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   Chapter 5 On Lovers

Hints for Lovers By Arnold Haultain Characters: 12927

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04

"Si vis amari ama."


Lovers think the world was made for them.-And so perhaps it was.

* * *

To each other, lovers are the most interesting personages alive; but onlookers regard them partly with amusement, partly with pity, partly with compassion-in the etymological sense of that word.

* * *

The first wonder of every accepted lover is that he should be the accepted lover of such a woman. -What the woman thinks . . . what the woman thinks, probably not even she herself knows. Probably each woman thinks her own thoughts.

To doubt whether one is in love is to prove oneself out of it.

* * *

To impress upon the lover the still-existing necessity of refining gold or painting the lily is out of the question. Yet every woman attempts it.

* * *

If there is one proverb more distasteful than another to a hot-headed lover, it is that half a loaf is better than no bread.

* * *

Children, dogs, and old people are difficult to deceive. Lovers who have to use circumspection should remember this.

* * *

A doubting lover should mark how, and for whom, his woman dresses.

* * *

To die for a woman would perhaps, to a young and ardent lover, not be difficult; to wage incessant warfare with the world for her, that perhaps is not so easy. But it is the better test of love; and perhaps also the better preserver and replenisher of love. For

Little as people seem to be aware of it, love requires constant replenishing: no flame can burn without a feeding oil, no pool overflow with out a purling brook. Yet

The first ecstasies of love often blind both lover and lass to the care necessary for the nurture of love. Indeed,

To many treat love as if it were a passing whim; whereas in sober reality it is (or should be) a lasting emotion.

* * *

Love, with woman, is like the tides. And

Few women know the high-water mark of their love: they are always harboring the belief that it may rise still higher; and often they await that rise.

* * *

It is but the reflection of himself in his mistress that many a foolish lover loves.

* * *

That aged spinster is a rare one who does not regret she did not accept one of her lovers. But

That younger spinster is not to be envied who has to make choice of several.

Youth glories in the multiplicity of its lovers; age sometimes wishes it had had but one.

* * *

The unloved think lad the one thing needful. The beloved know that an ocean of love could be swallowed up and the parched soul cry out athirst.

* * *

It is not well either to confide or confess too much.

A very small rock will wreck a very big ship, and a very small slip will spoil a very long life.

* * *

The pain which lovers cause each other-through fickleness, languidness, jealousy, and the thousand natural shocks that love is heir to-is not altogether pain, though at the moment it may seem the most poignant anguish the human soul could suffer. One proof of this lies in the fact that

There are few who would choose to have missed love's pangs altogether.

Perhaps the pleasure intermixed with love's pangs arises from the thought that the other is the cause of our suffering. For,

In all love, it is the sacrifice of oneself for the other that brings keenest joy. And yet

There is an element of self-love in the very extremest of love. Since

Love, after all, is a debtor and creditor affair. (Who ever loved with no hope of return?) It is when one of the parties declares him-or her-self insolvent that the account is closed-with many tears and sighs on the part of the chief creditor. At all events

The intenser the love, the more flawless does its object appear. For

The surest test of the sincerity of love is that it thinketh no evil.

The surest test of a waning love is that it begins not to content itself when it sees its object suffer.

The surest test of a dead love is that it forgets how to be jealous.

* * *

The falling-out of lovers true is a renewing may be of love. (1) Still it is not to be recommended. In fact, it might be said that

Every falling-out of lovers true is a nail in love's coffin. Yet,

A blessing it is that in love we remember the sweet rather than the bitter. For

Love was ever bitter-sweet (2).

(1) "Amanitum irae amoris integratis est." -Terrence, Andria, III, 23.

(2) But I supposed innumerable people have said this before. No matter.

* * *

The heart of a lover is like that bottom of a well: all the beauties of the starry heavens are revealed in it; but when it sheds the light of its countenance upon it, all else is obliterated.

* * *

Was any lover ever loved enough? Or

Did any ever hear of a tired lover? Nevertheless often

"Drink to me only with thine eyes", says the youthful lover; but when the seance is over he goes out and orders beef-steak and bottled beer.

* * *

What it really craves, the lover's heart is impotent to express. Yet, it is ever attempting.

A lover is full of wishes as an egg is full of meat. But

What it really wishes no lover seems able to say. As a matter of fact,

The endless task which the lover is ever attempting is a search for a formula for the summation of an infinite series of which love is the variable.-Few lovers seem to understand this.

* * *

To kindle aspiration in her lover, a woman herself need not be aspiring.


Whatever the talents of a man, they are stimulated by contact with woman.


An elevating influence seems to radiate from women: we have but to come into the light of their countenances for our own faces to shine as the sun. Indeed,

Physicists may talk as they like, but lovers know a more subtle and a more potent force than any yet revealed to them. It has not yet been named; but for the present it might be called "psychicity". (3)

(3) Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes speaks of "celebricity". See "Over the Tea Cup"

* * *

If you wish to ascertain the relationship of a youthful pair, watch their eyes. For

Simulation is difficult to the eye.

* * *

When the idol into which a woman has converted her lover is dethroned, she still worships her remembrance of her god, and puts together and treasures the broken pieces.

When the idol into which has converted his loved one is dethroned, he generally changes his creed.

* * *

A circumpsecting lover is a woman's abhorrence: as a calculating mistress is a man's.

* *


Let a lover but put himself into the hands of his mistress, and he is safe. Since

The man she really loves, a woman will shield through thick and thin, through right and wrong. For,

Concerning a man, the only question a woman asks is, not, "Is he right or wrong?" but, "Is he mine or another's?"-We men therefore

Leave a woman to get her lover out of a scrape.

* * *

It is to be feared that the men and women who love but once and forever are not usually to be found outside of romances.

With women, love is a river, ever-flowing, from the brook in girlhood, (4) to the estuary of womanhood. Like a river, too,

Woman's love is fed by all the streams it meets. On the other hand,

With man, love is a geyser.

(4) Standing with reluctant feet

Where the brook and river meet.

-Longfellow, "Maidenhood"

* * *

The languishing lover has gone out of date; he has been replaced by the diverting one. And the change is significant of much: The early nineteenth-century maid pretended to ignorance; the early twentieth-century maid to omniscience.

The early nineteenth-century suitor protested; but

The early twentieth-century suitor has to contest. In the one case,

The woman tacitly acknowledges an inequality. In the other case,

The man has to openly to recognize his equal. Nevertheless,

The fundamental relationship between the sexes do not materially vary from century to century, much as conventional manners and customs may. For, after all,

Always what a man seeks in a woman is: love. And

In all love there is something perfectly and Paradisiacally pristine.

Would the most emancipated woman have love otherwise? At all events,

Perhaps the most womanly position a woman can occupy is: with her head on her lover's heart. At this the strong-minded may scoff. They may. * * *

The obsession of the male heart by one woman ousts from it all other women. Thus,

The accepted young man regards all women but the one as he would regard fashion-plates. To the young woman men continue to be men. That is to say,

A man dives headlong into love. A woman paddles into it. And the woman's hesitation at the brink of the stream exasperates the spluttering man. In short,

A man's heart is captured wholly and at a stroke. A woman's heart surrenders itself piecemeal.

Whereas, with a man, a trivial passion is usually an affair more of the senses or of the imagination than of the heart; with a woman every passions is an affair of the heart.

A man, when first he is in love, is absorbed in the contemplation of the object of his love. A woman is similarly situated is capable of making comparisons.

It gives to woman's curiosity a curious pleasure to compare the methods of men's proposals.

In love, a woman is generally cool enough to calculate pros and cons; a man, in similar plight, is incapable of anything but folly.

* * *

It is a feminine motto that a woman needs to be taught how to love. Perhaps she does; but most men will think one private tutor ought to suffice, and that tutor ought to be he. At all events,

The last schoolmaster would be apt to regard with somewhat mixed feelings the tuition of previous crammers.

Why go to the trouble of explaining away a first love, if the second is no whit its inferior? Unless it be to overcome.

What a second love chiefly deplores is: that it was not he (or she) who first taught his (or her) loved one to love. Is it not true also that

It is the first love that amazes, that beautifies, that consecrates?

(An illicit love beautifies and consecrates nothing:

A Maud leaves the daisies rosy; not so Faustine.)

Many a woman has given her heart to one lover and herself to another.

The first is always won; the second is sometimes extorted. Yet,

It is wonderful how a woman will contrive to make all her lovers believe they are winners.

* * *

It often gives a lady a pleasure to give her lover a pang.

* * *

Not many but have tasted the bitterness of the conflict between the desire of the flesh and the resentment of the spirit. Explain these terms who may.

* * *

To attempt by erring to cure an erring lover, is to administer, not an antidote, but an adjuvant. It works poison in the blood. When (and if) in a tortuous love, a man arrives at a 'Don't give a damn' stage, he is not to be classed with the animals known as docile. And as to a woman. . . . . . . but polite language has its limits.

* * *

Many a man has be exasperated, not only by the audacity of his rival, but by the equanimity with which his lady-love views that audacity. He forgets that, as a rule,

Feminine complaisance varies directly as masculine audacity. And yet, often enough, as a simple matter of fact, 118 Masculine diffidence is vastly more potent than masculine audacity. And further,

Rarely need the complaisance that audacity evokes perturb the diffident man; since

Rarely need the complaisance that audacity evokes perturb the diffident man; since

The true woman may give her fingertips to the gallant; she gives herself to the worshiper. The pity o' it is that

The worshiper cannot away with the complaisance that permits a woman to give even her finger-tips to the gallant. And

Few are the women who have plumbed the silent and sensitive depths of the diffidence of her devotee. The worst of it is,

The devotee essays two things: he would apotheosize the object of his adoration and place her as a constellation among the stars; yet he would have her at the same time terrestrial and tangible. When the woman shows herself terrestrial and tangible to others than he, the faith of the devotee is shaken. In fine,

Every lover attempts that impossible task: the realization of the heavenly ideal. Perhaps

It is in aphelion that the corona appears most splendid;

Were perihelion to result is coalescence, perhaps the photosphere would be proved composed of terrestrial vapors. And if it did (as no doubt it would), would it be at all bedimmed? For, to the devout astrologer

Nothing, nothing will ever destroy beauty-and therefore wonder. So,

Bodily beauty, where Love is priestess, is a daedal spur to the loftiest worship.

The lover is ever worshipful. And

Where is worship, nothing can be profane. So

In love there is nor taint nor stain. Therefore,

Make, O youthful lover, the best and most of youth and love: never will either recur.

* * *

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