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6 are committed in Berwick or Exeter, as what is • done in my own family. In a word, Sir, I have ! my correspondents in the remotest parts of the na. « tion, who send me up punctual accounts from time - to time of all the little irregularities that fall under · • their notice in their several districts and divisions.
"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 . describe every parish by its impieties, and can tell " you in which of our streets lewdness prevails, which " gaming has taken possession of, and where drunken(ness has got the better of them both. When I am o disposed to raise a fine for the poor, I know the 6 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
information of a certain irregular assembly, which " I think falls very properly under your observation, • especially since the persons it is composed of are • criminals too considerable for the animadversions
of our society. I mean, Sir, the Midnight Mask, o which has of late been very frequently held in one o of the most conspicuous parts of the town, and which " I hear will be continued with additions and improve! ments. As all the persons who compose this law" les assembly are masked, we dare not attack any of " them in our way, lest we should send a Woman of " Quality to Bridewell, or a Peer of Great Britain to " the Counter! besides that, their numbers are so ( very great, that I am afraid they would be able to
routour whole fraternity, though we were accompased with all our guard of constables. Both these
reasons, which secure them from our authority, ( make them obnoxious to yours; as both their dis
guise and their numbers will give no particular r person reason to think himself affronted by you. .. If we are rightly informed, the rules that are obo served by this new society are wonderfully contrivied for the advancement of cuckoldom. The wo(men 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 6. please, shew their faces by consent. Whispers,
squeezes, nods, and embraces, are the innocent free.
doms of the place. In short, the whole design of this • libidinous assembly seems to terminate in assigna• tions and intrigues; and I hope you will take effec• tual methods by your public advice and admonitions, • to prevent such a promiscuous multitude of both • sexes from meeting together in so clandestine a i manner.
í T. B.
Not long after the perusal of this letter, I received another upon the same subject; which by the date and style 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 folIly, I think the best atonement he can make for it, « is to warn others not to fall into the like. In order 6 to this I must acquaint you, that some time in Fe. <bruary last I went to the Tuesday's masquerade. • Upon my first going in I was attacked by half a I dozen of female Quakers, who seemed willing to " adopt me for a brother, but upon a nearer examiI nation I found they were a sisterhood of coquettes "disguised in that precise 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 I very well read in Waller, I repeated to her the four • following verses, out of his poem to Vandyke:
The heedless lover does not know
• 1 pronounced these words with such a languishing ( air, that I had some reason to conclude that I had I made a conquest. She told me that she hoped o my face was not a kin to my tongue; and looking I upon her watch, I accidentally discovered the figure
of a coronet on the back part of it. I was so trans
ported with the thought of such an amour, that I o 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 she gave me a ' private meeting the next day, without page or I 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 wish " 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 froin Covent-Garden, and that "I am not the first cully whom she has passed herself
upon for a countess.
Thus, Sir, you see how I have mistaken a cloud for a Juno: and if you can make any use of this ? adventure, for the benefit of those who may possibly
be as vain young coxcombs as myself, I do most • heartily give you leave.
"I am, Sir,
B. L. I design to visit the next Masquerade myself, in the same habit I wore at Grand Cairo; and till then shall suspend my judgment of this midnight entertain ment.
No. IX. SATURDAY, MARCH 10.
Tigris agit rabida cum tigride pacem
Tiger with tiger, bear with bear, you'll find
In leagues offensive and defensive joind. TATE. 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 set of men find themselves 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 resemblance. I know a considerable market-town, in which there was a club of dat 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 uncualified; 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 ton!
In opposition to this society there sprung up another, composed of scarecrows 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 accommo. dation : 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 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 the surname of King, which, as they imagined, sufficiently declared 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 swear before George, is still fresh in every one's memory.