/Paul./--In what way can men tyrannize over women?
/The Old Man./--In giving them in marriage without consulting their inclinations;--in uniting a young girl to an old man, or a woman of sensibility to a frigid and indifferent husband.
/Paul./--Why not join together those who are suited to each other,-- the young to the young, and lovers to those they love?
/The Old Man./--Because few young men in France have property enough to support them when they are married, and cannot acquire it till the greater part of their life is passed. While young, they seduce the wives of others, and when they are old, they cannot secure the affections of their own. At first, they themselves are deceivers: and afterwards, they are deceived in their turn. This is one of the reactions of that eternal justice, by which the world is governed; an excess on one side is sure to be balanced by one on the other. Thus, the greater part of Europeans pass their lives in this twofold irregularity, which increases everywhere in the same proportion that wealth is accumulated in the hands of a few individuals. Society is like a garden, where shrubs cannot grow if they are overshadowed by lofty trees; but there is this wide difference between them,--that the beauty of a garden may result from the admixture of a small number of forest trees, while the prosperity of a state depends on the multitude and equality of its citizens, and not on a small number of very rich men.
/Paul./--But where is the necessity of being rich in order to marry?
/The Old Man./--In order to pass through life in abundance, without being obliged to work.
/Paul./--But why not work? I am sure I work hard enough.
/The Old Man./--In Europe, working with your hands is considered a degradation; it is compared to the labour performed by a machine. The occupation of cultivating the earth is the most despised of all. Even an artisan is held in more estimation than a peasant.