it is always gratifying to discover that frightening, towering intellects can be human too. before I leave for italy tomorrow (where I shall be for a week, writing my thesis on the ligurian coast), here is one of these splendid discoveries: Charles Darwin, extraordinary thinker & naturalist, responsible for one of the most foundational & unified biological theories of our time, scribbled these hasty thoughts on the pros and cons of marriage:
Children – (if it Please God) – constant companion, who will feel interested in one (and friend in old age) – object to be beloved and played with – better than a dog anyhow – Home, & someone to take care of house – Classics of music and female chit-chat – These things good for one’s health – (forced to visit and receive relations – [crossed out]) – but terrible loss of time – My God, it is intolerable to think of spending one’s whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, and nothing after all – No, no, won’t do – Imagine living all one’s day solitary in smoky dirty London House – Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire and books and music perhaps – compare this vision with the dingy reality of Great Marlboro Street
Freedom to go where one liked – choice of Society and little of it. Conversation of clever men at clubs – Not forced to visit relatives and bend in every trifle – to have the expense and anxiety of children – perhaps quarrelling – Loss of Time – cannot read in the evenings – fatness and idleness – anxiety and responsibility – less money for books etc – if many children forced to gain one’s bread (But then it is very bad for ones health to work too much.) Perhaps my wife won’t like London; then the sentence is banishment and degradation with indolent, idle fool.
Marry, Marry, Marry Q.E.D.
I have underlined my favourite remarks 🙂
[crossposted] & thanks to adam for the tip