Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Beef-steak' 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 ale-house: how I came thither, I may inform my reader at a more convenient time. These laws were enacted by a knot of artizans 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.

in Queen Anne's reign comprehended above forty noblemen and gentlemen of the first rank, all firm friends to the Hanoverian succession. The verses for their toasting glasses were written by Garth, and the portraits of all its members painted by Kneller, who was himself one of their number; hence all portraits of the same dimensions are at this time known by the name of Kit Cat. Jacob Tonson, the bookseller, was their secretary, and built a gallery at his house at Barn Elms, for the reception of the pictures, and where the club occasionally held its meetings. From Tonson this valuable collection has come by inheritance to Samuel Baker, Esq., of Hertingfordbury, near Hertford.-L. V. also vol. i. p. 214.-G.

Of this club it is said, that Mrs. Woffington, the only woman belonging to it, was president; Richard Estcourt, the comedian, was their probedore, and, as an honorable badge of his office, wore a small gridiron of gold hung round his neck with a green silk riband.-L.

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 kick upon the shins.

him a

V. If any member tell stories in the club that are not true, he shall forfeit for every third lie an half-penny.

VI. If any member strikes another wrongfully, he 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 cuckold, he shall be turned out of the club.

X. None shall be admitted into the club that is of the same trade as 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 Nonjuror 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 Conviviales of Ben Jonson, the regulations of an old Roman club cited by Lipsius, or the rules of a Symposium in an ancient Greek author.1

C.

1 V. rules for a club formerly established in Philadelphia. Supplement to Dr. Franklin's works, 8vo. p. 533. Secret History of Clubs, &c., 8vo.1709, republished with additions, 12mo. 1746. Truth and falsehood are so blended in this catch-penny book, that it is difficult to collect any certain infor mation from it. The last edition is worse than the first -C.

No. 10. MONDAY, MARCH 12.

Non aliter quam qui adverso vix flumine lembum
Remigiis subigit: si brachia forte remisit,
Atque illum in præceps prono rapit alveus amni.
VIRG. Georg. I. 201.

So the boat's brawny crew the current stem.
And, slow advancing, struggle with the stream:
But if they slack their hands, or cease to strive,
Then down the flood with headlong haste they drive.

DRYDEN.

It is with much satisfaction that I hear this great city inquir ing day by day after these my papers, and receiving my morning lectures with a becoming serious nessand 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 I 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 unattentive 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 pos sible, 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.

1 Ces discours ont paru d'abord un à un, sur des feuilles volantes, en forme de gazettes; et il s'en est débité jusqu'à vingt mille par jour, &c. Le Spectateur. Pref. V. Tatler with nu.es. V. C. No. 271, p. 452, note on Dr. Johnson's cal culation.-C.

It was said of Socrates, that he 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, compar ed with its rivals and antagonists, is like Moses's serpent, that immediately swallowed up and devoured those of the Ægyptians. 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 readers' consideration, whether, is it 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 irreconcileable?

In the next place, I would recommend this paper to the daily perusal of those gentlemen whom I cannot but consider as my good brothers and allies, I mean the fraternity of Spectators, who live in the world without having any thing do in it; and either by the affluence of their fortunes, or laziness of their dispositions, have no other business with the rest of mankind, but to look upon them. Under this class of men are comprehended all contemplative tra lesmen, titular physicians, fellows of the Royal-society,' Templars that are not given to be contentious,

1 V. New Tatler, 216 221, 236, and notes on the illiberal treatment o the R. S.-C.

and statesmen that are out of business; in short, every one that considers the world as a theatre, and desires to form a right judgment of those who are the actors on it.

There is another set of men that I must likewise lay a claim to, whom I have 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 news 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 toilet is their great scene of business, and the right adjusting of their hair the principal employment of their lives. The sorting of a suit of ribbons is reckoned a very good morning's work; and if they make an excursion to a mercer's, or a toyshop, so great a fatigue makes

« VorigeDoorgaan »