’s part
that his life’s happiness absolutely depends on his union with his
beloved; whereas, in truth, a love-match commonly leads to lifelong
conjugal misery. The lover, on reaching the goal so eagerly striven for,
finds himself disappointed, and realises, to his consternation, that he
has been the dupe of a blind instinct. Quien se casa por amores, ha de
vivir con dolores, says a Spanish proverb (“to marry for love is to live
in misery”): and this doctrine Schopenhauer re-echoes in a dozen
different forms: “It is not only disappointed love-passion that
occasionally has a tragic end; successful love likewise leads more
commonly to misery than to happiness.” “Marriages based on love commonly
end unhappily,” etc.


The reason of this curious fact is given in this sentence:
“Love-marriages are formed in the interest of the species, not of the
individuals. True, the parties concerned imagine that they are providing
for their own happiness; but their real [unconscious] aim is something
foreign to their own selves—namely, the procreation of an individual
whose existence becomes possible only through their marriage.”

What urges a man on to this sacrifice of individual happiness to the
welfare of his offspring is, as already intimated, a blind instinct
known as Love. The universal _Will_ (Schopenhauer’s fetish, or name for
an impersonal deity underlying all phenomena) has implanted this blind
instinct in man, for the same reason that it implants so many other
instincts in various animals—to induce the parents to undergo any amount
of labour, and even danger to life, for the sake of benefiting the
offspring, and thus preserving the species. All these animals, like the
lovers, are urged on blindly to sacrifice themselves in the belief that
they are doing it for their own pleasure and benefit; whereas it is all
in the interest of their offspring.

Why was the _Will_ compelled to implant this blind instinct in man?
Because man is so selfish wherever guided by reason, that it would have
been unwise to entrust so important a matter as the welfare of coming
generations to his intellect and prudence. Prudence would tell young
people to choose not the most attractive and healthy partners, who would
be able to transmit their excellence to the next generation, but the
ones who are most liberally supplied with money and useful friends. That
is, they would invariably look out first for “Number One,” indifferent
to the deluge that might come after them. It was to neutralise this
selfishness that the _Will_ created the instinct of Love, which impels a
man to marry not the woman who will make _him_ the most happy and
comfortable, but whose qualities, combined with his own, will be likely
to produce a harmonious, well-made group of children.

Schopenhauer’s _Will_, it must be understood, is an æsthetic sort of a
chap. He has his hobbies, and one of these hobbies is the desire to
preserve the species in its typical purity and beauty. There are a
thousand accidents of climate, vice, disease, etc., that tend to vitiate
the type of each species; but Love strives for ever to restore a
harmonious balance, by producing a mutual infatuation in two beings
whose combined (and opposite) defects will neutralise one another in the

                            SOURCES OF LOVE

More definitely speaking, there are three ways in which the _Will_
preserves the purity of its types—three ways in which it inspires the
Love whose duty it is to achieve this result. Physical Beauty is the
first thing desired by the lover, because that is the expression of
typical perfection. Secondly, he may be influenced by such Psychic
Traits as will blend well with his own; and thirdly, he will be
attracted by perfections (or imperfections) which are the opposite of
his own. These three sources must be considered briefly in detail.

(1) _Physical Beauty._—The most important attribute of Beauty, in the
lover’s eye, is Youth. Men prefer the age from eighteen to twenty-eight
in a woman; while women give the preference to a man aged from thirty to
thirty-five, which represents the acme of his virility. Youth without
Beauty may still inspire Love; not so Beauty without Youth.

Health ranks next in importance. Acute disease is only a temporary
disadvantage, whereas chronic disease repels the amorous affections, for
the reason that it is likely to be transmitted to the next generation.

A fine framework or skeleton is the third desideratum. Besides age and
disease, nothing proves so fatal to the chances of inspiring Love as
deformity: “The most charming face does not atone for it; on the
contrary, even the ugliest face is preferred if allied with a straight
growth of the body.”

A certain plumpness or fulness of flesh is the next thing considered in
sexual selection; for this is an indication of Health, and promises a
sound progeny. Excessive leanness is repulsive, and so is excessive
stoutness, which is often an indication of sterility. “A well-developed
bust has a magic effect on a man.” What attracts women to men is
especially muscular development, because that is a quality in which they
are commonly deficient, and for which the children will accordingly have
to rely on the father. Women may marry an ugly man, but never one who is

Facial beauty ranks last in importance, according to Schopenhauer. Here
too the skeleton is first considered in sexual selection. The mouth must
be small, the chin projecting, “a slight curve of the nose, upwards or
downwards, has decided the fate of innumerable girls; and justly, for
the type of the species is at stake.” The eyes and the forehead,
finally, are closely associated with intellectual qualities.

(2) _Psychic Traits._—What charms women in men is preeminently courage
and energy, besides frankness and amiability. “Stupidity is no
disadvantage with women: indeed, it is more likely that superior
intellectual power, and especially genius, as being an abnormal trait,
may make an unfavourable impression on them. Hence we so often see an
ugly, stupid, and coarse man preferred by women to a refined, clever,
and amiable man.” When women claim to have fallen in love with a man’s
intellect, it is either affectation or vanity. Wedlock is a union of
hearts, not of heads; and its object is not entertaining conversation,
but providing for the next generation. This part of Schopenhauer’s
theory is evidently an outcome of his doctrine that children inherit
their intellectual qualities from the mother, and their character from
the father. Hence the feeling that they are capable of supplying their
children with sufficient intellect is part of the feminine
Love-instinct, and makes women indifferent to the presence or absence of
those qualities in men.

It does not follow from all this that a sensible man may not reflect on
his chosen one’s character, or she on his intellectual abilities, before
marriage. Such reflection leads to marriages of reason, but not to
Love-marriages, which alone are here under consideration.

(3) _Complementary Qualities._—The physical and mental attributes
considered under (1) and (2) are those which commonly inspire Love. But
there are cases where perfect Beauty is less potent to inflame the
passions than deviations from the normal type.

“Ordinarily it is not the regular perfect beauties that inspire the
great passions,” says Schopenhauer; and this seems to be borne out by
the experience of Byron, who says: “I believe there are few men who, in
the course of their observations on life, have not perceived that it is
not the greatest female beauty who forms [inspires] the longest and the
strongest passions.”

How is this to be accounted for? By the anxiety of Nature (or the
_Will_) to neutralise imperfections in one individual by wedding them to
another’s excesses in the opposite direction; as an acid is neutralised
by combining it with an alkali. The greater the shortcoming the more
ardent will be the infatuation if a person is found exactly adapted for
its neutralisation. The weaker a woman is, for example, in her muscular
system, the more apt will she be to fall violently in love with an
athlete. Short men have a decided partiality for tall women, and _vice
versâ_. Blondes almost always desire brunettes; and if the reverse does
not hold true, this is owing to the fact, he says, that the original
colour of the human complexion was not light but dark. A light
complexion has indeed become second nature to us, but less so the other
features; and “in love nature strives to return to dark hair and brown
eyes, as the primitive type.”

Again, persons afflicted with a pug-nose take a special delight in
falcon-noses and parrot-faces; and those who are excessively long and
slim admire those who are abnormally short and even stumpy. So with
temperaments; each one preferring the opposite to his or her own. True,
if a person is quite perfect in any one respect, he does not exactly
prefer the corresponding imperfection in another, but he is more readily
reconciled to it.

Throughout his essay, Schopenhauer tacitly assumes that the parental
peculiarities are fused or blended equally in the offspring, and that
this blending is what the _Will_ aims at. But on this point Mr. Herbert
Spencer has some remarks, in his essay on “Personal Beauty,” which
directly contradict Schopenhauer, of whose theory, however, he does not
seem to have been cognisant:—

“The fact,” he says, "that the forms and qualities of any offspring are
not a mean between the forms and qualities of its parents, but a mixture
of them, is illustrated in every family. The features and peculiarities
of a child are separately referred by observers to father and mother
respectively—nose and mouth to this side; colour of the hair and eyes to
that; this moral peculiarity to the first; this intellectual one to the
second—and so with contour and idiosyncrasies of body. Manifestly, if
each organ or faculty in a child was an average of the two developments
of such organ or faculty in the parents, it would follow that all
brothers and sisters should be alike; or should, at any rate, differ no
more than their parents differed from year to year. So far, however,
from finding that this is the case, we find not only that great
irregularities are produced by intermixture of traits, but that there is
no constancy in the mode of intermixture, or the extent of variations
produced by it.

“This imperfect union of parental constitutions in the constitution of
offspring is yet more clearly illustrated by the reappearance of
peculiarities traceable to bygone generations. Forms, dispositions, and
diseases, possessed by distant progenitors, habitually come out from
time to time in descendants. Some single feature, or some solitary
tendency, will again and again show itself after being apparently lost.
It is notoriously thus with gout, scrofula, and insanity.”

Again, unite a pure race “with another equally pure, but adapted to
different conditions and having a correspondingly different physique,
face, and morale, and there will occur in the descendants not a
homogeneous mean between the two constitutions, but a seemingly
irregular combination of characteristics of the one with characteristics
of the other—one feature traceable to this race, a second to that, and a
third uniting the attributes of both; while in disposition and intellect
there will be found a like medley of the two originals.”

The fact that the more remote ancestry must be taken into account
besides the parents, in considering the traits of the offspring, is one
which Mr. Galton has done much to emphasise, and which Schopenhauer
completely ignores. It tells against the metaphysical part of his
theory; for all the efforts of the _Will_ to merge opposite characters
into homogeneous traits must prove futile if a blue-eyed man, for
instance, who marries a black-eyed girl, finds that their children have
neither the father’s blue nor the mother’s black, but the grandmother’s
gray eyes.

Yet in the long run diverse traits of figure and physiognomy do tend to
a harmonious fusion. Though a man with a prominent nose, which he
inherited from his father, is likely to transmit it to his son, though
his wife may have a snub-nose, yet there will be a slight modification
even in the son’s organ; and if the son keeps up the tradition of
marrying a snub-nosed girl, and his children follow his example, the
chances are that in a few generations the nose of that family will be a
feature of moderate size and classic proportions. The very fact
emphasised by Mr. Galton that all the ancestral influences count, will
here aid the ultimate fusion. Conspicuous instances of the
long-continued prevalence of a particular nose—or other feature—may be
accounted for by the fact that other kinds of that organ were rare in
the vicinity, or that marriage was decided by so many other
considerations that the dimensions of one organ could not come into
consideration, much as the bride or groom might have preferred an
improvement in that respect.

So far as Schopenhauer’s theory concerns only the fact that Love is apt
to be based on complementary qualities, he is doubtless correct; but it
needs no erratic metaphysical fetish, as a _deus ex machina_, to account
for that fact. A simple application of psychologic principles explains
the whole mystery.

In the first place, nothing could be more remote from the truth than the
cynical notion that every woman considers herself a Venus. She may, on
the whole, consider herself equal to the average of Beauty; but if she
has any special fault—a mouth too large or too small, an upper lip too
high, a nose too flat or too prominent, too much or too little flesh,
excessive height or shortness—she is not only conscious of the defect,
but morbidly conscious of it, and uses every possible device to conceal
it. Thus constantly brooding over her misfortune her mind, by a natural
reaction, will conceive a special admiration for an organ that exceeds
the line of Beauty in the opposite direction. Every day one hears a
_petite_ girl admiring a specially tall woman; and this admiration will
prompt her, other things being equal, to fall in love with a tall man.

Secondly, familiarity breeds indifference to one’s own charms, and a
disposition to admire what we lack ourselves.

Novelty comes into play. A Northern blonde among a nation of brunettes
cannot fail to slay hearts by the hundred, while the mystic flashes of a
Spanish woman’s black eyes are fatal to every Northern visitor.

Nations, like individuals, admire and desire what they lack. The Germans
and the English are deficient in grace—hence that quality is what
chiefly charms them in the French, who have much more of it than of
Beauty, and in the Spanish. Byron was so much smitten with the
sun-mellowed complexions and the graceful proportions and gait of the
Spanish maidens, that he became quite unjust to his own lovely

       “Who round the North for paler dames would seek?
       How poor their forms appear! How languid, wan, and weak!”

Were savages susceptible to Love, it might be suggested that their
practice of exogamy, or marrying a woman from another tribe, had
something to do with their admiration of novelty and complementary
qualities; but we know that they do not admire such qualities, but only
such typical traits as prevail among their own women, and these,
moreover, in an exaggerated form. This is one reason why savages are so
ugly. They have no Romantic Love to improve their Personal Beauty by
fusing heterogeneous defects into homogeneous perfections.

Thus we may freely endorse Schopenhauer’s doctrine regarding the
benefits derived by the offspring (ultimately, in several generations)
from marriages based on complementary Love, without bowing down before
his fetish—a fetish which appears doubly objectionable because it is
old-fashioned; _i.e._ it strives to “maintain the type of the species in
its primitive purity,” whereas modern science teaches that this
“primitive type” of human beauty had a very simian aspect.

Nor need we at all accept the pessimistic aspect of his theory—the
notion that Love is an illusion, and that Love-marriages commonly end
unhappily, the lover sacrificing himself for his progeny.

Mr. Herbert Spencer, in his _Sociology_, elaborates an idea which so
curiously leads up to this phase of Schopenhauer’s doctrine that it must
be briefly referred to for its evolutionary suggestiveness.

Among the lowest animals—the microscopic protozoa—the individual, as he
remarks, is sacrificed after a few hours of life, by breaking up into
two new individuals, or into a number of germs which produce a new
generation. The parents are here entirely sacrificed to the interests of
the young and the species. As we ascend in the scale of life this
sacrifice of parents to the young and the species becomes less and less
prevalent. Among birds, for instance, “The lives of the parents are but
partially subordinated at times when the young are being reared. And
then there are long intervals between breeding-seasons, during which the
lives of parents are carried on for their own sakes.... In proportion as
organisms become higher in their structures and powers, they are
individually less sacrificed to the maintenance of the species; and the
implication is that in the highest type of man this sacrifice is reduced
to a minimum.”

Here is the point where Schopenhauer, had he been an evolutionist, might
have dovetailed his theory with Spencer’s, by saying that in man it is
no longer the life of the individual, or most of his time, that is
sacrificed, but merely his conjugal happiness, which the Love-instinct
induces him unconsciously to barter for the superior physical and mental
beauty of his offspring.

Unfortunately, Schopenhauer did not take any pains to verify his theory
by testing it by vulgar facts. There are plenty of unhappy marriages,
but no one who will search his memory can fail to come to the conclusion
that the vast majority of them are cases where money or rank and not
Love supplied the motive of an unsympathetic union. Though Conjugal
Affection consists of a different group of emotions from Romantic Love,
yet there is an affinity between them; and it is not likely that
Conjugal Love will ever supervene where before marriage there was an
entire absence of sympathy and adoration. Even an imprudent Love-match
which leads to poverty—is it not preferable to a _mariage de
convenance_, which leads to lifelong indifference and _ennui_? Is it not
better to have one month of ecstatic bliss in life than to live and die
without ever knowing life’s highest rapture?

Again, the French marry for money and social convenience, and their
children are ugly; the Americans marry for Love, and have the most
beautiful children in the world. Is it not more conducive to conjugal
happiness to know that one has lovely children and that the race is
increasing, than to have ugly children and to know that the race is
dying out?

Love-matches would never end unhappily if the lovers would take proper
care of their own happiness by transfusing the habits of Courtship into
conjugal life, as elsewhere explained in this book.

Schopenhauer’s whole argument is vitiated by the fact that it is chiefly
the physical complementary qualities that inspire Love, not the
mental—the latter, in fact, being barely noticed by him. Mental
divergence might indeed occasionally lead to an unhappy marriage, but
physical divergence—the fact that he is large and blond, she small and a
brunette—cannot possibly lead to matrimonial discord. This knocks the
whole bottom out of Schopenhauer’s erotic pessimism. The only sense in
which Love is an illusion is in its Hyperbolic phase—the notion that the
beloved is superior to all other mortals; and that is a very harmless

Schopenhauer’s pessimism, it should be added, is greatly mitigated by
the poetic halo of martyrdom with which he invests the lover’s head.
Society and public opinion, he points out, applaud him for instinctively
preferring the welfare of the next generation to his own comfort. “For
is not the exact determination of the individualities of the next
generation a much higher and nobler object than those ecstatic feelings
of the lovers, and their super-sensual soap-bubbles?” It is this that
invests Love with its poetic character. There is one thing only that
justifies tears in a man, and that is the loss of his Love, for in that
he bewails not his own loss but the loss of the species.

Apart from the suggestive details of his essay, Schopenhauer’s merit and
originality lies, first, in his having pointed out that Love becomes
more intense the more it is individualised; secondly, in emphasising the
fact that in match-making it is not the happiness of the to-be-married
couple that should be chiefly consulted, but the consequences of their
union to the offspring; thirdly, in dwelling on the important truth that
Love is a cause of Beauty, because its aim always is either to
perpetuate existing Beauty through hereditary transmission, or to create
new Beauty by fusing two imperfect individuals into a being in whom
their short-comings mutually neutralise one another.

Love, however, is only one source of Personal Beauty. Personal Beauty
has four sources; and these must now be considered in succession, in the
order which roughly indicates their successive evolution—Health,
Crossing, Love, and Mental Refinement.

The remainder of this work will be devoted exclusively to the subject of
Personal Beauty, as it influences and is influenced by Romantic Love.
And here, as in the preceding pages, I shall always cite the _ipsissima
verba_ of the greatest specialists who have written on any particular
branch of this subject.

                         FOUR SOURCES OF BEAUTY


_Plants, Animals, Savages._—In two of the most exquisite passages, not
only in his own works, but in all English literature, Mr. Ruskin has
emphasised the dependence of physical beauty in plants on their healthy
appearance, and the independence of this beauty on any idea of direct
utility to man.

“It is a matter of easy demonstration,” he says, “that, setting the
characters of typical beauty aside, the pleasure afforded by every
organic form is in proportion to its appearance of healthy vital energy;
as in a rose-bush, setting aside all considerations of gradated flushing
of colour and fair folding of line, which it shares with the cloud or
the snow-wreath, we find in and through all this certain signs pleasant
and acceptable as signs of life and enjoyment in the particular
individual plant itself. Every leaf and stalk is seen to have a
function, to be constantly exercising that function, and, as it seems,
_solely_ for the good and enjoyment of the plant. It is true that
reflection will show us that the plant is not living for itself alone,
that its life is one of benefaction, that it gives as well as receives,
but no sense of this whatever mingles with our perception of physical
beauty in its forms. Those forms which appear to be necessary to its
health, the symmetry of its leaflets, the smoothness of its stalks, the
vivid green of its shoots, are looked upon by us as signs of the plant’s
own happiness and perfection; they are useless to us, except as they
give us pleasure in our sympathising with that of the plant, and if we
see a leaf withered or shrunk or worm-eaten, we say it is ugly, and feel
it to be most painful, not because it hurts _us_, but because it seems
to hurt the plant, and conveys to us an idea of pain and disease and
failure of life in _it_.”

“The bending tree, waving to and fro in the wind above the waterfall, is
beautiful because it is happy, though it is perfectly useless to us. The
same trunk, hewn down and thrown across the stream, has lost its beauty.
It serves as a bridge,—it has become useful; it lives not for itself,
and its beauty is gone, or what it retains is purely typical, dependent
on its lines and colours, not its functions. Saw it into planks, and
though now adapted to become permanently useful, its whole beauty is
lost for ever, or to be regained only in part when decay and ruin shall
have withdrawn it again from use, and left it to receive from the hand
of Nature the velvet moss and varied lichen, which may again suggest
ideas of inherent happiness, and tint its mouldering sides with hues of

In the animal world we find the same dependence of Beauty upon Health.
As Mr. Wallace has shown, “colour and ornament are strictly correlated
with health, vigour, and general fitness to survive.” It is the superior
vitality, vigour, and vivacity of certain male animals that leads the
choicest females to prefer them to others less favoured; and thus it
happens that, thanks to the dependence of Beauty on Health, animals have
become more and more beautiful. Moreover, it is Love in its primitive
form that urges animals to prefer those that are most healthy. And thus
we have the three great agents acting and reacting upon one another.
Health produces Beauty, and together they inspire Love; while Love
selects Health, and thus preserves and multiplies Beauty. But this whole
subject has been so fully discussed in the chapter on Love among Animals
that it is needless to recapitulate the facts here.

Concerning savages, there is a prevalent notion that, owing to their
free and easy life in the forests, they are healthier on the average
than civilised mankind. As a matter of fact, however, they are as
inferior to us in Health as in Beauty. Their constant exposure and
irregular feeding habits, their neglect and ignorance of every hygienic
law, in conjunction with their vicious lives, their arbitrary
mutilations of various parts, and their selection of inferior forms,
prevent their bodies from assuming the regular and delicate proportions
which we regard as essential to Beauty. They arrive at maturity at an
earlier age, and lose their vitality sooner than we do. “Decrepitude,”
says Dr. Topinard, “shows itself sooner in some races than in others.
The Australians and Bosjesmans are old men at a period when the European
is in the full enjoyment of his faculties, both physical and
intellectual. The Japanese the same, according to Dr. Krishaber,
physician to the Japanese embassy.”

Women everywhere pay less attention to the laws of Health than men. They
have less exercise, less fresh air and sunshine than men. Hence,
although the most beautiful women are more beautiful than the handsomest
men, yet in probably every country of the world the average man is a
more perfect specimen of masculine than the average woman of feminine
Beauty. Concerning savages, Mr. Spencer says: “Very generally among the
lower races the females are even more unattractive in aspect than the
males. It is remarked of the Puttooahs, whose men are diminutive and
whose women are still more so, that ‘the men are far from being
handsome, but the palm of ugliness must be awarded to the women.’ The
latter are _hard-worked_ and apparently _ill-fed_.” Again, of the
inhabitants of the Corea Gutzlaff says: “The females are very ugly,
whilst the male sex is one of the best formed of Asia.... Women are
_treated like beasts of burden_.” Many similar cases are cited by Dr.
Ploss in _Das Weib_.

Concerning modern civilised nations a well-known art-critic has given
his testimony to the effect that “Possibly owing to the fact that men
are freer to follow their normal lives, I have found that in a majority
of the countries I have visited there are more handsome men than
beautiful women. This is peculiarly the case with the modern Greek, and
was, if antique sculpture could be accepted as witness, with the

_Greek Beauty._—In the preceding chapters of this work an attempt has
been made to show that there is a general connection between the growth
of Love and the growth of Beauty throughout the world. To some readers,
no doubt, the thought has suggested itself, “How, if this be true, did
the loveless Greeks succeed in reaching such uncommon physical
beauty—beauty which artists of all times have admired?”

It must be borne in mind, however, that we are very liable to exaggerate
in our notions of Greek Beauty, because we are apt to generalise from
the fine statues that have come down to us, and to imagine that they
represent the common type of Greek Beauty. But it is well known that the
Greeks idealised their statues according to certain physiognomic rules;
and, moreover, as Winckelmann remarks, “Beauty was not a general quality
even among the Greeks, and Cotta in _Cicero_ says that, among the great
numbers of young persons at Athens, there were only a few possessing
true beauty.”

Besides, it has not been claimed that Love is the _only_ cause of
Beauty. Taking into consideration the other sources of Beauty, it is
easy enough to account for such physical attractiveness as the Greeks
did possess. The intellectual culture which the men enjoyed gave them a
great advantage over the women; and equally important, if not more so,
was the attention which the men (and in some cases the women too) paid
to Health. Their habitual life in the open air, while the women were
locked up at home, combined with their daily gymnastic exercises in
making their complexion healthy, their eyes sparkling, their limbs
supple, vigorous, and graceful.

Other causes that tended to keep up an average of healthy bodily
development were the refusal to bring up sickly and deformed infants,
and the existence of numerous slaves, who did all the drudgery for the

It is most characteristic that the author of a very old Greek ode
formulates his wishes in this order: First, health; then, beauty;
thirdly, wealth honestly got; fourth, the privilege of being gay and
merry with his friends.

First, Health; then, Beauty. There lies the secret, for they always go
together; and in aiming at one the Greeks got the other too.

There was every reason why Greek parents should have striven eagerly to
follow those laws of Health which ensure beautiful children. In ancient
Greece Beauty was a possession which led to national fame. Some persons,
Winckelmann informs us, were even characterised by a particular name,
borrowed from some specially fine feature. Thus Demetrius Poliorketes
was named, from the beauty of his eyelids, χαριτοβλέφαρος _i.e._ on
whose lids the graces dwell.

“It appears, indeed,” the same writer continues, "to have been a belief
that the procreation of beautiful children might be promoted by the
distribution of prizes for beauty, as there is reason to infer from the
contests of beauty which were instituted in the remotest ages by
Cypselus, King of Arcadia, in the time of the Heraclidæ, on the banks of
the river Alpheus, in Elis; and also from the fact that at the festival
of the Philesian Apollo, a prize for the most exquisite kiss was
conferred on the youthful. Its assignment was subject to the decision of
a judge, as was probably also the case at Megara, at the tomb of

“At Sparta, and at Lesbos, in the temple of Juno, and among the citizens
of Parrhasia, the women contended for the prize of beauty. The regard
for this quality was so strong that, as Oppian declares, the Spartan
women placed in their sleeping-rooms an Apollo, or Bacchus, or Nereus,
or Narcissus, or Hyacinthus, or Castor and Pollux, in order that they
might bear beautiful children.”

Some hint as to what the Greeks regarded as beautiful is given by the
epithets Homer bestows on Helen—"the well-rounded" “the white-armed,”
“fair-haired,” “of the beautiful cheeks.”

_Mediæval Ugliness._—This is a topic which might as well be introduced
under any of the other Sources of Beauty, for it is difficult to say
which of these sources was most completely and deliberately choked up
during the Dark Ages.

It is a curious irony of language that makes asceticism almost identical
with æstheticism, of which it is the deadly enemy. As diseases are
transmitted from generation to generation, so it seems that the fear of
Beauty born of mediæval asceticism has not yet died out completely; for
it is related that some years ago a pious dame in Boston seriously
meditated the duty of having some of her daughter’s sound teeth pulled
out, so as to mitigate her sinful Beauty.

If this worthy lady had followed St. Jerome’s injunction—"I entirely
forbid a young lady to bathe"; if she had taught her that it is
unladylike to have a healthy appetite; if she had locked her up in a
house rendered pestilential by defective drainage; allowed her mind to
rot in fallow idleness; taught her that to be really saintly and
virtuous she must be pale and hysterical; or imitated the lady who was
praised by a bishop in the fourth century for “having brought upon
herself a swarm of diseases which defied all medical skill to cure,”—if
the worthy Boston lady had but followed this mediæval system, she would
have succeeded in a short time in overcoming her daughter’s sinful
Beauty, and making her “ugly as a mud-fence,” as they say out West.

That Personal Beauty cannot flourish where Health is regarded as a vice
and Disease as a virtue is self-evident. And one needs only to look at
mediæval pictures to note how coarse and void of refined expression are
the men, how hard and masculine the women. The faces of the numerous
mediæval women in Planché’s _Cyclopædia of Costume_ have almost all an
expression approaching imbecility, and features as if they had been
chiselled by a small boy trying his hand at sculpture for the first
time. Thackeray does not hesitate to speak even of “those simpering
Madonnas of Rafael.” Mr. G. A. Simcox remarks that in manuscripts of the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries (like the Harleian Gospels and
Maccabees) we meet with “short, thickset figures, mostly with the long,
square, horsey face, moving stiffly in small groups, in heavy dresses;
and even the daughter of Herodias dances upon her head [_sic_] in a gown
that might have stood alone. On the other hand, the faces are more set,
more articulate, less flabby, though they are all mean, or almost all,
and look askance out of the corners of their eyes” (_Art Journal_, 1874,
p. 58).

There may be Oriental countries where woman is kept more closely under
lock and key than she was in Europe during the Dark Ages; but nowhere
else has man so well succeeded in reducing the pursuit of unhappiness to
a science, in snubbing, scorning, abusing, maltreating woman. How all
this must have tended to increase Personal Beauty is well brought out in
the following advice given by Mr. Ruskin: “Do not think you can make a
girl lovely if you do not make her happy. There is not one restraint you
put on a good girl’s nature—there is not one check you give to her
instincts of affection or of effort—which will not be indelibly written
on her features, with a hardness which is all the more painful because
it takes away the brightness from the eyes of innocence, and the charm
from the brow of virtue.”

_Modern Hygiene._—Disease is Beauty’s deadliest enemy. Yet for the sake
of gratifying a silly vanity—for the sake of being distinguished from
ordinary mortals—a certain pallor and _blasé_ languor have long been
considered in certain influential circles as more _distingué_ than ruddy
cheeks and robust health. Yet even if pale cheeks were more beautiful
than rosy cheeks, would it be worth while to purchase them at the cost
of premature decay—of the certainty that a _few_ years of pale cheeks
will be followed by _many_ years of sallow cheeks and lack-lustre eyes,
deeply sunk into their orbits?

Though beauty is still of lamentably rare occurrence in every country,
there is infinitely more of it than during the Middle Ages; and
certainly not the least cause of this is the increased attention paid to
Hygiene—public and personal. The difference in this respect between us
and our ancestors is well brought out by the statistics regarding the
average length of life. In ancient Rome, it is stated, "the average
longevity among the most favoured classes was but thirty years, whereas
to-day the average longevity among the corresponding class of people is
fifty years. In the sixteenth century the average longevity in Geneva
was 21·21 years. Between 1814 and 1833 it was 40·68, and as large a
proportion now live to seventy as lived to forty-three three hundred
years ago." Dr. Corfield, comparing the statistics of 1842 with those of
1884, states that the mean duration of life in London has increased from
twenty-nine to thirty-eight years. “In the reign of Queen Elizabeth the
death-rate of the metropolis as it then was amounted to 40 per thousand.
In the reign of Queen Victoria, almost entirely by the reduction of
mortality by means of improved drainage, ventilation, and water, it has
often touched 15 and 14, and even fallen as low as 13 in the thousand,”
while “in many of the suburban districts, and in the fashionable region
about Hyde Park it ranges from 11 to 12.”

In France, according to M. Topinard, the mean duration of life, which
was twenty-nine at the close of the eighteenth century, and thirty-nine
from 1817 to 1831, increased to forty from 1840 to 1859, thanks to the
progress of sanitary science and civilisation.

As Hygiene is receiving more and more attention every year, it is
possible that in course of time Dr. W. B. Richardson’s ideal will be
realised—a town ideally perfect in sanitary matters, having a death-rate
of 9 per 1000, and 105 years the duration of a man’s life.

As decrepitude and premature old age means a premature loss of Beauty,
personal attractiveness would be correspondingly prolonged and increased
with life itself.

Even at the present time not one house in a thousand is so constructed
that every room has good ventilation. Architects are, however, less to
blame than the people who will persist in their absurd old superstition
that draughts and night air are injurious. Professor Reclam, the
distinguished hygienist, not long ago opened a crusade against the
horror of night air and draughts which is especially prevalent among his
countrymen. “Sleeping with open windows,” he says, “is most unjustly
decried among the people, as well as night air in general. But night air
is injurious only in swampy regions, whereas on dry soil, in the
mountains, and everywhere in the upper stories of a house it is _more
salubrious than day air_.... Draughts are not injurious unless we are in
a glow. To healthy persons they _cannot possibly do so much harm as the
stagnant air in a close room_. The fear of draughts is entirely
groundless, though it affects most people in a manner which is simply

Electricity, no doubt, will in less than a decade abolish horses from
our cities, and with them the dust, foul odours, and sleep-murdering
noise. The gain to Health, and through it to Beauty, from this alone,
will be enormous. Doubtless one of the reasons why there is so much
Beauty, so many fresh and sparkling eyes, in Venice, is because there
are no horses in that city, and the inhabitants are not roused and
half-roused from sleep every fifteen minutes during the night by a
waggon rattling down the street.

It is not sufficiently known that street-noise may injure the Health
even of those whom it does not entirely wake up. The restorative value
of sleep lies in its depth and the absence of dreams. A noisy waggon
interferes with the depth of sleep and starts a current of dreams, thus
depriving it of half its potency.

“_Beauty sleep_” is an expression which rests on a real physiological
truth. Sleep before midnight really is more health-giving and
beautifying than after midnight, for the reason that in all towns and
cities there is less noise in the early hours of the night than after
four in the morning, wherefore sleep is deeper between ten and twelve
than between six and eight o’clock. The reason why so many more
proposals (by city folks) are made in the country than in the city is
not only because there are more frequent opportunities of meeting at a
summer hotel, but because the young folks retire early, and appear in
the morning with an exuberance of Health, born of fresh air and sound
sleep, which cannot fail to inspire Love.

Other matters of Hygiene will be discussed in connection with the organs
which they specially concern.


Darwin has proved experimentally that in the vegetable kingdom
“cross-fertilisation is generally beneficial, and self-fertilisation
injurious. This is shown by the difference in height, weight,
constitutional vigour, and fertility of the offspring from crossed
and self-fertilised flowers, and in the number of seeds produced by
the parent plants.” He also showed that “the benefit from
cross-fertilisation depends on the plants which are crossed having
been subjected during previous generations to somewhat different

Similarly, concerning animals, we read in Topinard, that “breeders who
select their subjects with a definite object to breed _in and in_, that
is to say, between near relations, rapidly obtain excellent results.
They know, however, that fertility then diminishes, and that it will
cease altogether if they do not have recourse from time to time to
crossing, in order to _strengthen the race_.”

But both in the vegetable and the animal kingdom, as we have seen,
superior Health also implies superior Beauty.

The inference is natural that the human race also must be benefited by
marriages of individuals of different races, or of the same race, but
brought up under different conditions of life. And the facts are
entirely in favour of this supposition, as are the best authorities in
Anthropology. Dr. Topinard gives the following instances among many
others: “Immigration into the United States, which has taken so
considerable a flight during the last thirty years, has already been
enormous. Every variety of cross has been going on between English,
Irish, Germans, Italians, French, etc., with the greatest possible
success. We may also mention numberless Spaniards from the Peninsula,
among whom are found the features of the Saracen invaders of the ninth
century; then that population on the Barbary coast, called Moors, and
which is a medley of races of every description, the Arab and Berber
blood predominating. On tracing back the yellow races, we also discover
a perfect eugenesis.... De Mas speaks in the highest terms of mixed
breeds of Chinese and Mongolians, and MM. Mondières and Morice of those
of Chinese and Annamites under the name of Minuongs. Dr. Bowring
describes a race in the Philippine Islands, intermediate between the
Malays and Chinese, as the principal agent of civilisation in these

On the other hand, “it is undeniable that in Africa the Negro races do
not cross to any great extent.” Nor has any one ever accused the Negroes
of an excessive amount of Beauty. Whereas in Lima, which has the finest
women in South America, “there are twenty-three different names to
designate the varieties of mixed breeds of Spaniards, Peruvians, and
Negroes.” “The number of mongrels on the face of the globe has been
estimated at twelve millions, of whom no fewer than eleven millions are
in South America.” South American women are already famous for their
Beauty, and there is reason to believe that when the fusion of all these
elements is complete the race will be one of the finest in the world.
What Beauty it has now seems to be owing chiefly to the magic of
Crossing; for attention to Health there is little but what comes from
life in the open air; while Romantic Love is perhaps as rare as Mental
Refinement, inasmuch as Courtship is not so free and easy a matter as in
North America. All the more honour to the potency of Crossing.

Take a few more cases. The African Negroes, as just stated, do not mix
much, and are an ugly type. Among the Polynesians, on the other hand,
there are many very fine types of human beauty; and it is therefore not
surprising to read that to-day in Polynesia, “mixed breeds are so
numerous that it would be difficult to find among them any individuals
of pure race.”

Again, concerning the Magyars or Hungarians, Schweiger-Lerchenfeld
remarks that “they are a splendid race, physically and
intellectually.... The girls and young women are of most piquant charm,
models of health in mind and body.” But these Magyars, when they first
came to Europe, were, as Waitz states, “of a repulsive ugliness in the
eyes of all their neighbours.” That they have mixed with the
Indo-Germanic type is shown by their appearance, as well as by
peculiarities of their language. “Where they have probably remained less
mixed,” Waitz continues, “and at the same time less cultivated, in some
remote regions, especially in the mountains, the ugly primitive type may
be found to the present day; in the plains may be found every
transitional form from this to the nobler type; at Szegedin both are
found face to face.”

The Magyars, in turn, have, like the Slavo-Italians, Czechs, etc.,
assisted the Austrians in evolving a superior type of Beauty by fusing
with them. That there is very much more Beauty in Vienna than in any
purely German city is an almost proverbial commonplace; and the reason
why may be found in the statistics: in Germany 31·80 per cent are blond,
14·05 brunet, 54·15 mixed; in Austria 19·59 per cent are blond, 23·17
brunet, and 68·04 mixed.

The European Turks have much nobler forms of the head and features than
their Asiatic relatives; and the inference seems inevitable that they
owe these improvements to intermarriage with Circassian women.

A negative instance, showing the disadvantages of abstaining from
Crossing, is given by the Jews. There are handsome Jews and, up to a
certain age, very beautiful Jewesses. But the typical Jew is certainly
not a thing of beauty. The disadvantages of Jewish separatism are shown
not only in the long, thick, crooked nose, the bloated lips, almost
suggesting a negro, and the heavy lower eyelid, but in the fact that the
Jews “have proportionately more insane, deaf mutes, blind, and
colour-blind” than other Europeans. From an intellectual and industrial
point of view, the Jews are one of the finest races in the world, and
their absorption by the natives of the countries in which they have
settled could not but benefit both parties concerned. From this point of
view there may be something said even in favour of the money-marriages,
which are now so frequent between extravagant German officers and Jewish
heiresses. Unfortunately, the Jews have kept apart so long from the rest
of the world that they do not readily mix with non-Jews. Contrary to the
general rule, mixed marriages of Jews and Christians are less fertile
than pure Jewish unions.

The precise manner in which a mixture of races improves physical
appearance is a question still open to debate. Professor Kollmann
(_Plastische Anatomie_) thinks “the result of the crossing of two forms
is comparable, not to a chemical, but to a mechanical mixture”; and this
agrees with the view of Mr. Herbert Spencer, who endeavours to trace to
this fact the frequent want of correspondence between intellectual and
physical beauty. He believes, however, the time will come “when the
present causes of incongruity will have worked themselves out,” and
intellectual beauty emerge in harmony with physical, in all details, as
it no doubt exists in general.

There is no lack of facts supporting the view that sexual fusion is a
mere mechanical mixture. The “Bourbon nose” seems to defy mitigating
circumstances for generations; and “M. de Quatrefages knew a
great-grandson of the bailiff of Suffren who was a striking likeness of
his ancestor after four generations, and who, nevertheless, bore no
resemblance either to his father or his mother.” A child may resemble
its father, mother, aunt, uncle, grand-parents, or several of them at
once; and the resemblance may vary at different ages.

More extraordinary are the following cases cited by Topinard: “Sometimes
the child possesses altogether the character of one or other parent: for
example, the child of a European father and a Chinese mother, Dr.
Scherzer says, is altogether a European or altogether a Chinese. A
Berber with blue eyes and with the lobule of the ear absent, married to
a dark Arab woman with a well-formed ear, had two children, one like
himself, the other like his wife. An English officer, fair, with blue
eyes and florid complexion, had several children by an Indian negress.
Some were the image of the father, others exactly like the mother.... A
decided negro, having had a white among his ancestors, has unexpectedly
a child with a white skin by a negress.”

Yet all these are exceptional cases, which, like the winning number in a
lottery, get a disproportionate amount of attention. Moreover, this
“mechanical” form of assimilation seems to occur chiefly where very
unrelated races are fused, and then especially in the first generation.
In subsequent generations the union doubtless tends to become more and
more chemical—no longer a negro character floating on a white one, like
oil on water, but a mixture, as of wine and water.

Take the American quadroons, for instance, famous for their beauty of
form and features. They are mongrels of the third generation, having
one-eighth black, seven-eighths white blood in their veins. Surely these
characters are not “mechanically” mixed in such a woman, but
“chemically.” That is, you do not find her with the eyes and nose of a
negro, the lips and ears of a white, one part of her skin dark the other
light: but in everything there is a fusion of the ancestral elements.
Her nose is not flat like that of her ancestress, nor her lips swollen,
but both are intermediate between those of her white and black
ancestors. Her lip is still thicker than that of the whites, and that
gives her a sensuous aspect, kiss-inviting. Her eyes, again, have lost
the fierce glare and opaque blackness of the negro-grandmother, and
assumed a more crystalline, tender lustre; while their form and
surroundings have become more refined and expressive. All this is
homogeneous fusion, not “heterogeneous mixture.”

Finally, it is hardly correct to state dogmatically that a certain
person resembles this or that ancestor. In nothing else do opinions vary
so constantly and so ludicrously. No one who has ever been “trotted
around” among his relatives in the “old country,” can have failed to be
amused at the countless resemblances to this and that uncle, aunt, or
grand-parent discovered in him, until he came to the conclusion that he
must be a veritable epitome of the whole genealogy. A man who at home is
supposed to be absolutely unlike his brother, is elsewhere mistaken for
him and addressed as such; while another man finds a friend who knew his
father in his youth, and declares he is exactly like him; though a
second friend who knew only the mother, claims a similar hereditary
influence for her. All of which tends to show that there is more of both
parents in each person than is commonly supposed; and that the reason
why opinions differ so, is because the fusion is chemical rather than
mechanical, which makes it difficult to put the finger on distinct
points of resemblance.

It is in the more closely allied races, like the English and German, or
Italian and Spanish, that “chemical” fusion is most readily attained,
and Beauty most rapidly evolved. Such are the unions which take place on
such a large scale in the United States and Canada; and this may account
for the fact that there is more Beauty in North America than in South
America, where the races that intermingle are less related. There is a
golden mean here as in everything else.

                           III.—ROMANTIC LOVE

What Crossing does on a national scale, Love continues with individuals,
by fusing dissonant, but complementary, parental qualities into a
harmonious progeny. How this is done is sufficiently shown in the
chapter on Schopenhauer.

This, however, is only one of the ways in which Love increases the
amount of Beauty in the world. There are several others.

The second is that—apart from complementary considerations—Romantic Love
always urges the choice of a mate who approaches nearest to the ideal
type of Beauty. As Beauty is hereditary, and as a beautiful father and
mother may have six or more beautiful children, this predilection for
Beauty shown by Love necessarily preserves and multiplies it—

              “From fairest creatures we desire increase,
              That thereby Beauty’s rose might never die,”

says Shakspere, anticipating the modern theory of heredity.

On this particular topic nothing more need be said here, because all the
remainder of this book will be taken up with a consideration of those
features of Personal Beauty for which the æsthetic taste which forms
part of Romantic Love shows a decided preference.

The third way in which Love promotes the cause of Beauty is by the great
attention it pays to Health in its choice. For though Health is not
always synonymous with Beauty, it is the soil on which alone Beauty can
germinate and flourish.

The fourth way is through the elimination of ugliness. Love, says Plato,
is devotion to Beauty: “with the ugly Eros has no concern.”

From the æsthetic point of view, ugliness is disease. Now there is a
cast-iron Lykurgean law prevailing throughout Nature which eliminates
the diseased and the ugly. It is a cruel agency, called Natural
Selection, and has not the slightest regard for individuals, but
provides only for the weal of the species, as Schopenhauer erroneously
says is the case with Love. In a bed of plants, if there are more than
can find sustenance, the stronger crowd out the weaker. Among animals,
wherever there is competition, the best-developed, handsomest lion
survives in combat, and the most fleet-footed, and consequently most
graceful, deer escapes, while the clumsy, the ugly, and diseased perish
miserably, inexorably. Savages leave the old and feeble to die, and weak
or deformed children are either deliberately put out of the way or
perish from want of proper care. Nor among the ancient civilised nations
were such methods unknown. Plato and Aristotle, says Mr. Grote, agree in
this point: “Both of them command that no child born crippled or
deformed shall be brought up—a practice actually adopted at Sparta under
the Lykurgean Institutions, and even carried further, since no child was
allowed to be brought up until it had been inspected and approved by the
public nurses.” The Romans, too, were legally permitted to expose
deformed children.

Christianity, the religion of pity and charity, abhors such practices.
Christianity is antagonistic to Natural Selection. One of its chief
functions is the building of hospitals in which the cripples, the
insane, the incurably diseased, are gratuitously and tenderly cared for,
instead of being allowed to perish, as they would under the sway of
Natural Selection.

This artificial preservation of disease and deformity, in and out of
hospitals, due to Christian charity, might in the long run prove
injurious to the welfare of the human race, were it not for the stepping
in of Modern Love as a preserver of Health and Beauty. What formerly was
left to the agency of Natural Selection is now done by Love, through
Sexual Selection, on a vast scale.

From a moral point of view, the substitution of Sexual for Natural
Selection is a great gain, in harmony with the spirit of Christianity.
For Cupid does not _kill_ those who do not come up to his standard of
Health and Beauty, but simply ignores and condemns them to a life of

                         IV.—MENTAL REFINEMENT

“After all,” says Washington Irving, speaking of Spanish women, “it is
the divinity _within_ which makes the divinity _without_; and I have
been more fascinated by a woman of talent and intelligence, though
deficient in personal charms, than I have been by the most regular

It is one of the commonest commonplaces of conversation that in moments
of intellectual or emotional excitement the features of plain people
assume an aspect of exquisite beauty. Love transfuses a homely girl’s
countenance with a glow of angelic loveliness; and biographies are full
of statements concerning the countenances of men of genius, which,
ordinarily unattractive, assumed an expression of unearthly beauty while
their minds were active and electrified the facial muscles.

“There is not any virtue the exercise of which, even momentarily, will
not impress a new fairness upon the features,” says Mr. Ruskin; and
again, he speaks of “the operation of the intellectual powers upon the
features, in the fine cutting and chiselling of them, and removal from
them of signs of sensuality and sloth, by which they are blunted and
deadened, and substitution of energy and intensity for vacancy and
insipidity (by which wants alone the faces of many fair women are
utterly spoiled and rendered valueless); and by the keenness given to
the eye and fine moulding and development to the brow, of which effects
Sir Charles Bell has well noted the desirableness and opposition to
brutal types.”

An English clergyman, the Rev. F. P. Lawson, diocesan inspector for
Northamptonshire, issued a report not long ago concerning the results of
his observations in 325 urban and rural schools during several years,
regarding the effects of good education in improving the appearance of
the children. “A school, thoroughly well taught, seldom failed to
exhibit a considerable number of interesting little faces, and a
striking absence of such faces might invariably be associated with
poverty of tone and superficial instruction. Nothing struck him more
forcibly in a school that has been suddenly lifted out of the mire by a
firstrate teacher than the bright and thoughtful look which the children
soon acquire.”

Negative evidence to the same effect might also be cited by the volume,
but one case may suffice. “It is unhappily a fact,” says Mr. Galton,
“that fairly distinct types of criminals _breeding true to their kind_
have become established, and are one of the saddest disfigurements of
modern civilisation.”

The connection between culture and a superior type of Beauty is
strikingly revealed in the following remarks on the far-famed Georgian
women of the Caucasus, made by a great connoisseur of feminine beauty,
the poet Bodenstedt: "In Europe the notion prevails that a Georgian
woman is a tall, graceful being, of luscious form, clothed in wide, rich
garments, with dense black hair, long enough to enchain all masculine
hearts, an open, noble forehead, and a pair of eyes which contain within
their dark, mysterious, magic circle all the secrets of human delight
that come through the soul or the senses. Her gait is rapture. Joy
precedes, and admiration follows her.... With such notions in their
heads, strangers generally arrive in Georgia, and find themselves
wofully disappointed. The tourists who come with such great expectations
to visit this country, invested with the atmosphere of a fairyland by
history and legend, either adhere stubbornly to their preconceived
notions, or else they instantly go over to the opposite extreme, and
find everything dirty, ugly, disgusting, dreadful.

"The truth lies between these extremes. The Georgians are, all in all,
one of the handsomest nations on the earth. But although I am a great
admirer of women, I am compelled in this case to award the prize to the
men instead of the women. This opinion is endorsed by all educated
inhabitants of Georgia who have eyes, taste, and an impartial judgment.

“I must add that of that higher beauty where heart and intellect and
soul are mirrored in the eye, I found few traces in the whole Caucasus,
either among men or women. I have seen the greater number of the
beauties which Georgia boasts, but not one face have I seen that
satisfied me completely, though the picturesque native costume does much
to heighten the charms of the women. The face entirely lacks that
refined mental expression which makes a beautiful European woman such a
unique enchantress. Such a woman may still inspire love and win hearts
long after the time of her bloom; whereas in a Georgian _everything_
fades with youth. The eyes, which, notwithstanding their apparent fire,
never expressed anything but calm and voluptuous indolence, lose their
lustre; the nose, which even in its normal relations exceeds the limits
of beauty, assumes, in consequence of the premature hollowness of the
cheeks, such abnormal dimensions that many people imagine that it
actually continues to grow; and the bosom, which the national costume
makes no effort to conceal, prematurely loses its natural firmness—all
of which phenomena are observed in European women much less frequently,
and in a less exaggerated form. If you add to this the habit, so
prevalent among Georgians, young and old, of using white and red
cosmetics, you will understand that such rude and inartistic arts of the
toilet can only add to the observer’s sense of dissatisfaction.”

America affords many illustrations of the manner in which refinement of
mind and manners increases Beauty in a single generation. There are in
every city thousands of parents who began life as ordinary labourers,
but soon got rich through industry or good luck. They bring up their
children in houses where every attention is paid to sanitary rules; they
send them to school and college; and when they come back you would
hardly believe that those coarse-featured, clumsy-limbed, ungraceful
persons could be their father and mother. The discrepancy is sometimes
so great that when the young folks invite people of “their set” to their
house, the old birds keep out of the way discreetly, either of their own
accord or by filial dictation, which in America appears to be displacing
parental authority.

But if there is such an intimate connection between culture and Beauty,
how is it that we so often find plain features joined with a noble mind
and fine features with a mean mind? Mr. Spencer has endeavoured to
explain this apparent discrepancy by assuming that in such cases plain
features are inherited severally and separately from ancestors of
diverse physiognomies, which being merely mechanically mixed, not fused,
fail to harmonise. There may be something in this, but a simpler
explanation is at hand.

Noble minds are often the result of individual effort, and persistence
in it. Many men of genius have had humble parents not specially gifted.
From these parents and their ancestors they inherited their plain faces.
Now individual effort, in the short period of a lifetime, is
insufficient to alter the _proportions_ of a face, which depend on its
bony parts; but it does suffice to alter the _expression_, which depends
on the movements of the soft, muscular parts. Hence every person,
however plain-featured, may acquire a beautiful expression by
cultivating his mind and refining his manners and temper. Whenever,
therefore, we meet a man or woman whose features are less attractive at
rest than when moved to expression of emotion, we may feel sure that
they owe their mental refinement more to individual effort than to
inherited capacity.

The children of such persons will be more beautiful than they are
themselves, because they will inherit the parents’ habit of expressive
muscular action of the features. And owing to the fact that all the bony
parts of the body are modified in accordance with the action of the
muscles attached to them, the bony parts, the proportions, of the face
will also be gradually modified and moulded into nobler shapes, through
the continuance of refined emotional expression.

It is in this manner that intellectual growth and emotional refinement
have gradually differentiated our features from those of our savage
ancestors. Our lips have become more delicate, our mouths smaller, our
jaws less gigantic, ponderous, and projecting, because civilisation has
taught us to use the hands in preparing food, and to cut it instead of
tearing it off the bone with the teeth, as savages and other wild
animals do.

Use increases, disuse diminishes the size of an organ. Hence for the
same reason that our jaws have become less projecting and heavy, our
forehead has lost its backward slope and become straight and noble,
owing to the growth of the brain. And similarly with other peculiarities
of the face, indicating the connection between mental refinement and
physical beauty. “Thus is it,” says Mr. Spencer, “with depression of the
bridge of the nose, which is a characteristic both of barbarians and of
our babes, possessed by them in common with our higher quadrumana. Thus,
also, is it with that forward opening of the nostrils, which renders
them conspicuous in a front view of the face,—a trait alike of infants,
savages, and apes. And the same may be said of widespread alæ to the
nose, of great width between the eyes, of long mouth, of large
mouth—indeed of all those leading peculiarities of feature which are by
general consent called ugly.”

                           EVOLUTION OF TASTE

                        SAVAGE NOTIONS OF BEAUTY

In all the preceding remarks concerning the connection between mental
and physical beauty, the assumption has been made tacitly that what _we_
consider beautiful is so in reality; and that our taste is a safe guide
to follow. Yet this assumption may be challenged, and has, indeed, been
often challenged. Every nation, every savage tribe, has its own standard
of Beauty; what right, therefore, have _we_ to claim dogmatically that
we are infallible judges?

Ask the devil, says Voltaire, what is the meaning of το καλὸν—the
Beautiful—and he will tell you “Le beau est une paire de comes, quatre
griffes, et une queue”—a couple of horns, four claws, and a tail. Ask a
North American Indian, says Hearne, what is Beauty, he will answer: “A
broad, flat face, small eyes, high cheek-bones, three or four broad
black lines across each cheek, a low forehead, a large, broad chin, a
clumsy hook-nose, a tawny hide, and breasts hanging down to the belt.”
In the Chinese empire “those women are preferred who have ... a broad
face, high cheek-bones, very broad noses, and enormous ears.” “One of
the titles of the Zulu king,” says Darwin (who gives many other
instances _à propos_ in chapter xix. of the _Descent of Man_), “is ‘You
who are black.’ Mr. Galton, in speaking to me about the natives of South
Africa, remarked that their ideas of beauty seem very different from
ours; for in one tribe two slim, slight, and pretty girls were not
admired by the natives.”

Darwin himself appears to have been staggered and puzzled by this
diversity of taste, and to have partly inclined to the theory that
Beauty is relative to the human mind (though elsewhere he repudiates
it)—a theory which Jeffrey has so boldly formulated in the assertion
that “All tastes are equally just and true, in as far as concerns the
individual whose taste is in question; and what a man feels distinctly
to be beautiful _is beautiful_ to him, whatever other people may think
of it.”

Fiddlesticks! The Alison-Jeffrey school of Scotch æstheticians, having
been among the first in the field, have done more to confuse the English
mind on the subject of Beauty than several generations of other clever
writers will be able to clear up again.

There are about half a dozen sound, square, solid, scientific reasons
why we have a better right to our opinion concerning the nature of
Beauty than a Hottentot or a North American Indian.

                       NON-ÆSTHETIC ORNAMENTATION

One of the things most commonly forgotten by those who wonder at the
strange “taste” of savages is that many of their customs have nothing
whatever to do with the sense of beauty. The habit of putting on
“war-paint” originated not in a desire for ornamentation, but in the
wish to make themselves frightful in appearance to the enemy. For the
same reason heads are mutilated. As Waitz notes in speaking of Tahiti:
“A very ugly mutilation is that to which most of the boys had to subject
themselves. Immediately after birth their mothers compressed their
forehead and the back of the head, so that the former became narrow and
high, the latter flat; this was done to make their aspect more terrible,
and thus turn them into more formidable warriors.” Tattooing, likewise,
was originally intended to be an easy sign of recognition, or of social
or religious distinction, rather than an ornament of the body. And when
we consider how prone the mind of our own fashionable ladies is to
violate every canon of good taste in their wild effort to surpass one
another in some novel extravagance just from Paris; when we note that if
a Fifth Avenue lady wears a gull on her hat, her coloured cook will
invest in a turkey or ostrich for hers, we understand at once that many
of the mutilations approved by savages are the outcome of vanity and
emulation, not of æsthetic taste.

                     PERSONAL BEAUTY AS A FINE ART

Yet there are undoubtedly a number of physiognomic and other
peculiarities which savages admire while we consider them ugly; and
some, again, which we admire and they dislike. Have we a right to
consider them inferior to us in taste because they fail to admire what
we adore?

Certainly; beyond the shadow of a doubt. It takes genius to fully
appreciate genius; it takes a refined taste to appreciate refined
beauty. This is what the savage lacks.

Look at any one of the fine arts. Why does the savage prefer his
monotonous drumming and ear-piercing war-songs to a soft, beautiful,
dreamy Chopin nocturne? Because he _cannot understand_ the nocturne.

Why does he prefer his painted, clumsy, coarse-featured squaw to a
civilised woman with delicate contours, refined features, graceful gait?
Because he _does not understand_ the beauty of the latter. It is too
subtle for his coarse nerves, his feeble imagination. The smiles and
manifold expressions that chase one another across her lovely features,
like the subtly-interwoven melodies in a symphonic poem, are the visible
signs of thoughts and emotions which he has never experienced, and
therefore cannot understand. It is like giving him a page of Sanskrit to

It is for this reason that a negro never falls in love with a white
woman, and that a peasant prefers his plump, crude country-girl to the
fair, delicate city visitor. He requires more vigorous arms, broader
features, than the city girl possesses, to make an impression on his
callous nerves of touch and sight. And it is fortunate for the peasant
girl that her lover does lack taste, else she would soon find him a
fickle deserter.

The savage, in a word, prefers his style of “beauty” to ours for the
same reason that he prefers a piece of raw liver and a glass of oil to
the subtle flavours of French cookery and French wines. His senses are
too coarse, his mind too vulgar, to perceive the poetry of refined
features. Everything must be loud and exaggerated to make an impression
on him—loud music, loud and glaring red and yellow colours, loud and
coarse features.

This doctrine that differences of taste are merely due to differences in
the degree of æsthetic culture, and that there is such a thing as an
absolute standard of human beauty, derives further support from the
facts (1) that the ideal of beauty set up by the æsthetic Greeks two
thousand years ago corresponds so remarkably with that of modern
artistic minds; (2) that _e.g._ a Japanese student in the United States
soon learns to prefer American female beauty to the Japanese variety;
(3) that an English, Italian, or American audience who at first admire
_Norma_ and find _Lohengrin_ tiresome, can in a few seasons be so
educated as to prefer _Lohengrin_ and actually scorn _Norma_; but not
_vice versâ_, in either case (2) or (3).

Mr. Ruskin takes a similar view regarding differences of taste when he
says that “respecting what has been asserted of negro nations looking
with disgust on the white face, no importance whatever is to be attached
to the opinions of races who have never received any ideas of beauty
whatsoever (these ideas being only received by minds under some certain
degree of cultivation), and whose disgust arises naturally from what
they suppose to be a sign of weakness or ill-health.”

That this consideration of health does affect the negro’s judgment
regarding the beauty of the white complexion, is also shown by what Mr.
Winwood Reade told Mr. Darwin, namely, that the negro’s “horror of
whiteness may be attributed ... partly to the belief held by most
negroes that demons and spirits are white, and partly to their thinking
it a sign of ill-health.”

But of all the theoretical truths emphasised in the _Modern Painters_
none is so important as this: “That not only changes of opinion take
place in consequence of experience, but that those changes are from
_variation_ of opinion to _unity_ of opinion,—that whatever may be the
difference of estimate among unpractised or uncultivated tastes, there
will be unity of taste among the experienced; and that, therefore, the
result of repeated trial and experience is to arrive at principles of
preference in some sort common to all, and which are part of our

Let us now see what are those principles of Beauty that may be
considered independent of a more or less crude and undeveloped taste.
Some are negative, some positive.

                        NEGATIVE TESTS OF BEAUTY

(_a_) _Animals._—"It has been argued," says Darwin (by Schaffhausen),
“that ugliness consists in an approach to the structure of the lower
animals, and no doubt this is partly true with the more civilised
nations, in which intellect is highly appreciated; but this explanation
will hardly apply to all forms of ugliness.”

Curiously enough, savages themselves use animals as a negative test of
beauty. Thus we read that “the Indians of Paraguay eradicate their
eyebrows and eyelashes, saying that they do not wish to be like horses.”
“On the Eastern coast, the negro boys, when they saw Burton, cried out,
‘Look at the white man; does he not look like a white ape?’” “A man of
Cochin China ‘spoke with contempt of the wife of the English
ambassador—that she had white teeth like a dog, and a rosy colour like
that of potato-flowers.’”

A few centuries ago it was a favourite pastime of physiognomists to draw
elaborate parallels between men and animals. Thus, in 1593, there
appeared a work, _De Humana Physiognomia_, with numerous illustrations,
in which always a human face was matched with some animal’s head.
Professor Wundt thus sums up the essence of this book: “A broad
forehead, we are told, indicates fearfulness, because the ox with his
broad head lacks courage. A long forehead, on the other hand, indicates
erudition, as is shown by means of an intelligent dog who has the honour
of serving as a pendant to Plato’s profile. Persons with shaggy hair are
good-natured, as they resemble the lion. He whose eyebrows are turned
inwards, towards the nose, is uncleanly like the pig, which this
resembles. The narrow chin of the ape signifies malice and envy. Long
ears and thick lips, such as the donkey possesses, are signs of
stupidity. A person who has a nose crooked from the forehead inclines,
like the raven, to theft, etc. These animal-physiognomists appear to
have favoured a thoroughly pessimistic view of man’s capacities,
inasmuch as for every creditable resemblance they find at least ten
discreditable ones.”

Apart from these puerilities, it is in most cases simply absurd to
compare man with animals. Except in the case of apes there are no proper
terms of comparison, because the types are so distinct; and, moreover,
from the point of view of its own type, the average animal of any
species is more beautiful than the average man or woman from the human
point of view. This assertion is indirectly corroborated by Mr. Galton’s
testimony, that “our human civilised stock is far more weakly through
congenital imperfection than that of any other species of animals,
whether wild or domestic.”

Schopenhauer considered animals beautiful in every way, and suggested
that whenever we do find an animal ugly it is due to some irrelevant,
inevitable association of ideas, as when a monkey suggests a man, or a
toad mud. And Mr. Ruskin pertinently suggests that “That mind only is
fully disciplined in its theoretic power which, when it chooses,
throwing off the sympathies and repugnancies with which the ideas of
destructiveness or of innocence accustom us to regard the animal tribes,
as well as those meaner likes and dislikes which arise, I think, from
the greater or less resemblance of animal powers to our own, can pursue
the pleasures of typical beauty down to the scales of the alligator, the
coils of the serpent, and the joints of the beetle.”

When Sir Charles Bell intimated that in Greek sculpture the guiding
principle was remoteness from the animal type, he stated only one side
of the truth, of which the other is thus noted by Winckelmann: among the
Greeks, he says, “The study of artists in producing ideal beauties was
directed to the nature of the nobler beasts, so that they not only
instituted comparisons between the forms of the human countenance and
the shape of the head of certain animals, but they even undertook to
adopt from animals the means of imparting greater majesty and elevation
to their statues ... especially in the heads of Hercules.” Jupiter’s
head “has the complete aspect of the lion, the king of beasts, not only
in the large, round eyes, in the fulness of the prominent, and, as it
were, swollen forehead, and in the nose, but also in the hair, which
hangs from his head like the mane of the lion, first rising upward from
the forehead, and then, parting on each side into a bow, again falling

So that we may safely reject the theory that ugliness consists in an
approach to the structure of the lower animals, whatever savages and
Chinamen may think on this subject. Coarse minds little suspect what
exquisite beauty is to be found in the head of a cow or a donkey, a
puppy or a lamb—beauty which, like a lovely melody, may bring tears to
the eyes of one who is sensitive to æsthetic impressions. Objectively
considered, even the destructive emotions do not appear ugly in an
animal. The ferocity of a lion does not make him appear vicious, because
ferocity is his nature. He knows no better; can only live by fighting.
But a man is disfigured by ferocity because he does know better; he
_can_ live without fighting; and it is _the consciousness of his selfish
meanness_ that puts the stamp of ugliness on his distorted features.

In apes alone does fierceness seem ugly and brutal instead of sublime.
For apes bear so much resemblance to us, and have a brain so superior in
structure to that of other animals, that we feel justified in applying
the human standard. Hence apes alone afford us a negative test of
beauty. Their heads and faces are cast in our mould, and therefore
afford the means of direct comparison. In looking at their massive,
brutal jaws, their receding foreheads, their undifferentiated hands and
feet, their coarse, hairy skin, their clumsy, inexpressive, gigantic
mouths, their flat noses and nostrils open to the view, we are justified
in calling them ugly, compared with ourselves, and in feeling proud that
civilisation has gradually raised us so far above our country cousins,
in beauty as in everything else, except the art of climbing trees.

(_b_) _Savages_ are valuable as negative tests of beauty for the same
reason: they enable us to see what progress we have made in refining our
features into harmonious proportions, and making them susceptible of
diverse emotional expression. It should be noted that Nature constantly
endeavours to make primitive mankind beautiful, as it does with all
other animals. Tourists constantly note the occurrence of remarkable
instances of Personal Beauty among the young in most tribes. But this
natural Beauty is not appreciated by the vulgar taste of savages, as we
saw a few pages back in a case mentioned by Mr. Galton. Beauty must be
distorted and exaggerated before it pleases the savage’s taste. Paint
must be laid on an inch thick, the nose perforated and “adorned” with a
ring, and ditto the abnormally lengthened lips. This corrects the notion
that savage hideousness is a product of Nature. Nature may blunder, but
never so sadly as in the appearance of a savage belle or warrior; and in
scorning these we do not therefore scorn Nature, but merely the
artificial products of the vulgar taste of primitive man.

(_c_) _Degraded Classes._—Poverty, suffering, want of leisure for mental
culture, want of money for sanitary modes of living, have,
unfortunately, produced in all countries a large class in whom Personal
Beauty occurs only as an accident. That such unhappy mortals afford a
negative test of Beauty is seen by the fact that, just as savages are
intermediate between monkeys and them, so they stand between savages and
refined men in features and expression.

Poverty alone does not produce this vulgar type of personal appearance;
it is intellectual indolence, moral vice, and hygienic indifference that
are responsible for it. Hence this third negative teat of Beauty is not
at all difficult to find in any sphere of society, from the hod-carrier
to the aristocrat with a pedigree of a hundred generations. In every
scale of the social ladder may be found “features seamed by sickness,
dimmed by sensuality, convulsed by passion, pinched by poverty, shadowed
by sorrow, branded with remorse; bodies consumed with sloth, broken down
by labour, tortured by disease, dishonoured in foul uses; intellects
without power, hearts without hope, minds earthly and devilish”

(_d_) _Age and Decrepitude._—It is not true, as a famous Frenchwoman has
remarked, that age and beauty are incompatible terms. Even age and Love
are not incompatible, as we saw in the chapter on Genius in Love; and
Byron has remarked that Love, like the measles, is most dangerous when
it comes late in life.

There is a special variety of Beauty for every period of life, and the
Beauty of old age certainly is not the least attractive of these
varieties. What could be more majestic, more admirable, than the head of
a Longfellow in his last days? Provided health of mind and body has been
maintained, even the folds in the cheeks, the wrinkles on the forehead
of old age, are not unbeautiful. But when senility means decrepitude,
brought on by a neglectful or otherwise vicious life, then it is
positively ugly. The loveliest thing in the world is a fair and amiable
maiden; the ugliest a vicious old hag—savages and apes _not_ excepted.

(_e_) _Disease._—Temperance preachers and other hygienic reformers
commonly dwell too exclusively on the dangers to health, domestic peace,
moral progress, and refinement which the indulgence in various vices
entails. If they would insist with equal, or even greater, emphasis on
the havoc which diseases brought on by intemperance and neglect of the
laws of Health make on Personal Beauty, they would double their
influence on their audiences or readers. For in woman’s heart the desire
to be beautiful is and always will be the strongest motive to action or
nonaction; nor are men, as a rule, much less interested in the matter of
preserving a handsome appearance. It may make _some_ impression on a man
to tell him that if he takes ice-water before breakfast, or “cock-tails”
at various odd hours on an empty stomach, he will ruin his digestion;
but the impression will be six times as deep if you can convince him
that he will ere long look like that confirmed dyspeptic Jones, with
lack-lustre eyes, sallow complexion, and a general expression of
premature senility, which accounts for the fact that he has been twice
already refused by the girl he adores.

Or take that girl over there who never takes a walk, always sleeps with
her windows hermetically closed, and never allows a ray of sunshine to
touch any part of her body. Tell her she is ruining her health and she
may be momentarily alarmed by this vague warning, and walk half a mile
for a week or so, until she has forgotten it. But make it clear to her
what is the exact consequence of such neglect of the primal laws of
health—namely, the premature loss of every trace of Personal Beauty and
youthful charm, with old-maidenhood inevitably staring her in the face,
owing to her apathetic appearance and gait, her sickly complexion, her
features distorted by frequent headaches, brought on by lack of fresh,
cool air—each of which leaves its permanent trace in the form of an
addition to a wrinkle or subtraction from the plumpness of her
cheeks,—tell her all this, and that her eyes will soon sink into their
sockets and have blue rings like those of an invalid, and a ghastly
stare—and she will, perhaps, be sufficiently roused to save her Health
for the sake of her Beauty.

We are now confronted with the question, Why is it that disease is a
mark of ugliness, health a mark of Beauty? The old Scotch school of
æstheticians think it is all a matter of association. We consider
certain forms characteristic of health as beautiful simply because we
associate with them various emotions of affection, the pleasures of
love, etc., and conversely with disease and vice. According to Stendhal,
“La beauté n’est que la promesse du bonheur,” or, in American, Beauty is
simply the promise of a “good time.” But it is Lord Jeffrey who, to use
another appropriate American expression, “goes the whole hog” in this
matter, by practically denying the existence of such a thing as a pure,
disinterested, æsthetic sense. Suppose, he says, "that the smooth
forehead, the firm cheek, and the full lip, which are now so distinctly
expressive to us of the gay and vigorous periods of youth—and the clear
and blooming complexion, which indicates health and activity—had been,
in fact, the forms and colours by which old age and sickness were
characterised; and that, instead of being found united to those sources
and seasons of enjoyment, they had been the badges by which Nature
pointed out that state of suffering and decay which is now signified to
us by the livid and emaciated face of sickness, or the wrinkled front,
the quivering lip, and hollow cheek of age; if this were the familiar
law of our nature, can it be doubted that we should look upon these
appearances, not with rapture, but with aversion, and consider it as
absolutely ludicrous or disgusting to speak of the beauty of what was
interpreted by every one as the lamented sign of pain and decrepitude?

“Mr. Knight himself, though a firm believer in the intrinsic beauty of
colours, is so much of this opinion that he thinks it entirely owing to
those associations that we prefer the tame smoothness and comparatively
poor colours of a youthful face to the richly fretted and variegated
countenance of a pimpled drunkard.”

Bosh! and a hundred times bosh! One feels that these men lived at a time
when port was drunk by the bottle, like claret, and when variegated
noses were to a certain extent fashionable.

Though every reader feels the sophistry and absurdity of the above
argumentation, it is not easy to refute it. Professor Blackie declaims
against it, Ruskin sneers at it, but nowhere have I been able to find a
definite direct refutation of the thesis. The following suggestions may,
therefore, be of some value.

In the first place, Jeffrey’s supposition is equivalent to saying that
if black were white, white would be black. For if all the phenomena of
human nature were reversed, our taste, being also a “phenomenon,” would
be reversed too. If health meant emaciation, then a lover would not be
happy unless he could kiss a pair of leathery lips and embrace a
skeleton. Hence his sense of touch, like his sight, would have to be the
reverse of what they are now; and that being the case, æsthetic taste,
which is based on the senses, would of course be reversed too. But that
is simply saying that if you stand a man on his head his feet will be in
the air.

Secondly, Lord Jeffrey’s argument involves the old fallacy that the
useful and the beautiful are identical—that we only consider those
things beautiful which afford us some utilitarian gratification. If this
theory were correct, a coal-boat would be more beautiful than a yacht; a
savage’s big jaw-bone more beautiful than our delicate ones; a clumsy,
dirty, coarse-featured labourer more beautiful than a society belle.

No; we have, thank heaven, an æsthetic sense which enables us to see and
admire beauty quite independently of any “associations” which it may
have with our utilitarian cravings. It is possible, however, and even
probable, that the æsthetic sense was originally _developed_ from
utilitarian associations. On this subject Mr. Grant Allen has some
exceedingly valuable remarks in his interesting work on the
Colour-Sense. He there eloquently sets forth the view that it was the
bright tints of luscious fruits that first taught primitive man to
derive pleasure from the sight of coloured objects. This gradually led
to a “predilection for brilliant dyes and glistening pebbles; till at
last the whole series culminates in that intense and unselfish enjoyment
of rich and pure tints which make civilised man linger so lovingly over
the hues of sunset and the myriad shades of autumn.... The
_disinterested_ affection can only be reached by many previous steps of
utilitarian progress.” But—and here lies the kernel of the
argument—"fruit-eaters and flower-feeders derive pleasure from brilliant
colours ... not because those colours have mental associations with
their food, but because the structures which perceive them have been
continually exercised and strengthened by hereditary use," until at last
they formed a special nervous or cerebral apparatus which presides over
impressions of beauty, and takes a special pleasure in its own activity,
apart from all utilitarian considerations.

Lord Jeffrey apparently lacked this special æsthetic sense, as shown by
his whole argument, and by his inability, which he shared with Alison,
of finding beauty in Nature, unless it was in some way associated with
man’s presence and man’s mean utilities.

How different this from the feelings of the man who of all writers on
Beauty has the most highly developed æsthetic sense—Mr. Ruskin, who has
just told us in his _Autobiography_ that his love of Nature, ardent as
it is, depends entirely on the _wildness_ of the scenery, its remoteness
from human influences and associations.

It is this specially-developed æsthetic taste that would prevent man
from calling flabby cheeks, sallow complexions, pimpled noses, and
sunken eyes beautiful, if by some miracle they should be changed into
signs of health. For this sense of beauty was first educated not by the
sight of human beauty, but of beauty in Nature—fruits, pebbles, shells,
lustrous metals, etc.; and the notions of beauty thus obtained have been
gradually transferred to human beings as standards of attractiveness. It
can be shown that what the best judges pronounce the highest human
beauty, is so because it partakes of certain characteristics which we
find beautiful throughout Nature. And conversely, what we consider ugly
in the human form and features would also be called ugly in external
objects; in both cases, be it distinctly understood, without any direct
reference to utilitarian considerations, and sometimes even in
opposition to them, as in our admiration of a beautiful poisonous plant
or snake, or a tiger.

It is these universal characteristics of Beauty, found in man as in
animals, that we now have to consider. They are the _positive_ criteria
of Beauty, and may be regarded as a new set of “overtones” or leading
motives for the remainder of this volume, although the old ones will
occasionally reappear and combine with them.

                        POSITIVE TESTS OF BEAUTY

Of these there are at least eight—Symmetry, Curvature, Gradation,
Smoothness, Delicacy, Colour, Lustre, Expression, including Variety and

(_a_) _Symmetry._—"In all perfectly beautiful objects," says Mr. Ruskin,
“there is found the opposition of one part to another, and a reciprocal
balance obtained; in animals the balance being commonly between opposite
sides (note the disagreeableness occasioned by the exception in flat
fish, having the eyes on one side of the head); but in vegetables the
opposition is less distinct, as in the boughs on opposite sides of
trees, and the leaves and sprays on each side of the boughs, and in dead
matter less perfect still, often amounting only to a certain tendency
towards a balance, as in the opposite sides of valleys and alternate
windings of streams. In things in which perfect symmetry is, from their
nature, impossible or improper, a balance must be at least in some
measure expressed before they can be beheld with pleasure.... Symmetry
is the _opposition_ of _equal_ quantities to each other. Proportion the
_connection_ of _unequal_ quantities with each other. The property of a
tree in sending out equal boughs on opposite sides is symmetrical. Its
sending out shorter and smaller towards the top, proportional. In the
human face its balance of opposite sides is symmetry, its division
upwards, proportion.”

Mr. Darwin thus gives his testimony as to the prevalence of symmetry in
Nature: “If beautiful objects had been created solely for man’s
gratification, it ought to be shown that before man appeared there was
less beauty on the face of the earth than since he came on the stage.
Were the beautiful volute and cone shells of the Eocene epoch, and the
gracefully sculptured ammonites of the Secondary period, created that
man might ages afterwards admire them in his cabinet? Few objects are
more beautiful than the minute silicious cases of the diatomaceæ: were
they created that they might be examined and admired under the higher
powers of the microscope? The beauty in this latter case, and in many
others, is apparently wholly due to symmetry of growth” (_Origin of
Species_, chap. vi.)

In the floral world, again, the natural tendency is always towards
symmetry. Wind-fertilised flowers are symmetrical in form; and “as Mr.
Darwin has observed, there does not appeal to be a single instance of an
irregular flower which is not fertilised by insects or birds” (Lubbock),
and therefore modified in form in the effort to adapt itself to useful
insects and to exclude pirates.

Throughout the animal kingdom, including man, this law of symmetry is
true. Hence it is not likely that we should ever admire a lame leg, a
crooked nose, bent on one side, eyes that are not mates, or a face
several inches longer on one side than the other, owing to paralysis—as
_beautiful_, even if, as Jeffrey would have it, Madame Nature should
suddenly take it into her head to associate such abnormalities with
health instead of with disease.

(_b_) _Gradation._—On this law of Nature Mr. Ruskin again has spoken at
once more scientifically and poetically than any other writer on
æsthetics: "What curvature is to lines, gradation is to shades and
colours.... For instances of the complete _absence_ of gradation we must
look to man’s work, or to his _disease_ and _decrepitude_. Compare the
gradated colours of the rainbow with the stripes of a target, and the
gradual concentration of the youthful blood in the cheek with an abrupt
patch of rouge, or with the sharply-drawn veining of old age.

“Gradation is so inseparable a quality of all natural shade and colour
that the eye refuses in art to understand anything as either which
appears without it; while, on the other hand, nearly all the gradations
of nature are so subtile, and between degrees of tint so slightly
separated, that no human hand can in any wise equal, or do anything more
than suggest the idea of them.”

The following remarks which the same writer makes in another place
concerning Gradation show at the same time how asinine it is for a
savage or any other person of uncultivated taste to set himself up as a
judge of Personal Beauty, as good as any one else, on the plea that it
is all “a matter of taste” and _de gustibus non est disputandum_:—

“When the eye is quite uncultivated, it sees that a man is a man, and a
face is a face, but has no idea what shadows or lights fall upon the
form or features. Cultivate it to some degree of artistic power, and it
will then see shadows distinctly, but only the more vigorous of them.
Cultivate it still further, and it will see light within light, and
shadow within shadow, and will continually refuse to rest in what it has
already discovered, that it may pursue what is more removed and more
subtle, until at last it comes to give its chief attention and display
its chief power on _gradations which to an untrained faculty are partly
matters of indifference and partly imperceptible_.”

The words italicised enable us to appreciate what Sokrates must have had
in his mind when he distinguished between that which _is_ beautiful and
that which only _appears_ beautiful. Æsthetic training enables us to see
things as they are, instead of as they appear through inattention,
through ignorance, or through clouds of national prejudice, or
individual utilitarianism.

The way in which æsthetic training enables us to see gradations of
beauty previously imperceptible can be most strikingly illustrated in
the case of music. There are thousands of intelligent folks who cannot
tell the difference between a superb Steinway Grand, just timed for a
concert, and a harsh, clangy, mountain-hotel piano that has not been
tuned for two years. But give these persons a thorough musical
education, and they will soon be able to smile at Jeffrey’s notion that
the tone of the hotel-piano was quite as beautiful as that of the
Steinway, because it _seemed_ so to them. It is not only the imagination
but the senses themselves that require training. A Hottentot or any
unmusical person cannot tell the difference between two consecutive
tones on the piano, whereas a skilled musician can detect all the
gradations from one tone to another, down to the sixty-fourth part of a

“It is all a matter of taste!” Precisely. Of good taste and bad taste.

Examples of gradation in the human form are the gradual tapering of the
limbs and the fingers, the exquisite line from the female neck to the
shoulders and the bosom, the blushes on the cheeks, so long as they do
not assume the form of a hectic flush, and the delicate tints of the
complexion in general, varying with emotional states, according as the
veins and arteries are more or less filled with the vital fluid.

Is it then “entirely owing to their associations” with health or disease
that we prefer the complexion of a youthful face to the hideous daubs of
red which Knight refers to as the “richly fretted and variegated
countenance of a pimpled drunkard”? Is it owing to such associations
that we prefer the delicately gradated blushes of coloured marble to the
richly bedaubed countenance of a pimpled brickbat? But it would be a
waste of time to refer again to the crude anti-æsthetic notions of
Messrs. Knight, Alison, and Jeffrey.

One more exquisite illustration of subtle gradation in the human form
divine may be cited from Winckelmann:—

“The soul, though a simple existence, brings forth at once, and in an
instant, many different ideas; so it is with the beautiful youthful
outline, which appears simple, and yet at the same time has infinitely
different variations, and that soft tapering which is difficult of
attainment in a column, is still more so in the diverse forms of the
youthful body. Among the innumerable kinds of columns in Rome some
appear pre-eminently elegant on account of this very tapering; of these
I have particularly noted two of granite, which I am always studying
anew: just so rare is a perfect form, even in the most beautiful youth,
which has a stationary point in our sex still less than in the female.”

(_c_) _Curvature._—"That all forms of acknowledged beauty are composed
exclusively of curves will," Mr. Ruskin believes, “be at once allowed;
but that which there will be need more especially to prove, is the
subtility and constancy of curvature in all natural forms whatsoever. I
believe that, except in crystals, in certain mountain forms admitted for
the sake of sublimity or contrast (as in the slope of debris), in rays
of light, in the levels of calm water and alluvial land, and in some few
organic developments, there are no lines or surfaces of nature without
curvature, though, as we before saw in clouds, more especially in their
under lines towards the horizon, and in vast and extended plains, right
lines are often suggested which are not actual. Without these we should
not be sensible of the value of contrasting curves; and while,
therefore, for the most part, the eye is fed in natural forms with a
grace of curvature which no hand nor instrument can follow, other means
are provided to give beauty to those surfaces which are admitted for
contrast, _as in water by its reflection of the gradations which it
possesses not itself_.”

In a footnote to the last edition of the _Modern Painters_ he adds
regarding the apparent exceptions named: “Crystals are indeed subject to
rectilinear limitations, but their real surfaces are continually curved;
the level of calm water is only right lined when it is shoreless.”

On the other hand, “Generally in all ruin and disease, and interference
of one order of being with another (as in the cattle line of park
trees), the curves vanish, and violently opposed or broken and unmeaning
lines take their place.” I feel tempted to cite another most admirable
passage on curvature throughout Nature—even where it is least looked
for, and the untrained eye cannot see it—in the shattered walls and
crests of mountains which “seem to rise in a gloomy contrast with the
soft waves of bank and wood beneath.” But it is too long to quote, and I
can only advise the reader most earnestly to look it up in chapter xiv.
vol. iv.

“Straight lines,” Professor Bain observes, “are rendered artistic only
by associations of power, regularity, fitness, etc.” “In some situations
straight lines are æsthetic.... In the human figure there underlies the
curved outline a certain element of rigidity and straightness,
indicating strength in the supporting limbs and spine. Whenever firmness
is required, there must be a solid structure, and straightness of form
is a frequent accompaniment of solidity. The straight nose and the flat
brow are subsidiary to the movement and the stability of the face.”

Yet even our straight limbs follow in their motions the law of
curvature. And to this fact that they move more easily and naturally in
a curved than in a straight line, which requires laborious adjustment,
Bain traces part of our superior pleasure in rounded lines.

What infinite subtlety and variety Curvature is capable of is vividly
brought before the eyes by Winckelmann: “The forms of a beautiful body
are determined by lines the centre of which is constantly changing, and
which, if continued, would never describe circles. They are,
consequently, more simple, but also more complex, than a circle, which,
however large or small it may be, always has the same centre, and either
includes others or is included in others. This diversity was sought
after by the Greeks in works of all kinds; and their discernment of its
beauty led them to introduce the same system even into the form of their
utensils and vases, whose easy and elegant outline is drawn after the
same rule, that is, by a line which must be found by means of several
circles, for all these works have an elliptical figure, and herein
consists their beauty. The greater unity there is in the junction of the
forms, and in the flowing of one out of another, so much the greater is
the beauty of the whole.”

_Masculine and Feminine Beauty._—The universality of curvature as a form
of beautiful objects throughout nature and art is of importance in
helping us to determine the question which is the more beautiful form, a
perfect man or a perfect woman—an Apollo or a Venus? A Venus, no doubt.
In those qualities which are subsumed under the terms of the sublime or
the characteristic—in strength, manly dignity, intellectual power,
majesty—the masculine type, no doubt, is superior to the feminine. But
in Beauty proper—in the roundness and delicacy of contours, in the
smoothness of complexion and its subtle gradations of colour, in the
symmetrical roundness and lustrous expressiveness of the eyes—the
feminine type is pre-eminent.

“Woman,” says Professor Kollmann, “is smaller, more delicate, but also
softer and more graceful (_schwungvoller_) in form, in her breasts,
hips, thighs, and calves. No line on her body is short and sharply
angular; they all swell, or vault themselves in a gentle curve.... The
neck and the rounded shoulders are connected by gracefully curved lines,
whereas a man’s neck is placed more at a right angle to the more
straight and angular shoulders.... The hair is softer, the skin more
tender and transparent. All the forms are more covered over with adipose
tissue, and connected by those gradual transitions which produce the
gently rounded outlines; whereas in a man everything—muscles, sinews,
blood-vessels, bones—is more conspicuous.”

Schopenhauer, accordingly, was clearly in the wrong when he endeavoured
to make out that man is vastly superior to woman in physical beauty,—a
notion which Professor Huxley, too, does not appear to disapprove of
very violently. At the same time it is, no doubt, true that there are
more good specimens of masculine beauty in most countries than of
feminine beauty; true also that man’s beauty lasts much longer than
woman’s. A boy is more beautiful than a girl under sixteen, for the very
reason that his form is more like that of an adult woman than a girl’s
is. From eighteen to twenty-five woman is more beautiful than man; while
after thirty, owing to the almost universal neglect of the laws of
health—women are apt to become either too rotund, which ruins their
grace and delicacy, or too angular—more angular than a man under fifty.

(_d_) _Delicacy and Grace._—The difference between masculine and
feminine beauty and the superiority of the latter is also indirectly
brought out in Burke’s remarks on Delicacy, which, though open to
criticism in one or two points, are on the whole admirable and

"An air of robustness and strength is very prejudicial to beauty. An
appearance of delicacy, and even of fragility, is almost essential to
it. Whoever examines the vegetable or animal creation will find this
observation to be founded in nature. It is not the oak, the ash, or the
elm, or any of the robust trees of the forest which we consider as
beautiful; they are awful and majestic, they inspire a sort of
reverence. It is the delicate myrtle, it is the orange, it is the
almond, it is the jasmine, it is the vine, which we look on as vegetable
beauties. It is the flowery species, so remarkable for its weakness and
momentary duration, that gives us the liveliest idea of beauty and
elegance. Among animals the greyhound is more beautiful than the
mastiff, and the delicacy of a jennet, a barb, or an Arabian horse is
much more amiable than the strength and stability of some horses of war
or carriage.

“I need here say little of the fair sex, where I believe the point will
be easily allowed me. The beauty of women is considerably owing to their
weakness or delicacy, and is even enhanced by their timidity, a quality
of mind analogous to it. I would not here be understood to say that
weakness betraying very bad health has any share in beauty; but the ill
effect of this is not because it is weakness, but because the ill state
of health, which produces such weakness, alters the other conditions of
beauty; the parts in such a case collapse, the bright colour, the _lumen
purpureum juventæ_ is gone, and the fine variation is lost in wrinkles,
sudden breaks, and right lines.”

Delicacy is a quality closely related to grace, or beauty in motion and
attitude. “Grace,” says Dr. J. A. Symonds, “is a striking illustration
of the union of the two principles of similarity and variety. For the
secret of graceful action is that the symmetry is preserved through all
the varieties of position.” This is well put; but the _first_ condition
and essence of grace is that there must be an exact correspondence
between the work done and the limb which does it. The attitude of an
oak-trunk, with nothing on the top but a geranium bush, however
symmetrical, would always be ungraceful, owing to the ludicrous
disproportion between the support and the thing supported. Conversely, a
weak fern-stalk, trying to support a branch of heavy cactus leaves,
would be equally ungraceful; for there must be neither a waste of energy
nor a sense of effort. Part of this feeling may perhaps be traced to
sympathy—thus showing how various emotions enter into our æsthetic
judgments, sometimes weakening, sometimes strengthening them. As
Professor Bain remarks, _à propos_: “We love to have removed from our
sight every aspect of suffering, and none more so than the suffering of

Grace is almost as powerful to inspire Love as Beauty itself. Women know
this instinctively, and in order to acquire the Delicacy which leads to
grace, they deprive their bodies of air and sunshine and strengthening
sleep, hoping thereby to acquire artificially, through ill-health, what
Nature has denied them. Fortunately such violations of the laws of
health always frustrate their object. Delicacy conjoined with Health
inspires Love, but delicacy born of disease inspires only pity—a feeling
which may inspire in a woman what she imagines is Love, but in a man

(_e_) _Smoothness_ is another attribute of Beauty on which Burke was the
first to place proper emphasis: It is, he says, “a quality so essential
to beauty that I do not recollect anything beautiful that is not smooth.
In trees and flowers, smooth leaves are beautiful; smooth slopes of
earth in gardens; smooth streams in the landscape; smooth coats of birds
and beasts in animal beauties; in fine women, smooth skins; and in
several sorts of ornamental furniture, smooth and polished surfaces....
Any ruggedness, any sudden projection, any sharp angle, is in the
highest degree contrary to the idea of beauty.”

Though there are exceptions to this rule of smoothness—including such a
marvel of beauty as the moss-rose, as well as various leaves covered
with down, etc.—yet, on the whole, Burke is right. Certainly the smooth
white hand of a delicate lady is more beautiful than the rough, horny
“paws” of a bricklayer; and the inferior beauty of a man’s arm is owing
as much to its rough scattered hairs as to the prominence of the
muscles, in contrast to the smooth and rounded arm of woman. In animals,
however, hairs on the limbs are not unbeautiful, because they are dense
enough to overlap, and thus form a hairy surface admirable alike for its
soft smoothness, its gloss, and its colour.

(_f_) _Lustre and Colour._—Lustrous, sparkling eyes, glossy hair, pearly
teeth,—where would human beauty be without them without the delicate
tints and blushes of the skin, the brown or blue iris, the golden or
chestnut locks, the ebony eyebrows and lashes?

Yet the greatest art-critics incline to the opinion that, on the whole,
colour is a less essential ingredient of beauty than form. “Colour
assists beauty,” says Winckelmann, but “the essence of beauty consists
not in colour but in shape.” “A negro might be called handsome when the
conformation of his face is handsome.” “The colour of bronze and of the
black and greenish basalt does not detract from the beauty of the
antique heads,” hence “we possess a knowledge of the beautiful, although
in an unreal dress and of a disagreeable colour.”

Similarly Mr. Ruskin, who remarks of colour that it “is richly bestowed
on the highest works of creation, and the eminent _sign and seal of
perfection in them_; being associated with _life_ in the human form,
with _light_ in the sky, with purity and hardness in the earth,—death,
night, and pollution of all kinds being colourless. And although if form
and colour be brought into complete opposition, so that it should be put
to us as a stern choice whether we should have a work of art all of
form, without colour (as an Albert Dürer’s engraving), or all of colour,
without form (as an imitation of mother-of-pearl), form is beyond all
comparison the more precious of the two ... yet if colour be introduced
at all, it is necessary that, whatever else may be wrong, _that_ should
be right,” etc.

Again: “An oak is an oak, whether green with spring or red with winter;
a dahlia is a dahlia, whether it be yellow or crimson; and if some
monster-hunting botanist should ever frighten the flower blue, still it
will be a dahlia; but let one curve of the petals—one groove of the
stamens—be wanting, and the flower ceases to be the same. Let the
roughness of the bark and the angles of the boughs be smoothed or
diminished, and the oak ceases to be an oak; but let it retain its
inward structure and outward form, and though its leaves grew white, or
pink, or blue, or tricolour, it would be a white oak, or a pink oak, or
a republican oak, but an oak still.”

“If we look at Nature carefully, we shall find that her colours are in a
state of perpetual confusion and indistinctness, while her forms, as
told by light and shade, are invariably clear, distinct, and speaking.
The stones and gravel of the bank catch green reflections from the
boughs above; the bushes receive grays and yellows from the ground;
every hairbreadth of polished surface gives a little bit of the blue of
the sky, or the gold of the sun, like a star upon the local colour; this
local colour, changeful and uncertain in itself, is again disguised and
modified by the hue of the light or quenched in the gray of the shadow;
and the confusion and blending of tint is altogether so great that were
we left to find out what objects were by their colours only, we would
scarcely in place distinguish the boughs of a tree from the air beyond
them or the ground beneath them. I know that people unpractised in art
will not believe this at first; but if they have accurate powers of
observation, they may soon ascertain it for themselves; they will find
that, while they can scarcely ever determine the _exact_ hue of
anything, except when it occurs in large masses, as in a green field or
the blue sky, the form, as told by light and shade, is always decided
and evident, and the source of the chief character of every object.”

Professor Bain remarks on this topic that “Among the several kinds of
beauty, the eye takes most delight in colour.... For this reason we find
the poets borrowing more of their epithets from colours than from any
other topic.”

This view seems to be confirmed by the fact that lovers in expatiating
on the beauty of their Dulcineas seem to have much more to say about
their brown or golden locks, their light or dark complexion, their blue
or black eyes, than about the shape of their features. This, however,
partly finds its explanation in the fact that colour, being a sensuous
quality, is more easily and more directly appreciated than form, the
perception of which is a much more complicated matter, being a
translation into intellectual terms of remembered impressions of touch,
associated with certain colours, lights, and shades which recall them;
and partly in the greater ease with which peculiarities of colour are
referred to than peculiarities of form. In the days of ancient Greece
the nomenclature of colours was equally undeveloped, and is so vague in
Homer that Gladstone and Geiger actually set up the theory that Homer’s
colour-sense was imperfect, and that that sense has been gradually
developed within historic times,—a theory which I have confuted on
anatomical grounds in _Macmillan’s Magazine_, Dec. 1879.

That as regards human beauty colour is of less importance than form is
shown, moreover, in this, that a girl with regular features and a
freckled complexion will much sooner find a lover than one with the most
delicately-coloured complexion, conjoined with a big mouth, irregular
nose, or sunken cheeks. And a beautifully-shaped eye is sure to be
admired by all, no matter whether blue, gray, or brown; whereas an eye
that is too small or otherwise defective in form can never be redeemed
by the most beautiful colour or brilliancy.

On the other hand, there are several things to be said in favour of
colour that will mitigate our judgment on this point. In the first
place, colour is more perfect in its way than form, so that it is
impossible ever to improve on it by idealising, as it is often with
form. As Mr. Ruskin remarks, “Form may be attained in perfection by
painters, who, in their course of study, are continually altering or
idealising it; but only the sternest fidelity will reach colouring.
Idealise or alter in that, and you are lost. Whether you alter by
debasing or exaggerating, by glare or by decline, one fate is for
you—ruin.... Colour is sacred in that you must keep to facts. Hence the
apparent anomaly that the only schools of colour are the schools of

Again, looking at Nature with an artist’s eye, Ruskin discovered and
frequently alludes to the “apparent connection of brilliancy of colour
with vigour of life,” and Mr. Wallace, looking at Nature with a
naturalist’s eye, established this “apparent connection” as a scientific
fact. The passage in which he sums up his views has been once already
quoted; but it is of such extreme importance in enforcing the lesson
that beauty is impossible without health, that it may be quoted again:—

“The colours of an animal usually fade during disease or weakness, while
robust health and vigour adds to its intensity.... In all quadrupeds a
‘dull coat’ is indicative of ill-health or low condition; while a glossy
coat and sparkling eye are the invariable accompaniments of health and
energy. The same rule applies to the feathers of birds, whose colours
are only seen in their purity during perfect health; and a similar
phenomenon occurs even among insects, for the bright hues of
caterpillars begin to fade as soon as they become inactive, preparatory
to their undergoing transformation. Even in the Vegetable Kingdom we see
the same thing; for the tints of foliage are deepest, and the colours of
flowers and fruits richest, on those plants which are in the most
healthy and vigorous condition.”

(_g_) _Expression, Variety, Individuality._—Besides the circumstances
that colour is more uniformly perfect in Nature than form, and that it
is always associated with Health, without which Beauty is impossible,
another peculiarity may be mentioned in its favour. The complexion is a
kaleidoscope whose delicate blushes and constant changes of tint, from
the ashen pallor of despair to the rosy flush of delight, are the
fascinating signs of emotional expression. And herein lies the superior
beauty of the human complexion over all other tinted objects: it
reflects not only the hues of surrounding external bodies, but all the
moods of the soul within.

Form without colour is form without expression. But form without
expression soon ceases to fascinate, for we constantly crave novelty and
variety; and form is one, while expression is infinitely varied and ever
new. Herein lies the extreme importance of expression as a test of
Beauty. Colour, of course, is only one phase of expression. The soul not
only changes the tints of the complexion, but liquifies the facial
muscles so that they can be readily moulded into forms characteristic of
joy, sadness, hope, fear, adoration, hatred, anger, affection, etc.

Why is the portrait-painter so infinitely superior to the photographer?
Because the photographer—paradoxical as this may seem—gives you a less
realistic picture of yourself than the artist. He only gives you the
fixed form, or at most a transient expression which, being fixed
permanently, loses its essence, which is motion—and thus becomes a
caricature—an exaggeration in duration. But the artist studies you by
the hour, makes you talk, notes the habitual forms of expression most
characteristic of your individuality; and, blending these into a sort of
“typical portrait” of your various individual traits, makes a picture
which reveals all the advantages of art over mere solar mechanism or

This explains why some of the most charming persons we know never appear
well in a photograph, while others much less charming do. The beauty of
the latter lies in form, of the former in expression. But expression is
much more potent to inspire admiration and Love than mere beauty of
features; and not without reason, for beautiful features, being a lucky
inheritance, may be conjoined with unamiable individual traits, whereas
beautiful expression is the infallible index of a beautiful mind and
character; and promises, moreover, beautiful sons and daughters, because
“expression is feature in the making.” It is by such subtle signs and
promises that Love is unconsciously and instinctively guided in its

Formal Beauty alone is external and cold. It is those slight variations
in Beauty and expression which we call individuality and character that
excite emotion: so much so that Love, as we have seen, is dependent on
individuality, and a man who warmly admires all beautiful women is in
love with none.

Speaking of the Greeks, Sir Charles Bell says: “In high art it appears
to have been the rule of the sculptor to divest the form of
expression.... In the Venus, the form is exquisite and the face perfect,
but there is _no expression_ there; it has no human softness, _nothing
to love_.” “All individuality was studiously avoided by the ancient
sculptors in the representation of divinity; they maintained the beauty
of form and proportion, but without expression, which, in their system,
belonged exclusively to humanity.”

But inasmuch as the Greeks attributed to their deities all the various
emotions which agitate man, why did they refuse them the signs of
expression? One cannot but suspect that the Greeks did not sufficiently
appreciate the beauty of expression. Had they valued it more they would
not have allowed their women to vegetate in ignorance like flowers, one
like the other, but would have educated them and given them the
individuality and expression which alone can inspire Love.

Again, if the Greeks had been susceptible to the superior charms of
emotional expression, is it likely that they would have been so
completely absorbed in the two least expressive and emotional of the
arts—architecture and sculpture?

We cannot avoid the conclusion that the Greeks were as indifferent to
the charms of individual expression as to Romantic Love, which is
dependent on it. In their statues, as Dr. Max Schasler remarks, a mouth
or eye has no more significance as a mark of beauty than a well-shaped
leg. Whereas in modern, and even sometimes in mediæval art, what a world
of expression in a mouth, a pair of eyes!

Leaving individual exceptions (like Homer) aside, it may be said that
the arts have been successively developed to a climax in the order of
their capacity for emotional expression, viz.—Architecture, Sculpture,
Painting, Poetry, and Music. Poetry precedes music, because though its
emotional scope is wider, it is less intense. To-day music is the most
popular and universal of all the arts because it stirs most deeply our
feelings. And just as the discovery of harmony, by individualising the
melodies, has increased the power and variety of music a thousandfold;
so the individualisation of Beauty and character through modern culture
has made Romantic Love a blessing accessible to all—the most prevalent
form of modern affection.

Individuality is of such extreme importance in Love that a slight
blemish is not only pardoned but actually adored if it increases the
individuality. Bacon evidently had this in his mind when he said that
“there is no excellent beauty which has not some strangeness in its
proportion.” Seneca, as well as Ovid, noted the attractiveness of slight
short-comings; and the following anecdote shows that though the
Persians, as a nation, have ever been strangers to Romantic Love, their
greatest poet, Háfiz, understood the psychology of the subject in its
subtlest details:—

“One day Timur (fourteenth century) sent for Háfiz and asked angrily:
‘Art thou he who was so bold as to offer my two great cities Samarkand
and Bokhara for the black mole on thy mistress’s cheek?’ alluding to a
well-known verse in one of his odes. ‘Yes, sire,’ replied Háfiz, ‘and it
is by such acts of generosity that I have brought myself to such a state
of destitution that I have now to solicit your bounty.’ Timur was so
pleased with the ready wit displayed in this answer that he dismissed
the poet with a handsome present.”

To sum up: the reason why

                “The rose that lives its little hour
                Is prized beyond the sculptured flower”

is not, as Bryant implies, the transitoriness of the rose, but the fact
that the marble flower, like the wax-flower, is dead and unchangeable,
while the short-lived rose beams with the expression of happy vitality
after a shower, or sadly droops and hangs its head in a drouth. It has
life and expression, subtle gradations of colour, and light and shade,
which are the signs of its vitality and moods, varying every day, every
hour. And so with all the higher forms of life, those always being most
beautiful and highly prized which are most capable of expressing subtle
variations of health, happiness, and mental refinement.

There is no part of the human body which does not serve as a mark of

           “In many’s looks the false heart’s history
           Is writ in moods and frowns and wrinkles strange.”

           “There’s language in her eye, her cheek, her lip,
           _Nay, her foot speaks_.”—SHAKSPERE.

It will not do, therefore, to neglect any part of the body. As it is the
last straw which breaks the camel’s back, so Cupid’s capricious choice
is often determined by some minor point of perfection, when the balance
is otherwise equal. Suppose there are two sisters whose faces, figures,
and mental attractions are about equal; then it is possible that one of
them will die an old maid simply because the other had a smaller foot, a
more graceful gait, or longer eyelashes.

But though every organ has its own beauty, there is an æsthetic scale of
lower and higher which corresponds pretty accurately with the physical
scale from down upwards—from the foot to the eye and forehead. It is in
this order, accordingly, that we shall now proceed to consider the
various parts of the human form, and those peculiarities in them which
are considered most beautiful and most liable to inspire Romantic Love.

                                THE FEET


There is hardly anything concerning which vain people are so sensitive
as their feet. To have large feet is considered one of the greatest
misfortunes that can befall a woman. Mathematically stated, the length
of a woman’s skirts is directly proportional to the size of her feet;
and women with large feet are always shocked at the frivolity of those
who have neat ankles and coquettishly allow them to be seen on occasion;
nor do they see any beauty in Sir John Suckling’s lines—

                   “Her feet beneath her petticoat
                   Like little mice stole in and out,
                   As if they feared the light.”

Nor are men, as a rule, sufficiently free from pedal vanity to pose as
satirists. Byron found a mark of aristocracy in small feet, and he was
rendered almost as miserable by the morbid consciousness of his own
defects as Mme. de Staël (who had very ugly feet, yet once ventured to
assume the _rôle_, in private theatricals, of a statue) was offended by
Talleyrand’s witticism, that he recognised her by the _pied de Staël_.

There is a _ben trovato_, if not true, story of a clever wife who
objected to her husband’s habit of spending his evenings away from home,
and who reformed him by utilising his vanity. By insisting that his
boots were too large, she repeatedly induced him to buy smaller ones,
which finally tortured him so much that he was only too glad to stay at
home and wear his slippers.

                          FASHIONABLE UGLINESS

How universal is the desire to have, or appear to have, small feet is
shown by the fact that everybody blackens his shoes or boots; for, owing
to a peculiar optical delusion, black objects always appear smaller than
white ones; which is also the reason why too slim and delicate ladies
never appear to such advantage in winter as they do in summer, when they
exchange their dark for light dresses.

To a certain point the admiration of small feet is in accordance with
the canons of good Taste, as will be presently shown. But Taste has a
disease which is called Fashion. It is a sort of microbe which has the
effect of distorting and _exaggerating_ everything it takes hold of.
Fashion is not satisfied with small feet; it wants them _very_ small,
unnaturally small, at the cost of beauty, health, grace, comfort, and
happiness. Hence for many generations shoemakers have been compelled to
manufacture instruments of torture so ruinous to the constitution of man
and woman, that an Austrian military surgeon has seriously counselled
the enactment of legal fines to be imposed on the makers of
noxiously-shaped shoes, similar to those imposed on food-adulterators.

Most ugly and vulgar fashions come from France; but as regards crippled
feet the first prize has to be yielded to the Chinese, even by the
Parisians. The normal size of the human foot varies, for men, from 9½ to
13; for women, from 5½ to 9 inches, man’s feet being longer
proportionately to the greater length of his lower limbs. In China the
men value the normal healthy condition of their own feet enough to have
introduced certain features of elasticity in their shoes which we might
copy with advantage; but the women are treated very differently. “The
fashionable length for a Chinese foot,” says Dr. Jamieson, “is between
3½ and 4 inches, but comparatively few parents succeed in arresting
growth so completely.” When girls are five years old their feet are
tightly wrapped up in bandages, which on successive occasions are
tightened more and more, till the surface ulcerates, and some of the
flesh, skin, and sometimes even a toe or two come off. “During the first
year,” says Professor Flower, “the pain is so intense that the sufferer
can do nothing but lie and cry and moan. For about two years the foot
aches continually, and is subject to a constant pain, like the pricking
of sharp needles.” Finally the foot becomes reduced to a shapeless mass,
void of sensibility, which “has now the appearance of the hoof of some
animal rather than a human foot, and affords a very insufficient organ
of support, as the peculiar tottering gait of those possessing it
clearly shows.”

The difference between the Chinese belle and the Parisian is one of
degree merely. The former has her torturing done once for all while a
child, whereas the latter allows her tight, high-heeled shoes to torture
her throughout life. The English are the only nation that have
recognised the injuriousness and vulgarity of the French shoe, and
substituted one made on hygienic principles; and as England has in
almost everything else displaced France as the leader in modern fashion,
it is reasonable to hope that ere long other nations will follow her in
this reform. American girls are, as a rule, much less sensible in this
matter than their English sisters; one need only ask a clerk in a shoe
store to find out how most of them endeavour to squeeze their small feet
into shoes too small by a number.

Fashions are always followed blindly, without deliberation. But would it
not be worth while for French, American, and German women—and many men
too—to ask themselves what they gain and what they lose by trying to
make their feet appear smaller than they are? The disadvantages outweigh
the advantages to an almost ludicrous extent.

On the one side there is absolutely nothing but the gratification of
vanity derived from the fact that a few acquaintances admire one’s
“pretty feet”; and even this advantage is problematical, because a
person who wears too tight shoes can hardly conceal them from an
observer, and is therefore apt to get pity for her vain weakness in
place of admiration.

On the other hand are the following disadvantages:—

(1) The constant torture of pressure (not to mention the resulting corns
and bunions), which alone must surely outweigh a hundred times the
pleasure of gratified vanity at having a Chinese foot.

(2) The unconscious distortion of the features and furrowing of the
forehead in the effort to endure and repress the pain,—and wrinkles, be
it remembered, when once formed are ineradicable.

(3) The discouragement of walking and other exercise, involving a
general lowering of vitality, sickly pallor and premature loss of the
bloom of youth.

(4) The wasting of the calf of the leg to dimensions characteristic of
savagedom, disease, and old age, not to speak of the numerous maladies
resulting to women from the use of hard high heels of fashionable shoes,
every contact of which with the ground sends a shock through the spinal
column to the brain and produces obscure disorders in various parts of
the organism.

(5) The mutilation of one of the most beautiful and characteristically
human parts of the body. As the author of Harper’s _Ugly Girl Papers_
remarks: “One’s foot is as proper an object of pride and complacency as
a shapely hand. But where in a thousand would a sculptor find one that
was a pleasure to contemplate like that of the Princess Pauline
Bonaparte, whose lovely foot was modelled in marble for the delight of
all the world who have seen it?”

(6) Finally, and most important of all, the loss of a graceful gait, of
the poetry of motion, which is a thousand times more calculated to
inspire admiration—æsthetic or erotic—than a small foot.

Man is said to be a reasoning animal; and man embraces woman. But surely
in matters of fashion woman is not a reasoning being. Very large feet
being properly regarded as ugly, she draws the inference that the
smaller they can be made the more will they be beautiful; forgetting
that Beauty is a matter of proportion, not of absolute size. A foot may,
like a waist, as easily appear ugly from being too small as from being
too large. A large woman with very small feet cannot but make a
disagreeable impression, like a bust on an insecure pedestal or a
leaning tower.

                            TESTS OF BEAUTY

According to Schopenhauer, the great value which all attach to small
feet “depends on the fact that small feet are an essentially human
characteristic, since in no animal are the tarsus and metatarsus
together so small as in man, which peculiarity is connected with his
erect attitude: he is a plantigrade.” But it is difficult to see any
force in this reasoning, since not one person in a hundred thousand
knows what the bones called tarsus and metatarsus are, nor cares whether
they are larger in man or in animals; while, as regards the upright
position, large feet would appear more suitable for maintaining it than
small ones.

If smallness were the test of beauty in man, why should we not feel
ashamed to have larger heads than animals, or envy the elephant, who,
for his size, has the smallest foot of all animals?

Those who believe that human beauty consists in the degree of remoteness
from animal types, will derive satisfaction from the fact that apes have
feet that are larger than ours. Topinard gives these figures showing the
relative sizes: man, 16·96; gorilla, 20·69; chimpanzee, 21·00; orang,
25. But why should man feel a special pride in the fact that his feet
are somewhat smaller than those of his nearest relatives, whom, until
recently, he did not even acknowledge as such?

It is, moreover, unscientific to compare man’s foot with the ape’s too
closely, because they have different functions—being used by man for
walking, by the ape for climbing—and therefore require different
characteristics. It is only in those organs that have a like function—as
the jaws, teeth, nose, eyes, and forehead—that a direct comparison is
permissible, and a progress noted in our favour.

Again, as M. Topinard tells us, “The hand and the foot of man, although
shorter than those of the anthropoid ape, do not vary among races
according to their order of superiority, as we should have supposed. _A
long hand or foot is not a characteristic of inferiority._”

The same is true among individuals of the same race. Mme. de Staël was
one of the most intelligent women the world has ever seen, yet her feet
were very large; and conversely, some of our silliest girls have the
smallest feet.

Since, then, there is no obvious connection between small feet and
superior culture, it follows that the beauty of a foot is not to be
determined by so simple a matter as its length. There are other
peculiarities, of greater importance, in which the laws of Beauty
manifest themselves. First, in the arched instep, which is not only
attractive because it introduces the beauty-curve in place of the
straight, flat line of the sole, but which is of the utmost importance
in increasing the foot’s capacity for carrying its burden, just as
architects build arches under bridges, etc., for the sake of the greater
strength and more equable distribution of pressure thus obtained.
Secondly, in the symmetrical correspondence of the toes and contours of
one foot with those of its partner; in the gradation of the regularly
shortened toes, from the first to the fifth; in the delicate tints of
the skin which, moreover, is smooth and not (as in apes) covered with
straggling hairs and deep furrows, which would have concealed the
delicate veins that variegate the surface, and give it the colour of

Professor Carl Vogt, in his _Lectures on Man_, vividly illustrates the
principles on which our judgment regarding beauty in feet is based, by
comparing a negro’s foot with that of civilised man: “The foot of the
negro, says Burmeister, produces a disagreeable impression. Everything
in it is ugly; the flatness, the projecting heel, the thick, fatty
cushion in the inner cavity, the spreading toes.... The character of the
human foot lies mainly in its arched structure, in the predominance of
the metatarsus, the shortening and equal direction of the toes, among
which the great toe is remarkably long, but not, like the thumb,
opposable.... The toes in standing leave no mark, but do so in
progression. The whole middle part of the foot does not touch the
ground. Persons with flat feet, in whom the middle of the sole touches
ground, are bad pedestrians, and are rejected as recruits.... The negro
is a decided flat foot ... the fat cushion on the sole not only fills up
the whole cavity, but projects beyond the surface.”

Inasmuch as it is the custom among all civilised peoples to cover the
foot entirely, many of its aspects of beauty are rendered invisible
permanently, so that it is perhaps not to be wondered at that in their
absence Fashion should have so eagerly fixed on the two visible
features—size and arched instep—and endeavoured to exaggerate them by
Procrustean dimensions and stilt-like high heels. Yet in this matter
even modern Parisians represent a progress over the mediæval Venetian
ladies, who, according to Marinello, at one time wore soles and heels
over a foot in height, so that on going out they had to be accompanied
by several servants to prevent them from falling. _Mais que voulez
vous?_ Fashion is fashion, and women are women.

By the ancient Greeks the feet were frequently exposed to view; hence,
says Winckelmann, “in descriptions of beautiful persons, as Polyxena and
Aspasia, even their beautiful feet are mentioned.” Possibly in some
future age, when Health and Beauty will be more worshipped than vulgar
Fashion fetishes, a clever Yankee will invent an elastic, tough, and
leathery, but transparent substance that will protect the foot while
fitting it like a glove and showing its outlines. This would put an end
to the mutilations resorted to from vanity, guided by bad taste, and
would add one more feature to Personal Beauty. And the foot, as
Burmeister insists, has one advantage over every other part of the body.
Beauty in all these other features depends on health and a certain
muscular roundness. But the foot’s beauty is independent of such
variations, as it lies mainly in its permanent bony contours and in its
fat cushion, which alone of all adipose layers resists the ravages of
disease and old age. Hence a beautiful foot is a thing of beauty and a
joy for ever, long after all other youthful charms have faded and fled.

                            A GRACEFUL GAIT

So long as the foot remains entirely covered, its beauty is, on the
whole, of less importance than the grace of its movements. Grace, under
all circumstances, is as potent a love-charm as Beauty itself—of which,
in fact, it is only a phase; and if young men and women could be made to
realise how much they could add to their fascinations by cultivating a
graceful gait and attitudes, hygienic shoemakers, dancing-masters, and
gymnasiums would enjoy as great and sudden a popularity as
skating-rinks, and a much more permanent popularity too.

It is the laws of Grace that chiefly determine the most admirable
characteristics of the foot. The arched instep is beautiful because of
its curved outlines; but its greatest value lies in the superior
elasticity and grace it imparts to the gait. The habitual carrying of
heavy loads tends to make the feet flat and to ruin Grace; hence the
clumsy gait of most working people, and, on the other hand, the graceful
walk of the “aristocratic” classes.

The proper size of the foot, again, is most easily determined with
reference to the principles of Grace. Motion is graceful when it does
not involve any waste of energy, and when it is in accordance with the
lines of Beauty. There must be no disproportion between the machinery
and the work done—no locomotive to pull a baby-carriage. Too large feet
are ugly because they appear to have been made for carrying a giant; too
small ones are ugly because seemingly belonging to a dwarf. What are the
exact proportions lying between “too large” and “too small” can only be
determined by those who have educated their taste by the study of the
laws of Beauty and Grace throughout Nature.

From this point of view Grace is synonymous with _functional fitness_. A
monkey’s foot is less beautiful than a man’s, but in _climbing_ it is
more graceful; whereas in _walking_ man’s is infinitely more graceful.
Apes rarely assume an erect position, and when they do so they never
walk on the flat sole. “When the orang-outang takes to the ground,” says
Mr. E. B. Tylor, “he shambles _clumsily_ along, generally putting down
the outer edge of the foot and the bent knuckles of the hand.”

I have italicised the word “clumsily” because it touches the vital point
of the question. Man owes his intellectual superiority largely to the
fact that he does not need his hands for walking or climbing, but uses
them as organs of delicate touch and as tools. To acquire this
independence of the hands he needed feet, which enabled him to stand
erect and walk along, not “clumsily,” but firmly, naturally, and
therefore gracefully. Hence in course of time, through the effects of
constant use, there was developed the callous cushion of the heel and
toes; while, through discontinuance of the habit of climbing, the toes
became reduced in size. In the ape’s foot, it is well known, the toes
are almost as long as the fingers of the hand: a fact which led
Blumenbach and Cuvier to classify apes as quadrumana or four-_handed_
animals. But Professor Huxley showed that this classification was based
on erroneous reasoning. The resemblance between the hands and feet of
apes is merely _physiological_ or functional—because hands and feet are
used alike for climbing. But _anatomically_, in its bones and muscles,
etc., the monkey’s apparent hind “hand” is a true foot no less than
man’s. If the _physiological_ function, _i.e._ the opposability of the
thumb to the other fingers, were taken as a ground of classification,
then birds, who have such toes, would have no feet at all but only wings
and hands.

There is a limit, however, beyond which the size of man’s toe’s cannot
be reduced without injuring the foot’s usefulness and the grace of gait.
The front part of the foot is distinguished for its yielding or elastic
character. Hence, says Professor Humphrey, “in descending from a height,
as from a chair or in walking downstairs, we alight upon the balls of
the toes. If we alight upon the heels—for instance, if we walk
downstairs on the heels—we find it an uncomfortable and rather jarring
procedure. In walking and jumping, it is true, the heels come first in
contact with the ground, but the weight then falls obliquely upon them,
and is not fully borne by the foot till the toes also are upon the

One of the reasons why Grace is more rare even than Beauty on this
planet is that the toes are cramped or even turned out of their natural
position by tight, pointed, fashionable shoes, and are thus prevented
from giving elasticity to the step. Instances are not rare (and by no
means only in China) where the great toe is almost at right angles to
the length of the foot. In walking, says Professor Flower, “the heel is
first lifted from the ground, and the weight of the body gradually
transferred through the middle to the anterior end of the foot, and the
final push or impulse given with the great toe. It is necessary then
that all these parts should be in a straight line with one another.”

It is a mooted question whether the toes should be slightly turned
outward, as dancing-masters insist, or placed in straight parallel
lines, as some physiologists hold. For the reason indicated in the last
paragraph, physiologists are clearly right. With parallel or almost
parallel great toes, a graceful walk is more easily attained than by
turning out the toes. Even in standing, Dr. T. S. Ellis argues, the
parallel position is preferable: “When a body stands on four points I
know of no reason why it should stand more firmly if those points be
unequally disposed. The tendency to fall forwards would seem to be even
increased by widening the distance between the points in front, and it
is in this direction that falls most commonly occur.”

                       EVOLUTION OF THE GREAT TOE

Perhaps the most striking difference between the feet of men and apes
lies in the relative size of the first and second toes. In the ape’s
foot the second toe is longer than the first, whereas in modern
civilised man’s foot the first or great toe is almost always the longer.
Not so, however, with savages, who are intermediate in this as in other
respects between man and ape; and there are various other facts which
seem to indicate that the evolution of the great toe, like that of the
other extreme of the body—the head and brain—is still in progress.

There is a notion very prevalent among artists that the second toe
should be longer than the first. This idea, Professor Flower thinks, is
derived from the Greek canon, which in its turn was copied from the
Egyptian, and probably originally derived from the negro. It certainly
does not represent what is most usual in our race and time. “Among
hundreds of bare, and therefore undeformed, feet of children I lately
examined in Perthshire, I was not able to find one in which the second
toe was the longest. Since in all apes—in fact, in all other animals—the
first toe is considerably shorter than the second, a long first toe is a
specially human attribute; and instead of being despised by artists, it
should be looked upon as a mark of elevation in the scale of organised

Mr. J. P. Harrison, after a careful examination of the unrestored feet
of Greek and Roman statues in various museums and art galleries, wrote
an article in the _Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great
Britain_ (vol. xiii. 1884), in which he states that he was “led to the
conviction that it was from Italy and not Greece that the long second
toe affected by many English artists had been imported.” Among the
Italians a longer second toe is common, as also among Alsatians; in
England so rarely that its occurrence probably indicates foreign blood.
Professor Flower, as we have seen, found no cases at all; Paget examined
twenty-seven English males, in twenty-four of whom the great toe was the
longer. “In the case of the female feet, in ten out of twenty-three
subjects the first or great toe was longest, and _in ten females it was
shorter_ than the second toe. In the remaining three instances the first
and second toes were of equal length.”

Bear these last sentences in mind a moment, till we have seen what is
the case with savages. Says Dr. Bruner: “A slight shortening of the
great toe undoubtedly exists, not merely amongst the Negro tribes, but
also in ancient and modern Egyptians, and even in some of the most
beautiful races of Caucasian _females_.” And Mr. Harrison found this to
be, with a few exceptions, a general trait of savages. The great toe was
shorter than the second in skeletons of Peruvians, Tahitians, New
Hebrideans, Savage islanders, Ainos, New Caledonians.

Must we therefore agree with Carl Vogt when he says, “We may be sure
that, whenever we perceive an approach to the animal type, the female is
nearer to it than the male”?

Perhaps, however, we can find a solution of the problem _somewhat_ less
insulting to women than this statement of the ungallant German

It is _Fashion_, the handmaid of ugliness, that has thus apparently
caused almost half the women to approximate the simian type of the foot;
_Fashion_, which, by inducing women for centuries to thrust their tender
feet into Spanish boots of torture, has taken from their toes the
freedom of action requisite for that free development and growth which
is to be noticed in almost all the men.

Considering the great difference between the left and the right foot, it
appears almost incredible, but is a sober fact, that until about half a
century ago “rights and lefts” were not made even for the men, who now
always wear them. But even to-day “they are not, it is believed, made
use of by women, except in a shape that is little efficacious,” says Mr.
Harrison; and concerning the Austrians Dr. Schaffer remarks, similarly,
that “the like shoe for the left and right foot is still in use in the
vast majority of cases.” No wonder women are so averse to taking
exercise, and therefore lose their beauty at a time when it ought to be
still in full bloom. For to walk in such shoes must be a torture
forbidding all unnecessary movement.

Once more be it said—it is Fashion, the handmaid of ugliness, that is
responsible for the inferior beauty of the average female foot, by
preventing the free development and play of the toes which are
absolutely necessary for a graceful walk.

To what an extent the woful rarity of a graceful gait is due to the
shape of “fashionable” shoes is vividly brought out in a passage
concerning the natives of Martinique, which appeared in a letter in the
New York _Evening Post_: “Many of the quadroons are handsome, even
beautiful, in their youth, and all the women of pure black and mixed
blood walk with a lightness of step and a graceful freedom of motion
that is very noticeable and pleasant to see. I say all the women; but I
must confine this description to those who go shoeless, for when a
negress crams her feet into even the best-fitting pair of shoes her gait
becomes as awkward as the waddle of an Indian squaw, or of a black swan
on dry land, and she minces and totters in such danger of falling
forward that one feels constrained to go to her and say, ‘Mam’selle
Ebène or Noirette, do, I beseech you, put your shoes where you carry
everything else, namely, on the top of your well-balanced head, and do
let me see you walk barefoot again, for I do assure you that neither
your Chinese cousins nor your European mistresses can ever hope to
imitate your goddess-like gait until they practise the art of walking
with their high-heeled, tiny boots nicely balanced on _their_ heads, as
you so often are pleased to do.’”

There is another lesson to be learned from this discussion, namely, that
in trying to establish the principles of Beauty, it is better to follow
one’s own taste than adhere blindly to Greek canons, and what are
supposed to be Greek canons. The longer second toe, as we have seen, is
not a characteristic of Greek art, but due apparently to restorations
made in Italy where this peculiarity prevails. The Greeks, indeed, never
hesitated to idealise and improve Nature if caught napping; and there
can be little doubt that if in their own feet the first toe had been
shorter than the second, they would have made it longer all the same in
their statues, following the laws of gradation and curvature which a
longer second toe would interrupt. For it is undeniable that, as Mr.
Harrison remarks, “a model foot, according to Flaxman, is one in which
the toes follow each other imperceptibly in a graceful curve from the
first or great toe to the fifth.”

                          NATIONAL DIFFERENCES

The statement made above regarding the prevalence among Italians of a
longer second toe enables us also to qualify the remark made in the
_Westminster Review_ (1884), that “Even at the present day it is a fact
well known to all sculptors that Italy possesses the finest models as
regards the female hands and feet in any part of Europe; and that to the
eye of an Italian the wrists and ankles of most English women would not
serve as a study even for those revivalisms of the antique which are to
be purchased in our streets for a few shillings.” Whatever may be true
of wrists and ankles, the toes must be excepted, at least if a larger
percentage of Italian than of English women have the second toe longer.

Although in matters where so many individual differences exist it is
hazardous to generalise, the following remarks on national peculiarities
in feet, made by a reviewer of Zachariae’s _Diseases of the Human Foot_,
may be cited for what they are worth: “The French foot is meagre,
narrow, and bony; the Spanish foot is small and elegantly curved, thanks
to its Moorish blood.... The Arab foot is proverbial for its high arch;
‘a stream can run under his foot,’ is a description of its form. The
foot of the Scotch is large and thick—that of the Irish flat and
square—the English short and fleshy. The American foot is apt to be
disproportionately small.”

                          BEAUTIFYING HYGIENE

Walking, running, and dancing are the most potent cosmetics for
producing a foot beautiful in form and graceful in movement. It is
possible that much walking does slightly increase the size of the foot,
but not enough to become perceptible in the life of an individual; and
it has been sufficiently shown that the standard of Beauty in a foot is
not smallness but curved outlines, litheness, and grace of gait, these
qualities being a thousand times more powerful “love-charms” than the
smallest Chinese foot. Moreover, it is probable that _graceful_ walking
has no tendency to enlarge the foot as a whole, but only the great toe;
and a well-developed great toe is a distinctive sign of higher

It is useless for any one to try to walk or dance gracefully in shoes
which do not allow the toes to spread and act like two sets of elastic
springs. One of the most curious aberrations of modern taste is the
notion that the shape of the natural foot is not beautiful—that it will
look better if made narrowest in front instead of widest. Even were this
so, it would not pay to sacrifice all grace to a slight gain in Beauty.
But it is not so. It is only habit, which blunts perception, that makes
us indifferent to the ugliness of the pointed shoes in our shop-windows,
or even in many cases prefer them to naturally-shaped shoes. Were we
once accustomed to properly-shaped hygienic boots, in which no part of
the foot is cramped, our present shoes, with their unnatural curves
where there should be none, and the absence of curves where they should
be (“rights and lefts”), would seem as “awful” and “horrid” as the old
crinoline does to the eyes of the present generation. As Professor
Flower remarks: “The fact that the excessively pointed, elongated toes
of the time of Richard II., for instance, were superseded by the broad,
round-toed, almost elephantine, but most comfortable shoes seen in the
portraits of Henry VIII. and his contemporaries, shows that there is
nothing in the former essential to the gratification of the æsthetic
instincts of mankind. Each form was, doubtless, equally admired in the
time of its prevalence.”

The Germans claim that it was one of their countrymen, Petrus Camper,
who first called attention, about a hundred years ago, to another
objectionable peculiarity of the modern shoe—its high heels—ruinous
alike to comfort, grace, and health (a number of female diseases being
caused by them); yet they admit that Camper’s advice was hardly heeded
by the Germans, and that it therefore serves them right that quite
recently the modern hygienic shoe, with low, broad heels, has been
introduced in Germany as the “English form,” the English having proved
themselves less obtuse and conservative in this matter.

The heel is, however, capable of still further improvement. It is not
elastic like the cushion of the heel, after which it should be modelled;
and Dr. Schaffer’s suggestion that an elastic mechanism should be
introduced in the heel is certainly worthy of trial. Everybody knows how
much more lightly, gracefully, as well as noiselessly, he can walk in
rubbers than in leather shoes; and this gain is owing to the superior
elasticity of the heel and the middle part of the shoe, covering the
arch, which should be especially elastic. It is pleasanter to walk in a
meadow than on a stone pavement; but if we wear soles that are both soft
and elastic we need never walk on a hard surface; for then, as Dr.
Schaffer remarks, “we have the meadow in our boots.”

As the left foot always differs considerably from the right, it is not
sufficient to have one measure taken. The fact that shoemakers do take
but one measure shows what clumsy bunglers most of them are. As a rule,
it is easier to get a fit from a large stock of ready-made boots than at
a shoemaker’s.

The stockings, as well as the shoes, often cramp and deform the foot;
and Professor Flower suggests that they should never be made with
pointed toes, or similar forms for both sides. Digitated stockings,
however, are a nuisance, for they hamper the free and elastic action of
the toes. Woollen stockings are the best both for summer and winter use.
No one who has ever experienced the comfort of wearing woollen socks
(and underclothes in general), will ever dream of reverting to silk,
cotton, or any other material.

Soaking the feet in water in which a handful of salt has been dissolved,
several times a week, is an excellent way of keeping the skin in sound
condition. For perfect cleanliness it does not suffice to change the
socks frequently. As the author of the _Ugly Girl Papers_ remarks, “The
time will come when we will find it as shocking to our ideas to wear out
a pair of boots without putting in new lining as we think the habits of
George the First’s time, when maids of honour went without washing their
faces for a week, and people wore out their linen without the aid of a

                           DANCING AND GRACE

Among the ancients dancing included graceful gestures and poses of all
parts of the body, as well as facial expression. In Oriental dancing of
the present day, likewise, graceful movements of the arms and upper part
of the body play a more important _rôle_ than the lower limbs. Modern
dancing, on the contrary, is chiefly an affair of the lower extremities.
It is pre-eminently an exercise of the toes; and herein lies its
hygienic and beautifying value, for, as we have seen, grace of gait
depends chiefly on the firm litheness and springiness of the toes,
especially the great toe. By their grace of gait one can almost always
distinguish persons who have enjoyed the privilege of dancing-lessons,
which have strengthened their toes and, by implication, many other
muscles, not forgetting those of the arm, which has to hold the partner.

There are thousands of young women who have no opportunities for
prolonged and exhilarating exercise except in ballrooms. In the majority
of cases, unfortunately, Fashion, the handmaid of Ugliness and Disease,
frustrates the advantages which would result from dancing by prescribing
for ballrooms not only the smallest shoes, but the tightest corsets and
the lowest dresses, which render it impossible or imprudent to breathe
fresh air, without which exercise is of no hygienic value, and may even
be injurious. But what are such trifling sacrifices as Health, Beauty,
and Grace compared to the glorious consciousness of being fashionable!

                         DANCING AND COURTSHIP

The ballroom is Cupid’s camping ground, not only because it facilitates
the acquisition of that grace by which he is so easily enamoured, but
because it affords such excellent opportunities for Courtship and Sexual
Selection. And this applies not only to the era of modern Romantic Love,
but, from its most primitive manifestations in the animal world,
dancing, like song, has been connected with love and courtship.

Darwin devotes several pages to a description of the love-antics and
dances of birds. Some of them, as the black African weaver, perform
their love-antics on the wing, “gliding through the air with quivering
wings, which make a rapid whirring sound like a child’s rattle;” others
remain on the ground, like the English white-throat, which “flutters
with a fitful and fantastic motion;” or the English bustard, who “throws
himself into indescribably odd attitudes whilst courting the female;”
and a third class, the famous Bower-birds, perform their love-antics in
bowers specially constructed and adorned with leaves, shells, and
feathers. These are the earliest _ballrooms_ known in natural history;
and it is quite proper to call them so, for, as Darwin remarks, they
“are built on the ground for the sole purpose of courtship, for their
nests are formed in trees.”

Passing on to primitive man, we again find him inferior to animals in
not knowing that the sole proper function of dancing is in the service
of Love, courtship, and grace. Savages have three classes of dance, two
being performed by the men alone, the third by men and women. First come
the war-dances, in which the grotesquely-painted warriors brandish their
spears and utter unearthly howls, to excite themselves for an
approaching contest. Second, the Hunter’s Dances, in which the game is
impersonated by some of the men and chased about, which leads to many
comic scenes; though there is a serious undercurrent of superstition,
for they believe that such dances—a sort of saltatorial prayer—bring on
good luck in the subsequent real chase. Third, the dance of Love,
practised _e.g._ by the Brazilian Indians, with whom “men and women
dance a rude courting dance, advancing in lines with a kind of primitive
polka step” (Tylor.) That there is as little refinement and idealism in
the savage’s dances as in his love-affairs in general is self-evident.

The civilised nations of antiquity, as we have seen, had no prolonged
Courtship, and therefore no Romantic Love. Since young men and women
were not allowed to meet freely, dancing was of course not esteemed as a
high social accomplishment. It was therefore commonly relegated to a
special class of women (or slaves), such as the Bayaderes of India and
the Greek flute girls. Notwithstanding that even the Greek gods are
sometimes represented as dancing, yet this art came to be considered a
sign of effeminacy in men who indulged in it; and as for the Romans,
their view is indicated in Cicero’s anathema: “No man who is sober
dances, unless he is out of his mind, either when alone or in decent
society, for dancing is the companion of wanton conviviality,
dissoluteness, and luxury.”

In ancient Egypt, too, the upper classes were not allowed to learn
dancing. And herein, as in so many things in which women are concerned,
the modern Oriental is the direct descendant of the ancients. “In the
eyes of the Chinese,” says M. Letourneau, “dancing is a ridiculous
amusement by which a man compromises his dignity.”

Plato appears to have been the first who recognised the importance of
dancing as affording opportunities for Courtship and pre-matrimonial
acquaintance. But his advice remained unheeded by his countrymen. A view
regarding dancing similar to Plato’s was announced by an uncommonly
liberal theologian of the sixteenth century in the words, as quoted by
Scherr, that “Dancing had been originally arranged and permitted with
the respectable purpose of teaching manners to the young in the presence
of many people, and enabling young men and maidens to form honest
attachments. For in the dance it was easy to observe and note the habits
and peculiarities of the young.”

Thus we see that, with the exception of the savage’s war-dances and
hunting pantomimes, the art of dancing has at all times and everywhere
been born of love; even the ancient religious dances having commonly
been but a veil concealing other purposes, as among the Greeks. But all
ceremonial dancing, like ceremonial kissing, has been from the beginning
doomed to be absorbed and annihilated by the all-engrossing modern
passion of Romantic Love.

True, as a miser mistakes the means for the end and loves gold for its
own sake, so we sometimes see girls dance alone—possibly with a vaguely
coy intention of giving the men to understand that they can get along
without them. But their heart is not in it, and they never do it when
there are men enough to go round. As for the men, they are too open and
frank ever to veil their sentiments. They never dance except with a

To-day our fashion and society papers are eternally complaining of the
fact that the young men—especially the _desirable_ young men—seem to
have lost all interest in dancing. But who is to blame for this?
Certainly not the men. It is _Fashion_ again, and the mothers who
sacrifice the matrimonial prospects of their daughters—as well as their
Health, Beauty, and Individuality—to this hideous fetish. It is the late
hours of the dance, prescribed by Fashion, that are responsible for the
apparent loss of masculine interest in this art. Formerly, when
aristocracy meant laziness and stupidity, the habit of turning night
into day was harmless or even useful, because it helped to rid the world
prematurely of a lot of fools. But to-day the leading men of the
community are also the busiest. Aristocracy implies activity,
intellectual and otherwise. Hence there are few men in the higher ranks
who have not their regular work to do during the day. To ask them after
a day’s hard labour to go to a dance beginning at midnight and ending at
four or five is to ask them to commit suicide. Sensible men do not
believe in slow suicide, hence they avoid dancing-parties as if such
parties were held in small-pox hospitals.

Let society women throw their stupid conservatism to the winds. Let them
arrange balls to begin at eight or nine and end at midnight or one, and
“desirable” men will be only too eager to flock to assemblies which they
now shun. The result will be a sudden and startling diminution in the
number of old maids and bachelors.

It is the _moral duty_ of mothers who have marriageable daughters to
encourage this reform. Maternal love does not merely imply solicitude
for the first twenty years of a daughter’s life, but careful provision
for the remainder of her life, covering twice that period, by enabling
her to meet and choose a husband after her own heart

                        EVOLUTION OF DANCE MUSIC

Did space permit, it would be interesting to study in detail the dances
of various epochs and countries, coloured, like the Love which
originated them, by national peculiarities—the Polish mazourka and
polonaise, the Spanish fandango, the Viennese waltz, the Parisian
cancan, etc. Suffice it to note the great difference between the dances
of a few generations ago and those of to-day, as shown most vividly in
the evolution of dance-music.

The earliest dance-tunes are vocal, and were sung by the (professional)
dancers themselves, in the days when the young were not yet allowed to
meet, converse, and flirt and dance. Subsequently, the transference of
dance-music to instruments played by others gave the dancers opportunity
to perform more complicated figures, and made it possible to converse.
But even as late as the eighteenth century dancing and dance-music were
characterised by a stately reserve, slowness, and pompous dignity which
showed at once that they had nothing to do with Romantic Love. It was
not the fiery, passionate youths who danced these solemnly stupid
minuets, gavottes, sarabandes, and allemandes, but the older folks,
whose perruques, and collars, and frills, and bloated clothes would not
have enabled them to execute rapid movements even if the warm blood of
youth had coursed in their veins.

How all this artificiality and snail-like pomp has been brushed away by
triumphant Romantic Love, which has secured for modern lovers the
privilege of dancing together before they are married and cease to care
for it! True, we still have the monotonous soporific quadrille, as if to
remind us of bygone times; but the true modern dance is the round dance,
which differs from the stately mediæval dance as a jolly rural picnic
does from a formal morning call.

The difference between the mediæval and the modern dance is thus
indicated by F. Bremer:—

“Peculiar to modern dance-music is the round dance, especially the
waltz; and it is in consequence warmer than the older dance-music, more
passionate in expression, in rhythm and modulation more sharply
accented. As its creator we must regard Carl Maria von Weber, who, in
his _Invitation to Dance_, struck the keynote through which
subsequently, in the music of Chopin, Lanner, Strauss, Musard, etc.,
utterance was given to the whole gamut of dreamy, languishing,
sentimental, ardent passion. The consequence was the displacement of the
stately, measured dances by impetuous, chivalrous forms; and in place of
the former naïve sentimentality and childish mirth, it is the _rapture
of Love_ that constitutes the spirit of modern dance-music.”

Not to speak of more primitive dance-tunes, what a difference there is
between the slow and dreary monotony of eighteenth century dances and a
Viennese waltz of to-day! The vast superiority of a Strauss waltz lies
in this—that it is no longer a mere rhythmic noise calculated to guide
the steps, and skips, and bows, and evolutions of the dancers, but _the
symphonic accompaniment to the first act in the drama of Romantic Love_.
It recognises the fact that Courtship is the prime object of the dance.
Hence, though still bound by the inevitable dance rhythm, Strauss is
ever trying to break loose from it, to secure that freedom and variety
of rhythm which is needed to give full utterance to passion. Note the
slow, pathetic introductions; the signs in the score indicating an
accelerated or retarded tempo when the waltz is played at a concert,
where the uniformity of ballroom movement is not called for; note what
subtle use he makes of all the other means of expressing amorous
feeling—the wide melodic intervals, the piquant, stirring harmonies, the
exquisitely melancholy flashes of instrumental colouring, alternating
with cheerful moments, showing a subtle psychologic art of translating
the Mixed Moods of Love into the language of tones.

In the waltzes, mazourkas, and polonaises of Chopin we see still more
strikingly that the true function of dance-music is amorous. Even as
Dante’s Love for Beatrice was too super-sensual, too ethereal for this
world, so Chopin’s dance-pieces are too subtle, too full of delicate
_nuances_ of _tempo_ and Love episodes, to be adapted to a ballroom with
ordinary mortals. Graceful fairies alone could dance a Chopin waltz;
mortals are too heavy, too clumsy. They can follow an amorous Chopin
waltz with the imagination alone, which is the abode of Romantic Love.
To a Strauss waltz a hundred couples may make love at once, hence he
writes for the orchestra; but Chopin wrote for the parlour piano,
because the feelings he utters are too deep to be realised by more than
two at a time—one who plays and one who listens, till their souls dance
together in an ecstatic embrace of Mutual Sympathy.

                           THE DANCE OF LOVE

It is at Vienna, which has more feminine grace and beauty to the square
mile than any other city in the world, that the art of dancing is to be
seen in its greatest perfection. No wonder that it is the home of the
Waltz-King, Johann Strauss; and that a Viennese feuilletonist has shown
the deepest insight into the psychology of the dance in an article from
which the following excerpts are taken:—

"The waltz has a creative, a rejuvenating power, which no other dance
possesses. The skipping polka is characterised by a certain stiffness
and angularity, a rhythm rather sober and old-fashioned. The galop is a
wild hurricane, which moves along rudely and threatens to blow over
everything that comes in its way; it is the most brutal of all dances,
an enemy of all tender and refined feelings, a bacchanalian rushing up
and down....

"The waltz, therefore, remains as the only true and real dance. Waltzing
is not walking, skipping, jumping, rushing, raving; it is a gentle
floating and flying; from the heaviest men it seems to take away some of
their materiality, to raise the most massive women from the ground into
the air. True, the Viennese alone know how to dance it, as they alone
know how to play it....

“The waltz insists on a personal monopoly, on being loved for its own
sake, and permits no vapid side-remarks regarding the fine weather, the
hot room, the toilets of the ladies; the couple glide along hardly
speaking a word; except that she may beg for a pause, or he,
indefatigable, insatiable, intoxicated by the music and motion, the
fragrance of flowers and ladies, invites her to a new flight around the
hall. And yet is this mute dance the most eloquent, the most expressive
and emotional, the most sensuous that could be imagined; and if the
dancer has anything to say to his partner, let him mutely confide it to
her in the sweet whirl of a waltz, for then the music is his advocate,
then every bar pleads for him, every note is a _billet-doux_, every
breath a declaration of love. Jealous husbands do not allow their wives
to waltz with another man. They are right, for the waltz is the Dance of


There is one more form of dancing which may be briefly alluded to,
because it illustrates the hypocrisy of the average mortal as well as
the rarity of true æsthetic taste. Solo ballet-dancing is admired not
only by the bald-headed old men in the parquet, but there are critics
who seriously discuss such dancing as if it were a fine art; generally
lamenting the good old times of the great and graceful ballet-dancers.
The truth is that ballet-dancing _never can be graceful_, as now
practised. To secure graceful movement it is absolutely necessary to
make use of the elasticity of the toes—to touch the ground at the place
where the toes articulate with the middle foot, and to give the last
push with the yielding great toe. Ballet-dancers, however, walk on the
tips of their stiffened toes, the result of which is, as the anatomist,
Professor Kollmann, remarks, that “their gait is deprived of all
elasticity and becomes stiff, as in going on stilts.”

It speaks well for the growing sensibility of mankind that this form of
dancing is gradually losing favour. Like the vocal tight-rope dancing of
the operatic _prime donne_ with whom ballet-dancers are associated,
their art is a mere circus-trick, gaped at as a difficult _tour de
force_, but appealing in no sense to æsthetic sentiments.

These strictures, of course, apply merely to solo-dancing on tiptoe. The
spectacular ballet, which delights the eye with kaleidoscopic colours
and groupings, is quite another thing, and may be made highly artistic.

                            THE LOWER LIMBS

                          MUSCULAR DEVELOPMENT

The assumption by man of an erect attitude has modified and improved the
appearance of his leg and thigh quite as marvellously as his feet. “In
walking,” says Professor Kollmann, “the weight of the body is
alternately transferred from one foot to the other. Each one is obliged
in locomotion to take its turn in supporting the whole body, which
explains the great size of the muscles which make up man’s calf. The
ape’s calf is smaller for the reason that these animals commonly go on
all fours.” Professor Carl Vogt gives these details: “No ape has such a
cylindrical, _gradually diminishing_ thigh; and we are justified in
saying that man alone possesses thighs. The muscles of the leg are in
man so accumulated as to form a calf, while in the ape they are more
equally distributed; still, transitions are not wanting, since one of
the greatest characteristics of the negro consists in his calfless leg.”
And again: “Man possesses, as contrasted with the ape, a distinctive
character in the strength, _rotundity_, and length of the lower limb;
especially in the thighs, which in most animals are shortened in
proportion to the leg.”

The words here italicised call attention to two of the qualities of
Beauty—gradation and the curve of rotundity—which the lower limbs in
their evolution are thus seen to be gradually approximating. Other
improvements are seen in the greater smoothness, the more graceful and
expressive gait resulting from the rounded but straight knee, etc.

The implication that savages are in the muscular development of their
limbs intermediate between apes and civilised men calls for further
testimony and explanation. Waitz states that “in regard to muscular
power Indians are commonly inferior to Europeans”; and Mr. Herbert
Spencer has collected much evidence of a similar nature. The Ostyaks
have “thin and slender legs”; the Kamtchadales “short and slender legs”;
those of the Chinooks are “small and crooked”; and the African Akka have
“short and bandy legs.” The legs of Australians are “inferior in mass of
muscle”; the gigantic Patagonians have limbs “neither so muscular nor so
large-boned as their height and apparent bulk would induce one to
suppose.” Spencer likewise calls attention to the fact that
relatively-inferior legs are “a trait which, remotely simian, is also
repeated by the child of the civilised man”—which thus individually
passes through the several stages of development that have successively
characterised its ancestors.

Numerous exceptions are of course to be found to the rule that the
muscular rotundity and plumpness of the limbs increases with
civilisation. The lank shins which may be seen by the hundred among the
bathers at our sea-coast resorts contrast disadvantageously with many
photographs of savages; and tourists in Africa and among South American
Indians and elsewhere have often enough noted the occurrence of
individuals and tribes who would have furnished admirable models for
sculptors. But this only proves, on the one hand, that “civilised”
persons who are uncivilised in their neglect of the laws of Health,
inevitably lose certain traits of Beauty which exercise alone can give;
while, on the other hand, those “savages” who lead an active and healthy
life are _in so far_ civilised, and therefore enjoy the superior
attractions bestowed by civilisation. Moreover, as Mr. Spencer suggests,
“In combat, the power exercised by arm and trunk is limited by the power
of the legs to withstand the strain thrown on them. Hence, apart from
advantages in locomotion, the stronger-legged nations have tended to
become, other things equal, dominant races.”

“Rengger,” says Darwin, “attributes the thin legs and thick arms of the
Payaguas Indians to successive generations having passed nearly their
whole lives in canoes, with their lower extremities motionless. Other
writers have come to a similar conclusion in analogous cases.”

Although savages have to hunt for a living and occasionally go to war,
they are essentially a lazy crew, taking no more exercise than
necessary; which accounts for the fact that, with the exceptions noted,
their muscular development is inferior to that of higher races.

                          BEAUTIFYING EXERCISE

One of the most discouraging aspects of modern life is the growing
tendency toward concentration of the population in large cities. Not
only is the air less salubrious in cities than in the country, but the
numerous cheap facilities for riding discourage the habit of walking.
London is one of the healthiest cities, and the English the most
vigorous race, in the world; yet it is said that it is difficult to
trace a London family down through five generations. Few Paris families
can, it is said, be traced even through three generations. Without
constant rural accessions cities would tend to become depopulated.

The enormous importance of exercise for Health and Beauty, which are
impossible without it, is vividly brought out in this statement of
Kollmann’s: “Muscles which are thoroughly exercised do not only retain
their strength, but increase in circumference and power, in man as in
animals. The flesh is then firm, and coloured intensely red. In a
paralysed arm the muscles are degenerated, and have lost a portion of
one of their most important constituents—albumen. Repeated contractions
strengthen a muscle, because motion accelerates the circulation of the
blood and the nutrition of the tissues. What a great influence this has
on the whole body may be inferred from the fact that the organs of
locomotion—the skeleton and muscles—make up more than 82 per cent of the
substance of the body. With this enormous proportion of bone and muscle,
it is obvious that exercise is essential to bodily health.”

Exercise in a gymnasium is useful but monotonous; and too often the
benefits are neutralised by the insufficient provision for fresh air,
without which exercise is worse than useless. Hence the superiority of
open-air games—base-ball, tennis, rowing, riding, swimming, etc., to the
addiction to which the English owe so much of their superior physique.
Tourists in Canada invariably notice the wonderful figures of the women,
which they owe largely to their fondness for skating. “Beyond question,”
says the _Lancet_, “skating is one of the finest sports, especially for
ladies. It is graceful, healthy, stimulating to the muscles, and it
develops in a very high degree the important faculty of balancing the
body and preserving perfect control over the whole of the muscular
system, while bringing certain muscles into action at will. Moreover,
there is this about it which is of especial value: it trains by exercise
the power of intentionally inducing and maintaining a continuous
contraction of the muscles of the lower extremity. The joints, hip,
knee, and ankle are firmly fixed or rather kept steadily under control,
while the limbs are so set by their muscular apparatus that they form,
as it were, part of the skate that glides over the smooth surface. To
skate well and gracefully is a very high accomplishment indeed, and
perhaps one of the very best exercises in which young women and girls
can engage with a view to healthful development.”

For the acquisition of a graceful gait women need such exercise more
even than men; and while engaged in it they should pay especial
attention to exercising the left side of the body. On this point Sir
Charles Bell has made the following suggestive remarks:—

“We see that opera-dancers execute their more difficult feats on the
right foot, but their preparatory exercises better evince the natural
weakness of the left limb; in order to avoid awkwardness in the public
exhibitions, they are obliged to give double practice to the left leg;
and if they neglect to do so an ungraceful preference to the right side
will be remarked. In walking behind a person we seldom see an equalised
motion of the body; the tread is not so firm upon the left foot, the toe
is not so much turned out, and a greater push is made with the right.
From the peculiar form of woman, and from the elasticity of her step,
resulting from the motion of the ankle rather than of the haunches, the
defect of the left foot, when it exists, is more apparent in her gait.”

Those who wish to acquire a graceful gait will find several useful hints
in this extract from Professor Kollmann’s _Plastische Anatomie_, p.

“Human gait, it is well known, is subject to individual variations.
Differences are to be noted not only in rapidity of motion, but as
regards the position of the trunk and the movements of the limbs, within
certain limits. For instance, the gait of very fat persons is somewhat
vacillating; other persons acquire a certain dignity of gait by bending
and stretching their limbs as little as possible while taking long
steps; and others still bend their knees very much, which gives a
slovenly character to their gait. And as regards the attitude of the
trunk, a different effect is given according as it is inclined backwards
or forwards, or executes superfluous movements in the same direction or
to the sides. All these peculiarities make an impression on our eyes,
while our ears are impressed at the same time by the differences in
rapidity of movement, so that we learn to recognise our friends by the
sound of their walk as we do by the quality of their voice.”

Bell states that “upwards of fifty muscles of the arm and hand may be
demonstrated, which must all consent to the simplest action.” Walking is
a no less complicated affair, to which the attention of men of science
has been only quite recently directed. The new process of instantaneous
photography has been found very useful, but much remains to be done
before the mystery of a graceful gait can be considered solved. If some
skilled photographer would go to Spain and take a number of
instantaneous pictures of Andalusian girls, the most graceful beings in
the world, in every variety of attitude and motion, he might render most
valuable service to the cause of personal æsthetics.

The time will come, no doubt, when dancing masters and mistresses will
consider the teaching of the waltz and the lancers only the crudest and
easiest part of their work, and when they will have advanced classes who
will be instructed in the refinements of movement as carefully and as
intelligently as professors of music teach their pupils the proper use
of the parts and muscles of the hand, to attain a delicate and varied
touch. The majority of women might make much more progress in the art of
gracefulness than they ever will in music; and is not the poetry of
motion as noble and desirable an object of study as any other fine art?

                          FASHIONABLE UGLINESS

It is the essence of fashion to exaggerate everything to the point of
ugliness. Instead of trying to remedy the disadvantages to their gait
resulting from anatomical peculiarities (just referred to in a quotation
from Bell), women frequently take pains to deliberately exaggerate them.
As Alexander Walker remarks: “The largeness of the pelvis and the
approximation of the knees influence the gait of woman, and render it
vacillating and unsteady. Conscious of this, women, in countries where
the nutritive system in general and the pelvis in particular are large,
affect a greater degree of this vacillating unsteadiness. An example of
this is seen in the lateral and rotatory motion which is given to the
pelvis in walking by certain classes of the women in London.”

The Egyptians and Arabians consider this ludicrous rotatory motion a
great fascination, and have a special name for it—Ghung.

But Fashion, the handmaid of ugliness, is not content with aping the bad
taste of Arabians and Egyptians. It goes several steps lower than that,
down to the Hottentots. The latest hideous craze of Fashion, against
which not one woman in a hundred had taste or courage enough to
revolt—the bustle or “dress-improver” (!)—was simply the milliner’s
substitute for an anatomical peculiarity natural to some African

“It is well known,” says Darwin, “that with many Hottentot women the
posterior part of the body projects in a wonderful manner; they are
steatopygous; and Sir Andrew Smith is certain that this peculiarity is
greatly admired by the men. He once saw a woman who was considered a
beauty, and she was so immensely developed behind, that when seated on
level ground she could not rise, and had to push herself along until she
came to a slope. Some of the women in various negro tribes have the same
peculiarity; and, according to Burton, the Somal men ‘are said to choose
their wives by ranging them in a line, and by picking her out who
projects farthest _a tergo_. Nothing can be more hateful to a negro than
the opposite form.’”

Evidently “civilised” and savage women do not differ as regards Fashion,
the handmaid of ugliness. But the men do. While the male Hottentots
admire the natural steatopyga of their women, civilised men, without
exception, detest the artificial imitation of it, which makes a woman
look and walk like a deformed dromedary.

                          THE CRINOLINE CRAZE

The bustle is not only objectionable in itself as a hideous deformity
and a revival of Hottentot taste, but still more as a probable
forerunner of that most unutterably vulgar article of dress ever
invented by Fashion—the crinoline. For we read that when, in 1856, the
crinoline came in again, it was preceded by the “inelegant bustle in the
upper part of the skirt”; and it is a notorious fact that cunning
milliners are making strenuous efforts every year to reintroduce the

In their abhorrence of the crinoline men do not stand alone. There are
several refined women to-day who would absolutely refuse to submit to
the tyranny of Fashion if it should again prescribe the crinoline. One
of these is evidently Mrs. Haweis, who in _The Art of Beauty_ remarks
that “The crinoline superseded all our _attention to posture_; whilst
our long trains, which can hardly look inelegant [?] even on clumsy
persons, make small ankles or thick ones a matter of little moment. We
have become inexpressibly slovenly. We no longer study how to walk,
perhaps the most difficult of all actions to do gracefully. Our
fashionable women stride and loll in open defiance of elegance,” etc.
And again: “This gown in outline simply looks _like a very ill-shaped
wine-glass upside down_. The wide crinoline entirely _conceals every
natural grace of attitude_.”

Another lady, writing in the _Atlantic Monthly_ (1859), remarks
concerning the crinoline: “A woman in this rig hangs in her skirts _like
a clapper in a bell_; and I never meet one without being tempted to take
her by the neck and ring her.”

About 1710, says a writer in the _Encyclopædia Britannica_, “as if
resolved that their figures should rival their heads in extravagance,
they introduced the hooped petticoat, at first worn in such a manner as
to give to the person of the wearer below her very tightly-laced waist a
contour _resembling the letter V inverted_—ʌ. The hooped dresses, thus
introduced, about 1740 attained to an enormous expansion; and being worn
at their full circumference immediately below the waist, they in many
ways emulated the most outrageous of the fardingales of the Elizabethan

“About 1744 hoops are mentioned as so extravagant,” says Chambers’s
_Encyclopædia_, “that _a woman occupied the space of six men_.” George
IV. had the good taste to abolish them by royal command, but they were
revived in 1856. The newspapers of two decades ago daily contained
accounts of accidents due to the idiotic crinoline. “The _Spectator_
dealt out much cutting, though playful, raillery at the hoops of his
day, but apparently with little effect; and equally unavailing are the
satires of _Punch_ and other caricaturists of the present time against
the hideous fashion of crinoline.... Owing to its prevalence,
church-pews that formerly held seven are now let for six, and yet feel
rather crowded. The hoops are sometimes made with a _circumference of
four or even five yards_.”

It is universally admitted that the human form, in its perfection, is
Nature’s _chef d’œuvre_—the most finished specimen of her
workmanship. Yet the accounts of savage taste given by travellers and
anthropologists show that the savage is never satisfied with the human
outlines as God made them, but constantly mars and mutilates them by
altering the shape of the head, piercing the nose, filing or colouring
the teeth, enlarging the lips to enormous dimensions, favouring an
adipose bustle, etc. This is precisely what modern Fashion, the handmaid
of ugliness, does. We have just seen how fashionable women, unable to
comprehend the beauty of the human form, have for several generations
endeavoured to give it the shape of “a very ill-shaped wine-glass,
upside down,” “a clapper in a bell,” or “the letter V inverted.” And
concerning Queen Elizabeth the _Atlantic_ writer already quoted says
very pithily: “What with stomachers and pointed waist and fardingale,
and sticking in here and sticking out there, and ruffs and cuffs, and
ouches and jewels and puckers, she looks _like a hideous flying insect_
with expanded wings, seen through a microscope—not at all like a woman.”

Fortunately, for the moment, the crinoline, like the fardingale, is not
“in fashion.” But, as already stated, there is considerable danger of a
new invasion every year; and, should Fashion proclaim its edict, no
doubt the vast majority of women would follow, as they did a decade or
two ago. In the interest of good taste, as of common sense, it is
therefore necessary to speak with brutal frankness on this subject.
There is good evidence to show that the crinoline originated in the
desire of an aristocratic dame of low moral principles to conceal the
evidences of a crime. Hence the original French name for the
crinoline—_Cache-Bâtard_. Will respectable and refined women consent
once more to have the fashion set for them by a courtesan?

                               THE WAIST

                            THE BEAUTY CURVE

In a well-shaped waist, as in every other part of the body, the curved
line of Beauty, with its delicate gradations, exercises a great charm.
Examination of a Greek statue of the best period, male or female, or of
the goddess of beauty in the Pagoda at Bangalur, India, shows a slight
inward curve at the waist, whereas in early Greek and Egyptian art this
curve is absent. The waist, therefore, like the feet and limbs, appears
to have been gradually moulded into accordance with the line of Beauty—a
notion which is also supported by the following remarks in Tylor’s
_Anthropology_: “If fairly chosen photographs of Kaffirs be compared
with a classic model such as the Apollo, it will be noticed that the
trunk of the African has a somewhat wall-sided straightness, wanting in
the inward slope which gives fineness to the waist, and in the expansion
below, which gives breadth across the hips, these being two of the most
noticeable points in the classic model which our painters recognise as
an ideal of manly beauty.”

In woman, owing to the greater dimensions of her pelvis, this curvature
is more pronounced than in man; yet even in woman it must be slight if
the laws of Health and Beauty are to suffer no violation. “_Moderation_”
is the one word which Mr. Buskin says he would have inscribed in golden
letters over the door of every school of art. For “the least appearance
of violence or extravagance, of the want of moderation and restraint,
is,” as he remarks, “destructive of all beauty whatsoever in
everything—colour, form, motion, language, or thought—giving rise to
that which in colour we call glaring, in form inelegant, in motion
ungraceful, in language coarse, in thought undisciplined, in all
unchastened; which qualities are in everything most painful, because the
signs of disobedient and irregular operation. And herein we at last find
the reason of that which has been so often noted respecting the
subtility and almost invisibility of natural curves and colours, and why
it is that we look on those lines as least beautiful which fall into
wide and far license of curvature, and as most beautiful which approach
nearest (so that the curvilinear character be distinctly asserted) to
the government of the right line, as in the pure and severe curves of
the draperies of the religious painters,” etc.

                          THE WASP-WAIST MANIA

But Fashion, the handmaid of ugliness, too vulgar to appreciate the
exquisite beauty of slight and subtle curvature, makes woman’s waist the
most maltreated and deformed part of her body. There is not one woman in
a hundred who does not deliberately destroy twenty per cent of her
Personal Beauty by the way in which she reduces the natural dimensions
of her waist. There is, indeed, ground to believe that the main reason
why the bustle, and even the crinoline, are not looked on with
abhorrence by all women is because they aid the corset in making the
waist look smaller by contrast. The Wasp-waist Mania is therefore the
disease which most imperatively calls for cure. But the task seems
almost hopeless; for, as a female writer remarks, it is almost as
difficult to cure a woman of the corset habit as a man of intemperance
in drink.

“The injurious custom of tight lacing,” says Planché in his _Cyclopædia
of Costumes_, “‘a custom fertile in disease and death,’ appears to have
been introduced by the Normans as early as the twelfth century; and the
romances of the Middle Ages teem with allusions to and laudations of the
wasplike waists of the dames and demoiselles of the period.... Chaucer,
describing the carpenter’s wife, says her body was ‘gentyll and small as
a weasel’; and the depraved taste extended to Scotland. Dunbar, in _The
Thistle and the Rose_, describing some beautiful women, observes—

                “‘Their middles were as small as wands.’

And to make their middles as small as possible has been ever since an
unfortunate mania with the generality of the fair sex, to the detriment
of their health and the distortion of their forms.”

Ever since 1602, when Felix Plater raised his voice against the corset,
physicians have written against tight lacing. But not only has it been
found impossible to cure this mania, even its causes have remained a
mystery to the present day. Certainly no man can understand the problem.
Is it simply the average woman’s lack of taste that urges her thus to
mutilate her Personal Beauty? Is it the admiration of a few vulgar
“mashers” and barber’s pets—since educated men detest wasp-waists? Or is
it simply the proverbial feminine craze for emulating one another and
arousing envy by excelling in some extravagance of dress, no matter at
what cost? This last suggestion is probably the true solution of the
problem. The only satisfaction a woman can get from having a wasp-waist
is the envy of other silly women. What a glorious recompense for her
æsthetic suicide, her invalidism, and her humiliating confession that
she considers the natural shape of God’s masterwork—the female
body—inferior in beauty to the contours of the lowly wasp!

With this ignoble pleasure derived from the envy of silly women and the
admiration of vulgar men, compare a few of the disadvantages resulting
from tight lacing. They are of two kinds—hygienic and æsthetic.

_Hygienic Disadvantages._—Surely no woman can look without a shudder at
a fashionable Parisian figure placed side by side with the Venus of Milo
in Professor Flower’s _Fashion in Deformity_, in Mrs. Haweis’s _Art of
Beauty_, or in Behnke and Brown’s _Voice, Song, and Speech_; or look
without horror at the skeletons showing the excessive compression of the
lower ribs brought about by fashionable lacing, and the injurious
displacement, in consequence, of some of the most important vital
organs. Nor can any young man who does not desire to marry a foredoomed
invalid, and raise sickly children, fail to be cured for ever of his
love for any wasp-waisted girl if he will take the trouble to read the
account of the terrible female maladies resulting from lacing, given in
Dr. Gaillard Thomas’s famous treatise on the _Diseases of Women_, in the
chapter on “Improprieties in Dress.” To cite only one sentence: Women,
he says, subject their waist to a “constriction which, in autopsy, will
sometimes be found to have _left the impress of the ribs upon the liver,
producing depressions corresponding to them_.”

Says Dr. J. J. Pope: “The German physiologist, Sömmering, has enumerated
no fewer than _ninety-two diseases_ resulting from tight lacing.... ‘But
I do not lace tightly,’ every lady is ready to answer. No woman ever
did, if we accept her own statement. Yet stay. Why does your corset
unclasp with a snap? _And why do you involuntarily take a deep breath
directly it is loosened?_” Young ladies who imagine they do not wear too
tight stays, inasmuch as they can still insert their hand, will find the
fallacy and danger of this reasoning exposed in Mr. B. Roth’s _Dress:
its Sanitary Aspect_.

The last line which I have italicised is of extreme significance.
Perhaps the greatest of all evils resulting from tight lacing is that it
discourages or _prevents deep breathing_, which is so absolutely
essential to the maintenance of health and beauty. The “heaving bosom”
of a maiden may be a fine poetic expression, but it indicates that the
maiden wears stays and breathes at the wrong (upper) end of her lungs.
“The fact of a patient breathing in this manner is noted by a physician
as a grave symptom, because it indicates mischief of a vital nature in
lungs, heart, or other important organ.” Healthy breathing should be
chiefly costal or abdominal; but this is made impossible by the corset,
which compresses the lower ribs, till, instead of being widely apart
below, they meet in the middle, and thus prevent the lungs from
expanding and receiving the normal share of oxygen, the only true elixir
of life, youth, and beauty.

This wrong breathing, due to tight lacing, also causes “congestion of
the vessels of the neck and throat ... gasping, jerking, and fatigue in
inspiration, and unevenness, trembling, and undue vibration in the
production and emission of vocal tone.”

Further, as the _Lancet_ points out, “tight stays are a common cause of
so-called ‘weak’ spine, due to weakness of muscles of the back.” Lacing
prevents the abdominal muscles from exercising their natural
functions—alternate relaxation and contraction: “A tight-laced pair of
stays acts precisely as a splint to the trunk, and prevents or greatly
impedes the action of the chief back muscles, which therefore become
weakened. The unfortunate wearer feels her spine weaken, thinks she
wants more support, so laces herself still tighter; she no doubt does
get some support in this way, but at what a terrible cost!”

In regard to tight corsets, as another physician has aptly remarked,
women are like the victims of the opium habit, who also daily feel the
need of a larger dose of their stimulant, every increment of which adds
a year to their age, and brings them a few steps nearer disease and ugly

_Æsthetic Disadvantages._—Among the æsthetic disadvantages resulting
from the Wasp-waist Mania, the following may be mentioned, besides the
loss of a clear, mellow, musical voice already referred to:—

(1) A stiff, inflexible waist, with a coarsely exaggerated contour, in
place of the slight and subtle curvature so becoming to woman. In other
words, a violation of the first law of personal æsthetics—imposing the
shape of a vulgar garment on the human form, instead of making the dress
follow the outlines of the body.

(2) A sickly, sallow complexion, pale lips, a red nose, lack of
buoyancy, general feebleness, lassitude, apathy, and stupidity,
resulting from the fact that the compression of the waist induces an
oxygen-famine. The eyes lose their sparkle and love-inspiring magic, the
features are perceptibly distorted, the brow is prematurely wrinkled,
and the expression and temper are soured by the constant discomfort that
has to be silently endured.

(3) Ugly shoulders. A woman’s shoulders should be sloping and well
rounded, like every other part of her body. Regarding the common
feminine deformity of square shoulders, Drs. Brinton and Napheys remark,
in their work on _Personal Beauty_, that “in four cases out of five it
has been brought about by too close-fitting corsets, which press the
shoulder-blades behind, and collar-bones in front, too far upwards, and
thus ruin the appearance of the shoulders.”

(4) An ugly bust. Tight lacing “flattens and displaces the breasts.”

(5) Clumsiness. The corset is ruinous to grace. “Almost daily,” says Dr.
Alice B. Stockham (_Tokology_), “women come to my office [in Chicago]
burdened with bands and heavy clothing, every vital organ restricted by
dress. It is not unusual to count from _sixteen to eighteen thicknesses
of cloth_ worn tightly about the pliable structure of the waist.” And
Dr. Lennox Browne advances the following crushing _argumentum ad

“It is impossible for the stiffly-corseted girl to be other than
inelegant and ungraceful in her movements. Her imprisoned waist, with
its flabby muscles, has no chance of performing beautiful undulatory
movements. In the ballroom the ungraceful motions of our stiff-figured
ladies are bad enough; there is no possibility for poetry of motion; but
nowhere is this more ludicrously and, to the thoughtful, painfully
manifest than in the tennis court. Let any one watch the movements of
ladies as compared with those of male players, and the absolute ugliness
of the female figure, with its stiff, unyielding, deformed, round waist,
will at once be seen. Ladies can only bend the body from the hip-joint.
All that wonderfully contrived set of hinges, with their connected
muscles, in the elastic column of the spine, is unable to act from the
shoulders downwards; and their figures remind one of the old-fashioned
modern Dutch doll.”

                        CORPULENCE AND LEANNESS

Many women consider the corset necessary as a figure-improver,
especially if they suffer from excessive fatness. They will be surprised
to hear that the corset is one of the principal causes of their
corpulence. Says Professor M. Williams: “There is one horror which no
lady can bear to contemplate, viz. fat. What is fat? It is an
accumulation of unburnt body-fuse. How can we get rid of it when
accumulated in excess? Simply by burning it away—this burning being done
by means of the oxygen inhaled by the lungs. If, as Mr. Lennox Browne
has shown, a lady with normal lung capacity of 125 cubic inches, reduces
this to 78 inches by means of her stays, and attains 118 inches all at
once on leaving them off, it is certain that her prospects of becoming
fat and flabby as she advances towards middle age are greatly increased
by tight lacing, and the consequent suppression of natural respiration.”

Thus corpulence may be put down as a sixth—or rather seventh—æsthetic
disadvantage resulting from the use of corsets.

The reason why women, although inferior to men in muscular development,
have softer and rounder forms, is because there is a greater natural
tendency in women than in men towards the accumulation of fatty tissue
under the skin. The least excess of this adipose tissue is, however, as
fatal as emaciation to that admiration of Personal Beauty which
constitutes the essence of Love. Leanness repels the æsthetico-amorous
sense because it obliterates the round contours of beauty, exposes the
sinews and bones, and thus suggests old age and disease. Corpulence
repels it because it destroys all delicacy of form, all grace of
movement, and in its exaggerated forms may indeed be looked upon as a
real disease imperatively calling for medical treatment; as Dr. Oscar
Maas shows most clearly and concisely in his pamphlet on the
“Schwenninger Cure,” which should be read by all who suffer from

Although the very “father of medicine,” Hippokrates, studied the subject
of corpulence, and formulated rules for curing it, doctors still
disagree regarding some of the details of its treatment. Some forbid all
fatty food, others prescribe it in small quantities, and Dr. Ebstein
specially recommends fat viands and sauces as preventives; but the
preponderance of the best medical opinion is against him. Dr. Say
recommends the drinking of very large quantities of tea, while Professor
Oertel urges the diminution of fluids in the body, first by drinking
little, and secondly by inducing copious perspiration, either
artificially (by hot air and steam baths, etc.), or, what is much
better, by brisk daily exercise. Dr. Schwenninger, who secured so much
fame by reducing Bismarck’s weight about 40 pounds, forbids the taking
of liquids during or within an hour or two of meal-time; in other words,
he counsels his patients not to eat and drink at the same time.

On the two most important points all authorities are practically agreed.
They are that the patient must avoid food which contains large
quantities of starch and sugar (such as cake, pastry, potatoes, bread,
pudding, honey, syrup, etc.); and secondly, that he must take as much
exercise as possible in the open air, because during walking the bodily
fat is consumed as fuel, to keep the machine going.

The notorious Mr. Banting, who reduced his weight in a year from 202 to
150 pounds, “lived on beef, mutton, fish, bacon, dry toast and biscuit,
poultry, game, tea, coffee, claret, and sherry in small quantities, and
a night-cap of gin, whisky, brandy, or wine. He _abstained_ from the
following articles: pork, veal, salmon, eels, herrings, sugar, milk, and
all sorts of vegetables grown underground, and nearly all fatty and
farinaceous substances. He daily drank 43 ounces of liquids. On this
diet he kept himself for seven years at 150 pounds. He found, what other
experience confirms, that _sugar was the most powerful of all
fatteners_” (Dr. G. M. Beard, in _Eating and Drinking_, a most
entertaining and useful little volume).

Lean persons wishing to increase their weight need only reverse the
directions here given as regards the choice or avoidance of certain
articles of food. Not so, however, with regard to exercise. If you wish
to reduce your corpulence, take exercise; if you wish to increase your
weight, again take exercise. The apparent paradox lurking in this rule
is easily explained. If you are too fat and walk a great deal, you burn
up the superfluous _fat_ and lose weight. If you are too lean and walk a
great deal you increase the bulk of your _muscles_, and thus gain
weight. Moreover, you greatly stimulate your appetite, and become able
to eat larger quantities of sweet and starchy food—more than enough to
counteract the wear and tear caused by the exercise.

Muscle is the plastic material of beauty. Fat should only be present in
sufficient quantity to prevent the irregular outlines of the muscles
from being too conspicuously indicated, at the expense of rounded
smoothness. What the ancient Greeks thought on this subject is vividly
shown in the following remarks by Dr. Maas: “According to the unanimous
testimony of Thukydides, Plato, Xenophon, the gymnastic exercises to
which the Greeks were so passionately addicted, and which constituted,
as is well known, a very essential part of the public education of the
young, had for their avowed object the prevention of undue corpulence,
since an excessive paunch did not only offend the highly-developed
æsthetic sense of this talented nation, but was justly regarded as an
impediment to bodily activity. In order, therefore, to make the youths
not only beautiful, but also vigorous and able to resist hardship, and
thus more capable of serving their country, they were, from their
childhood, and uninterruptedly, exercised daily in running, wrestling,
throwing the discus, etc.; so that the prevention of corpulence was
practically raised to a formal state-maxim, and as such enforced
occasionally with unyielding persistence.”

The ruinous consequences of an exaggerated abdomen to the harmonious
proportions of the body, and to grace of attitude and gait, are so
universally known that it would be superfluous to apply any of our
negative tests of Beauty—such as the facts that apes and savages are
commonly characterised by protuberant bellies, and that intemperance and
gluttony have the same disastrous effect on Personal Beauty. In
civilised communities, indolence and beer-drinking are the chief causes
predisposing to corpulence. In Bavaria, where enormous quantities of
beer are consumed, almost all the men are deformed by obesity; but in
other countries, as a rule, women suffer more from this anomaly than
men, because they lead a less active life.

It may be stated as a general rule that girls under eighteen are too
slight and women over thirty too heavy—"fat and forty." This calamity is
commonly looked on as one of the inevitable dispensations of Providence,
whereas it is simply a result of indolence and ignorance. With a little
care in dieting, and two or three hours a day devoted to walking,
rowing, tennis, swimming, dancing, etc., any young lady can add ten to
fifteen pounds to her weight in one summer, or reduce it by that amount,
as may be desired. But as the consumption of enormous quantities of
fresh air by the unimprisoned lungs is the absolute condition of success
in this beautifying process, it is useless to attempt it without laying
aside the corset.

The plea that corsets are needed to hold up the heavy clothing is of no
moment. Women, like men, should wear their clothing suspended from the
shoulder, which is a great deal more conducive to health, comfort, and
gracefulness than the clumsy fashion of attaching everything to the

Still less weight can be attached to the monstrous argument that women
need stays for support. What an insulting proposition to assert that
civilised woman is so imperfectly constructed that she alone of all
created beings needs artificial surgical support to keep her body in
position! If there are any women so very corpulent or so very lean that
they need a corset as a figure-improver or a support, then let them have
it for heaven’s sake, and look upon themselves as subjects ripe for
medical treatment. What is objected to here is that strong, healthy,
well-shaped girls should deform themselves deliberately by wearing
tight, unshapely corsets, rankly offensive to the æsthetic sense.

                      THE FASHION FETISH ANALYSED

Once more the question must be asked, “Why do women wear such hideous
things as crinolines, bustles, and corsets, so universally abhorred by
men?” Is it because they are inferior to men in æsthetic taste? Is
Schopenhauer right when he says that “women are and remain, on the
whole, the most absolute and incurable Philistines?” They are deficient
in objectivity, he adds: “hence they have no real intelligence or
appreciation for music or poetry, or the plastic arts; and if they make
any pretences of this sort, it is only apish affectation to gratify
their vanity. Hence it would be more correct to call them the
_unæsthetic_ than the beautiful sex.”

The pessimistic woman-hater no doubt exaggerates. Yet—without alluding
to the paucity of women who have distinguished themselves in the fine
arts—is it credible that the average woman would so readily submit to a
repulsive fashion like the bustle, or a hat “adorned” with the corpse of
a murdered bird, if she had even a trace of æsthetic feeling? If women
had the refined æsthetic taste with which they are commonly credited, is
it conceivable that they would voluntarily adopt the African bustle,
because fashionable, in preference to a more becoming style? Have you
ever heard that a person of acknowledged musical taste, for example,
gave up his violin or piano to learn the African banjo, because that
happened to be the fashionable instrument?

Yet there are, no doubt, many women whose eyes even custom cannot blind
to the hideousness of most Parisian fashions. But they have not the
courage to show their superior taste in their dresses, being overawed
and paralysed in presence of a monstrous idol, the Fashion Fetish.

Never has a stone image, consecrated by cunning priests, exercised a
more magic influence on a superstitious heathen’s mind than the
invisible Fashion Fetish on the modern feminine intellect. It is both
amusing and pathetic to hear a woman exclaim: “Our women are most blind
and thoughtless followers of fashions still imposed upon them, _Heaven
knows wherefore and by whom_” (Mrs. Haweis).

So great is the awe in which this Fetish is held that no one has yet
dared to lay violent hands on it. Yet if we now knock it on the head, we
shall find it hollow inside; and the fragments, subjected to chemical
analysis, show that they consist of the following five elements:—

(1) _Vulgar Display of Wealth._—A certain number of rich people, being
unable to distinguish themselves from poorer mortals in any other way,
make a parade of their money by constantly introducing changes in the
fashion of their apparel which those who have less income are unable to
adopt at once. This, and not the love of novelty, is the real cause of
the minute variations in styles constantly introduced. Of course it is
generally understood that to boast of your wealth is as vulgar as to
boast of your wit or wisdom; but this makes no difference, for Fashion
in its very essence is vulgar.

(2) _Milliners’ Cunning._—Milliners grow fat on fashionable
extravagance. Hence it is the one object of their life to encourage this
extravagance. So they constantly invent new styles, to prevent women
from wearing the same dress more than one season. And every customer is
slyly flattered into the belief that nothing was ever so becoming to her
as the latest style, though it probably makes her look like a fright. As
a little flattery goes a great way with most women, the milliner’s
hypocrisy escapes detection. “The persons who devise fashions are not
artists in the best sense of the word, nor are they persons of culture
or taste,” as Mr. E. L. Godkin remarks: “their business is not to
provide beautiful costumes but new ones.”

It is to such scheming and unscrupulous artisans that women entrust the
care of their personal appearance. And they will continue doing so until
they are more generally taught the elements of the fine arts and a love
of beauty in Nature.

To make sure of a rich harvest, milliners, when a new fashion has
appeared, manufacture all their goods in that style, so that it is
almost impossible to buy any others, all of which are declared “bad
form.” And their poor victims meekly submit to this tyranny!

(3) _Tyranny of the Ugly Majority._—This is another form of tyranny from
which ladies suffer. Most women are ugly and ungraceful, and resent the
contrast which beautiful women, naturally and becomingly attired, would
present to their own persons: hence they favour the crinolette, the
bustle, the corset, the long, trailing dresses, the sleeve-puffs at the
shoulders, etc., because such fashionable devices make all women look
equally ugly and ungraceful.

Mrs. Armytage throws light on the origin of some absurd fashions when
she refers to the cases of “the patches first applied to hide an ugly
wen: of cushions carried to equalise strangely-deformed hips; of long
skirts to cover ugly feet; and long shoes to hide an excrescence on the

Surely it is sufficien