There are other classes of desires which appeal to the sensuous and sensual nature of man. Among these can be reckoned a taste for opium or morphine, a taste for women, or for those kinds of literature and drama which appeal to the sensuous nature. All these desires are like drunkenness, in that no one is the better off for gratifying them. Arguments of all sorts will be brought forward by men who have yielded to these desires; but, while convincing the one who is eager to be convinced, they are all of the negative sort,—they try to prove there is no reason why they should not. Our touchstone will not pass any such arguments: there must be positive reason why you should do a thing, otherwise do not do it.
This may seem Puritanical, but let’s be Puritans to a certain extent. Play no games that are not distinctly winning games. There is a winning game to be played. Why, then, play a game which is neither a winning nor a losing game? It never gave me any pleasure to gamble with a machine or with cards, because I know these to be losing games. The plan of the game is always laid out so that the balance of chance is slightly against the player, sometimes considerably against the player, else why should the game be started?
We are left better off in no respect after all these desires are gratified. We are poorer in money, in pocket, in self-respect, and often in virtue.
We could go on so indefinitely through the list of all sorts of desires, but I have only touched upon a few of the more crucial ones to show how the touchstone should be applied; and even then results are crude, and would be of little help to you in fixing on a low scale of expenditure. They may, however, give you some ideas which will seem to guide you when you come to meet the problems for yourself.
And now we come back to the original question, whether you really want a pony. There are several really good ones in the stable that you can use. You are to be away a large part of the year, and you have never made half the use which you might have of your opportunities to ride.
I am, nevertheless, enclosing a check for the amount necessary to purchase your pony, because at your age I took a trip through the Rocky Mountains, which awakened in me a new desire for riding. It has proved my greatest ally in the severe strains to which the pursuit of my object has subjected me to, and because your ancestors have always kept their iron constitutions into extreme old age by almost daily rides, and because the sense of ownership of a horse may awaken in you the love and knowledge of the animal, and may accomplish a similar happy result.
***End of the project gutenberg EBOOK A Jolly by Josh***