The Night-Walker: Or, Evening Rambles in Search after Lewd Women, with the Conferences Held with Them (1696)
The Bounty of a Certain Prince, who was taken with your Charms, has made it familiar to you for many years, to be accosted with the usual Compliment of may it please your Grace: But most people are of opinion, that how good soever your Title may be to the Name, you were never actually possessed of the Thing: It's impossible Madam, that those who have any Regard to Virtue, can ever think the forfeiture of that which is the greatest Honour of the Fair-Sex, can be the true way to raise any person to Honour. The very Heathens had a juster Notion of this, when they made the Temple of Virtue the entrance to the Temple of Honour; and whatever the Favour of Princes, or the Flattery of the People can advance to the contrary, The Christian Religion teaches us that Marriage is Honourable, and the Bed undefiled, but Whoremongers and Adulterers God will punish; so that it's plain, Madam, you are so far from having any just claim to Honour, either by the Laws of natural or revealed Religion, that you are condemned to Ignominy by both, and tho you may carry your Title of Grace to your Grave, yet when you come before the Bar of the King of Kings, you will find it to be a badge of your Disgrace, and an Evidence of your having dishonoured your Body, and defiled the Marriage Bed.
Madam, the Ruines of your former Beauty (which was the Ruine of your self and of those whom it ensnared) and the Furrows which time hath now drawn upon your Forehead, are so many warnings that your Day of Accounts draws nigh, and tho the Power and Authority of one who was your Companion in Iniquity protected you from being brought to justice before Men, There's nothing that can secure you from the fierce Wrath of the Almighty, but the Merits of Jesus Christ applied by Faith, which 'tis in vain for you to pretend to so long as you continue without having repented of your impure course of Life.
Madam, Consider what a heavy Charge will be brought against you, as being the first after the Re––––, who in an avowed and daring manner polluted this Nation by your bad Example. It had been a greater Instance of your Loyalty, to have rejected the unchast Embraces of –– ––– than to have complied with him, in turning the Grace of God towards him into Wantoness; and infecting other Ladies by your Example.
Consider Madam, how Justice has found you out already in some measure, and how it ordered matters, so as you became Contemptible In the Eyes of him, to he whose Paramour you accounted it your greatest Honour. It was a mighty downfall from being the darling of a M––– to become the Mistress of a Com—n, so that in you Madam, is verified what Wiseman tells us in t 6th of the Proverbs, that those who commit Adultery get a Wound and Dishonour, and their reproach shall not be wiped away. You cannot but know Madam, that the people in General entertain mean thoughts of you, notwithstanding your Gaudy Title, and that persons of Quality who have any regards to Virtue, are shy of conversing with you: Then, Madam, is it possible you can think your self fit for the Conversation of Saints and Angels in Heaven, when your crimes have made you despicable in the eyes of all those who are Virtuous and Modest upon Earth. It's in vain for Great persons to think that their Grandeur will be able to save their Good Name, if they act such things as are inconsistent with it, for tho people may be afraid to speak truth to them, they will never refrain from speaking truth of 'em, the Higher the Station the Greater is the Guilt, and the more taken notice of, and when Infamous persons of a meaner Rank perish in their wickedness their Memory perishes with them; but the names of such as have been Companions in Impurity to Lustful Princes are handed down to Posterity, in the Records of Nations, with notes of disgrace. The names of a Jezebel and Herodias are recorded in Sacred History, to their perpetual infamy; whereas the names of their Sisters in Impurity, whom Solomon describes to be lying in Wait at the Corner of every Street, in the Evening and Twilight are buried in Oblivion; But not to oppress your Memory with too many Instances, we shall only put you in mind of one, viz. of Jane Shore, who tho but a Tradesmans Wife, yet her Whoredom and Infamy is handed down to Posterity, because she was Paramour to King Ed. the IV. Whereas the Lascivious and Wanton practices of many other City Dames, is buried in Oblivion with themselves. You may assure your self Madam, that those who Record the Proceedings of the present Age, will not miss to take notice of your self; N––– G–––– and the D–––– of P–––– as having been Companions in Debauchery to a certain Prince now gone to his place; and there's no way left for you to retrieve your Honour, but by a publick Repentance, and leaving a Testimony behind you to the World, that you abominate your former Course of Life; and Madam, for your encouragement consider the Instance of Mary Magdalen, whose former infamy of having been once possest with Seven unclean Devils, is sufficiently washt off by her becoming a Saint at last, which is the worst we wish your Ladiship, that so we might without any scruple, join with the Vulgar in giving you the Title of Grace.
Our Night Walker for Septemb. having been entertained with a General Applause, and approved as subservient to the design of a publick Reformation: We are therefore encouraged to go on with the publication of that for October; it is requisite to inform the Reader, that tho considering the horrid debauchery of the Age, the Instances of Uncleanness might afford matter for many Volumes; yet we design not to tie our selves up only to that Subject, but likewise to give a Broad-side to other Vices, as Pride, Gluttony, Covetousness, Sabbath-breaking, and Libertinism in General, which are sometimes the Occasion; and sometimes the Consequences of Whoredom and Uncleaness, for in our Rambles we find many times that young Women have been tempted to dishonour their Bodies, that they might have wherewith to maintain their excess in Apparel : Sometimes we meet with Confessions, that Gluttony and pampering the Body, like fed Horses in Rioting and Feasting, hath occasioned the Rioters to Neigh after their Neigh-bours Wives; and it is not seldom that we find sordid Misers prostituting their Wives and Daughters to great ones for filthy Lucre : It is but too too generally known that those principles which are now so much in Vogue amongst our Gallants, of crying down all Religions but Deism, because they are as yet ashamed of the name of Atheism, and of crying up Reason as the sole Rule of our Practice, because the times tho bad enough will not yet bear the Impious Doctrine of making our own Appetite and Tastes, how extravagant soever, the Rule of our Conversation. I say, it is but too well known that those principles are calculated for a dissolute Life, and therefore the Reader won't be surprized, if he find much of this Months Night-Walker in a different dress from the former, because its thought fit to oblige such Gentlemen as have sent us in Accounts, how and by what Methods and Principles they came to be engaged in all manner of Leudness, that others may avoid those Shelves whereon they have made Shipwrack. Then as to Sabbath-breaking in particular, it is but natural that we should find it both the Occasion and Consequence of this horrid Impiety, it bath been observed already, that the places where we ought to meet to Worship God, are not free from those impure Assignations; those who have laboured in reforming this abuse, inform us with regret, that ill Houses are as much or more frequented on Sunday nights than on others; and that day is become com-mon for the Rendevouzes of Great Men, and those of Business with their Paramours. And to conclude this—Introduction, Thieving, Robbing on the Highways, nay, Clipping and Coyning are frequently the Consequences of this Uncleanness, for Apprentices rob their Masters, that they may have Money to spend on their Companions in lewdness, Children many times do the like by their Parents : and it is not seldom that Trades Men have been engaged in Robbing and Coyning to maintain themselves in those Extravagances, and at the same time their Wives and Children have been exposed to the Tentations of following the same ungodly practices, to supply the necessities which the Husband and Fathers wickedness hath laid them under, and tis well known that our ordinary Proverb, that a Whoresbird by night will be a Hedgebird by day, has too often proved true. I shall only add one word that some people have expressed their Resentment against this design, alledging that it is a Satyr against one Party more than another, to which we Answer that they do exceedingly wrong us, but if the Tories will need have it that a Satyr against Whoreing is a Satyr against them, we cannot hinder them to apply it as they please, and we could heartily wish that all who are called Whiggs would abjure both name and thing; but assure them, when we meet with any of 'em in our Walk, they shall find no fairer Quarter than others, and its believed that some of them are sensible enough that they did not go scot-free in our last : But those who are uneasie at this Innocent and useful undertaking, had best be cautious how they express their Resentments against it in publick, for certainly no Man of Vertue will esteem them the better for it, but be ready to apply the Common Proverb to them, that when a Gall'd Horse is toucht he will Wince.
I have perused your Night Walker, and cannot but applaud your design, therefore in order to the furthering of the same, I think fit to give you an account of my own former Wickedness, how I came to be engaged in those Courses, and by what means I was reformed, wishing that it may have some good effect towards the reclaiming of others who follow the like practice : But if it have not, this poor effort is one of the least things that I owe to the publick whom I have so much injured by my former bad example.
I had a good and pious Education, my Parents having taken great care of me during my Youth; and my Father dying, left me a plentiful Estate, which assoon as I was Master of I came to London, and falling in Company with some loose young Gentlemen, they quickly flouted me out of my former way of living, and soon brought me to a dislike of those principles of Religion which lay a restraint upon our natural inclinations. It was not however without some strugle, that they made this Conquest, for I had the Common Principles of Christianity in readiness enough to oppose to their dictates, which the Sparks perceiving, and being no men of Thoughts themselves, but wholly led on by one of those Wits, who denies any other Religion but that which goes under the name of Deism, they brought him and me acquainted, and my Religion being only in Judgment, but not in Affection, I was quickly charmed into a belief of those Principles which I found gave more scope to my unruly passions. I was then about 22 years of Age, and prone enough to follow such pleasures as are grateful to corrupt Youth; and thought my self very happy to be delivered from the slavery of those narrow principles, as I then thought them, which forbid me an unlimited Enjoyment of the pleasures of the Flesh, on pain of Damnation, and therefore I greedily imbib'd the Doctrine of my new Teacher.
He found that at first I could not digest a downright denial of the Christian Religion, and therefore he prepared me for it with the principles of Socinus, for being once perswaded that Christ was not God, I quickly grew into a dislike of the Doctrine of himself and his Apostles, and at last lost all respect to it; so that I took a full swinge of sensual pleasures with my Companions, having no regard to any thing else but how to keep our selves without reach of the Law; but falling ill after an horrid debauch, and being for some time confined to my Bed by indisposition, my Conscience began to awake, so as I could not forbear discovering something of it to my Companions as they came to visit me, and they acquainted the above mentioned Spark with it; whereupon not being willing to come to my Chamber, because of some of my Relations, who were frequently with me during that time, he sent me the following Letter.
I am sorry to hear of your Indisposition of Body, but more of your uneasiness of mind, which I thought had been sufficiently fortified against such melancholy fancies as I understand you are disturbed with. Can you once imagine, Sir, that kind Heaven which indulges all other living Creatures to satisfie the appetites of Nature without Controul, should deny the same to man only, and by consequence put him who is Lord of the Inferior World in a worse condition than the brute Beasts? I thought you had overcome the Principles of Your Education, were above the reach of Priest-craft; and fully satisfied that those restraints which are put upon us are meerly the Contrivance of humane Policy, that those they call Princes, may tyrannize over our bodies; and that their Tools the Priests may have an uncontroverted sway over our Souls.
I read this Letter, but found no ease by it, and did immediately perceive that it was dictated by that same spirit who perswaded our first Parents to eat of the forbidden Fruit, telling them that they should not surely Die, tho God had told them they should, and so involved them and their Posterity in Sin and Misery. I was quickly satisfied, that if the Principles of that Seducer were true, men would be in a worse condition than any of the other Creatures; for if God did not curb their Passions by Reason and Religion, the World must unavoidably become a Field of Blood, Men would destroy one another with more Rage and Fury than the most Savage Beasts do their Prey; and all humane Society and Conversation must be dissolved in a Moment, there could be no such thing as Property, but the Weak must first become a prey to the Strong, and they too must fall at last by mutual Slaughter : That Mans Affections being thus undeniably corrupted, his own Reason and Judgment which is sensibly influenced by the Affections, could neither be a safe nor a sure Rule, that seeing an awakened Con-science did tell us the same things which are threatened against enormous practices in the Bible, that Book must of necessity be the Word of God and our only Rule, That feeling all Histories agree in the accomplishment of many of the great events therein foretold; and that the Prophecies which it exhibited so many hundreds of years ago relating to the Jews, are visibly fulfilled in our own eyes, it must without all contradiction be the dictates of an infallible spirit, and seeing it is undeniably plain from the express Texts of Scripture, that Christ is God, his Religion must be the true Religion, and thereupon I bid an eternal farewell to my vile Companions, and their yet more abominable principles and practices, and bless God who opened my eyes before it was too late.
The ordinary subject of our Conversation was, that while we were Healthful, Young and in the prime of our years, while blooming Nature sported in our Vains, and that we abounded in Wealth, it was but reasonable we should enjoy the most Charming Pleasures that Gold could purchase. We used to declaim against rigid Morals, as old musty fragments fit for nothing but to be buried in the Rubbish of Antiquity; and when reproved by any Ancient and Grave Men, we entertain'd them with Flouts and Scoffs, calling them the Grave Dons with the mighty Beards, whose Chins were encompassed with Wisdom; their advices we despised under the Notion of crabbed Lectures, alledging that they envied us the enjoyment of those pleasures wherewith they themselves had been surfeited; but were now rendred uncapable of 'em by reason of their Years; some times we would argue the matter with them thus, That certainly the Appetite of Pleasure was not given to Man for a Curse, which it must of necessity be, if he were not allowed the liberty of satisfying it; and that the greatest blessing of humane Life, was first to wish and then to possess : That it would be reck-oned an inhumane thing for one Man to invite another to a Table spread with choice dainties, and suffer him gratifie his Eye but not his Taste; and that we must not accuse God of that which would be reckoned barbarous amongst Men, that such an Idea of the Divine Justice lookt more like the fiction of Ovid's Tantalus standing up to the Chin in a River, and yet never permitted to satisfie his Insatiable Thirst, and having delicious Fruit hanging over his Nose, and yet never allowed to satisfie his ravening Appetite; than like the Notions which Christians and Men of refined Sense ought to entertain of a Deity. These being a short Compend of our Principles, and a brief hint of our unanswerable Arguments, he who could frame the Wildest and most Extravagant Notions on those Subjects was by us most esteemed, and every one of us strove to outvy one another in that sort of Study; And answer-able to this was our Conversation and practice, for we laid down this Resolution, that none of those Bug-bears which canting fellows called Checks of Conscience, nor none of those discourses which prating Coxcombs call'd Sermons should divert us from our beloved liberty, but that we would enjoy time in the present Tense, while youth held out, and that when age came upon us, we would Chew our Cudd upon the thoughts of past pleasures, and by that means divert the fits of the Stone or Gout.
Pursuant to these Resolutions we used to contrive means how we might best spend our time in satisfaction and delight; and the chiefest Objects of our P:easure were Women, Wine, and the enjoyment of one anothers company; and at the same time we used to bless our selves that we run the Circles of such Pleasures all the day as are only known to the Wits, and that at night we lockt our selves in the Arms of our Mistresses, whilst plodding Sots pin'd themselves with thoughts : how to save that Trash which they had not the heart to spend; and thus pretending to be strangers to Care and Sorrow, we long'd at night for the return of the next day, that we might spend it in our beloved pleasures.
When we met next morning, then it was our greatest delight to make railleries upon such of our Companions as were Cropsick with the debauch over night; and applauding those who had swallow'd down most Bumpers at the Vintners Bar, and we took extra-ordinary pleasure in Clinches and Repartees : Then being engaged again in our Cups, we would forbid all sullen Looks or clouded Brows among the Company, and proclaim free liberty to let loose the Reins to all known pleasures, and would strain our Wits to find out some new Subjects of mirth and divertisement; and such as had the most exalted strains of that nature we accounted Heroes.
At such meetings one of our usual proposals was to attempt something that never any Ancient Hector or morden Rake durst so much as think of, something that might be recorded to posterity, and which should make the Constables and Watchmen of future Ages to quake. That the frightning of Cullies, bumbasting of Whores, wringing off Knockers, Scouring the Watch, roaring in the Streets, burning Signs with Torches, and such kind of feats were actions far blow us who were men of Fancy, Sense and Wit. Then we would invoke the God of Wine to inspire us with some uncommon thoughts, That we might do such an action as that all mankind when they heard of it should say that certainly some Men in Devils shape had contriv'd and put such a deed in execution, which was so lewd and vile, that it was even beyond Damnation it self. This, Sir, is more than I am used to write at a time, and there-fore I must suspend the further account of the libertinism of my self and my Companions till another opportunity, I doubt not but this short hint will be sufficient to fright any person of common understanding from frequenting such Company or following such Practices.
I doubt not but you received mine of the 27th past. I now send you the further account of our Libertinism, that by exposing those monstrous Principles and Practices to public view, it may be a warning for others to avoid such things, as they would avoid horror of Conscience here, and Damnation hereafter.
We were accustomed particularly to solemnize the Anniversary of our Births, or according to our Dialect, to revel on that day when we first stept out of the Womb of our indulgent Mothers the most Curious Work-house of Nature into this world of Jolity. To those Treats we used to invite one another, emptied our Purses, and ransackt all the Elements for Niceties and Dainties to pamper our Bodies, and then we drunk Health by hundreds, to this and t' other kind she, and obliging Punk, whom we called our living Friends; and now and then we would swallow down a Bumper in remembrance of those that stept out of Life, we knew not whether; and the Conclusion of that debauch used to be with a Bowl of Punch, which we commonly called a Treat Table to make the very Gods to leave their Glittering Seats on high, and Revel with Mortals, a Liquid which was able to infuse new Life into Men half Dead, and such as no living Mortal would refuse to soak his Soul and lay his Cares a sleep in; then when we had drunk away our Reason, and that extravagant notions began to float within the Regions of our Brain, we would not have it said that we were in drink because that levelled us with Common Men but that we were in a Trance or Exstasie; and then it was well if we had so much sense left as to appoint the next meeting.
When we came together again, what protestations would we make of our having longed for the happy hour, that we knew not how to get the Drugg of time off our hands, that we hated to study and to be turning o'er dull musty Authors, which was a drudgery for School Boys, Priests and Lawyers, and such whose studies purchas'd them Bread, that we knew how to spend our time better than so; and bless'd our Stars that we abhorr'd thinking the most of any thing, and had not read any Book for many years, unless it were a Lampoon, a Song, a Play, or a Novel, then we would alledge that we knew not how to spend such and such a fair afternoon, for if we should go to the Park, we could find nothing there that was Beautiful or Tempting, because the Ladies did abhorr such a place, which was now become a Rendezvouz for Footmen and Cook-maids; or at best of Low-prized Cracks and Cullies : That the Inns of Court-Walks were pester'd with the same sort of Vermine, and therefore we knew not where to divert our selves so well as in the Play-house, where we would appear as first-rate Beaus, dazzle the Eyes of the Ladies with our Rigging, and raise the envy of the dressing Sparks : Then we used to betake our selves to the Corners of the Pit, chuse our Seat by some well drest Vizor-mask, make our Intrigues with them, and…
Then we gave an account of our Adventures, some would tell how they were impos'd upon, and perhaps pox'd by a Jilt, and what it had cost him to the Dr. and Surgeon for his cure; t'other would say that notwithstanding the trick had been put upon him by the Fair Sex, he could as well forbear to live as to be withou them, those Lucious Creatures, whom the Heavenly Powers had created for Man's delight, without which his Life would be a burden. Then every one would give a description of him Nymph, commending the humour of one, the Dress and Wit of another; and how the Eye, the Mouth, the Complexion, and the Carriage of such a one had Charm'd him. Others would swear that there was no Woman but had Charms enough for the if they were not grown in years; that they hated to be a Wom Slave; that they could love strongly for an hour or perhaps for ft day if the fit took them; but that none of the Fair Sex had ever extended their Reign over them for a months time, that they would keep their hearts open to every new Face, and Revel in their dearly beloved Variety.
Then some of the topping Wits of the Society would read us such a Lecture as this following, That from his Soul he pitied those poor Slaves, who were doomed to the drudgery of a Wife; and when they might be free, were by pious knaves sentenced to confinement till death them depart; that he was amazed how that Cheat was imposed upon Man at first; that he should swear to bound all his desires in one Woman, and Vow to maintain Love for ever, when the Flame expired perhaps the first month: A Bondage more intolerable than that of Egpt. Increase and Multiply was the first blessing that Heaven bestowed upon the Earth, that no bounds were then set to that Command, but our Fore-fathers multiplied their kind on whom they pleased, and did not confine themselves to one Female; their appetites moved by the dictates of Nature, and whom they lik'd they lov'd. The Iron age gave birth to Marriage, that cursed Noose, and Antidote to Love. For my part, tho my Mistress were as Beautiful as an Angel, and knew no end of her Estate; tho those would be strong Charms on slavish Souls, by heavens I would resign the gilded Baby before I would joyn hands in Holy Rites, tho 'tis true I should be willing to enjoy her, might I have my freedom and not be confin'd to her. But my Brains are turned at the very thoughts of Marriage, which contains a thousand Mischiefs for one Good, and is only fit for plodding Sots, who because they were got in Wedlock themselves will therefore follow in the same dull trott, or for such tame Fools, who are every day blest with gilded or ungilded Horns : But give me a Mistress of my own chusing every time I have a mind to it, one who is Wanton, Careless, Young and Gay; and divine Liquor, whose atoms dance and shine in the Glass, such as the Gods drink when they would discourse of their Intrigues and high Amours, to recruit the spirits which I have lost in the Amorous Combate, for sure I am that no mortal can be blest with greater pleasures than those who have Wine and Women to supply the cravings of their appetite by turns, and therefore have good reason to laugh at all those pious fools who being cheated by Priest-craft, lead their lives according to the rules of the Pulpit.
Thus Sir, I have given you a brief Idea of that Libertinism whereof I my self was guilty, and which reigns so much at present amongst the younger Gentry of the Nation, and especially at the Inns of Court, where some of those they call Wits debauch the rest, first by shaking the Principles of the Christian Religion, and exalting their own Reason above Revelation, or by infusing into them the Notions of the Socinians and Deists, and that being once effected, it's but advancing one step more to become a Libertine or a practical Atheist. My next shall give you an account how I came to be disengaged from that cursed Society. In the mean time farewell.
Having lately received Information of a Certain Citizen who became Pimp to his own Wife, I thought it convenient to publish the Story, that the persons concerned may perceive that their folly and wickedness is taken notice of in the World, and with that it may have influence upon them to Repent and Reform : The story is thus.
The Citizens Wife being an handsome Women, and according to the present mode exposing her self in her Shop deckt and dressed more like a Lady of Person of Quality than a good Housewife, who minds the affairs of her household, a certain Lascivious Gentleman having fixt his eye on her as passing by, and already committed Adultery with her in his heart, took the following method to debauch her. He came several times to the Shop and bought Worsted (for that was the Commodity her Husband dealt in) and having either actually corrupted her, which is most probable, or at least found that it would be no hard matter for him to do it; he then scrapes acquaintance with her Husband, and to usher in his Villanous design, bought a Considerable Quantity of Crewel of him, pretending that 'twas to work Beds or something of that nature, and coming to see him at another time, invited him to the tavern, where after having drunk a Bottle, he proferred to lend him 400 1. The Citizen answered that he had no occasion to take up Money at Interest, to which the Spark replied, that he desired none for it, but thought it would be securer in his Hands than his own, upon which the Citizen leapt at the Bait, and a day being appointed for paying the Money, the Spark perceiving him eager to have it, told him he would give it him, if he would let his Wife go with him into the Country for ten days, the Shop-keeper was you may think somewhat surprised at the proposal, and demurred upon it; but his Covetousness getting the ascendant, he agreed to it, and the Good Woman was not huge averse, which makes me conjecture as above, that the Intrigue was formed betwixt the Spark and her before-hand. Away she goes with him into the Country, and according to his bargain the Spark returns her after 10 days; but in a little time after comes with some others of his Companions, and inviting the C- d to a Bottle, redemanded his 400 1. of him, the Citizen being amazed at this Adventure, told him he had given it him, and refused to restore it. However the Sparkish Lecher having his Companions by him to bear witness of his demand, and that the Citizen own'd he had received 400 1. from him, does now sue him for it as I am informed.
This may certainly be a warning to our Citizens, to take heed how they expose their fine Wives in their Shops; and in truth tis an abominable shame to see Tradesmen's Wives now adays sit behind their Counters, with their Heads three or four story high fluttering with Ribbans, their Hair powdered as if their Locks had been in a Meal-tub, their faces Anointed, Painted, or Patcht, and their Mouths set in Pimlico, and so much afraid are they of turn-ing it out of set, that they dare scarcely adventure to speak, but either Hiss or Chipp; and by this means they have rendred our Language as well as our Nation Effeminate, and in somethings more soft than the Amorous sounds of the French themselves; to instance but in one, tho hundreds might be produced, insted of Maudaum as the French pronounce it, our fine Citizens for fear of spoiling their Mouths cry Maam, and so that instead of those martial Sounds which denoted the Warlike spirits of our Predecessors the Saxons, we are in Complaisance, or by the Example of those fine Maams (who must teach the same language to the few young ones that such Wantons are capable to bring forth to us) like to be brought in time to Chirp to one another like little Birds; and indeed many of us are already become Canary Birds, tho we are never like to sing so well as they. And for my own part, tho it be contrary to the Genius of the present Alamodists, I think it more Masculine to Croak like Ravens with the Germans and Dutch, than to Cuck like a dunghil Cock, or to squeak like a Weesel as the French do : But having digressed too far upon this Head, I return to our Citizens Wives, who sit Trickt and Trim'd, and Rigg'd in their Shops as if they had more mind to expose themselves to Sale, than their Goods, or at least as if they had more Confidence that their Modish Dresses and Wanton Glances would attract more Customers than either their Signs or the Pictures and other Representations of their Merchandise could do; and being thus exposed to the Eye of the Lascivious Sparks, they take the thing in its natural signification, and come to treat with them for themselves, and not for the Goods in their Shops, except it be for a Cover. And in truth no man can well put any other Construction upon it, when he sees a fine Woman exposed in a Shop, where Cheese, Butter, Bacon, Meal, Bread, Meat, Grocery, nay it may be Coals, or Tripe is to be Sold : Nor indeed is it either for the Credit of our Nation, or the Religion we profess, to see any Tradesmans Wife sitting in her Shop apparelled like a Lady, and if that single abuse were but rectified, it would prevent a great deal of that Uncleanness, and those Temptations to it, with which this City doth so much abound; for if in short as the Case is now, if a Man would be free of such temptations, he must not only make a Covenant with his Eyes as Job did, but either pull 'em out, or walk hoodwinkt in our Streets : Whereas if our Citizens Wives were reduced to their plain Head dresses and Green Aprons as it used to be formerly, and busied themselves with the Education of their Children, and Government of their Maids, leaving the Shops to their Husbands, except where it cannot be otherwise, the Court end of the Town would not have such just occasion as now they have to excuse their own Wanton-ness from the example of the City, nor would there be that Emula-tion betwixt the Gentry and the Citizens; nor that Contempt with which Ladies of Quality look upon City Dames, when they see them outvy them in their Habit, as now there is.
I return now to our Worsted-man, concerning whom let any Man judge whether it had not been more for his Interest and Credit (to say nothing of the sin of it) to have rejected the 400 1. with disdain, than to have himself pointed at for a C––– and his Wife for a W––– , especially, when his own sordid Avarice was the occasion of it.
Certainly if Justice had its due Course against him, he ought to be Punisht; and if the matter be throughly weighed, there will be found little or no reason to be given, why those Horrid Wittals should not be punisht almost as severely as those who Commit Rapes. It's a known instance of ––––– Lord Audley, who was executed for his beastly practices; and amongst others for hold-ing his own Lady while one of his Lewd Companions Ravisht her : Nor indeed can I perceive any reason why the Womans Consent should excuse the Husbands Punishment in such a Case; for 'tis certain that he who sells his Wifes Chastity, would do as the Lord Audley did, if there were Money in the Case, did not he run the hazard of a discovery by the injured Woman, so that the only difference in the Case is this, that the Woman is more wicked, which certainly makes him nothing less so in the Eye of God, whatever it may do in the Eyes of Man.
But having heard a whisper that this Citizen never had any Child by his Wife, and that perhaps he was willing to have an Heir to his Means, and Money withall towards bringing him up, it puts me in mind of a Story of a certain Country Gentleman, who had a Buxom Wife, and a plentiful Estate, conveyed to him by his Ancestors, but no Heirs to enjoy it; and knowing himself to be Impotent, and being withall of such a degenerate spirit, that he would rather hatch the Cuckows Egg than want a Bird, be sent his Wife with a she Confident to London to get him an Heir, but the Gentlewoman not having quite forfeited all Modesty, could not tell how to expose her self (for it's to be supposed that Whores did not then as they do now, that is ply almost as thick in the Streets as Boats do on the Thames, and with as much confidence as if it were not a Crime) and therefore she returned again to her Husband without having answered his desire; But so fond was the follish and wicked man of having an Heir that might bear his own name, and be thought the real Off-spring of his own Body, that nothing would serve but his wife must to London again to be mann'd. The Gentlewoman finding that nothing else would do, returns again to Town, and contrived the accomplishment of her design in the following manner; she took a Lodging by the River-side where Ships used to lie, so that she could see the Captains go and come from Aboard at her Window, and perceiving one of them that a handsome Brauny Man, she pitcht upon him as fit for her purpose, and sending her Servant to enquire his name, and the name of the Ship; as soon as she had learnt it, she changes her Lodgings that she might not be known, and pretending to the people of the House that she was come from the Country to meet her Husband, who was Captain of a Ship, and newly arrived from a long Voyage, she sends her Maid to invite the abovementioned Captain to come and speak with her; and having beforehand pre-pared a very good Treat, with plenty of Wine, after some pre-meditated Chat, as if she had sent for him to buy a parcel of China Ware that she heard he had to sell, &c. She invited him to stay and Sup with her, which the Captain readily agreed to; and having feasted plentifully, and her Maid being withdrawn, the Captain was soon informed of her true design, and easily perswaded to become her Guest for that Night; but knew nothing of her Cir-cumstances, imagining only that she was some Wanton Widow. The Gentlewoman having informed the people of the House that she would be going early next morning, prepared all things accordingly, and took the opportunity to leave the Captain in a sound sleep, and to put some Broad Pieces in his Pocket, with a Letter to this effect, That he might well be surprised at his entertainment, first and last; but assured him that he needed not fear any trick put upon him, either as to his Health, Reputation, or otherwise; and that if she happened to be brought to Bed of a Son, according to the time, he should have a Bill for an Hundred Pound returned him to that very House soon after; and so marcht off. The Captain awaking and finding his Gallant gone, suspected he was robb'd, and had immediate recourse to his Pockets, where finding the above-mentioned Letter, and his present of Gold, he was amaz'd at the Adventure, and clearing the House according to the direction he had received in the Postcript of his Letter, return'd to his Ship. And coming again to that very House at the time appointed, he received his Bill according to promise, with information that he had also a Son born him; who was to be Heir to a Considerable Estate, which heightned his surprize, and whetted his curiosity to enquire narrowly after the Woman, whom at last he discovered by some words that her Maid had dropt; and taking a journey on purpose into the Country, saw her and his Son, the former was in no small Confusion at the Visit, but carried it off as well as she could; and he pretending some other business, the secret was for some time conceal'd. But the Gentlewoman having once broke over the bounds of Modesty, and being from the time of her first transgression, restrain'd more by her Credit than any aversion to the Crime, she became an easie prey to a second Temptation; and was so enamoured on her Tarpaulin Gallant, that the Intrigue could be no longer concealed, but broke out to the disgrace of the Family; and the poor Wittol her Husband, tho he himself had been the occasion of it, yet could not bear to have his Wife keep a Gallant under his Nose; and she on the other hand preferred him so far to her Husband, that she run away with him, which broke the Old Man's Heart in a little time : And the vile Woman and her wicked Gallant being pursued by the Judgment of God, he was cast away by Shipwrack not long after, and so she was reduced to a miserable condition, for her Husbands Friends found means to keep her out of her Jointure; and her Son when he came of Age spent the Estate profusely, and died without issue : So far was her Husband from attaining his ends by that abominable method he took to keep up the Memory of his Name.
I shall now proceed to give you an account of some farther Rambles; One night as I was passing along the Strand, I perceived a Woman in a Genteel habit, standing near S––– House, and guessing at her business by her Carriage, came up to her, and askt if she would take a Bottle, which she presently agreed to; then I askt her what Reward she Expected for her Company, she told me that I lookt like a Gentleman, and therefore she would refer that to my self, so that we went to a Tavern, and having drunk a Glass, I ask her again what gratuity she expected, to which she replied, Sir, seeing you are not willing I should refer it to you, I must have half a Crown; I told her Money was hard to come by now, and that I would not give her above a Shilling, and throwing Money down for the Wine made as if I would be gone; upon which she told me that seeing me a Civil Gentleman she would accept of it for once, but ’twas in hopes that I would appoint where she should meet me another time, and sitting down we took the other Glass, and then she began to draw nearer to me in an immodest manner, upon which I thrust her from me, bid her keep off, and told her I had something further to say, and looking her stedfastly in the face, askt her if she knew what she had bargained to sell for a shilling, and whether she valued her soul, and Heaven at so small a rate that she would barter them away for a shilling. She answered me that it was other sort of entertainment that she expected from me, and that as for her part let those who had a mind to it trouble themselves with those things, all her care was how to live here, and if she could but do that, she would not disquiet her self with the thoughts of what might happen hereafter. I replyed that whether she did or not, it was certain that Death and judgment must come, and she would not be able to ward off the sentence of the Great Judge of Heaven and Earth, nor yet to prevent its being put in execution. To this she replied with impudence enough that such Bug-bears might well frighten us who were Protestants, but for her part she was a Roman Catholick, and could be absolved when she pleased; and have the Eucharist brought
her on her death bead, which was a never failing Viaticum: I answered her that I found the Church of Rome might properly enough be called the Mother of Harlots in a literal Sense, seeing by her Doctrines and Pardons people were incouraged to lead loose lives, adding that those Pardons and Absolutions oftheir Priests were meer Cheats, which would stand in no stead at the bar of God, and therefore advised her to have recourse to the Word of
that would have the Princes Favour; and that many loose Protestants who had nothing of our Religion but the name were so far carried away with the deluge of profanity, that for my part I thought nothing could reform the Nation but some desolating Judgment; but in the mean time advised her to remember, That the Protestant Religion was so far from encouraging any of its Followers in such practices, that it pronounced Damnation upon all
those who continued in ’em: And perceiving that there was no fastning any Conviction upon Conscience, I advised her take care of her Reputation, for she could not but own that the Name of an Whore was Infamous; that no Civil people would Converse with them when once they were known; that BRIDWEWELL was generally their Reward sometime or other, and many times a Pillory and Carts-Arse, none of which I supposed she would be willing to come to, and therefore advised her to break off from such Courses as would
And as I was returning home I spied another Courtezan looking for her prey, and stepping up to her askt if I should Wait upon her, she readily accepted my proffer, and conducted me to a by Coffee-house in —-- Lane, and by a pair of backstairs into a private Room, where being set down I called for some Coffee, but the Woman of the House replyed straight, Sir, I know you came not for Coffee hither, if you don’t like the Woman you came in with I will furnish you with another without any offence, upon this I desired her to sit down a little, and told her that I was in good earnest for a dish of Coffee if she had any good of the kind, and wisht that she and the young~women that she kept in her House drunk more of that liquor, and less Brandy and other strong Liquors, for she presently pawm’d a quartern of Brandy upon me. P——-x on you says she, you are not a Customer for me. Why truly replyed I Good Woman, I believe you have Poxt and have been the occasion of Poxing many a Man in your time, and therefore, that’s a Curse which ’tis in your power to inﬂict upon such Fools as are Catcht in your Snares, and ’tis indeed but just they should be so punisht for their folly; but I assure you that you are mistaken in my design of coming hither. D—--m you and your design too says she, I know you are some sneaking pittiful Whigg, a plague on you all, I never desire to see one of you within my doors; if I could but know you before-hand I should salute you with a Chamber-pot about your Ears at your ﬁrst entrance. Why all this Rage says I Good-woman, our Money
is as good as other peoples, and I believe your Colfee-man makes no exceptions against it: Ay but says she, I don’t love to see any of you within my doors, for you do but hinder better company, I had rather have half a dozen of King Iames’ Oflicers, they Drink and Carouse, and make all the house merry; and not only pay my Girls well for their Company, but gratiﬁe me for my procurement. Why truly says I Good-woman, have often heard that all the Whores in Town are Jacobites, and now I perceive something of the reason of it, I ﬁnd they are your best Customers, but I believe if the truth were known they neither enrich you by their Trade, nor increase the number of jacobites by their Converse with YOUR GIRLS AS YOU CALL THEM. No matter for that says she, it’s charity to help them poor Gentlemen, they have not pay now, and are neither able to maintain Wives, nor in a capacity to Court Fortunes; but whenever the King comes again they’ll have enough, and then they’ll reward my Girls, either by procuring them Husbands or making them Chambermaids to their Ladies; and if now and then they run a tick with my self, they either leave a Campagne Wigg, an old Scarlet Coat, or Silverhilted Sword, and sometimes a Prince of Wale’s Picture, or that of the late King ‘and Queen in Pawn till they get Money from some good jacobite Lady whose necessities they now and then Charitably relieve, or till their Pensions arrive from the French King, God bless him, and then they pay me honestly, and I treat them with a dish of the best Fowl the Town can afford, and we squeeze the Orange to relish our Sauce, and conclude all with a Bottle of the Best, and then put them to bed with each of ’em a Girl. Well says I Good-woman, you have a large stock of Impudence; but does your Conscience never reprove you for those things? What do ye talk to me of Conscience says she, you hypocritical Rascal, is there any Conscience among you, who have abdicated your King and set up another in his stead: I bless God I am a true Church-woman and love my King, but all your Gang will be damned for Rebellion, whereas I am sure that if I should be carried to Tyburn in a Cart or a Sledge, THAT MY NEXT STEP WILL BE TO HEAVEN. Well, well says I Good-woman enough of this Rant. You are a ﬁrst rate Sinner, and therefore must be taken care of by the Magistrate. R--—t your Magistrates, says she, do you think that I care for ’em, here was one of your Whigg Aldermen dropt in the other day when it rained hard to avoid the Shower; and when I olfered him a Girl instead of a dish of Coffee that he called for, he told me who he was, and said he would have me punished, but I laught at the silly fellow, and told him if he said one word more I would hang out a new Sign, and call it Aldermen —--- Coffeehouse, upon which he threw down his four farthings and sneakt down Stairs, and for my part adds she I have obliged so many Church-Wardens, Constables and justices of Peace in my time that I don’t value what you can do; So ﬁnding her a piece of SUPERLATIVE BRASS, I paid my Sixpence and came home bewailing the degeneracy of the Age, and the Pollution which abounds so much in this City particularly.
Next Night I took a Ramble up Holburn, and at the Corner of Hatton Garden perceived an Old Batchellor, who lives at the —— in Thames Street picking up a Woman, upon which I stept towards him, and the Woman fearing I might be some Constable went off. My acquaintance was much surprized to ﬁnd himself discovered, and I forthwith reproved him smartly, telling him I was in no less surprize than he, to ﬁnd a Man so far advanced in years, and who might have a Wife with a good fortune when he pleased, following that abominable practice. He answered me very profanely, that none but a F ool would trouble himself with a Wife when he could have a pint of Milk for a Peny. I replied that the street was no proper place to discourse such matters in, and therefore desired him to go and take a Glass of Ale with me, he was very unwilling to it; but yet to prevent my talking of his Frolick as he called it, he consented to go with me, and after I had severely Chid him, he told me that truly he saw so many Men ruined either by bad Wives, or such as brought them too many Children, that for his part he was afraid to Marry for fear of being brought into poverty as he had seen many others; and that he had formerly made bold with his Maids and Housekeepers, but that they happening either to be with Child or to grow im- perious, that was so expensive and troublesome to him, that for sometime he had resolved to live upon the Common, wherein a Shilling or too and a Bottle of Wine, or sometimes a Quartern of Brandy or two was his ultimate Charge, whereas if he had a Wife he must be at the expence of a ﬁne House, a constant Table, besides her Apparrel, Pocket-Money, Servants, and Children, which would soon eat out her Portion though it were 10000 l. and perhaps she might prove a ]ilt into the Bargain as he perceived many Citizens Wives did: And that for his part being now well advanced in years, and not under those necessities of nature that he was when younger, his appetite for Women was not so ravening but that he could satisﬁe himself with one now and then, and therefore would not entangle himself with a Wife and a Family. I replied that I wondered how he who had lived in the Reputation of a Sober-man should come to be so debaucht in his principles and practice, to which he answered, that to have the Reputation of Sobriety he found necessary to his Affairs, and therefore thought to associate himself now and then with sober Company; and sometimes to frequent the meetings of Dissenters, but that to tell me the truth, he neither lov’d their long Prayers nor Sermons, their publick nor private Fasts, Self examination; and that which they called Family and Closet Dutiéﬂ, and therefore would never submit himself to the Examination of any of their Ministers, tho he had found it his interest to counterfeit sobriety in that which they call the strictest Sense, but in short, that he was of the Religion now in Vogue, viz. to do hurt to no Man, to be fair and squair in Buying, Selling and Paying, and to beware of that which the world accounted injustice, but that for his part he could see no harm in satisfying the appetites of nature. To which I answered that I perceived his Religion to be the same with that of the Scribes and Pharisees, who would make clean the outside at least as to common appearance, but took no care of the inside; but our Saviour had taught us better things, and commanded us to mortiﬁe the ﬂesh with its Lusts and Affections, telling us that the very lusting after a Woman was a committing of Adultery with her in our heart, and by consequence that a covetous desire after any thing that’s my neighbours is accounted thift and robbery in the sight of God: which was morality in the ﬁrst principle, a thousand times more reﬁned than that which those who now a days pretend to morality, and reject Faith and Jesus Christ, do either practice or teach; and that this in it self was agreeable to reason, for every act must be ﬁrst found in the thought, and if there were no care taken to curb vain thoughts, they would quickly discover their inﬂuence upon the practice.
Then as to his satisfying the appetites of Nature, I told him that Man was by his Grace Creator put under a Rule, not only to prevent the doing of what was unlawful, but even to prevent an excess in that which was really lawful, and therefore tho it was lawful for a Man to eat and drink because nature required it, yet it was not therefore lawful for him to be a Drunkard or a Glutton, and to come nearer his Case, that tho Marriage was Honourable, and the Bed undeﬁled, yet Whoremongers and Adulterers God will punish. I told him further, that according to his own principle he was guilty of the highest injustice, for by picking up Women in the streets he must not only be guilty of Fornication with single persons, but Guilty of Adultery, which was invading another Mans Property; and that uncleaness even with single per-sons was a gross piece of injustice to them, not only as it rendered them liable to the wrath of God, but as it ruined their Interest and Reputation in the World, and if they had Children by that unlawful Commerce, it exposed them and the Children too to poverty, punishment and reproach, or if they had none it was a disappointing of the ends of Nature, which had endowed us with generative faculties. As to his fear of poverty I told him that he was so far from taking the way to avoid it, that he run in a direct Course towards it; for Solomon and daily experience teaches us that by means of Whorish Women a Man is brought to a piece of Bread; and it was seldom found that those who followed such practices did not ruin both Body and Estate. Whereas God in his providence does generally order it so that those who have numerous families, as the Fruit of a lawful propagation have not only the Comfort of enjoying such a Blessing in it self, but of seeing them provided for one way or other, if the Childrens own wickedness don’t prevent it. As for his avoid Marriage lest his Wife should prove a Jilt, it was strange, I told him that he would spend his strength upon such who he was so careful to avoid, and in short advised him to consider how he would answer it to God, that he had despised Marriage which the divine Wisdom had appointed as a proper remedy to all forniﬁcation and uncleanness, especially seeing God had given him substance enough, not only to have obtained one with a good Fortune, but even to have maintained a Vertuous Woman and Children, even tho she had had no Fortune; and by this means his name might have been honourably convey’d to Posterity, whereas he would die under the ignominy of an old penurious Leacher; and after a month or two his name would rot as fast as his Corps. He made little reply to this, but told me he would consider of what I had said, which I wish he may, but assure him if ever I hear of his following such practices in time to come, he shall hear further from me, and that in a manner as perhaps may be little to his Credit.
Having frequently heard that St. ]ames’s Park was a noted place for Assignations I resolved upon a RAMBLE thither, where I saw abundance of Women, who by their immodest Carriage did readily minister cause of suspicion that their design of coming theither was not good, and perceiving one who was more ﬁne than ordinary walking by her self, I addressed may self to her, saying, Madam by your choice of a solitary walk in these pleasant shades, I am apt to think you are in Love, and do very much wonder at the rudeness and indifferency of your Lover, who should expose you to the inconveniency of walking here alone: I cannot think says I, Madam, that any Man who may have the happiness of such a beautiful Companion can be so cruel to himself as to neglect keeping his appointment, and therefore am apt to conclude that some-thing extraordinary hath befallen your Sweet-heart, else he would never have been so rude as to have suffered you to come hither ﬁrst. She replies, Sir, I perceive you are a very Complaisant Gentleman and ﬁt to b ea Courtier, but you may be pleased to know that now adays, when so many men are destroyed by the Wars, and that in the Course of Nature it happens so, that there are as many if not more Fernales born than Males, it is impossible there should be a Man for every Woman, and therefore of necessity some of our unhappy Sex must be exposed to languish for want of such Conversation as Nature hath ﬁtted them for, and for ought you know, Sir, I may be one of the Unfortunate Number. Its impossible says I, Madam, that so much Beauty should languish upon any such account, if you please to accept a Glass of Wine from me, I should take your Company as a very great Compliment. Sir, says she, you seem to be so Generous and Civil, that tho it be not my Custom to do so yet I shall not refuse you, and so we went to her own Lodgings in ––– Street, which I found very neat and handsomely furnished, and having sent one whom she called her Maid for a Bottle of Sack, I began to discourse her thus; Madam you hinted as if you were one who languisht for the Conversation ––— end therefore I hope you will be the more kind to one who olfers you his company so freelly, she replyed, Sir, I must live by my Favours, and no Man shall enjoy by Company for less than a Guiney per Night. Madam, says I, I am afraid that its the greatness of your price, more than the scarcity of men that makes you languish. Why truly, Sir, says she, I always keep Company with the Best, for I know that those who have Money wont debase themselves to meddle with Common Prostitutes, that’s only for Carmen, Porters and such like Fellows, who follow cheap Iilts, and are commonly Poxt for their pains; whereas Gentlemen and those of better Condition will be more careful of their Health, and seek out Paramours who afford them more delight than what they can expect from such Trulls. Madam, answered I, I pitty your misfortunes, that you should follow such Cours of Life as will certainly ruine both Soul and Body, you cannot but know that your Sparks expose you and are not ashamed to make their braggs to one another of their infamous Converse with you, which does eternally blast your Reputation; and whereas you fancy that they don’t ‘pollute themselves with Common Strumpets you are mistaken, you know their Common saying, that foul water will quench Fire, and if you have not been already invenomed with the foul Disease, you cannot promise your self long freedom from it; and that which is more dangerous than all, you not only expose your Body and Reputation but likewise your Soul, for God hath denounced eternal Wrath against Whoredom and Adultery, whereas had you lived vertuously you might in all probability have got a Good Husband, or if you break off this ungodly way of living, you need not yet dispair of getting one, for the God of Nature hath been very liberal in endowing you with a very handsome Person and a Comely Face, so that I wonder very much how you came ﬁrst to be engaged in this abominable Course. Why truly, Sir, says she with a sigh, I am a Gentlewoman by Birth, but my Father dying Intestate, a covetous miserable Brother would not allow me any Portion, though I had several Suitors, who according to the Custom now a days Court the Money but not the Person, which did so enrage me, that I left my Brothers House in a fret, thinking my self disgraced, that where my Parantage and Education was known, I should not ﬁnd one Gentleman who could ﬁnd his heart to make me his Wife without a Portion; and coming to London one of those Beasts called Procurers or Bands quickly found me out, and taking advantage of my necessities, did easily draw me a side, and delude me into this vile Practice, which I must confess I abhore when I have any calm or sedate thoughts, but when I think of abandoning this Way of living, then my former Straits stare me in the Face and Weakens my Resolves. Upon this I advised her to break olf in good-earnest from that vile Course of Life and trust Providence; and for her encouragement told her the Stroy of a young Gentlewoman much in the same Circumstances, who being betraid into a Body-house, and sent to olfer her Company to a Gentleman who came in thither by Chance, he perceiving her aim, desired that she would carry him to a private room, but after she had showed him all the House, he told her there was never a room private enough to hide them from the eyes of God, and read her such a severe Lecture against her loose way of living, that she protested if she could but subsist any otherwise, she would abandon that impious Trade, upon which concealing her circumstances he recommended her as a friend of his to Rich Citizen, to look after his Children, Where she behaved her self so Well that she gained the love of the whole Family; and her Mistress dying, her Master thought he could not make Choice of a ﬁtter person for his Wife, and he dying in a year or two after left her a young and Wealthy Widdow, which as is usual brought her abundance of Suitors. It happened in the mean time that the Gentleman who had reclaimed her from her debaucht life, and was the instrument of all her after happiness suffer great Losses by Sea, so that his Debtors running upon him, he was kept a long time in Prison, and became very poor, insomuch that when he had liberty to go abroad he was a shamed to be seen of any of his Acquaintance; but this Widdow happening to see him one day in the Street, in a ragged Suit, she was Generously moved with Compassion towards him, that she sent him an hundred Pound by a Friend of hers to put himself in a better Condition, and inviting him afterwards to her House, made Choice of him for her Husband, which was very acceptable to the Honest Gentleman in those Circumstances, and so they lived very Comfortably together for many years. When I had done with my Story the Gentlewoman was extremely pleas’d with it, and wisht she might have the like fate, I told her my good wishes and endeavours should not be wanting, if she could give me any assurance of a Reformation, and could submit either to work at her Needle for a livelihood, or to go a Servant into an Honest Family; but that I could not for my Credits sake speak for her till I had some Grounds to think she did seriously Repent, and therefore I desired her to write to me after she had seriously considered the matter, which she promised, and paying for my Wine bid her Good night.
In order to the better describing of the Tricks of the Bawds and Procurers about Town, I shall conclude our NIGHT RAMBLER FOR OCTOBER with exhibiting the following account, given by a young woman who was taken in the Streets a picking up .men, carried before a Justice of Peace, and sent to Bridewell, where a friend of hers, pittying her Condition, thought himself obliged in Charity to Visit, Examine, and Exhort her to a Reformation of Life.
The account she gave was thus. Being about 16 years of Age, said she, and reputed handsome, I lived with an Ordinary Trades-man in own, but neither his Wages nor way of living suited with my haughty Mind, for I did very much admire finery in others, and was impatient to be as fine they. A Bawd happening to observe me, she implored one of her Emissaries to come and tell me that if I would be a Chambermaid, she could help me to a very good place, where I should have six pound a year and fine Cloaths. This pleas'd me to the Life, and the Old Bawd who was one of those that pretends to help Servant-Maids to Places, told me that the Gentlewoman would come to her House such a day to see me, and praid me not to fail being there by that time. Mistrusting nothing, thither I went, where I found a Gentlewoman richly Clad, and thought my self very happy in meeting with such a Mistress; she gave her self out to be a Merchants Widdow, that her Husband had left her a plentiful Estate, and if I pleased her I should want for nothing, so that the Bargain being maid, I went to her in a little time after. I had not been long with her, till she told me that she was to go a visiting, and that I must dress my self to go with her, and alledging that my own Cloaths would disgrace her, she put me on a fine Suit, which she said belong'd to a Niece of hers in the Country ––– out we went, and after passing through many turnings and windings, we came to an House where she told me she was to visit a certain Lady, who I afterwards understood by sad experience to be one of her own imployment. There we staid Dinner, and my Mistress pretending I was a friend of hers, who served her both as a Companion and a Maid, they would needs have me sit at Dinner with them. The Table was very well covered, and our fare was Luscious and Dainty, and just as we had begun to eat comes in a young Spark whom the pretended Lady called her Kindsman, and invited him to sit down, having din'd plentifully and drunk largely of Rich Wine, my Mistress ordered me to withdraw into the next room till she called me, which accordingly I did, I was scarcely well sat down till I heard a Clinking of Money, which I understood since was the Price of my Chastity; and a little after that the Gallant comes into the room where I was, and one of them lockt the door behind him, I shrecht and made a noise finding my self betrayed, but to no purpose, for there was no body near that would relieve me, so that after many presents offered, and struggling so long as I was able, I was at last overcome. The Gallant did not stir out of the room that night and next morning comes in the pretended Lady with Cordials, Wines, and Bisket, and told me impudently that she hopt I was pleas'd with my Treatment, I rail'd at her, and flew at her face crying out for help, but all was in vain, so that the Spark tumbled me down upon the Bed till she got out and lockt the door behind her. Then he flattered me with all imaginable Craft, told me I should neither want for Money, Fine Cloaths, nor the best of Enter-tainment if I would be patient and comply with his desires : And when I was a sleep, through weariness and Grief he stole out of the Room, and did not return again till night.
In the mean time the Old Beldam with a couple of other young Women, whom she had debaucht came in to me with a dish of Fruit curiously drest and Wine, and Sweet-meats in plenty, and the young Women told me straight that they themselves had been served in the same manner, and tho' they were as much enrag'd at first as I was, yet truly now they likt it very well, they eat, and wore, and sleept as well as any Ladies; and when they had a mind to have Money from their Sparks it was but to be a little Coy, and then they lay'd it by to maintain them in Age and Sickness; and when one Gallant was weary of em they found means to get another, which said they, is a much better life surely then to be a druge in any Trades man's House; and at last they told me in plain Terms, that out of the room I should not come till I were brought to their bow, and that I should rather die hen they would either hazard a Carts-Arse or the Pillory for me. This I took to be a Sentance of death past against me if I did not comply with their humour, and therefore was forced to dissemble my doing so, and having plaid two or three hours at Cards with me, and showed the fine presents they had received from their Gallants, night approacht when they made up the bed, brought me all sorts of Linnen for my use, and bid me prepare to receive my Spark with more kindness. Upon his return, he presented me with a Ring, and Gloves, and my own Corruption complying with the Circumstances and Tentations I was quickly enurd to, and enamourd on that course of Life, but a month being over my Spark grew cool in his Amours, and sparing of his presents; and at last he abandoned me quite. Then I was reduced to the necessity either of Complying with the further direction of the Old Bawd, or of being stript of all I had, and either murdered or turned out of doors naked in the night time, and at best be exposed to shame and disgrace; so that I was forced at last to turn one of her Wenches in Ordinary, and being young was one of her first rate Strumpets, for she had them of all Prices, or could borrow them from her Neighbour Bawds. If any rich Spark came, then she would go to them herself, raffling in her silks, and her face Painted, but if she was refused, then I was sent in my finest dress. If two or three Sparks came in at a time, then she would send out her Pimps for Whores to suit their Prices; then she drove a Trade likewise of curing her Guests if they were clapt, and when her Customers did not come fast enough she would send her pimps to raise a Tumult in the streets, Rail, Swear and Curse at one another, and make a rout before some Tavern door, while some of their Companions cut a Purse or pick Pockets; and some times in dark nights they would break houses, and one of us was always ready at hand to carry off any Money or Plate, and if nothing else would do, then we walkt the streets to pick up rambling Lechers, and if conveniency served we would dive into their Pockets and rob them of their Money and Watches, and if at any time we were catcht we would bribe the Constables and Bedles, and frequently the Justices and their Clarks, so that they would become very favourable to us, and if at any time we found them in a Lecherous Temper, we were not very shie of our Favours, and having once caught them in the snare we reckoned our selves secure of 'em for ever after : That they would never punish us with any measure of severity for fear of having their own deeds of darkness brought to light. At other times when we wanted Trade our Pimps were sent to Gaming-houses, Play-houses, and Places of Recreation, where contracting new acquaintance they brought them to us, for we always found that such as did most frequent those places were the surest Pillars of the Bawdy-house. Some times when we catcht Novices they would be affraid of a Clap, and in such cases the Bawd would search us before them, for which to be sure they must pay. Then she told them that Persons of Quality frequented her house, and that she kept none but those that were fit Com-panions for such; and that she used to receive her Rewards in Gold. In Term time she would hear of nothing less than a Crown, but at other times a Shilling would go down with her, she used to change her strumpets once a year, and sometimes would Ex-change them with others of the Trade, but such as were Poor, Sick, Poxt, or Old she would turn out of doors, yet if now and then some of her young and handsome Strumpets were Clapt, she would take care of their cure, trappan unwary young fellows to help it forward, and then when they were infected she made her prey of them, telling them she could easily cure them, which the young Fops would be very glad off because they thought that the safest way to have it done with secrecy, and thus she drove a Trade of ruining both Body and Soul.
THE CHALLENGE sent by a Young Lady to Sir Thomas—or the FEMALE-WAR, wherein the Present Dresses and Humours of the Fair Sex are Vigorously Attacked by Men of Quality, and as Bravely Defended by MADAM GODFREY and other Ingenious Ladies who set their NAMES to the Points they Defend. The WHOLE ENCOUNTER consists of 600 Letters pro and con, on all the Disputable Points relating to Women, and is the FIRST BATTLE of this Nature that was ever Fought in England.
This text was transcribed (with the help of Optical Character Recognition) from the 1970 Toucan Press facsimile reprint of the original 1696 pamphlet edition. It is was done so to accompany the essay by Matthew Beaumont, “The Nightwalker and the Nocturnal Picaresque”.