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* love the only foundation of happiness in a married “state; as it can only produce that high and tender “friendship which should always be the cement of * this union; and, in my opinion, all those mar‘riages which are contracted from other motives, * are greatly criminal; they are a profanation of a ‘most holy ceremony, and generally end in disquiet ‘ and misery: for surely we may call it a profana‘tion, to convert this most sacred institution into a * wicked sacrifice to lust or avarice: and what bet“ter can be said of those matches to which men are ‘induced merely by the consideration of a beauti“ful person, or a great fortune ! “To deny that beauty is an agreeable object to “the eye, and even worthy some admiration, would “ be false and foolish. Beautiful is an epithet often “used in scripture, and always mentioned with ho‘nour. It was my own fortune to marry a woman * whom the world thought handsome, and I can “truly say, I liked her the better on that account. “But, to make this the sole consideration of mar‘riage, to lust after it so violently as to overlook all “imperfections for its sake, or to require it so abso‘ lutely as to reject and disdain religion, virtue, and “sense, which are qualities in their nature of much ‘higher perfection, only because an elegance of ‘person is wanting: this is surely inconsistent, either “with a wise man or a good christian. And it is, “ perhaps, being too charitable to conclude, that * such persons mean any thing more by their mar‘riage, than to please their carnal appetites; for ‘the satisfaction of which, we are taught, it was not * ordained. “In the next place, with respect to fortune. World‘ly prudence, perhaps, exacts some consideration ‘ on this head; nor will I absolutely and altogether. * condemn it. As the world is constituted, the de‘mands of a married state, and the care of poste“rity, require some little regard to what we call
“circumstances. Yet this provision is greatly in
* creased, beyond what is really necessary, by folly ‘ and vanity, which create abundantly more wants ‘ than nature. Equipage for the wife, and large “fortunes for the children, are by custom enrolled * in the list of necessaries; and to procure these, “every thing truly solid and sweet, and virtuous * and religious, are neglected and overlooked.
“And this in many degrees; the last and greatest ‘of which seems scarce distinguishable from mad
‘ness;–I mean where persons of immense fortunes “contract themselves to those who are, and must be, ‘ disagreeable to them—to fools and knaves—in order “to increase an estate, already larger even than the
‘demands of their pleasures. Surely such persons, “if they will not be thought mad, must own, either “that they are incapable of tasting the sweets of the
“tenderest friendship, or that they sacrifice the ‘greatest happiness of which they are capable, to “the vain, uncertain, and senseless laws of vulgar ‘ opinion, which owe as well their force as their “foundation to folly.” Here Allworthy concluded his sermon, to which
Blifil had listened with the profoundest attention, though it cost him some pains to prevent now and then a small discomposure of his muscles. He now praised every period of what he had heard, with the warmth of a young divine, who hath the honour to dine with a bishop the same day in which his lord
ship hath mounted the pulpit.
CHAP. XIII. Which concludes the first book ; with an instance of
ingratitude, which, we hope, will appear unnatural.
THE reader, from what hath been said, may imagine, that the reconciliation (if indeed it could be so called) was only matter of form; we shall there
fore pass it over, and hasten to what must surely be thought matter of substance. The doctor had acquainted his brother with what had passed between Mr. Allworthy and him; and added with a smile, ‘I promise you, I paid you off; “nay, I absolutely desired the good gentleman not
“to forgive you : for you know, after he had made
‘a declaration in your favour, I might with safety ‘ venture on such a request with a person of his “temper; and I was willing, as well for your sake ‘as for my own, to prevent the least possibility of * a suspicion.’
Captain Blifil took not the least notice of this, at that time; but he afterwards made a very notable
use of it.
One of the maxims which the devil, in a late visit upon earth, left to his disciples, is, when once you are got up to kick the stool from under you. In plain English, when you have made your fortune by the good offices of a friend, you are advised to
discard him as soon as you can.
Whether the captain acted by this maxim, I will not positively determine; so far we may confidently say, that his actions may be fairly derived from this diabolical principle; and indeed it is difficult to assign any other motive to them: for no sooner was he possessed of miss Bridget, and reconciled to Allworthy, than he began to show a coldness to his brother, which increased daily; till at length it grew into rudeness, and became very visible to every one.
The doctor remonstrated to him privately con
cerning this behaviour, but could obtain no other
satisfaction than the following plain declaration : “If you dislike any thing in my brother's house, “sir, you know you are at liberty to quit it.’ This strange, cruel, and almost unaccountable ingratitude in the captain, absolutely broke the poor doctor's heart; for ingratitude never so thoroughly pierces the human breast, as when it proceeds from those in whose behalf we have been guilty of transgressions. Reflexions on great and good actions, however they are received or returned by those in whose favour they are performed, always administer some comfort to us; but what consolation shall we receive under so biting a calamity as the ungrateful behaviour of our friend, when our wounded conscience at the same time flies in our face, and upbraids us with having spotted it in the service of one so worthless P Mr. Allworthy himself spoke to the captain in his brother's behalf, and desired to know what offence the doctor had committed; when the hard-hearted villain had the baseness to say that he should never forgive him for the injury which he had endeavoured to do him in his favour; which, he said, he had pumped out of him, and was such a cruelty that it ought not to be forgiven. o Allworthy spoke in very high terms upon this declaration, which he said became not a human creature. He expressed, indeed, so much resentment against an unforgiving temper, that the captain at last pretended to be convinced by his arguments, and outwardly professed to be reconciled. As for the bride, she was now in her honeymoon, and so passionately fond of her new husband, that he never appeared to her to be in the wrong; and his displeasure against any person was a sufficient reason for her dislike to the same. The captain, at Mr. Allworthy's instance, was outwardly, as we have said, reconciled to his brother; yet the same rancour remained in his heart; and he found so many opportunities of giving him private hints of this, that the house at last grew insupportable to the poor doctor; and he chose rather to submit to any inconveniences which he might encounter in the world, than longer to bear these cruel and ungrateful insults from a brother for whom he had done so much.
He once intended to acquaint Allworthy with the whole; but he could not bring himself to submit to the confession, by which he must take to his share so great a portion of guilt. Besides, by how much the worse man he represented his brother to be, so much the greater would his own offence appear to Allworthy, and so much the greater, he had reason to imagine, would be his resentment. He feigned, therefore, some excuse of business for his departure, and promised to return soon again; and took leave of his brother with so welldissembled content, that, as the captain played his part to the same perfection, Allworthy remained well satisfied with the truth of the reconciliation. The doctor went directly to London, where he died soon after of a broken heart; a distemper which kills many more than is generally imagined, and would have a fair title to a place in the bill of mortality, did it not differ in one instance from all other diseases—viz. That no physician can cure it. Now, upon the most diligent inquiry into the former lives of these two brothers, I find, besides the cursed and hellish maxim of policy above mentioned, another reason for the captain's conduct: the captain, besides what we have before said of him, was a man of great pride and fierceness, and had always treated his brother, who was of a different complexion, and greatly deficient in both those qualities, with the utmost air of superiority. The doctor, however, had much the larger share of learning, and was by many reputed to have the better understanding. This the captain knew, and could not bear ; for though envy is at best a very malignant passion, yet is its bitterness greatly heightened by mixing with contempt towards the same object; and very much afraid I am, that whenever an obligation is joined to these two, indignation and not gratitude will be the product of all three.