« PředchozíPokračovat »
of your life. Your aversion to any ostentatious arts of setting to show those great services which you have done the public, has not likewise a little contributed to that universal acknowledgment which is paid you by your country.
The consideration of this part of your character, is that which hinders me from enlarging on those extraordinary talents, which have given you so great a figure in the British senate, as well as in that elegance and politeness which appear in your more retired conversation. I should be unpardonable if, after what I have said, I should longer detain you with an address of this nature: I cannot, however, conclude it, without acknowledging those great obligations which you have laid upon,
Your most obedient,
N° 170. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1711.
In amore hæc omnia insunt vitia: injuriæ,
TER. Eun. Act i. Sc. 1. All these inconveniencies are incident to love: reproaches,
jealousies, quarrels, reconcilements, war, and then peace.
UPON looking over the letters of my female
correspondents, I find several from women 'complaining of jealous husbands, and at the same time protesting their own innocence; and desiring my advice on this occasion. I shall therefore take this subject into my consideration, and the more wil. lingly, because I find that the marquis of 'Hallifax, who, in his. Advice to a Daughter, has instructed a wife how to behave herself towards a false, an intemperate, a choleric, a sullen, a covetous, or a silly husband, has not spoken one word of a jealous husband.
• Jealousy is that pain which a man feels from the apprehension that he is not equally beloved by the person whom he intirely loves. Now, because our inward passions and inclinations can never make themselves visible, it is impossible for a jealous man to be thoroughly cured of bis suspicions. His thoughts hang at best in a state of doubtfulness and uncertainty, and are never capable of receiving any satisfaction on the advantageous side ; so that
his inquires are most successful when they discover nothing. His pleasure arises from his disappointments, and his life is spent in pursuit of a secret that destroys his happiness if he chance to find it.
An ardent love is always a strong ingredient in this passion ; for the same affection which stirs up the jealous man's desires, and gives the party beloved so beautiful a figure in his imagination, makes "him believe she kindles the same passion in others, and appears as amiable to all beholders. And as jealousy thus arises from any extraordinary love, it is of so delicate a nature that it scorns to take up with any thing less than an equal return of love. Not the warmest expressions of affection, the softest and most tender hypocrisy, are able to give any satisfaction where we are not persuaded that the affection is real, and the satisfaction mutual. For the jealous man wishes himself a kind of deity to the person he loves. He would be the only pleasure of her senses, the employment of her thoughts; and is angry at every thing she admires, or takes delight in, besides himself.
Phædria's request to his mistress, upon his leaving her for three days, is inimitably beautiful and natural :
• Cum milite isto præsens, absens ut sies :
TEP. Eun. Act 1. Sc. 2. - When you are in company with that soldier, behave
as if you were absent: but continue to love me by day and by night : want me; dream of me;, expect me ; think of me; wish for me; delight in me; be wholly with me: in short, be my very soul, as I am yours.'
The jealous man's disease is of so malignant á nature, that it converts all it takes into its own nourishment. A cool behaviour sets him on the rack, and is interpreted as an instance of aversion or indifference; a fond one raises his suspicions, and looks too much like dissimulation and artifice. If the person he loves be chearful, her thoughts must be employed on another; and if sad, she is certainly thinking on himself. In short, there is no word or gesture so insignificant, but it gives him new hints, feeds his suspicions, and furnishes him with fresh matters of discovery: so that if we consider the effects of this passion, one would rather think it proceeded from an inveterate hatred, than an excessive love; for certainly none can meet with more disquietude and uneasiness than a suspected wife, if we except the jealous husband.
But the great unhappiness of this passion is, that it naturally tends to alienate the affection which it is so solicitous to ingross; and that for these two reasons, because it lays too great a constraint on the words and actions of the suspected person, and at the same time shews you have no honourable opinion of her; both of which are strong motives to aversion.
Nor is this the worst effect of jealousy ; for it often draws after it a more fatal train of consequences, and makes the person you suspect guilty of the very crimes you are so much afraid of. It is very natural for such who are treated ill and upbraided: falsely, to find out an intimate friend that will hear their complaints, condole their sufferings, and endeavour to sooth and assuage their secret resentments. Besides, jealousy puts a woman often in mind of an ill thing that she would not otherwise perhaps have thought of, and fills her imagination with such an unlucky idea, as in time grows familiar, excites desire, and loses all the shame and horror which might at first attend it. Nor is it a wonder if she who suffers wrongfully in a man's opinion of her, and has therefore nothing to forfeit in his esteem, resolves to give him reason for his suspicions, and to enjoy the pleasure of the crime, since she must undergo the ignominy. Such probably were the considerations that directed the wise-man in his advice to
husbands; Be not jealous over the wife of thy bosoin, and teach her not an evil lesson against thyself *
And here, among the other torments which this passion produces, we may usually observe that none are greater mourners than jealous men, when the person who provoked their jealousy is taken from them. Then it is that their love breaks out furiously, and throws off all the mixtures of suspicion which choked and smothered it before. The beautiful parts of the character rise uppermost in the jealous husband's memory, and upbraid him with the ill usage of so divine a creature as was once in his possession ; whilst all the little imperfections, that were before so uneasy to him, wear off from his remembrance, and shew themselves no more.
We may see by what has been said, that jealousy takes the deepest root in men of amorous dispositions; and of these we may find three kinds who are most over-run with it.
The first are those who are conscious to themselves of an infirmity, whether it be weakness, old age, deformity, ignorance, or the like. These men are so well acquainted with the unamiable part of themselves, that they have not the confidence to think they are really beloved ; and are so distrustful of their own merits, that all fondness towards them puts them out of countenance, and looks like a jest upon their persons. They grow suspicious on their first looking in a glass, and are stung with jealousy at the sight of a wrinkle. A handsome
ă fellow immediately alarms them, and every thing that looks young, or gay, turns their thoughts upon their wives.
A second sort of men, who are most liable to tbis passion, are those of cunning, wary, and distrustful tempers. It is a fault very justly found in histories composed by politicians, that they leave nothing to chance or humour, but are still for deriving every action from some plot and contrivance, for
* Ecclus, ix. 1.