Having mentioned the word rake, I must say a word or two more on that subject, because young people too frequently, and always fatally, are apt to mistake that character for that of a man of pleasure; whereas, there are not in the world two characters more different. A rake is a composition of all the lowest, most ignoble, degrading, and shameful vices; they all conspire to disgrace his character, and to ruin his fortune; while wine and the p-------s contend which shall soonest and most effectually destroy his constitution. A dissolute, flagitious footman, or porter, makes full as good a rake as a man of the first quality. By the bye, let me tell you, that in the wildest part of my youth, I never was a rake, but, on the contrary, always detested and despised that character.
A man of pleasure, though not always so scrupulous as he should be, and as one day he will wish he had been, refines at least his pleasures by taste, accompanies them with decency, and enjoys them with dignity. Few men can be men of pleasure, every man may be a rake. Remember that I shall know everything you say or do at Paris, as exactly as if, by the force of magic, I could follow you everywhere, like a sylph or a gnome, invisible myself. Seneca says, very prettily, that one should ask nothing of God, but what one should be willing that men should know; nor of men, but what one should be willing that God should know. I advise you to say and do nothing at Paris, but what you would be willing that I should know. I hope, nay, I believe, that will be the case. Sense, I dare say, you do not want; instruction, I am sure, you have never wanted: experience you are daily gaining: all which together must inevitably (I should think) make you both ‘respectable et aimable’, the perfection of a human character. In that case nothing shall be wanting on my part, and you shall solidly experience all the extent and tenderness of my affection for you; but dread the reverse of both! Adieu!
P. S. When you get to Paris, after you have been to wait on Lord Albemarle, go to see Mr. Yorke, whom I have particular reasons for desiring that you should be well with, as I shall hereafter explain to you. Let him know that my orders, and your own inclinations, conspired to make you desire his friendship and protection.
My dear friend: I have sent you so many preparatory letters for Paris, that this, which will meet you there, shall only be a summary of them all.
You have hitherto had more liberty than anybody of your age ever had; and I must do you the justice to own, that you have made a better use of it than most people of your age would have done; but then, though you had not a jailer, you had a friend with you. At Paris, you will not only be unconfined, but unassisted. Your own good sense must be your only guide: I have great confidence in it, and am convinced that