Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
Book Two--Chapters 6 - 9 Summary Mrs. Wilkins comes back from Baddington, convinced of Partridge's guilt. Now, Partridge himself alongwith his wife is called for by the Squire. Mrs. Partridge gives evidence against her husband after she is convinced by Mrs. Deborah that the annual annuity that they received from the Squire will not be discontinued. Partridge persists that he is innocent and asks the Squire to bring forth Jenny herself, so that she may tell the truth. Partridge sends for her but hears that she had left her place alongwith a recruiting officer. The Squire asks Partridge to confess but the latter maintains that he is not the bastard's father. The Squire proclaims Partridge as guilty and the latter then has to live in abject poverty as his income is discontinued. He has to shut down his school. At this time, an unknown benefactor starts sending them some money. Many believe this person to be the Squire himself. Soon, Mrs. Partridge dies of smallpox. Now, the benefactor's money ceases to come and Partridge has no choice but to leave the village, in order to obtain a living otherwise.
In the seventh chapter, Bridget and Captain Blifil's marriage is described. Blifil is a chauvinist who has a low opinion of women. He no longer hears his wife attentively as he had before. Their marriage is not as happy as it could have been and Squire Allworthy sees enough to render him uneasy. He dislikes some of his brother-in-law’s traits but thinks that they are probably merely blemishes in an overall fair character.
Here, we get a peep into the Captain's mind. We learn that he loves mediating on the correct value of Allworthy's estate. He has many plans that can be executed only after the Squire's death. But, unfortunately for him, he dies of apoplexy while taking an evening walk.
The details of the effect of the Captain's death on the Squire and the Captain's wife are here described. Mrs Blifil falls ill and there are hints that this might be a pretended illness to depict her sadness at her husband's death. She remains ill for a decent enough time for sickness and grief to expire. Mr. Allworthy preserves Captain's Blifil memory with a well- written epitaph.
Mrs. Wilkins is convinced of Partridge's guilt and that is because she easily believes the petty gossip of others. Moreover, Partridge has to face a major disadvantage when his own wife condemns himself so openly and easily. Most people tend to believe the evidence of a wife against her husband, especially if the condemnation has to do with a sexual affair.
Mr. and Mrs. Partridge meet the Squire. He questions them about what he has heard. Mrs. Partridge gives evidence against her husband while the latter pleads for mercy. He insists that he has not committed adultery and has had nothing to do with Jenny. But, the Squire does not tend to believe him. We feel quite bad for the poor Partridge but we see that luck is just not on his side. He asks the Squire to get Jenny to give her evidence. But, we read that Jenny is not in the place that the Squire had sent her to. She has left the place with an officer. The Squire condemns her action, saying that the evidence of such a woman was anyway not reliable.
Later, even Mrs. Partridge regrets giving this evidence against her husband. This is because, Mrs. Wilkins had convinced her that the annuity received by the couple would not be discontinued even if Mr. Partridge is held guilty. But, this annuity is stopped when the Squire feels convinced about Mr. Partridge's guilt. The couple is now in abject poverty and all this is a result of Mrs. Partridge's unfounded suspicions. Mrs. Wilkins is no less to be blamed for the false promises she makes to Mrs. Partridge.
We now learn more about the Blifil-Bridget marriage. The farce of agreeableness in Captain Blifil's character is removed and Bridget realizes how chauvinistic he can be. He does not have a high opinion of women and no longer listens to Bridget patiently. He had only been patient with her opinions before marriage when he had wanted to attain her person. Thus, their marriage is a strained one. While they try not to show this strain to others, the Squire can make out a part of it and he is not too happy with the result. He too can notice some faults in Captain Blifil's demeanor but as he is always looking at the positive aspect of a situation, he tries not to take the negatives too seriously.
Meanwhile, we get to see what is going on in Captain Blifil's mind. All that makes him happy is the contemplation of the value of the Squire's estate and over this calculation, he spends many happy hours. Here we get to see the extent of his mean mindedness and materialistic outlook. We later see how his son is just as mean and vicious. But, Fielding springs another surprise on us in the form of Captain Blifil’s death by apoplexy. It was of importance that this character be removed, for the narrative to move forward at a faster pace.
One of the Themes of this novel is to depict the hypocrisy of society. We see how Mrs. Blifil falls ill after Mr. Blifil's death. We are given sufficient hints to guess that this illness is more of pretence. Mrs. Blifil is shown as mourning to just the right degree. Indeed, Fielding seems to be poking fun at the hypocrisy which makes a spouse mourn for the other, even if he/she had not loved the other. In this case, we had seen how Bridget had started disliking her spouse and yet she mourns him plentifully after his death. With the death of the Captain, there is more space to introduce other characters as will be done in the next Book.