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but in supernumerary duties of life, and arises from that fear and ignorance which are natural to the soul of man. The horror with which we entertain the thoughts of death, or indeed of any future evil, and the uncertainty of its approach, fill a melancholy mind with innumerable apprehensions and suspicions, and consequently dispose it to the observation of such groundless prodigies and predictions. For as it is the chief concern of wise men to retrench the evils of life by the reasonings of philosophy, it is the employment of fools to multiply them by the sentiments of superstition.
For my own part, I should be very much troubled were I endowed with this divining quality, though it should inform me truly of every thing that can befall me. I would not anticipate the relish of any happiness, nor feel the weight of any misery, before it actually arrives.
I know but one way of fortifying my soul against these gloomy presages and terrors of mind, and that is, hy securing to myself the friendship and protection of that Being
who disposes of events and governs futurity. He sees, at one view, the whole thread of my existence; not only that part of it which I have already passed through, but that which runs forward into all the depths of eternity. When I lay me down to sleep, I recommend myself to his care: when I awake, I give myself up to his direction. Amidst all the evils that threaten me, I will look up to him for help, and question not but he will either avert them or turn them to my advantage. Though I know neither the time nor the manner of the death I am to die, I am not at all solicitous about it ; because I am sure that he knows them both, and that he will not fail to comfort and support me under them.
CLUBS. Man is said to be a sociable animal, and as an instance of it, we may observe that we take all occasions and pretences of forming ourselves into those little nocturnal assemblies which are commonly known by the name of clubs. When a set of men find themselves agree in any particular, though never so trivial, they establish themselves into a kind of fraternity, and meet once or twice a-week, upon the account of such a fantastic resemblance. I know a considerable market-town in which there was a club of fat men, that did not come together, as you may well suppose, to entertain one another with sprightliness and wit, but to keep one another in countenance: the room where the club met was something of the largest, and had two entrances, the one by a door of a moderate size, and the other by a pair of folding doors. If a candidate for this corpulent club could make his entrance through the first, he was looked upon as unqualified; but if he stuck in the passage, and could not force his way through it, the folding-doors were immediately thrown open for his reception, and he was saluted as a brother. I have heard that this club, though it consisted but of fifteen persons, weighed above three tons.
In opposition to this society, there sprang up another, composed of scarecrows and skeletons, who being very meagre and envious, did all they could to thwart the designs of their bulky brethren, whom they represented as men of dangerous principles ; till at length they worked them out of the favour of the people, and consequently out of the magistracy. These factions tore the corporation in pieces for several years, till at length they came to this accommodation: that the two bailiffs of the town should be annually chosen out of the two clubs; by which means the principal magistrates are at this day coupled like rabbits, one fat and one lean.
Every one has heard of the club, or rather the confederacy, of the kings. This grand alliance was formed
a little after the return of King Charles II., and admitted into it men of all qualities and professions, provided they agreed in the surname of King, which, as they imagined, sufficiently declared the owners of it to be altogether untainted with republican and anti-monarchical principles.
A Christian name has likewise been often used as a badge of distinction, and made the occasion of a club. That of the George's, which used to meet at the sign of the George on St George's day, and swear before George, is still fresh in every one's memory.
There are at present in several parts of this city what they call Street Clubs, in which the chief inhabitants of the
street converse together every night. I remember, upon my inquiring after lodgings in Ormond Street, thé landlord, to recommend that quarter of the town, told me there was at that time a very good club in it; he also told me, upon further discourse with him, that two or three noisy country squires, who were settled there the year before, had considerably sunk the price of house rent; and that the club, to prevent the like inconveniences for the future, had thoughts of taking every house that became vacant into their own hands, till they had found a tenant for it, of a sociable nature and good conversation.
The Hum Drum Club, of which I was formerly an unworthy member, was made up of very honest gentlemen of peaceable dispositions, that used to sit together, smoke their pipes, and say nothing till midnight. The Mum Club, as I am informed, is an institution of the same nature, and as great an enemy to noise.
After these two innocent societies, I cannot forbear mentioning a very mischievous one that was erected in the reign of King Charles II. ; I mean the club of Duellists, in which none was to be admitted that had not fought his man. The president of it was said to have killed half a dozen in single combat ; and as for the other members, they took their seats according to the number of their slain. There was likewise a sidetable for such as had only drawn blood, and shown a
laudable ambition of taking the first opportunity to qualify themselves for the first table. This club, consisting only of men of honour, did not continue long, most of the members of it being put to the sword, or hanged, a little after its institution.
Our modern celebrated clubs are founded upon eating and drinking, which are points wherein most men agree, and in which the learned and illiterate, the dull and the airy, the philosopher and the buffoon, can all of them bear a part. The Kit-Cat itself is said to have taken its original from a mutton-pie. The Beef-steak, and October clubs, are neither of them averse to eating and drinking, if we may form a judgment of them from their respective titles.
When men are thus knit together by a love of society, not a spirit of faction, and do not meet to censure or annoy those that are absent, but to enjoy one another, when they are thus combined for their own improvement, or for the good of others, or, at least, to relax themselves from the business of the day by an innocent and cheerful conversation, there may be something very useful in these little institutions and establishments.
I cannot forbear concluding this paper with a scheme of laws that I met with upon a wall in a little alehouse. How I came thither, I may inform my reader at a more convenient time. These laws were enacted by a knot of artizans and mechanics, who used to meet every night; and as there is something in them which gives us a pretty picture of low life, I shall transcribe them word for word. Rules to be observed in the Twopenny Club, erected in
this place for the preservation of friendship and good neighbourhood.
I. Every member at his first coming in shall lay down his twopence.
II. Every member shall fill his pipe out of his own box.
III. If any member absents himself, he shall forfeit
a penny for the use of the club, unless in case of sick. ness or imprisonment.
IV. If any member swears or curses, his neighbour may give him a kick upon the shins.
V. If any member tells stories in the club that are not true, he shall forfeit for every third lie a halfpenny.
VI. If any member strikes another wrongfully, he shall pay his club for him.
VII. If any member brings his wife into the club, he shall pay for whatever she drinks or smokes.
VIII. If any member's wife comes to fetch him home from the club, she shall speak to him without the door.
IX. If any member calls another cuckold, he shall be turned out of the club.
X. None shall be admitted into the club that is of the same trade with any member of it.
XI. None of the club shall have his clothes or shoes made or mended but by a brother member.
XII. Nonon-juror shall be capable of being a member. The morality of this little club is guarded by such wholesome laws and penalties, that I question not but my reader will be as well pleased with them, as he would have been with the Leges Convivales of Ben Jonson, the regulations of an old Roman club cited by Lipsius, or the rules of a Symposium in an ancient Greek author.
ACTING THE LION. It is with much satisfaction that I hear this great city inquiring day by day after these my papers, and receiving my morning lectures with a becoming seriousness and attention. My publisher tells me that there are already 3000 of them distributed every day; so that if I allow twenty readers to every paper, which I look upon as a modest computation, I may reckon about 60,000 disciples in London and Westminster, who I hope will take care to distinguish themselves from the thoughtless herd of their ignorant and inattentive bre