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.
3. Chapter iii. The description of a domestic government...
This woman was not very amiable in her person. Whether she sat to my
friend Hogarth, or no, I will not determine; but she exactly resembled
the young woman who is pouring out her mistress's tea in the third
picture of the Harlot's Progress. She was, besides, a profest follower
of that noble sect founded by Xantippe of old; by means of which she
became more formidable in the school than her husband; for, to confess
the truth, he was never master there, or anywhere else, in her
Though her countenance did not denote much natural sweetness of
temper, yet this was, perhaps, somewhat soured by a circumstance which
generally poisons matrimonial felicity; for children are rightly
called the pledges of love; and her husband, though they had been
married nine years, had given her no such pledges; a default for which
he had no excuse, either from age or health, being not yet thirty
years old, and what they call a jolly brisk young man.
Hence arose another evil, which produced no little uneasiness to the
poor pedagogue, of whom she maintained so constant a jealousy, that he
durst hardly speak to one woman in the parish; for the least degree of
civility, or even correspondence, with any female, was sure to bring
his wife upon her back, and his own.
In order to guard herself against matrimonial injuries in her own
house, as she kept one maid-servant, she always took care to chuse her
out of that order of females whose faces are taken as a kind of
security for their virtue; of which number Jenny Jones, as the reader
hath been before informed, was one.
As the face of this young woman might be called pretty good security
of the before-mentioned kind, and as her behaviour had been always
extremely modest, which is the certain consequence of understanding in
women; she had passed above four years at Mr Partridge's (for that was
the schoolmaster's name) without creating the least suspicion in her
mistress. Nay, she had been treated with uncommon kindness, and her
mistress had permitted Mr Partridge to give her those instructions
which have been before commemorated.
But it is with jealousy as with the gout: when such distempers are in
the blood, there is never any security against their breaking out; and
that often on the slightest occasions, and when least suspected.