Monday, March 20, 2006

Charms of music and female chit-chat.

Interesting rumination on the institution of marriage by Alta L. Price at 3quarksdaily. Apparently the piece was sparked by a Darwin exhibition at the AMNH, which included among other items this Pro/Con list he made at the age of 29:
The list, neatly folded down the middle and not-so-neatly scrawled in pencil on paper, read as follows, with the heading centered on the page, “Marry” on the left, and “Not Marry” on the right:

This is the Question


Children (if it Please God)
Constant companion (and 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
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, London

Not Marry

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
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 one’s health to work too much)
Perhaps my wife won’t like London; then the sentence is banishment and degradation into indolent, idle fool

Marry, Marry, Marry Q.E.D.

Read her reflections.

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