Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/186

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her his mistress; but the shrewd Aristotle suspected treachery. He restrained the king, and had a criminal who had been sentenced to death sent for. The criminal was made to kiss the girl in presence of the king, and he fell prone on the ground, poisoned by her breath, like one struck by lightning.

This story can be traced to India. It found its way into several mediæval story-books and attained great popularity. The monks made use of it in their sermons, and gave it an allegorical interpretation: Alexander was the good, trustful Christian; Aristotle was the conscience; the venomous girl, incontinence, which comprehends everything that is poisonous to the soul; and the criminal is the wicked man who pursues the lusts of the flesh and suffers his punishment. "Let us, therefore, abstain from all such things if we wish to reach Paradise," is the moral that the monk draws from it at the close of his sermon.

In conclusion I will quote several expressions to which kissing has given rise:

A lady's hat which was fashionable in England in 1850, and which had no brim to it, got the name of Kiss-me-quick. In con-