I built it for the holders of the Allotment-grounds, and gave it them: only requiring them to manage it by a committee of their own appointing, and never to get drunk there. They never have got drunk there."
"Yet they have their beer freely?"
"O yes. As much as they choose to buy. The club gets its beer direct from the brewer, by the barrel. So they get it good; at once much cheaper, and much better, than at the public-house. The members take it in turns to be steward, and serve out the beer: if a man should decline to serve when his turn came, he would pay a fine of twopence. The steward lasts, as long as the barrel lasts. When there is a new barrel, there is a new steward."
"What a noble fire is roaring up that chimney!"
"Yes, a capital fire. Every member pays a halfpenny a week."
"Every member must be the holder of an Allotment-garden?"
"Yes; for which he pays five shillings a year. The Allotments you see about us, occupy some sixteen or eighteen acres, and each garden is as large as experience shows one man to be able to manage. You see how admirably they are tilled, and how much they get off them. They are always working in them in their spare hours; and when a man wants a mug of beer, instead of going off to the village and the public-house, he puts down his spade or his hoe, comes to the club- house and gets it, and goes back to his work. When he has done work, he likes to have his beer at the club, still, and to sit and look at his little crops as they thrive."
"They seem to manage the club very well."
"Perfectly well. Here are their own rules. They made them. I never interfere with them, except to advise them when they ask me."
RULES AND REGULATIONS MADE BY THE COMMITTEE From the 21st September, 1857
One half-penny per week to be paid to the club by each member
1.--Each member to draw the beer in order, according to the number of his allotment; on failing, a forfeit of twopence to be paid to the club.
2.--The member that draws the beer to pay for the same, and bring his ticket up receipted when the subscriptions are paid; on failing to do so, a penalty of sixpence to be forfeited and paid to the club.
3.--The subscriptions and forfeits to be paid at the club-room on the last Saturday night of each month.
4.--The subscriptions and forfeits to be cleared up every quarter; if not, a penalty of sixpence to be paid to the club.
5.--The member that draws the beer to be at the club-room by six o'clock every evening, and stay till ten; but in the event of no member being there, he may leave at nine; on failing so to attend, a penalty of sixpence to be paid to the club.
6.--Any member giving beer to a stranger in this club-room, excepting to his wife or family, shall be liable to the penalty of one shilling.
7.--Any member lifting his hand to strike another in this club-room shall be liable to the penalty of sixpence.
8.--Any member swearing in this club-room shall be liable to a penalty of twopence each time.
9.--Any member selling beer shall be expelled from the club.
10.--Any member wishing to give up his allotment, may apply to the committee, and they shall value the crop and the condition of the ground.