Besides this, our modern society is suffering from gold fever; a disease which is as old as man himself and has taken the form and course of a real epidemic; this contributes more than any other element to corrupt the roots of marriage.
Diffused instruction and the many social exigencies have increased our needs beyond measure; more especially those which are more costly, that is, those of the intellect and the higher ?sthetic emotions, without in any way enlarging the sources of production.
From birth to death, the balance of home life oppresses us, torments us; its arithmetic pierces through the skin with the acute points of its figures, reaches our very viscera and, alas, our hearts also; poisoning every pleasure, spoiling all the holy and happy poetry of life. Invited as all are to the genial table of modern civilization which offers us so many new delights, we are like the poor government official, who, for appearance’s sake, allows himself to be carried off to a ball, and between the bars of music and the full glasses, feels his pocket anxiously, wondering how and when he will be able to pay the score.
With what difficulty some of the money is drawn from the poor purse of a middle-class man! How many pangs has it not caused before it sees the light of day, ac by the last caress of the convulsive fingers! How unequal the comparison between those who live on an income of one thousand and three thousand francs! And, from the ever increasing fever of desires, the gnawing of all vanities, and the vanity of the classes, how es increase daily until they reach to ten, twenty, or thirty thousand francs!