WHERE WE SHOW THAT THE
LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS MAY CAUSE A MAN TO LOSE THE TIP OF HIS
“I LOVED Jacobus, and Jacobus loved me. We
were both young, handsome, sensible – and we had made a mutual engagement to
live for each other. But unfortunately, the will of our relatives kept us
apart. To correspond was our only consolation.”
Madame Jacobus here heaved a sigh – and
then resumed her narrative.
“’Dearest,” said Jacobus one day to me,
‘we are beset with snares. How do we know that they will not, at some time,
discover the hollow in the beech-tree, where we
deposite our love-letters? That no unsafe person may get at our
secret, I have brought you this little book, which will make you acquainted
with a new language, unknown to the vulgar. Learn to read it, and above all,
to write it accurately.’
“I took the book. Its title was – ‘The Language of Flowers: in a course of
“With what earnestness did I devote myself
to this study! To confess the truth, the language of flowers does not, at
first, seem very difficult. The verb has but three persons – the first, the
second, and the third, -- I, thou, he.
“It is thus conjugated: --
“I love. We present the flower
horizontally, with the right hand.
“Thou lovest. The same flower in the
same hand, but inclined a little to the left.
“He loves. The same flower is
offered with the left hand.
“Two flowers denote the plural. A flower inverted
means denial. Thus a yellow asphodel, with its head downwards and its stem
up, signifies – ‘I do not regret you.’
“There are three tenses, -- the present, the past,
and the future.
“We express the present, by handing the
flower on a level with the heart; we denote the past, when we present it
with the hand inclined downwards, -- and the future, with the hand raised as
high as the eyes.
“If a substantive be used in place of the
verb, we conjugate the flower with an auxiliary. Thus, the jessamine is the
symbol of amiability. Presented upright, and in the right hand, it means –
‘I think you amiable.’ Presented to the left, in the same hand, it means –
‘You think me amiable.’ How fully, Jacobus, was your father a jessamine to
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