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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-06-15 22:44:01
Typefacelarge in Small

x s min bc ch nht hng ngy

“Are you sure he never inquired whether you had both been Catholics for more than one year before you came to him to be married?” “I am certain of it.” “He must have forgotten that part of his duty—or being only a beginner, he may well have been ignorant of it altogether. Did neither you nor the lady think of informing him on the point?” “Neither I nor the lady knew there was any necessity for informing him.” Mr. Delamayn folded up the manuscript, and put it back in his pocket. “Right,” he said, “in every particular.” Mr. Vanborough’s swarthy complexion slowly turned pale. He cast one furtive glance at Mr. Kendrew, and turned away again. “Well,” he said to the lawyer, “now for your opinion! What is the law?” “The law,” answered Mr. Delamayn, “is beyond all doubt or dispute. Your marriage with Miss Anne Silvester is no marriage at all.” Mr. Kendrew started to his feet. “What do you mean?” he asked, sternly. The rising solicitor lifted his eyebrows in polite surprise. If Mr. Kendrew wanted information, why should Mr. Kendrew ask for it in that way? “Do you wish me to go into the law of the case?” he inquired. “I do.” Mr. Delamayn stated the law, as that law still stands—to the disgrace of the English Legislature and the English Nation. “By the Irish Statute of George the Second,” he said, “every marriage celebrated by a Popish priest between two Protestants, or between a Papist and any person who has been a Protestant within twelve months before the marriage, is declared null and void. And by two other Acts of the same reign such a celebration of marriage is made a felony on the part of the priest. The clergy in Ireland of other religious denominations have been relieved from this law. But it still remains in force so far as the Roman Catholic priesthood is concerned.” “Is such a state of things possible in the age we live in!” exclaimed Mr. Kendrew. Mr. Delamayn smiled. He had outgrown the customary illusions as to the age we live in. “There are other instances in which the Irish marriage-law presents some curious anomalies of its own,” he went on. “It is felony, as I have just told you, for a Roman Catholic priest to celebrate a marriage which may be lawfully celebrated by a parochial clergyman, a Presbyterian mini ster, and a Non-conformist minister. It is also felony (by another law) on the part of a parochial clergyman to celebrate a marriage that may be lawfully celebrated by a Roman Catholic priest. And it is again felony (by yet another law) for a Presbyterian minister and a Non-conformist minister to celebrate a marriage which may be lawfully celebrated by a clergyman of the Established Church. An odd state of things. Foreigners might possibly think it a scandalous state of things. In this country we don’t appear to mind it. Returning to the present case, the results stand thus: Mr. Vanborough is a single man; Mrs. Vanborough is a single woman; their child is illegitimate, and the priest, Ambrose Redman, is liable to be tried, and punished, as a felon, for marrying them.” “An infamous law!” said Mr. Kendrew. “It is the law,” returned Mr. Delamayn, as a sufficient answer to him. Thus far not a word had escaped the master of the house. He sat with his lips fast closed and his eyes riveted on the table, thinking. Mr. Kendrew turned to him, and broke the silence. “Am I to understand,” he asked, “that the advice you wanted from me related to this?” “Yes.” “You mean to tell me that, foreseeing the present interview and the result to which it might lead, you felt any doubt as to the course you were bound to take? Am I really to understand that you hesitate to set this dreadful mistake right, and to make the woman who is your wife in the sight of Heaven your wife in the sight of the law?”


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