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

No. 9
Saturday, March 10, 1711. Addison.
Tigris agit rabida cum tigride pacem
Perpetuam, saevis inter se convenit ursis.


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 Sett of Men find themselves agree in any Particular, tho’ never so trivial, they establish themselves into a kind of Fraternity, and meet once or twice a Week, upon the Account of such a Fantastick-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 of Folding-Doors. If a Candidate for this Corpulent 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 Folding-Doors 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 Tun.

In Opposition to this Society, there sprung up another composed of Scare-Crows and Skeletons, who being very meagre and envious, did all they could to thwart the Designs of their Bulky Brethren, whom they represented 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 should be annually chosen out of the two Clubs; by which Means the principal Magistrates are at this Day coupled like Rabbets, 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 Professions, provided they agreed in this Sir-name of ‘King’, which, as they imagined, sufficiently declared the Owners of it to be altogether untainted with Republican and Anti-Monarchical 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 swear ‘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 enquiring 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.

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, smoak 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.