Lovers, as I have observed, are invariably objects of ridicule; timid, jealous, and nervous, a frown throws them into a state of agony it would be difficult to describe, and a smile bestowed upon a rival breaks their rest for a week. Only observe one of them engaged in a quiet, interesting tete-a-tete with the lady of his choice. He has exerted all his powers of fascination, and he fancies he is beginning to make a favourable impression on his companion, when—bang!—a tall, whiskered fellow, who, rumour has whispered, is the lady’s intended, drops in upon them like a bomb-shell! The detected lover sits confounded and abashed, wishing in the depths of his soul that he could transform himself into a gnat, and make his exit through the keyhole. Meantime the new-comer seats himself in solemn silence, and for five minutes the conversation is only kept up by monosyllables, in spite of the incredible efforts of all parties to appear unconcerned. The young man in his confusion plunges deeper into the mire;—he twists and writhes in secret agony—remarks on the sultriness of the weather, though the thermometer is below the freezing point; and commits a thousand gaucheries—too happy if he can escape from a situation than which nothing can possibly be conceived more painful.
THE LOVER AT DIFFERENT AGES.
It would not be easy to determine at what age love first manifests itself in the human heart; but if the reader have a good memory (I now speak to my own sex), he may remember when its tender light dawned upon his soul,—he may recall the moment when the harmonious voice of woman first tingled in his ears, and filled his bosom with unknown rapture,—he may recollect how he used to forsake trap-ball and peg-top to follow the idol he had created in her walks,—how he hoarded up the ripest oranges and gathered the choicest flowers to present to her, and felt more than recompensed by a word of thanks kindly spoken. Oh, youth—youth! pure and happy age, when a smile, a look, a touch of the hand, makes all sunshine and happiness in thy breast.
But the season of boyhood passes—the youth of sixteen becomes a young man of twenty, and smiles at the innocent emotions of his uneducated heart. He is no longer the mute adorer who worshipped in secrecy and in silence. Each season produces its own flowers. At twenty, the time for mute sympathy has passed away: it is one of the most eventful periods in the life of a lover; for should he then chance to meet a heart free to respond to his ardent passion, and that no cruel father, relentless guardian, or richer lover interposes to overthrow his hopes, he may with the aid of a licence, a parson, and a plain gold ring, be suddenly launched into the calm felicity of married life.