BOOK VII. CONTAINING THREE DAYS.
4. Chapter iv. A picture of a country gentlewoman...
A picture of a country gentlewoman taken from the life.
Mr Western having finished his holla, and taken a little breath, began
to lament, in very pathetic terms, the unfortunate condition of men,
who are, says he, "always whipt in by the humours of some d--n'd b--
or other. I think I was hard run enough by your mother for one man;
but after giving her a dodge, here's another b-- follows me upon the
foil; but curse my jacket if I will be run down in this manner by any
Sophia never had a single dispute with her father, till this unlucky
affair of Blifil, on any account, except in defence of her mother,
whom she had loved most tenderly, though she lost her in the eleventh
year of her age. The squire, to whom that poor woman had been a
faithful upper-servant all the time of their marriage, had returned
that behaviour by making what the world calls a good husband. He very
seldom swore at her (perhaps not above once a week) and never beat
her; she had not the least occasion for jealousy, and was perfect
mistress of her time; for she was never interrupted by her husband,
who was engaged all the morning in his field exercises, and all the
evening with bottle companions. She scarce indeed ever saw him but at
meals; where she had the pleasure of carving those dishes which she
had before attended at the dressing. From these meals she retired
about five minutes after the other servants, having only stayed to
drink "the king over the water." Such were, it seems, Mr Western's
orders; for it was a maxim with him, that women should come in with
the first dish, and go out after the first glass. Obedience to these
orders was perhaps no difficult task; for the conversation (if it may
be called so) was seldom such as could entertain a lady. It consisted
chiefly of hallowing, singing, relations of sporting adventures,
b--d--y, and abuse of women, and of the government.