Club Life of London HTML version

periods, or to assemble with reasonable limits, the histories of the
leading Associations of clubbable Men,—of Statesmen and
Politicians, Wits and Poets, Authors, Artists, and Actors, and "men
of wit and pleasure," which the town has presented since the days
of the Restoration; or in more direct succession, from the reign of
Queen Anne, and the days of the Tatler and Spectator, and other
Essayists in their wake.
The present Work aims to record this Club-life in a series of
sketches of the leading Societies, in which, without assuming the
gravity of history or biography, sufficient attention is paid to both
to give the several narratives the value of trustworthiness. From the
multitude of Clubs it has been found expedient to make a selection,
in which the Author has been guided by the popular interest
attached to their several histories. The same principle has been
adopted in bringing the Work up to our own time, in which the
customary reticence in such cases has been maintained.
Of interest akin to that of the Clubs have been considered scenes of
the Coffee-house and Tavern Life of the period, which partake of a
greater breadth of humour, and are, therefore, proportionally
attractive, for these sections of the Work. The antiquarianism is
sparse, or briefly descriptive; the main object being personal
characteristics, the life and manners, the sayings and doings, of
classes among whom conviviality is often mixed up with better
qualities, and the finest humanities are blended with the
gladiatorship and playfulness of wit and humour.
With a rich store of materials at his command, the Author, or
Compiler, has sought, by selection and condensation, to avoid the
long-windedness of story-telling; for the anecdote should be, like
the viand,—"'twere