Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Is it worth it?

This actually happened:

List made by Charles Darwin
July 1838
Page 1 and 2 of 3

By the time Darwin drew up this list of the pros and cons of marriage, his father had assured him of a generous living allowance. Still, the issue of freedom to work dominated Darwin's internal debate. Was he willing to give up the "conversation of clever men at clubs," or risk being forced into a time-consuming and frivolous social life? Could he tolerate "less money for books"? A negative even slips in, unnoticed, among the positives: "terrible loss of time."

Darwin may not have had a candidate in mind when he wrote this list, but Emma was a logical choice. The Darwins and Wedgwoods were linked by several generations of matrimony, and Emma was the only Wedgwood daughter of marriageable age.

"Children-(if it Please God)—Constant companion, (& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one,—object to be beloved and played with.-better than a dog anyhow.—Home, & someone to take care of house-charms of music and female chit-chat.—These things good for one's health.-but terrible loss of time.—."

Darwin chose to wed.

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