William Congreve (Rochester Institute of Technology http://library.rit.edu/cary/works-mr-william-congreve photo)

William Congreve (Rochester Institute of Technology http://library.rit.edu/cary/works-mr-william-congreve photo)

William Congreve (1670 – 1729) was an English poet and playwright. Two of his characteristic pithy and witty turns of phrase, both from the play “The Mourning Bride”, though now misquoted and attributed to Shakespeare, are still in common usage to the point of being clichés. One is “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,” which is the first line of the play and the other is “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” While this has become “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, it is no less true today than it was in the seventeenth century.

There is a story that has earned the status of an urban myth about a man who answered a classified advertisement offering an “almost new” Porsche for the ridiculously low price of $50 and finds that the woman really is selling the car so cheaply because her husband ran off with a younger woman and asked her to sell the car and send him the money.

The earliest version of the story appeared in 1948 and after several versions over the years ended up as a folk-song by John McCutcheon in 1989 called “The Red Corvette”. I find the last two verses particularly amusing: “Now I expected that this woman was crazy / To sell off this car at that price. / But as we walked down the lane she seemed perfectly sane / She was charming and really quite nice. / And she smiled in such great satisfaction / As she handed me title and keys. / I said, ‘I’ve just got to know why you’ve let this thing go / What’s wrong with this car? Tell me please!'”

The final verse goes like this: “Says she, ‘I’ll be 60 come Tuesday. / And I’ve lived here with my husband, Earl. / Well, after 30 years wed and without a word said / He left me for a young teenage girl. /But with his credit cards left here behind him, / I knew that he couldn’t get far. / Last night from Florida he sent a wire to me: / Said, ‘I need money, dear, sell the car!'”

Regardless of whether Congreve or Shakespeare said it, “Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.” The BBC ran a story in 2005, “Scorned wife sells Lotus for 50p.” The story went, “A Birmingham radio DJ discovered hell hath no fury like a woman scorned after his wife sold his £25,000 luxury sports car on the Internet for 50p. Tim Shaw’s wife, Hayley, put the Lotus Espirit Turbo on eBay after her husband propositioned glamour model Jodie Marsh live on-air on his Kerrang! FM show. Mrs Shaw, 27, said the flirtatious interview had been the “last straw” in their relationship. The car sold within minutes of it being posted on the Internet site…The item description for the car on eBay read: ‘I need to get rid of this car immediately – ideally in the next two to three hours before my husband gets home to find it gone and all his belongings in the street.’”

I don’t know who said it first but “History repeats itself.” Shanghai News reported that a married Chinese tycoon named Fan who had five mistresses was one of the victims of the great global meltdown and decided to reduce his harem to only one mistress. He held a contest among the five and, as the newspaper reported, one of the women named Yu “was eliminated in the first-round beauty competition and a woman surnamed Liu eventually won after dominating the drinking round.” No more “I love Yu”.

He kicked her out of the apartment in which she kept her. However, driving the “family” car for a last outing, Yu steered the car over a cliff. Fan had to pay Yu’s family compensation and his wife sued him for divorce.

In another incident, three “scorned” women, a man’s wife and two mistresses, super-glued his private parts to his stomach. It seemed they were no longer stuck on him and he took longer to become unstuck than his relationship with them.

But if hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, it also has no music like a woman playing second fiddle. A story in Bold Ride claimed, “An Australian man was recently told by his wife to liquidate a trove of toys from his days as a solo gent, or risk losing her. Ouch. He’s since complied, albeit apathetically, by posting up his prized possessions on the classified site Gumtree, most notably his 1999 Tonino Lamborghini golf cart.”

The wife also wants him to sell a 1999 Nissan Pathfinder, a variety of vintage red telephone boxes, boxing lessons, and a quintet of creepy murderous teddy bears. The man’s ad in Gumtree is a classic.

“…I may have the most cruel wife in the country possibly the world?? If there is another more cruel wife I would love to hear about it, hopefully taking some of the sting out of the fact I am losing nearly every toy I have held dear to me… My poor baby Lamborghini Golf Cart is next on her low browed hunt for treasured items to have me sell totally against my will yet as we are all familiar with the saying ‘happy wife’ can’t remember the rest nor do I much care for whatever comes next right now either!!!! Apart from the exceptional beer holding capabilities of this golf cart, it really has absolutely nothing going for it at all, nor should it be considered by anyone in the market for a golf cart. You will only find that it attracts other males and not ladies, and that you might find it immediately reduces the size of your genitals should you purchase it for on or close to the asking price!!!! If you have any enquiries please feel free to direct them to the sky or a poo-filled toilet. Don’t forget to check out my other items except for my Yamaha leave that the hell alone!! P.S Antidote to both Anthrax and Ebola offered to new owner at extra cost.”

*Tony Deyal was last seen saying that until you describe your wife as “cruel” in public you will never know, or come even close to knowing, what “cruel” really means.

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