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widow, in ancient times, could not without indecency receive a second husband, until she bad woven a shroud for her deceased lord, or the next of kin to him. Accordingly, the chaste Penelope, having, as she thought, lost Ulysses at sea, she employed her time in preparing a winding sheet for Laertes, the father of her husband. The story of her web being very famous, and yet not sufficiently known in its several circnm. stances, I shall give it to my reader, as Homer makes one of her woners relate it.
“ Sweet hope she gave to every youth apart,
" Thus she. Nor did my friends mistrust the guile;
-Tigris agit rabida cum tigride pacem
AN is said to be a sociable animal, and, as an inWe 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 themselves agree in any particular, though never so trivial, they establish themselves into a kind of fraternity, and meet once or twice a week, upon the account of such a fantastic 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 mode. rate size, and the other by a pair of folding-doors. If a candidate for this corpulent club could make his en. trance 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 im. mediately 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 tons.
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 annu. ally chosen out of the two clubs; by which means the principal inagistrates 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 professions, provided they agreed in this sirname of King, which, as they imagined, eufficiently declared the owners of it to be altogether untainted with republican and anti-monarchical principles.
A christian nanie has likewise been often used as a badge of distinction, and made the occasion of a clab. That of the George's 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 inqniring 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 inconveniences 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, sinoke their pipes, and say nothing till midnight.
The Mum Club (as I am inforined) is an institution of the same nature, and as great an enemy to noise.
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 done 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 io 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 eat. ing and drinking, which are poin's wherein most men agree, and in which the learned and illiterate, the doll and the airy, the philosopher and the buffoon, can all of them bear a part. The Kit-Cat itself is said to have taken its original from a mutton-pie. The Beef-steak and October 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 kuit together, by a 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 cheerful conversation, there may be something very useful in these little institutions and establisbments.
Ne, pueri, ne tanta animis assuescite bella: .
THERE cannot be a greater judgment befal a coun
try than a dreadful spirit of division, which rends a government into two distinct people, and makes them greater strangers and more averse to one another, than if they were actually two different nations. The effects of such a division are pernicious to the last degree, not only with regard to those advantages which they give the common enemy, but to those private evils which they produce in the heart of almost every particular person. This influence is very fatal both to nien's morals and their understandings; it sinks the virtue of a nation, and not only so, but destroys even common sense.
A furious party.spirit, when it rages in its full violence, exerts itself in civil war and bloodshed; and when it is under greatest restraints, naturally breaks out in falsehood, detraction, calamny, and a partial administration of justice. In a word, it fills a nation with spleen and rancour, and extinguishes all the seeds of good-nature, compassion, and humanity.
Plutarch says very finely, that a man should not allow himself to hate even his enemies, because, says be, if you indulge this passion on some occasions, it will rise of itself in others; if you hate your enemies, you will contract such a vicious habit of mind, as by