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to dance, and, as I fancied by a woman of the first quality, for she was very tall, and moved gracefully. As soon as the minuet was over, we ogled one another through our masks; and as I am very well read in Waller, I repeated to her the four following verses out of his poem to Vandyke:
The heedless lover does not know
Inquires her name that has his heart. I pronounced these words with such a languishing air that I had some reason to conclude I had made a conquest. She told me that she hoped my face was not akin to my tongue; and, looking upon her watch, I accidentally discovered the figure of a coronet on the back part of it. I was so transported with the thought of such an amour, that I plied her from one room to another with all the gallantries I could invent; and at length brought things to so happy an issue, that she gave me a private meeting the next day, without page or footman, coach or equipage. My heart danced in raptures: but I had not lived in this golden dream above three days, before I found good reason to wish that I had continued true to my laundress. I have since heard, by a very great accident, that this fine lady does not live far from CoventGarden, and that I am not the finest cully whom she has passed herself
for a countess. “ Thus, Sir, you see how I have mistaken a cloud for a Juno; and if you can make venture for the benefit of those who may possibly be as vain young coxcombs as myself, I do most heartily give you leave.
“ Your most humble admirer, “ Middle Temple, 1710-11."
any use of this ad
I design to visit the next masquerade myself in the same habit I wore at Grand Cairo; and till then shall suspend my judgement of this midnight entertainment. С
Letters for the Spectator, to be left with Mr. Buckley, at the Dolphin, in little Britain.-Spect. in folio.
No. 9. SATURDAY, MARCH 10, 1710-11.
— Tigris agit rabidâ cum tigride pacem
JUV. SAT. xv. 163.
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.
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 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 this 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 erery one's memory:
There are at present, in sereral 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, 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 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
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. sident 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 shown a laudable ambition of taking the first opportunity to qualify themselves for the first table. This elub, 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 the 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 judgement 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
* An account of this club, which took its name from Christopher Cat, the maker of their mutton-pies, has been given in the new edition of the Tatler, with notes, in 6 vols. The portraits of its members were drawn by Kneller, who was himself one of their number; and all portraits of the same dimensions and form are at this time called kit-cat pictures. The original portraits are now the property of William Baker, Esq. to whom they came by inheritance from J. Tonson, who was secretary to the club. It was originally formed in Shire-lane, about the time of the trial of the seven bishops, for a little free evening conversation ; but, in Queen Anne's reign, comprehended above forty noblemen and gentlemen of the first rank for quality, merit, and fortune, firm friends to the Hanoverian succession.
+ Of this club, it is said, that Mrs. Woffington, the only woman in it, was president; Richard Estcourt, the comedian, was their providore, and, as an bonourable badge of his office, wore a small gridiron of gold hung round his neck with a green silk riband.