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with candour, and act above the sense of what misinterpretation you may meet with, I beg the favour of
you to lay before all the world the unhappy condition of us poor vagrants, who are really in a way of labour instead of idleness. There are crowds of us whose manner of livelihood has long ceased to be pleasing to us; and who would willingly lead a new life, if the rigour of the virtuous did not for ever expel us from coming into the world again. As it now happens, to the eternal infamy of the male sex, falsehood among you is not reproachful, but credulity in woman is infamous.
Give me leave, sir, to give you my history. You are to know that I am a daughter of a man of a good reputation, tenant to a man of quality. The heir of this great house took it in his head to cast a favourable eye upon me, and succeeded. I do not pretend to say he promised me marriage: I was not a creature
silly enough to be taken by so foolish a story: but !) he ran away with me up to this town, and introduced
me to a grave inatron, with whom I boarded for a
day or two with great gravity, and was not a little *pleased with the change of my condition, from that
of a country life to the finest company, as I believed, in the whole world. My humble servant made me understand that I should always be kept in the plentiful condition I then enjoyed; when after a very great fondness towards me, he one day took his leave of me
for four or five days. In the evening of the same day hu
my good landlady came to me, and observing me very pensive, began to comfort me, and with a smile told me I must see the world. When I was deaf to all she could say to divert me, she began to tell me with a very frank air that I must be treated as I ought, and not take these squeamish humours upou me, for my friend had left me to the town; and, as their phrase is,
she expected I would see company, or I must be treated like what I had brought myself to. This put me into a fit of crying: and I immediately, in a true sense of my condition, threw myself on the floor, deploring my fate, calling upon all that was good and sacred to succour me. While I was in all this agony, I observed a decrepid old fellow come into the room, and looking with a sense of pleasure in his face at all my vehemence and transport. pause of my distresses I heard him say to the shameless old woman who stood by me, “She is certainly a new face, or else she acts it rarely." With that the gentlewoman, who was making her market of me, in all the turns of my person, the heaves of my passion, and the suitable change of my posture, took occasion to commend my neck, my shape, my eyes, my limbs. All this was accompanied with such speeches as you may have heard horse-coursers make in the sale of nags, when they are warranted for their soundness. You understand by this time that I was left in a brothel, and exposed to the next bidder who could purchase me of my patroness. This is so much the work of hell : the pleasure in the possession of us wenches abates in proportion to the degrees we go beyond the bounds of innocence ; and no man is gratified, if there is nothing left for him to debauch. Well, sir, my first man, when I came upon the town, was Sir Jeoffry Foible, who was extremely lavish to me of his money, and took such a fancy to me that he would have carried me off, if my patroness would have taken any reasonable terms for me; but as he was old, his covetousness was his strongest passion, and poor I was soon left exposed to be the common refuse of all the rakes and debauchees in town. I cannot tell whether you will do me justice or no; till I see whether you print
this or not; otherwise, as I now live with Sal*, I could give you a very just account of who and who is together in this town. You perhaps won't believe it; but I know of one who pretends to be a very good protestant, who lies with a Roman catholic: but more of this hereafter, as you please me. There do come to our house the greatest politicians of the age; and Sal is more shrewd than any body thinks. No body can believe that such wise men could go to bawdy-houses out of idle purposes. I have heard them often talk of Augustus Cæsar, who had intrigues with the wives of senators, not out of wantonness but stratagem.
• It is a thousand pities you should be so severely virtuous as I fear you are; otherwise after one visit or two, you would soon understand that we women of the town are not such useless correspondents as you may imagine : you have undoubtedly heard that it was a courtesan who discovered Catiline's conspiracy.
If you print this I'll tell you inore; and ain in the mean time,
! MR. SPECTATOR,
'I AM an idle young woman that would work for my livelihood, but that I am kept in such a manner as I cannot stir out. My tyrant is an old jealous fellow, who allows me nothing to appear in. I have but one shoe and one slipper ; no head-dress, and no upper petticoat. As you set up for a reformer, I desire you would take me out of this wicked way and keep me yourself.
* A celebrated courtesan and procuress of those times,
• I AM to complain to you of a set of impertinent coxcombs, who visit the apartments of us women of the town, only, as they call it, to see the world. I must confess to you, this to men of deli„cacy might have an effect to cure them; but as they are stupid, noisy, and drunken fellows, it tends only to make vice in themselves, as they think, pleasant and humorous, and at the same time nanseous in us. I shall, sir, hereafter from time to time give you the names of these wretches who pretend to enter our houses merely as Spectators. These men think it wit to use us ill: pray tell them, however worthy we are of such treatment, it is unworthy them to be guilty of it towards us. Pray, sir, take notice of this, and pity the oppressed: I wish we could add to it, the Innocent.
N 191. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1711.
όλον όνειρον. .
HOM. II. ii. 6.
Deluding vision of the night.
Some ludicrous schoolmen have put the case, that if an ass were placed between two bundles of hay, which affected his senses equally on each side, and tempted him in the very same degree, whether it would be possible for him to eat of either. They generally determine this question to the disadvantage of the ass, who they say would starve in the midst of plenty, as not having a single grain of freewill, to determine him more to the one than to the
other. The bundle of hay on either side striking ? his sight and smell in the same proportion, would
keep him in perpetual suspence, like the two mag.
nets, which travellers have told us, are placed one of them in the roof, and the other in the floor of Mahomet's burying-place at Mecca, and by that means, say they, pull the impostor's iron coftin with such an equal attraction, that it hangs in the air between both of them. As for the ass's behaviour in such nice circumstances, whether he would starve sooner than yiolate his nentrality to the two bundles of hay, I shall not presume to determine; but only take notice of the conduct of our own species in the $ame perplexity. When a man has a mind to venture his money in a lottery, every figure of it appears equally alluring, and as likely to succeed as any of its fellows. They all of them have the same pretensions to good-luck, stand upon the same foot of competition, and no manner of reason can be given why a man should prefer one to the other before the lottery is drawn. In this case therefore caprice very often acts in the place of reason, and forms to itself some groundless imaginary motive, where real and substantial ones are wanting. I know a wellmeaning man that is very well pleased to risk his good-fortune upon the number 1711, because it is the
year of our Lord. I am acquainted with a tacker that would give a good deal for the number 134*, On the contrary, I have been told of a certain
* In the year 1704 a bill was brought into the house of commons against occasional conformity; and in order to make it pass through the house of lords, it was proposed to tack it to a money-bill. This occasioned warm debates, and at length
B B 2