BOOK XIII. CONTAINING THE SPACE OF TWELVE DAYS.
9. Chapter ix. Which treats of matters of a very different kind...
Add to all these the many obligations which Lady Bellaston, whose
violent fondness we can no longer conceal, had heaped upon him; so
that by her means he was now become one of the best-dressed men about
town; and was not only relieved from those ridiculous distresses we
have before mentioned, but was actually raised to a state of affluence
beyond what he had ever known.
Now, though there are many gentlemen who very well reconcile it to
their consciences to possess themselves of the whole fortune of a
woman, without making her any kind of return; yet to a mind, the
proprietor of which doth not deserved to be hanged, nothing is, I
believe, more irksome than to support love with gratitude only;
especially where inclination pulls the heart a contrary way. Such was
the unhappy case of Jones; for though the virtuous love he bore to
Sophia, and which left very little affection for any other woman, had
been entirely out of the question, he could never have been able to
have made any adequate return to the generous passion of this lady,
who had indeed been once an object of desire, but was now entered at
least into the autumn of life, though she wore all the gaiety of
youth, both in her dress and manner; nay, she contrived still to
maintain the roses in her cheeks; but these, like flowers forced out
of season by art, had none of that lively blooming freshness with
which Nature, at the proper time, bedecks her own productions. She
had, besides, a certain imperfection, which renders some flowers,
though very beautiful to the eye, very improper to be placed in a
wilderness of sweets, and what above all others is most disagreeable
to the breath of love.
Though Jones saw all these discouragements on the one side, he felt
his obligations full as strongly on the other; nor did he less plainly
discern the ardent passion whence those obligations proceeded, the
extreme violence of which if he failed to equal, he well knew the lady
would think him ungrateful; and, what is worse, he would have thought
himself so. He knew the tacit consideration upon which all her favours
were conferred; and as his necessity obliged him to accept them, so
his honour, he concluded, forced him to pay the price. This therefore
he resolved to do, whatever misery it cost him, and to devote himself
to her, from that great principle of justice, by which the laws of
some countries oblige a debtor, who is no otherwise capable of
discharging his debt, to become the slave of his creditor.