Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, July 05, 1914, PART TWO EDITORIAL, SOCIETY, Image 20

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    The Omaha
"Byam Shaw's remarkably interesting picture, 'Lovo the Conqueror,' which shows all the famous characters of history brought,
reason or power to save themselves, illustrates the psychology of this subject."
By Prof. David Edgar Rice, Ph. D.
the Distinguished
iT"fHE public has been treated to
I euch an extraordinary outpour
ing-of lovo lottors in recent
court oases that it becomes a proper
function of psychology to olucldato
as well as It can tho nnturo of these
A hard-headed business man writes
raring nonsense in his lovo lottors.
A professor of moral philosophy tolls
outrageous lies. The wife of a cler
gyman, accustomed to tho sovorest
moral discipline, usos tho most un
bridled orotic language. A great
etnger, noted tor tho inconstancy of
his affections, declares that ho Is
"over tho samo."
What is tho meaning ot those let
ters? What is tho meaning of lovo
letters, anyway? Tho eclonco of psy
chology will explain to us that sueh
epistles necessarily defy all the rules
of reason. True passion is an ele
mental instinct that when arousod
supersedes all the restraints of rea
son. Tho lovo latter does not need
to havo a meaning. It Ib simply an
expression ot unreasoning lovo. Tho
lover is more likely than not to lie,
because ho Is rolcased from tho con
trol of all tho higher mental centres,
including that which ordinarily ro
tstralns him from lying. 'But ho will
not tell a mean or calculating He.
It Is only In a few ot tho highest
natures that tho extreme or passion
can ho combined with porfect mental
Bolf-control, as in tho caso ot tho
While universal experience con
firms the statement ot a well-known
author that "lovo is tho greatest
thing in the world," it Is equally true
that in lovo and its manifestations,
as in many other things, thoro is only
a step from the sublime to tho ridicu
lous. All tho world, It has been said,
loves a lover, but a large part of the
world, none the less, stands quite
ready to howl In derision, it not in
contempt, if somo mischance hap
pens to expose to public gaxo tho
surging emotions ot his enraptured
Tho lovo letter of everyday life, In
the cold light of reason, takes first
rank as-tho most absurd and ridicu
lous product ot tho human imagina
tion. It any one Is not convinced on this
Tmlnt let him peruso a few ot the
effusions that havo recently found
their way into tho public prints, a
few specimens ot which aro given
New Ways by Which Laundries Ruin Your Clothes
A GERMAN hospital superintendent has been mak
making an Interesting study ot laundries which
throws new light on the ways our clothes aro
often ruined by careless or inadequate methods.
One ot tho most common causes ot damage to cloth
ing in laundries Is tho use of hard or Insufficiently soft
water. Another frequent causo is false economy in the
use of soap. By sparing the soap the material washed
Almost invariably runs the risk ot being spoiled in a
greater or less degree.
We are too prone to look upon soap merely as a
chemical means ot removing dirt, whereas In theso
days, when comparatively heavy-working rinsing and
dangling machinery are used, u good soap is invalu
able as a mechanical lubricant in preventing damage to
the Unen by ameliorating the action of the rollers.
Tho following rather tamo exam
ples, written by a "blond and pretty"
maiden to her married lover, are
typical emanations of tho "snooky
ookums" specios of 'brain, which,
utterly lacking In imagination, 1b con
fined to a rango of ideas, and expres
sions that is really pathetic:
"Doll Baby: Tho only thing mlas
lng la you, I havo wished for you
more than once. It I was to speak
from 'dor heart out I would go on
tolling you how much I wish you
wero horoi"
"Dear Leo," says a second lettor,
"don't you think I am a very good
doll baby to think ot you so much
and wrlto to you so often? Friday,
Saturday and Sunday I shall expect
bo much mall from you that it will
tako mo two or threo hours to read
It. It's tlmo for my bcddlo, so good
night, bo a good boy, and don't forgot
your Bwootheart."
Tho frequent recurrence ot baby
talk and tho uso of diminutive tonna
ot endearment, especially on tho part
ot women, aro tho most distinctive
characteristics ot tho fervent lovo
letter. Tho woman who recently
sued tho groat Caruso for breach ot
promise asserted that ho was always
"baby" to her, and In "support of her
assertion sho offered many.lettors and
postcards purporting to havo boen
written by tho great tenor, in which
he thus described himself.
This tendency 1b easily accounted
for. when wo recall tho intensity ot
tho maternal Instinct, which is
strongor and moro important than
the sex instinct In securing tho per
petuation ot tho species. Tho wo
man's strongest love Is that which
she shows toward her own offspring,
and, conversely, that which ehe holds
most dear sho likes to regard from
the maternal point ot view. Little
wonder, then, that tho man who has
won her affoctlon, no matter what
his age or size may bo, becomes for
hor a "baby."
"Exhibit No. 2" is on an entirely
dlfforent plane, so tar as literary
style and the play of Imagination
are concerned. Tho author, formerly
tho wlto ot tho Rev. Cranston Bren
ton, a distinguished Episcopal cler
gyman ot Yonkors, had entored Into
a "mystic marriago" with Frederick
Ernost Holman. a literary man ot
Bomo prominence, without taking Uio
precaution to securo a separation
from her legal hUBband. Tho letter
is in the form ot an allegory, and
was to bo opened by her lover on a
specified night It runs as follows:
Sunday Bee Magazine
"I long bo for you that I am half
afraid to see you. I long bo to glvo
myself to you to bo nil yours at
last, that I hardly daro think of our
groon woods. To-ulght, then, you are
mine, and mine alone.
"Onco upon a tlmo Eros gavo a
masked ball and invited tho 'emo
tions.' They camo in costumo cos
tume Intended to conceal the iden
tity of each. To harp and fluto they
danced. Thoy quaffed tho wlno of
"life and their merry foast chased
tho flying hours.
"Eros watqhed and smiled.
"Ho know.
"Doopor thoy dronk. Wilder grew
tho dnnco. Tongues too reserved
wore loosened. Maidens domure
A Painting by a Lunatic, Which Has All tho Meaningless but
Highly Imaginative Oharacteristics of a Love Letter,
grow bold. Sombre men grew gay.
liravo men grew braver. Talont
grew to genius. Gonlus grew to In
spiration. Tho timo for unmasking
camo and all tho guests had taken
off their masks savo threo. 'Anger
tore the mask from 'Passion,' and,
lo! tliero stood 'Purity. Turning In
his wrath, 'Anger' stripped the mask
from tho other masked guest, who
had come as 'Innocence,' and there
stood 'Ignorance.' A dozen hands
rushed out and toro tho mask from
'Anger,' and thoro stood 'Jealousy.'
Eros watched and smiled."
Equally devoted in spirit and rap
turous in expression, the letters of
Mr. William Rapp, former husband
of Madamo Schumann-Ilolnk, to his
"charmer," Mrs. Kathorino Dean,
show us how, by judicious seloctlon
and handling, tho moro common
pjacb vocabulary ot everyday llfo
may bo pressed Into tho service ot
tho heart Mr. Rapp assures his "In
spiration girl," hlu "darling wonder
girl" and his "one best bet" that
"every flbro of his being Impels him
to hor" and that ho is "intoxicated
with tho delicious incense ot hor
This lubricating action can, however, only be fully
secured when soft water Is employed; with hard waters
a large amount ot soap Is wasted. The pubUo In gen
eral havo no conception ot what this waste really means,
nor Is It easy to express It In figures. But the experi
ments have shown that one part ot lime In 100,000 parts
ot water means sixteen times the amount ot soap nec
essary in soft water containing no lime.
Electric bleaching Is another method which does
serious harm to collars and linens. Experiments show
that It deteriorates the fabrics fully fifty per cout.
Soaps containing a relatively low percentage of fat
and alkaline soap powders are also responsible for a
great deal of damage. When chemical disinfectants are
used tho damage from this cause is much greater, al
though not bo apparent at first
Copyright. 1914,
garment" He is so proud ot her
that ho "would llko to tako her to
Fifth avenue and Forty-second streot
at 5 p. m. and raise hor on his
shoulders and Bhout out, 'See what
I have!'"
Lack of spaco forbids tho further
multiplying of examples. Enough
have already been given to demon
strate the truth that lovo letters re
semble nothing quite so much as tho
ravings of a disordered brain. They
fairly seetho with silly exaggera
tions, perjuries, outlandish epithets,
baby prattle and barbarous figures
ot speech.
To say that a man undor the in
"fluenco ot a strong lovo passion Is
released from the restraints of rea-
son Is to say in reality that he Is
suffering from a form of madness.
Not long ago a judgo In a court ot
law went bo far as to say in all
sorlousness that a man counj not be
held strictly accountable tor his
statements made under the influence
of love.
Why is it that the rapturous
lover, howovor well balanced he
may show himself to bo in tho or
dinary situations ot llfo, so often
throws prudenco and propriety to
the winds and indulges In conduct
which to h In. fellow men seems so
utterly absurd?
The explanation, from a psycholog
ical point ot view, Is to bo found in
tho fact that in the situation we aro
discussing wo havo to do with a
real conflict between a natural and
Impulsive expression ot individual
personality on tho one hand and the
conventions ot society on tho other.
Next to tho Instinct ot self-preservation,
the strongest impulse ot the
human organism is that ot ardent
love. This Is nothing more than a
biological necessity, in order to in
sure tho perpetuation ot tho species.
As compared with this Impulse, con
siderations of honor, honesty, pru
denco and propriety, however highly
they may be prized from an ethical
point of view, are of only secondary
importance. They represent a much
later development In the psychic
life ot tho race and ot the individual
as well. For ordinary situations
they are usually strong enough to
exercise a controlling Influence over
conduct They sit as judges over the
varied impulses of the heart, rein
forcing the good and suppressing the
But when the supreme crisis ot a
life comes in tho form ot love,
as It comes but once to many
an individual, these weak arbiters
of conduct lose their power, and the
torrent ot emotion sweeps away all
obstructing barriers.
They are, In fact, short-circuited
by the paramount emotion. A man
or woman violently In love has lost
by the Star Company, dreat Britain
helpless, to the feet of love without
control of the higher centres ot
thought. Lovers must be liars.
To put the same facts in a purely
physiological form, wo may say that
tho great substratum of mental llfo
In man, In common with the lower
forms of animal life, consists of a
great array of Inherited tendencies
to action in tho form of what aro
commonly known aB Instincts. Given
a certain stimulus to tho nervous
organism, and Its appropriate re
action follows as Inevitably as
nlgnt follows day. Tho only thing
can possibly prevent such a re-
i I !
buit is me existence or a
different impulse, prompting
to action ot a different
In minds endowed with memory
and tho power of reflection such in
hibiting influences aro to be found
in unhappy results of earlier ex
periences. In this way there aro
gradually built up centres of inhibi
tion, as they are called. When we
"reason" out that a given act is
dishonest, or improper or Imprudent
it simply means that we permit the
idea ot a previous unhappy experi
ence In connection with the given
act to occupy the consciousness to
tho exclusion of the impulse itself.
The doing of tho act or the refrain
ing from It then rests wholly on the
question or wnetner tne brain cen-
tres which originate the impulses
Rlchts Reserved.
1 II If Pi I Hill i ii ii il .43SHv. y"Mt
i Mill i ii i ii
aro stronger or weaker than those
centres that tend to Inhibit it
Keeping in mind this conception
w w.o iiuiuiu ui mo me uuii process
that takes place when a man is lav
boring under the stress of a strong
emotion, we must agree that Shake-
speare formulated a perfectly sound
psychology of love when he said that
lovo Is blind, and lovers cannot see
tho pretty follies that -themselves
commit" It is In reality a case of
mental blindness The lover does
not choose to make himself absurd,
He does not weigh the satisfaction
that comes with full expression of
his love against the shamo that re-
suits from exposing his heart to
Shows How True
Passion" Short
Circuits" the
Higher Mental
and Moral
Centres, Thus
Possible the
Love Letters
"The mirfitv
Hercules wasting
his time with Om.
phalo's knittino- U
the Greek interpre.
tation of the silly
phase of love." The
Painting Is by A. Bou-
others. H s passion alone holds the
?Jf?e , 5 copiousness, and, as it
were, deliberately cuts the wires
through which help might otherwise
:ome from tho so-called inhibition
And when tho stress is over and
me damage done when the mental
balance, is re-established and the
victim can sit down and calmly cou-
slder his own conduct in an.lmper
nay, it may well be that ha
himself will provo to. bo hia own
severest critic
Love-making is as old as the ram
lUolf. 6 raco
Strange. Indeed, io it that tho vorv
emotions that mean so muoh ,
Individual in his ;ow?Z?Bi ? 5?
perience. and at Take so
U appeal to Vim who f Idealized tn
literature, should Tead "m m f-5
nway from truth and tMi
but VldlcZo
are act ly Sitai Tn Sh?00 th7
ence of another tadlviSual.