No. 205. Thursday, October 25, 1711. Addison.

Decipimur specie recti

When I meet with any vicious Character that is not generally known, in order to prevent its doing Mischief, I draw it at length, and set it up as a Scarecrow; by which means I do not only make an Example of the Person to whom it belongs, but give Warning to all Her Majesty's Subjects, that they may not suffer by it. Thus, to change the [Allusion,[1]] I have marked out several of the Shoals and Quicksands of Life, and am continually employed in discovering those [which [2]] are still concealed, in order to keep the Ignorant and Unwary from running upon them. It is with this Intention that I publish the following Letter, which brings to light some Secrets of this Nature.


There are none of your Speculations which I read over with greater Delight, than those which are designed for the Improvement of our Sex. You have endeavoured to correct our unreasonable Fears and Superstitions, in your Seventh and Twelfth Papers; our Fancy for Equipage, in your Fifteenth; our Love of Puppet-Shows, in your Thirty-First; our Notions of Beauty, in your Thirty-Third; our Inclination for Romances, in your Thirty-Seventh; our Passion for French Fopperies, in your Forty-Fifth; our Manhood and Party-zeal, in your Fifty-Seventh; our Abuse of Dancing, in your Sixty-Sixth and Sixty-Seventh; our Levity, in your Hundred and Twenty-Eighth; our Love of Coxcombs, in your Hundred and Fifty-Fourth, and Hundred and Fifty-Seventh; our Tyranny over the Henpeckt, in your Hundred and Seventy-Sixth. You have described the Pict in your Forty-first; the Idol, in your Seventy-Third; the Demurrer, in your Eighty-Ninth; the Salamander, in your Hundred and Ninety-Eighth. You have likewise taken to pieces our Dress, and represented to us the Extravagancies we are often guilty of in that Particular. You have fallen upon our Patches, in your Fiftieth and Eighty-First; our Commodes, in your Ninety-Eighth; our Fans in your Hundred and Second; our Riding Habits in your Hundred and Fourth; our Hoop-petticoats, in your Hundred and Twenty-Seventh; besides a great many little Blemishes which you have touched upon in your several other Papers, and in those many Letters that are scattered up and down your Works. At the same Time we must own, that the Compliments you pay our Sex are innumerable, and that those very Faults which you represent in us, are neither black in themselves nor, as you own, universal among us. But, Sir, it is plain that these your Discourses are calculated for none but the fashionable Part of Womankind, and for the Use of those who are rather indiscreet than vicious. But, Sir, there is a Sort of Prostitutes in the lower Part of our Sex, who are a Scandal to us, and very well deserve to fall under your Censure. I know it would debase your Paper too much to enter into the Behaviour of these Female Libertines; but as your Remarks on some Part of it would be a doing of Justice to several Women of Virtue and Honour, whose Reputations suffer by it, I hope you will not think it improper to give the Publick some Accounts of this Nature. You must know, Sir, I am provoked to write you this Letter by the Behaviour of an infamous Woman, who having passed her Youth in a most shameless State of Prostitution, is now one of those who gain their Livelihood by seducing others, that are younger than themselves, and by establishing a criminal Commerce between the two Sexes. Among several of her Artifices to get Money, she frequently perswades a vain young Fellow, that such a Woman of Quality, or such a celebrated Toast, entertains a secret Passion for him, and wants nothing but an Opportunity of revealing it: Nay, she has gone so far as to write Letters in the Name of a Woman of Figure, to borrow Money of one of these foolish Roderigos, [3] which she has afterwards appropriated to her own Use. In the mean time, the Person who has lent the Money, has thought a Lady under Obligations to him, who scarce knew his Name; and wondered at her Ingratitude when he has been with her, that she has not owned the Favour, though at the same time he was too much a Man of Honour to put her in mind of it.

When this abandoned Baggage meets with a Man who has Vanity enough to give Credit to Relations of this nature, she turns him to very good Account, by repeating Praises that were never uttered, and delivering Messages that were never sent. As the House of this shameless Creature is frequented by several Foreigners, I have heard of another Artifice, out of which she often raises Money. The Foreigner sighs after some British Beauty, whom he only knows by Fame: Upon which she promises, if he can be secret, to procure him a Meeting. The Stranger, ravished at his good Fortune, gives her a Present, and in a little time is introduced to some imaginary Title; for you must know that this cunning Purveyor has her Representatives upon this Occasion, of some of the finest Ladies in the Kingdom. By this Means, as I am informed, it is usual enough to meet with a German Count in foreign Countries, that shall make his Boasts of Favours he has received from Women of the highest Ranks, and the most unblemished Characters. Now, Sir, what Safety is there for a Woman's Reputation, when a Lady may be thus prostituted as it were by Proxy, and be reputed an unchaste Woman; as the Hero in the ninth Book of Dryden's Virgil is looked upon as a Coward, because the Phantom which appeared in his Likeness ran away from Turnus? You may depend upon what I relate to you to be Matter of Fact, and the Practice of more than one of these female Pandars. If you print this Letter, I may give you some further Accounts of this vicious Race of Women. Your humble Servant, BELVIDERA.

I shall add two other Letters on different Subjects to fill up my Paper.


I am a Country Clergyman, and hope you will lend me your Assistance in ridiculing some little Indecencies which cannot so properly be exposed from the Pulpit.

A Widow Lady, who straggled this Summer from London into my Parish for the Benefit of the Air, as she says, appears every Sunday at Church with many fashionable Extravagancies, to the great Astonishment of my Congregation.

But what gives us the most Offence is her theatrical Manner of Singing the Psalms. She introduces above fifty Italian Airs into the hundredth Psalm, and whilst we begin All People in the old solemn Tune of our Forefathers, she in a quite different Key runs Divisions on the Vowels, and adorns them with the Graces of Nicolini; if she meets with Eke or Aye, which are frequent in the Metre of Hopkins and Sternhold,[4] we are certain to hear her quavering them half a Minute after us to some sprightly Airs of the Opera.

I am very far from being an Enemy to Church Musick; but fear this Abuse of it may make my Parish ridiculous, who already look on the Singing Psalms as an Entertainment, and no Part of their Devotion: Besides, I am apprehensive that the Infection may spread, for Squire Squeekum, who by his Voice seems (if I may use the Expression) to be cut out for an Italian Singer, was last Sunday practising the same Airs.

I know the Lady's Principles, and that she will plead the Toleration, which (as she fancies) allows her Non-Conformity in this Particular; but I beg you to acquaint her, That Singing the Psalms in a different Tune from the rest of the Congregation, is a Sort of Schism not tolerated by that Act.

I am, SIR, Your very humble Servant, R. S.


In your Paper upon Temperance, you prescribe to us a Rule of drinking, out of Sir William Temple, in the following Words; The first Glass for myself, the second for my Friends, the third for Good-humour, and the fourth for mine Enemies. Now, Sir, you must know, that I have read this your Spectator, in a Club whereof I am a Member; when our President told us, there was certainly an Error in the Print, and that the Word Glass should be Bottle; and therefore has ordered me to inform you of this Mistake, and to desire you to publish the following Errata: In the Paper of Saturday, Octob. 13, Col. 3. Line 11, for Glass read Bottle.

Yours, Robin Good-fellow.


[Footnote 1: Metaphor,]

[Footnote 2: that]

[Footnote 3: As the Roderigo whose money Iago used.]

[Footnote 4: Thomas Sternhold who joined Hopkins, Norton, and others in translation of the Psalms, was groom of the robes to Henry VIII. and Edward VI.]


Translation of motto:
HOR. Ars Poet. v. 25.
'Deluded by a seeming excellence.'