Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 59.djvu/220

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210
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

in the ordinary relationships of life, while excessive shyness really betrays also a feebleness of the emotional impulse. Even in many cases in which marriage occurs, it is often easy to see that the relationship was rooted in the man's intellectual passion.[1]

The average age of marriage among the men in our list, taking one hundred cases, is found to be thirty-one years, the most frequent age being from twenty-eight to thirty-two inclusive. Of these, four were under twenty, and thirteen over forty at the date of their first marriage. This proportion of late marriages is abnormally high, especially when we remember that the marriages of widowers are here excluded. The proportion of early marriages is somewhat low, as compared with the general population in England to-day. The, average age, thirty-one years, is distinctly late, more especially when we remember that it only includes first marriages. The average age of marriage for all males during recent years in England is between twenty-eight and twenty-nine years, and at the other side of the world, in New Zealand, though later, it is still below thirty. The most frequent age of marriage also falls much earlier. In estimating the significance of these figures as regards men of genius, we have to remember, on the one hand, that the well-to-do classes, to which men of preeminent intellectual ability largely belong, marry later than the general population, and, on the other hand, that the general tendency to marry late is of recent growth. If we are entitled to believe that these conflicting tendencies balance each other, the data still indicate that British men of genius have shown a tendency not only to marry seldom, but to marry late.

The married women on our list form too small a group to generalize about with safety. One notable fact, however, emerges. They show a tendency to marry either before or after the period at which the majority of married women marry, but not during that period. In England during recent years the average age at which women marry has been about twenty-six years. But among British women of genius very few marriages take place during the period of great reproductive energy; the large majority of such marriages fall outside the period between twenty-three and thirty-four years of age. In the majority of cases marriage took place before this period, the relationship, from one reason or another, being very often dissolved not long afterwards; but in a very considerable proportion of cases, marriage never took


  1. Dr. P. Garnier ('Célibat et Célibataires,' pp. 72-.5) has some interesting remarks on this point. He considers that genius is, or should be, celibate, and that a man of genius is not usually able to make a woman's life happy. He mentions that among the eighty-four professors at the medical faculties of Paris, Lyons and Bordeaux—the three chief medical centers of France—fifteen are celibates, and of the sixty-nine who are married eleven are childless.