« ElőzőTovább »
fireplace, motherhood, and friends. I me as inscrutable as ever. She continprovided these, but failed to provide ues to hold the benefit of all my doubts a satisfactory husband with them. and blundering surmises. She continues Things - solid, tri-dimensional things to hold my respect, and no little of my - we had in plenty. I even supported affection and admiration. for her a yearly new edition of the most I have found no reason under heaven famous motor car in the world. But why this woman should remain my these things were not enough; nor were wife in name and to outward appearmy affection, my variety of devotion, ance when she is wedded in spirit to my quality of love (if we may dignify another. I have found no shadow of exit by that name) enough to make her cuse to justify my asking her to live feel that she was living a life instead with me, save only the problematic welof leading an existence.
fare of our daughter. But this small The essential fact is plain. I have girl has never heard a cross word, or failed to provide that subtle and su- seen a bitter look, or had reason to suspreme something, perhaps a mystic pect the least note of discord between fusion of physical and spiritual ele- her father and mother, and there is no ments necessary in an ideally reciprocal reason why she ever should except as relation between man and woman, she may absorb the opinions of others which my wife feels it is her right to than ourselves. My wife and I have have from life. And having failed here, set our stage and played our appointed what, I ask, have legal, clerical, ethical, parts right well in the sight of our scientific, or social precedents, concep- youngster, and played not without contions, dogmas, theories, and traditions siderable reality of feeling - especially to do with this essentially individual where she herself was concerned. Yet and imperatively personal fact? my wife is weary of play-acting, and
wants to live. She believes that only
by true living can she be to herself, or IV
to her daughter, or to anyone, that Just as verbal and printed discussions which is worth being at all. of the divorce problem have been drab- She claims that the quicker we rely arid and hollow to me, so all those move our wigs and wash our faces, the sages who have discussed my own happier we shall be with ourselves and theme so wisely seem thrust like foolish with everyone with whom we dwell. prophets forth; their words to scorn are She regards one phase of legal mumscattered and their mouths are stopped mery in such a cause as noxious as any with the dust of their own exegesis. other, and prefers to suffer acutely if Freud, Forel, Ribot, Krafft-Ebbing, need be as a result of quick action from Kisch, and even such sympathetic souls me, rather than to endure the almost as Stanley Hall and Havelock Ellis chronically painful lengthiness of bringhave left me stiffly cold with my haunt- ing a suit herself under the circuming perplexity. I have had ample time stances as we find them. To her the to read scientific, medical, and even way seems clear, and the problem apmystic views upon love and marriage, pears simple enough. To me it remains and have even added such cream- a conflict into this eleventh hour. pufferies as Elinor Glyn's complete and I feel, as the time draws near for me final philosophy of practical erotics. to enter a courtroom for the first time Yet the inner mystery of my wife's in my life, like a man drifting without a primitive and protean mind remains to paddle in a lost canoe. I seem to be headed toward a sudden plunge into whit better about it. If I arise in court water of unknown depths. Perhaps and solemnly swear, hand.on Bible, the fall will prove short, the current that my wife has criminally injured me, merciful, and I may be landed grate- I shall feel like an Adamic cad. I fully on a green and solid shore; but I shall deserve to be cast out into a land cannot see ahead.
of thorns and sand, and to have the So easy it is for folks to say, as I have serpent proceed to bruise my heel. heard them say, or heard they have If I drop my case at the courthouse said: 'Serves her right; he ought to be door, as I sometimes feel I shall be imrid of her quick. . . . He should drop pelled from within to do, I shall have the matter and leave it up to her. ... added a cruel weight to the shoulders She ought to be spanked into her senses of my wife and friend, who already and settle down in her own home while bears as much of a burden as any womshe has the chance. ... He's a damn an should be given. I shall postpone fool to let that youngster steal his wife. indefinitely the day when she may real
.. Abnormal creature, deserves to ize her heart's one supreme desire, lose her. . . . They ought to get to- which, be it a sublime reality or an abgether, forget themselves, and live for surd illusion, has held, holds, and shall the child. . . . It would be ridiculous hold my respect as the integrity of if it were not so pitifully tragic. another person's mind. I shall seem to This last utterance is the only one that have backed out of a painfully difficult seems to hold the least glimmer of un- job simply to satisfy a whimsy of courderstanding. I do, indeed, seem to be tesy and personal preference on behalf playing in a comedy fit for a Sunday of my own ego. supplement, and in a tragedy suitable My lawyer writes me to keep my to a highbrow novel; but opinion and nerve, to play I am a surgeon about to comment have in no wise helped me to perform a necessary and saving operadecide what is best for me to do. tion. Now I have already performed
minor surgical operations upon my V
wife, with a scalpel, when those were
necessary. I have also held her hand in I have always hated Adam's reply mine through a major operation, and to God in the Garden of Eden. Eve assisted in the birthing of her daughter. very avely and impudently ate her The legal operation that confronts me, apple and disobeyed the Almighty. I however, seems sometimes quite berespect her for it. Adam whimpered yond my small powers of endurance; excuses about his wife's misconduct and and there seems utterly no answer to example. That makes me sick. Men my inward perplexity save that resultseem to have been justifying them- ant of struggling forces within me selves in much the same way before the which must lead, right soon, to conLord ever since, and if not before God, clusive action. I do not know, to-day, then at least before judges and their what that action will be. And I do not fellow men.
ask anyone for suggestion or advice. Imagining myself in court on this case of mine, I feel like a miserable in
VI carnation of that cowardly progenitor of our human race, and no amount of I am not a moralist. I rather hate logic, or law, or custom, or man-made ‘morals' tacked on, like label-tags, to justice serves to make me feel one the end of a story. I have set down an attempt to crystallize a mood, or set of I somewhat fear that they both bank feelings, and I do not want to preach. on the indubitable, but perhaps overYet to any man who has spent a goodly estimated, power of physical attraction, portion of eight months thinking along of biological love, if you will, to bring a certain line, there ought to come the necessary compensations; and yet a few tentative conclusions, if not every intelligent person knows that in regard to the problem as a whole, sex as a physical mechanism is subject then at least as to his own future fundamentally to the law of diminishconduct in the wake of its conse- ing returns, and perhaps even to Helmquences.
holtz's psycho-physics law of stimulus Were I to proceed with this case, and reaction, both or either of which what should I do next?
would at least modify the solidity of Obviously my wife is taking a such a foundation for life. chance where the odds are tremendous- Altogether I have reason to wonder ly against her. She steps from a world whether their experiment will prove a of friends and congenial acquaintances success. What am I to do, I who gave into a land organically inimical toward my word of honor to love and to cherish anyone who acts openly against its this wife of mine until death do us part? more sensitive mores. She enters a Shall I so easily pragmatize the situaunion whose success is doubted, if its tion, let her lie on the bed she has made, consummation is not wholly disap- and go my way relieved of further proved by her family and friends. She worry? I can hardly do that. I gambles on the promise of integrity, think without doubt she will leave solidarity, lasting affection, moral me; it is probable that she will marry and financial support of a young man again. still a verdant freshman in the school There remains, it seems to me, but of life, into whose hands she is willing one thing for me to do: keep friendly. to place her future as a wife, and as the She will need financial support for a mother of children, a profession she
while whether she marries or not. I can elected early in life to pursue. She help there through an allowance, or knows she is playing with chance, what you will, for the care of our daughthough perhaps she has not tried to ter, for I shall certainly not take the calculate the odds. That marriage is a girl from her mother, whatever judgjob at adjustment, she has also learned, ment a bench may hand down. She but she believes she can do better a will need moral support, the thought of second time than she has the first. a few friends in the world, more than
Personally, I wonder if she will be once. This I can give as I may be able. better able to adjust herself even to a
Does that sound sentimental? or man so different from myself. I do not like a merely verbal pose? Think of think I flatter myself. I am sure I our daughter. Marriage may be dismust bristle with irritating negatives solved, a home may be broken, man like an Arizona cactus, and I probably and wife may drift apart on their reremain as serenely unconscious of their spective ways; but the child remains, sharp and stinging points. Yet, from concrete, steadfast, a lovely reality. the little I know of this young man, With respect to our daughter, my his surface is not smooth as an apple; job seems to be, again: keep friendly. and, as to my wife, she is not without Without friendliness between my wife antagonizing traits which call for ad- and me, the child will be hurt, deeply, justment in return.
lastingly. With concord and cheerfulVOL. 134 — NO. %
ness, for her sake if for no other, she to feel that marriage and motherhood will weather whatever physical and are the supreme goals of life, and to benominal changes a divorce may bring lieve that marriage can be successful, about, with only a surface perplexity and that it may be happy. Does this and pain. She is now of that grimly sound impossibly grotesque? Perhaps; realistic age when everything is true but I feel sure that here, at least, I which does not go contrary to her own shall have the child's mother in full inward wish. Santa Claus, Mother sympathy and in active help. If her Hubbard, God, her daddy's power, own second married life is happy, the and her mother's goodness are equally task will be easier than if it is not; but true.
even should it not be, this effort can Marriage is a reality to her, but if still be made. Perhaps our endeavor ever there were to be a time when her will have more power of feeling and mother and father might be unmarried thought and sympathetic effort than or remarried without any more dis- even an average mother and father turbance to her own little soul than might give to such a job. Emerson's would be their getting a shave or a law of compensation often works shampoo, it is now. Thinking seriously strange miracles in life, does it not? about it will come much later.
I seem to have then, two very definiI think she should know the truth tive personal angles to my problem, or regarding our separation of ways very at least toward its aftermath. For mysoon. I think she should know it in the self, I want to follow out as far as I can same spirit and atmosphere that she my promise (and my desire) to cherhas known me to come and
go busi- ish, at least, and to help a woman and a ness,' or has bade her mother good-bye mother who has meant much of happiwhen she has gone 'to Europe. She ness, and somewhat of sorrow in my can live with me in the future, as she life. For our child, I want to make has in the past, and trade back to her every effort to keep her happy and unmother, and to her grandmother, or to perplexed in childhood, enlightened as one of the half-dozen loving and lovable well as we may know how to enlighten women who have mothered her tempo- her in youth as regards her coming rarily while her own mother has been life, and especially concerning love, ‘away' Gradually she will get per- marriage, and parenthood. And by spective. Slowly she will gain a knowl- every means I shall try to keep hope edge of the way things are done in the high in her heart that, whatever misworld, the way they ‘ought' and 'ought takes and blunders and even tragedies not to be done; but for one thing I have befallen her father and mother sincerely hope, and for that one thing in their attempts to adjust their life I shall diligently work: that she may together, she may, by hard work grow up in an atmosphere of friend- and a resolute spirit and a steadfast liness, of coöperation, and of as much faith in her finest inward feelings, make cheerfulness, as possible.
life worth living, with happiness as a Further, I shall endeavor to lead her possible by-product.
BY KIRSOPP LAKE
To past generations prayer meant pri- drawn near, when they have known marily the process of petition to God that Mt. Pisgah and not the Land of by which He was induced to do other. Promise was the farthest that they wise than He would have done if prayer would reach, it has been to the vision had not been used. Fasting and sacri- that they have turned to find in it the fice and prayer were the great magical true Reality. To errors of intellect triad by which men endeavored to se- and to the weakness of human nature cure favor from God. The Bible and they may have succumbed, for sinners Church History supply countless ex- as well as saints, ignorant as well as amples of the importance of this triad. learned, foolish as well as wise have They also illustrate the way in which been among their number; but they fasting and sacrifice have gradually have never wholly forgotten the vision, come to lose their importance.
and those who have come after them But prayer meant also, or rather took
have perceived that these were men with it, the sense of communion with who were pilgrims and sojourners here God, not as the Supreme Governor who because they belonged to the city controls the universe, but as the Father which ‘hath foundations.' who advises, comforts, strengthens, Finally, confession or self-examinaand forgives his children in answer to tion is a constant element in all the their cry of need, who enables them to classic examples of prayer. It does not bear the temptations of success and perhaps necessarily mean the recognifailure, and lightens their darkness tion of error, though it often does so; when the clouds hang heavy overhead. but it is essentially a spiritual ‘stockThe language in which this sense of taking,' revealing to him who prays communion has been expressed, has what is the true nature of his life, often changed, and will no doubt strengthening the good, and condemnchange again, but the experience which ing the evil in it. For this reason it perit expresses is permanent.
haps plays a smaller part in public Moreover, because conversation is prayer than in private. Nevertheless the best means of clarifying thought, there are certain causes for failure prayer has been always the means which are common to the race, and can whereby men have become conscious be recognized and confessed in common of their own aspirations, have seen prayer -- the pride of life, the lust of glimpses of a better world, and have the eye, and the desire for revenge. sought henceforward to make the life These are the simplest and most powerwhich they must live on the plain ap- ful enemies of good, and they are met proach more closely to the vision which openly though not always by name, in they have seen on the mount. The all the great examples of prayer. It is vision has always gone with them, and impossible to pray “Thy Kingdom as the inevitable day of weakness has come' and, at the same moment, be