Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/63

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LOVE KISSES

Kisses at last grow into bites. Mirabeau, in a love-letter to Sophie, writes: "I am kissing you and biting you all over, et jaloux de ta blancheur je te couvre de suçons"; and the classic poets often speak of the tiny red marks on cheeks or lips, neck or shoulders, which the lovers' morsiunculæ have left behind.

Arethusa writes to Lycas: "What keeps you till now so long away from me? Oh, suffer no young girl to print the mark of her teeth on your neck." The Italians use the expression baciare co' denti (kiss with the teeth) to signify "to love." We can only treat these kisses as a sort of transitional link, of shorter or longer duration, according to circumstances. They are, as it were, "a sea fraught with perils," which in Mlle. de Scudéry's celebrated letter (la carte de tendre), carries one to strange countries (les terres inconnues); but, as these countries lie outside the regions of pure philematology, I shall not pursue my investigations further. I will, however, first quote what old Ovid has written, although I am not at all prepared to assert that his opinion is entitled to have any special weight, more especially as it is