The Two Passions by Richard King

Story type: Essay

Yet these people, as I said before, must be married to one of the two Adored, if their sentiment for each can be called Love. Love, in which passion plays the larger part, is so all-absorbing while it lasts, that only the deep affection and respect which may come through the intimacy of matrimony can exist within the self-same heart great enough to be called Love. A man may adore and worship the woman who has proved herself a perfect mate, who is the mother of his children, and yet be unfaithful to her–not with any woman who crosses his path and beckons, but with the One who appeals to the wild, romantic adventurer which is also part of his nature, though neither the best part, nor the strongest. But I cannot imagine a man adoring and respecting a woman who is not his wife the while he loves with a burning passion another woman who promises rapture, passion, and delight. Passion is so intense while it lasts that there is in the heart of man no equal place for another woman who holds him by no legal and moral tie. But a man, having a double nature, can worship his wife, yet love with passion another woman–even though he hates and despises himself for so doing. But it is rare, if not impossible, for one woman to completely satisfy the man whose nature is made up of good and bad, of high ideals and low cravings, of steadfast fidelity, yet with a yearning for the wild, untrammelled existence of the mountain tops. With such a man–and how many there are, if we but knew!–the woman he respects will always win in the end, even though the woman who entices has also her day of victory. The Good Woman will suffer–God knows she will! But the man will suffer too. A man has to be wholly bad to thoroughly enjoy evil. The man who is only half a saint–secretly goes through hell. That is his punishment, and it is far more difficult for him to bear than the finger pointed in contempt. Therefore, I believe that the happiest men and women are the men and women who are born good and steadfast, simple and true, or those who cultivate with delight scarcely one unselfish thought. That is why the vast majority of people live so really lonely, so secretly sad at heart and soul. Only the born-good or the born-bad know the blessedness of inner peace.

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