Marriages frequently occur both in civilized and savage life, in which love, or even a pretence of it, has no part. Wives are purchased, captured, stolen or traded for, with as sure a foundation, very often, for subsequent happiness as when obtained in the more natural and legitimate way. The Sabine maidens made faithful and loving wives for their Roman captives, as Mr. Rollin informs us;' and the experiences of modern society, as well as the facts previously quoted, go far to prove the assertion of the Eskimo to Mr. Hall, that "love, if it come at all, comes after marriage."*
Among the Australians, according to Mr. Smyth, the bride is not honored with the tenderest kind of a wooing. She is simply seized, and dragged from her home. If she resist, a spear is thrust through her foot or leg; but, notwithstanding the harshness of the courtship, there Beem to be few cases in which the husband's subsequent devotion, fidelity and kindly affection, do not in the end evoke kindred sentiments in the wife.*
Sexual love has been greatly refined and spiritualized by the growing altruism of society, and the influence of religion. In China it was considered "good form" for a man to beat his wife; and if he spared her a little, it was less from sympathy than to save the price of another. In Hindu families, Mr. Dubois says, "sincere mutual friendship is rarely to be met with."1 The average Hindu has no higher conception of a wife than that of a slave, to wait upon him, afford him sexual pleasure and bear him children; and that love of which the Persian poets, Hafiz and Firdausi, wrote so glowingly, had, as Polak observes, "either a symbolic or a very profane meaning;"3 for the life of the Persian woman, of any class, was not a pleasant one.
That feeling of unity which makes husband and wife true and inseparable, for better or worse, can only properly develop in a society where moral principle is stronger than sexual passion, and where selfishness gives way to disinterested sentiment. In the ancient civilizations of the East, even yet, there is almost a complete absence of that tenderness and consideration for the sex which constitute the chief charm of modern society, and it is only when affection becomes more prominent than mere sexual desire, in the matter of matrimony, that the morals of a people become purer and the marriage contract more sacred.
Affection is always strengthened by sympathy, as sympathy is strengthened by affection. Community of interests, sentiments, tastes, culture, age, is essential to permanency of love and perfect happiness in the married state.' Love is sometimes excited by contrasts, but only within certain limits.4 The contrast must be in minor points of character, and never so strong as to wholly exclude sympathy. Great differences of age are, on purely physical grounds, almost universally fatal to both sympathy and sexual fitness. While many, apparently, happy marriages occur between the old and young, it will be found on close investigation that such happiness, if it really exist, is founded on some factitious charm of manner, temperament, politeness, or culture of mind, rather than on those natural beauties of form which originally prompted the sexual union. Therefore men of judgment, who marry comparatively late in life, always guard against too great a disparity of age, there being such an inviolable law of similarity between the objects, interests, pleasures, antipathies and sexual feelings of youth, as to almost certainly insure those punishments of its violation with which the society of today is only too sadly familiar.