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 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.
The Corpulent Club did not meet 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 moderate size, and the other by a pair of folding-doors. If a candidate for this club could make his entrance 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 immediately thrown open for his reception, and he was saluted as a brother.
In opposition to this society there sprang 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.
The Hum-Drum Club, of which I was formerly an unworthy member, was made up of very honest gentlemen, of peacable dispositions, that used to sit together, smoke their pipes and say nothing till midnight.
Our modern celebrated clubs are founded upon eating and drinking, which are points wherein most men agree, and in which learned and illiterate, the dull and the airy, the philsopher and the buffoon, can all of them bear a part.
The Kit-Cat Club met at a Mutton-Pie house in Shire Lane by Temple Bar. The house was kept by Christopher Cat, after whom his pies were called Kit-Cats; with The Beef-Steak Club and October Club neither being averse to eating and drinking.
When men are thus knit together, by 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, there may be something very useful in these little institutions and establishments.
JOSEPH ADDISON 1711