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I remember I was once in a mixt assembly, that was full of noise and mirth, when on a sudden an old woman unluckily observed there were thirteen of us in compa
family affairs, a little boy at the lower end of the table told her, that he was to go into join-hand on Thursday. Thursday!' says she, 'No, child, if it please God, you shall not begin upon Childermas-day; tell your writing-master that Friday will be soon enough.' I was reflecting with myself on the oddness of her fancy, and wondering that any body would establish it as a rule, to lose a day in every week. In the midst of these my musings, she desired me to reach her a little salt upon the point of my knife, which I did in such a trepidation and hurry of obedience, that I let it drop by the way; at which she immediately startled, and said it fell towards her. Upon this I looked very blank; and, observing the concern of the whole table, began to consider ny. The remark struck a panic terror into myself, with some confusion, as a person several who were present, insomuch that that had brought a disaster upon the fami- one or two of the ladies were going to leave ly. The lady, however, recovering herself the room; but a friend of mine taking notice after a little space, said to her husband, that one of our female companions was big with a sigh, My dear, misfortunes never with child, affirmed there were fourteen in come single.' My friend, I found, acted the room, and that instead of portending one but an under part at his table, and being a of the company should die, it plainly foreman of more good-nature than understand-told one of them should be born. Had not my ing, thinks himself obliged to fall in with friend found this expedient to break the all the passions and humours of his yoke-omen, I question not but half the women in fellow. Do not you remember, child,' the company would have fallen sick that says she, 'that the pigeon-house fell the very night. very afternoon that our careless wench spilt the salt upon the table?' 'Yes,' says he, 'my dear, and the next post brought us an account of the battle of Almanza.' The reader may guess at the figure I made, after having done all this mischief. I despatched my dinner as soon as I could, with my usual taciturnity; when, to my utter confusion, the lady seeing me quitting my knife and fork, and laying them across one another upon my plate, desired me that I would humour her so far as to take them out of that figure, and place them side by side. What the absurdity was which I had committed I did not know, but I suppose there was some traditionary superstition in it; and therefore, in obedience to the lady of the house, I disposed of my knife and fork in two parallel lines, which is the figure I shall always lay them in for the future, though I do not know any reason for it.
An old maid, that is troubled with the vapours, produces infinite disturbances of this kind among her friends and neighbours. I know a maiden aunt, of a great family, who is one of these antiquated Sybils, that forebodes and prophesies from one end of the year to the other. She is always seeing apparitions and hearing death-watches; and was the other day almost frighted out of her wits by the great house-dog, that howled in the stable at the time when she lay ill of the tooth-ache. Such an extravagant cast of mind engages multitudes of people, not only in impertinent terrors, but in supernumerary duties of life; and arises from that fear and ignorance which are natural to the soul of man. The horror, with which we entertain the thoughts of death, (or indeed of any future evil) and the uncertainty of its approach, fill a melancholy mind with innumerable apprehensions and suspicions, and consequently dispose it to the observation of such groundless prodigies and predictions. For as it is the chief concern of wise men to retrench the evils of life by the reasonings of philosophy; it is the employment of fools to multiply them by the sentiments of superstition.
For my own part, I should be very much troubled were I endowed with this divining quality, though it should inform me truly of every thing that can befal me. I would not anticipate the relish of any happiness, nor feel the weight of any misery, before it actually arrives.
I know but one way of fortifying my soul against these gloomy presages and terrors of mind, and that is, by securing to myself the friendship and protection of that Being
It is not difficult for a man to see that a person has conceived an aversion to him. For my own part, I quickly found by the lady's looks, that she regarded me as a very odd kind of fellow, with an unfortunate aspect. For which reason I took my leave immediately after dinner and withdrew to my old lodgings. Upon my return home, I fell into a profound contemplation on the evils that attend these superstitious follies of mankind; how they subject us to imaginary afflictions, and additional sorrows, that do not properly come within our lot. As if the natural calamities of life were not sufficient for it, we turn the most indifferent circumstances into misfortunes, and suffer as much from trifling accidents,
as from real evils. I have known the shooting of a star spoil a night's rest; and have seen man in love grow pale, and lose his appetite, upon the plucking of a merrythought. A screech-owl at midnight has alarmed a family more than a band of robbers; nay, the voice of a cricket hath struck more terror than the roaring of a lion. There is nothing so inconsiderable, which may not appear dreadful to an imagination that is filled with omens and prognostics. A rusty nail, or a crooked pin, shoot up into prodigies.
must let you know, that the design of this paper is to give you information of a certain irregular assembly, which I think falls very properly under your observation, especially since the persons it is composed of are criminals too considerable for the animadversions of our society. I mean, sir, the Midnight Mask, which has of late been frequently held in one of the most conspicuous parts of the town, and which I hear will be continued with additions and improvements. As all the persons who compose the lawless assembly are masked, we dare not attack any of them in our way, lest we should send a woman of quality to Bridewell, or a peer of Great Britain to the Counter: besides that their numbers are so very great, that I am afraid they would be able to rout our whole fraternity, though we were accompanied with our guard of constables. Both these reasons, which secure them from our authority, make them obnoxious to yours; as both their disguise and Virg. n. i. 415. their numbers will give no particular per
son reason to think himself affronted by you.
"If we are rightly informed, the rules that are observed by this new society, are wonderfully contrived for the advancement of cuckoldom. The women either come by themselves, or are introduced by friends, who are obliged to quit them, upon their first entrance, to the conversation of any body that addresses himself to them. There are several rooms where the parties may retire, and if they please, show their faces by consent. Whispers, squeezes, nods, and embraces, are the innocent freedoms of the place. In short, the whole design of this libidinous assembly seems to terminate in assignations and intrigues; and I hope you will take effectual methods, by your public advice and admonitions, to prevent such a promiscuous multitude of both sexes from meeting together in so clandestine a manner. 'I am, Your humble servant, and fellow-labourer,, 'T. B.'
who disposes of events, and governs futurity.
Friday, March 9, 1710-11.
At Venus obscuro gradientes aere sepsit,
They march obscure, for Venus kindly shrouds
I SHALL here communicate to the world a couple of letters, which I believe will give the reader as good an entertainment as any that I am able to furnish him with, and therefore shall make no apology for them:
"To the Spectator, &c.
"I am one of the directors of the society for the reformation of manners, and therefore think myself a proper person for your correspondence. I have thoroughly examined the present state of religion in Great Britain, and am able to acquaint you with the predominant vice of every market town in the whole island. I can tell you the progress that virtue has made in all our cities, boroughs, and corporations; and know as well the evil practices that are committed in Berwick or Exeter, as what is done in my own family. In a word, Sir, I have my correspondents in the remotest parts of the nation, who send me up punctual accounts, from time to time, of all the little irregularities that fall under their notice in their several districts and divisions.
Not long after the perusal of this letter, I received another upon the same subject; which, by the date and style of it, I take to be written by some young templar:
'I am no less acquainted with the par- SIR, Middle Temple, 1710-11. ticular quarters and regions of this great "When a man has been guilty of any vice town, than with the different parts and dis-or folly, I think the best atonement he can tributions of the whole nation. I can de- make for it, is to warn others not to fall into scribe every parish by its impieties, and the like. In order to this I must acquaint can tell you in which of our streets lewd- you, that some time in February last I went ness prevails, which gaming has taken to the Tuesday's masquerade. Upon my possession of, and where drunkenness has first going in I was attacked by half a dozen got the better of them both. When I am female quakers, who seemed willing to disposed to raise a fine for the poor, I know adopt me for a brother; but upon a nearer the lanes and alleys that are inhabited by examination I found they were a sisterhood common swearers. When I would encou- of coquettes, disguised in that precise habit. rage the hospital of Bridewell, and improve I was soon after taken out to dance, and as the hempen manufacture, I am very well I fancied, by a woman of the first quality, acquainted with all the haunts and resorts for she was very tall, and moved gracefully. of female night-walkers. As soon as the minuet was over, we ogled one another through our masks; and as I
After this short account of myself, I
am very well read in Waller, I repeated to | of folding doors. If a candidate for this corher the four following verses out of his poem to Vandyke:
pulent 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 foldingdoors 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 tons.
"The heedless lover does not know
Whose eyes they are that wound him so;
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 In opposition to this society, there sprung my tongue, and looking upon her watch, I accidentally discovered the figure of a coro-skeletons, who, being very meagre and enup another composed of scarecrows and net on the back part of it. I was so trans-vious, did all they could to thwart the deported 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 Covent-garden, and that I am not the first cully whom she has passed herself upon for a countess.
signs of their bulky brethren, whom they till at length they worked them out of the represented as men of dangerous principles; 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
Thus, sir, you see how I have mistaken a cloud for a Juno; and if you can make any use of this adventure, for the benefit of those who may possibly be as vain young coxcombs as myself, I do most heartily give you leave.
'I am, Sir,
'Your most humble admirer,
I design to visit the next masquerade myself, in the same habit I wore at Grand Cairo; and till then shall suspend my judg-George, on St. George's day, and swear ment of this midnight entertainment.
A christian name has likewise been often occasion of a club. That of the Georges, used as a badge of distinction, and made the which used to meet at the sign of the
Before George,' is still fresh in every one's memory.
There are at present, in several 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 inconveniencies 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.
No. 9.] Saturday, March 10, 1710-11.
-Tigris agit rabida cum tigride pacem
ther the confederacy of the Kings. This Every one has heard of the club, or ragrand 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 the surname of King, which, as they imagined, sufficiently declared the owners of it to be altogether untainted with republican and anti-monarchical principles.
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 well 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
The Hum-Drum club, of which I was formerly an 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. The presi
dent 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 institution.
Rules to be observed in the Two-penny Club, erected in this place, for the pre=servation of friendship and good neighbourhood.
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 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 esta
V. If any member tells 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 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 I cannot forbear concluding this paper have been with the Leges Convivales of with a scheme of laws that I met with upon Ben Jonson, the regulations of an old a wall in a little alehouse. How I came Roman club, cited by Lipsius, or the rules thither I may inform my reader at a more of a Symposium in an ancient Greek_auconvenient time. These laws were enact-thor. ed by a knot of artisans and mechanics, who used to meet every night; and as
there is something in them which gives us No. 10.] Monday, March 12, 1710-11. a pretty picture of low life, I shall transcribe them word for word.
*This club, which took its name from Christopher Cat, the maker of their mutton-pies, 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, 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.
Of this club, it is said, that Mrs. Woffington, the only woman belonging to it, was president; Richard Estcourt, the comedian, was their provedore, and as an honourable badge of his office, wore a small gridiron of gold hung round his neck with a green silk riband.
Non aliter quam qui adverso vix flumine lembum,
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 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 I Icok upon as a modest computation, I may reckon about threescore thousand disciples in London and Westminster, who I hope
able, 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 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 assem-ments, as shall have a good effect on their blies, at tea-tables, and in coffee-houses. conversation for the ensuing twelve hours.
will take care to distinguish themselves from There is another set of men that I must the thoughtless herd of their ignorant and likewise lay a claim to, whom I have lately inattentive brethren. Since I have raised called the blanks of society, as being altoto myself so great an audience, I shall spare gether unfurnished with ideas, till the buno pains to make their instruction agree-siness and conversation of the day has supplied them. I have often considered those 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 senti
I would, therefore, in a very particular But there are none to whom this paper manner, recommend these my speculations will be more useful than to the female to all well-regulated families, that set world. I have often thought there has not apart an hour in every morning for tea been sufficient pains taken in finding out and bread and butter; and would earnestly proper employments and diversions for the advise them, for their good, to order this fair ones. Their amusements seem conpaper to be punctually served up, and to be trived for them, rather as they are women, fooked upon as a part of the ten-equipage. 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 ribands is reckoned a 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 cccupations are sew ing and embroidery, and their greatest drudgery the preparations 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 the sex. In the meanwhile, I hope these my gen
Sir Francis Bacon observes, that a wellwritten 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 irreconcilable?
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 to 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 tradesmen, titular physicians, fellows of the royal society, templars that are not given to be contentious, 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.