A Good-natured Kiss

As to the salute, the ‘pressure of the lips— that is an interchange of affectionate greeting, or tender farewell, sacred to the dearest connexions alone. Our parents—our brothers—our near kindred—our husband—our lover, ready to become our husband,—our bosom’s inmate, the friend of our heart’s core—to them are exclusively consecrated the lips of delicacy,—and woe be to her who yields them to the stain of profanation!

By the last word, I do not mean the embrace of vice, but merely that indiscriminate facility which some young .women have in permitting what they call a good-natured kiss. These goodnatured kiss have often very bad effects, and can never be permitted without injuring the fine gloss of that exquisite modesty, which is the fairest garb of virgin beauty.

I remember, says a traveller, the Count M., one of the most accomplished and handsomest young men in Vienna. When I was there, he was passionately in love with a girl of almost peerless beauty. She was the daughter of a man of great ‘rank and influence at court; and on these considerations, .as well as in regard to her charms, she was followed by a multitude of suitors. She was lively and amiable, and treated them all with an affability which still kept thSm in her train, although it was generally known that she had avowed a predilection for Count M., and that preparations were making for their nuptials. The Count was of a refined mind and delicate sensibility. He loved her for herself alone—for the virtues which he believed dwelt in a beautiful form; and, like a lover of such perfections, he never approached her without timidity, and when he touched her, a fire shot through his veins that warned him not to invade the vermilion sanctuary of her lips. Such were his feelings, when one night at his intended father-in-law’s, a party of young people were met to celebrate a certain festival. Several of the young lady’s rejected suitors were present, Forfeits were one of the pastimes, and all went on with the greatest merriment till the Count was commanded by some-witty mademoiselle to redeem hie glove by saluting the cheek of his intended bride. The Count blushed, trembled, advanced to his mistress, retreated, advanced again—and at last, with a tremour that shook every fibre in his frame, with a modest grace he put the soft ringlet which played upon her cheek to his lips, and retired to demand his redeemed pledge in evident confusion. His mistress gaily smiled, and the game went on. One of her rejected suitprs, but who was of a merry unthinking disposition, was adjudged, by the same indiscreet crier of the forfeits,—” as his last treat before he hanged himself, ” she said,—to snatch a kiss from the lips of the object of his recent vows—

” Lips whose broken sighs such fragrance fling,
As Love had fanned them freshly with his wing !”

A lively contest between the lady and the gentleman lasted for a minute; but the lady yielded, though in the midst of a convulsive laugh. And the Count had the mortification, the agony, to see the lips, which his passionate and delicate love would not allow him to touch, kissed with roughness’ and repetition by another man, and one whom he despised. Without a word, he. rose from his chair, left the room—and the house; and, by that good-natured kiss, the fair boast of Vienna lost her husband and her lover. The Count never saw her more.

From Etiquette for ladies: with hints on the preservation, improvement, and display of female beauty, Lea & Blanchard, 1840

Published in: on February 18, 2010 at 11:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

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