Page 76

Damaged Goods, The Great Play "Les Avaries" of Eugene Brieux Novelized

that is one of our misfortunes, and it is never shameful to be unfortunate-even if one has deserved it." The doctor paused, and then with some excitement he went on: "Come, sir, come, we must understand each other. Among men the most exacting, among those who with their middle-class prudery dare not pronounce the name of syphilis, or who make the most terrifying faces, the most disgusted, when they consent to speak of it--who regard the syphilitic as sinners--I should wish to know how many there are who have never exposed thenselves to a similar misadventure. They and they alone have the right to speak. How many are there? Among a thousand men, are there four? Very well, then. Excepting those four, between all the rest and the syphilitic there is nothing but the difference of chance." There came into the doctor's voice at this moment a note of intense feeling; for these were matters of which evidence came to him every day. "I tell you, sir, that such people are deserving of sympathy, because they are suffering. If they have committed a fault, they have at least the plea that they are expiating it. No, sir, let me hear no more of that hypocrisy. Recall your own youth, sir. That which afflicts your son-in-law, you have deserved it just as much as he--more than he, perhaps. Therefore, have pity on him; have for him the toleration which the unpunished criminal ought to have for the criminal less fortunate than himself upon whom the penalty has fallen. Is that not so?" Monsieur Loches had been listening to this discourse with the feeling of a thief before the bar. There was nothing that he could answer. "Sir," he stammered, "as you present this thing to me--" "But am I not right?" insisted the doctor. "Perhaps you are," the other admitted. "But--I cannot say all that to my daughter, to persuade her to go back to her husband." "You can give her other arguments," was the answer. "What arguments, in God's name?" "There is no lack of them. You will say to her that a separation would be a misfortune for all; that her husband is the only one in the world who would be devoted enough to help her save her child. You will say to her that out of the ruins of her first happiness she can build herself another 76

Damaged_Goods  

by Upton Sinclair Damaged Goods, The Great Play "Les Avaries" of Eugene Brieux Novelized 1 Damaged Goods, The Great Play "Les Avaries" of Eu...

Advertisement