In 1877 Alfred Marshall married Mary Paley (1850–1944), a former student who had taken over from him the task of lecturing in political economy to the twenty women students at the Old Hall, Newnham. In her case it appears to have been an attack of love at first sight: ‘I then thought I had never seen such an attractive face with its delicate outline and brilliant eyes.’1 What he felt is less well documented but, since marriage meant the loss of his Fellowship, one must assume that he knew what he was doing. They remained happily married for 47 years; and in that time, in Keynes’s words, ‘his dependence upon her devotion was complete. Her life was given to him and to his work with a degree of unselfishness and understanding that makes it difficult for friends and old pupils to think of them separately or to withhold from her shining gifts of character a big share in what his intellect accomplished.’2 They had no children.
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