Concerning oaths of fidelity, etc., she [Miss Florence Farr] writes:
We cannot trust ourselves to make a real love-knot unless money or custom forces us to ‘bear and forbear’. There is always the lurking fear that we shall not be able to keep faith unless we swear upon the Book. This is, of course, not true of young lovers. Every first love is born free of tradition; indeed, not only is first love innocent and valiant, but it sweeps aside all the wise laws it has been taught, and burns away experience in its own light. The revelation is so extraordinary, so unlike anything told by the poets, so absorbing, that it is impossible to believe that the feelings can die out.
Now this is exactly as if some old naturalist settled the bat’s place in nature by saying boldly, “Bats do not fly”. It is as if he solved the problem of whales by bluntly declaring that whales live on land. There is a problem of vows, as of bats and whales. What Miss Farr says about it is quite lucid and explanatory; it simply happens to be flatly untrue. It is not the fact that young lovers have no desire to swear on the Book. They are always at it. It is not the fact that young love is born free of tradition about binding and promising, about bonds and signatures and seals. On the contrary, lovers wallow in the wildest pedantry to make their love legal and irrevocable. They tattoo each other with promises; they cut into rocks and oaks with their names and vows; they bury ridiculous things in ridiculous places to be a witness against them; they bind each other with rings, and inscribe each other in Bibles; if they are raving lunatics (which is not untenable), they are mad solely on this idea of binding and on nothing else. It is quite true that the tradition of their fathers and mothers is in favour of fidelity; but it is emphatically not true that the lovers merely follow it; they invent it anew.
– The Illustrated London News, 2 July 1910.