At twenty a man is rash in love, and again, perhaps at fifty; a man of middle-age enamoured of a young girl is capable of sublime follies. But the man of thirty who loves for the first time is usually the embodiment of cautious discretion. He does not fall in love with a violent descent, but rather lets himself gently down, continually testing the rope. His social value, especially if he have achieved worldly success, is at its highest, and, without conceit, he is aware of it. He has lost many illusions concerning women; he had seen more than one friend wrecked in the sea of foolish marriage; he knows the joys of a bachelor's freedom, without having wearied of them; he perceives risks where the youth perceives only ecstasy, and the oldster only a blissful release from solitude. Instead of searching, he is sought for; accordingly he is selfish and exacting. All these things combine to tranquillize passion at thirty.
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Source Notes: Anna of the Five Towns (chapter 10, "The Isle") (1902). The successful 30-year old potter Mynors feels this very qualified sort of love for the miser's daughter Anna.
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