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X. ACCOUNT OF THE EVERLASTING CLUB.
Genus immortale manet, multosque per annos
Virg. Georg. iv. 208.
Th' immortal line in sure succession reigns,
And grandsires' grandsons the long list contains.-Dryden.
HAVING already given my reader an account of several extraordinary clubs, both ancient and modern, I did not design to have troubled him with any more narratives of this nature, but I have lately received information of a club which I can call neither ancient nor modern, that I daresay 10 will be no less surprising to my reader than it was to myself, for which reason I shall communicate it to the public as one of the greatest curiosities in its kind.
A friend of mine complaining of a tradesman who is related to him, after having represented him as a very idle worthless fellow who neglected his family, and spent most of his time over a bottle, told me, to conclude his character, that he was a member of the Everlasting Club. So very odd a title raised my curiosity to inquire into the nature of a club that had such a sounding name, upon which my friend 20 gave me the following account :—
The Everlasting Club consists of a hundred members, who divide the whole twenty-four hours among them in such a manner that the club sits day and night from one end of the year to another, no party presuming to rise till they are relieved by those who are in course to succeed them. By this means a member of the Everlasting Club never wants company, for though he is not upon duty himself he is sure to find some who are; so that if he be disposed to take a whet, a nooning, an evening's draught, or a bottle after midnight, 30
he goes to the club and finds a knot of friends to his mind.
It is a maxim in this club that the steward never dies; for as they succeed one another by way of rotation, no man is to quit the great elbow chair which stands at the upper end of the table, until his successor is in a readiness to fill it, insomuch that there has not been a sede vacante in the memory of
This club was instituted towards the end (or, as some of 10 them say, about the middle) of the civil wars, and continued without interruption till the time of the great fire, which burnt them out and dispersed them for several weeks. The steward at that time maintained his post till he had like to have been blown up with a neighbouring house (which was demolished in order to stop the fire), and would not leave the chair at last till he had emptied all the bottles upon the table, and received repeated directions from the club to withdraw himself. This steward is frequently talked of in the club, and looked upon by every member of it as a greater 20 man than the famous captain mentioned in my Lord Claren
don, who was burned in his ship because he would not quit it without orders. It is said that towards the close of 1700, being the great year of jubilee, the club had it under consideration whether they should break up or continue their session; but after many speeches and debates it was at length agreed to sit out the other century. This resolution passed in a general club nemine contradicente.
Having given this short account of the institution and continuation of the Everlasting Club, I should here endea30 vour to say something of the manners and characters of its several members, which I shall do according to the best lights I have received in this matter.
It appears by their books in general that since their first institution they have smoked fifty tons of tobacco, drank thirty thousand butts of ale, one thousand hogsheads of red port, two hundred barrels of brandy, and a kilderkin of
small beer. There has been likewise a great consumption of cards. It is also said that they observe the law in Ben Jonson's Club, which orders the fire to be always kept in (focus perennis esto) as well for the convenience of lighting their pipes, as to cure the dampness of the club-room. They have an old woman in the nature of a vestal, whose business it is to cherish and perpetuate the fire which burns from generation to generation, and has seen the glass-house fires in and out above an hundred times.
The Everlasting Club treats all other clubs with an eye of 10 contempt, and talks even of the Kit-Cat and October as of a couple of upstarts. Their ordinary discourse (as much as I have been able to learn of it) turns altogether upon such adventures as have passed in their own assembly; of members who have taken the glass in their turns for a week together, without stirring out of their club; of others who have smoked an hundred pipes at a sitting; of others who have not missed their morning's draught for twenty years together; sometimes they speak in raptures of a run of ale in King Charles's reign; and sometimes reflect with astonish- 20 ment upon games at whisk which have been miraculously recovered by members of the society, when in all human probability the case was desperate.
They delight in several old catches, which they sing at all hours to encourage one another to moisten their clay, and grow immortal by drinking, with many other edifying exhortations of the like nature.
There are four general clubs held in a year, at which times they fill up vacancies, appoint waiters, confirm the old firemaker or elect a new one, settle contributions for coals, pipes, 30 tobacco, and other necessaries.
The senior member has outlived the whole club twice over, and has been drunk with the grandfathers of some of the present sitting members. C.
XI. PARTY PATCHES.
Saturday, June 2, 1711.
Qualis ubi audito venantum murmure Tigris,
As when the tigress hears the hunter's din,
ABOUT the middle of last winter I went to see an opera at the theatre in the Haymarket, where I could not but take notice of two parties of very fine women, that had placed themselves in the opposite side boxes, and seemed drawn up in a kind of battle-array one against another. After a short 10 survey of them, I found they were patched differently; the faces, on one hand, being spotted on the right side of the forehead, and those upon the other on the left. I quickly perceived that they cast hostile glances upon one another; and that their patches were placed in those different situations as party signals to distinguish friends from foes. In the middle boxes, between these two opposite bodies, were several ladies who patched indifferently on both sides of their faces, and seemed to sit there with no other intention_but_to_see_ the opera. Upon inquiry I found that the body of Amazons 20 on my right hand were Whigs, and those on my left Tories ; and that those who had placed themselves in the middle boxes were a neutral party, whose faces had not yet declared themselves. These last, however, as I afterwards found, diminished daily, and took their party with one side or the other insomuch that I observed in several of them the patches, which were before dispersed equally, are now all gone over to the Whig or the Tory side of the face. The censorious say that the men whose hearts are aimed at are very often the occasions that one part of the face is thus dis30 honoured, and lies under a kind of disgrace, while the other
is so much set off and adorned by the owner; and that the
patches turn to the right or to the left, according to the principles of the man who is most in favour. But whatever may be the motives of a few fantastical coquettes, who do not patch for the public good so much as for their own private advantage, it is certain that there are several women of honour who patch out of principle, and with an eye to the interest of their country. Nay, am informed that some of them adhere so steadfastly to their party, and are so far from sacrificing their zeal for the public to their passions for any particular person, that in a late draught of marriage articles 10 a lady has stipulated with her husband that whatever his opinions are, she shall be at liberty to patch on which side she pleases.
I must here take notice that Rosalinda, a famous Whig partisan, has, most unfortunately, a very beautiful mole on the, Tory part of her forehead, which being very conspicuous, has occasioned many mistakes, and given an handle to her enemies to misrepresent her face, as though it had revolted from the Whig interest. But whatever this natural patch may seem to insinuate, it is well known that her notions of 20 government are still the same. This unlucky mole, however, has misled several coxcombs; and like the hanging out of false colours, made some of them converse with Rosalinda in what they thought the spirit of her party, when on a sudden she has given them an unexpected fire, that has sunk them all at once. If Rosalinda is unfortunate in her mole, Nigranilla is as unhappy in a pimple, which forces her, against her inclinations, to patch on the Whig side.
I am told that many virtuous matrons, who formerly have been taught to believe that this artificial spotting of the face 30 was unlawful, are now reconciled by a zeal for their cause, to what they could not be prompted by a concern for their beauty. This way of declaring war upon one another puts me in mind of what is reported of the tigress, that several spots rise in her skin when she is angry; or, as Mr. Cowley has imitated the verses that stand as the motto of this paper,