If you want a person's faults, go to those who love him. They will not tell you, but they know. And herein lies the magnanimous courage of love, that it endures this knowledge without change.

*

Certainly, whatever it may be with regard to the world at large, this idea of beneficent pleasure is true as between the sweethearts. To do good and communicate is the lover's grand intention. It is the happiness of the other that makes his own most intense gratification. It is not possible to disentangle the different emotions, the pride, humility, pity, and passion, which are excited by a look of happy love or an unexpected caress. To make one's self beautiful, to dress the hair, to excel in talk, to do anything and all things that puff out the character and attributes and make them imposing in the eyes of others, is not only to magnify one's self, but to offer the most delicate homage at the same time. And it is in this latter intention that they are done by lovers, for the essence of love is kindness; and, indeed, it may be best defined as passionate kindness; kindness, so to speak, run mad and become importunate and violent.

*

What sound is so full of music as one's own name uttered for the first time in the voice of her we love!

*

We make love, and thereby ourselves fall the deeper in it. It is with the heart only that one captures a heart.

*

O, have it your own way; I am too old a hand to argue with young gentlemen who choose to fancy themselves in love; I have too much experience, thank you.

*

And love, considered as a spectacle, must have attractions for many who are not of the confraternity. The sentimental old maid is a commonplace of the novelists; and he must be rather a poor sort of human being, to be sure, who can look on at this pretty madness without indulgence and sympathy. For nature commends itself to people with a most insinuating art; the busiest is now and again arrested by a great sunset; and you may be as pacific or as cold-blooded as you will, but you cannot help some emotion when you read of well-disputed battles, or meet a pair of lovers in the lane.

*

Jealousy, at any rate, is one of the consequences of love; you may like it or not, at pleasure; but there it is.

*

With our chosen friends, on the other hand, and still more between lovers (for mutual understanding is love's essence), the truth is easily indicated by the one and aptly comprehended by the other. A hint taken, a look understood, conveys the gist of long and delicate explanations; and where the life is known even YEA and NAY become luminous. In the closest of all relations--that of a love well founded and equally shared-speech is half discarded, like a roundabout, infantile process or a ceremony of formal etiquette; and the two communicate directly by their presences, and with few looks and fewer words contrive to share their good and evil and uphold each other's hearts in joy.

*

And yet even while I was exulting in my solitude I became aware of a strange lack. I wished a companion to lie near me in the starlight, silent and not moving, but ever within touch. For there is a fellowship more quiet even than solitude, and which, rightly understood, is solitude made perfect. And to live out of doors with the woman a man loves is of all lives the most complete and free.

*

The flower of the hedgerow and the star of heaven satisfy and delight us: how much more the look of the exquisite being who was created to bear and rear, to madden and rejoice mankind!

*

So strangely are we built: so much more strong is the love of woman than the mere love of life.

*

You think that pity--and the kindred sentiments-have the greatest power upon the heart. I think more nobly of women. To my view, the man they love will first of all command their respect; he will be steadfast-proud, if you please; dry-possibly-but of all things steadfast. They will look at him in doubt; at last they will see that stern face which he presents to all of the rest of the world soften to them alone.

The Pocket R. L. S. Page 50

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Robert Louis Stevenson
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