Getting Married eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 213 pages of information about Getting Married.
savagely persecuted as the extremity of vice.  The revolt, driven under ground and exacerbated, produces debauchery veiled by hypocrisy, an overwhelming demand for licentious theatrical entertainments which no censorship can stem, and, worst of all, a confusion of virtue with the mere morality that steals its name until the real thing is loathed because the imposture is loathsome.  Literary traditions spring up in which the libertine and profligate—­Tom Jones and Charles Surface are the heroes, and decorous, law-abiding persons—­Blifil and Joseph Surface—­are the villains and butts.  People like to believe that Nell Gwynne has every amiable quality and the Bishop’s wife every odious one.  Poor Mr. Pecksniff, who is generally no worse than a humbug with a turn for pompous talking, is represented as a criminal instead of as a very typical English paterfamilias keeping a roof over the head of himself and his daughters by inducing people to pay him more for his services than they are worth.  In the extreme instances of reaction against convention, female murderers get sheaves of offers of marriage; and when Nature throws up that rare phenomenon, an unscrupulous libertine, his success among “well brought-up” girls is so easy, and the devotion he inspires so extravagant, that it is impossible not to see that the revolt against conventional respectability has transfigured a commonplace rascal into a sort of Anarchist Saviour.  As to the respectable voluptuary, who joins Omar Khayyam clubs and vibrates to Swinburne’s invocation of Dolores to “come down and redeem us from virtue,” he is to be found in every suburb.


We must be reasonable in our domestic ideals.  I do not think that life at a public school is altogether good for a boy any more than barrack life is altogether good for a soldier.  But neither is home life altogether good.  Such good as it does, I should say, is due to its freedom from the very atmosphere it professes to supply.  That atmosphere is usually described as an atmosphere of love; and this definition should be sufficient to put any sane person on guard against it.  The people who talk and write as if the highest attainable state is that of a family stewing in love continuously from the cradle to the grave, can hardly have given five minutes serious consideration to so outrageous a proposition.  They cannot have even made up their minds as to what they mean by love; for when they expatiate on their thesis they are sometimes talking about kindness, and sometimes about mere appetite.  In either sense they are equally far from the realities of life.  No healthy man or animal is occupied with love in any sense for more than a very small fraction indeed of the time he devotes to business and to recreations wholly unconnected with love.  A wife entirely preoccupied with her affection for her husband, a mother entirely preoccupied with her affection for her children, may be all very well in

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Getting Married from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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