It is not very often that I feel called upon to advise ladies to read a law-book, and, more than that, a book on French law; but I do now most strongly counsel my fair readers to acquire any copies which they may be able to come across of a work called the Code Napoleon, and to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest all that is written therein touching the French Law of Marriage, especially Article one hundred and seventy.
What have the ladies to do with French marriage law? Simply this. Miss Leigh, the admirable lady who has done so much for young English and American women in Paris, has been telling a select audience, convened at the residence of Countess Somers, of the dangers to which Englishwoman are exposed who marry Frenchmen in England, and in accordance with the English laws. When they go to France with their supposed husbands, the poor creatures frequently discover that their marriages, not having been celebrated according to the law of France, are utterly null and void; and often they and their children are deserted and left to starve by the heartless vagabonds who have entrapped them.
Every Frenchman from his youth upwards is familiar with the marriage laws of his own country. They are bound up with and inseparable from his "Etat Civil," which he knows much more accurately than the majority of English children know their catechism. But Englishwomen have, as a rule, only the most rudimentary knowledge of the English law (which leads to the commission every year of a vast amount of perjury), and concerning the matrimonial enactments of other countries they know absolutely nothing. So pray, ladies, read the Code Napoleon; and good luck to Miss Leigh and her Mission House and Home for young English and American women in Paris.
Source: The Illustrated London News, No.2256—Vol. LXXXI, Saturday, July 29, 1882, p.103