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face. This, I maintain, makes up more than half of the personal beauty which makes a man fall in love. A girl with good features is twice as beautiful if she is morally pure and has a bright mind. Sometimes a face is accidentally moulded into such a regular beauty of form that it seems to mirror mental beauty too. A man may fall in love with such a face, but as soon as he finds out that it is inhabited by a stupid or coarse mind he will make haste to fall out again, unless his love was predominantly sensual. I remember once falling in love with a country girl at first sight; her face and figure seemed to me extremely beautiful, except that hard work had enlarged and hardened her hands. But when I found that her intellect was as coarse as her hands, my ardor cooled at
If intellect, as revealed in the face, in words, and in actions, did not assist in inspiring the amorous sentiment, it would be as easy to fall in love with a doll-faced, silly girl as with a woman of culture; it would even be possible to fall in love with a statue or with a demented person. Let us imagine a belle who is thrown from a horse and has become insane from the shock. For a time her features will remain as regular, her figure as plump, as before; but the mind will be gone, and with it everything that could make a man fall in love with her. Who has ever heard of a beautiful idiot, of anyone falling in love with an imbecile? The vacant stare, the absence of intellect, make beauty and love alike impossible in such a case.
THE STRANGE GREEK ATTITUDE
The important corollary follows, from all this, that in countries where women receive no education sensual love is the only kind men can feel toward them. Oriental women are of that kind, and so were the ancient Greeks. The Greeks are indeed renowned for their statuary, yet their attitude toward personal beauty was of a very peculiar kind. Their highest ideal was not the feminine but the masculine type, and accordingly we find that it was toward men only that they
professed to feel a noble passion. The beauty of the women was regarded merely from a sensual point of view. Their respectable women were deliberately left without education, wherefore their charms can have been at best of a bodily kind and capable of inspiring love of body only. There is a prevalent superstition that the Greeks of the day of Perikles had a class of intelligent women known as hetairai, who were capable of being true companions and inspirers of men; but I shall show, in a later chapter, that the mentality of these women has been ludicrously exaggerated; they were coarse and obscene in their wit and conversation, and their morals were such that no man could have respected them, much less loved them with a pure affection; while the men whom they are supposed to have inspired were in most cases voluptuaries of the most dissolute sort.
A COMPOSITE AND VARIABLE SENTIMENT
Our attempt to answer the question "What is romantic love," has taken up no fewer than two hundred and thirtyfive pages, and even this answer is a mere preliminary sketch, the details of which will be supplied in the following chapters, chiefly, it is true, in a negative way, by showing what is not romantic love; for the subject of this book is Primitive Love.
DEFINITION OF LOVE
Can love be defined in one sentence? The Century Dictionary's definition, which is as good as any, is: "Intimate personal affection between individuals of opposite sex capable of intermarriage; the emotional incentive to and normal basis of conjugal union." This is correct enough as far as it goes; but how little it tells us of the nature of love! I have tried repeatedly to condense the essential traits of romantic love into one brief definition, but have not succeeded. Perhaps the following will serve as an approximation. Love
is an intense longing for the reciprocal affection and jealously exclusive possession of a particular individual of the opposite sex; a chaste, proud, ecstatic adoration of one who appears a paragon of personal beauty and otherwise immeasurably superior to all other persons; an emotional state constantly hovering between doubt and hope, aggravated in the female heart by the fear of revealing her feelings too soon; a selfforgetful impulse to share the tastes and feelings of the beloved, and to go so far in affectionate and gallant devotion as to eagerly sacrifice, for the other's good, all comfort and life itself if necessary.
These are the essential traits. But romantic love is altogether too complex and variable to be defined in one sentence; and it is this complexity and variability that I wish to emphasize particularly. Eckermann once suggested to Goethe that no two cases of love are quite alike, and the poet agreed with him. They did not, however, explain their seeming paradox, so diametrically opposed to the current notion that love is everywhere and always the same, in individuals as in nations; nor could they have explained it unless they had analyzed love into its component elements as I have done in this volume. With the aid of this analysis it is easy to show how and why love has changed and grown, like other sentiments; to explain how and why the love of a civilized white man must differ from that of an Australian or African savage, just as their faces differ. Since no two races look alike, and no two individuals in the same race, why should their loves be alike? Is not love the heart of the soul and the face merely its mirror? Love is varied through a thousand climatic, racial, family, and cultural peculiarities. It is varied through individual tastes and proclivities. In one case of love admiration of personal beauty may be the strongest ingredient, in another jealous monopoly, in a third self-sacrificing affection, and so on. The permutations and combinations are countless, and hence it is that love-stories are always fresh, since they can be endlessly varied. lover's varied feelings in relation to the beloved become gradually blended into a sentiment which is a composite
photograph of all the emotions she has ever aroused in him. This has given rise to the delusion that love is a simple feeling.1
WHY CALLED ROMANTIC
In the introductory chapter of this book I alluded briefly to my reasons for calling pure prematrimonial infatuation romantic love, giving some historic precedents for such a use of the word. We are now in a position to appreciate the peculiar appropriateness of the term. What is the dictionary definition of "romantic"? "Pertaining to or resembling romance, or an ideal state of things; partaking of the heroic, the marvellous, the supernatural, or the imaginative; chimerical, fanciful, extravagantly enthusiastic." Every one of these terms applies to love in the sense in which I use the word. Love is ideal, heroic, marvellous, imaginative, chimerical, fanciful, extravagantly enthusiastic; its hyperbolic adoration even gives it a supernatural tinge, for the adored girl seems more like an angel or a fairy than a common mortal. The lover's heroine is as fictitious as any heroine of romance; he considers her the most beautiful and lovable person in the world, though to others she may seem ugly and ill-tempered. Thus love is called romantic, because it is so great a romancer, attributing to the beloved all sorts of perfections which exist only in the lover's fancy. What could be more fantastic than a lover's stubborn preference for a particular individual and his conviction that no one ever loved so frantically as he does? What more extravagant and unreasonable than his imperious desire to completely monopolize her affection, sometimes guarding her jealously even from her girl friends or her nearest relatives? What more romantic than the tortures and tragedies, the mixed emotions,
It is not strange that the human race should have had to wait so long for a complete analysis of love. It is not so very long ago 'since Newton showed that what was supposed to be a simple white light was really compounded of all the colors of the rainbow; or that Helmholtz analyzed sounds into their partial tones of different pitch, which are combined in what seems to be a simple tone of this or that pitch. Similarly, I have shown that the pleasures of the table, which everybody supposes to be simple, gustatory sensations (matters of taste), are in reality compound odors. Se my article on "The Gastronomic Value of Odors," in the Contemporary Review, 1881.
that doubt or jealousy gives rise to? Does not a willing but coyly reserved maiden romance about her feelings? What could be more fanciful and romantic than her shy reserve and coldness when she is longing to throw herself into the lover's arms? Is not her proud belief that her lover-probably as commonplace and foolish a fellow as ever lived-is a hero or a genius a romantic exaggeration? Is not the lover's purity of imagination, though real as a feeling, a romantic illusion, since he craves ultimate possession of her and would be the unhappiest of mortals if she went to a nunnery, though she promised to love him always? What could be more marvellous, more chimerical, than this temporary suppression of a strong appetite at the time when it would be supposed to manifest itself most irresistibly-this distilling of the finer emotions, leaving all the gross, material elements behind? Can you imagine anything more absurdly romantic than the gallant attentions of a man on his knees before a girl whom, with his stronger muscles, he could command as a slave? Who but a romantic lover would obliterate his selfish ego in sympathetic devotion to another, trying to feel her feelings, forgetting his own? Who but a romantic lover would sacrifice his life in the effort to save or please another? A mother would indeed do the same for her child; but the child is of her own flesh and blood, whereas the beloved may have been a stranger until an hour ago. How romantic!
The appropriateness of the word romantic is still further emphasized by the consideration that, just as romantic art, romantic literature, and romantic music are a revolt against artificial rules and barriers to the free expression of feeling, so romantic love is a revolt against the obstacles to free matrimonial choice imposed by parental and social tyranny.
Indeed, I can see only one objection to the use of the word-its frequent application to any strange or exciting incidents, whence some confusion may ensue. But the trouble is obviated by simply bearing in mind the distinction between romantic incidents and romantic feelings which I have summed up in the maxim that a romantic love-story is not necessarily a story of romantic love. Nearly all the tales