From Twenty Years a Detective in the Wickedest City in the World, a 1908 book—putatively nonfiction—by Clifton R. Wooldridge, “the Incorruptible Sherlock Holmes of America.”
In his agony [Devel] confessed that the only reason he confessed the murder was that he desired to get hanged, and that he preferred hanging to life with his wife. […]
“I desired to be hung,” said Devel, mournfully. “Life is not worth the living, and with my wife it is worse than death. If I had been hanged no other man would marry my wife, and I would save them from my fate. Many times have I planned to kill myself to escape her. That is sin, and I lack the bravery to kill myself, besides. If they will not hang me I must continue to live with my wife.”
Devel states, among other things, that these are the chief grievances against married life in general, and his wife in particular:
- She was slender, and became fat and strong.
- She was beautiful, and became ugly and coarse.
- She was tender, and grew hard.
- She was loving, and grew virulent.
- She grew whiskers on her chin.
- She called him “pig.”
- She wore untidy clothes, and her hair was unkempt.
- She refused to give him beer.
- Her breath smelled of onions and of garlic.
- She threw hot soup upon him.
- She continually upbraided him because there were no children.
- She scolded him in the presence of neighbors.
- She refused to permit him to bring his friends home.
- She came into his store and scolded him.
- She accused him of infidelity.
- She disturbed him when he slept in the garden on Sundays.
- She made him cook his own dinners.
- She spilled his beer when he drank quietly with friends.
- She told tales about him among the neighbors, and injured his business.
- She served his sausages and his soup cold, and sometimes did not have his meals for him when he came home.
- She did not make the beds nor clean the house.
- She took cards out of his skat deck.
- She talked continually, and scolded him for everything or nothing.
- She opened the windows when he closed them, and closed them when he opened them.
- She poured water into his shoes while he slept.
- She cut off his dachshund’s tail.
These things, he said, made him prefer to be hanged to living with her.