An obsessive list-maker, Darwin once weighed the pros and cons of marriage in his correspondence. Let’s see if the sexes have evolved since Victorian England!
From the book The Correspondence of Charles Darwin. / Volume 2, 1837-1843.
Children — (if it Please God) — Constant companion, (& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one, — object to be beloved & played with. — better than a dog anyhow.– Home, & someone to take care of house — Charms of music & 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, & nothing after all. — No, no won’t do. — Imagine living all one’s day solitarily in smoky dirty London House. — Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, & books & music perhaps — Compare this vision with the dingy reality of Grt. Marlbro’ St.
Children obviously and we today still get the “do you want to die alone?” line. Darwin thought female gossip was a benefit? “Better than a dog anyhow”, hah!
It is curious that Darwin thought the alternative to marriage was endless work. He refutes that himself twice, below. He must not have had any hobbies.
Freedom to go where one liked — choice of Society & little of it. — Conversation of clever men at clubs — Not forced to visit relatives, & to bend in every trifle. — to have the expense & anxiety of children — perhaps quarelling — Loss of time. — cannot read in the Evenings — fatness & idleness — Anxiety & responsibility — less money for books &c — 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 wont like London; then the sentence is banishment & degradation into indolent, idle fool —
Then as now, wives didn’t like their husbands having male spaces and were prone to “fatness & idleness”.
The question having been considered, the Father of Natural Selection proceeded to marry his first cousin. Thus proving that Darwin was neither MGTOW nor the Father of Healthy Genetics.
When? Soon or Late
The Governor says soon for otherwise bad if one has children — one’s character is more flexible –one’s feelings more lively & if one does not marry soon, one misses so much good pure happiness. —
But then if I married tomorrow: there would be an infinity of trouble & expense in getting & furnishing a house, –fighting about no Society –morning calls –awkwardness –loss of time every day. (without one’s wife was an angel, & made one keep industrious). Then how should I manage all my business if I were obliged to go every day walking with my wife. — Eheu!! I never should know French, –or see the Continent –or go to America, or go up in a Balloon, or take solitary trip in Wales –poor slave. –you will be worse than a negro — And then horrid poverty, (without one’s wife was better than an angel & had money) — Never mind my boy — Cheer up — One cannot live this solitary life, with groggy old age, friendless & cold, & childless staring one in ones face, already beginning to wrinkle. — Never mind, trust to chance –keep a sharp look out — There is many a happy slave —
Man, that’s depressing. Darwin went into marriage hoping to be a happy slave.
Nothing has changed.