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Table of contents
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.1
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.2
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.3
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.4
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.5
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.6
FOOTNOTES
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.1
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.2
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.3
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.4
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.5
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.6
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.7
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.8
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.9
MARRIAGE-10.1
MARRIAGE-10.2
MARRIAGE-10.3
MARRIAGE-10.4
MARRIAGE-10.5
MARRIAGE-10.6
MARRIAGE-10.7
MARRIAGE-10.8
MARRIAGE-10.9
MARRIAGE-10.10
MARRIAGE-10.11
MARRIAGE-10.12
FOOTNOTES
THE ART OF LOVE-11.1
THE ART OF LOVE-11.2
THE ART OF LOVE-11.3
THE ART OF LOVE-11.4
THE ART OF LOVE-11.5
THE ART OF LOVE-11.6
THE ART OF LOVE-11.7
THE ART OF LOVE-11.8
THE ART OF LOVE-11.9
THE ART OF LOVE-11.10
THE ART OF LOVE-11.11
FOOTNOTES
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.1
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.2
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.3
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.4
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.5
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.6
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.7
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.8
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.9
FOOTNOTES
INDEX OF AUTHORS

and as foresight increases with the development of civilization, and 

constantly grows among us, we may expect that there will be a parallel 

development in the frequency of trial marriage and in the social attitude 

towards such unions. The only alternative--that a radical reform in 

European marriage laws should render the divorce of a legal marriage as 

economical and as convenient as the divorce of a free marriage--cannot yet 

be expected, for law always lags behind public opinion and public 

practice. 

 

If, however, we take a wider historical view, we find that we are in 

presence of a phenomenon which, though favored by modern conditions, is 

very ancient and widespread, dating, so far as Europe is concerned, from 

the time when the Church first sought to impose ecclesiastical marriage, 

so that it is practically a continuation of the ancient European custom of 

private marriage. 

 

Trial-marriages pass by imperceptible gradations into the group 

of courtship customs which, while allowing the young couple to 

spend the night together, in a position of more or less intimacy, 

exclude, as a rule, actual sexual intercourse. Night-courtship 

flourishes in stable and well-knit European communities not 

liable to disorganization by contact with strangers. It seems to 

be specially common in Teutonic and Celtic lands, and is known by 

various names, as _Probenaechte, fensterln, Kiltgang, 

hand-fasting, bundling, sitting-up, courting on the bed, etc_. It 

is well known in Wales; it is found in various English counties 

as in Cheshire; it existed in eighteenth century Ireland 

(according to Richard Twiss's _Travels_); in New England it was 

known as _tarrying_; in Holland it is called _questing_. In 

Norway, where it is called _night-running_, on account of the 

long distance between the homesteads, I am told that it is 

generally practiced, though the clergy preach against it; the 

young girl puts on several extra skirts and goes to bed, and the 

young man enters by door or window and goes to bed with her; they 

talk all night, and are not bound to marry unless it should 

happen that the girl becomes pregnant. 

 

Rhys and Brynmor-Jones (_Welsh People_, pp. 582-4) have an 

interesting passage on this night-courtship with numerous 

references. As regards Germany see, e.g., Rudeck, _Geschichte der 

oeffentlichen Sittlichkeit_, pp. 146-154. With reference to 

trial-marriage generally many facts and references are given by 

M.A. Potter (_Sohrab and Rustem_, pp. 129-137). 

 

The custom of free marriage unions, usually rendered legal before 

or after the birth of children, seems to be fairly common in 

many, or perhaps all, rural parts of England. The union is made 

legal, if found satisfactory, even when there is no prospect of 

children. In some counties it is said to be almost a universal 

practice for the women to have sexual relationships before legal 

marriage; sometimes she marries the first man whom she tries; 

sometimes she tries several before finding the man who suits her. 

Such marriages necessarily, on the whole, turn out better than 

marriages in which the woman, knowing nothing of what awaits her 

and having no other experiences for comparison, is liable to be 

disillusioned or to feel that she "might have done better." Even 

when legal recognition is not sought until after the birth of 

children, it by no means follows that any moral deterioration is 

involved. Thus in some parts of Staffordshire where it is the 


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