If Socrates sought the society of Aspasia, if Seneca amassed a gigantic fortune in the discharge of great public trusts, if Cicero languished in his exile because deprived of his accustomed pleasures, if Marcus Aurelius was blind to the rights and virtues of Christians, what could be hoped of the literary sensualists of the fourth century?
Never since the earliest days of her childhood had Josephine been seen in her room, at the promenade, or in her carriage, without one of these faithful friends and companions of man, which share with the lords of creation all their good qualities and virtues, without being burdened with their failings.
Prescott far surpassed them in intellect; but she pulled herself up. She was not going to dwell on Prescott's virtues unduly, and she had not convinced him yet. The team gave her no trouble, the trail was good, and reaching Sebastian safely, she spent some time in a drygoods store, and afterward went to the hotel, where supper was being served.
The habitual exercise of strong self-control can alone preserve even our virtues from degenerating into sin, and a clear-sightedness as to the very first step of declension must be sought for by self-denial on our own part, and by earnest prayer for the assisting graces of the Holy Spirit, to search the depths of our heart, and open our eyes to see.
I dare say, if the truth was known, he is glad that his only son has offended him and given him the opportunity of parading his Roman virtues." George had answered his wife thus when she and her father had urged him to ask assistance from Harcourt Talboys. "No my darling," he would say, conclusively. "It's very hard, perhaps, to be poor, but we will bear it.
As the bridal party stood before the altar, Sir Edward, with a sweet sad smile, said, in quite his old manner: "The Sublime and Beautiful are the Real; the only Ideal is the Ridiculous and Homely. Let us always remember this. Let us through life endeavor to personify the virtues, and always begin 'em with a capital letter.
But, it was the fashion then, as usual, to substitute the praise of virtues for the practice of them; and three-bottle and ten-tumbler men had a very good right, of course, to admire sobriety and correctness, and to denounce any two-bottle and six-tumbler man who was not ashamed to confess in print the weaknesses which they confessed only by word of mouth. Just, and yet not just.
Like Nero, he was corpulent; like Nero, he was red-haired; like Nero, he sang and poetised; like Nero, he was a lover of horsemanship, a master of the arts and the slave of his passions. If his private vices were great, his public virtues were no less considerable.
It has been often observed, and as frequently inculcated, through the medium of both press and pulpit, that there is scarcely any human being who, how striking soever his virtues, or how numerous his good qualities may be, does not carry in his moral constitution some particular weakness or failing, or perhaps vice, to which he is especially subject, and which may, if not properly watched and restrained, exercise an injurious and evil influence over his whole life.
Hitherto I have been driven with revolt to what I would not; I was a bond-slave to poverty, driven and scourged. There are robust virtues that can stand in these temptations; mine was not so; I had a thirst of pleasure. But to-day, and out of this deed, I pluck both warning and riches both the power and a fresh resolve to be myself.