Summary and Analysis
Leonora's unceasing attention to the wounded Bellarmine occasioned some malicious gossip amongst the ladies of the town. But when Bellarmine was recovered, he set out to discuss the terms of his marriage to Leonora with her father, a callous man who looked on his children as rivals in the enjoyment of his own ruthlessly amassed fortune. The match with Bellarmine at first seemed to the father as most advantageous, but when Bellarmine mentioned the matter of a dowry, the father shied away, berating the extravagance of the youth of the age. Bellarmine vainly tried to hold him to the subject of a dowry, finally stating that he could not marry Leonora without one. Leonora's father refused to advance so much as a shilling, and within a few days, Leonora received a letter from Bellarmine, now returned to Paris, in which she learned that he was not the "heureux person destined for [her] divine arms." Completely distraught, Leonora retired to the house seen earlier from the coach. Today, Horatio prospers, but he is still single and never hears the name of Leonora without a sigh.
At first, the story of Leonora would appear to be an isolated narrative pocket which is only barely related to the rest of the novel. Its main concern, however, is central to Joseph Andrews and is expressed in a by-now-familiar metaphor; that is, what lies behind a person's clothes and appearance? Horatio, though living up to the dignity apparent in his own bearing, is deceived by the sprightliness in Leonora's countenance, while Leonora manufactured all manner of passion on the strength of Bellarmine's French affectations. The cause of this passion, which "distorted her person into several shapes, and her face into several laughs, without any reason," is vanity, one of the sources of the affectation which Fielding satirizes throughout the novel. Leonora is linked to Lady Booby, not only because she is vain, but by the way in which hypocrisy and passion control her sensibilities. Her passion is encouraged by the avaricious "reason" of her aunt, whose definition of love is synonymous with self-interest. How different is the aunt's concern for young love when compared with the heartfelt concern of Parson Adams for Joseph and Fanny.
Confronted by Horatio, Leonora concerned herself with the "ceremonies of good breeding"; Horatio, however, was made of sterner stuff and, like Adams, goes to the heart of the matter with physical courage. "The seat of valor is not in the countenance," Fielding comments, and it is only just that the cowardly Bellarmine should be a victim of the active virtue of Horatio. During the remainder of the tale, the themes of affectation and self-interest are continued. Leonora's aunt continued to advise her niece to be more reserved toward Bellarmine, but Leonora irretrievably attached herself to Bellarmine — and, as a consequence, she was censured by the town ladies, especially by Lindamira, whose name, in Spanish, means the same as Bellarmine's in French: beautiful face. Despite all the affectations of love, passion, and devotion, Bellarmine's interest in Leonora was purely financial. But Leonora's father — who had the reputation of being a good parent — loved his gold better than his daughter. Ironically, it was only Horatio who eventually made money — and, to him, it was the memory of Leonora that mattered most.