A Henry Fielding Companion by Martin C. Battestin

By Martin C. Battestin

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By Martin C. Battestin

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By the autumn of 1747 this cordial domestic arrangement would come to end, as HF, having gotten his cook-maid Mary Daniel with child, would marry her in November, in the sixth month of her pregnancy. One can well imagine Sarah’s dismay at this turn of events, but there is nothing to suggest that it caused a breach between her and her brother. Under the circumstances, however, she left him to rejoin “the sisterhood” in the house they were occupying in Duke Street, Westminster, where she continued writing fiction.

While she lived, Charlotte was to HF, as he declared in the preface to the Miscellanies (1743), “one from whom I draw all the solid Comfort of my Life”; he would keep her memory fresh in the heroines of his novels, Sophia Western and Amelia Booth. FIELDING, Edmund (1680–1741), General, HF’s father. Through his father, Reverend Dr. John Fielding, Edmund was related to the earls of Denbigh and Desmond. A distinguished soldier, he rose through the ranks of commissioned officers, from ensign in 1696 at the age of sixteen to lieutenant general in 1739.

He promoted the union between England and his native Scotland, and as commander of the forces in north Britain he was instrumental in suppressing the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. From 1738 he spoke eloquently in the House of Lords in behalf of the opposition and helped bring about Sir Robert Walpole’s fall from power in February 1742. In The Champion (29 January 1740) he is to valor what Lord Chesterfield is to wit and George Dodington to politeness. A year later in the poem Of True Greatness (January 1741) HF Others in the Life 23 places Argyll in the company of “the brightest Characters” of the opposition— Chesterfield, Dodington, William Pulteney, and George Lyttelton—praising him as “Supreme in all the Arts of Peace and War”; and in “An Essay on Conversation” he is represented as the personification of bravery.

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