Benny F & Chuck D - Academic Intercourse
My Dear Friend;--
I know of no Medicine fit to diminish the violent natural Inclinations you mention; and if I did, I think I should not communicate it to you. Marriage is the proper Remedy; It is the most natural State of Man, and therefore the State in which you are most likely to find solid Happiness. Your Reasons against entering into it at present, appear to me not well-founded. The circumstantial Advantages you have in View by Postponing it, are not only uncertain, but they are small in comparison with that of the Thing itself, the being married and settled. It is the Man and Woman united that make the compleat human Being. Separate, she wants his Force of Body and Strength of Reason; he, her Softness, Sensibility, and acute Discernment. Together they are more likely to succeed in the World…
But if you will not take this Counsel, and persist in thinking a Commerce with the Sex inevitable, then I repeat my former Advice, that in all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones. You call this a Paradox, and demand my Reasons.
They are these:
1—Because they have more Knowledge of the World, and their Minds are better stor’d with Observations, their Conversation is more improving, and more lastingly agreeable.
2—Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To maintain their influence over Men, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do a 1000 Services, small and great, and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick…
3—Because there is no hazard of Children, which irregularly produc’d may be attended with much Inconvenience.
4—Because thro’ more Experience they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your Reputation. And with regards to theirs, if the Affair should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather inclin’d to excuse an old Woman, who would kindly take care of a young Man… and prevent his ruining Health and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.
5—Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever; So that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the Dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior; every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.
6—Because the Sin is less. The debauching of a Virgin may be her Ruin, and make her Life unhappy.
7—Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend the making an old Woman happy.
8th & lastly.—They are so grateful!!
Thus much for my Paradox. But still I advise you to marry directly; being sincerely…
Down, February 26, 1867
MY DEAR WALLACE,--Bates was quite right; you are the man to apply to in a difficulty. I never heard anything more ingenious than your suggestion , and I hope you may be able to prove it true. That is a splendid fact about white moths; it warms one’s very blood to see a theory thus almost proved to be true. With respect to the beauty of male butterflies, I must as yet think that it is due to sexual selection. There is some evidence that dragon-flies are attracted by bright colors, but what leads me to the above belief, is so many male Orthoptera and Cicadas having musical instruments. This being the case, the analogy of birds makes me believe in sexual selection with respect to colour in insects. I wish I had strength and time to make some of the experiments suggested by you, but I thought butterflies would not pair in confinement. I am sure I have heard of some such difficulty…
The reason of my being so much interested just at present about sexual selection is, that I have almost resolved to publish a little essay on the origin of Mankind, and I still strongly think (though I failed to convince you, and this, to me, is the heaviest blow possible) that sexual selection has been the main agent in forming the races of man.
By the way, there is another subject which I shall introduce in my essay, namely, expression of countenance. Now, do you happen to know by any odd chance a very good-natured and acute observer in the Malay Archipelago, who you think would make a few easy observations for me on the expression of the Malays when excited by various emotions? For in this case I would send to such person a list of queries. I thank you for your most interesting letter, and remain,
Yours very sincerely…