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[Illustration: PORTRAIT OF THE LOVER.]
THE AUTHOR DEDICATES HIS WORK TO THE FAIRER HALF OF THE CREATION.
[Illustration: G]Gentle woman!—Beautiful enigma!—whose magnetic glances and countless charms subdue man’s sterner nature—to you I dedicate the following pages. The subject on which I am about to treat is the gravest, the lightest, the most decided, the most undefined, the most earthly, the most spiritual, the saddest, and the gayest, the most individual, and at the same time the most universal you can imagine. To you, ladies, I address myself. You who form the keys on which the eternal and infinite gamut of love has been run from creation’s first hour till the present moment—tell me how I may best touch the chords of your hearts? Come around me, ye earthly divinities of every age, rank, and imaginable variety! Buds of blushing sixteen, full-blown roses of thirty, haughty court dames, and smiling city beauties, come like delicious phantoms, and fill my mind with images graceful as your own forms, and melting as your own hearts! Thanks, gentle spirits! ye have heard my call, and now, inspired by you, I seize my pen, and give to my paper the thoughts which crowd upon my mind.
WHAT IS LOVE?
It is easier to answer this question by a thousand instances, than by one definition, which can comprehend them all. What is Love? It is anything you please. It is a prism, through which the eye beholds the same object in various colours; it is a heaven of bliss, or a hell of torture; a thirst of the heart—an appetite which we spiritualize; a pure expansion of the soul, but which sooner or later becomes metamorphosed into an animal passion—a diamond statue with feet of clay. It is a dream—a delirium, a desire for danger, and a hope of conquest; it is that which everyone abjures, and everyone covets; it is the end, the great end, and the only end of life. Love, in short, is a tyrannical influence which none can escape; and however metaphysicians may define the passion, it appears to me that it is wholly dependent on the mysterious
[Illustration: LAWS OF ATTRACTION.]
A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUNG LADIES.
A young lady, I mean one who has but recently thrown aside her dolls, is a bashful blushing little puppet, who only acts, speaks, and moves as mama directs. She is a statue of flesh and blood, not yet animated by the Promethean fire—a chrysalis, which may one day become a beautiful butterfly, fluttering on silken wing amidst a crowd of adorers; but she is yet only a chrysalis, pale and cold, and wrapped up in a thousand conventional restrictions, like a mummy in its swathes.