American Notes By Rudyard Kipling

 -   The
natives of most classes marry young - absurdly young.  One of my
informants - not the twenty-two-year-old husband - Page 90
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The Natives Of Most Classes Marry Young - Absurdly Young.

One of my informants - not the twenty-two-year-old husband I met on Lake Chautauqua - said that from twenty to twenty-four was about the usual time for this folly.

And when I asked whether the practice was confined to the constitutionally improvident classes, he said "No" very quickly. He said it was a general custom, and nobody saw anything wrong with it.

"I guess, perhaps, very early marriage may account for a good deal of the divorce," said he, reflectively.

Whereat I was silent. Their marriages and their divorces only concern these people; and neither I travelling, nor you, who may come after, have any right to make rude remarks about them. Only - only coming from a land where a man begins to lightly turn to thoughts of love not before he is thirty, I own that playing at house-keeping before that age rather surprised me. Out in the West, though, they marry, boys and girls, from sixteen upward, and I have met more than one bride of fifteen - husband aged twenty.

"When man and woman are agreed, what can the Kazi do?"

From those peaceful homes, and the envy they inspire (two trunks and a walking-stick and a bit of pine forest in British Columbia are not satisfactory, any way you look at them), I turned me to the lake front of Buffalo, where the steamers bellow to the grain elevators, and the locomotives yell to the coal-shutes, and the canal barges jostle the lumber-raft half a mile long as it snakes across the water in tow of a launch, and earth, and sky, and sea alike are thick with smoke.

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