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Full text of "Selected Essays Of Robert Louis Stevenson"

16                  ON  FALLING IN  LOVE

were very much in love; although they tell me some
German critics are of a different opinion, probably the
same who would have us think Mercutio a dull fellow.
Poor Antony was in love, and no mistake. That lay
figure Marius, in Les Miserables, is also a genuine case in
his own way, and worth observation. A good many of
George Sand's people are thoroughly in love ; and so are a
good many of George Meredith's. Altogether, there is
plenty to read on the subject. If the root of the matter
be in him, and if he has the requisite chords to set in
vibration, a young man may occasionally enter, with the
key of art, into that land of Beulah which is upon the
borders of Heaven and within sight of the City of Love.
There let him sit awhile to hatch delightful hopes and
perilous illusions.

One thing that accompanies the passion in its first
blush is certainly difficult to explain. It comes (I do
not quite see how) that from having a very supreme sense
of pleasure in all parts of life—in lying down to sleep, in
waking, in motion, in breathing, in continuing to be—the
lover begins to regard his happiness as beneficial for the
rest of the world and highly meritorious in him. Our race
has never been able contentedly to suppose that the noise
of its wars, conducted by a few young gentlemen in a
corner of an inconsiderable star, does not re-echo among
the courts of Heaven with quite a formidable effect. In
much the same taste, when people find a great to-do in
their own breasts, they imagine it must have some influence
in their neighbourhood. The presence of the two lovers
is so enchanting to each other that it seems as if it must
be the best thing possible for everybody else. They are
half inclined to fancy it is because of them and their love
that the sky is blue and the sun shines. And certainly the
weather is usually fine while people are courting. ... In
point of fact, although the happy man feels very kindly
towards others of his own sex, there is apt to be something
too much of the magnifico in his demeanour. If people
grow presuming and self-important over such matters as a
dukedom or the Holy See, they will scarcely support the
dizziest elevation in life without some suspicion of a strut;