VIP Membership

The physiology of marriage 1 HTML version

delicacy from despising the author, from the very moment that he,
forfeiting the praise which most artists welcome, has in a certain
way engraved on the title page of his book the prudent inscription
written on the portal of certain establishments: _Ladies must not
"Marriage is not an institution of nature. The family in the east is
entirely different from the family in the west. Man is the servant of
nature, and the institutions of society are grafts, not spontaneous
growths of nature. Laws are made to suit manners, and manners vary.
"Marriage must therefore undergo the gradual development towards
perfection to which all human affairs submit."
These words, pronounced in the presence of the Conseil d'Etat by
Napoleon during the discussion of the civil code, produced a profound
impression upon the author of this book; and perhaps unconsciously he
received the suggestion of this work, which he now presents to the
public. And indeed at the period during which, while still in his
youth, he studied French law, the word ADULTERY made a singular
impression upon him. Taking, as it did, a prominent place in the code,
this word never occurred to his mind without conjuring up its mournful
train of consequences. Tears, shame, hatred, terror, secret crime,
bloody wars, families without a head, and social misery rose like a
sudden line of phantoms before him when he read the solemn word
ADULTERY! Later on, when he became acquainted with the most cultivated
circles of society, the author perceived that the rigor of marriage
laws was very generally modified by adultery. He found that the number
of unhappy homes was larger than that of happy marriages. In fact, he
was the first to notice that of all human sciences that which relates
to marriage was the least progressive. But this was the observation of
a young man; and with him, as with so many others, this thought, like
a pebble flung into the bosom of a lake, was lost in the abyss of his
tumultuous thoughts. Nevertheless, in spite of himself the author was
compelled to investigate, and eventually there was gathered within his
mind, little by little, a swarm of conclusions, more or less just, on
the subject of married life. Works like the present one are formed in
the mind of the author with as much mystery as that with which
truffles grow on the scented plains of Perigord. Out of the primitive
and holy horror which adultery caused him and the investigation which
he had thoughtlessly made, there was born one morning a trifling
thought in which his ideas were formulated. This thought was really a
satire upon marriage. It was as follows: A husband and wife found
themselves in love with each other for the first time after
twenty-seven years of marriage.