Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/191

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CHAPTER VIII


THE ORIGIN OF KISSING


With most civilised and many uncivilised nations kissing is the natural expression of love and its kindred emotions.

How can it be explained that a kiss has succeeded in getting so deep and comprehensive a significance? How can a trivial movement of the lips interpret our innermost feelings in so eloquent a way that there is not a language which has at its command words approaching to it in argumentative power?

Are we face to face with something primitive, or something conventional and derivative? Is it as natural to kiss when we are transported with love as it is to smile when we are mirthful, or weep when we are sad? In other words, is Steele right when he says, in strict conformity with a Cypriot folk-song previously quoted, that "nature was its author, and it began with the first courtship?"

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