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« fall under their notice in their several diftri£ts and di. • visions.
• I am no less acquainted with the particular quarters ' and regions of this great town than with the different
parts and distributions of the whole nation. I can de'scribe every parish by its impieties, and can tell you ' in which of our streets lewdness prevails, which
gaming has taken the posseffion of, and where drun
kennels has got the better of them both. When I am ' disposed to raise a fine for the poor, I know the lanes . and alleys that are inhabited by common swearers. • When I would encourage the hospital of Bridewell,
and improve the hempen manufacture, I am very well acquainted with all the haunts and resorts of female night-walkers.
• After this short account of myself, I must let you • know that the design of this paper is to give you in, • formation of a certain irregular assembly, which I
think falls very properly under your observation, especially fince 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 very frequently held in one of the most conspi
cuous parts of the town, and which I hear will be . continued with additions and improvements. As all
the persons who compose this lawless assembly are
masked, we dare not attack any of them in our way, • left we should fend a Woman of Quality to Bride
well, or a Peer of Great Britain to the Counter! be' fides 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 all our guard of constables.
Both these reasons, which secure them ' from our authority, make thein obnoxious to yours ;
as both their disguise and their numbers will give no particular person reason to think himself affronted by you.
• If we are rightly informed, the rules that are ob'served 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, shew their faces by consent. " Whispers, squeezes, nods, and embraces, are the in
nocent 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 admoni' tions, to prevent such a promiscuous multitude of both ' sexes froin meeting together in so clandefine a man
Not long after the perusal of this letter, I received anather upon the same subject; which by the date and stile of it, I take to be written by some young Templar.
Middle-Temple, 1710-11. WHEN a man has been guilty of any vice or folly,
I think the best 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 some time in February • last I went to the Tuesday's masquerade. Upon my first
going in I was attacked by half a dozen female Quakers, • who seemed willing to adopt me for a brother; but upon
a nearer examination I found they were a fifterhood of
coquettes disguised in that precife habit. I was soon after • taken out to dance, and, as I fancied, by a woman of
the first quality: for she was very tall, and moved • gracefully As soon 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 heedless lover does not know
" I pronounced these words with such a languishing air, " that I had some reason to conclude I had made a con
quest. She told me that the hoped my face was not
a-kin to my tongue; and looking upon her watch, I. • accidentally discovered the figure of a coronet on the
back part of it. I was fo transported 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 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 reason to with • 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 counters. • Thus, Sir, you see how I have mistaken a cloud • for a Juno: and if you can make any use of this ad• venture, for the benefit of those who may possibly be • as vain young coxcombs as myself, I do most heartily give you leave.
• I am,
• Your most humble admirer,
« B. L.
I design to visit the next Masquerade myself, in the same habit I wore at Grand Cairo; and till then shall fufpend my judgınent of this midnight entertainment. C.
No. IX. SATURDAY, MARCH 10.
Tigris agit rabidâ cum tigride pacem
MAN is faid to be a sociable animal, and, as an in
stance 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 themfelves agree in any particular, though ever so trivial, they establish themselves into a kind of fraternity, and meet once or twice a week upon the account of such a fantastic refernblance. I know a considerable markettown, 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 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 pailage, 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 consisted but of fifteen perfons, weighed above three tun!
In opposition to this fociety there fprung up another, composed of scarecrows and skeletons, who being very meagre and envious, did all they could to thwart the des figns 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 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 thould be annually chosen out of the two clubs; by which mcans 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 Chares the Second, and admitted into it men of all qualities and profeífions, provided they agreed in the surname of King, which, as they in.agined, fufficiently declar the owners of it to be altogether untainted with republican and antimonarchical principles.
A christian name has likewise been often used as a badge of distinction, and made the occasion of a club. That of the Georges, which used to meet at the sign of the George on St. George's day, and wear before George, is still fresh in every one's memory.
There are at present, in leveral parts of this city, what they call Streer-Clubs, in which the chief inhabitants of the street converfe together every night. I remember, upon my enquiring after lodgings in Ormond-freet, the landlord, to recommend that quarter of the town, told me, there was at that tiine a very good club in it; he also told me, upon farther discourse with him, that two or three noily country-lquires, who were fettled there the vear before, had corfuerably funk the price of houtes rent; and that the club (to prevent the like inconveniencies for the future) had thoughts of taking every houte that became vacant into the own hands, till thry bad found a tenant for it of a fociable nature and youdi converfation.
The Hum-Drum club, of which I was formerly an unworthy member, was made up of very honest gentlemen, of peaccable dilpofitions, that used to fit together, smoke their pipes, and try nothing till midnight. The Mum-club, as I am informed, is an institution of the fame nature, and as grtat an enemy to noise.
After thcfe two innocent fuciities, I cannot forbear mentioning a very m Ichievous one, that was erected in the reign of King Charles the Second: I mean the Club VOLI.