« AnteriorContinuar »
uneasiness than a suspected wife, if we except the jealous husband.
But the great unhappiness of this passion is, that it ca turally tends to alienate the affection which it is so solicitous to engross; and that for these two reasons ; because it lays too great a restraint on the words and actions of the sus. pected person, and at the same time shows 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 soothe and assuage their secret resentments. Besides, jealousy puts a woman often in mind of an ill thing chat 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 hor. ror 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 bosom, and teach her not an evil lesson against thyself. ECCLUS.
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 show themselves no more.
We may see, by what has been said, that jealousy takes the
deepest root in men of amorous dispositions; and of thek we find three kinds who are most over-run with it.
The first are those who are conscious to themselves of any 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 uptheir
persons. They grow suspicious on their first look. ing in a glass, and are stung with jealousy at the sight of a wrinkle. A handsome fellow immediately alarms them. and everything that looks young or gay turns their thoughts upon their wives.
A second sort of men, who are most liable to this 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 or contrivance, from drawing up a perpetual scheme of causes and events, and preserving a constant correspondence between the camp and the council-table. And thus it happens in the affairs of love with men of too refined a thought. They put a construction on a look, and find out a design in a smile; they give new senses and significations to words and actions; and are ever tormenting themselves with fancies of their own raising : they generally act in a disguise themselves, and therefore mistake all outward shows and appearances for hypocrisy in others; so that I believe no men see less of the truth and reality of things, than these great refiners upon incidents, who are so wonderfully subtle and over-wise in their conceptions.
Now, what these men fancy they know of women by reflection, your lewd and vicious men believe they have learned by experience. They have seen the poor husband so misled by tricks and artifices, and, in the midst of his inquiries, so lóst and bewildered in a crooked intrigue, that they still sus. pect an under-plot in every female action; and especially where they see any resemblance in the behaviour of two persons, are apt to fancy it proceeds from the same design in both. These men, therefore, bear hard upon the suspected
party, pursue her close through all her turnings and windings, and are too well acquainted with the chace, to be flung off by any false steps or doubles : besides, their acquaintance and conversation has lain wholly among the vicious part of womankind, and therefore it is no wonder they censure all alike, and look upon the whole sex as a species of impostors. But if, notwithstanding their private experience, they can get over these prejudices, and entertain a favourable opinion of some women, yet their own loose desires will stir up new suspicions from another side, and make them believe all men subject to the same inclinations with themselves.
Whether these or other motives are most predominant, we learn from the modern histories of America, as well as from our own experience in this part of the world, that jealousy is no northern passion, but rages most in those nations that lie nearest the influence of the sun. It is a misfortune for a woman to be born between the tropics; for there lie the hottest regions of jealousy, which as you come northward cools all along with the climate, till you scarce meet anything like it in the polar circle. Our own nation is very temperately situated in this respect; and if we meet with some few disordered with the violence of this passion, they are not the proper growth of our country, but are many degrees nearer the sun in their constitution than in their climate.
After this frightful account of jealousy, and the persons who are most püüject to it, it will be but fair to show by what means the passion may be best allayed, and those who are possessed with it set at ease. Other faults, indeed, are not under the wife's jurisdiction, and should, if possible, escape her observation; but jealousy calls upon her particularly for its cure, and deserves all her art and application in the attempt: besides, she has this for her encouragement, that her endeavours will be always pleasing, and that she will still find the affection of her husband rising towards her in proportion as his doubts and suspicions vanish ; for, as we have seen all along, there is so great a mixture of love in jealousy as is well worth the separating. But this shall be the subject of another paper.
No. 171. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15.
Credula res amoi est- Ovid. Met. HAVING in my yesterday's paper
discovered the nature of jealousy, and pointed out the persons who are most subject to it, I must here apply myself to my fair correspondents,
, who desire to live well with a jealous husband, and to ease bis mind of its unjust suspicions.
The first rule I shall propose to be observed is, that you never seem to dislike in another what the jealous man is himself guilty of, or to admire anything in which he himself does not excel. A jealous man is very quick in his applications, he knows how to find a double edge in an invective, and to draw a satire on himself out of a panegyric on another. He does not trouble himself to consider the
person, but to direct the character; and is secretly pleased or confounded as he finds more or less of himself in it. The commendation of anything in another stirs up his jealousy, as it shows you have a value for others besides himself ; but the commendation of that which he himself wants, inflames bim more, as it shows that in some respects you prefer others before him. Jealousy is admirably described in this view by Horace in his Ode to Lydia.
Quum tu, Lydia, Telephi
Cervicem roseam, et cerea Telephi
Fervens difficili bile tumet jecur :
Certâ sede manet; humor et in genas
Quàm lentis penitus macerer ignibus,
The jealous man is not indeed
dislike another : but if
find those faults which are to be found in his own character, you discover not only your dislike of another, but of himself. In short, he is so desirous of engrossing all your love, that he is grieved at the want of any charm, which he believes has power to raise it ; and if he finds, by your censures on others, that he is not so agreeable in your opinion as he might be, he naturally concludes you could love him better if he had other qualifications, and that by consequence your affection does not rise so high as he thinks it ought. If, therefore, his temper be grave or sullen, you must not be too pleased with a jest, or transported with any thing that is gay and diverting. If his beauty be none of the best, you must be a professed admirer of prudence, or any other quality he is master of, or at least vain enough to think he is.
In the next place, you must be sure to be free and open in your conversation with him, and to let in light upon your actions, to unravel all your designs, and discover every secret, however trifling or indifferent. A jealous husband bas a particular aversion to winks and whispers, and if he does not see to the bottom of everything, will be sure to go beyond it in his fears and suspicions. He will always expect to be your chief confidant, and where he finds himself kept out of a secret, will believe there is more in it than there should be. And here it is of great concern,
you preserve the character of your sincerity uniform and of a piece; for if he once finds a false gloss put upon any single action, he quickly suspects all the rest; his working imagination immediately takes a false hint, and runs off with it into several remote consequences, till he has proved very ingenious in working out his own misery.
If both these methods fail, the best way will be to let him see you are much cast down and afflicted for the ill opinion he entertains of you, and the disquietudes he himself suffers for
your sake. There are many who take a kind of barbarous pleasure in the jealousy of those who love them, that insult over an aching heart, and triumph in their charms which are able to excite so much uneasiness.
Ardeat ipsa licet, tormentis gaudet amantis. Juv. But these often carry the humour so far, till their affected coldness and indifference quite kills all the fondness of a