Bleeding and Evacuation, Two Remedies for Love
HUET has a very singular observation on Love, which he exemplifies by an Anecdote as singular.
Love, he says, is not merely a passion of the soul, but it is also a disease of the body, like the Fever. It is frequently in the blood, and in the mind, which are terribly agitated; and, to be cured, it may be treated as methodically as any other disorder. Great perspirations, and copious Bleedings, that carry away with the humour the inflammable spirits, would purge the blood, calm the emotions, and replace every part in its natural state.
The great Condé, having felt a violent passion for Mademoiselle de Vigean, was constrained to join the army. While his absence lasted, his passion was continually nourished by the tenderest recollections of Love, and by an intercourse of a continued correspondence, till the conclusion of the campaign, when a dangerous sickness brought him to the most imminent danger. To the violence of his illness, violent Remedies were applied; and every thing that was most efficacious in physic was given to the Prince. He regained his health, but he had lost his Love: the great Evacuations had carried away his passion; and when he thought himself a Lover, he found he had ceased to Love.
On this Anecdote it is to be observed, that the fact is well authenticated; and, however the reader may feel himself inclined to turn Wit on this occasion, its veracity cannot in the least be injured. But it must be confessed, that Evacuations may not always have on a despairing lover the same happy effect. “When we would explain the mechanism of the human passions,” observes an ingenious writer, “the observations must be multiplied.” This fact, then, does not tend to shew that the same remedies will cure every lover, but that they did cure the Prince de Condé.
There is, however, another species of evacuation, not less efficacious, for a despairing swain, which will probably amuse the reader.
A German gentleman burned with an amorous flame for a German Princess. She was not insensible to a reciprocal passion; and to have him about her person, without giving scandal, she created him her General. They lived some time much pleased with each other; but the Princess became fickle, and the General grew jealous. He made very sharp remonstrances; and the Princess, who wished to be free, gave him his congé, and he was constrained to quit her. But his passion at every hour increased: he found he could not live out of her presence; and he ventured to enter imperceptibly into her cabinet. There he threw himself at her feet, and entreated her forgiveness. The Princess frowned, and condescended to give no other answer, than a command to withdraw from her Royal Highness’s presence. The despairing lover exclaimed, that he was ready to obey her in every thing but that; that he was resolved, in this, to disobey her; and that he preferred to die by her hand. In saying this, to give force to his eloquence, he presented his naked sword to the German Princess; who, perhaps, being little acquainted with the flowers of rhetoric, most cruelly took him at his word, and run him through the body. Fortunately his wound did not prove mortal: he was healed of the wound at the end of three months, and likewise of his passion, which had flowed away with the effusion of blood.