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.
8. Chapter viii. A receipt to regain the lost affections of a wife...
A receipt to regain the lost affections of a wife, which hath never
been known to fail in the most desperate cases.
The captain was made large amends for the unpleasant minutes which he
passed in the conversation of his wife (and which were as few as he
could contrive to make them), by the pleasant meditations he enjoyed
These meditations were entirely employed on Mr Allworthy's fortune;
for, first, he exercised much thought in calculating, as well as he
could, the exact value of the whole: which calculations he often saw
occasion to alter in his own favour: and, secondly and chiefly, he
pleased himself with intended alterations in the house and gardens,
and in projecting many other schemes, as well for the improvement of
the estate as of the grandeur of the place: for this purpose he
applied himself to the studies of architecture and gardening, and read
over many books on both these subjects; for these sciences, indeed,
employed his whole time, and formed his only amusement. He at last
completed a most excellent plan: and very sorry we are, that it is not
in our power to present it to our reader, since even the luxury of the
present age, I believe, would hardly match it. It had, indeed, in a
superlative degree, the two principal ingredients which serve to
recommend all great and noble designs of this nature; for it required
an immoderate expense to execute, and a vast length of time to bring
it to any sort of perfection. The former of these, the immense wealth
of which the captain supposed Mr Allworthy possessed, and which he
thought himself sure of inheriting, promised very effectually to
supply; and the latter, the soundness of his own constitution, and his
time of life, which was only what is called middle-age, removed all
apprehension of his not living to accomplish.
Nothing was wanting to enable him to enter upon the immediate
execution of this plan, but the death of Mr Allworthy; in calculating
which he had employed much of his own algebra, besides purchasing
every book extant that treats of the value of lives, reversions, &c.
From all which he satisfied himself, that as he had every day a chance
of this happening, so had he more than an even chance of its happening
within a few years.