Marriage and making exceptions

If it comes to claiming exceptional treatment, the very people who will claim it will be those who least deserve it. The people who are quite convinced they are superior are the very inferior people; the men who really think themselves extraordinary are the most ordinary rotters on earth. If you say, “Nobody must steal the Crown of England,” then probably it will not be stolen. After that, probably the next best thing would be to say, “Anybody may steal the Crown of England,” for then the Crown might find its way to some honest and modest fellow. But if you say, “Those who feel themselves to have Wild and Wondrous Souls, and they only, may steal the Crown of England,” then you may be sure there will be a rush for it of all the rag, tag, and bobtail of the universe, all the quack doctors, all the sham artists, all the demireps and drunken egotists, all the nationless adventurers and criminal monomaniacs of the world.

So, if you say that marriage is for common people, but divorce for free and noble spirits, all the weak and selfish people will dash for the divorce; while the few free and noble spirits you wish to help will very probably (because they are free and noble) go on wrestling with the marriage.

The Illustrated London News, 25 June 1910.

Published in: on February 23, 2011 at 9:58 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ok, so not normally a reader here or a major Chesterton fan, but loved this post!

  2. How true this is! I know from working with the public that it’s the same customers who always think extenuating circumtances apply to them, and rules are there to be negotiated.

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