BY “OUR POLITICAL ORPHAN.”
The Bombay Gazette Press, 1881.
[January 5, 1880.]
MY DEAR MRS. SMITH,
I cannot understand why Mrs. Smith, with her absurd figure—for really I can apply no other adjective to it—should wear that most absurdly tight dress. Some one should tell her what a fright it makes of her. She is nothing but convexities. She looks exactly like an hour-glass, or a sodawater machine. At a little distance you can hardly tell whether she is coming to you, or going away from you. She looks just the same all round. People call her smile sweet; but then it is the mere sweetness of inanity. It is the blank brightness of an empty chamber. She sheds these smiles upon everyone and everything, and they are felt to be cold like moonshine. Speaking for myself, these eau-sucre smiles could not suckle my love. I would languish upon them. My love demands stronger drink. Mrs. Smith’s features are good, no doubt. Her eyes are good. An oculist would be satisfied with them. They have a cornea, a crystalline lens, a retina, and so on, and she can see with them. This is all very satisfactory, I do not deny, as far as it goes. Physiologically her eyes are admirable; but for poetry, for love, or even for flirting, they are useless. There is no significance in them, no witchery, no suggestiveness. The aurora of beautiful far-away thoughts does not coruscate in them. Her eyelids conceal them, but do not quench them. They would be nothing for winking, or tears. If she winked at me, I should not jump into the air, as if shot in the spine, with my blood tingling to my extremities; my heart would not beat like a side-drum; my blushes would not come perspiring through my whiskers. Her winking would altogether misfire. Why? Because her winking would be physiological and not erotic. If you ever learnt to love her, it would not be for any lovelight in her eye; it would never be the quick, fierce, hot, biting electric passion of the fleshly poets, it would be what a chemist might call the “eremacausis” kindled by habit. Mrs. Smith’s tears are quite the poorest product of the lachrymal glands I have ever seen. They are simply a form of water. They might dribble from an effete pump; they might leak from a worn-out mashq.[AA] I observe them with pity and regret. Their drip has no echo in my bosom; it produces no stalactites of sympathy in my heart.