c. 1837: london
that is the question
Children—(if it please god)—constant
companion, (friend in old age) who will feel in
terested 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 chitchat.
These things good for one’s health. Forced to
visit and receive relations but terrible loss of time.
My god, it is intolerable to think of spend
ing 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 solitarily in a 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 Marlborough st.
no children, (no second) no one to care for
one in old age.
What is the use of working without sympa
thy from near and dear friends—who are near
and dear friends to the old except relatives.
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 to bend in
every trifle—to have the expense and anxiety of
children—perhaps quarrelling. Loss of time—can
not 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 with
indolent, idle fool.
Charles Darwin, from his notebooks. Darwin at the age of twenty-two set sail on the HMS beagle in 1831,
finding in the Brazilian rainforest “a chaos of delight,” experiencing an earthquake and tidal wave in Chile, and
encountering iguanas and tortoises on the “frying hot” Galapagos Islands. Drafting this list of pros and cons around
the same time that he was outlining his theory of natural selection, also in his notebooks, he wed in 1839 his first
cousin Emma Wedgwood, to whom he remained married for the rest of his life.
see if there was any truth in what her dream
had indicated. she obtained permission to go
on a little trip to the country with a maid who
had been their companion in the old days and
was acquainted with her secrets. so she went to
the spot just as soon as she could and, after re
moving the dead leaves lying about, felt where
the ground was the least hard, and there she
dug; nor had she been digging for long before
she came upon the corpse of her unfortunate
lover, still quite preserved from corruption, so
it was clear to her that what she had dreamed
was true. Though she was as heartsick as could
be, she realized that this was not the place to
start crying, and though she would readily have
taken away the entire body to give it a more
suitable burial, she saw how impossible this
was. so she took a knife and, as best she might,
severed the head from the trunk and wrapped
it in a towel; she shoveled earth back over the
rest of the corpse, put the head in the maid’s
lap, and made her way home unobserved.