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,
Your most obedient, Etc.
'You and I were press'd against each other last Winter in a Crowd, in which uneasy Posture we suffer'd together for almost Half an Hour. I thank you for all your Civilities ever since, in being of my Acquaintance wherever you meet me. But the other Day you pulled off your Hat to me in the Park, when I was walking with my Mistress: She did not like your Air, and said she wonder'd what strange Fellows I was acquainted with. Dear Sir, consider it is as much as my Life is Worth, if she should think we were intimate; therefore I earnestly intreat you for the Future to take no Manner of Notice of,
Your obliged humble Servant,
[A like ] Impertinence is also very troublesome to the superior and more intelligent Part of the fair Sex. It is, it seems, a great Inconvenience, that those of the meanest Capacities will pretend to make Visits, tho' indeed they are qualify'd rather to add to the Furniture of the House (by filling an empty Chair) than to the Conversation they come into when they visit. A Friend of mine hopes for Redress in this Case, by the Publication of her Letter in my Paper; which she thinks those she would be rid of will take to themselves. It seems to be written with an Eye to one of those pert giddy unthinking Girls, who, upon the Recommendation only of an agreeable Person and a fashionable Air, take themselves to be upon a Level with Women of the greatest Merit.
'I take this Way to acquaint you with what common Rules and Forms would never permit me to tell you otherwise; to wit, that you and I, tho' Equals in Quality and Fortune, are by no Means suitable Companions. You are, 'tis true, very pretty, can dance, and make a very good Figure in a publick Assembly; but alass, Madam, you must go no further; Distance and Silence are your best Recommendations; therefore let me beg of you never to make me any more Visits. You come in a literal Sense to see one, for you have nothing to say. I do not say this that I would by any Means lose your Acquaintance; but I would keep it up with the Strictest Forms of good Breeding. Let us pay Visits, but never see one another: If you will be so good as to deny your self always to me, I shall return the Obligation by giving the same Orders to my Servants. When Accident makes us meet at a third Place, we may mutually lament the Misfortune of never finding one another at home, go in the same Party to a Benefit-Play, and smile at each other and put down Glasses as we pass in our Coaches. Thus we may enjoy as much of each others Friendship as we are capable: For there are some People who are to be known only by Sight, with which sort of Friendship I hope you will always honour,
Madam, Your most obedient humble Servant, Mary Tuesday.
P.S. I subscribe my self by the Name of the Day I keep, that my supernumerary Friends may know who I am.
[Footnote 1: these People]
[Footnote 2: Clinch of Barnet, whose place of performance was at the corner of Bartholomew Lane, behind the Royal Exchange, imitated, according to his own advertisement,
'the Horses, the Huntsmen and a Pack of Hounds, a Sham Doctor, an old Woman, the Bells, the Flute, the Double Curtell (or bassoon) and the Organ,--all with his own Natural Voice, to the greatest perfection.'
The price of admission was a shilling.]
[Footnote 3: This]
To prevent all Mistakes that may happen
among Gentlemen of the other End of the Town,
who come but once a Week to St. _James's_ Coffee-house,
either by miscalling the Servants,
or requiring such things from them
as are not properly within their respective Provinces;
this is to give Notice,
that Kidney, Keeper of the Book-Debts of the outlying Customers, and Observer of those who go off without paying, having resigned that Employment, is succeeded by John Sowton; to whose Place of Enterer of Messages and first Coffee-Grinder, William Bird is promoted; and Samuel Burdock comes as Shooe-Cleaner in the Room of the said Bird.
R.Translation of motto: