I know not what mysterious chain unites the heart of a young lover to that of the woman whom he loves. In the simplicity of their hearts they often imagine it is but friendship that draws them towards each other, until some unexpected circumstance removes the veil from their eyes, and they discover the dangerous precipice upon whose brink they have been walking. A journey, absence, or sickness, inevitably produce a discovery. If a temporary separation be about to occur, the unconscious lovers feel, they scarce know wherefore, a deep shade of sadness steal over them; their adieux are mingled with a thousand protestations of regret, which sink into the heart and bear a rich harvest by the time they meet again. Days and months glide by, and the pains of separation still endure; for they feel how necessary they have become to the happiness of each other, and how cold and joyless existence seems when far from those we love.
That which may be anticipated, at length comes to pass; the lover returns—he flies to his mistress—she receives him with blushing cheek and palpitating heart. I shall not attempt to describe the scene, but throughout the day and night that succeeds that interview the lover seems like one distracted. In the city, in the fields—alone, or in company—he hears nothing but the magic words, “I LOVE YOU!” ringing in his ears, and feels that ecstatic delight which it is permitted mortals to taste but once in their lives.
But what are the sensations which enter the heart of a young and innocent girl when she first confesses the passion that fills her heart? A tender sadness pervades her being—her soul, touched by the hand of Love, delivers itself to the influence of all the nobler emotions of her nature; and borne heavenward on the organ’s solemn peal, pours forth its rich treasures in silent and grateful adoration.
At thirty, a man takes a more decided—I wish I could add a more amiable—character than at twenty. At twenty he loves sincerely and devotedly; he respects the woman who has inspired him with the noblest sentiment of which his soul is capable. At thirty his heart, hardened by deceit and ill-requited affection, and pre-occupied by projects of worldly ambition, regards love only as an agreeable pastime, and woman’s heart as a toy, which he may fling aside the moment it ceases to amuse him. At twenty he is ready to abandon everything for her whom he idolises—rank, wealth, the future!—they weigh as nothing in the balance against the fancied strength and constancy of his passion. At thirty he coldly immolates the repose and happiness of the woman who loves him to the slightest necessity. I must admit, however—in justice to our sex—provided his love does not interfere with his interest, nor his freedom, nor his club, nor his dogs and horses, nor his petites liaisons des coulisses, nor his hour of dinner—the lover is always willing to make the greatest sacrifices