**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


No. 009 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

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 President 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.

Our Modern celebrated Clubs are founded upon Eating and Drinking, which are Points wherein most Men agree, and in which the Learned and Illiterate, the Dull and the Airy, the Philosopher and the Buffoon, can all of them bear a Part. The ‘Kit-Cat’ [1] it self is said to have taken its Original from a Mutton-Pye. The ‘Beef-Steak’ [2] and October [3] 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 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 chearful 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 Mechanicks, 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.

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 him a Kick upon the Shins.

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 smoaks.

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 with any Member of it.

XI. None of the Club shall have his Cloaths 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 have been with the ‘Leges Convivales’ of Ben. Johnson, [4] the Regulations of an old Roman Club cited by Lipsius, or the rules of a Symposium in an ancient Greek author.