Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything

Bride.Ru

Books Menu

Home
Author Catalog
Title Catalog
Sectioned Catalog

 

- The Physiology of Marriage - 3/23 -


foolishly claim always to put forth his pleasantries in the best of taste; he has merely counted upon the diversity of intellectual pursuits in expectation of receiving as much blame as approbation. The subject of his work was so serious that he is constantly launched into anecdote; because at the present day anecdotes are the vehicle of all moral teaching, and the anti-narcotic of every work of literature. In literature, analysis and investigation prevail, and the wearying of the reader increases in proportion with the egotism of the writer. This is one of the greatest misfortunes that can befall a book, and the present author has been quite aware of it. He has therefore so arranged the topics of this long essay as to afford resting places for the reader. This method has been successfully adopted by a writer, who produced on the subject of Taste a work somewhat parallel to that which is here put forth on the subject of Marriage. From the former the present writer may be permitted to borrow a few words in order to express a thought which he shares with the author of them. This quotation will serve as an expression of homage to his predecessor, whose success has been so swiftly followed by his death:

"When I write and speak of myself in the singular, this implies a confidential talk with the reader; he can examine the statement, discuss it, doubt and even ridicule it; but when I arm myself with the formidable WE, I become the professor and demand submission."-- Brillat-Savarin, Preface to the /Physiology of Taste/.

DECEMBER 5, 1829.

FIRST PART.

A GENERAL CONSIDERATION.

We will declaim against stupid laws until they are changed, and in the meantime blindly submit to them.--Diderot, /Supplement to the Voyage of Bougainville/.

MEDITATION I.

THE SUBJECT.

Physiology, what must I consider your meaning?

Is not your object to prove that marriage unites for life two beings who do not know each other?

That life consists in passion, and that no passion survives marriage?

That marriage is an institution necessary for the preservation of society, but that it is contrary to the laws of nature?

That divorce, this admirable release from the misfortunes of marriage, should with one voice be reinstated?

That, in spite of all its inconveniences, marriage is the foundation on which property is based?

That it furnishes invaluable pledges for the security of government?

That there is something touching in the association of two human beings for the purpose of supporting the pains of life?

That there is something ridiculous in the wish that one and the same thoughts should control two wills?

That the wife is treated as a slave?

That there has never been a marriage entirely happy?

That marriage is filled with crimes and that the known murders are not the worst?

That fidelity is impossible, at least to the man?

That an investigation if it could be undertaken would prove that in the transmission of patrimonial property there was more risk than security?

That adultery does more harm than marriage does good?

That infidelity in a woman may be traced back to the earliest ages of society, and that marriage still survives this perpetuation of treachery?

That the laws of love so strongly link together two human beings that no human law can put them asunder?

That while there are marriages recorded on the public registers, there are others over which nature herself has presided, and they have been dictated either by the mutual memory of thought, or by an utter difference of mental disposition, or by corporeal affinity in the parties named; that it is thus that heaven and earth are constantly at variance?

That there are many husbands fine in figure and of superior intellect whose wives have lovers exceedingly ugly, insignificant in appearance or stupid in mind?

All these questions furnish material for books; but the books have been written and the questions are constantly reappearing.

Physiology, what must I take you to mean?

Do you reveal new principles? Would you pretend that it is the right thing that woman should be made common? Lycurgus and certain Greek peoples as well as Tartars and savages have tried this.

Can it possibly be right to confine women? The Ottomans once did so, and nowadays they give them their liberty.

Would it be right to marry young women without providing a dowry and yet exclude them from the right of succeeding to property? Some English authors and some moralists have proved that this with the admission of divorce is the surest method of rendering marriage happy.

Should there be a little Hagar in each marriage establishment? There is no need to pass a law for that. The provision of the code which makes an unfaithful wife liable to a penalty in whatever place the crime be committed, and that other article which does not punish the erring husband unless his concubine dwells beneath the conjugal roof, implicitly admits the existence of mistresses in the city.

Sanchez has written a dissertation on the penal cases incident to marriage; he has even argued on the illegitimacy and the opportuneness of each form of indulgence; he has outlined all the duties, moral, religious and corporeal, of the married couple; in short his work would form twelve volumes in octavo if the huge folio entitled /De Matrimonio/ were thus represented.

Clouds of lawyers have flung clouds of treatises over the legal difficulties which are born of marriage. There exist several works on the judicial investigation of impotency.

Legions of doctors have marshaled their legions of books on the subject of marriage in its relation to medicine and surgery.

In the nineteenth century the /Physiology of Marriage/ is either an insignificant compilation or the work of a fool written for other fools; old priests have taken their balances of gold and have weighed the most trifling scruples of the marriage consciences; old lawyers have put on their spectacles and have distinguished between every kind of married transgression; old doctors have seized the scalpel and drawn it over all the wounds of the subject; old judges have mounted to the bench and have decided all the cases of marriage dissolution; whole generations have passed unuttered cries of joy or of grief on the subject, each age has cast its vote into the urn; the Holy Spirit, poets and writers have recounted everything from the days of Eve to the Trojan war, from Helen to Madame de Maintenon, from the mistress of Louis XIV to the woman of their own day.

Physiology, what must I consider your meaning?

Shall I say that you intend to publish pictures more or less skillfully drawn, for the purpose of convincing us that a man marries:

From ambition--that is well known;

From kindness, in order to deliver a girl from the tyranny of her mother;

From rage, in order to disinherit his relations;

From scorn of a faithless mistress;

From weariness of a pleasant bachelor life;

From folly, for each man always commits one;

In consequence of a wager, which was the case with Lord Byron;

From interest, which is almost always the case;

From youthfulness on leaving college, like a blockhead;

From ugliness,--fear of some day failing to secure a wife;

Through Machiavelism, in order to be the heir of some old woman at an early date;

From necessity, in order to secure the standing to /our/ son;

From obligation, the damsel having shown herself weak;

From passion, in order to become more surely cured of it;

On account of a quarrel, in order to put an end to a lawsuit;

From gratitude, by which he gives more than he has received;

From goodness, which is the fate of doctrinaires;

From the condition of a will when a dead uncle attaches his legacy to some girl, marriage with whom is the condition of succession;

From custom, in imitation of his ancestors;

From old age, in order to make an end of life;


The Physiology of Marriage - 3/23

Previous Page     Next Page

  1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8   10   20   23 

Schulers Books Home



 Games Menu

Home
Balls
Battleship
Buzzy
Dice Poker
Memory
Mine
Peg
Poker
Tetris
Tic Tac Toe

Google
 
Web schulers.com
 

Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything