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Dante, in the fifth canto of his Hell, has celebrated the power a kiss may have over human beings. In the course of his wanderings in the nether world, when he has reached the spot where abide those who have sinned through love, he sees two souls that "flutter so lightly in the wind." These are Francesco da Rimini and her brother-in-law Paolo. He asks Francesco to tell him:
"In the time of your sweet sighs,
By what, and how love granted, that ye knew
Your yet uncertain wishes?"
Whereto she replies:
For our delight we read of Lancelot,
How him love thrall'd. Alone we were, and no
Suspicion near us. Ofttimes by that reading
Our eyes were drawn together, and the hue
Fled from our alter'd cheek. But at one point
Alone we fell. When of that smile we read,
The wished smile, so rapturously kissed
By one so deep in love, then he, who ne'er
From me shall separate, at once my lips
All trembling kiss'd. The book and writer both
Were love's purveyors. In its leaves that day
We read no more."
I have had a special object in prefacing my studies on the history of kissing with these famous verses, for I regarded it in the light of a duty to caution my readers emphatically, and at the very outset, as to the danger of even reading about kisses; and I consider that, having done this, I have warned my readers against pursuing the subject, and "forewarned is forearmed," or, "homme averti en vaut deux."
John William Lindt was an award winning German-born photographer resident in Australia. When Sir Peter Scratchley was appointed High Commissioner for the Protectorate of New Guinea, Lindt volunteered to join the expedition as official photographer. Sir Peter accepted the offer and Lindt boarded the Governor Blackall en route to New Guinea in 1885. He presented his work to the Indian and Colonial Exhibition in London in 1886 and published this book a year later.
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For years past, when perusing the account of exploring expeditions setting out for some country comparatively unknown, I always noticed with a pang of disappointment that, however carefully the scientific staff was chosen, it was, as a rule, considered sufficient to supply one of the members with a mahogany camera, lens, and chemicals to take pictures, the dealer furnishing these articles generally initiating the purchaser for a couple or three hours' time into the secrets and tricks of the "dark art," or when funds were too limited to purchase instruments, it was taken for granted that enough talent existed among the members to make rough sketches, which would afterwards be "worked up" for the purpose of illustrating perhaps a very important report.