This article has been transcribed from a copy of the Cardiff Times in the online collection of scanned Welsh newspapers 1804-1919 in the National Library of Wales, with grateful recognition of the free access accorded to all readers. Paragraph breaks have been introduced for easier reading. —— David Skilton
ove has been precociously described as 'an itching of the heart, that you can't get at to scratch,' and there might be a worse definition of the tantalising passion. There is something about love which defies description, and it seems at times to revel in its very vagueness. It is the most cosmopolitan of all the passions, and has even less respect for persons than the law, with which it occasionally brings worthy people into close contact. The chawbacon [country bumpkin] of the country who giggles and smiles all over his particularly open countenance, when he comes across his 'gurl' is affected in exactly the same way as the Johnnie who gets what he calls 'awfully dead spoons, dontcher know' on his last new girl. You can never calculate on love, and the histories which pretend to give the world some idea of the god of love as personified by the young gentleman with a plentiful supply of arrows and a scarcity of apparel, one and all point to the fact that he is a mischievous young monkey who takes, a savage delight in thoroughly annoying mortals who cannot 'round' on him. Like a big favourite in a horse race, he's always an 'odds on' chance. If the relative positions of the parties concerned were put on record at their proper odds they would read much as follows :—
THE MATRIMONIAL STAKES.
Cupid, by Mischief, out of Spite, 9 to 4 on.
Johnnie, by Mash, out of Mind, 2 to 1 against.
Claudine, by Dead Set, out of Engagement, evens.
My sweetheart when a boy.
The principal feature of love is its unreliability. You can never rely upon it, and I venture to say that were Cupid to set up an establishment for supplying young men and maidens with love potions or barbed arrows at the lowest possible cash terms, he would find himself in the bankruptcy court in a very short space of time.
He does not even condescend to give people time to get used to his vagaries, but being, as it were, on tour, he spots out some unoffending mortal, sends one of his arrows into his heart and, hey, presto! the mortal straightway falls in love with some fair damsel whom in all probability he has never seen before, [and whom he has never seen before,] and whom he has as much chance of marrying as he has of flying to the moon. And Cupid think[s] it is funny.
In the songs and ballads love is supposed to be a thing to yearn for, and if the things said of it were true there could not be found any single patent medicine to equal it. But these writers of love songs do not always tell the truth; they have so much of what they call 'poetic licence' to go at, and if you begin to argue the point with them they trot out their licence (for which they do not pay any fee) and tell you you know nothing about love or the beauties of verse. The latter assertion, so far as their own productions go, is generally true.
Left. He warbles of love. Right: Does not believe in love.
Let us take a glance at the real way in which love takes hold of people as opposed to the teachings of the spring poets.
A young- man meets a girl, say at a dance. He has never seen her before, but the moment that his eyes rest upon her powdered cheek (in the distance) he becomes aware that unless he can induce her to take a permanent interest in himself his life henceforth will be a blank. How he arrives at this decision is a thing which has never yet been solved; sufficient for the day, or night, is the evil thereof — he does!
Then he gets someone to introduce him to her and gets a freezingly polite bow as the result of his labours.
In the old ballads he would have gone down upon his knees and declared his burning passion upon the spot and upon the carpet. But here he only says a few commonplace things about the weather, and then leaves his lady love. He goes home and dreams about her, and when he gets up he exhibits indifference as to the contents of the breakfast table. At business he mixes up attempts at verse with commercial correspondence, and gets into trouble in consequence. Even this does not damp his ardour or his love.
He knows the lady's address and spend[sing] the evening lounging about in front of the house with a view to catching a glimpse of her through a window or of seeing her shadow on the blind. So long does he stay that the policeman on the beat takes a personal interest in him, and then he goes home thoroughly convinced that the lady is in love with him, and that it only requires time, patience, and opportunity for him to win her. This kind of thing goes on until the lady marries someone else, when her silent admirer comes to the conclusion that he had been badly used, and takes violently to liquid solace.
This is the reality of love, and the poets know nothing at all about it, take my word for it. The poets tell us that 'love that slumbers dies.' Now I venture to say that if love, in the form of male humanity, dared to slumber when in the presence of his inamorat[a] he would be too busy to die, for the lady would wake him up to a due sense of the obligations due from a lover.
The young man who is in love objects to the object of his passion being pleasant to any other Johnnie, and if the young man himself happens to be agreeable to anyone but his special girl, he may look out for squalls on the first convenient opportunity. If by any chance he complains about a modest flirtation he is told that he is mean and selfish; yet should he follow suit he is certain to be informed that he is acting dishonourably and playing fast and loose with his lady love's affections. Believe me, love is very pretty — in the abstract and in the ballads — but in the reality it is an annoying and mischief-making passion. In its earlier stages it leads to spooning, thence to matrimony, and thence to the divorce court. And yet people are daily asking why bachelors are on the increase. As if any sensible man would go out of his way to become acquainted with a passion calculated to upset his plans, cause him sleepless nights, and materially interfere with his [in]digestion.
Last modified 24 April 2022