The Country Wife

Mrs. Squeamish Character Analysis

Mrs. Squeamish is a fashionable town lady, the companion of Lady Fidget and Mrs. Dainty Fidget and a member of the “virtuous gang.” Mrs. Squeamish is unmarried and lives under the care of her grandmother, Old Lady Squeamish. Like the other “virtuous” ladies, Mrs. Squeamish pretends to be extremely pure and “honorable” in public, but is highly promiscuous and decadent in private. Alongside the other two ladies in her “gang,” she becomes the mistress of Horner and is constantly trying to escape her grandmother so that she may do as she pleases. Mrs. Squeamish is involved in the “china scene,” in which Lady Fidget and Horner have sex offstage, while Sir Jasper and Old Lady Squeamish listen at the door, believing that Lady Fidget and Horner are fighting over a piece of rare china. Mrs. Squeamish arrives while Horner and Lady Fidget are offstage, followed by her grandmother who is trying to keep an eye on her. When she hears that Lady Fidget and Horner are alone together, she becomes extremely jealous and tries to interrupt them. Although Mrs. Squeamish does not know for sure that Horner is sleeping with Lady Fidget, she is suspicious, and this suggests that the “virtuous” ladies do not expect loyalty from each other any more than they do from men. Horner plays the women off against each other in this scene, but he and the ladies are proved to be each other’s equals at the end of the play when Mrs. Squeamish and her companions reveal that they use their reputations to hide their true pursuits, just as Horner uses his. Like Mrs. Dainty, Mrs. Squeamish’s name is symbolic, reflecting her outward persona, as a woman who is “squeamish” about sex, when underneath she is very promiscuous.

Mrs. Squeamish Quotes in The Country Wife

The The Country Wife quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Squeamish or refer to Mrs. Squeamish. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Reputation, Appearance, and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Nick Hern Books edition of The Country Wife published in 2002.
Act 2 Quotes

Mrs. Squeamish: ’Tis true, nobody takes notice of a private man, and therefore with him ’tis more secret, and the crime’s the less when ’tis not known.

Lady Fidget: You say true; i’faith, I think you are in the right on’t. ’Tis not an injury to a husband till it be an injury to our honors; so that a woman of honor loses no honor with a private person; and to say truth.

Related Characters: Lady Fidget (speaker), Mrs. Squeamish (speaker), Mrs. Dainty Fidget
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 5, Scene 4 Quotes

Lady Fidget: Our reputation! Lord, why should you not think that we women make use of our reputation, as you men of yours only to deceive the world with less suspicion? Our virtue is like the statesman’s religion, the Quaker’s word, the gamester’s oath, and the great man’s honor – but to cheat those that trust us.

Squeamish: And that demureness, coyness, and modesty that you see in our faces in the boxes at plays is as much a sign of a kind woman as a vizard-mask in the pit.

Dainty: For, I assure you, women are least masked when they have the velvet vizard on.

Related Characters: Lady Fidget (speaker), Mrs. Dainty Fidget (speaker), Mrs. Squeamish (speaker)
Page Number: 141-142
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Squeamish Character Timeline in The Country Wife

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Squeamish appears in The Country Wife. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2
Reputation, Appearance, and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Love, Marriage, and Misogyny  Theme Icon
Theatre, Puritanism, and Forbidden Desire  Theme Icon
Town vs. Country Theme Icon
...what he has just witnessed. He is surprised when Lady Fidget, Mrs. Dainty Fidget, and Mrs. Squeamish , a friend of theirs, arrive to take Margery to the theatre. He will not... (full context)
Reputation, Appearance, and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Love, Marriage, and Misogyny  Theme Icon
Utterly mollified, Lady Fidget announces to Mrs. Dainty Fidget and Mrs. Squeamish that Horner is an excellent companion for them all and Sir Jasper hurries off to... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Reputation, Appearance, and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Love, Marriage, and Misogyny  Theme Icon
Theatre, Puritanism, and Forbidden Desire  Theme Icon
While Sir Jasper is listening at the door, Mrs. Squeamish bursts in looking for Horner. When she hears that he is with Lady Fidget she... (full context)
Theatre, Puritanism, and Forbidden Desire  Theme Icon
...a piece of china, and Horner follows, complaining that she has taken his best piece. Mrs. Squeamish then re-enters the room and begs Horner to give her some china too but he... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
Reputation, Appearance, and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Theatre, Puritanism, and Forbidden Desire  Theme Icon
At Horner’s house, Lady Fidget, Mrs. Dainty Fidget, and Mrs. Squeamish arrive dressed in masquerade costumes. Horner curses their appearance, as he has not yet had... (full context)
Reputation, Appearance, and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Theatre, Puritanism, and Forbidden Desire  Theme Icon
...secret and tells the other ladies that Horner is her lover. Mrs. Dainty Fidget and Mrs. Squeamish are horrified; they each protest that Horner is also their secret lover and that he... (full context)
Reputation, Appearance, and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Love, Marriage, and Misogyny  Theme Icon
...to attack her and Horner with his sword. Harcourt stops him. Just then, Sir Jasper, Mrs. Squeamish , Mrs. Dainty Fidget and Old Lady Squeamish re-enter and are surprised by the commotion.... (full context)
Reputation, Appearance, and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Theatre, Puritanism, and Forbidden Desire  Theme Icon
Town vs. Country Theme Icon
...up the Quack’s story, but Margery tries to protest and claim it is not true. Mrs. Squeamish whispers to Lucy to silence her and Dorilant comes forward to tell Margery “the truth”... (full context)