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Full text of "Selected Essays Of Robert Louis Stevenson"

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rights and duties, bygone fortunes and dispositions,

3an look back only by a difficult and repugnant effort

the Trill.   That he should have wasted some years in

Diance of what alone was really important, that he may

re entertained the thought of other women with any

w of complacency, is a burthen almost too heavy for

self-respect.    But it is the thought of another past that

ikies in his spirit like a poisoned wound.    That he him-

c made a fashion of being alive in the bald, beggarly

^s before a certain meeting, is deplorable enough in all

3d conscience.    But that She should have permitted

rself the same liberty seems inconsistent with a Divine


A great many people run down jealousy, on the score

at it is an artificial feeling, as well as practically incon-

nient.    This is scarcely fair;  for the feeling on which

merely attends, like an ill-humoured courtier, is itself

tificial in exactly the same sense and to the same degree.

suppose what is meant by that objection is that jealousy

is not always been a character of man; formed no part

that very modest kit of sentiments with which he is

ipposed to have begun the world;   but waited to make

s appearance in better days and among richer natures.

nd this is equally true of love, and friendship, and love

[ country, and delight in what they call the beauties of

ature, and most other things worth having.   Love, in

articular, will not endure any historical scrutiny; to all

fho have fallen across it, it is one of the most incontestable

acts in the world ;  but if you begin to ask what it was in

ther periods and countries, in Greece for instance, the

trangest doubts begin to spring up, and everything seems

o vague and changing that a dream is logical in compari-

,on.    Jealousy, at any rate, is one of the consequences

>f love ; you may like it or not, at pleasure ; but there it is.

It is not exactly jealousy, however, that we feel when

ve reflect on the past of those we love.   A bundle of

etters found after years of happy union creates no sense

3f insecurity in the present;   and yet it will pain a man

sharply.    The two people entertain no vulgar doubt of

each other ;   but this pre-existence of both occurs to the