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rouè upon town; he never speaks to a girl without planning her destruction, nor to a man without fishing for a loan.” My blood stagnated in my veins at these observations, and I scarcely believed Saunter in earnest. I had, however, good sense enough to conceal the mistake I had laboured under about his lordship, and looked as cunning as I could. My friend Saunter, who had entertained a very different opinion of me than I wished to establish, asked me to dine the next day at a hotel, with two or three of his friends, which invitation I thought I might accept. Dancing had now begun, and I took by the hand a beautiful and accomplished woman as a partner; but no sooner did my fingers come in contact with hers than I felt that I was in a state of
perspiration, my knees trembled, and when I had to lead down the middle, I forgot all the new fashionable steps Mons. Crapaud had taught me, bounced against my partner's back in the allemande, and fell upon my nose in swinging corners. I made, however, an awkward apology, complained that I had sprained my ankle, and left off dancing, almost convinced that I was not very much like Sir Charles Grandison. The next day I attended at the hotel, to meet my friend Saunter, who introduced me to Col. Brilliant, Capt. Dash'em, and Mr. Cog the counsellor, and now I began to think something of myself. I had determined, however, notwithstanding their free and easy politeness, to be upon my guard against every thing that might endanger the system of pure morality which I had proposed to establish ; I could not, however, you know, refuse to take a glass of wine with Col. Brilliant, Capt. Dash'em, Mr. Cog the counsellor, or my friend, that was quite impossible. The wine happened to be Madeira, which presently warmed the chillness of my cold philosophy, and I began to find a material and not unpleasant change taking place. I did not resist another and another glass, it was quite impossible, and each succeeding one assisted to enliven my torpid imagination; the Colonel helped me to the most exquisite of the dishes, les pieds de chameaux and des dindoneaux; the most excellent port and claret was served after dinner, and I found constraint wearing off very fast indeed ; in short, after coffee, we all went in a coach to the theatre, completely drunk, and from thence to an house of no very good fame. Cog invited us very kindly home to his chambers, where hazard was proposed, and I found myself, though inebriated, so good a player that I returned home to Hanover-square a winner of a rouleau, after having received the compliments of the whole party for my skill and my manners, with fresh invitations from each. The next morning gave me leisure to reflect how unlike all this was to the character of Sir Charles Grandison ; I leant my head upon my hand, cast a sheep's eye at the seven volumes, elegantly bound, on the shelf opposite to me, and fetched a heavy sigh. I found that I had completely lost ground in my own esteem, and began to imagine that I, as a woman who has committed a faux pas, had completely lost my character, for I had got drunk, gamed, and visited a courtezan, all in the same even
ing; but judge how delighted I was when my friend Saunter called in, to hear him say that the Colonel, the Captain, and the Counsellor had spoken of me in the highest terms, that I was a devilish fine fellow, and that I should soon be as great a roue as my Lord Lustre. Here was a character of celebrity within my reach. I was flattered with the comparison, and the moment he was gone ordered my servant to take away the set of Şir Charles Grandison out of my library. After this I was more at ease, and being wise enough to frequent my visits to my friend Saunter, and to get acquainted with my Lord Lustre, I soon was emancipated from the slavery of serving morality and reason ; I danced much better, drank more wine, pleased the ladies better, and was presently a complete man of fashion: sometimes, indeed, I regretted that I had met with the adverse accidents which I did in my pursuit after a pure and exalted character, but I consoled myself with the reflection that no such could really exist, and that the author of Sir Charles Grandison had drawn “a faultless monster which the world ne'er saw.” Thus let loose, I pursued the circle of dissipation, till loans became as necessary to me as to my Lord Lustre, and I was under the necessity of providing for my friend Saunter, to whose kind instructions and introductions I had owed the character of a very elegant and fashionable man.
Now, Mr. Man in the Moon, could you, possibly, in your theory of morals and manners, find a more ardent pupil in the cause than was your humble servant ? Do you not think that if I had found as easy an access to truth and virtue, as I did to vice, but that I should have been a Sir Charles Grandison ?
My failure must then be attributed to the physical impossibility of the thing. True it is, that dull cool phlegmatic constitutions may preserve the same tone, and pursue the same regular system of heavy morals, as a waggon travels on in the same ruts in the road; but the gay young charioteer, who drives guided by his passions and inclinations, contemning the use of the reins, is a better character than this, and I hold it incompatible with the figure and accomplishments of a Sir Charles Grandison to be a reasonable man. I expect some very grave sentences in return for this, but pray answer me satisfactorily, for the common place remarks of the old ones of the schools will not do. I shall presently uncase the fox, if you dissemble; for do you know that I have some strong suspicions that you are as great a rouè as my Lord Lustre, or
“ Your humble servant,
St. James's Street, Dec. 19, 1803,
“I left Hanover square as soon as I came to my estate.”
I am afraid my correspondent set out the wrong road at first.
IN answer to the communication of Peregrine Perfect, Esq. which reached the Moon last Saturday night, I shall offer a few observations and reflections on the subject of the natural infirmity and weakness of the human character, that may be acceptable, because they may be serviceable to my readers. I have carefully examined the mind of my correspondent, Mr. Perfect, and analysed the materials of which it appeared composed sufficiently to discover the chief article to be vanity, and to which mistaken principle, I believe, he has owed all the interruptions and mishaps he has met with in his attempts after a great and good fame. With the foundation of an ingenious modest mind, expectation may naturally form a noble and ornamental superstructure; but the principle must not , be an ambition to shine, it must not be a mere desire of display, for if no greater, no superior power or influence directs human actions, it must fail: vanity