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the duke asked them if they would not like to see the house. The proposal was accepted with grateful wonder. They were shown over the rooms with great minuteness and particularity by the attendants, and their examination was of an unusually prolonged character. They had met the duke at nearly midday, and it was now growing dark in the autumnal afternoon. When they were about to take leave they were told that the duke begged them to partake of some refreshment. The offer was opportune enough, and the refreshment proved a really good dinner, with plenty of wine. They were begged to take their time, as servants with lights would conduct them out of the grounds. The duke himself joined them for a while, and proved an exceedingly agreeable companion. It was very late and very dark when they left the place, felicitating themselves on their pleasant adventure. Some servants accompanied them with lights and torches. But call no man happy before the end, was the wise Solonian principle. After a time their path was faced by an exceedingly high wall, and flanked by thick coppices. Suddenly the torches were dashed to the ground, and the lanterns were soon removed also. His Grace bade me say,' said one of the men, that as you found your way here by yourselves, so you may also find your way out by yourselves.' With loud laughter their guides deserted them, and they were left in mute astonishment to observe the receding lights and laughter.
This practical joke was designed to teach them a great moral lesson against trespassing. How they applied the lesson, and how they escaped from the dilemma, was not told in this legend of the 'Dukeries.'
the Development of the Club System.
LOOKING through one of Theodore Hook's brilliant
novels the other day, one was struck by the position which coffee-houses and hotels held in the story. The same may be said of some of the fictions of Charles Dickens. Men asked their friends to a dinner in the coffee-room or a private room at the Piazza, or the Tavistock, or the old Hummums. Covent Garden was the region which corresponded with the modern Pall Mall, In British fiction we read the history of modern manners. The modern novelist has entirely shifted his ground from the coffee-house to the club. Little dinners can no longer be given at the hotels to the same extent that they used to be; they are given at clubs, particularly at those where the chef is famous for his cuisine. The club-system has, moreover, within the last few years witnessed an enormous development and extension. Fashion has, of course, had a great deal to do with it ; but clubs have utilities and pleasures which meet a real need. In an increasing degree, London clubs are
required for others than Londoners.
The country member who wants pied à terre in town is an increasingly important personage, and it is on his behalf that so many new clubs have sets of bedrooms attached. One remarkable feature, consequent on the expansion of clubs, is the immense predominance of very young men. Once there was a time when young men were in a minority at most clubs, but this is no longer the case. Most of the extravagances of the club is theirs. Paterfamilias comes to the club, and has his cut at the joint and quiet pint of sherry, while champagne is flowing like water at the youngsters' tables. Perhaps he only comes down because his study is being disturbed, or his wife is going to give a party. I know a man-rather testy, I allow—who, when this sort of thing is coming off, leaves his house and takes a lodging in the neighbourhood for a week or two. Of course it is an advantage that young
. men should have a club to fall back on for a quiet evening; but the advantage may be neutralised by luxury and play. What such clubs may be we have seen delineated in the stories of Anthony Trollope and Shirley Brooks.
There never was a heavier crush of competition for admission into the great elder clubs than at the present time.
The candidate must wait ten years for his turn.
He must secure a hundred friends to
There are always people who are pre
pared to blackball a stranger as a safe, general principle. It is not a very amiable principle, but it helps to maintain the selectness of a club. It is calculated that for the Athenæum a man ought to beat up some hundred and fifty supporters. Yet the expenses of the Athenæum have greatly increased within recent years, and the old literary character is impaired. In the same way, the Garrick is not at all, as it used to be, the great place for actors and authors; it is in some sort a fashionable resort of Peers and Guardsmen. The old element, that of newspaper writers, actors, critics, is to be found much more extensively in lowlier clubs. There is a whole diapason of clubs, extending from the club called The Club, and will own no other title-Johnson's famous club, which still gloriously subsists—to those where a landlord lets off a part of his house or his hotel. But the extension has been not only in a vertical, but in a lateral direction. Recently, owing mainly to the intense pressure, we have seen new clubs, like Minerva, springing in full panoply from the brain of Jove, at once at the acme of dignity and fashion. Take the two great political clubs, the Devonshire and St. Stephen's. There is not much to choose between the Carlton and the Junior Carlton, between the Athenæum and the Junior Athenæum at least in the opinions of the junior clubs. As for internal organisation, the club system is so perfected