BOOK II. CONTAINING SCENES OF MATRIMONIAL FELICITY IN DIFFERENT DEGREES OF LIFE; AND VARIOUS OTHER TRANSACTIONS DURING THE FIRST TWO YEARS AFTER THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN CAPTAIN BLIFIL AND MISS BRIDGET ALLWORTHY.
1. Chapter i. Showing what kind of a history this is...
These are indeed to be considered as blanks in the grand lottery of
time. We therefore, who are the registers of that lottery, shall
imitate those sagacious persons who deal in that which is drawn at
Guildhall, and who never trouble the public with the many blanks they
dispose of; but when a great prize happens to be drawn, the newspapers
are presently filled with it, and the world is sure to be informed at
whose office it was sold: indeed, commonly two or three different
offices lay claim to the honour of having disposed of it; by which, I
suppose, the adventurers are given to understand that certain brokers
are in the secrets of Fortune, and indeed of her cabinet council.
My reader then is not to be surprized, if, in the course of this work,
he shall find some chapters very short, and others altogether as long;
some that contain only the time of a single day, and others that
comprise years; in a word, if my history sometimes seems to stand
still, and sometimes to fly. For all which I shall not look on myself
as accountable to any court of critical jurisdiction whatever: for as
I am, in reality, the founder of a new province of writing, so I am at
liberty to make what laws I please therein. And these laws, my
readers, whom I consider as my subjects, are bound to believe in and
to obey; with which that they may readily and cheerfully comply, I do
hereby assure them that I shall principally regard their ease and
advantage in all such institutions: for I do not, like a jure divino
tyrant, imagine that they are my slaves, or my commodity. I am,
indeed, set over them for their own good only, and was created for
their use, and not they for mine. Nor do I doubt, while I make their
interest the great rule of my writings, they will unanimously concur
in supporting my dignity, and in rendering me all the honour I shall
deserve or desire.