Изображения страниц

sole nobility, was folicitous only about furnishing my mind with liberal knowledge, without giving attention to the one thing needful.

When I was thought fit for higher measures of learning than can be acquired in a private way, I was sent to a certain university, of no small character for teaching the different branches of edu. cation. New subjects of learning excited my attention; and, except a little time speor in triling diversions with a few new companions, I plied my studies with indefatigable industry, and thereby procured the esteem of niy preceptors.

I fpent three years at the university, in a diligent prosecution of learning; and, in the recess of the college, I was not inactive, except fpending a little time now and then in rural diversions at my father's feat, whither I retired in vacation-tiine, During these three years of academical studies, I gave myself nó trouble about either the knows ledge or practice of religion, and was as ignorant of Christianity as any Heathen, who never heard of the name of Jesus. I feldom went to any place of public worship, or, if I did, paid little attention to the words of the preacher ; á fyllogistical argument, a mathematical problem, a metaphy. fical distinction, an ethic question, or a cladical beauty, being matters of greater importance to me, than all the contents of the volume of infpi. ration, or the most eloquent pulpit-harangue.

I was always, from my earliest years, of a four, morose, and reserved difpofition; shy of company and converfation; covering the acquaintance of few persons, and few associating familiarly with me, on account of my unsocial turn. Therefore, during the period above mentioned, I contracted no intimate friendship with any young gentleman, though I was civil to every body; and fo was under ao temptations to a diffolute practice. But


[ocr errors]

considering I had never been instructed in the glorious and sublime doctrines of Christianity, though my conversation was far from being profane, it may be thought the less surprising, that I was afterwards decoyed into vice, and lived some time in abominable impiety.

In the recess of the college between my third and fourth year of academical exercises, my father, then an old man, was seized with a fever, and died in a few days, earnestly recommending to me fobriety, a diligent application to learning, and what he thought would be my future businels in life; but giving no particular instructions as to a religious conversation. As I appeared to be a sober, sedate youth, he did not think it necessary to appoint me a guardian; but left me to take porfeffion of and manage his whole fortune, giving me written instructions for that effect. Soon after this event, having settled my affairs in the country, I repaired to the university for the fourth year. I had no sooner arrived, and resumed my usual studies, than it was rumoured, that I was master of a free and independent fortune. This circumstance made me be greatly careffed by, and procured me the acquaintance of some young gentlemen, whom I had formerly known only by face; and particularly of my dearly beloved, but now deceased friend, J-T-s, Efq; This young gentleman made a very graceful appearance, had an amiable countenance, was well proportioned, pofseffed of every excellent qualification, of a polite, obliging, and affable address, and of an open, frank disposition. I infenfibly contracted an intimate acquaintance with him, and had a most endeared affection to him,, fo as to be generally unhappy unless' when I was in his company. He was poffeffed of a prodigious stock of knowledge in most arts and sciences, had a


A 3

voluble ånd eloquent tongue, and could speak very fluently and elegantly on any subject. At the fame time he appeared to me tó be modest, sober, and studious. By this gentleman, whoni I loved better than if he had been my own brother, was I, one evening, invited to drink a glass, with him and a few select companions, at a tavern. Í attended him to the house; and though I had never formerly given a loose to drinking, or any other extravagance, I drank pretty heartily that night, and was extremely delighted with the conversation of the company, most of whom I was an entire stranger to. The conversation turned chiefly on the advantages of society, and the pleasure of indulging a sober glass. Mr T-s difplayed his eloquence on this occafion; and addressing himself to me, said, with an air of friend. fhip and regard, “ Mr N-U, you will find it to be greatly advantageous to you, tó frequent our company at certain times, and indulge the pleasure of an enlivening glass. Man is a foci. able creature, and must live useless to himself and to the world, if he do not sometimes appear in company, and enjoy the pleasures of society. It is not at all proper for you to be continually poring upon books, and wasing your days in an hermitical folitude. Company and conversation will inprove your mind, enlarge your ideas, Brighten your sentiments, rub off that rusticity, ftiffnes, and bashfulness, so conspicuous in your behaviour, and soon render you an ornament tó any society. You want neither parts nor learning, and you are poffefred of a great share of good senfe; but you require cultivation, and your manners mult be çivilized. As you are now master of your own fortune, and have none to control you, where is the harm of living a little more freely than you did formerly, when perhaps your appointments Wérè confined, your finantes fmall, and the awe of parental authority before your eye. Abandon folitude, indulge the pleasures of life, and act as a rational being."


Charmed with this conversation, I contracted a ftill more intimate acquaintance with Mr TS, and frequently took a glass with him and his companions. I soon discovered their principles, and their practices were gradually displayed before me. Vice is infectious, and the contagion quickly feized me.

Solitude became irksome, ardour for profecuting my studies abated, and my thirst after knowledge was extinguitbed. Company and conversation became my delight; books were thrown àlide as afeleis lumber; and nothing was attended to but the pleasures refulting from wine and women. As I never had got even a speculative acquaintance with the doctrines of Christianity, and had very seldom heard a sermon, I embarked in debauchery with the less reluctante, and, with very little remoise, pursued vite in its various shapes, spending my time in almoft constant dif. fipation, and a free indulgence of the fensual appetites. So eafy is the transition from ftudious folitude to a life of unmanly pleasure; fo fpeedily are intellectual pleasures sacrificed to those of the fenfes ; fo imperceptibly is the love of learning drunk up'by diverfions; and so quick the remove from virtue to vite." Mr T-$ was my patron: and I was led entirely by lim. We vifited all the doted bawdy-houfes in town, and wasted our time and strength among prostitutes, facrificing every thing to carnal gratifications, dreaming of à long continuing tranquillity, bleffing ourfelves id our hearts, and saying, We should have peace, though adding drunkenness to thirit. We fotne times inverted the fucceffion of day and night; deeping by day, and spending the night in drink

ing, ing, gaming, and whoring: A noble life to be sure, and which, joined with affemblies and theatrical entertainments, which we pretty often attended, was the summit of our desires and ambi. tion.

We spent three years in this course of sensuality, without any remarkable occurrence; except. ing that Mr T-s.catched the venereal distemper, which confined him to his room for a few days. When he recovered, we pursued our usual course.

During these years of pleasure, we became great gallanters of the ladies, took yast delight in entertaining them with love-songs, many of which my friend could fing very prettily; and we said many fine, tender, and soft things to them. We attended them to the affembly, play-house, and other places of diversion; and used certain freedoms with such of them as we could pervert, or found proper for our purpose. Indeed it were greatly to be wished, that the women in general were more modeft and virtuous than I have found many

of them to be. I know there is a confiderable number of ladies of good difpofitions and virtuous characters. But, ah! there are many naughty and vile ! plagues to men! enticers to lewdness! gapers for prey! ah! to whom their beauty is a curse; to whom, it is to be feared, the blackness of darkness is reserved for ever!

On this subject of the characters of women, it will not be improper or unentertaining to give some remarkable anecdotes.

In the house where I lodged, there was a fervant-maid, a handsome and beautiful girl, who seemed to be about twenty-four years of age. I had never discovered any levity about her ; but as she was often amusing herself with singing love-songs, which she did in a charming manner,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »