Saturday, October 9, 2010

Boys' Night Out

[Edward Ward], A Compleat and Humorous Account of all the Remarkable Clubs and Societies in the Cities of London and Westminster..., 7th ed. (London: J. Wren, 1756), pp. 31-36 = Of the FARTING Club:
[31] Of all the fantastical Clubs that ever took Pains to make themselves stink in the Nostrils of the Public, sure no ridiculous Community ever came up to this windy Society, which was certainly establish'd by a Parcel of empty Sparks, about Thirty Years since, at a Public House in Cripplegate Parish, where they used to meet once a Week to poison the neighbouring Air with their unsavory Crepitations, and were so vain in their Ambition to out Fart one another, that they used to diet themselves against their Club Nights with Cabbage, Onions, and Pease-Porridge, that every one's Bumfiddle might be the better qualify'd to sound forth its Emulation. The Stewards, who were chosen once a Quarter, [32] being the Auricular Judges of all Fundamental Disputes that should arise between the Buttocks of the odoriferous Assembly. The Liquors that they drank, in order to tune their Arses, were new Ale and Juniper Water, till every one was swell'd like a blown Bag Pipe, and then they began to Thunder out whole Vollies, like a Regiment of Trainbands in a vigorous Attack upon Bunhill-Fields Dunghill, till the Room they sat in stunk ten Times stronger than a Tom-Turd's Lay-stall: Yet, in their windy Eruptions, they had so nice a Regard to Lapet-Cleanliness, that an old Alms-Woman had a better Pension from the Club, than she had from the Parish, to give her constant Attendance in the next Room, and if any Member was suspected of a Brewers Miscarriage, he was presently sent in to be examined by the Matron, who, after searching his Breeches, and narrowly inspecting the hind Lappet of his Shirt, thro' her crack'd Spectacles, made her Report accordingly; if unsoil'd, then a Spank on the Bum was given to the Looby, as a Token of his Cleanliness; but if the nasty Bird had befoul'd his Nest, then, Beshit upon Honour, was her return to the Board, and the laxative Offender was amerc'd for his Default. When ever any Health was begun in the Society, it was always honour'd with the windy Compliment of a Gun from the Stern, and drank with as much Formality, as Commmanders push about the Royal Health, on board their wooden Citadels, every Member's Affection to the Person nam'd, being measured by the Strength and Loudness of the stinking Report with which he crown'd his Bumper, Thus whoever wanted a Fart for a Great Man's Health, was enjoyn'd the Pennance of a Brimmer extraordinary; also look'd upon by the whole Company as an unmannerly Fellow. They were all profitable Customers to the Grey-Pea-Woman, who used to double her Quantity upon the Club Night, for the Benefit of the Society, and attend them as constantly as the Dame with her Firmity does the Hospital Gate every Smithfield Market, each charging his Guts with the Fartative Pills, by [33] shoveling down whole Handfuls, that what went in like Bullets, might come out like Gunpowder. Tho' their Weekly Meeting was held in Honour to the Rump, yet every Club Night they drank the King's Health, and then there was such Trumping about to signalize their Loyalty, that the Victualler was forced to burn Rosemary in his Kitchen, for fear the Expansion of the nauseous Fumes should poison his other Customers: So that though the Society was begun and carried on for some Time with abundance of Secrecy, yet they were soon smelt out, insomuch that the Sound of their Bumfiddles reach'd the Ears of the Neighbourhood, where, in an Alley adjacent, there happened to dwell an arch Fellow, who by long Study and Experience, had acquir'd an admirable Perfection in the new Art of Farting, by clapping his right Hand under his left Arm-pit, where he would gather Wind, and discharge it so surprizingly, that he would give you a Lady's Fart, a Brewer's Fart, a Bumkin's Fart, an old Woman's Slur, or a Maiden Fizzle, &c. so very tunably and natural, that they should entertain the Ears without offending the Nostrils, and provoke Laughter by the Sound, without the Punishment of a Stink: And this windy Operator having heard of the Fame of this expert Concert of Wind Music, made Interest to be admitted into the Trumpeting Society, that he might manifest his Excellence among the cracking Performers, still concealing to himself the Mystery he was Master of, that what he did by Art, might pass for the Works of Nature; and though it was his daily Practice to offer his Farts at Taverns, as Fiddlers at a Fair do their Scrapes and Sonnets, yet he did not care they should know his Calling, for fear they should except against so mercenary a Factor as should make Farts a Commodity. No sooner had they received him into their foisting Assembly, and, according to Custom, welcom'd their new Brother with a thundering Peal of Buttock Ordinance, but, in Respect to the Company, he faces them with his Arse, and returns their Compliment with such a succession of [34] Trumps, that he gave them more Diversity of Sounds in one cleanly Volley, than their whole Concert of Fundaments were able to imitate; upon which he was as kindly embrac'd, with all the Marks of Favour, as if they took him to be a God of the Winds, and his Arse to be a Miracle, allowing him at once to be an absolute Master of the Science of Ventosity, and respected him as much as a School of young Fencers do the Gladiator that teaches them: Every crepitant Member straining his Backside to come up to the Excellency of their worthy Example, till the old Woman was forc'd to run home for fresh Dishclouts, to wipe away the Dregs of their over-fruitful Endeavours, till at last some of the Members, through their penetrating Judgment, discovering the Fallacy, and finding the croaking Harmony they so much admir'd to be perform'd by Art instead of Nature, in a mighty Passion, they stunk him out of the Society, for an Emperic and a Counterfeit, though, upon humble Submission, they afterwards admitted him into a servile Post, and allow'd him Sixpence a Night to be Musician in Ordinary to their Farting Club.
Since he who by deceitful Arts,
With Arms instead of Arse lets Farts,
Shall be despis'd, because his Fun,
Can't fairly call the Sound its own.
Then what must he deserves who steals
His Wit, and treads on others Heels?
Whose busy Tongue makes public Use
Of what his Brains could ne'er produce.
Thus the stinking Society continued their Farting Concert for some Years with abundance of Decorum, till they had brought their Arses, by the Help of their Musician, into such excellent Tune, that they could command their Fundaments with as much Dexterity, as the best of the City Waits can a double Curtill; insomuch, that when any of the Members were so merrily disposed, as to entertain the rest with a Song or [35] Madrigal, the whole Choir of Bumfiddles struck into the Chorus, in such admirable Order, that a Stranger might have thought the whole Society had fed upon Scotch Bagpipes, and that the Drones had struck in their Arses, not that I can say they made a sweet Harmony, because the Breath of their Instruments came from such rotten Lungs, that every now and then would follow the Sound, In spite of all Retention, In these sort of Windy Recreations, they used to pass away their Club Evenings, till at length they grew so famous through the whole Parish, that their Neighbours and Passengers used to stop under the Window, and lend an Ear to their Arses, as if their Farts had been as musical as a Noise of Trumpets; and the very Boys and Girls in Imitation of their Harmony, went trumping with their Mouths along the Streets to School, till their Masters were forced to whip them till they stunk, to make them leave off Farting. No sooner were they thus arrived to the Zenith of their Glory, insomuch that their Repute began to reach the Ears, if not the Nostrils, of the Public, but some of the leading Members of the Crack-Fart Community, by extravagantly eating of Cabbage-Porridge, to put their Instruments in Tune, flung themselves, some into the Cholic, and others into a Diarrhaea, that several of the best Performers went Farting out of the World, and left nothing to Posterity, but an odious Stink behind them, it being positively asserted, by the Physicians that attended them, that the windy Diets they had eaten to Excess, had begot a Hurricane in their Guts, which had blown the whole Frame of Nature off the Hinges, and for want of a free Discharge through the Intestinum Rectum, had extended the Lactes into perfect Organ-Pipes, made Bellows of their Lungs, and puffed up the Vessels into such Turgent Vesicles, that had quite stagnated the Diastole Motion upon the Arteries, and consequently stopped the Pulsation of the Heart, to the Death of the Patients; and though the Wind found Vent just upon their Expiration, yet Nature was then too far spent to be relieved thereby. This Opinion of the Consult [36] of Physicians, taking Wind among the surviving Society, who attended several of their Brethren to the Grave, to honour their defunct Members with a Volley of Farts, as the military Heroes discharge a Round of Musquets, at the noble Interment of a Brother Soldier, and finding some Reafons to suspect that the same Food would bring them to the same End, they had the Wit to dissolve their Club, change their Cabbage Diet into substantial Beef, and to tie up their Fundaments by Degrees, from their accustomary Crepitation.
We read that Tubal Cain first found
In Cockle-Shells, sweet Musicks Sound;
And that the rural Nymphs and Swains,
Tun'd Reeds and Oat Straws on their Plains:
But sure no mortal Flesh aud Blood,
E'er heard before, since Noah's Flood,
Of Musick fizzl'd from a Gut,
Extended to the windy Scut.
Well may so many Birds excreet
The Dregs and Fesis of their Wit,
In beasty Songs, and bawdy Verses,
Since Men play Tunes upon their Arses.
E'n let such Heads and Tails unite,
That one may sing what th'others Write;
For swelling Rhimes are often found,
Like nauseous Farts, meer empty Sound.

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