UNQUESTIONABLY, IN a great city, the doctor sees much of the seamy side of marriage. Previously, when I practiced in the northern countryside and in the mining villages of Wales, I found the institution of the family regarded with infinitely more respect. In these remote districts, where its members worked together to extract a livelihood from the land or from the mine, the family was the essential unit of the community, existing and surviving through its own indispensability. In Tannochbrae, particularly, parents and children alike rose early and set about their appointed tasks: tending the stock; milking the cows; plowing and harrowing the fields; baking, cooking, and canning; scrubbing and rinsing through the steamy rigours of the weekly washday. There was a sense of duty in this hard and simple life, and a strong religious feeling too, manifested in the evening gathering for family prayers. Pleasures were infrequent, though none the less enjoyed, and despite its obvious austerities, the family had its own rewards and satisfactions, was closely united, almost indestructible.
But in London the picture was completely changed. Here all the conveniences, pleasures, distractions, and excitements provided by this vast metropolitan concentration of so-called civilization exerted a strong disruptive influence upon the home. That innate cohesion which, in more primitive communities, holds the family group together, was sadly lacking, in consequence of which, in many instances that I met with, the family simply fell apart.
With the metropolitan divorce courts in active operation, many