« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
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. 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 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 insti. tution.
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 Beefsteak and October Clubs are neither of them adverse to
eating and drinking, if we may form a judgment of them from their respective titleș.
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
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. I. 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 a halfpenny.
VI. If any member strikes another wrongfully, 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 a 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 non-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 bave 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.
Non fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem
HOR., Ars. Poet. 143.
ROSCOMMON. I HAVE observed that a reader seldom poruses a book with pleasure till he knows whether the writer of it be a black or a fair man, of a mild or choleric disposition, married or a bachelor, with other particulars of the like nature that conduce very much to the right understanding of an author. To gratify this curiosity, which is so natural to a reader, I design this paper and my next as prefatory discourses to my following writings, and shall give some account in them of the several persons that are engaged in this work. As the chief trouble of compiling, digesting, and correcting will fall to my share, I must do myself the justice to mpen
the work with my own history.
I was born to a small hereditary estate, which, according to the tradition of the village where it lies, was bounded by the same hedges and ditches in William the Conqueror's time that it is at present, and has been delivered down from father to son, whole and entire, without the loss or acquisition of a singia field or meadow, during the space of six hundred years. There runs a story in the family, that when my mother was gone with child of me about three months, she dreamt that she was brought to bed of a judge. Whether this might proceed from a law-suit which was then depending in the family, or my father's being a justice of the peace, I cannot determine; for I am not so vain as to think it presaged any dignity that I should arrive at in my future life, though that was the interpretation which the neighbourhood put upon it. The gravity of my behaviour at my very first appearance in the world, and all the time that I sucked, seemed to favour my mother's dream; for, as she has often told me, I threw away my rattle before I was two months old, and would not make use of my coral till they had taken away the bells from it.
As for the rest of my infancy, there being nothing in it remarkable, I shall pass it over in silence. I find that during my nonage I had the reputation of a very sullen youth, but was always a favourite of my