Fanny, as the world knows, is the most beautiful, plump and charming person in Shropshire and Birmingham… “On December 24, 1828, the 19-year-old introduced his first love in a letter to his cousin fox. Fanny was Darwin’s sisters’ best friend and the second daughter of Woodhouse squire Owen. Sarah, the eldest daughter, is equally attractive. “Owen of Woodhouse, my idols,” Darwin wrote in another letter to fox. But Sarah is five years older than Darwin, while Fanny is only one year older than Darwin, and they are enthusiastic and unrestrained. They can undoubtedly find a common language.
Darwin met the Owen sisters in the autumn of 1827. At that time, he dropped out of Edinburgh medical school and was preparing to go to Cambridge University at the beginning of the next year. In the middle, he had a few months of free time, which was just spent with his favorite hunting activities. Owen had a large woodland full of prey, which attracted Darwin’s frequent visits. Fanny is also Darwin’s prey, or Darwin is Fanny’s prey in turn. It is difficult to determine who is hunting who. The two often rode together to hunt in the forest, and Darwin taught Fanny to shoot. In Jane Austen’s time, such an open young woman was rare to see, which inspired Darwin’s greatest passion in his life.
when Darwin left home for school, the two also sent love letters to each other. One of Darwin’s letters to Fanny has disappeared and is likely to be destroyed when Fanny married. There are still 16 letters from Fanny to Darwin, some of which require Darwin to read and burn, but Darwin kept them. In the letter, Darwin was called the “Royal husband”, while Fanny called herself a “maid”. In the summer holidays of 1828 and 1829, Darwin visited the Owen family many times. In Cambridge, influenced by his cousin, Darwin was fascinated by collecting beetle specimens. Darwin and Fanny’s tryst in the forest had one more activity: they lay on the ground side by side, looking for beetles.
but by the autumn of 1829, passion began to disappear. Darwin had not heard from Fanny for months. That Christmas Darwin stayed in Cambridge to collect beetles instead of visiting Fanny. In January 1830, Fanny finally sent a long letter complaining that Darwin was more interested in beetles than anything else. Only when she caught the strange beetle would she attract Darwin’s visit, and suggested that other more suitable people were proposing to her. Darwin’s response was to devote himself to beetle Collection – his first scientific love, which was more secure than the relationship between men and women.
when Darwin came home in the autumn of 1830, he received a text message from Fanny. Her father wanted to talk to him. Darwin went uneasily. It turned out that Owen squire wanted to inform him face to face that Fanny was about to be engaged to a priest. While Darwin was in Cambridge catching beetles, the priest began to pursue Fanny. The engagement of
did not last long. The priest dissolved the engagement in September 1831. At this time, Darwin had graduated from Cambridge and was preparing to travel around the world with the Beagle. Fanny rekindled her passion, gave Darwin a purse as a “memory of the black forest maid”, and wrote four letters to Darwin in succession. “My dear Charles, I can’t imagine that we won’t be able to meet for three years…” she wrote. “Since we were together as maid and royal husband, we have spent many happy times together. They won’t be forgotten – they won’t end!”
with hope, Darwin set sail on the beagle on December 27, 1831. On April 5 the next year, the Beagle arrived in Rio de Janeiro and received the first batch of British letters. Darwin’s sister told Darwin in the letter that Fanny was engaged to bidulp, a wealthy politician, at the beginning of the year and married in March. Darwin’s heart was broken and cried “my dearest Fanny”. “If Fanny wasn’t Mrs. bidulp,” Darwin said in his reply to his sister, “I would say poor dear Fanny until I fell asleep.” Darwin’s sister later wrote to tell him that Fanny’s married life was very miserable. Her husband was an extremely selfish freak. Fanny once frivolously asked them about Darwin and said, “I can’t forget the days when we used to be royal husbands and maids.”.
but it’s too late. Since then, Darwin’s passion belongs only to scientific research. When Darwin returned to England on October 2, 1836, he had achieved great success. In the spring of 1838, Darwin began to seriously consider whether to get married. He listed the advantages and disadvantages of marriage on a piece of paper. The advantages are having children, having someone to keep company, “better than a dog”, and having a housekeeper; The disadvantage is losing the freedom to travel, wasting time, being forced to visit relatives and so on. In the end, he decided that the advantages of marriage outweighed the disadvantages. What he wants is a gentle wife who is not sociable, will not interfere with his work and has a dowry. In his social circle, only one person meets these conditions and is single – his cousin Emma, whom he knew from childhood.
on November 11, Darwin went to Wedgwood’s house to propose to Emma. This was completely beyond Emma’s expectation – she thought they would maintain a friendship that had lasted for many years, but it was natural for Emma to accept Darwin’s proposal. The Wedgwood family and the Darwin family were extremely happy with the marriage and soon reached an agreement: Emma would have a dowry of £ 5000, her father-in-law would give them another £ 400 a year, and Darwin’s father would give them £ 10000 for investment. If they receive 15000 pounds, which can be invested reasonably and return 10% a year, they can earn about 2000 pounds a year. This was a very high income at that time. At that time, the annual income of a doctor or lawyer was only about 1500 pounds. Darwin never had to go to work and could stay at home all day to do research. Emma proved that she was indeed Darwin’s ideal wife and mother.
Darwin and Emma married on January 29, 1839. This marriage is the result of rational choice. It is very utilitarian and has no romance or passion. But it is a lifetime of happinessMarriage, and without such a marriage, Darwin is unlikely to make such fruitful academic achievements. We have to be glad that Darwin’s first love didn’t come to fruition. If Fanny, who was the opposite of Emma, were Darwin’s wife, the world might be very different.