Marry or Not

“Charles…”
“Yes, dear?”
Charles Darwin looked up from the book which he had been perusing. He was glad for the interruption, as he usually was when it was Mary doing the interrupting.
“I was in your office tidying some of your papers…”
Within a moment, his pleasant mood transformed.
“How many times do I need to tell you that I don’t want you to do that.”
“When I came across these.”
Mary handed him two slips of paper, clearly well aged, and likely of little significance. At first he was relieved, but it did not take him long to realise what they were.
“What… Oh. I see.”
“Are these what I think they are?”
“Well, if you’d listened to me in the first place, you would never have found…”
Marry…
Charles felt the blood drain from his face. He was fairly certain that whatever was contained within his notes would not be taken well. His notes on subjects rarely were, which is why he tended to like keeping them private. Of course, when you share a house with someone, privacy becomes more of a privilege than a right.
“Mary, darling, dwelling on those will only make things-“
Constant companion and friend in old age…
“Well, that’s better than what I remember wri-”
Better than a dog anyhow.
“Ah.”
“Better than a dog, Charles. Is that really how you see me?”
“Mary, I’m begging you. Please put them away.”
“Well, perhaps I’m not all that much better than a dog after all. Dogs take orders. I certainly won’t. Now, let’s take a sample of the other side of the coin. Not Marry…”
Charles hung his head, recalling the first item on the list for that subject in particular.
Less money for books.”
“Well, that’s just sensible!”
“Are you or are you not sitting in a library.”
“I am.”
“And is that library filled to the ceilings with books on all sides?”
“It is.”
“And do you in fact have piles of books stacked around the room which will not reside on the bookshelves because the shelves wouldn’t bear their weight.”
“Your response is well out of proportion to the slight…”
Mary went very quiet. Charles knew enough to realise that was never a good sign.
“You think that comparing me to a dog is a slight. You think that weighing our marriage against the number of books that you may have been able to purchase is a slight.”
“Well, at the time…”
“Charles.”
“Yes, dear?”
“Have you heard of the recent trend in English society?”
For but a moment, he thought that perhaps the subject had changed.
“I would think that there could be any number of trends in effect at any given point in time. Are you referring to a particular one?”
“It’s a trend in which marriages are dissolved within British law.”
“You can’t be serious.”
“I believe it’s quite popular in France. It’s called ‘divorce’, if I’m not mistaken.”
“Mary, please.”
“I believe, Charles, that I want one.”

 

Prompt: 
Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) was an English naturalist and biologist, best known for his work on the science of evolution. His book, On the Origin of Species, was published in 1859. Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history.
Write at least 500 words, either from the perspective of this historical figure, or someone observing them from the outside. You could focus on their character, their work, their achievements, or the perceptions that others had about them.

marry-or-not

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