BOOK IV. CONTAINING THE TIME OF A YEAR.
6. Chapter vi. An apology for the insensibility of Mr Jones...
This active principle may perhaps be said to constitute the most
essential barrier between us and our neighbours the brutes; for if
there be some in the human shape who are not under any such dominion,
I choose rather to consider them as deserters from us to our
neighbours; among whom they will have the fate of deserters, and not
be placed in the first rank.
Our heroe, whether he derived it from Thwackum or Square I will not
determine, was very strongly under the guidance of this principle; for
though he did not always act rightly, yet he never did otherwise
without feeling and suffering for it. It was this which taught him,
that to repay the civilities and little friendships of hospitality by
robbing the house where you have received them, is to be the basest
and meanest of thieves. He did not think the baseness of this offence
lessened by the height of the injury committed; on the contrary, if to
steal another's plate deserved death and infamy, it seemed to him
difficult to assign a punishment adequate to the robbing a man of his
whole fortune, and of his child into the bargain.
This principle, therefore, prevented him from any thought of making
his fortune by such means (for this, as I have said, is an active
principle, and doth not content itself with knowledge or belief only).
Had he been greatly enamoured of Sophia, he possibly might have
thought otherwise; but give me leave to say, there is great difference
between running away with a man's daughter from the motive of love,
and doing the same thing from the motive of theft.
Now, though this young gentleman was not insensible of the charms of
Sophia; though he greatly liked her beauty, and esteemed all her other
qualifications, she had made, however, no deep impression on his
heart; for which, as it renders him liable to the charge of stupidity,
or at least of want of taste, we shall now proceed to account.