A reasonable man in love may act like a madman, but he cannot act like an idiot (NINON DE L’ ENCLOS)

A reasonable man in love may act like a madman, but he cannot act like an idiot (NINON DE L’ ENCLOS)

 

But with those
who have made an impression upon your heart, I have noticed that you
are timid. This quality might affect a bourgeoise, but you must attack
the heart of a woman of the world with other weapons. The Countess
knows the ways of the world. Believe me, and leave to the Celadons,
such things as sublime talk, beautiful sentiments; let them spin out
perfection. I tell you on behalf of women: there is not one of us who
does not prefer a little rough handling to too much consideration. Men
lose through blundering more hearts than virtue saves.
The more timidity a lover shows with us the more it concerns our pride
to goad him on; the more respect he has for our resistance, the more
respect we demand of him. We would willingly say to you men: “Ah, in
pity’s name do not suppose us to be so very virtuous; you are forcing
us to have too much of it. Do not put so high a price upon your
conquest; do not treat our defeat as if it were something difficult.
Accustom our imagination by degrees to seeing you doubt our
indifference.”
When we see a lover, although he may be persuaded of our gratitude,
treat us with the consideration demanded by our vanity, we shall
conclude without being aware of it, that he will always be the same,
although sure of our inclination for him. From that moment, what
confidence will he not inspire? What flattering progress may he not
make? But if he notifies us to be always on our guard, then it is not
our hearts we shall defend; it will not be a battle to preserve our
virtue, but our pride; and that is the worst enemy to be conquered in
women. What more is there to tell you? We are continually struggling
to hide the fact that we have permitted ourselves to be loved. Put a
woman in a position to say that she has yielded only to a species of
violence, or to surprise; persuade her that you do not undervalue her,
and I will answer for her heart.

 

Do you remember what M. de la Rochefoucauld told you lately: “A reasonable man in love may act like a madman, but he should not and can not act like an idiot.”

 

 

 

 

NINON DE L’ ENCLOS



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