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The populace of the County of Wefsex seem to be singularly afflicted with bizarre domestic Crises. The following Examples are not atypical:  


Dear Madame,

I am at the end of my tether. After a bad marriage and abandoning my hopes of academic life, I obtained a divorce and am now living with my cousin Sue, also divorced. However, our children are causing us severe anxiety. My eldest son (by my ex-wife) is extremely moody and keeps threatening to do away with the younger two so we can find better lodgings. Sue is deeply afflicted by guilt over our relationship. I am becoming consumptive, and I still haven't got a degree. Please help.

In desperation,



Hey, Jude!

Pull yrself together, sir, & contact the Social Work Department as soon as pofsible! Yr problem Child will probably be taken into Care. Meanwhile, check his Sweetmeats for 'E' numbers & ensure that he watches no Magick Lantern Nasties.

As for yr Studies: there is probably an Adult/Continuing Education Programme on which you could enrol (reduced fees for the Unemployed). These are now accredited - i.e., if you do written work for six courses, you get a University Foundation Award. Of course, if you do have Consumption, it is possible you may not live to complete all 60 credits, but you should still be able to acquire some 10-credit Certificates & get a small glow of academic Achievement for those. Sue will be able to hang them on the Wall to remember you. Alternatively, should yr Health prove not so gravely impair'd, you may yet attempt one of the new-fangl'd Correspondence Courses of the Open University.

I would also counsel that you seek help about yr Drinking: uneven handwriting is one thing, but, having but the sight of one Eye left to me due to the Small-pox, I find reading through Whisky stains a strain. It is also a shameful waste of Liquor.


The Herons,
__ May, 1890

Dear Madame,

My adored husband, Angel, on learning that I was not pure (having been seduced and borne a son - since dead - some years ago), abandoned me on our honeymoon: while sleep-walking, he said I was dead and put me in a tomb; then he ran off to Brazil, after unsuccessfully propositioning one of my best friends.

Financial hardship then drove me to sacrifice my honour again to Alec, my original seducer, who has been keeping me although it was I who had walked out on him without telling him I was with child. He was upset when I told him there had been a child, which had died, and said I should have told him and sought his help - but why should I? It was none of his business. He gave my widowed mother and younger brothers and sisters a cottage when my father's death left them homeless. He would have married me had I still been single: indeed, he had been carrying a marriage-licence in his pocket and tore it up in front of me when I told him the truth. But I do not love him as I love Angel. Indeed, I have hit him a couple of times before now. He just accepts it, too, and still insists on providing for me and my family and buying me expensive clothes. I can't understand why, when he knows how much I despise him.

Tess and Angel's Wedding

My Wedding Photograph:
You can see how deliriously ecstatic and happy were my dear Angel & I


This is Alec


Now my beloved Angel has returned from Brazil, repentant and broken in health. I feel I have betrayed him, and hate myself for returning to Alec! On the breakfast tray there is a carving knife, which I am tempted to use on Alec, who is saying that my husband is a "worthless canting hypocrite", "spineless bastard", & c & c., and that I'd be mad to return to him. Please advise before I do something extremely violent!

née Durbeyfield or D'Urberville

Dear Theresa,

Put down the Knife & order a tisane of Evening Primrose; you have a bad case of PMS. Now let us review yr Situation with the faculty of Reason:

You are still besotted with a Man - nay, a Poltroon - who fled to Brazil just because you were not a Virgin, & who has now crawl'd back snivelling to apologise?

Is it not he you should think of killing - preferably slowly & most horribly? That Gothick foolishnefs with the Coffin is suggestive of a distemper'd & perverted Mind, & I have Misapprehensions about any man called Angel - is he a Molly at heart?

So, Alec seduc'd you to begin with, but, as you observe, he has been on hand when you have needed help since - more than yr Husband has. Has it ever crofsed yr infatuated mind that he actually loves you? If you would care to look at things from a less Angelic perspective, you would surely perceive that it is you who have been using him with infamous Cruelty. Count your Blessings on having found a wealthy & generous-hearted young Man who seems remarkably tolerant of yr Deludednefs & self-Pity. He can also probably afford a good Lawyer for you, too, whether you decide upon Divorce or more direct means to deal with yr whinging apology for a Husband...

Do not let the fact that yr vile Husband now resembles something the Cat dragg'd in sway you - he may be pox'd; who knows what Vices he has been indulging in the Stews of Curitiba? Co-counsellor Dr. Flitcraft recommends you read Women Who Love Too Much, & I enclose the card of a Colonial lady who may be able to offer further afsistance - a Mistrefs Bobbit...

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