The following notes record Charles Darwin’s speculations about the prospect of marriage. The comments are excerpted directly from his notebook where he composed a short-hand list of pros and cons on whether to propose.

This is the Question

Not Marry?
Freedom to go where one likes
Conversation of clever men at clubs
Not forced to visit relatives and to bend in every trifle
To have the expense and anxiety of children
Perhaps quarreling
Loss of time
Cannot read in the Evenings
Fatness and idleness
Anxiety and responsibility
Less money for books

Children (if it pleases 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
Charms of Music and Chit Chat
These things are good for one’s health
My God, it is unthinkable to think of spending one’s whole life,
working, working, and nothing after all
No, no won’t do
Imagine living all one’s days solitarily
Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa
with good fire, and books and music
Compare this vision with dingy reality
Marry! Marry! Marry!

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