“A city swept by a pestilence”

The newspapers are full of an astonishing hilarity about the rapidity with which hundreds or thousands of human families are being broken up by the lawyers; and about the undisguised haste of the “hustling judges” who carry on the work. It is a form of hilarity which would seem to recall the gaiety of a grave-digger in a city swept by a pestilence. But a few details occasionally flash by in the happy dance; from time to time the court is moved by a momentary curiosity about the causes of the general violation of oaths and promises; as if there might, here and there, be a hint of some sort of reason for ruining the fundamental institution of society. And nobody who notes those details, or considers those faint hints of reason, can doubt for a moment that masses of these men and women are now simply using divorce in the spirit of free-love. They are very seldom the sort of people who have once fallen tragically into the wrong place, and have now found their way triumphantly to the right place. They are almost always people who are obviously wandering from one place to another, and will probably leave their last shelter exactly as they have left their first. But it seems to amuse them to make again, if possible in a church, a promise they have already broken in practice and almost avowedly disbelieve in principle.

— The Superstition of Divorce (1920).

Published in: on June 5, 2013 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  

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