BOOK IV. CONTAINING THE TIME OF A YEAR.
6. Chapter vi. An apology for the insensibility of Mr Jones...
An apology for the insensibility of Mr Jones to all the charms of the
lovely Sophia; in which possibly we may, in a considerable degree,
lower his character in the estimation of those men of wit and
gallantry who approve the heroes in most of our modern comedies.
There are two sorts of people, who, I am afraid, have already
conceived some contempt for my heroe, on account of his behaviour to
Sophia. The former of these will blame his prudence in neglecting an
opportunity to possess himself of Mr Western's fortune; and the latter
will no less despise him for his backwardness to so fine a girl, who
seemed ready to fly into his arms, if he would open them to receive
Now, though I shall not perhaps be able absolutely to acquit him of
either of these charges (for want of prudence admits of no excuse; and
what I shall produce against the latter charge will, I apprehend, be
scarce satisfactory); yet, as evidence may sometimes be offered in
mitigation, I shall set forth the plain matter of fact, and leave the
whole to the reader's determination.
Mr Jones had somewhat about him, which, though I think writers are not
thoroughly agreed in its name, doth certainly inhabit some human
breasts; whose use is not so properly to distinguish right from wrong,
as to prompt and incite them to the former, and to restrain and
withhold them from the latter.
This somewhat may be indeed resembled to the famous trunk-maker in the
playhouse; for, whenever the person who is possessed of it doth what
is right, no ravished or friendly spectator is so eager or so loud in
his applause: on the contrary, when he doth wrong, no critic is so apt
to hiss and explode him.
To give a higher idea of the principle I mean, as well as one more
familiar to the present age; it may be considered as sitting on its
throne in the mind, like the Lord High Chancellor of this kingdom in
his court; where it presides, governs, directs, judges, acquits, and
condemns according to merit and justice, with a knowledge which
nothing escapes, a penetration which nothing can deceive, and an
integrity which nothing can corrupt.