Milady the Loyal,
My eldest son, who has a responsibility to uphold our proud family name, is nearing 30 years of age while still dwelling idly in our carriage house. He has showed no inclination toward making a good marriage, or any sort of marriage at all. He will not turn his hand to managing our lands nor even commit to a season at court. He seems to have devoted himself to evenings gambling for small change with his fellows in various pubs, and then he sleeps most of the day.
What can I do to motivate him to take up his responsibilities? Some responsibility? Any responsibility at all?
I see that you have a long road laid before your feet. I can only surmise that the lad’s father allowed him to be indolent as a youth, for it seems clear from your missive that you have taken his upbringing seriously. Has the lad always been so slothful? Did he turn his mind toward lessons? Has he even learned a passable conversational French? One cannot succeed at court without the ability to speak French. I fear that if his mind is as idle as you say his body is, your own future is in jeopardy. For who will care for you in your dotage if this boy does not mend his ways?
I heartily recommend a firm hand in this situation. (Well, I recommend a firm hand in most situations, but we can speak of that another day.) Do not allow your son to attend the theater, taverns, wear a codpiece (ridiculous baubles, indeed) or to consort with his current fellows in any manner. You must install him immediately with a family of outstanding birth and character (The House of Pembroke may be in need of squires; I can make an introduction if you like) so that he may learn something more than dicing games. Does the lad know how to hold a sword? Perhaps a turn with the Hospitallers would be in order. They seem decent men and could teach him humility as well as thrift. Above all you must teach your son state craft and the Arte of being a Gentleman. He will never make a marriage if he continues in his current fashion, and you will find yourself without recourse if you delay much longer!
Or you could get him a puppy. Girls always seem to go running toward a lad with a puppy…