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Our modern celebrated clubs are founded upon eating 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-pie. The BeefSteak,t 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 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 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.
This club, consisting of the most distinguished wits and statesmen among the Whigs, met in Shire-lane, and was named from a pastrycook (Christopher Cat), who was famous for making mutton-pies, which constantly formed a part of their refreshment. The portraits of its members, done by Sir Godfrey Kneller, were all at Barnes, in the possession of the late Mr Jacob Tonson, whose father was secretary to the club. From Mr. Tonson’s, they have since become, by inheritance, the property of William Baker, Esq. In order to adapt them to the height of the club-room, the pictures were painted of a size less than a whole, and larger than a half length, admitting only one arm; and hence all pictures of that size have since been called Kit-cats.
+ This club also consisted of the chief wits and greatest men in the kingdom. It is said, that Mrs. Woffington, the only woman in it, was president. Richard Estcourt, the comedian, was their providore ; and, as an honourable badge of his office, wore a small gridiron of gold hung round his neck with a green silk riband.
#Swift, in a letter to Stella (London, Feb. 10, 1710-11), says, “We are plagued here with an October Club ; that is, a set of above a hundred par. liament men of the country, who drink October beer at home, and meet every evening at a tavern near the parliament, to consult affairs, and drive things on to extremes against the Whigs, to call the old ministry to account, and get off five or six heads."
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 twopence.
2. Every member shall fill his pipe out of his own box.
3. If any member absents himself, he shall forfeit a penny for the use of the club, unless in case of sickness or imprisonment.
4. If any member swears or curses, his neighbour may give him a kiek upon the shins.
5. If any member tells stories in the club that are not true, he shall forfeit for every third lie an halfpenny.
6. If any member strikes another wrongfully, he shall pay his club for him.
1. If any member brings his wife into the club, he shall pay for whatever she drinks or smokes.
8. If any member's wife comes to fetch him home from the club, she shall speak to him without the door.
9. If any member calls another a cuckold, he shall be turned out of the club.
10. None shall be admitted into the club that is of the same trade with any member of it.
11. None of the club shall have his clothes or shoes made or mended, but by a brother member.
12. 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 have been with the Leges Conrivales 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. 10. MONDAY, MARCH 12, 1710-11.
Non aliter quam qui adverso vix flumine lembum
VJRG. GEORG. i. 201.
* See Whalley's edit. vol. vii.
So the boat's brawny crew the current stem,
DRYDEN. It is with much satisfaction that I hear this great city inquiring 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 if I allow twenty readers to every paper, which Ï look upon as a modest computation, I may reckon about threescore thousand disciples in London and Westminster, who I hope will take care to distinguish themselves from the thoughtless herd of their ignorant and inattentive 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 reasons I shall endeavour to enliven morality with wit, and to temper 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 Socrates, that be brought philosophy down from heaven, to inhabit among men; and I shall be ambitious to have it said of me, that I have brought philosophy out of closets and libraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables and in coffee-houses.
I would therefore in a very particular manner recommend these my speculations to all well regulated families, that set apart an hour in every morning for tea and bread and butter; and would earnestly advise them for their good, to order this paper to be punctually served up, and to be looked upon as a part of the tea equipage.
Sir Francis Bacon observes, that a well written book, compared with its rivals and antagonists, is like Moses's serpent, that immediately swallowed up and devoured those of the Egyptians. I shall not be so vain as to think, that where the Spectator appears, the other public prints will vanish; but shall leave it to my reader's consideration, whether it is not much better to be let into the knowledge of one's self, than to hear what passes in Muscovy or Poland; and to amuse ourselves with such writings as tend to the wearing out of ignorance, passion and prejudice, than such as
naturally conduce to inflame hatreds, and make enmities irrecon. cile able.
In the next place I would recommend this paper to the daily peral of those gentlemen whom I cannot but consider as my good brothers and allies, I mean the fraternity of spectators, who lire in the world without having anything to do in it; and either by the affluence of their fortunes, or laziness of their dispositions, bave no other business with the rest of mankind but to look upon them. Under this class of men are comprehended all contemplative tradesmen, titular physicians, fellows of the Royal Society, Templars that are not given to be contentious, and statesBed that are out of business : in short, every one that considers tee world as a theatre, and desires to form å right judgment of those who are the actors on it.
There is another set of men that I must likewise lay a claim to, wbom I hare lately called the Blanks of Society, as being altogether unfurnished with ideas, till the business and conversation of the day has supplied them; I have often considered these poor souls with an eye of great commiseration, when I have heard them asking the first man they have met with, whether there was any Lews stirring? and by that means gathering together materials for thinking. These needy persons do not know what to talk of till about twelve o'clock in the morning; for by that time they are pretty good judges of the weather, know which way the wind sits, and whether the Dutch mail be come in. As they lie at the mercy of the first man they meet, and are grave or impertinent all the day long, according to the notions which they have imbibed in the morning, I would earnestly entreat them not to stir out of their chambers till they have read this paper; and do promise them that I will daily instil into them such sound and wholesome sentiments, as shall have a good effect on their conversation for the Ensuing twelve hours.
But there are none to whom this paper will be more useful than to the female world. I have often thought there has not been sufficient pains taken in finding out proper employments and diversions for the fair ones. Their amusements seem contrived for them, rather as they are women than as they are reasonable creatures; and are more adapted to the sex than to the species. The wilet is their great scene of business, and the right adjusting of their hair the principal employment of their lives. The sorting of 2 suit of ribbons is reckoned å very good morning's work; and if they make an excursion to a mercer's or a toy-shop, so great a fatigue makes them unfit for any thing else all the day after. Their more serious occupations are sewing and embroidery, and their greatest drudgery the preparation of jellies and sweetmeats.
This, I say, is the state of ordinary women; though I know there are multitudes of those of a more elevated life and conversation, that move in an exalted sphere of knowledge and virtue, that join all the beauties of the mind to the ornaments of dress, and inspire a kind of awe and respect, as well as love, into their male beholders. I hope to increase the number of these by publishing this daily paper, which I shall always endeavour to make an innocent if not an improving entertainment, and by that means at least divert the minds of my female readers from greater trifles. At the same time, as I would fain give some finishing touches to those which are already the most beautiful pieces in human nature, I shall endeavour to point out all those imperfections that are the blemishes, as well as those virtues which are the embellishments, of
In the meanwhile I hope these my gentle readers, who have so much time on their hands, will not grudge throwing away a quarter of an hour in a day on this paper, since they may do it without any hindrance to business.
I know several of my friends and well-wishers are in great pain for me, lest I should not be able to keep up the spirit of a paper which I oblige myself to furnish every day; but to make them easy in this particular, I will promise them faithfully to give it over as soon as I grow dull. This I know will be matter of great raillery to the small wits, who will frequently put me in mind of my promise, desire me to keep my word, assure me that it is high time to give over, with many other little pleasantries of the like nature, which men of a little smart genius cannot forbear throwing out against their best friends, when they have such a handle given them of being witty. But let them remember that I do hereby enter my caveat against this piece of raillery.
No. 11. TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 1710-11.
Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas.
JUV. Sar. ii. 63. The doves are censur'd, while the crows are spared.
ARIETTA is visited by all persons of both sexes who have any pretence to wit and gallantry. She is in that time of life which is neither affected with the follies of youth or infirmities of age; and