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anything. But if we cannot have all we desire in those respects, give us a few chatty, cordial people, neither geniuses nor fools, with whom the news of the day and questions of personal interest can be exchanged, with the certainty that there will at least be peace and harmony, if little wit. Intellect and wit enough can be got from books ; perhaps too much of them may have been met with in the course of the day. But a club is the next thing before a pillow; and if it is to refresh you after the day's employment, it should do it in a manner that at all events dismisses you tranquilly to your repose for the night. We suspect, upon the whole, that the Street and Village Clubs have been most successful; meetings established by the natural course of things, and expecting nothing but a comparison of daily notes and a little cheerful refreshment. As to great Reform and Conservative Clubs, Athenæums, &c., they may be good for public objects, but publicity has nothing to do with the comfort suitable to the club proper; and those institutions in fact, club-wards, are but escapes from domesticity into cheapness and solitude. A man may be a great frequenter of them, and club with nothing but callers on business and a lonely dinner-table. The club to belong to, of all others, would be one composed of good-natured men of genius, such as Steele, Fielding, and Thomson, who had reflection enough for all subjects, enthusiasm enough to give them animation, good breeding enough to hinder the animation from becoming noisy, and humanity enough to make allowance for honest occasional departures from any rule whatever. Shakspeare would include such men in his all-comprehensive person; but we are not sure that he would not over-inform the club with intellect; set it too abundantly thinking; and besides, it is difficult, as modern clubbists, to take to the idea of a man of a distant period, with a different style of language, and retrospective meats and drinks. Otherwise Chaucer would surely be a perfect member; and who would not rejoice in the company of Suckling and Marvell ?
We have selected the following clubs from the writings of Steele and Goldsmith, as exemplifying the three main varieties; the wellbred, humorsome, but intellectual club (for though Sir Roger de Coverley and Will Honeycomb make the principal figures in the account of it, it is to be recollected that the Spectator is there); the Trumpet Club in Shire Lane, frequented by the Tatler, which is the ordinary common-place club of smokers and old story-tellers, by way of opiate, bedwards; and the clubs of low life, which Goldsmith, as a cosmopo
lite, delighted to paint, and which had probably often seen him as a visitor, without suspecting that the simple-looking Irishman was a genius come to immortalize it. Steele's delineations are exquisite; but Goldsmith's are no less so.
THE SPECTATOR'S CLUB.*
MIE first of our society is a gentleman of Worcestershire, TIE
of ancient descent, a baronet, his name Sir Roger de Coverley. His great-grandfather was inventor of that famous country-dance which is called after him. All who know that shire are very well acquainted with the parts and merits of Sir Roger. He is a gentleman that is very singular in his behavior, but his singularities proceed from his good sense, and are contradictions to the manners of the world, only as he thinks the world is in the wrong. However, this humor creates him no enemies, for he does nothing with sourness or obstinacy; and his being unconfined to modes and forms makes him but the readier and more capable to please and oblige all who know him. When he is in town he lives in Soho Square. It is said he keeps himself a bachelor by reason he was crossed in love by a perverse beautiful widow of the next county to him. Before this disappointment Sir Roger was what you call a fine gentleman, had often supped with my Lord Rochester and Sir George Etherege, fought a duel upon his first coming to town, and kicked Bully Dawson in a public coffee-house for calling him youngster.f But be
* No. 2.
+ This has been thought inconsistent with Sir Roger's character for simplicity; but it is not so. It only shows that simplicity is compatible with the imitation of anything in vogue during the outset of life. Collins, the poet, whose subsequent appearance Johnson de
ing ill-used by the above-mentioned widow, he was very serious for a year and a half; and though, his temper being naturally jovial, he at last got over it, he grew careless of himself, and never dressed afterwards. He continues to wear a coat and doublet of the same cut that were in fashion at the time of his repulse, which, in his merry humors, he tells us has been in and out twelve times since he first wore it. 'Tis said Sir Roger grew humble in his desires after he had forgot this cruel beauty, insomuch that it is reported he has frequently offended in point of chastity with beggars and gipsies; but this is looked upon by his friends rather as a matter of raillery than truth. He is now in his fifty-sixth year, cheerful, gay, and hearty; keeps a good house both in town and country; a great lover of mankind; but there is such a mirthful cast in his behavior, that he is rather beloved than esteemed. His tenants grow rich; his servants look satisfied; all the young women profess love to him, and the young men are glad of his company. When he comes into a house he calls the servants by their names, and talks all the way up stairs to a visit. I must not omit, that Sir Roger is Justice of the Quorum ; that he fills the chair at a Quarter Session with great ability; and three months ago gained universal applause by explaining a passage in the Game Act.
The gentleman next in esteem and authority among us is another bachelor, who is a member of the Inner Temple; a man of great probity, wit, and understanding; but he has chosen his place of residence rather to obey the direction of
scribes as “decent and manly,” astonished his friends by the foppishness of his dress on his first coming to town; and Charles Fox, the simplest of men, was at one time a beau of the first fashion. At least he undertook to appear such. We suspect that the fopperies of Sir Roger, and of the poet, and the statesman, might all have been seen through by discerning eyes.
an old humorsome father, than in pursuit of his own inclinations. He was placed there to study the laws of the land, and is the most learned of any of the house in those of the stage. Aristotle and Longinus are much better understood by him than Littleton or Coke. The father sends up, every post, questions relating to marriage-articles, leases, and tenures, in the neighborhood; all which questions he agrees with an attorney to answer in the lump. He is studying the passions themselves, when he should be inquiring into the debates among men which arise from them. He knows the argument of each of the Orations of Demosthenes and Tully, but not one case in the reports of our own courts. ever took him for a fool; but none, except his most intimate friends, know he has a great deal of wit. This turn makes him at once both disinterested and agreeable. As few of his thoughts are drawn from business, they are most of them fit for publication. His taste for books is a little too just for the age lives in. He has read all, but approves of very few. His familiarity with the customs, manners, actions, and writings of the ancients, makes him a very delicate observer of what occurs to him in the present world. He is an excellent critic; and the time of the play is his hour of business. Exactly at five he passes through New Inn, crosses through Russell Court, and takes a turn at Will's* till the play begins. He has his shoes rubbed and his periwig powdered at the barber's, as you go in to the Rose.f It is for the good of the audience when he is at a play, for the actors have an ambition to please him.
* A coffee-house in Russell Street, Covent Garden, frequented by the wits. It occupied the south-west corner of Bow Street; and was the house that Dryden had frequented.
+ The tavern mentioned in the pleasant story of the "Medicine” in the first volume of the Tatler, No. 2. We know not where it stood ; probably in Rose Street, in the above neighborhood.
The person of next consideration is Sir Andrew Freeport, a merchant of great eminence in the city of London; a person of indefatigable industry, strong reason, and great experience. IIis notions of trade are noblo and generous, and (as every
rich man has some sly way of jesting, which would make no great figure were he not a rich man) he calls the sea the British Common. He is acquainted with commerce in all its parts, and will tell you that it is a stupid and barbarous way to extend dominion by arms; for true power is to be got by arts and industry. He will often argue, that if this part of our trade were well cultivated, we should gain from one nation; and if another, from another. I have heard him prove that diligence makes more lasting acquisitions than valor; and that sloth has ruined more nations than the sword. He abounds in several frugal maxims, amongst which the greatest favorite is “ A penny saved is a penny got.” A general trader of good sense is pleasanter company than a general scholar; and Sir Andrew having a natural unaffected eloquence, the perspicuity of his discourse gives the same pleasure that wit would in another man. He has made his fortune himself, and says that England may be richer than other kingdoms, by as plain methods as he himself is richer than other men ; though, at the same time, I can say this of him, that there is not a point in the compass but blows home a ship in which he is an owner.
Next to Sir Andrew Freeport in the club-room sits Captain Sentry, a gentleman of great courage, good understanding, but of invincible modesty. He is one of those that deserve very well, but are very awkward at putting their talents within the observation of such as should take notice of them. He was some years a captain, and behaved with great gallantry in several engagements, and at several sieges; but, having a small estate of his own, and being next heir to Sir Roger,