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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 ton!
In opposition to this society there sprung 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 the Second, 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 antimonarchical principles.
A christian name has likewise been often used as a. badge of distinction, and made the occasion of a club. That of the Georges, 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 enquiring after lodgings in Ormond-street, the 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 farther 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 the Second : 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 side-table for such as had only drawn blood, and shewn 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 cating 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 pye. 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 don't 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
my reader at a more convenient time.
These laws were enacted by a knot of artisans 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 Two-penny Club, erected
in this Place, for the preservation of friendship and good neighbourhood.
1. Every member at his first coming in, shall lay down his two-pence.
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 sickness 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, an 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 come 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.. No Nonjurer 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.
No. X. MONDAY, MARCH 12:
Non aliter quam qui adverso vix flumine lembum
So the boat's brawny crew the current stem,
IT is with much satisfaction that I hear this great city enquiring 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 three thousand of them distributed every day; so that I allow twenty readers to every paper, which I look upon as a modest computation, I may reckon about threescore thousand disciples in London and Westmister, who I hope will take care to distinguish themselves from the thoughtless herd of their ignorant and unattentive brethren. Since I have raised to myself so great an audience, I shall spare no pains to make their instruction agreeable, and their diversion useful: For which reason shall endeavour to enliven morality with wit, and to tenper wit with morality, that my readers may, if possible, both ways find their account in the speculation of the day. And to the end that their virtue and discretion may not be short transient intermitting starts of thought, I have resolved to refresh their memories from day to day, till. I have recovered them out of that desperate state of vice and folly into which the age is fallen. The mind that lies fallow but a single day, sprouts up in follies that are only to be killed by a constant and assiduous culture. It was said of So,