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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/267

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THE LEADER OF FASHION.

to conceal their excitement, especially when playing the game of quinze. All, moreover, wore their coats hind-side before, for luck.

Lord David was a member of the Beefsteak Club, the Surly Club, and of the Splitfarthing Club; of the Cross Club, and the Scratchpenny Club; of the Sealed Knot, a Royalist Club; and of the Martinus Scribblerus, founded by Swift, to take the place of the Rota, founded by Milton. Though handsome, he belonged to the Ugly Club. This club was dedicated to deformity. The members agreed to fight, not about a beautiful woman, but about an ugly man. The hall of the club was adorned by hideous portraits,—Thersites, Triboulet, Duns, Hudibras, Scarron; over the chimney was Æsop, between two men,—Codes and Camoëns,—each blind in one eye (Codes being blind in the left, and Camoens in the right eye), so arranged that the two profiles without eyes were turned to each other. The day that the beautiful Mrs. Visart caught the smallpox, the Ugly Club toasted her. This club was still in existence in the beginning of the nineteenth century, and Mirabeau was elected an honorary member.

Since the restoration of Charles II., revolutionary clubs had been abolished. The tavern in the little street by Moorfields where the Calf's Head Club was held, had been pulled down; it was so called because on the 30th of January, the day on which the blood of Charles I. flowed on the scaffold, the members had drunk to the health of Cromwell out of the skull of a calf. To republican clubs had succeeded monarchical clubs. In them people amused themselves with decency. There was the Hell-fire Club, where they played at being impious. It was a joust of sacrilege; hell was put up at auction there to the highest bidder in blasphemy. There was the Butting Club, so called from its