The Observant French Lieutenant

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It is rare to find a woman committing adultery here, though it does happen. In this situation the husband announces the delinquency of his wife and publishes it in the papers. No dishonor falls upon the husbands for the misconduct of their wives, and no one points the finger of scorn at a cuckold. Instead, they pity him. If the wife absconds with her lover, the husband announces in the gazette that his wife has quit his bed and declares that he will not pay her bills or be liable for any debts she may have contracted. The husband always assumes responsibility for his wife’s obligations, but in this circumstance his conscience is clear, since a wife who abandons her husband becomes a criminal. This is no excuse, however, for dissolving the marriage, which rarely occurs, since their laws do not permit it. The husbands are quite patient about waiting for their wives to repent. If they do, their husbands take them back, forget the past, and live with them in perfect harmony. I leave it to the European husbands to ask themselves whether they are capable of doing as much.…