No. 274. Monday, January 14, 1712. Steele.

Audire est operæ pretium, procedere recte Qui moechis non vultis.

I have upon several Occasions (that have occurred since I first took into my Thoughts the present State of Fornication) weighed with my self, in behalf of guilty Females, the Impulses of Flesh and Blood, together with the Arts and Gallantries of crafty Men; and reflect with some Scorn that most Part of what we in our Youth think gay and polite, is nothing else but an Habit of indulging a Pruriency that Way. It will cost some Labour to bring People to so lively a Sense of this, as to recover the manly Modesty in the Behaviour of my Men Readers, and the bashful Grace in the Faces of my Women; but in all Cases which come into Debate, there are certain things previously to be done before we can have a true Light into the Subject Matter; therefore it will, in the first Place, be necessary to consider the impotent Wenchers and industrious Haggs, who are supplied with, and are constantly supplying new Sacrifices to the Devil of Lust. You are to know then, if you are so happy as not to know it already, that the great Havock which is made in the Habitations of Beauty and Innocence, is committed by such as can only lay waste and not enjoy the Soil. When you observe the present State of Vice and Virtue, the Offenders are such as one would think should have no Impulse to what they are pursuing; as in Business, you see sometimes Fools pretend to be Knaves, so in Pleasure, you will find old Men set up for Wenchers. This latter sort of Men are the great Basis and Fund of Iniquity in the Kind we are speaking of: You shall have an old rich Man often receive Scrawls from the several Quarters of the Town, with Descriptions of the new Wares in their Hands, if he will please to send Word when he will be waited on. This Interview is contrived, and the Innocent is brought to such Indecencies as from Time to Time banish Shame and raise Desire. With these Preparatives the Haggs break their Wards by little and little, till they are brought to lose all Apprehensions of what shall befall them in the Possession of younger Men. It is a common Postscript of an Hagg to a young Fellow whom she invites to a new Woman, She has, I assure you, seen none but old Mr. Such-a-one. It pleases the old Fellow that the Nymph is brought to him unadorned, and from his Bounty she is accommodated with enough to dress her for other Lovers. This is the most ordinary Method of bringing Beauty and Poverty into the Possession of the Town: But the particular Cases of kind Keepers, skilful Pimps, and all others who drive a separate Trade, and are not in the general Society or Commerce of Sin, will require distinct Consideration. At the same time that we are thus severe on the Abandoned, we are apt to represent the Case of others with that Mitigation as the Circumstances demand. Calling Names does no Good; to speak worse of any thing than it deserves, does only take off from the Credit of the Accuser, and has implicitly the Force of an Apology in the Behalf of the Person accused. We shall therefore, according as the Circumstances differ, vary our Appellations of these Criminals: Those who offend only against themselves, and are not Scandals to Society, but out of Deference to the sober Part of the World, have so much Good left in them as to be ashamed, must not be huddled in the common Word due to the worst of Women; but Regard is to be had to their Circumstances when they fell, to the uneasy Perplexity under which they lived under senseless and severe Parents, to the Importunity of Poverty, to the Violence of a Passion in its Beginning well grounded, and all other Alleviations which make unhappy Women resign the Characteristick of their Sex, Modesty. To do otherwise than thus, would be to act like a Pedantick Stoick, who thinks all Crimes alike, and not like an impartial SPECTATOR, who looks upon them with all the Circumstances that diminish or enhance the Guilt. I am in Hopes, if this Subject be well pursued, Women will hereafter from their Infancy be treated with an Eye to their future State in the World; and not have their Tempers made too untractable from an improper Sourness or Pride, or too complying from Familiarity or Forwardness contracted at their own Houses. After these Hints on this Subject, I shall end this Paper with the following genuine Letter; and desire all who think they may be concerned in future Speculations on this Subject, to send in what they have to say for themselves for some Incidents in their Lives, in order to have proper Allowances made for their Conduct.

Mr. SPECTATOR, January 5, 1711.

The Subject of your Yesterdays Paper is of so great Importance, and the thorough handling of it may be so very useful to the Preservation of many an innocent young Creature, that I think every one is obliged to furnish you with what Lights he can, to expose the pernicious Arts and Practices of those unnatural Women called Bawds. In order to this the enclosed is sent you, which is verbatim the Copy of a Letter written by a Bawd of Figure in this Town to a noble Lord. I have concealed the Names of both, my Intention being not to expose the Persons but the Thing. I am, SIR, Your humble Servant.

_My Lord_,
I having a great Esteem for your Honour, and a better Opinion of
you than of any of the Quality, makes me acquaint you of an Affair
that I hope will oblige you to know. I have a Niece that came to
Town about a Fortnight ago. Her Parents being lately dead she came
to me, expecting to a found me in so good a Condition as to a set
her up in a Milliners Shop. Her Father gave Fourscore Pounds with
her for five Years: Her Time is out, and she is not Sixteen; as
pretty a black Gentlewoman as ever you saw, a little Woman, which I
know your Lordship likes: well shaped, and as fine a Complection for
Red and White as ever I saw; I doubt not but your Lordship will be
of the same Opinion. She designs to go down about a Month hence
except I can provide for her, which I cannot at present. Her Father
was one with whom all he had died with him, so there is four
Children left destitute; so if your Lordship thinks fit to make an
Appointment where I shall wait on you with my Niece, by a Line or
two, I stay for your Answer; for I have no Place fitted up since I
left my House, fit to entertain your Honour. I told her she should
go with me to see a Gentleman a very good Friend of mine; so I
desire you to take no Notice of my Letter by reason she is ignorant
of the Ways of the Town. My Lord, I desire if you meet us to come
alone; for upon my Word and Honour you are the first that ever I
mentioned her to. So I remain,
_Your Lordships
Most humble Servant to Command._
I beg of you to burn it when you've read it.


Translation of motto:
HOR. 1 Sat. ii. 37.
'All you who think the city ne'er can thrive
Till every cuckold-maker's flay'd alive,