Love Potion No 9

Rowlandson’s view of the marriage market c.1821

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that the single mouse in possession of Darcin must be in want of a mate”.

Rather wittily Jane Hurst, an animal behaviourist particularly interested in house mice, borrowed the opening sentence from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”.

Fashionable Contrasts or The Little Duchess’s Little Shoe Yielding to the Magnitude of the Duke’s Foot . James Gillray 1793

And had Mrs Bennet been a giant mouse, she would have realised it’s not money that makes the world spin round but a sex pheromone: darcin or major urinary protein 20.

Discovered and named by Hurst after the irresistibly wealthy and very single Mr Darcy, darcin doesn’t waft along on the breeze like a whiff of cologne but is released by male mice into their urine and deposited at special marking posts.

Sniffing up the pheromone, lonely female mice are driven totally wild with desire, leaving scent markings of their own before- and I just love this- beginning to sing!

So, if music be the food of love- play on!

Mouse’s Wedding. Illustration by Penny Ives

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jane Callan

    That’s amazing Penny, who would have thought it! Love your little Mouse’s wedding!

    1. Penny

      It is! Mouse song is out of range to the human ear sadly and I must look up what their range is. I read somewhere it was compared to birds but not sure if that is an accurate comparison. Anyway, no Wagner!

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