Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1750 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 121 pages of information about Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1750.
comfort themselves, and say, that their sons will do like other people’s sons; and so they do, that is, commonly very ill.  They correct none of the childish nasty tricks, which they get at school; nor the illiberal manners which they contract at the university; nor the frivolous and superficial pertness, which is commonly all that they acquire by their travels.  As they do not tell them of these things, nobody else can; so they go on in the practice of them, without ever hearing, or knowing, that they are unbecoming, indecent, and shocking.  For, as I have often formerly observed to you, nobody but a father can take the liberty to reprove a young fellow, grown up, for those kinds of inaccuracies and improprieties of behavior.  The most intimate friendship, unassisted by the paternal superiority, will not authorize it.  I may truly say, therefore, that you are happy in having me for a sincere, friendly, and quick-sighted monitor.  Nothing will escape me:  I shall pry for your defects, in order to correct them, as curiously as I shall seek for your perfections, in order to applaud and reward them, with this difference only, that I shall publicly mention the latter, and never hint at the former, but in a letter to, or a tete-d-tete with you.  I will never put you out of countenance before company; and I hope you will never give me reason to be out of countenance for you, as any one of the above-mentioned defects would make me.  ‘Praetor non, curat de minimis’, was a maxim in the Roman law; for causes only of a certain value were tried by him but there were inferior jurisdictions, that took cognizance of the smallest.  Now I shall try you, not only as ‘praetor’ in the greatest, but as ‘censor’ in lesser, and as the lowest magistrate in the least cases.

I have this moment received Mr. Harte’s letter of the 1st November, N. S., by which I am very glad to find that he thinks of moving toward Paris, the end of this month, which looks as if his leg were better; besides, in my opinion, you both of you only lose time at Montpelier; he would find better advice, and you better company, at Paris.  In the meantime, I hope you go into the best company there is at Montpelier; and there always is some at the Intendant’s, or the Commandant’s.  You will have had full time to learn ‘les petites chansons Languedociennes’, which are exceedingly pretty ones, both words and tunes.  I remember, when I was in those parts, I was surprised at the difference which I found between the people on one side, and those on the other side of the Rhone.  The Provencaux were, in general, surly, ill-bred, ugly, and swarthy; the Languedocians the very reverse:  a cheerful, well-bred, handsome people.  Adieu!  Yours most affectionately.

P. S. Upon reflection, I direct this letter to Paris; I think you must have left Montpelier before it could arrive there.


London, November 19, O. S. 1750

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Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1750 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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