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fall under their notice in their feveral diftricts and di• vifions.
I am no lefs acquainted with the particular quarters and regions of this great town than with the different " parts and diftributions of the whole nation. I can deferibe every parish by its impieties, and can tell you in which of our ftreets lewdnefs prevails, which gaming has taken the poffeffion of, and where drunkennels has got the better of them both. When I am difpofed to raise a fine for the poor, I know the lanes and alleys that are inhabited by common fwearers. When I would encourage the hofpital of Bridewell, and improve the hempen manufacture, I am very well 'acquainted with all the haunts and reforts of female " night-walkers.
After this fhort account of myfelf, I muft let you know that the defign of this paper is to give you information of a certain irregular affembly, which I think falls very properly under your obfervation, efpecially fince the perfons it is compofed of are criminals too confiderable for the animadverfions of our fociety. I mean, Sir, the Midnight Mask, which has of late been very frequently held in one of the moft confpicuous parts of the town, and which I hear will be • continued with additions and improvements. As all 'the persons who compofe this lawless assembly are masked, we dare not attack any of them in our way, left we should fend a Woman of Quality to Bridewell, or a Peer of Great Britain to the Counter! befides that, their numbers are fo very great, that I am afraid they would be able to rout our whole fraternity, though we were accompanied with all our guard of 'conftables. Both thefe reafons, which fecure them from our authority, make them obnoxious to yours; as both their difguife and their numbers will give no particular perfon reafon to think himself affronted by
If we are rightly informed, the rules that are obferved by this new fociety 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 firft entrance, to the converfation of any body that addresses himself to them. There are feveral rooms where the parties may retire, and, if they pleafe, fhew their faces by confent. Whispers, fqueezes, nods, and embraces, are the innocent freedoms of the place. In fhort, the whole defign of this libidinous affembly feems to terminate in 'affignations and intrigues; and I hope you will take • effectual methods by your public advice and admonitions, to prevent fuch a promiscuous multitude of both ⚫ fexes from meeting together in fo clandeftine a man
• Your humble fervant
Not long after the perufal of this letter, I received another upon the fame fubject; which by the date and stile of it, I take to be written by fome young Templar.
WHEN a man has been guilty of any vice or folly,
I think the beft atonement he can make for it, is to warn others not to fall into the like. In order to this I must acquaint you, that fome time in February laft I went to the Tuelday's mafquerade. Upon my first going in I was attacked by half a dozen female Quakers, who feemed willing to adopt me for a brother; but upon " a nearer examination I found they were a fifterhood of coquettes difguifed in that precife habit. I was foon after taken out to dance, and, as I fancied, by a woman of the firft quality; for he was very tall, and moved • gracefully As foon as the minuet was over we ogled one another through our masks; and as I am very well
read in Waller, I repeated to her the four following ⚫ verses, out of his poem to Vandike:
The heedlefs lover does not know
Inquires her name that has his heart.
I pronounced these words with fuch a languishing air, that I had fome reafon to conclude I had made a conqueft. She told me that the hoped my face was not a-kin to my tongue; and looking upon her watch, I accidentally difcovered the figure of a coronet on the back part of it. I was fo tranfported with the thought ⚫ of fuch an amour, that I plied her from one room to another with all the gallantries I could invent; and at length brought things to fo happy an iffue, that the 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 reafon to wish that I had continued true to my laundrefs. I have fince heard, by a very great accident, that this fine lady does not live far from Covent-Garden, and that I am not the firft cully whom she has paffed herself ' upon for a countefs.
Thus, Sir, you fee how I have mistaken a cloud for a Juno: and if you can make any ufe of this adventure, for the benefit of thofe who may poffibly be as vain young coxcombs as myself, I do moft heartily 'give you leave.
'I am, Sir,
"Your most humble admirer,
I defign to vifit the next Masquerade myself, in the fame habit I wore at Grand Cairo; and till then fhall fufpend my judgment of this midnight entertainment. C.
No. IX. SATURDAY, MARCH 10.
Tigris agit rabidâ cum tigride pacem
Tiger with tiger, bear with bear, you'll find
MAN is faid to be a fociable animal, and, as an instance of it, we may obferve, that we take all occafions and pretences of forming ourselves into those little nocturnal affemblies which are commonly known by the name of Clubs. When a fet of men find themfelves agree in any particular, though ever fo trivial, they establish themselves into a kind of fraternity, and meet once or twice a week upon the account of fuch a fantastic resemblance. I know a confiderable markettown, in which there was a club of fat men, that did not come together, as you may well fuppofe, to entertain one another with fprightlinefs and wit, but to keep one another in countenance; the room where the club met was fomething of the largest, and had two entrances; the one by a door of a moderate fize, and the other by a pair of folding doors. If a candidate for this corpulent club could make his entrance through the first, he was look’d upon as unqualified; but if he stuck in the paffage, and could not force his way through it, the folding doors were immediately thrown open for his reception, and he was faluted as a brother. I have heard that this club, though it confifted but of fifteen perfons, weighed above
In oppofition to this fociety there fprung up another, compofed of fcarecrows and skeletons, who being very meagre and envious, did all they could to thwart the defigns of their bulky brethren, whom they reprefented as men of dangerous principles; till at length they worked them out of the favour of the people, and confequently out of the magiftracy. Thefe factions tore the corporation in pieces for feveral years, till at length they came
to this accommodation: That the two bailiffs of the town fhould be annually chofen out of the two clubs; by which means the principal magistrates are at this day coupled like rabbits, one fat and one lean.
Every one has heard of the club, or rather the confederacy of the Kings. This grand alliance was formed a little after the return of King Charles the Second, and admitted into it men of all qualities and profeflions, provided they agreed in the furname of King, which, as they imagined, fufficiently declared the owners of it to be altogether untainted with republican and antimonarchical principles.
A chriftian name has likewife been often used as a badge of diftinction, and made the occafion of a club. That of the Georges, which used to meet at the sign of the George on St. George's day, and fwear before George, is ftill fresh in every one's memory.
There are at prefent, in feveral parts of this city, what they call Street-Clubs, in which the chief inhabitants of the street converfe together every night. I remember, upon my enquiring after lodgings in Ormond-firect, 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 farther difcourfe with him, that two or three noify country-'fquires, who were fettled there the year before, had confiderably funk the price of houferent; and that the club (to prevent the like inconveniencies for the future) had thoughts of taking every houte that became vacant into their own hands, till they had found a tenant for it of a fociable nature and good converfation.
The Hum-Drum club, of which I w was formerly an unworthy member, was made up of very honeft gentlemen, of peaceable difpofitions, that ufed to fit together, fmoke their pipes, and fay nothing till midnight. The Mum-club, as I am informed, is an inftitution of the fame nature, and as great an enemy to noife.
After these two innocent fucieties, I cannot forbear mentioning a very m fchievous one, that was erected in the reign of King Charles the Second: I mean the Club VOL. I.