No less thoughtful a critic of men and manners than Joseph Conrad hasremarked recently that a universal experience "is exactly the sort ofthing which is most difficult to appraise justly in the individualinstance." The saying might have been made the motto of this book, forin its pages Miss Colcord--with all the eagerness of the newer school ofsocial workers, bent upon understanding, upon making allowances--seeksthat just appraisal to which Conrad refers. Marital infelicities andbroken homes are not universal, fortunately, but some of the humanweaknesses which lead to them are very nearly so.
with the man, accepting the most preposterous as at least worthy of discussion. The absconder is often too inarticulate and ill at ease to give a clear picture of what was in his mind when he went away. If he was out of work, it may have been a perfectly sincere belief that he would find work elsewhere, or perhaps only a speculative hope that he might. (These are not in the beginning genuine desertions, but often become so later on.) It is possible that, beset by irritations and perplexities, the thought of cutting his way out at one stroke from all his difficulties made an appeal too strong to be resisted. Or perhaps he flung out of the house and away, in a passion of anger and jealousy which later crystallized into cold dislike. The spell of an infatuation for another woman might well have been the cause; or he may have been mentally deranged through alcohol. Simple weariness of the burden which he has not strength of body or mind to carry and ought never to have assumed is one attitude to be reckoned with,
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