chapter  7
38 Pages

Domesticity

Century evolutionists had a great deal to say about "sexual selection"; but, as Mr. D. H. Lawrence has recently pointed out with his usual rather vivid emphasis, it was most of it pretty inconclusive. We have, to be sure, the peacock's splendor; but we have no evidence that the peahen pays the slightest attention to it. Certainly we have no evidence that peacocks with the most magnificent feathers propagate most widely while others less generously endowed languish without mates. I t would appear, on the contrary, that during the mating season of the various "lower" animals, the female in heat attracts all males equally, and that she accepts the first male that offers. Two or more males may fight for her and the weaker by this standard may be eliminated from this quest. But such elimination is no more a sexual choice than is elimination by weather or disease, and in any case we have no reason to suppose that a male eliminated in one encounter may not soon after come across and secure a female superior in every way to her of his first encounter. What we are discussing here is sexual willingness, pure and simple, and on this point there is no evidence whatever that the female in heat is not available to any male or that the male is not attraced by any female just as strongly as by any other. The well-known willingness of the fanciest pure-bred dog to mate with any common gutter mongrel should be enough to lay forever the characteristically Victorian nonsense of sexual selection.