They tried to placate him, but in vain. ‘Anyone who assaults the estate of matrimony,’ he cried, ‘anyone who in word and worse in deed undermines that foundation of all moral order has me to deal with; and if I cannot better him I keep out of his way. Marriage is the basis and the pinnacle of culture. It makes the uncultured gentle and in it the most cultured can best demonstrate their gentleness. It must never be dissolved, for it brings so much happiness that in comparison any individual unhappiness is of no significance. And what do people mean when they speak of unhappiness? It is impatience, which comes over them from time to time and then they are pleased to call themselves unhappy. Only let the moment pass and you will think yourselves fortunate that something which has stood so long still stands. There is never a sufficient reason for separation. The human condition is so rich in joy and sorrow that it cannot be calculated what a man and wife owe one another. The debt is infinite, and can only be paid through eternity. It may not always be easy, that I do not doubt, and why should it be? Are we not also married to our consciences, which we should also be glad to be rid of often enough, since they are more difficult than ever a man or woman might be to us?’

pgs. 64-65, Elective Affinities

‘I have heard it asked why we speak so unreservedly well of the dead but of the living always with a certain caution. And the answer was: because from the dead we have nothing to fear, whereas the living may still cross us. Of such impurity is our concern for the memory of others; it is mostly only selfish and unserious. But nothing is more serious than that we keep our dealings with the living always active and alive.’

-pg. 121, Elective Affinities

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