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Full text of "Selected Essays Of Robert Louis Stevenson"

ON  FALLING IN  LOVE                   13

When at last the scales fall from his eyes} it is not
without something of the nature of dismay that the man
finds himself in such changed conditions. He has to
deal with commanding emotions instead of the easy dis-
likes and preferences in which he has hitherto passed his
days ; and he recognizes capabilities for pain and pleasure
of which he hasd not yet suspected the existence. Falling
in love is the one illogical adventure, the one thing of
which we are tempted to think as supernatural, in our
trite and reasonable world. The effect is out of all pro-
portion with the cause. Two persons, neither of them,
it may be, very amiable or very beautiful, meet, speak a
little, and look a little into each other's eyes. That has
been done a dozen or so of times in the experience of
either with no great result. But on this occasion all is
different. They fall at once into that state in which
another person becomes to us the very gist and centre-
point of God's creation, and demolishes our laborious
theories with a smile ; in which our ideas are so bound up
with the one master-thought that even the trivial cares
of our own person become so many acts of devotion, and
the love of life itself is translated into a wish to remain
in the same world with so precious and desirable a fellow-
creature. And all the while their1 acquaintances look on
in stupor, and ask each other, with almost passionate
emphasis, what so-and-so can see in that woman, or such-
an-one in that man ? I am sure, gentlemen, I cannot tell
you. For my part, I cannot think what the women mean.
It might be very well, if the Apollo Belvedere should
suddenly glow all over into life, and step forward from
the pedestal with that godlike air of his. But of the
misbegotten changelings who call themselves men, and
prate intolerably over dinner-table, I never saw one who
seemed worthy to inspire loveóno, nor read of any, except
Leonardo da Vinci, and perhaps Goethe in his youth.
About women I entertain a somewhat different opinion;
but there, I have the misfortune to be a man.

There are many matters in which you may waylay
Destiny, and bid him stand and deliver. Hard work,
high thinking, adventurous excitement, and a great deal