"Ill Genius, or that Devil, Curiosity, ... too much haunts the Minds of Women"

— Haywood [née Fowler], Eliza (1693?-1756)

Place of Publication
1719-1720, 1725
"Ill Genius, or that Devil, Curiosity, ... too much haunts the Minds of Women"
Metaphor in Context
D'elmont's Family was now become a most distracted one, every Body was in Confusion, and it was hard for a disinterested Person to know how to behave among them: The Count was ready to die with Vexation, when he reflected on the Adventure at the Baron's with Melantha, and how hard it would be to clear his Conduct in that Point with Melliora: She on the other Hand, was as much tormented at his attempting it. 'The Chevalier was in the height of Despair when he found that Ansellina continued her Humour, and still avoided letting him know the Occasion of it: And Alovisa, tho' she contented herself for some Hours with relating to her Sister all the Passions of her Husband's unkind usage of her, yet when that was over, her Curiosity return'd, and she grew so madly zealous to find out who her Rival was, that she repented her Behaviour to the Baron, and sent him next Day, privately, a Billet, wherein she assur'd him, that she had acquainted the Count with nothing that had pass'd between them, and she desir'd to speak with him, 'Tis easy to be believ'd he needed not a second Invitation; he came immediately, and Alovisa renew'd her Entreaties in the most pressing manner she was capable of, but in vain, he told her plainly, that if he cou'd not have her Heart, nothing but the full Possession of her Person should extort the Secret from him. 'Twould swell this Discourse beyond what I design, to recount her various Starts of Passions, and different Turns of Behaviour, sometimes louder than the Winds, she rav'd! Commanded! Threatned! Then, still as April Showers, or Summer Dews, she wept, and only whisper'd her Complaints, now dissembling Kindness, then declaring unfeign'd Hate; 'till at last, finding it impossible to prevail by any other means, she promis'd to admit him at Midnight into her Chamber: But as it was only the Force of her too passionate Affection for her Husband, which had work'd her to this pitch of raging Jealousie, so she had no sooner made the Assignation, and the Baron had left her, (to seek the Count, to prevent any suspicion of their long Conversation) but all D'elmont's Charms came fresh into her Mind, and made the Thoughts of what she had promis'd, odious and insupportable; she open'd her Mouth more than once to call back the Baron, and recant all she had said; but her ill Genius, or that Devil, Curiosity, which too much haunts the Minds of Women, still prevented her: What will become of me, (said she to herself) what is it I am about to do? Shall I forego my Honour--quit my Virtue--sully my yet unspotted Name with endless Infamy--and yield my Soul to Sin, to Shame, and Hortor, only to know what I can ne'er redress? --If D'elmont hates me now, will he not do so still? --What will this curs'd Discovery bring me but added Tortures, and fresh weight of Woe. Happy had it been for her if these Considerations cou'd have lasted, but when she had been a Minute or two in this Temper, she wou'd relapse and cry, What! must I tamely bear it then? --Endure the Flouts of the malicious World, and the Contempt of every saucy Girl, who while she pities, scorns my want of Charms--Shall I neglected tell my Tale of Wrongs, (Oh! Hell is in that Thought) 'till my Despair shall reach my Rival's Ears, and crown her adulterous Joys with double Pleasure. --Wretch that I am! --Fool that I am, to hesitate, my Misery is already past Addition, my everlasting Peace is broke! Lost even to Hope, what can I more endure? --No, since I must be ruin'd, I'll have the Satisfaction of dragging with me to Perdition, the vile, the cursed She that has undone me: I'll be reveng'd on her, then die my self, and free me from Pollution. As she was in this last Thought, she perceiv'd at a good Distance from her, the Chevalier Brillian and Ansellina in Discourse; the sight of him immediately put a new Contrivance into her Head, and she compos'd herself as she cou'd, and went to meet them.
(II.xxii, pp. 232-3)
Searching "haunt" and "mind" in HDIS (Prose Fiction)
At least 12 entries in ESTC (1719, 1720, 1721, 1722, 1724, 1725, 1732, 1742).

Published in 3 parts in 1719-1720. <Part 1, ESTC><Part 2, ESTC><Part 3, ESTC>

See Eliza Haywood, Love in Excess: or the Fatal Enquiry, a Novel (London: Printed for W. Chetwood; and R. Francklin; and sold by J. Roberts, 1719). <Link to ECCO>

Text from Vol. 1 of Secret Histories, Novels and Poems. In Four Volumes. Written by Mrs. Eliza Haywood. (London: Printed [partly by Samuel Aris] for Dan. Browne, jun. at the Black Swan without Temple-Bar; and S. Chapman, at the Angel in Pall-Mall, 1725). <Link to ESTC><Link to LION>
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.