“A duel to the death”

“A modern man,” said Dr. Cyrus Pym, “must, if he be thoughtful, approach the problem of marriage with some caution. Marriage is a stage — doubtless a suitable stage — in the long advance of mankind towards a goal which we cannot as yet conceive; which we are not, perhaps, as yet fitted even to desire. What, gentlemen, is the ethical position of marriage? Have we outlived it?”

“Outlived it?” broke out Moon; “why, nobody’s ever survived it! Look at all the people married since Adam and Eve — and all as dead as mutton.”

“This is no doubt an inter-pellation joc’lar in its character,” said Dr. Pym frigidly. “I cannot tell what may be Mr. Moon’s matured and ethical view of marriage –”

“I can tell,” said Michael savagely, out of the gloom. “Marriage is a duel to the death, which no man of honour should decline.”

“Michael,” said Arthur Inglewood in a low voice, “you must keep quiet.”

Manalive (1912).

Published in: on July 2, 2008 at 6:00 am  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hello, Hebdomodarian. I just wanted to let you know that, while hardly anyone comments on your posts, we’re all out here, savouring each Chestertonian morsel you deliver up. Thank you for keeping up this valuable service!

  2. Thank you very much, Mr. Taylor. The encouragement is much appreciated!

    The Hebdomadarian

  3. Oh wow. Very cool blog. Thank you!

  4. Thanks, Owen. I hope you’ll stop by often.

  5. […] (This comes from his book Manalive, and should be read in its proper context.) […]

  6. A friend is fond of repeating the “Marriage is a duel to the death” quote, but he couldn’t recall the book it comes from. Thank you!


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