Wednesday, March 28, 1711. Steele.
Accurrit quidam notus mihi nomine tantum;
Arreptaque manu, Quid agis dulcissime rerum?
There are in this Town a great Number of insignificant People, who are by no means fit for the better sort of Conversation, and yet have an impertinent Ambition of appearing with those to whom they are not welcome. If you walk in the Park, one of them will certainly joyn with you, though you are in Company with Ladies; if you drink a Bottle, they will find your Haunts. What makes [such Fellows ] the more burdensome is, that they neither offend nor please so far as to be taken Notice of for either. It is, I presume, for this Reason that my Correspondents are willing by my Means to be rid of them. The two following Letters are writ by Persons who suffer by such Impertinence. A worthy old Batchelour, who sets in for his Dose of Claret every Night at such an Hour, is teized by a Swarm of them; who because they are sure of Room and good Fire, have taken it in their Heads to keep a sort of Club in his Company; tho’ the sober Gentleman himself is an utter Enemy to such Meetings.
‘The Aversion I for some Years have had to Clubs in general, gave me a perfect Relish for your Speculation on that Subject; but I have since been extremely mortified, by the malicious World’s ranking me amongst the Supporters of such impertinent Assemblies. I beg Leave to state my Case fairly; and that done, I shall expect Redress from your judicious Pen.
I am, Sir, a Batchelour of some standing, and a Traveller; my Business, to consult my own Humour, which I gratify without controuling other People’s; I have a Room and a whole Bed to myself; and I have a Dog, a Fiddle, and a Gun; they please me, and injure no Creature alive. My chief Meal is a Supper, which I always make at a Tavern. I am constant to an Hour, and not ill-humour’d; for which Reasons, tho’ I invite no Body, I have no sooner supp’d, than I have a Crowd about me of that sort of good Company that know not whither else to go. It is true every Man pays his Share, yet as they are Intruders, I have an undoubted Right to be the only Speaker, or at least the loudest; which I maintain, and that to the great Emolument of my Audience. I sometimes tell them their own in pretty free Language; and sometimes divert them with merry Tales, according as I am in Humour. I am one of those who live in Taverns to a great Age, by a sort of regular Intemperance; I never go to Bed drunk, but always flustered; I wear away very gently; am apt to be peevish, but never angry. Mr. SPECTATOR, if you have kept various Company, you know there is in every Tavern in Town some old Humourist or other, who is Master of the House as much as he that keeps it. The Drawers are all in Awe of him; and all the Customers who frequent his Company, yield him a sort of comical Obedience. I do not know but I may be such a Fellow as this my self. But I appeal to you, whether this is to be called a Club, because so many Impertinents will break in upon me, and come without Appointment? ‘Clinch of Barnet’  has a nightly Meeting, and shows to every one that will come in and pay; but then he is the only Actor. Why should People miscall things?
If his is allowed to be a Consort, why mayn’t mine be a Lecture? However, Sir, I submit it to you, and am,