Overruled eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 51 pages of information about Overruled.
that conjugal infidelities always produce tragic consequences, or that they need produce even the unhappiness which they often do produce.  Besides, the more momentous the consequences, the more interesting become the impulses and imaginations and reasonings, if any, of the people who disregard them.  If I had an opportunity of conversing with the ghost of an executed murderer, I have no doubt he would begin to tell me eagerly about his trial, with the names of the distinguished ladies and gentlemen who honored him with their presence on that occasion, and then about his execution.  All of which would bore me exceedingly.  I should say, “My dear sir:  such manufactured ceremonies do not interest me in the least.  I know how a man is tried, and how he is hanged.  I should have had you killed in a much less disgusting, hypocritical, and unfriendly manner if the matter had been in my hands.  What I want to know about is the murder.  How did you feel when you committed it?  Why did you do it?  What did you say to yourself about it?  If, like most murderers, you had not been hanged, would you have committed other murders?  Did you really dislike the victim, or did you want his money, or did you murder a person whom you did not dislike, and from whose death you had nothing to gain, merely for the sake of murdering?  If so, can you describe the charm to me?  Does it come upon you periodically; or is it chronic?  Has curiosity anything to do with it?” I would ply him with all manner of questions to find out what murder is really like; and I should not be satisfied until I had realized that I, too, might commit a murder, or else that there is some specific quality present in a murderer and lacking in me.  And, if so, what that quality is.

In just the same way, I want the unfaithful husband or the unfaithful wife in a farcical comedy not to bother me with their divorce cases or the stratagems they employ to avoid a divorce case, but to tell me how and why married couples are unfaithful.  I don’t want to hear the lies they tell one another to conceal what they have done, but the truths they tell one another when they have to face what they have done without concealment or excuse.  No doubt prudent and considerate people conceal such adventures, when they can, from those who are most likely to be wounded by them; but it is not to be presumed that, when found out, they necessarily disgrace themselves by irritating lies and transparent subterfuges.

My playlet, which I offer as a model to all future writers of farcical comedy, may now, I hope, be read without shock.  I may just add that Mr. Sibthorpe Juno’s view that morality demands, not that we should behave morally (an impossibility to our sinful nature) but that we shall not attempt to defend our immoralities, is a standard view in England, and was advanced in all seriousness by an earnest and distinguished British moralist shortly after the first

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Overruled from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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