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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/535

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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF REDI.

other sources it may have, is always regarded as especially the ensign of love. The rose is the flower of love, as the pale lily is of virtue. This association is quite inapt, and many people who are sensitive in such matters feel that the lily and many white flowers are far more symbolical of rapture and voluptuousness than the rose. It is, however, the color and not the scent or other qualities that has exerted decisive influence on the choice of the symbol. In the Teutonic symbolism of fourteenth century Europe red was the color of love, as also, with yellow, it was the favorite color for garments. In more modern times this last tendency has survived. Sardou decides, it is reported, the color of the dresses to be worn in his plays, on the ground that if he did not the actresses would all wear red to attract attention to themselves, as once occurred at the Odéon. Eighteen hundred years earlier, Clement of Alexandria had written: "Would it were possible to abolish purple in dress, so as not to turn the eyes of the spectators on the faces of those that wear it!" He proceeds to lament that women make all their garments of purple (the classic purple was really a red) in order to inflame lust—those 'stupid and luxurious purples' which have caused Tyre and Sidon and the Lacedæmonian Sea to be so much in demand for their purple fishes. Similar phenomena are noted on the other side of the world. Thus the Japanese, as the Rev. Walter Weston informs us, have a proverb: 'Love flies with a red petticoat.' Married women are not there supposed to wear red petticoats, for they are too attractive, and a married woman should be attractive only to her husband. The æsthetic Japanese may be thought to be specially sensitive to color, but in Africa also, in Loango, as Pechuel-Loesche mentions, pregnant women are forbidden to wear red, and it would doubtless be possible to find many similar indications of this feeling in other parts of the world.

We have now passed in review all the influences which, by force of their powerful attraction or repulsion, have during countless ages impressed on man, and often on his ancestors, the strong and poignant emotions which accompany the sensation of the most vividly and persistently seen of all colors. We find evidence of the reality of the influences we have traced—especially those of fire, blood and love—in Christian ecclesiastical symbolism, according to which red variously signifies ardent love, burning zeal, energy, courage, cruelty and bloodthirstiness. To the antagonism and complexity of these influences we must doubtless attribute the disturbing nature of the emotion aroused by the group of red sensations and the fluctuations in the predilection felt towards it. It is at once the most attractive and the most repulsive of colors. To enjoy it we must use it economically. The vision of poppies on a background of golden corn, the glint of roses embowered in green leaves, the sudden flash of a scarlet flower on a southern