Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/197

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183
THE ORIGIN OF KISSING

partly—in the sense of smell. The love of another human being involves, as a consequence, one's loving everything belonging to this other being; and this love is shown in casu by drinking in his or her breath, whereby, little by little, a peculiar nose-salutation is very ingeniously developed, which, naturally, is capable of gradually assuming various conventional forms.

Now we will proceed to the kiss proper—that on the mouth. How can its origin be explained?[1]

It does not seem very rational to assume that the motion of the muscles in breathing should of itself be the natural, purely physical reflex of a feeling of love in the same way as, for instance, certain half-spasmodic contractions of several muscles in the upper part of the face can be the immediate expression of wrath. I do not believe either that the mere contact of the lips with another person's face was originally sufficient to express "I love you."

  1. Naturally, I am not concerned here with the various explanations given by the poets as to the origin of the kiss. Gressner, in an idyll of Daphnis and Chloe, has told us how both the lovers observed the sport of the doves in the grove and then tried to imitate it by pressing their mouths together as the doves do their beaks.