Tho’ I by no means approve either the Impudence of the Servants or the Extravagance of the Son, I cannot but think the old Gentleman was in some measure justly served for walking in Masquerade, I mean appearing in a Dress so much beneath his Quality and Estate.
[Footnote 1: ‘Advice to a Son’, by Francis Osborn, Esq., Part I. sect. 23.]
[Footnote 2: Rascals]
[Footnote 3: good]
* * * * *
No. 151. Thursday, August 23, 1711. Steele.
‘Maximas Virtutes jacere omnes necesse est Voluptate dominante.’
Tull. ‘de Fin.’
I Know no one Character that gives Reason a greater Shock, at the same Time that it presents a good ridiculous Image to the Imagination, than that of a Man of Wit and Pleasure about the Town. This Description of a Man of Fashion, spoken by some with a Mixture of Scorn and Ridicule, by others with great Gravity as a laudable Distinction, is in every Body’s Mouth that spends any Time in Conversation. My Friend WILL. HONEYCOMB has this Expression very frequently; and I never could understand by the Story which follows, upon his Mention of such a one, but that his Man of Wit and Pleasure was either a Drunkard too old for Wenching, or a young lewd Fellow with some Liveliness, who would converse with you, receive kind Offices of you, and at the same time debauch your Sister, or lie with your Wife. According to his Description, a Man of Wit, when he could have Wenches for Crowns apiece which he liked quite as well, would be so extravagant as to bribe Servants, make false Friendships, fight Relations: I say, according to him, plain and simple Vice was too little for a Man of Wit and Pleasure; but he would leave an easy and accessible Wickedness, to come at the same thing with only the Addition of certain Falshood and possible Murder. WILL, thinks the Town grown very dull, in that we do not hear so much as we used to do of these Coxcombs, whom (without observing it) he describes as the most infamous Rogues in Nature, with relation to Friendship, Love, or Conversation.
When Pleasure is made the chief Pursuit of Life, it will necessarily follow that such Monsters as these will arise from a constant Application to such Blandishments as naturally root out the Force of Reason and Reflection, and substitute in their Place a general Impatience of Thought, and a constant Pruiriency of inordinate Desire.
Pleasure, when it is a Man’s chief Purpose, disappoints it self; and the constant Application to it palls the Faculty of enjoying it, tho’ it leaves the Sense of our Inability for that we wish, with a Disrelish of every thing else. Thus the intermediate Seasons of the Man of Pleasure are more heavy than one would impose upon the vilest Criminal. Take him when he is awaked too soon after a Debauch, or disappointed in following a worthless Woman without