Is a word never to be construed too literally. Thus when a lover says, “I look on it as my duty to obey you: your will is my law.” He means, “I treat you as a sovereign in order to make you my slave. I fob you with appearances, that I may obtain realities.”
The conduct of most lovers justifies this interpretation.
There are moments in which a woman would be very ill pleased with a blind submission, and an obedience without reserve. Any lover, novice enough on those occasions to dread the fair-one's displeasure, would infallibly incur it. It is misconstruing her intention to obey orders pronounced only for form's sake, and on which she would have just reason to complain, if you was [sic] to act as if you thought her in earnest.
…and on which she would have just reason to complain, if you were to act as if you thought her in earnest.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)
…as if you thought her in earnest.
It is the only word so disgusting to the fair-one in the matrimonial service