+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

then be obliged, in order to regain a small
fraction of it, to give the lie to all my engagements,
and to violate my most sacred vows.
Looking marriage bravely in the face, to give a
definition of it, we need not hesitate to say that
matrimony ought to be an improvement in the
condition of both the parties.

If marriage ought to be an amelioration, what
are the requisites for augmenting the well-being
of a man and a woman isolated in celibacy? In
the first place, the companion chosen for life,
ought to enjoy perfect health. Men or women
who, from interested motives, take to themselves
ailing or decrepid partners, commit an act which,
if general, would entail the degradation of future
generations. Is that reasonable? Is it even

After health, come character and disposition,
which greatly depend on education, habit, and
the social medium in which the early years of
life have been spent. It is certain that a girl
brought up as a recluse, in the practice of almost
monastic habits, will be ill disposed for an abrupt
transition from her accustomed solitude to the
activity of a large industrial enterprise. In like
manner, the girl who has acquired a taste for
travelling, will with difficulty yield to the
exigencies of a sedentary life. There ought therefore
at least to be some analogy between the
past and the future, to prevent the suddenness of
the contrast from turning out a stumbling-stone
for the future spouses. As to the money question,
no one says that it ought to be neglected;
but certainly it ought to yield the precedence to
physical and moral considerations.

Swedenborg has discoursed at length on the
mysterious and almost invincible predestination
of human attachments. Every soul, he asserts,
and everybody, living and suffering in this valley
of tears, has a sister or a brother, to which the
laws of physical and moral attraction are
constantly tending to unite it. In proof whereof
he cites the sudden and inexplicable sympathy
which breaks out, at first sight, between two
persons who did not even suspect each other's

No one will deny that, in married life, one
ought to try to love the woman one marries.
Well; before our heart is opened to her, our
eyes have been already smitten. By what?
There's the mystery! Evidently beauty is a
powerful stimulant of love; but do we not daily
behold men captivated by women whom the
majority of their male friends consider plain?
This fascination is therefore owing to some
secret cause which we obey without knowing
what it isa mysterious attraction which cannot
lead us astray, if we will only follow it.
Inclination is the daughter of sight; she is the
offspring of an innate sympathy, inexplicable
perhaps, but certainly indisputable.
Consequently, the man who marries the woman who
pleases him, is nearer to the truth than he who
beholds his future bride only through the
deceptive prism of her cash-box.

When a man is charmed by a woman, and
excites in her a reciprocal feeling, there are a
thousand ways which the strictest morality cannot
blame, and which prudery only would dare
to condemn, of studying and becoming
acquainted with the temper and habits of that
woman. If, after due inquiry, the inclination
still subsists, it is clear that there is compatibility
of temper between them. In this respect,
at any rate, the marriage of fools has an advantage
over the marriage of sages. As to
pecuniary considerations, it is needless to mention
them at this point of the argument. The man
who is reasonable enough not to marry a wife
until he has previously loved and studied her,
will be perfectly capable of deciding a question
in which his own personal interest is concerned.

From all which, M. Thévenin concludes that
a marriage of reason is an act of folly which
can only turn out well by great good luck;
whilst a marriage of inclination is the only
reasonable one, when the future couple have
prudence enough to put between the birth of their
inclination and the conclusion of their union an
interval long enough to assure them that their
affection is likely to resist time and its perfidious


WHEN rogues fall out, says the proverb,
honest men come by their due. So, when
tricksters begin to abuse each other, the poor
dupes they have gulled come to their senses.

This is the crisis at which spiritualism has
arrived. Mr. Home, who for a long time
held undisputed possession of the spiritual
field, has lately stigmatised the Davenports as
"unmitigated humbugs," and the friends of the
Davenports retort, through the medium of the
Spiritual Times (price twopence weekly,
advertisements two shillings a line), that Mr. Home
is so notoriously jealous of every medium but
himself, that he is utterly disqualified for passing
a judgment upon any medium whatever, or
himself into the bargain. Mr. Home has worked
his entertainment out; the Brothers Davenport
have been exposed, and denounced even by Mr.
Home himself, and their mysteries have been left
in the hands of a few obscure ignorant men and
women, who find séance-holding more profitable,
more pleasant, and much easier work, than the
shoemaking, or bonnet-building, which is their
proper vocation. In fact, spirit-rapping has
come down to the level of fortune-telling, with
this difference, that the rappers have a weekly
organ through which to communicate their
names and addresses to the public; while the
old woman with the dirty pack of cards is obliged
to prowl about areas, or trust to her private
and confidential connexion with the

A little while ago the spirits demanded half
a sovereign at the doors; now they are willing
to perform first and make the collection afterwards,
"leaving it entirely to you," and thankfully
receiving the smallest donations. This
is even a degree lower than the practice of the