The Idler, Volume III., Issue XIII., February 1893 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 110 pages of information about The Idler, Volume III., Issue XIII., February 1893.
scales; and the love which we thought would be a practical reality for life, is nothing but a pleasing fiction, good for its day, and now dead and done with.  The lover sees nothing as it is.  Life is distorted between jealousy and admiration, and the plain teaching of common-sense is as little understood as the conditions of the fourth dimension or the poetic aspirations of the Simian tongue.  The adored is not a real person; the happiness anticipated is not practical nor practicable.  Both are on all-fours with the substantiality of a cloud and the serviceable roadway of a rainbow.  Custom, familiarity, daily habits are the sole tests by which the reality of the thing beloved can be tried—­the reality of the thing beloved and consequent validity of love.  Before these tests are applied, the whole affair is as a fairy dream born of the perfume and the mystery of night.  With the clear cold breath of morning the dream vanishes, but—­what is left?  The sigh of the vanishing god?—­a tear on the cheek of Psyche?—­the loathing of the man who finds Melusine a serpent rather than a woman?—­or the peaceful joy of the child who dreams of angels and wakes in its mother’s arms?—­of those who sleeping on the ocean wake to find themselves safe in port?

* * * * *

[Sidenote:  “Rita” thinks Love is beautiful and wise.]

At one period of life, love is simply an emotion—­the outcome of attraction, or the effect of that vague mystery which surrounds sex.  In this emotional stage the feeling may be real enough, but the passion is an illusion.  A girl is often more in love with Love than with an actual lover.  The youth who beholds his ideal in the First Woman is in love with the woman herself who for the time (usually very brief) embodies that ideal.  But to the girl and the youth comes an hour when they are humiliatingly conscious of study wasted on a prettily-bound work of fiction that for all use and purpose in life is quite valueless.  The edifice of romance is constructed much on the same plan as a child’s castle of cards, and deservedly shares the same fate.  That is to say, the topmost card overbalances the whole structure.  It is usually the hand of Reason that topples over Love’s romantic tenement by crowning it with the card of Common Sense.  When we find Love has become a practical reality, the discovery is often very unpleasant.  We would rather not be unhappy if we had the choice.  Unfortunately, we haven’t, and find ourselves in that condition without exactly knowing how we drifted into it.  Drifters often discover Love to be a very practical reality, because of unpleasant consequences.  It is decidedly humiliating to find ourselves in the toils of a siren the very reverse of our high ideal of the personage who is to have the honour and glory of subjugating us.  This is one of Love’s amusing little ways of proving that ideals are really not important.  The best and safest test of the reality of Love is to ask yourself how much you have

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The Idler, Volume III., Issue XIII., February 1893 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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