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modestly prohibits one star from shining at the expense, or in the presence, of others of equal magnitude? Or is it, that, when a knot of learned personages are drawn together, they are apt to descant, in technical language, on subjects something beyond the comprehension of common mortals? and, when good manners prohibit this exclusive converse, that, an author is generally so little a man of the world, as to be unable, or unwilling, to descend to the small talk of the day?-Or is it not, rather, that, when in such company, a good thought, or new idea arises, the inspired person prefers to reserve it for his next Magazine Essay, his New Novel, or his long promised Treatise on Political Economy, rather than, by proclaiming it on the spot, to give his literary rivals the undue advantage of priority of publication?
Literary men seldom think aloud: they think upon paper, that their thoughts may not be thrown away. They are, moreover, in company, too much on the alert in making observations upon character, and in picking up the best thoughts of other persons, to be able to afford
their share of the general entertainment. When, however, there is only one learned Theban in company, he generally shines; for, he dreads no rivalry nor petty larceny, and he feels himself to be the representative of his fraternity in the General Congress of Society;—the Ambassador of Apollo, at the Court of the Muses,where he is called upon to support the credit of his profession:-the majority of his auditors consequently admire him for the instruction that falls from his lips; and they are grateful to him for removing the veil of ignorance from between their eyes and those subjects which he has particularly studied.
The best clubs, therefore, are those where men of letters, men of commerce, and men of the world, commune together: and we find now and then in a cathedral-town what perhaps is no longer to be found in the metropolis, an association in which all these elements are happily blended. Besides, the natural character there is not effaced and worn down ; a club, in a provincial city, being frequently a hortus siccus of all the varieties of civilized
society. There may be persons of lettered and studious habits amongst them, but not in sufficient numbers to feel a corporate spirit, or to overlay the native whim and humour of less cultured minds.
Since the time of Dr. Johnson, the Clubs of eminence in London have, for the most part, been assemblages of noblemen and gentlemen connected with the Court and with the Houses of Parliament. In this elevated society, it might be thought that there would be fewer peculiarities of character than in the inferior circles;—that the process of classical education, and the usages and forms of fashionable life, would have assimilated the different individuals to one model: such, however, is not always the case; for our readers will see, in the following pages, that the wits and humourists who formed, and do form, the brilliant coteries here alluded to, present a variety of character, as rich and as strongly marked, as is found in the celebrated comedy which has contributed to immortalize the name of one of their most distinguished members,-RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN.
INTRODUCTION INTO BROOKES'S.
It is proper to premise, that when any gentleman is desirous of being a member of Brookes's it is necessary that two members should propose him, and that his name, with those of the proposers, should be inscribed on a board over the fire-place of the club-room, for one month before his election or rejection is decided. This must be by ballot, and if even one black ball be thrown into the urn the candidate cannot be admitted. This rule in the olden time was, like the Median and Persian laws, never infringed; perhaps it is not now; but the present members of the club are not so rigid as to the character, quality, and fortune of