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The Criminal and the Community
Part II - Chapter VI - Sex and Crime


FOR good or ill great changes have taken place, and more are likely to occur, in the relative social and political positions of the sexes. Women are excluded from political power on the ground of their sex, and by way of opposing or of justifying this condition of matters everything but sex is discussed. It has been shown that woman is as clever as man; pays her rates at least as promptly; can work as hard and at as varied occupations; is capable of outstripping him in learning; shows as much intelligence; is more moral; and can sometimes be a greater nuisance to her neighbours. All which may be a very good reason for giving her a vote, but does not alter the fact that there is a great difference between the sexes. That may be no reason for excluding her from a share in the direct election of representatives to Parliament, but it is a fact that cannot be lost sight of and which seems to be forgotten

when it is not deliberately minimised by both parties to the controversy. Man is something more than his brain, and so is woman. Indeed, their thoughts and their acts are often the outcome of the condition of their other organs; and the attraction of one sex for the other disturbs most frequently the calculations of observers. Among the primitives in our own country the principal subject of interest, after their means of subsistence—and occasionally before even that—is the opposite sex; and if one may judge by the books in greatest demand, those whose opportunities are more varied are far from indifferent to the same subject. The young man who is not stirred by desire to excite admiration in some girl—perhaps in all girls— is an exceptional being ; at least he feels uncomfortable in their presence.

The love of attracting attention is very common, but while it causes men to do many strange things to obtain praise from their own sex, it much more frequently moves them to extraordinary actions in order to secure the admiration of women. Whether men or women are most moved by this feeling it is impossible to say, but the men are more likely to make fools of themselves. Their present social position gives them greater opportunities to do so; for the woman’s training and traditions are against her openly giving way to her feelings, and when she does so the result is apt to be disastrous. It is the commonest thing in the world to see young people posturing to attract the attention of those of the opposite sex, and their feelings may blind them to the consequences of their conduct.

A too intense interest in anything else is fatal to business, and the rule has no exception in favour of the amorous ; so it is not uncommon for a lad to lose his place through inattention to his work, the result of preoccupation in his love affairs. In some social stations this condition of mind may lead the lad into criminal courses. X 22 was an intelligent lad who had drifted into crime and continued in it. He had not offended against the law as a boy, though he had passed his early years in a part of the town where the sights are appalling and the prevailing tone of morals is low. He spent the later years of his boyhood in a suburban village and went to work in that district. When he was about seventeen there was an epidemic of “club dancings”; that is to say, places where a number of young men, having hired a room and a fiddler, charged others a small sum for admission to dance—girls being admitted free—and divided the profits or the losses among themselves afterwards. The dancers were usually the sons and daughters of respectable people, but their behaviour after the dance was not innocent. The more ardent among them became passionately addicted to the practice of attending such places and dropped both work and reputation in the process. The scandal of the thing ultimately became so great that under the pressure of public opinion the “clubs” were discontinued. At one time they were many in number and spread over a wide area. The young man of whom I speak was an enthusiastic devotee and went far afield at times to seek his pleasure. Working from early morning and dancing till late at night, it was morning again before he got home. He could not possibly keep up both the work and the pleasure, and the work had to go. He had to find money, and he got it dishonestly at less fatigue than by work. This had its end and it finished him. After being in prison he found the door of some of the clubs closed to him, but there were others. He did not escape so readily now when he stole, being known; and gradually he was shut out from the pleasures that had led him astray and shut into the company of those who, like himself, had been in prison. He was only one of a number whose downfall was attributed to dancing ; but he had not the slightest doubt that if the dancing had been between those of the same sex it would never have led him off his feet. It was the sexual element in the matter that attracted him.

In this case the man lost his regular employment through absorption in his pursuit of women, but in many more cases the situation is forfeited through dishonesty caused by the desire to make an impression on some girl or to provide for her. X 23 was a lad of good character, quiet in his manner, well educated, and employed in a position of trust. He was serious and sober in his walk and conversation, and appeared likely in time to become a pillar of the Church and a model citizen. He was attracted by a girl who was of good reputation, and there was never any suggestion of improper conduct on the part of either of them. She lost her situation through no fault of her own, and he placed her in a house which he furnished at the expense of his employers, expressing his intention to marry her later. There was no improper intimacy between them. Those who knew him were surprised that he should be able to make the provision for her that he did—surprised also at his choice of her as a wife ; but that is not an uncommon attitude on the part of friends—and equally surprised and pained when it was discovered that he had used money which was not his own in order to set up the establishment.

It would be easy to multiply examples of cases where the relations between the parties are less innocent, and to show that not merely young men, but men who are advanced in life, have been driven by the attraction of the other sex to sacrifice their position.

Women are not ignorant of their power, and the criminal among them know how to use it to advantage. Because of their sex they are able to commit many thefts and to escape with impunity; indeed, a very large proportion of thefts from the person are committed by women, or with their assistance. They attract the man, go along with him, pick his pocket, and find some excuse to get rid of him in a hurry. When he discovers his loss they are out of reach, and in the great majority of cases he says nothing about it to the police, as to do so would cause scandal about himself. Only when the loss is too considerable to be borne, or when something is stolen that cannot be replaced, is the theft reported ; and even then it is difficult to convict the thief. X 24 is a girl of twenty-six who has several times during the last eight years been convicted of theft. She is a buxom and cheerful young woman, neither a teetotaler nor intemperate, fehrewd, and possessed of a considerable share of intelligence and humour. Brought up in a slum district, she was early at work; and when she began her present career she was earning honestly about fourteen shillings weekly. Some time ago I was asked to see her on behalf of a lady who had taken an interest in her from her appearance in court, and who was willing to help her to a better way of living. She was perfectly frank with me, and declined assistance on the ground that she could do better for herself. She said that with very little trouble she could make twice the amount to be gained by work, and with little risk. “You ken weel enough, doctor, that the lady could do nothing for me. She would put me in a place among her servants, maybe, and that would be a nice thing for the servants! Na, na. When I find it disna pay I’ll gie it up. As long’s the drink disna get a grip o’ me I’m a’ richt; and there’s no much fear o’ that.” Like others of her class, she does not live by prostitution, though her sex is her decoy. She has no prejudice in favour of chastity, but she takes very good care to run no unnecessary risks, and will find a means of getting away from the man she may pick up—if possible with his purse, but if not, then without it—before matters have proceeded to an extremity.

Others acting in concert with male accomplices lure men to houses where they are bullied and robbed; and this goes on with a degree of impunity that would be amazing, were it not for the fact that though the practice is well known, there are few of those who have suffered loss of money who care to add to it the loss of reputation that would result if they had to appear in court.

Blackmailing is another practice that springs from the conduct of both men and women influenced in the direction of vice and crime by sex impulses; and jealousy is a powerful factor in the causation of some crimes of violence. Jealousy is not generally looked for on the part of those who are themselves loose in their conduct, but among them it may exist as intensely and manifest itself as powerfully as in any respectable citizen. It seems to be largely a matter of temperament, and to be to some extent existent apart from the desire for exclusive possession. X25 was an ex-soldier married to a woman of low morals. They had both been loose in their behaviour and were both given to drink. He had on several occasions assaulted her for her infidelities, but he admitted that it was not jealousy that had caused him to do so ; and he owned that he was just as bad himself. He went off to the war, and in his absence she behaved very badly and took headlong to drink. She lived with another man. On his return he took up house with her, and the other man was a source of quarrel between them, especially when they were drinking. He was admittedly jealous, though there does not seem to have been any but a retrospective cause for the feeling. One day in the course of a quarrel she compared him with the other man to his disadvantage, and he savagely set on and killed her.

X 26 was a sailor who was attached to a woman whom he knew to be a prostitute. When he came to Glasgow he lived with her, quite well knowing her character. He spent his money freely on her, but could not keep her from her associates. One night she insisted on leaving the house where they lodged. She had been drinking heavily, and he tried to detain her. She insisted on going to the lodgings of another man whom he knew; and when he endeavoured to persuade her to remain where she was, she made a comparison between him and the other that set him in a blind fury of rage and jealousy, in which he killed her. The cases present similar features: a tolerance of general infidelity; a jealousy of a particular individual; and an explosion when the other was praised for certain qualities.

The same kind of thing has occurred with women. One day in the airing-yard of the prison a woman who was usually quiet in her behaviour made a sudden attack on another who had been admitted to prison on the preceding day. It transpired that the assailant had heard that the woman she assaulted was living with “her man.” The man was a bloated blackguard whom she had screened by pleading guilty to a charge of theft in which he was implicated. She herself was a prostitute, and when I pointed out that morally he could not be worse than she in that respect she admitted the fact, but added furiously that she would not allow that to take him from her; although

she was ready enough to recognise his worthlessness. It would be easy to theorise on these cases, and it might be interesting; it is well to note them, for they show that crime may result from passion in circumstances where it might not be expected.

The fact is that feelings the result of sex strike far deeper and wider than many good people care to acknowledge ; but the whole subject is one on which a taboo is placed and it cannot be treated as frankly as it ought for that reason. The cause of jealousy and the excitement of the feeling is not so simple as many seem to think. It may be absent where there would appear to be the strongest ground for expecting its presence, and present under circumstances where it would not be looked for; and when present it may induce criminal acts on a provocation that would appear small indeed.

There are fewer female than male criminals and offenders, but they are more likely than men to continue in the wrong way when they set out on it, for it is more difficult for them to recover. Women are much harder on one another than they are on men; or than men are, either on their own sex or on women. This may be one reason why so few of them go astray, but it also contributes to keep the stray sheep from getting back to the fold. The girl is more closely guarded at home and is more intimately associated with her mother than the boy is. Even mothers who have gone to the bad do not always want their daughters to follow their example; and I have known those who lived by vice and crime who have sent their daughters away from them in order to be trained in religion and morals. Most of them cannot do that, but many do what they can, up to a point, to keep them straight. A girl suffers more than a boy from the neglect of a mother, and when to neglect is added bad example it may have a fatal effect on her. In proportion to their numbers there are more daughters than sons of criminal mothers who take to evil courses.

Apart from the mother, there are districts of the city where girls hear language and see sights that are not likely to have a good effect on them. The girl is taught to repress herself more than the boy and is trained towards secretiveness. The boy is rather given to flaunt his new-found naughtiness and to be checked for it or to discover of how little account it is. The girl may nurse it to her harm. It is a mistake to suppose that because a man or woman never uses objectionable language, or repeats objectionable stories, they have not left an impression when heard. As a matter of fact, the female side of any lunatic asylum is generally more remarkable than the male side for the foulness of the language of the inmates and the filthiness of their ideas. Among the sane members of the community the opposite is notoriously the case, but the insane are only repeating words that have lodged in their mind when they were sane. The same thing is true of female offenders; they outdo the men in the profanity and indecency of their language, when they begin.

When as a result of their surroundings young girls take to imitating their elders in vice they are much more dangerous than boys. Every surgeon in a great city, if he is connected with the administration of the law, knows that very young girls are sometimes made the subjects of horrible assaults; but he also knows that other girls as young incite and provoke assaults, and that some among them make the most terrible and detailed charges against men on no foundation whatever but that of their own imagination excited by what they have seen. When men are guilty of certain offences under the Criminal Law Amendment Act there can be no defence of their conduct; they have no excuse for taking advantage of young girls; but it is sheer folly to ignore the fact that there are girls of school age in some parts of the city who deliberately importune men. It is terrible that it should be so, but they are only doing what they see their elders do and there is no use disregarding the fact.

If the street is a bad playground for the boy it is worse for the girl. She runs greater risks and her ignorance is as vast as his. When she goes to work new perils beset her. Her choice of occupation is more restricted, and her wages, though they may not be less in the first instance, do not increase in the same ratio as she grows to youth and womanhood. Whatever may be said for tho higher education of women it is out of reach of the many. Most girls have the idea that some day they will be married; and they are often right. When this idea is present it is bound to affect their actions. Marriage means for a man the holding on to his work; for a woman it implies the giving up of her employment—at any rate, in Scotland most men who marry try to keep their wives at home. Among the poorer labourers this is not always possible ; but it remains true that the great majority of married women are not industrially employed. They have quite enough to do at home, and sometimes more than enough ; but the fact that the home is to be their permanent sphere of work, or the hope of this, makes many girls and women careless as to the choice of their occupation meanwhile. It also prevents combination among workers, to a large extent, and tends to keep wages low. How some of them five on their earnings is a mystery, but they do; and keep themselves in a condition of health and fitness which will compare favourably with that of many of the scientific people who prove by figures and standards that they don’t. There is grave risk in it, however; risk that they should not be asked to run. If they were not members of a family, each contributing earnings to a common pool, and each undertaking a share of the household work, many could not exist on the wages they receive. That any large number of them are directly driven to the street by the low rate of their wages is not, in my experience, true.

Complaints have been made that the children of well-to-do people accept lower wages and make it hard for those who have to earn their living to obtain reasonable pay. This may be true in a few cases, but it is not of general application. These people do not compete at all in many occupations; their parents are not foolish enough to let them do much for nothing; but they do sometimes exercise an injurious influence on the other girls by their presence. Girls are at least as vain of their appearance as lads, and they are quite as much given to personal adornment. Indeed, I think men will readily admit that women pay more attention to their dress and are keener on ornaments than they are. Certainly when one gets a new kind of hat-pin or “charm,” others must obtain something to balance it. If a girl has a fund to draw upon apart from her earnings she is likely to dress more expensively than her neighbours, and the weaker sisters are sometimes tempted to adopt extraordinary measures to keep pace with her.

In so far as a standard of dress is set up that is beyond the earning power of the workers to maintain, girls who have other resources than their wages are liable to exercise an injurious effect on their fellow-workers. X 27 was a young woman of prepossessing appearance and good manner. She had been employed in a place of business in town. Her wages were small, and she had charge of cash transactions to a considerable amount. She was quietly and well dressed. She was arrested on a charge of embezzlement and she admitted her guilt. She confessed that she had begun to take small sums in order to keep herself “respectable,” and her peculations not being discovered, she had continued to help herself. There was sickness at home, and to relieve the pressure there she had taken larger sums and been found out. In the course of enquiries I found that there were other employees none of whom had her opportunities of taking from the cash-box, but some of whom dressed themselves on “presents” from gentlemen. There was room for suspicion that each knew what the others had been doing. It was certain that they knew that their earnings were insufficient to enable them to live and dress as they did, and it was equally clear that in their cases they had no resources at home to supplement their earnings.

There are some workshops in which the moral tone is very low, and the association of young girls together in them has a bad effect on their conduct. The ignorance of many men and women with regard to the most elementary physical facts is remarkable. Mysteries are made of physiology, as though innocence and ignorance were synonymous terms. Fear takes the place of enlightenment, and when a girl is seen to transgress the limits of conduct laid down for her without the dreadful consequences they have been led to expect, the others are apt to think they have been misled; and some of them embark lightly on a certain course of conduct with a confidence begotten of ignorance as great as that which once made them timid. Young people are better to learn the truth about themselves from those they respect and trust, than to be kept in ignorance till some chance reveals a distorted version to them. X 28 was a man of the labouring class who was charged with contravention of the Criminal Law Amendment Act. He had been a very hard-working man, and for years had lived on little and saved the greater part of his earnings. Then, as systematically as he had put the money past, he started to get rid of it. He had nearly £200, and he proceeded to spend about £2 a week on his “spree.” He drew the money from the bank in small sums, and, doing no work meanwhile, he proceeded to take enough drink to keep him on the right side of drunkenness. This had been going on for over six months before his arrest. Early in the course of his wanderings he had made the acquaintance of two girls who were employed in a tailoring establishment in the city. They spoke to him and made him certain proposals. This was in the dinner-hour. In time he was introduced by one girl to another during the succeeding four months, till he had dealings with seven in the same establishment—that is to say, seven admitted the facts. Their ages ran from fifteen to nineteen years, and without exception they were all the daughters of respectable parents, to whom the story of their conduct came as a severe shock. That story will not bear repetition ; it was exceedingly gross. The facts were only discovered in an accidental way through the illness of one of the girls. She at first denied everything; but under pressure made a confession of part of the truth, and, the charge being laid, enquiry elicited the rest.

A large number of girls are still employed in domestic service, though the tendency has been for them to seek industrial work, where they are for some part of the day their own mistresses. The spread of elementary education has been blamed for the shortage in the supply of servants, but it is only one of many causes for the change from the time when there were more girls seeking work than places for them ; and girls are not likely to seek service as a result of the railings of those who, to judge by their utterances, are in need of some elementary education with regard to their own position. There seems to be an idea fixed in their heads that they have a right to be served by others, and that on their own terms. If the schools have taught the girls that they are not bom to do for others what they ought to be able to do for themselves, it is something to the credit of the schools. Domestic servants have been too long treated as though they were inferior beings, with the natural result that their work has come to be looked upon as lower in character than that of the factory or the office girl. A greater independence of spirit and behaviour is permitted in those engaged in industrial occupations than in domestics, and this has a good deal to do with the preference shown for these pursuits.

Domestic service is a better preparation for married life than work in a factory, but in spite of this it has very serious disadvantages. It presents the form of family life without the spirit. In a great many cases it has all the disadvantages and few of the advantages. Those who are loudest in their complaints of the degeneration of servants show quite clearly that they are angry really because they no longer get girls to give not only reasonable service, but the obedience of flunkeys. Girls in workshops are not treated as domestics are; they would not stand it. Their wages may be lower, but at least they are not looked upon as beings of another creation than those placed over them. When people shun certain kinds of employment it is not generally because they are foolish, but because they believe that that kind of work is not worth having.

The servant in the house is too much in the house. Her mistress is quite ready to assume that she should know all that the girl is doing, but the confidence is expected to be all on the one side. For the mistress to interfere in the girl’s affairs is to show a proper interest in her; but for the girl to return the compliment is impertinence. The girl is often subject to unsympathetic supervision; she is seldom allowed out to associate with those whose company she desires; her life is a monotonous and exacting one; and in many cases she has as few opportunities for seeing visitors as she has for visiting. That some should react unfavourably to these conditions is not surprising ; and when they are out they may show the same tendency to friskiness displayed by that other domestic animal, the family dog. Many of them have few friends near the place of their employment, and their work does not provide them with the same facilities for forming friendships as industrial employment does. If they do go astray the consequences are therefore more serious, because they are to a large extent thrown on their own resources, having few to whom they can appeal for help or advice.

There are no workers who are more generally industrious, honest, and patient, and who are more harshly judged. Only those who go wrong seem to attract attention; at least it is only they who are heard of; and in proportion to the large number employed they are few. Their position away from their family leaves them more exposed to the attentions of those of the opposite sex than other girls, and when they succumb the consequences may be more serious. If their condition is suspected or discovered the extent to which they are considered members of the family soon becomes apparent. The girl who is in this state has no illusions on that subject. She knows quite well that she will receive no sympathy, and that would not matter so much if she were not equally certain that she will be turned out whenever the fact becomes known. She cannot face her people. She fears the scandal she will bring on them, and what she should do is a puzzle to her. What she tries to do is to conceal her condition as long as possible. She knows quite well that a time will come when it will unmistakably reveal itself, but anything may happen in the interval. She refuses to think about the future and lives in the present. The effort that should be expended in making preparations for the event is spent in concealing its approach; till some day she finds herself a mother. The habit of concealment has become a part of her, and it asserts itself in the state of pain and panic in which she finds herself, with disastrous results to the child. X 29 was a girl about twenty years of age who came from a mining district to domestic service in Glasgow. She was a healthy girl and a good servant. One day her mistress had reason to suspect that something had taken place in the house of which she had not been made aware; and a search revealed the dead body of a new-born child in an outhouse. The girl was arrested and sent to hospital. In due course she was transferred to prison, where I had to investigate the case with a view to determining her mental condition. She told me the story bit by bit quite clearly. When she became aware of her condition she took steps to hide it, and up to the end she had been successful in doing so. She did this in order to make up her mind what she ought to do. Sometimes she decided to go home to her friends, and at other times she meant to apply to the parish. Her health was good all the time. At last she made up her mind to go home, and had written stating her intention, but saying nothing about her condition or about staying there. The child was born the night before the day she had fixed for her visit. She was taken by surprise, and had no preparations made for its arrival. By her actions she showed that she knew what was necessary in order to attend both to child and mother. It cried out, and in her alarm she stopped its mouth. It did not cry again, and she next set about its concealment. She knew that she had killed it, but she did not think this murder. She would have thought it murder if it had not just been new-born. She had seen similar cases reported in the newspapers as “Concealment of Pregnancy” and not counted murder. As she had her day off to pay her visit she did so. She walked at least ten miles in doing this. She told her friends nothing. She hoped to be able to dispose of the body, but her mistress had found suspicious signs in her room, and on a search had discovered the child. She was curiously knowing in some respects, but her ignorance was as peculiar as her knowledge ; and I had no reason to doubt the truth of her story, which stood such tests as could be applied to it.

The case in its main features is quite characteristic. There are some mistresses who, when they find their servants in this condition, take steps to see that they are tended in some way. They cannot be expected to keep them in the house, but they do what can be done to prevent the mother and child suffering.

There are others who simply turn them out and take no further interest in them; and it is the fear of this that leads to concealment. If they would even act as mediators between the girls and their people much mischief would be prevented.

Hardly ever does such a case as the above occur but what there are letters to the newspapers demanding that the father of the infant should be placed in the dock with the mother. The mother is not there for begetting a child, but for killing it, and the former act is not yet punishable by law. The general opinion seems to be that men are continually seducing women, and I am not in a position to say whether it is true or not. Judging from books, it forms the subject of many stories, but I am here only writing of that small portion of the world which has come under my own observation, and in my experience it is grotesquely untrue. I have heard the woman’s statement in the great majority of cases of infanticide in Scotland during the last sixteen years, and I can recall few in which she made any complaint against the father of the child, although I sought for it. In some cases I was told that the father had not been informed of the woman’s condition, although she knew where to find him; and that he had been kept in ignorance because she did not want to marry him. In the other cases the conception seemed to be the result of intimacy that was temporary and long past. I am far from suggesting that there are no bad men who lead girls astray; what I say is that in this class of case these are not the girls who appear as criminals.

The fact is that among a certain class of lads and girls there is a degree of looseness of behaviour that is in striking contrast with the officially recognised code of morals. They take risks with a light heart, and the woman pays; not always because the man shirks, but because any consequence of their conduct is entailed on her by her sex. The girl knows this as well as the lad, but neither of them considers consequences at the time. An acquaintanceship begun innocently enough may insensibly and by degrees become something more, not as the result of consideration, but quite independent of anything in the way of thought. If consequences were certain it might be different. It is difficult to apportion blame and it is not very profitable to try ; but it is quite certain that the woman leads the man as much as he leads her to misconduct. Child murder is no necessary consequence of his act, and there is no sense in assuming that he knew the girl’s condition and deserted her, when the fact can easily be ascertained.

It would be a great mistake to suppose that girls who do not preserve their chastity are necessarily bad. It is largely a question of manners and customs. They would quite readily admit that it is wrong to be unchaste, as many an untruthful person will admit it is wrong to lie; but they do not seem to suffer in self-respect, nor greatly in the esteem of others, if they yield themselves to the lad who is their sweetheart for the time. Their conduct may be suspected; but in the absence of proof, and if decency is observed, their morals are taken for granted.

Every professional man knows that there are very many different standards of conduct in Glasgow. The doctor cannot shut his eyes to the fact if he would ; the lawyer during the time he acts as Agent for the Poor sees and hears enough to convince him that the professed and the working standards of conduct are different; and even among those connected with their Churches clergymen occasionally find some who have to get married as a result of their behaviour.

The girls who misbehave in this way may be reviled as prostitutes, but that is utterly to fail in judging them. That they are no worse than the men goes without saying; but there cannot be a standard for the woman and another for the man, though in practice it is more frequently the moralists who try to make one—not by their words, but by the effect of their judgment. The same girl who has given herself to men is sometimes the most bitter in her denunciations of prostitutes; but on the subject of prostitution I do not propose to enter, for any real consideration of it would involve a plainness of speech on which it would be unsafe to venture.

This must be said, however, that the woman who goes astray is treated shamefully by the law, which operates to drive her deeper in the mire and causes reformation to be more difficult for her than for any other kind of offender. Any proposal to place these poor souls more completely under the domination of officials, medical or police (whether made on the specious pretext of public health or public morals), would intensify the difficulty, and would result, as it would deserve, in increasing the evil it sought to remedy. It is bad enough that any members of the community should become slaves to the vices of others, but it would be worse to confirm them in their slavery in order to protect those whom they serve.

In proportion to the number of offences committed by women bigamy appears to be more common than it is among the male offenders. The reason is largely economic, but the method of its operation is dependent on sex. The woman wants a home, but if she were not a woman that is not the way she would choose to get one. She could get established, but her sense of propriety will not allow her to accept the position without the form of marriage, even although she knows the form to be illegal. In many cases, however, she does not know this. She may have ground for a divorce by reason of the desertion of her husband or his misconduct; but the ground for divorce and the ability to obtain one are different matters. If divorce is to be permitted there does not seem to be any reason why it should be refused to those who cannot afford to go to law to obtain it. If one of the parties to a marriage gives cause for divorce the need for it will be the greater in proportion to poverty, for people are less able to keep out of each other’s way if they are living together in a small house than would be the case if they had more room; and if they are separated the economic disadvantages are not less. Yet these are the very people who are least able to obtain relief; their poverty ensures that. When they go through the form of marriage with some other we pay the cost of their imprisonment. The money would be better employed in setting them free from the contract which has gone wrong. Some of them voluntarily give themselves up in the belief that their imprisonment will break the former marriage. Our judges have become more and more inclined to deal leniently with such cases; reserving their heavy sentences for those which show moral turpitude; and the number of these is small. To the woman there is something in the form of marriage which enables her to preserve her self-respect, and the “marriage lines” are a testimony to others. It is a queer condition of affairs, in their view, that allows them to live with a man if they do not go through a ceremony of marriage with him, and which sends them to prison if they do ; for they cannot be expected to see that the rights of property may depend on the prohibition of conduct such as theirs.


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