Monday, September 24, 1711.
‘Comis in uxorem …’
I cannot defer taking Notice of this Letter.
I am but too good a Judge of your Paper of the 15th Instant, which is a Master-piece; I mean that of Jealousy: But I think it unworthy of you to speak of that Torture in the Breast of a Man, and not to mention also the Pangs of it in the Heart of a Woman. You have very Judiciously, and with the greatest Penetration imaginable, considered it as Woman is the Creature of whom the Diffidence is raised; but not a Word of a Man who is so unmerciful as to move Jealousy in his Wife, and not care whether she is so or not. It is possible you may not believe there are such Tyrants in the World; but alas, I can tell you of a Man who is ever out of Humour in his Wife’s Company, and the pleasantest Man in the World every where else; the greatest Sloven at home when he appears to none but his Family, and most exactly well-dressed in all other Places. Alas, Sir, is it of Course, that to deliver one’s self wholly into a Man’s Power without Possibility of Appeal to any other Jurisdiction but to his own Reflections, is so little an Obligation to a Gentleman, that he can be offended and fall into a Rage, because my Heart swells Tears into my Eyes when I see him in a cloudy Mood? I pretend to no Succour, and hope for no Relief but from himself; and yet he that has Sense and Justice in every thing else, never reflects, that to come home only to sleep off an Intemperance, and spend all the Time he is there as if it were a Punishment, cannot but give the Anguish of a jealous Mind. He always leaves his Home as if he were going to Court, and returns as if he were entring a Gaol. I could add to this, that from his Company and his usual Discourse, he does not scruple being thought an abandoned Man, as to his Morals. Your own Imagination will say enough to you concerning the Condition of me his Wife; and I wish you would be so good as to represent to him, for he is not ill-natured, and reads you much, that the Moment I hear the Door shut after him, I throw myself upon my Bed, and drown the Child he is so fond of with my Tears, and often frighten it with my Cries; that I curse my Being; that I run to my Glass all over bathed in Sorrows, and help the Utterance of my inward Anguish by beholding the Gush of my own Calamities as my Tears fall from my Eyes. This looks like an imagined Picture to tell you, but indeed this is one of my Pastimes. Hitherto I have only told you the general Temper of my Mind, but how shall I give you an Account of the Distraction of it? Could you but conceive how cruel I am one Moment in my Resentment, and at the ensuing Minute, when I place him in the Condition my Anger would bring him to, how compassionate; it would give you some Notion how miserable I am, and how little I deserve it. When I remonstrate with the greatest Gentleness that is possible against unhandsome Appearances, and that married Persons are under particular Rules; when he is in the best Humour to receive this, I am answered only, That I expose my own Reputation and Sense if I appear jealous. I wish, good Sir, you would take this into serious Consideration, and admonish Husbands and Wives what Terms they ought to keep towards each other. Your Thoughts on this important Subject will have the greatest Reward, that which descends on such as feel the Sorrows of the Afflicted. Give me leave to subscribe my self,