Sexual Life in England: Past and Present  

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Sexual Life in England: Past and Present (London: Alfred Aldor, 1938; repr. London: Arco Publications, in association with the Rodney Book Service, 1958) is a translation by William H. Forstern of Das Geschlechtsleben in England (1901-3) by Iwan Bloch.

It was also published as A History of English Sexual Morals.

Preface and summary


The present work is a translation from the Gterman, and readers might justifiably wonder why any publisher in this country should issue a history of English morals written by a foreign author.

The answer is as simple as it is surprising.

No comprehensive history of English morals written in the English language has ever been pubhshed ! As a result of a thorough search extending over a long period we have found that whereas all other branches of English history are adequately, and more than adequately, covered by authentic pubUcations, the history of English morals has been almost completely neglected. There are numerous excellent books on England’s political, economic and literary history, while the number of local histories — ^histories of particular localities, such as counties, cities, villages, and even individual buildings — is legion ; but books dealing with the morals and manners of the English people can be numbered on the fingers of one hand, and even then they relate to a particular period or a particular locahty, and are of a documentary rather than of a historical character. And by issuing the present work we are making a first attempt towards filling this very serious gap in English historical literature.

The need for a comprehensive and authentic history of morals is obvious. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that a history of morals is an indispensable key to the under- standing of the history of a people as a whole. For the acts and events that constitute history are inevitably



influenced by the moral oonoepts prevailing in the periods in which they take place. The political acts of the states- man, the tendencies of the author, the style of the artist, even the relationship between master and servant — all these things are to a very considerable extent determined by the accepted moral standards of the age, particularly in so far as they relate to sex. And the same applies in almost every fleld of human activity.

Needless to say, a history of morals must deal, in the main, with immorality, particularly sexual immorality. The attitude of the average decent man and woman to love and marriage, their rigidly moral outlook, represent the taken-for-granted side of a nation’s life, and do not influence — at all events not in any spectacular way — the shaping of the destinies of the people concerned. On the other hand, the gross immorality of a monarch like Charles II and the debauchery of the leading personalities of his court explain much that may be characteristic of a particular age, not only on the moral, but also on the social and political side. In the same way, prostitution in the lower social strata tells us more about the economic condition of the people than the puritanism of the masses.

The author of the present work has dealt with all the phenomena pertaining to his subject in a scholarly manner, conscientiously documenting all his facts, although, in the absence of English sources he has frequently had to rely on French and German publications of various periods. On the whole, however, he has given an authentic and com- prehensive survey of English sex life firom the earliest Anglo-Saxon times up till the end of the nineteenth century, with detailed descriptions of the various types of sexual vice practised in England at various periods. In addition, he has traced the influence of sexual vice on literature and art in a maimer calculated to give a complete picture of



what might be described as the seamy side of English life throughout the centuries.

That the author was well qualified to write a history of English morals will be readily conceded. Ivan Bloch, the world-famous writer on the physiology and psychology of sex, is recognised throughout- the world as an authority on all matters relating to sex, and this fact alone constitutes a guarantee of the scholarly quality of the present work.

In one respect, however, we emphatically repudiate the conclusions drawn by our author from his authentic and well-documented facts. In dealing with the prevalence of sadism and other forms of sexual vice in England at certain periods in the past, he states repeatedly that the examples quoted by him arose fix)m a trait of harshness, even brutality, that was inherent in the English character. Apparently, it did not occur to him to ask himself what had become of that ‘ inherent trait ’ when he wrote the present work, for even then England was far ahead of the rest of the world, and particularly Ivan Bloch’s own native land, in all matters involving humaneness and true courtesy. One need only instance the question of animal protection, which was dealt with in England not only by legislation, but through the kindness inherent in the English character, many decades before it was even raised anywhere on the Continent.

The author’s conclusion in this matter is really too absurd to require repudiation, and we only refer to it in order to point out that he was probably influenced by the view of England which was at the time in question deliber- ately propagated on the Continent for political reasons, and that his acceptance of that view does not detract from the factual contents of his present work. After all, Ivan Bloch made his world-wide reputation by dealing in facts, not in conclusions.



In collecting and collating fskois he had few equals and no superiors, and we confidently offer Sexual Life in England Past and Present as an authentic work, and we sincerely trust that it will serve the purpose for which we have intended it, namely, as the starting point of an adequate literature on the history of English morals.

The Publishers





General character of the English 'people. Historical stability. Causes of the individuality of the English race. English national pride. Realistic tern- perament. A people of cu^ion. Judge Jeffreys. Examples of coarseness from real life. Coarseness in Shakespeare^ in ^ Hudibr as \ in the novels of the eighteenth century, in Hogarth's pictures, in humorous drawings. Coarseness in specifically erotic literature. England the home of eccen- tricity. ‘ Spleen,' a psychological explanation. Examples of English ‘ spleen ' {Gluttons' Cl'ub, louse races, etc.). English prudery. The psy* chology of this specific prudery. Its connection with immorality. The stamp of coarseness, the eccentrics and hyprocrisy in English sex life. Derivation of the essentially English peculiarities in sexual matters from this general character. 1. Marriage ^ purchase. 2. Defloration mania and child seduction. 3. Flagellomania. 4. Frequency and scandalous handling of trials for adultery.




English beauty. General remarks on the aesthetics of the female body. The beauty of the English woman. Why the English woman is the most beautiful in the world. Opinions of weU-knoum observers (ArchenhoUz, Taine, Chesterfield, v.d. Decken, Rasch, Addison, Lavater, etc.). English women's large feet. The so-called * Emancipation of Women ' originate^ in England. Why the English woman is especially predisposed to these activities. Her early maturity, great freedom and limited delicacy of feeling. England the

  • Women's Paradise\ The Anglo-Saxon woman. Unfavourable influence

of the Feudal System on the position of women. First appearance of self- consciousness and of the sense of joint responsibility in the English woman. Women as members of the Merchants' Guilds. The breweries a monopoly of women in ihe Middle Ages. Women in the doisters. The learned women of the sixteenth century. The 'Regnum vulvarum '. Retrogression in women's



culture in the twelfth ceritury. Mary AaielL Position of women in 1700. Beginning of the emancipation movement in th^ eighUerdh century. Great self -consciousness of the English woman in the eighteenth century. The ‘ Bl%Le Stockings'. Origin of the name. The ‘ Blue Stocking ’ clubs. Mrs. Vesey's salon. Lord Byron on *Blue Stockings \ The learned women of the eighteenth century (Catherine Macaulay^ Elizabeth Carter, Lady Mary Woritey Montagu). The women's debating clubs. Mary Wolstoyiccraft, author of the first book on women's emancipation. Analysis of this work. The different new professions of women. Literature (Aphra Bchn, Miss Burney, etc.). Women bankers. Painters. Opera singers. The political activities of English women in the eighteenth century. The storming of the House of Lords by women. Activities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Women as doctors. Nurses. Philanthropists. The abolitionists (Josephine Butler). John Stuart Mill on the emancipation of women. Buskin. The author's opinion.


MARRIAGE pages 60-95

Character of English marriage. English love. Burke on 'tnarriage. Descrip- tion of married happiness in the ‘ Vicar of Wakefield'. The rdle of money. Marriage by purchase. The sale and purcJiase of women an old custmn from Anglo-Saxon times. Price of a girl and of a widow. Frequency of the sale of women in the eighteenth century. Low price of the wornan. Duration of this peculiar custom up to the nineteenth century. Examples of sales of women. The ‘ Fleet marriages '. Gretna Green, the Eldorado of those wishing to be quickly married. The so-called ‘ minister ' of Gretna Green. Marriage announcements. Divorce adultery or Crim. Con. trials. Frequency of adultery and easy loosening of the marriage tie as early as Anglo-Saocon times. Divorce laws of Kings Ethelred and Edgar. Milton on divorce. Preliminary conditions of divorce trials. What was told at the public hearing. H. France on the English judge as pomographer. Extraordinary in- sensitiveness to scandal of the Englishman. Money a substitute for the duel. Literature on adultery of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Crim. Con. brochures and songs. Permanent Crim. Con. headings of the newspapers. The Crim. Con Gazette. Adultery trials on the stage (performance in the ‘ Coal Hole ’). Famous Crim. Con. trials. The trial of Mervin Lord Audley (1631). The Earle trial. Elisa Draper. Dorothea Kinsmen. The trial of Queen Caroline of England. The Cavendish — La Rochefoucault scandal. The Colin-Campbell trial.


PROSTITUTION pages 96-114

General character of English prostitution. Character of the London prosti- tutes. Number of Oiese at different times. Classes of prostitutes. Recruiting for London prostitution. Lea Davis and her thirteen daughters. Keeping of



miatressea in the eighteenth century. Foreign proatittUea. Homeleaa girla in the atreeta of London. Waitreaaea an Engliah product. External dream- atancea of proatitutea. Maahed proatituXea. Harlota at the windows. The man hunt. A walk through Drury Lane and Charing Cross in the eighteenth century. Midnight life in the heat district of London. Covent Garden the centre of prostitution in the eighteenth century. The Haymarket a centre of nineteenth-century prostitution. The promenade in the Haymarket and

Regent Street.



Prostitution in the Middle Ages. The Bagnios. Principal places of prostitu- tion. The * Hothouses \ The Act of Parliament of 1 161 . Corrupting influence of the Norman invasion. Influence of French morals in the Middle Ages. The ‘ Abbot of Misrule \ Henry VIII and London prostitution. The Bagnios in the eighteenth century. The brothels. Intr^uction of French brothels through Mrs. Goadby. Appearance of the brothels. Brothels in Holhom, Westminster f Johnson^ a Court. Mitchell* s brothel in Pall Mall and its inscription. The ‘ cloister * of Charlotte Hayes in King*s Place, its price list and scandaloua scenes. King* a Place the principal district for brothels in the eighteenth century. The brothel of Mrs. Pendergast there. The negreas Harriet. Lucy Cooper. Mrs. Nelson. The Temple of Mystery, Aurora and Flora in St. James* s Street. Lodging places for prominent ladies. The brothel of Mrs. Banks for men and women in Curzon Street. Harems. The ‘ sdrail * of Lord Baltimore. Brothels in the fourteenth century. The fashionable brothel of Marie Aubrey. Brothels in the neighbourhood of the churches. In the sailors* district. The taverns. Weatherby*s taverns. Shake- speare tavern. The ' tavernplyers* . The ‘ long rooms * of the taverns. The

  • Gin Palaces*. ' Night- Houaes*. The oyster houses and 'dining-rooms*.

The restaurants in Leicester Square. The ' lodging houses *, The coffee- houses. ‘ The cloisters.* Caf^ 'Orange*. ' Turkish Divan.* The tea gardens. The cigar shops, etc. Doubtful rSle of the massage institutes in London. The abuse of masseuses in London and other large towns. A negro's massage institute in London. The garden and pleasure resorts. St. George's Fields.

‘ Dog and Duck * and 'Apollo Gardens*. Dibdin's 'Sans Sovci*. Belsize House. Marybone Gardens. The Pantheon. Vauxhall and Ranelagh in the eighteenth and nineteenth cerituries. The prostitutes* phaetons and the ' Temple of Flora*. BUI regarding public pleasure resorts. The 'Argyll Rooms *. The Hippodrome in NoUing Hill. The ' National Assembly Rooms *. Cremome Gardens. A ball in Cremornc Gardens.



{DEFLORATION MANIA) pages 167-194

Number of panders in London. Well-knoum procuresses. Creswell. Needham and others. The ' bulUes *. Dangerous Hass of men. The bullies* quarter,



'Fleet Ditch \ The ' Toviers *. Traffic in girls. Londcn the central market for international traffic in girls. The ' Lists of Ladies \ Harris's annual

  • List of Covent Garden Ladies *. Why the London traffic in girls was so

flourishing and extensive. Defloration mania in the English — in the upper as well as the lower classes. Causes of the craze for virgins. An English author of the eighteenth century on the ‘ Voluptas deflorationis *. The children's brothels. In Crispin Street. John Jacobs' children's brothels. David Eomaine's and William Sheen's. The artificial restoration of virginity. The disclosures of the 'Pall Mall Gazette'. The Stead trial. The meeting in Hyde Park. The case of Elisa Armstrong. The procuress Louisa Hart.



The police and prostitution. Great freedom of English prostitution. Lack of control of prostitution. Tax on prostitution. Danger in the. brothels. Danger of evening strolls. Baretti's adventure. Thieves^ beggars and receivers and their connection with prostiUition. The beggars' club of Si. Giles. Thieves' schools and thieves' clubs. The thieves' quarter of Golden Lane. The pick- pockets^ male and female. Robberies at the masked balls. Robbers and ' highwaymen '. The gambling hells. Introduction of these through the French. Close connection with prostitution. A ‘ Rout '. MordingUm's

gambling hell.



pages 212-227

Attempts at salvation of prostitutes. The Magdalen House in the eighteenth century. Similar institutions in the nineteenth century. Preachers in Bagnios. Foundling Hospitals. The so-called morality societies. The ' Society for the Suppression of Vice'. Its activities. Similar societies. Abolitionism. Characteristics of Josephine Butler. A product of English hypocrisy. Tamowsky on Abolitionism.


THE RESTORATION pages 228-253

Character of the Restoration period. Court of Charles II. Memoirs of Grammont. Its position in historical literature. Its author, Anthony von Hamilton. Personality of the King. Ladies of the Court of Charles II. Their shameless prostitution. Lady Castlemaine. The Duchess of Ports- mouth. Nell Gwynn. The other beauties. The gentlemen of the Court. Description of th^r adventures and pastimes. Corruption of the people.





State of society around 1700. Francophile tendencies. SerUimentalism. The * Demi-Reps*. Court brothels. Masked balls. Ben Jonson*s 'Masquer- ades *. Attitude of common people at aristocratic balls. Balls at 'Almack's *. Madame Comelys* famous masked balls. The Faro game in the Demi- monde. Famous courtesans. Miss Bellamy. Her memoirs. Her affaire with Fox. Kitty Fisher and Fanny Murray, Lucy Cooper and others. Murder of Miss Ray by the Preacher Hachnum. The theatrical world. Sexual licence among ladies of the theatre in the eighteenth century. Examples, Mrs. Billington, Mrs. Abington. Mrs. Curtis*s lectures at Dr. Graham*s Temple. Mrs. Harlowe*s love for aged men. Harriet Wilson and her memoirs. Mrs. Siddons. Confectioners* shops as meeting places. The evening parties (routs). Don Juanism in England. The ' Lovelace * type. Life of bachelors. Frequency of suicide among distinguished wasters. Famous Don Juans. ' Old Q.* His house in Piccadilly. Thackeray on ' Old Q.* Played considerable part in erotic novels. His adventures. Don Juans of the nobility and of the middle doss. Lord Pembroke. The ' British Don Juan * (Eduard Woriley Montague). Lord Baltimore. Charles Fox. Selwyn and Samuel Foote at the brothel of Hayes. 8. Foote, Tracey, Derrick, G. A. Stevens. Lord Byron. History of his marriage. Harriet Beecher - Stowe as Byron*s slanderer. His allied sexual aberrations. An obscene poem attributed to him. State of English society in the nineteenth century.


LADY EMMA HAMILTON pages 292-298

Embodiment of the English type of beauty. Her youth. Her appearance. Emma at Dr. Graham* s ' Temple of Health *. Her relations with the painter Romney. With Sir Charles GreviUe. With Sir William Hamilton. Emma at the Court of Naples. Her relations with Queen Caroline of Naples. With Nelson. Last years. Invented * plastic attitudes *.




pages 301-319

General significance of such preparations. Connection of same with quack medicine. Effect of food and drink an sexual life. Excess. Prevalence of meat and alcohol consumption in England. Gastronomic excesses. J. J. Becher and others on meat eating in England. Conditions around 1700. Pq^*s predilection for whisky. Increase of alcohol consumption. Drinking societies. Eating and drinking at brothels and taverns. Chamber pot at



ial>le. Meat consumption in the nineteenth century, Oout specificaUy an English disease. Drunkenness, Large proportion of women drunkards. Aphrodisiac foods. George IV* s predilection for truffles. Ginger as an a^rodisiac. Love potions in medieval E^igland. Cantharides at the brothels. The Pinero balsam. Vendors of aphrodisiacs. The DUdoes. Historical facts on the Godmichi. Dildoe business of Mrs. Phillips. Sale of Dildoes in the nineteenth century. The turkey as Qodmichi. Dildoe. pamphlets. Cosmetics. Cosmetics used by Anglo-Saxons. Heyday of cosmetics in the eighteenth century. Make-up and pmvder. Powder tax. Bedford's powder scene. Perf uming gloves. Perfumes. Contraceptives and preparations for abortion. Dr. Conton and his invention. Frequency of artificial abortion in London. Internal preparations for abortion. Pessaries and abortion. Secret confinements. First scientific pamphlet on miscarriages. ‘ Lucina sine Concubitu.* Venereal diseases. First appearance of syphilis in England. John Hunter's famous experiments. Wide prevalence of venereal disease around 1750. Precautionary measures by brothel owners. Prevalence in nineteenth century. Hospitals for venereal diseases. Decrease in recent years.


FLAGELLOMANIA pages 320-386

A 71 evil peculiar to the English. Justification of this theory. Originated from. Anglo-Saxons. Prevalence of flagellomania among all classes and ages. General causes. General observations on^ sexual flagellation. Literature of flagellation. Existence of erotic flagellation in ancient times. Introduction of religious element in the Middle Ages. FlageUantism and discipline are of medieval origin. Development of the flagellation system by Teutonic Christian nations. Incidence of sexual flagellation among animals. General observa- tions on sexual flagellation among humans. Physiological explanation {Bloch). Motives. Aesthetic attractions. Aesthetic significance of the buttocks. Plastic attractions. Exhibitionism of the nates. The ‘ Posture Girls'. Colour attractions. Biological significance of same. Movements of flagellated part as excitant. ‘ Kallipygian games ' of the ancients. Sadistic elements in flagellation. Humans flagellating animals. Sight of blood. Difference between antique and Christian flagellMion. Masochistic element in flagellation. RSle of magic words. Magnetism. Purely religious causes of flagellation. Flagellation as remedy. Therapeutic-medical employment. Remedy against impotence. Descriptions by Doppet and de Renneville. Roubaud's flagellating machine for impotence. Flagellation for sterility and other complaints. As a beauty treatment. Significance of habit. Distribution of blows according to a German scientist. Flagellating instruments. Various kinds of rods. Rods at brothels. UrticcUion. *Linaria cymbalaria.* Fl^eUa- tion wUh flowers. With asbestos. With brushes. Flagellating machines in early aivd modem times. Electrical flagellation. FlageUaUon part of pro- fessional prostitution in England. The governess. Flagellation as an art. Subtlety and refinement in flagellation. Favourite points on the bo^. ‘ Higher ' and * lower ’ discipline. The ‘ ouLwp * (flagellation of genital



organs). Striking e<xeMricUies in flageUation, R6U of clothes, Q, A, Seda on the svhjecl. The ‘ Lady in White \ Bouquet at flagellation. Emblem of recognition in flagellant prostitution. The ‘ voyeurs *, Feminine * voyeurfi *, Flagellation between husband and wife. Between homosexual persons. Connection with paederasty. Flagellation between Lesbians. Special history of flageUomania in England. Predilection of English toomen for flagellation. De Sade and Michelet on the cruelty of women. Type of cold Englishwoman according to Dickens. Predilection of English women for active flagellation. The * flagellant widow \ Flagellomania of Anglo-Saxon women. Reference to this tendency in Butler's * Hudibras Clvhs of flagellant women in the eighteenth century. Club of women wrestlers. Club of flageUant women in Jermyn Street. The Brownrigg case. A defender of Brownrigg. Mrs. Jenkins. Flagellation brothels in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Women owners. Mrs. Collett, Mesdames Mitchell, James, Emma Lee, Phillips, Shepherd, Chalmers, Noyeau, Jones, Betsy Burgess, Pryce. Mrs. Theresa Berkeley, Queen of her profession. Her brothel and equipment of same. The ‘ Berkeley Horse \ Her memoirs. Mary Wilson on Theresa Berkeley. Remarkable letter of a flagellomaniac to Mrs. Berkeley. Mrs. Sarah Potter. Her speciality. Flagellation brothels of recent years. The ‘ Whipping Woman '. Modem massage establishments. Invitation card to

  • gentleman flagellants Male flagellomaniacs. Three classes of male lovers

of the rod. Marlowe's epigram, ‘ Whipping Tom.* The * Flogging Cullies ^ Society of aristocratic flagellants. Flagellation in English schools. Mentioned by most authors. Lord Byron's verses on the Subject. Flagellation at Westminster School. Dr, Busby and D^. Vincent. The poet Shadwell on Westminster School. Dr. Keate at Eton. Flagellation at the Universities. Whipping block of the poet Steele. Flagellation at girls' boarding schools and boarding houses. In co-education schools. ' Schoolmastt. 's Lunch.' The case of Eyre Coote. Prevalence of flagellomania in London schools. In the monasteries. The rod in the home. Between husband and wife. Between mother and children. Between step-parents and step-children. Between masters and servants. The rod in prison. Whipping prostitutes. Flagellation in the Army and Navy. In the theatrical profession. At annual fairs. In games. Fl^ellation favourite topic of English periodicals. Advertisements by flagellants. Samuel Johnson's praise of the rod, anthology of the rod.

The ' Rutiade ', by Oeorge Coleman*


HOMOSEXUALITY pages 387-431

Prevalence of homosexuaUty and pseudo-homosexuality in England. Aversion of ^ English people to this evil. Penalties. Historical facts on homosexuality among men in England. Marlowe's ‘ Edward II*. Homo- sexuality in the seventeenth century. The ‘ Mollies' Club '. Widespread homosexuality and pseudo-homosexuality in the eighteenth century. Causes. Effeminacy. Habit of kissing between men. Boys' brothels. Secret paederastic dubs. Paederastic club in the ‘ Vine', near Clare Market. Men in child, bed in Clement's Lane. A dub of paederasts in Exeter. Paederasts prosecuted.

B xvii


Paederady in the nineteenih eefUury, The ‘ Vere Street Club \ Activities, Vere Street paederasts in the pillory. Paederasty around 1830. Preacher OreenfiM, Action of Fisher v. Cchmei QrarU, Paederasty in Seodcmd. Activities of London paederasts in 1850. The * Tommies \ * Margeries ’ amd, ' Poofs \ The paedmists * Eliza Edwards \ * Fair Eliza * and ‘ Betsy H.' Description of modem paederasty in London, 'Mary Ann* BdUon and Park. The Cleveland Street affair. Meeting places of homosexuals in London. Homosexucdity in colleges. The case of Oscar Wilde. J. A. Symonds. The Marguess of Anglesey. The androgynic Lord Comhury. History of LesbiaH- ism in England. Episode from Orammont*s Memoirs. Lesbianism around 1750. Secret Lesbian dubs. Lednanism in modem times. Hermaphrodites^ viragines, men^wmen. MoU Cutpurse. Mary Bead. The Chevalier d*Eon. Adrian and Bomemann on Viraginity in England.



Elements in the English national character predisposing to sadism. Boxing. Pleasure in public executions. Regular aitendanis at executions. An English sadist iravds to Paris to witness Damien's execution. George Sdtvyn's pleasure in executions. James Boswell. A modem 'amateur hangman'. The Ooncourts on an English sadist. Auction of rdics from the scaffold. Sadistic criminals. The ' Monster * (the ' Ripper Williams). ArchenhoUz and Forster on Williams. An English Girard. The sadistic priest CarroU. ' Jack the Ripper' Sadism in English eroticism in the nineteenth century. ' The Pleasure of Cruelty.' Analysis of this pamphlet. Other sadistic pamphlets. Masochism. The ' Petticoat Pensioners '. Strangulation for sexual pleasure. The case of Koyzwara. Masochist literature.



Exhibitionism. The ' Posture Woman.' A custom in Coventry. A hair fetishist. Costume fetishists. R6le of negroes in London. Women attracted by Arabs. Scatology in England. Remarkable frequency of incest in England. Prosecution against Major Weir. Story of Sawney Beane. Incest in literature. Novd on incest. Masturbation and its literature,



General remarks on connection between fashion and sexual life. Peculiarities of English fashion in early periods. French influences. Silk clothes in the thirteenth century. ' Trains.* Luxury under the reign of Richard II. Effeminacy of the men. ' Dunce*s cap * for men. Luxury of Elizabethan



period. Rarity of shirts, costumes of the Tudor and Stuart periods. TwerUy^ seven suits of the Duke of Buckingham. Nudity under Charles II. Publka- lions against immodesty of feminine dress. Muffs worn by men. Artificiality and frequent changes of fashions in the eighteenth century. Fashion bazaars. Old and New Bond Streets and (heir fashion shops. ‘ Shopping.' The shops of Oakley and Pritchard. Male and female shop assistants. Adventurous Modistes. Luxury. Mrs. Abingdon as fashion adviser. Corruptive effect of luxury. Hairdressing fashions. Of Anglo-Saxon women. In the eigh- teenth century. The ‘ he^ dress '. The wig. The Chignon Merchant in Bishopsgate Street. Women's hats in England in the eighteenth century. The *Ranelagh Mob'. Artificial busts. 'False stomachs.' The crinoline. The 'hooped petticoat'. The 'fashion of nakedness*. Ladies' shoes with machines. Sedan chairs. The fan. Obscene pictures on fans. English ladies on horseback and in coaches. Dandies. An English invention. History of English foppishness. The beaux. The ' Maccaronis ' or ' Jessamies *. Masculine dress in the eighteenth century. Effeminacy of the men. The ' Pretty FeUows ' . Flesh-coloured tights for men. Men's hairdressing. The ' Guinea Pigs *. The wearing of eyeglasses. Fops wear diamond glasses. Gallantry of English divines and doctors. Artificial calves for men. The 'Dirty Shirts' Club. George IV and G. Brummell as typical dandies. Barbey d'AureviUy's pamphlet on Brummell and Dandyism. BrummeU's dress. His behaviour in society. His tragic end. Von Pvclder-Muskau on the dandies. English fashion independence in early nineteenth century. The dress coat. R6le of (Edward) Prince of Wales. Peculiarities of feminine dress Breast rings.


EROTIC LITERATURE pages 499-.590

General character of English erotic literature. Coarseness of expression. Comparison with French erotic literature. Long titles of English erotic writings. On the history of English erotic literature. From the Middle Ages. Chaucer. Age of Shakespeare, Ben Jonson. Love in the works of Shakespeare. Coarse eroticism of the Restoration period. Rochester. His lyrics. His satire. His drama 'Sodom'. Analysis thereof. Imitations. Other eroticists of the Restoration period. Obscene satire. William King's ' Toast John Cldand and his ' Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure '. The best English erotic literature. Analysis. Imitations. Other erotic literature of this period. John Wilkes. His personality. His ' Essay on Woman*. G. A. Stevens. His ' Lecture on Heads '. His ' Adventures of a Speculist*. 8. J. Pratt's ' Pupil of Pleasure Other erotic literature from 1780 to 1810. Eroticism in the nineteenth century. Edward SeUon. His life, autobio- graphy, and his erotic writings. (The ' New Epicurean *, ' Phoebe Kissagen *, etc.) Thomas Buekhard his alleged collection of pamphlets on flagellation. G. H. Stock, an author of flagellation. G. A. Sola's ' Mysteries of Verbena House *. Erotic periodicals.





pages 691-630

Thealre and sex life. Puritanism and the stage. On the history of the English theatre. Miraole and Morality plays in the Middle Ages. Immor- ality of the English stage in the seventeenth century. First appearance of female actors. Masks for female theatre-goers. Prostitution in the theatre. The orange girls. Rochester's 'Sodom'. Restoration comedy (Wycherly, Congreve, Farquhar, etc.). Collier's attack on the theatre. Covent Garden and Drury Lane in the eighteenth century. Samuel Foote.. ‘ Sensational drama ' of the nineteenth century. Obscenities in the theatre. Penny theatres. The green rooms and prostitution. Music and eroticism. Remarkable passion for music in England. Italian opera. Castrated singers. German composers in London. The music halls. Musical ship on the Thames. Music halls of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Variety an English invention. Nigger minstrels. Descriptions of London music halls. Obscene songs. William West, composer of obscene songs. Street music in London. Old English ballad. History of the English ballad. Thomas d'Urfey. Cries of London. Dancing. History of dancing In England. Erotic dances in the Middle Ages. Dances of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Ballet. Famous ballet dancers. Spectacular ballets. Prostitution and dancing. Dancing prostitutes. Erotic balls at brothels. Pantomime. Circuses. First circuses in the eighteenth century. Sampson, Price, Coningham and Wildman. Astley's Circus. Female trapeze artists. Other public amusements. Public festivals in Elizabethan times. Annual fairs. Bartholomew's Fair. ' Punch.' Origin and history. May Day and Valentine's Day. Trial night in Wales. Swinging of women. Other peculiar customs.


EROTICISM IN ART pages 631-660

Art and eroticism. On obscene works of art. Aretino's figures in France and England. Sale of the same in England in the seventeenth century. Obscene illustrations of ‘ Pleasures of Love Of Cleland's erotic novels. Great interpreters of the obscene. Hogarth, Gilray, Rowlandson. Rowland- son's concept of sexual subjects. His erotic pictures. Isaac and George Cruikshank, George Morlarid and John Raphael Smith. Richard Newton. G. A. Sala's flagellation sketches. Struggle against the nude in art. The Pre-Raphaelites. Aubrey Beardsley's concept of the erotic. Obscene playing cards and snuff boxes. Obscene photographs. Obscene pictures at brothels.


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The present work is a translation from the Gterman, and readers might justifiably wonder why any publisher in this country should issue a history of English morals written by a foreign author.

The answer is as simple as it is surprising.

No comprehensive history of English morals written in the English language has ever been pubhshed ! As a result of a thorough search extending over a long period we have found that whereas all other branches of English history are adequately, and more than adequately, covered by authentic pubUcations, the history of English morals has been almost completely neglected. There are numerous excellent books on England’s political, economic and literary history, while the number of local histories — ^histories of particular localities, such as counties, cities, villages, and even individual buildings — is legion ; but books dealing with the morals and manners of the English people can be numbered on the fingers of one hand, and even then they relate to a particular period or a particular locahty, and are of a documentary rather than of a historical character. And by issuing the present work we are making a first attempt towards filling this very serious gap in English historical literature.

The need for a comprehensive and authentic history of morals is obvious. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that a history of morals is an indispensable key to the under- standing of the history of a people as a whole. For the acts and events that constitute history are inevitably



influenced by the moral oonoepts prevailing in the periods in which they take place. The political acts of the states- man, the tendencies of the author, the style of the artist, even the relationship between master and servant — all these things are to a very considerable extent determined by the accepted moral standards of the age, particularly in so far as they relate to sex. And the same applies in almost every fleld of human activity.

Needless to say, a history of morals must deal, in the main, with immorality, particularly sexual immorality. The attitude of the average decent man and woman to love and marriage, their rigidly moral outlook, represent the taken-for-granted side of a nation’s life, and do not influence — at all events not in any spectacular way — the shaping of the destinies of the people concerned. On the other hand, the gross immorality of a monarch like Charles II and the debauchery of the leading personalities of his court explain much that may be characteristic of a particular age, not only on the moral, but also on the social and political side. In the same way, prostitution in the lower social strata tells us more about the economic condition of the people than the puritanism of the masses.

The author of the present work has dealt with all the phenomena pertaining to his subject in a scholarly manner, conscientiously documenting all his facts, although, in the absence of English sources he has frequently had to rely on French and German publications of various periods. On the whole, however, he has given an authentic and com- prehensive survey of English sex life firom the earliest Anglo-Saxon times up till the end of the nineteenth century, with detailed descriptions of the various types of sexual vice practised in England at various periods. In addition, he has traced the influence of sexual vice on literature and art in a maimer calculated to give a complete picture of



what might be described as the seamy side of English life throughout the centuries.

That the author was well qualified to write a history of English morals will be readily conceded. Ivan Bloch, the world-famous writer on the physiology and psychology of sex, is recognised throughout- the world as an authority on all matters relating to sex, and this fact alone constitutes a guarantee of the scholarly quality of the present work.

In one respect, however, we emphatically repudiate the conclusions drawn by our author from his authentic and well-documented facts. In dealing with the prevalence of sadism and other forms of sexual vice in England at certain periods in the past, he states repeatedly that the examples quoted by him arose fix)m a trait of harshness, even brutality, that was inherent in the English character. Apparently, it did not occur to him to ask himself what had become of that ‘ inherent trait ’ when he wrote the present work, for even then England was far ahead of the rest of the world, and particularly Ivan Bloch’s own native land, in all matters involving humaneness and true courtesy. One need only instance the question of animal protection, which was dealt with in England not only by legislation, but through the kindness inherent in the English character, many decades before it was even raised anywhere on the Continent.

The author’s conclusion in this matter is really too absurd to require repudiation, and we only refer to it in order to point out that he was probably influenced by the view of England which was at the time in question deliber- ately propagated on the Continent for political reasons, and that his acceptance of that view does not detract from the factual contents of his present work. After all, Ivan Bloch made his world-wide reputation by dealing in facts, not in conclusions.



In collecting and collating fskois he had few equals and no superiors, and we confidently offer Sexual Life in England Past and Present as an authentic work, and we sincerely trust that it will serve the purpose for which we have intended it, namely, as the starting point of an adequate literature on the history of English morals.

The Publishers





General character of the English 'people. Historical stability. Causes of the individuality of the English race. English national pride. Realistic tern- perament. A people of cu^ion. Judge Jeffreys. Examples of coarseness from real life. Coarseness in Shakespeare^ in ^ Hudibr as \ in the novels of the eighteenth century, in Hogarth's pictures, in humorous drawings. Coarseness in specifically erotic literature. England the home of eccen- tricity. ‘ Spleen,' a psychological explanation. Examples of English ‘ spleen ' {Gluttons' Cl'ub, louse races, etc.). English prudery. The psy* chology of this specific prudery. Its connection with immorality. The stamp of coarseness, the eccentrics and hyprocrisy in English sex life. Derivation of the essentially English peculiarities in sexual matters from this general character. 1. Marriage ^ purchase. 2. Defloration mania and child seduction. 3. Flagellomania. 4. Frequency and scandalous handling of trials for adultery.




English beauty. General remarks on the aesthetics of the female body. The beauty of the English woman. Why the English woman is the most beautiful in the world. Opinions of weU-knoum observers (ArchenhoUz, Taine, Chesterfield, v.d. Decken, Rasch, Addison, Lavater, etc.). English women's large feet. The so-called * Emancipation of Women ' originate^ in England. Why the English woman is especially predisposed to these activities. Her early maturity, great freedom and limited delicacy of feeling. England the

  • Women's Paradise\ The Anglo-Saxon woman. Unfavourable influence

of the Feudal System on the position of women. First appearance of self- consciousness and of the sense of joint responsibility in the English woman. Women as members of the Merchants' Guilds. The breweries a monopoly of women in ihe Middle Ages. Women in the doisters. The learned women of the sixteenth century. The 'Regnum vulvarum '. Retrogression in women's



culture in the twelfth ceritury. Mary AaielL Position of women in 1700. Beginning of the emancipation movement in th^ eighUerdh century. Great self -consciousness of the English woman in the eighteenth century. The ‘ Bl%Le Stockings'. Origin of the name. The ‘ Blue Stocking ’ clubs. Mrs. Vesey's salon. Lord Byron on *Blue Stockings \ The learned women of the eighteenth century (Catherine Macaulay^ Elizabeth Carter, Lady Mary Woritey Montagu). The women's debating clubs. Mary Wolstoyiccraft, author of the first book on women's emancipation. Analysis of this work. The different new professions of women. Literature (Aphra Bchn, Miss Burney, etc.). Women bankers. Painters. Opera singers. The political activities of English women in the eighteenth century. The storming of the House of Lords by women. Activities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Women as doctors. Nurses. Philanthropists. The abolitionists (Josephine Butler). John Stuart Mill on the emancipation of women. Buskin. The author's opinion.


MARRIAGE pages 60-95

Character of English marriage. English love. Burke on 'tnarriage. Descrip- tion of married happiness in the ‘ Vicar of Wakefield'. The rdle of money. Marriage by purchase. The sale and purcJiase of women an old custmn from Anglo-Saxon times. Price of a girl and of a widow. Frequency of the sale of women in the eighteenth century. Low price of the wornan. Duration of this peculiar custom up to the nineteenth century. Examples of sales of women. The ‘ Fleet marriages '. Gretna Green, the Eldorado of those wishing to be quickly married. The so-called ‘ minister ' of Gretna Green. Marriage announcements. Divorce adultery or Crim. Con. trials. Frequency of adultery and easy loosening of the marriage tie as early as Anglo-Saocon times. Divorce laws of Kings Ethelred and Edgar. Milton on divorce. Preliminary conditions of divorce trials. What was told at the public hearing. H. France on the English judge as pomographer. Extraordinary in- sensitiveness to scandal of the Englishman. Money a substitute for the duel. Literature on adultery of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Crim. Con. brochures and songs. Permanent Crim. Con. headings of the newspapers. The Crim. Con Gazette. Adultery trials on the stage (performance in the ‘ Coal Hole ’). Famous Crim. Con. trials. The trial of Mervin Lord Audley (1631). The Earle trial. Elisa Draper. Dorothea Kinsmen. The trial of Queen Caroline of England. The Cavendish — La Rochefoucault scandal. The Colin-Campbell trial.


PROSTITUTION pages 96-114

General character of English prostitution. Character of the London prosti- tutes. Number of Oiese at different times. Classes of prostitutes. Recruiting for London prostitution. Lea Davis and her thirteen daughters. Keeping of



miatressea in the eighteenth century. Foreign proatittUea. Homeleaa girla in the atreeta of London. Waitreaaea an Engliah product. External dream- atancea of proatitutea. Maahed proatituXea. Harlota at the windows. The man hunt. A walk through Drury Lane and Charing Cross in the eighteenth century. Midnight life in the heat district of London. Covent Garden the centre of prostitution in the eighteenth century. The Haymarket a centre of nineteenth-century prostitution. The promenade in the Haymarket and

Regent Street.



Prostitution in the Middle Ages. The Bagnios. Principal places of prostitu- tion. The * Hothouses \ The Act of Parliament of 1 161 . Corrupting influence of the Norman invasion. Influence of French morals in the Middle Ages. The ‘ Abbot of Misrule \ Henry VIII and London prostitution. The Bagnios in the eighteenth century. The brothels. Intr^uction of French brothels through Mrs. Goadby. Appearance of the brothels. Brothels in Holhom, Westminster f Johnson^ a Court. Mitchell* s brothel in Pall Mall and its inscription. The ‘ cloister * of Charlotte Hayes in King*s Place, its price list and scandaloua scenes. King* a Place the principal district for brothels in the eighteenth century. The brothel of Mrs. Pendergast there. The negreas Harriet. Lucy Cooper. Mrs. Nelson. The Temple of Mystery, Aurora and Flora in St. James* s Street. Lodging places for prominent ladies. The brothel of Mrs. Banks for men and women in Curzon Street. Harems. The ‘ sdrail * of Lord Baltimore. Brothels in the fourteenth century. The fashionable brothel of Marie Aubrey. Brothels in the neighbourhood of the churches. In the sailors* district. The taverns. Weatherby*s taverns. Shake- speare tavern. The ' tavernplyers* . The ‘ long rooms * of the taverns. The

  • Gin Palaces*. ' Night- Houaes*. The oyster houses and 'dining-rooms*.

The restaurants in Leicester Square. The ' lodging houses *, The coffee- houses. ‘ The cloisters.* Caf^ 'Orange*. ' Turkish Divan.* The tea gardens. The cigar shops, etc. Doubtful rSle of the massage institutes in London. The abuse of masseuses in London and other large towns. A negro's massage institute in London. The garden and pleasure resorts. St. George's Fields.

‘ Dog and Duck * and 'Apollo Gardens*. Dibdin's 'Sans Sovci*. Belsize House. Marybone Gardens. The Pantheon. Vauxhall and Ranelagh in the eighteenth and nineteenth cerituries. The prostitutes* phaetons and the ' Temple of Flora*. BUI regarding public pleasure resorts. The 'Argyll Rooms *. The Hippodrome in NoUing Hill. The ' National Assembly Rooms *. Cremome Gardens. A ball in Cremornc Gardens.



{DEFLORATION MANIA) pages 167-194

Number of panders in London. Well-knoum procuresses. Creswell. Needham and others. The ' bulUes *. Dangerous Hass of men. The bullies* quarter,



'Fleet Ditch \ The ' Toviers *. Traffic in girls. Londcn the central market for international traffic in girls. The ' Lists of Ladies \ Harris's annual

  • List of Covent Garden Ladies *. Why the London traffic in girls was so

flourishing and extensive. Defloration mania in the English — in the upper as well as the lower classes. Causes of the craze for virgins. An English author of the eighteenth century on the ‘ Voluptas deflorationis *. The children's brothels. In Crispin Street. John Jacobs' children's brothels. David Eomaine's and William Sheen's. The artificial restoration of virginity. The disclosures of the 'Pall Mall Gazette'. The Stead trial. The meeting in Hyde Park. The case of Elisa Armstrong. The procuress Louisa Hart.



The police and prostitution. Great freedom of English prostitution. Lack of control of prostitution. Tax on prostitution. Danger in the. brothels. Danger of evening strolls. Baretti's adventure. Thieves^ beggars and receivers and their connection with prostiUition. The beggars' club of Si. Giles. Thieves' schools and thieves' clubs. The thieves' quarter of Golden Lane. The pick- pockets^ male and female. Robberies at the masked balls. Robbers and ' highwaymen '. The gambling hells. Introduction of these through the French. Close connection with prostitution. A ‘ Rout '. MordingUm's

gambling hell.



pages 212-227

Attempts at salvation of prostitutes. The Magdalen House in the eighteenth century. Similar institutions in the nineteenth century. Preachers in Bagnios. Foundling Hospitals. The so-called morality societies. The ' Society for the Suppression of Vice'. Its activities. Similar societies. Abolitionism. Characteristics of Josephine Butler. A product of English hypocrisy. Tamowsky on Abolitionism.


THE RESTORATION pages 228-253

Character of the Restoration period. Court of Charles II. Memoirs of Grammont. Its position in historical literature. Its author, Anthony von Hamilton. Personality of the King. Ladies of the Court of Charles II. Their shameless prostitution. Lady Castlemaine. The Duchess of Ports- mouth. Nell Gwynn. The other beauties. The gentlemen of the Court. Description of th^r adventures and pastimes. Corruption of the people.





State of society around 1700. Francophile tendencies. SerUimentalism. The * Demi-Reps*. Court brothels. Masked balls. Ben Jonson*s 'Masquer- ades *. Attitude of common people at aristocratic balls. Balls at 'Almack's *. Madame Comelys* famous masked balls. The Faro game in the Demi- monde. Famous courtesans. Miss Bellamy. Her memoirs. Her affaire with Fox. Kitty Fisher and Fanny Murray, Lucy Cooper and others. Murder of Miss Ray by the Preacher Hachnum. The theatrical world. Sexual licence among ladies of the theatre in the eighteenth century. Examples, Mrs. Billington, Mrs. Abington. Mrs. Curtis*s lectures at Dr. Graham*s Temple. Mrs. Harlowe*s love for aged men. Harriet Wilson and her memoirs. Mrs. Siddons. Confectioners* shops as meeting places. The evening parties (routs). Don Juanism in England. The ' Lovelace * type. Life of bachelors. Frequency of suicide among distinguished wasters. Famous Don Juans. ' Old Q.* His house in Piccadilly. Thackeray on ' Old Q.* Played considerable part in erotic novels. His adventures. Don Juans of the nobility and of the middle doss. Lord Pembroke. The ' British Don Juan * (Eduard Woriley Montague). Lord Baltimore. Charles Fox. Selwyn and Samuel Foote at the brothel of Hayes. 8. Foote, Tracey, Derrick, G. A. Stevens. Lord Byron. History of his marriage. Harriet Beecher - Stowe as Byron*s slanderer. His allied sexual aberrations. An obscene poem attributed to him. State of English society in the nineteenth century.


LADY EMMA HAMILTON pages 292-298

Embodiment of the English type of beauty. Her youth. Her appearance. Emma at Dr. Graham* s ' Temple of Health *. Her relations with the painter Romney. With Sir Charles GreviUe. With Sir William Hamilton. Emma at the Court of Naples. Her relations with Queen Caroline of Naples. With Nelson. Last years. Invented * plastic attitudes *.




pages 301-319

General significance of such preparations. Connection of same with quack medicine. Effect of food and drink an sexual life. Excess. Prevalence of meat and alcohol consumption in England. Gastronomic excesses. J. J. Becher and others on meat eating in England. Conditions around 1700. Pq^*s predilection for whisky. Increase of alcohol consumption. Drinking societies. Eating and drinking at brothels and taverns. Chamber pot at



ial>le. Meat consumption in the nineteenth century, Oout specificaUy an English disease. Drunkenness, Large proportion of women drunkards. Aphrodisiac foods. George IV* s predilection for truffles. Ginger as an a^rodisiac. Love potions in medieval E^igland. Cantharides at the brothels. The Pinero balsam. Vendors of aphrodisiacs. The DUdoes. Historical facts on the Godmichi. Dildoe business of Mrs. Phillips. Sale of Dildoes in the nineteenth century. The turkey as Qodmichi. Dildoe. pamphlets. Cosmetics. Cosmetics used by Anglo-Saxons. Heyday of cosmetics in the eighteenth century. Make-up and pmvder. Powder tax. Bedford's powder scene. Perf uming gloves. Perfumes. Contraceptives and preparations for abortion. Dr. Conton and his invention. Frequency of artificial abortion in London. Internal preparations for abortion. Pessaries and abortion. Secret confinements. First scientific pamphlet on miscarriages. ‘ Lucina sine Concubitu.* Venereal diseases. First appearance of syphilis in England. John Hunter's famous experiments. Wide prevalence of venereal disease around 1750. Precautionary measures by brothel owners. Prevalence in nineteenth century. Hospitals for venereal diseases. Decrease in recent years.


FLAGELLOMANIA pages 320-386

A 71 evil peculiar to the English. Justification of this theory. Originated from. Anglo-Saxons. Prevalence of flagellomania among all classes and ages. General causes. General observations on^ sexual flagellation. Literature of flagellation. Existence of erotic flagellation in ancient times. Introduction of religious element in the Middle Ages. FlageUantism and discipline are of medieval origin. Development of the flagellation system by Teutonic Christian nations. Incidence of sexual flagellation among animals. General observa- tions on sexual flagellation among humans. Physiological explanation {Bloch). Motives. Aesthetic attractions. Aesthetic significance of the buttocks. Plastic attractions. Exhibitionism of the nates. The ‘ Posture Girls'. Colour attractions. Biological significance of same. Movements of flagellated part as excitant. ‘ Kallipygian games ' of the ancients. Sadistic elements in flagellation. Humans flagellating animals. Sight of blood. Difference between antique and Christian flagellMion. Masochistic element in flagellation. RSle of magic words. Magnetism. Purely religious causes of flagellation. Flagellation as remedy. Therapeutic-medical employment. Remedy against impotence. Descriptions by Doppet and de Renneville. Roubaud's flagellating machine for impotence. Flagellation for sterility and other complaints. As a beauty treatment. Significance of habit. Distribution of blows according to a German scientist. Flagellating instruments. Various kinds of rods. Rods at brothels. UrticcUion. *Linaria cymbalaria.* Fl^eUa- tion wUh flowers. With asbestos. With brushes. Flagellating machines in early aivd modem times. Electrical flagellation. FlageUaUon part of pro- fessional prostitution in England. The governess. Flagellation as an art. Subtlety and refinement in flagellation. Favourite points on the bo^. ‘ Higher ' and * lower ’ discipline. The ‘ ouLwp * (flagellation of genital



organs). Striking e<xeMricUies in flageUation, R6U of clothes, Q, A, Seda on the svhjecl. The ‘ Lady in White \ Bouquet at flagellation. Emblem of recognition in flagellant prostitution. The ‘ voyeurs *, Feminine * voyeurfi *, Flagellation between husband and wife. Between homosexual persons. Connection with paederasty. Flagellation between Lesbians. Special history of flageUomania in England. Predilection of English toomen for flagellation. De Sade and Michelet on the cruelty of women. Type of cold Englishwoman according to Dickens. Predilection of English women for active flagellation. The * flagellant widow \ Flagellomania of Anglo-Saxon women. Reference to this tendency in Butler's * Hudibras Clvhs of flagellant women in the eighteenth century. Club of women wrestlers. Club of flageUant women in Jermyn Street. The Brownrigg case. A defender of Brownrigg. Mrs. Jenkins. Flagellation brothels in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Women owners. Mrs. Collett, Mesdames Mitchell, James, Emma Lee, Phillips, Shepherd, Chalmers, Noyeau, Jones, Betsy Burgess, Pryce. Mrs. Theresa Berkeley, Queen of her profession. Her brothel and equipment of same. The ‘ Berkeley Horse \ Her memoirs. Mary Wilson on Theresa Berkeley. Remarkable letter of a flagellomaniac to Mrs. Berkeley. Mrs. Sarah Potter. Her speciality. Flagellation brothels of recent years. The ‘ Whipping Woman '. Modem massage establishments. Invitation card to

  • gentleman flagellants Male flagellomaniacs. Three classes of male lovers

of the rod. Marlowe's epigram, ‘ Whipping Tom.* The * Flogging Cullies ^ Society of aristocratic flagellants. Flagellation in English schools. Mentioned by most authors. Lord Byron's verses on the Subject. Flagellation at Westminster School. Dr, Busby and D^. Vincent. The poet Shadwell on Westminster School. Dr. Keate at Eton. Flagellation at the Universities. Whipping block of the poet Steele. Flagellation at girls' boarding schools and boarding houses. In co-education schools. ' Schoolmastt. 's Lunch.' The case of Eyre Coote. Prevalence of flagellomania in London schools. In the monasteries. The rod in the home. Between husband and wife. Between mother and children. Between step-parents and step-children. Between masters and servants. The rod in prison. Whipping prostitutes. Flagellation in the Army and Navy. In the theatrical profession. At annual fairs. In games. Fl^ellation favourite topic of English periodicals. Advertisements by flagellants. Samuel Johnson's praise of the rod, anthology of the rod.

The ' Rutiade ', by Oeorge Coleman*


HOMOSEXUALITY pages 387-431

Prevalence of homosexuaUty and pseudo-homosexuality in England. Aversion of ^ English people to this evil. Penalties. Historical facts on homosexuality among men in England. Marlowe's ‘ Edward II*. Homo- sexuality in the seventeenth century. The ‘ Mollies' Club '. Widespread homosexuality and pseudo-homosexuality in the eighteenth century. Causes. Effeminacy. Habit of kissing between men. Boys' brothels. Secret paederastic dubs. Paederastic club in the ‘ Vine', near Clare Market. Men in child, bed in Clement's Lane. A dub of paederasts in Exeter. Paederasts prosecuted.

B xvii


Paederady in the nineteenih eefUury, The ‘ Vere Street Club \ Activities, Vere Street paederasts in the pillory. Paederasty around 1830. Preacher OreenfiM, Action of Fisher v. Cchmei QrarU, Paederasty in Seodcmd. Activities of London paederasts in 1850. The * Tommies \ * Margeries ’ amd, ' Poofs \ The paedmists * Eliza Edwards \ * Fair Eliza * and ‘ Betsy H.' Description of modem paederasty in London, 'Mary Ann* BdUon and Park. The Cleveland Street affair. Meeting places of homosexuals in London. Homosexucdity in colleges. The case of Oscar Wilde. J. A. Symonds. The Marguess of Anglesey. The androgynic Lord Comhury. History of LesbiaH- ism in England. Episode from Orammont*s Memoirs. Lesbianism around 1750. Secret Lesbian dubs. Lednanism in modem times. Hermaphrodites^ viragines, men^wmen. MoU Cutpurse. Mary Bead. The Chevalier d*Eon. Adrian and Bomemann on Viraginity in England.



Elements in the English national character predisposing to sadism. Boxing. Pleasure in public executions. Regular aitendanis at executions. An English sadist iravds to Paris to witness Damien's execution. George Sdtvyn's pleasure in executions. James Boswell. A modem 'amateur hangman'. The Ooncourts on an English sadist. Auction of rdics from the scaffold. Sadistic criminals. The ' Monster * (the ' Ripper Williams). ArchenhoUz and Forster on Williams. An English Girard. The sadistic priest CarroU. ' Jack the Ripper' Sadism in English eroticism in the nineteenth century. ' The Pleasure of Cruelty.' Analysis of this pamphlet. Other sadistic pamphlets. Masochism. The ' Petticoat Pensioners '. Strangulation for sexual pleasure. The case of Koyzwara. Masochist literature.



Exhibitionism. The ' Posture Woman.' A custom in Coventry. A hair fetishist. Costume fetishists. R6le of negroes in London. Women attracted by Arabs. Scatology in England. Remarkable frequency of incest in England. Prosecution against Major Weir. Story of Sawney Beane. Incest in literature. Novd on incest. Masturbation and its literature,



General remarks on connection between fashion and sexual life. Peculiarities of English fashion in early periods. French influences. Silk clothes in the thirteenth century. ' Trains.* Luxury under the reign of Richard II. Effeminacy of the men. ' Dunce*s cap * for men. Luxury of Elizabethan



period. Rarity of shirts, costumes of the Tudor and Stuart periods. TwerUy^ seven suits of the Duke of Buckingham. Nudity under Charles II. Publka- lions against immodesty of feminine dress. Muffs worn by men. Artificiality and frequent changes of fashions in the eighteenth century. Fashion bazaars. Old and New Bond Streets and (heir fashion shops. ‘ Shopping.' The shops of Oakley and Pritchard. Male and female shop assistants. Adventurous Modistes. Luxury. Mrs. Abingdon as fashion adviser. Corruptive effect of luxury. Hairdressing fashions. Of Anglo-Saxon women. In the eigh- teenth century. The ‘ he^ dress '. The wig. The Chignon Merchant in Bishopsgate Street. Women's hats in England in the eighteenth century. The *Ranelagh Mob'. Artificial busts. 'False stomachs.' The crinoline. The 'hooped petticoat'. The 'fashion of nakedness*. Ladies' shoes with machines. Sedan chairs. The fan. Obscene pictures on fans. English ladies on horseback and in coaches. Dandies. An English invention. History of English foppishness. The beaux. The ' Maccaronis ' or ' Jessamies *. Masculine dress in the eighteenth century. Effeminacy of the men. The ' Pretty FeUows ' . Flesh-coloured tights for men. Men's hairdressing. The ' Guinea Pigs *. The wearing of eyeglasses. Fops wear diamond glasses. Gallantry of English divines and doctors. Artificial calves for men. The 'Dirty Shirts' Club. George IV and G. Brummell as typical dandies. Barbey d'AureviUy's pamphlet on Brummell and Dandyism. BrummeU's dress. His behaviour in society. His tragic end. Von Pvclder-Muskau on the dandies. English fashion independence in early nineteenth century. The dress coat. R6le of (Edward) Prince of Wales. Peculiarities of feminine dress Breast rings.


EROTIC LITERATURE pages 499-.590

General character of English erotic literature. Coarseness of expression. Comparison with French erotic literature. Long titles of English erotic writings. On the history of English erotic literature. From the Middle Ages. Chaucer. Age of Shakespeare, Ben Jonson. Love in the works of Shakespeare. Coarse eroticism of the Restoration period. Rochester. His lyrics. His satire. His drama 'Sodom'. Analysis thereof. Imitations. Other eroticists of the Restoration period. Obscene satire. William King's ' Toast John Cldand and his ' Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure '. The best English erotic literature. Analysis. Imitations. Other erotic literature of this period. John Wilkes. His personality. His ' Essay on Woman*. G. A. Stevens. His ' Lecture on Heads '. His ' Adventures of a Speculist*. 8. J. Pratt's ' Pupil of Pleasure Other erotic literature from 1780 to 1810. Eroticism in the nineteenth century. Edward SeUon. His life, autobio- graphy, and his erotic writings. (The ' New Epicurean *, ' Phoebe Kissagen *, etc.) Thomas Buekhard his alleged collection of pamphlets on flagellation. G. H. Stock, an author of flagellation. G. A. Sola's ' Mysteries of Verbena House *. Erotic periodicals.





pages 691-630

Thealre and sex life. Puritanism and the stage. On the history of the English theatre. Miraole and Morality plays in the Middle Ages. Immor- ality of the English stage in the seventeenth century. First appearance of female actors. Masks for female theatre-goers. Prostitution in the theatre. The orange girls. Rochester's 'Sodom'. Restoration comedy (Wycherly, Congreve, Farquhar, etc.). Collier's attack on the theatre. Covent Garden and Drury Lane in the eighteenth century. Samuel Foote.. ‘ Sensational drama ' of the nineteenth century. Obscenities in the theatre. Penny theatres. The green rooms and prostitution. Music and eroticism. Remarkable passion for music in England. Italian opera. Castrated singers. German composers in London. The music halls. Musical ship on the Thames. Music halls of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Variety an English invention. Nigger minstrels. Descriptions of London music halls. Obscene songs. William West, composer of obscene songs. Street music in London. Old English ballad. History of the English ballad. Thomas d'Urfey. Cries of London. Dancing. History of dancing In England. Erotic dances in the Middle Ages. Dances of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Ballet. Famous ballet dancers. Spectacular ballets. Prostitution and dancing. Dancing prostitutes. Erotic balls at brothels. Pantomime. Circuses. First circuses in the eighteenth century. Sampson, Price, Coningham and Wildman. Astley's Circus. Female trapeze artists. Other public amusements. Public festivals in Elizabethan times. Annual fairs. Bartholomew's Fair. ' Punch.' Origin and history. May Day and Valentine's Day. Trial night in Wales. Swinging of women. Other peculiar customs.


EROTICISM IN ART pages 631-660

Art and eroticism. On obscene works of art. Aretino's figures in France and England. Sale of the same in England in the seventeenth century. Obscene illustrations of ‘ Pleasures of Love Of Cleland's erotic novels. Great interpreters of the obscene. Hogarth, Gilray, Rowlandson. Rowland- son's concept of sexual subjects. His erotic pictures. Isaac and George Cruikshank, George Morlarid and John Raphael Smith. Richard Newton. G. A. Sala's flagellation sketches. Struggle against the nude in art. The Pre-Raphaelites. Aubrey Beardsley's concept of the erotic. Obscene playing cards and snuff boxes. Obscene photographs. Obscene pictures at brothels.



PlaU Facing


Hug-mug'gin (colour plate) Rowlandscm.












My Wife



Apprehended by a Magistrate




After Sweet Meat comes the Sauce (colour pUite)




Scene in Bridewell




Expires while the Doctors are Disputing




A Tour to the Lakes




Catching an Elephant




Recreation (colour plate)



Intrusion on Study, or The Painter Disturbed



Grim. Con.



Strolling Players




Bitter Fare




Days of Prosperity in Gloucester Place (colour plate)



A Bargain (colour plate)




The Grand Signior Retiring




Industry and Idleness




Boys Peeping at Nature




Land Stores




Miseries of Bathing (colour plate)



An Emblematic Print on the South Sea




Love Laughs at Locksmiths



Thy Friendly Host Betray




The Ghost of my Departed Husband




Stag at Bay (colour plate)




On the Banks of the Thames (colour plate)




Cruelty in Perfection




A Boarding School Miss taking an Evening Lesson Heath



The Bassoon with a French Horn Accompaniment




Which Way shall I turn Me ?



It was Henry Thomas Buckle who was the first to realise the value of a critical study of the influence of nature upon individuals and peoples. One glance at the map of Europe shows most clearly how the peculiar position of England must have influenced the character of the English. England is an island with precipitous cliffs, surrounded by an angry sea which makes navigation specially dangerous, by reason of storms and reefs. These circumstances have induced a more complete isolation of the country and its inhabitants than has been the case with other islands. Buckle remarked that England was seldom visited by foreigners up to the middle of the eighteenth century*. The nation’s prolonged isolation is the actual explanation of its most outstanding characteristic, which is insularity : its wholly original independence of attitude both in business and government affairs. This marked independence, moreover, explains why the English awoke to the theory of ‘ political fireedom ’ centuries before continental peoples and incorporated it in their lives. (Magna Charta, 15th June, 1216.) To this independence, this self-assurance, can be traced really most of the remaining qualities of the English race which have caused an unshakable stability throughout centuries as in no other European nation. English self-assuranpe does not

•Even under George III, when the Countess de Boufflers visited England her wish to become acquainted with England was regarded as a great service. ‘ Car on remarquait qu’elle ^tait la seule dame Fran- 9 aise de quality qui fut venue en voyageuse depuis deux cent ans: on ne oomprenait point, dans oette classe, les ambassadrices, ni la duchesse de Mazarin, qui y dtaient venues par n6oessit6.’ — L. Dutens, M4moiru d’un voyageur qui at re^poat. Paris, 1806. Vol. I, p. 217.

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attract by its gay candour, but repels by a certain moroseness, a sullen earnestness, which has been attributed, not without justice, to the fog which is a feature of the country’s climate. Jonathan Swift is an embodiment of this English gloom, both in his life and in his work.

The Englishman’s self-assurance has resulted in a national pride of a vigour hardly to be found among any other people. According to von der Decken the knowledge of abiding by the law is one source of this national pride which is the possession of every Englishman and which is fed by the thought that no accident of birth or circumstance can veto his claim to wealth and honour'. All through their literature and public life the voice of this English national pride is continually in evidence. In Chauvinism John Bull leaves all other peoples far behind him.

A further characteristic, peculiar to the English people, is their realistic sense, the gift of keen observation, the ability to make practical use of the immediate present. Englishmen are bom practical philosophers. This realistic sense gives something genuine, something solid to all creations of the English spirit, and finds expression too in the very cast of their features. It is no accident that England should be the home of Francis Bacon and John Stuart Mill, the discoverer and the exponent of the inductive method. The ideal of the English people at all times has been action, which in philosophy gives rise to induction.

Exaggerated self-assurance is apt to develop very easily into coarseness and brutality. As a matter of fact brutality was one of the most conspicuous traits of the English national character and was manifested in a vast variety of ways. The independence, the straightness and energy of the Englishman is apt to become insensitive coarseness.

‘ F. von der Decken, Study of English National CharaeUr. Hanover, 1802. Pp. 46-46.

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The Englishman was downright, thorough and logical in his brutality as he was in everything else. Macaulay gives coimtless instances of this, especially in his brilliant description of the manners of the seventeenth century. The most notorious example of this English brutality was Judge Jeffreys. Macaulay gives the following picture of him:

‘ He was a man of quick and vigorous parts but consti- tutionally prone to insolence and to the angry passions. . . . Already might be remarked in him the most odious vice which is incident to human nature, a delight in misery merely as misery. There was a fiendish exultation in the way in which he pronounced sentence on offenders. Their weeping and imploring seemed to titillate him voluptuously; and he loved to scare them into fits by dilating with luxuriant amplification on all the details of what they were to suffer. Thus, when he had the opportunity of ordering an unlucky adventuress to be whipped at the cart’s tail, “ Hangman,” he would exclaim, “ I charge you to pay particular attention to this lady! Scourge her soundly, man. Scourge her till the blood runs down! It is Christmas, a cold time for Madam to strip in! See that you warm her shoulders thoroughly! ”... To enter his court was to enter the den of a wild beast which none could tame and which was as likely to be roused to rage by caresses as by attacks. He frequently poured forth on plaintiffs and defendants, barristers and attorneys, witnesses and jurymen, torrents of frantic abuse, intermixed with oaths and curses. His looks and tones had inspired terror when he was merely a young advocate, struggling into practice. Now that he was the head of the most formidable tribunal in the world, there were few indeed who did not tremble before him^.’

> Thomas Babington Macaulay, History of England from the Accession of James II, Vol. I.

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It is a lifelike portrait in which the English brutality of that time is depicted in aU its various aspects. A few examples make this clear. In 1790 the London crowd took delight in every kind of bizarre pastime. Donkeys were baited; little pigs were thoroughly greased all over and dogs set on them; old dogs were made to fight a mad donkey. One pastime was held weekly throughout the winter in the fields: a small pig was shaved close with a razor, and its tail thickly greased — the game was to catch it by the tail and swing it roimd your head. The prize was a lace hat which was paraded on a pole, and the points of the game consisted in the falling of the fellows as they struggled to seize the tail, in the squealing of the animal and the shrieking applause of the crowd. The following notice shows the favourite pastimes of the lowest class of the community on Whitmonday: ‘ A new hat will be the prize for men, a shift of dutch linen for girls — ^in a drinking competition: further there will be a ball-game for a fine ham, a sack-race for a pair of new trousers, wrestling for a big plum pudding, and for a guinea — to get a sound thrashing.’ In Stepney a fighting bantam was matched against a 25-year-old raven, and the bantam lost. On the same occctsion a donkey was baited by old dogs on a piece of waste land, and the barking of the dogs, the cries of the donkey and the shouts of the spectators combined to make a horrible concert. At the famous ‘ Bartholomew Fair ’ held in London for the enter- tainment of the lowest class, the star turn was a so-called wild Irishman — a fake of the stupidest kind. As a matter of fact, an Irish coal-heaver had been hired, stripped naked, smeared with tar and rolled in cow-hair; then he was fastened to a post by two big iron chains and exhibited to the gaping, credulous populace as a freaks The following

  • J. W. von Arohenholtz, Annals of British History. Hamburg, 1791 (in

future quoted as Annols). Vol. V, pp. 390-391, 411.

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example from Archenholtz probably touches the very peak of vulgar brutality. In a village near London there lived a half-wit by the name of James Trotter. He was among the poorest of the poor and was the father of three illegitimate children who had to be supported by the parish. What with the general worry, the upkeep of the idiot’s bastards and his continous attempts on the chastity of every yoimg woman and girl in the place, the Parish Council decided to take a most extraordinary step. They forced Trotter’s mother, partly by promises, partly by threats, to consent to her son’s castration, and in April 1790 it was actually performed — ^by the man who slaughtered pigs^. Taine recounts how in the year 1840, at a party in London, certain honourable gentlemen amused themselves by making beautiful women in their ball-dresses drunk and then dosing them with a concoction of pepper, mustard and vinegar*. Hector Prance, whose writings will often be cited, has collected other examples of former English coarseness and brutality; especially does he depict in lively colours the horrible brutality at boxing matches*; a favourite and also extremely characteristic pastime of Englishmen.

English brutality was manifested also in literature and art. According to Taine, Shakespeare possesses as complete a vocabulary of coarse expressions as Rabelais. His heroes take handfuls of muck and fling it at their foes without considering themselves sullied by it. And these barbarities are not confined to the rabble, but are to be found — and even more grossly — among people of position as well*. A type of such coarseness in Shakespeare is Caliban in The Tempest. Butler’s Hvdibras, and seventeenth-century

^ Archenholtz, Annals, Vol. V, p. 366.

  • H. Taine, History of English lAteralure, Vol. 11, p. 8.
  • Cf. the chapter ' Les Champions ^piques de Maze Hill ' in Les Va-Nu-

Pieds de Londres, Paris, 1887. Pp. 179-186.

  • Taine, loc. ciU, Vol. I, p. 484.

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novels (Swift, Smollett, Fielding and others) form really a monument for ever to the brutality of the age. Hogarth has pictured it in his work*. ‘ Punch ’, too, their puppet- hero, is a true type of their brutality*.

Akin to brutahty comes another degenerate growth of the English feeling of independence: the tendency to eccentricity, ‘ spleen ’ as it was called ; heightened self- consciousness which ventures upon odd enterprises, peculiar and eccentric things, in order to prove before the whole world its originality and independence. Thus every expression of English spleen was mixed with a good dash of arrogance which makes these eccentricities appear even more distasteful.

This is not the place to give many instances of spleen*. It was exemplified in the seventeenth century by the Club of Beef-eating Britons*, whose members met weeUy to indulge their gluttony; or by the convalescents and invalids of Chelsea and Greenwich, who organised races of — lice, putting them on a table and laying wagers on their turn of speed. The passion for betting was one of the most characteristic expressions of English spleen. It occurred on every possible occasion and often led to the most incredible eccentricity and aberration*.

  • Cf. Taine’s brilliant description, Vol. II, p. 448.
  • It will be noted that in stating his case Ivan Bloch chooses fortuitous

and somewhat exceptional examples over a period of nearly two hundred years, omitting to make any comparison with similar conditions in other countries during these centuries, or to make any allowance for changing humanitarian standards. — Ed.

  • Philar^te Chasles treats the subject of English spleen exhaustively in

the second volume of his work Le dixhuiliime siicle en Angleterre. Paxis, 1846.

‘ Axchenholtz, Annals, Vol. V, p. 383.

  • A large collection of examples, illustrating the English passion for

betting, is to be found in Traits of English O^inods (Leipzig, 1796), a book compiled chiefly from Archenholtz. There one finds, for instance, on p. 64, one of the maddest wagers made in 1773. The bet was to

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Finally, to these elements in the English national character which have been described so far, must be added one more, which at first sight appears almost contradictory — namely, that remarkable prudery and hypocrisy which permeated the whole of English life: that extreme puritanism which in this land of freedom and enlightenment made the people doubly difficult to understand. How can it be explained, this ‘ ultra-squeamishness this ‘ hyper-prudery ’ which, according to one of their own countrymen, an authority on his people, the English of the last century possessed to such a pronounced degree?^ On the one hand the Englishman carried his self-assurance and superiority with becoming gravity; but on the other hand, rightly aware of his own nature, he feared that the manifestations of his inborn brutality and eccentricity might sap and endanger his national superiority and independence. So he found himself forced to cling with the greatest care to the outward forms of propriety and to watch over them in order that no one might dare to break this shell of social formality.

This is the only psychological explanation of English prudery. It provided a counterbalance to those bad qualities: the hard schooling, to which the Englishman, naturally brutal and inclined to harmful eccentricity, had to submit in order to protect himself against their effects. For prudery and hypocrisy love only the surface veneer under which the darkest depravity may often lurk. I shall deal later with this connection between English hypocrisy and immorality after I have given one or two examples of prudery which appeared often in the strangest guise.

ride forty miles in three hours, drink three bottles of wine and untie the girdles of three girls. The stake was fifty guineas, and the challenger won triumphantly. One man crawls all over England on hands and knees; another wagers that he will chalk every tree in St. James's Park, and so on.

‘ Pisanus Fraxi, Index Librorum prohibitorum. London, 1877. P. xvii (cited in future as Index).

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Gustav Rasch, in his book London by Night, wrote: ‘ I cannot help laughing whenever I think how carefiiUy every man, young or old, sitting opposite each other on the narrow seats of an omnibus, endeavours to straighten the dress of any woman who passes between them so that on no accoimt shall there be least glimpse of her foot or still worse of her garter. Each face wears such an earnest look — ^like a priest who in the morning preaches on the immaculate conception of the Virgin Maiy and in the evening, over a glass of red wine, smiles at the simpleness of the faithful.’ — ‘ “ I cannot walk down this street with you ”, a friend said to me. I had been lunching with him at Bibra’s Hotel in St. Martin’s Lane and wanted to make a short cut down a side street to a small bookshop. “ Why ever not ? ” I asked him, astonished. The street was narrow but I saw nothing queer about it. “ Well, in that public house over there rooms are let for rendez-vous.” “ But what does that matter? We have no intention of taking a room there.” “ No, but I might run into an acquaintance, you see; and my reputation would suffer.” ‘ ’

Prudery was so deep-rooted in England that even Science, which should know neither shamelessness nor shame, was tainted by it. Dr. Bommeville, publisher of Progrks Medical, and one of the most distinguished French physicians, prints the following notice in No. 62 of his paper, dated 30th December, 1899 : ‘ We are informed that on December 19th the English police seized every copy of the English translation of Charles F6r6’s work La Pathologic dec Emotions, on the ground that the book was “ obscene ” and likely to corrupt the morals of Her Majesty’s subjects. The police had at the same time seized the second volmne of Havelock Ellis’s Studies in the Psychology of Sex^.' Similarly, an article on

^ G. Basoh, London by Night. Berlin, 1873. Pp. 83-84.

  • It is an indication of the change in outlook since this book was written,

that a condensed edition of Havelock Ellis’s great work is now generally on sale. — ^En.

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Medical Etiquette in England’^ states that the review ly a continental doctor of a strictly scientific book on ezual pathology, written by an accredited expert, was ejected by one of the foremost English medical joumais dth the comment: ‘Not for English readers.’ From the same source comes the following example of exaggerated prudery towards a doctor. ‘A continental physician told me that an elderly lady, wife of a colleague, consulted him. The description of her symptoms pointed to some disease of an organ in the abdomen. The patient complained of pain and the doctor asked if the pain was in the abdomen, using the word “ belly ”. The lady, though elderly, became embarrassed at this word; and later on, having become on friendly terms with the doctor and his wife, confided to the latter, that the blunt use of the word “ belly ” had affected her most unpleasantly; she went on, moreover, to add that the doctor, when treating English ladies, would be well advised never to use this dreadful word: it was absolutely taboo. “But in Heaven’s name!” the doctor’s wife exclaimed, “ Whatever does an Ei^hsh lady do when she consults her doctor? ” “ She refers to her ‘ stomach ’ ”, answered the


In his excellent EdairciaaemeTU sur lee ObscSnitie, Pierre Bayle writes with much humour on a similar case of exaggerated prudery, and its intimate psychological connec- tion with immorality has not escaped him. For it is obvious that a human being who is perpetually worrying about what is decent and what is indecent, must for ever be letting his thoughts dwell on indecency; whereas the naive and innocent pmson keeps easily without any bother within the bounds of decency; it never occurs to such a person to denoimce anjdhing as obscene when it is only the twisted thought of the joude that makes it so.

^ The Medical Weddy. 1900. No. 7.

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Few observers of the English scene have failed to note this close association of prudery and sexual hypocrisy with immorality. ‘ The more prudish and narrow the sexual outlook of a people or society is, the more criminal are natural aberrations considered; the more disgraceful and unregulated is the organisation of prostitution, that veritable spreader of poison, and of half-prostitution, the curse of big cities — ^then, I say, all the more rankly does ‘‘ secret vice ” flourish which lends its victims a spurious air of exquisite morality. And in England above all! Many pages would not suffice to recount my observations on that ! ^ ’ A diplomat has depicted this basis of prudery in England with point and vigour.2

Into the category of English prudery falls the case of Colonel Valentine Baker, which caused a great scandal in the ’seventies. The Colonel happened one day to be alone in a railway carriage with a pretty, coquettish girl. She flirted with him a bit: he flirted with her, and then she made as if to sleep. The Colonel instantly took his chance and began to caress her: she quietly accepted his caresses, like a nice respectable girl. But when he got above himself and went so far as to cry out ‘ My darling! My ducky ’, the modest maiden, preferring acts of love to words of love, springs

^ Gustav Jager. Discovery of the 8&ul, Leipzig, 1884. Vol. I, p. 266.

  • ' La pruderie londonienne a ses demangeaisons et ses curiosit^s

impures. Elle aime k voler ou k se poser sur la fronti^re qui s^pare les biens^ances conventionelles de la franche d^bauche. II n’y a rien qu’elle aime si cordialement qu'un 80 up 9 on de vice. Vous connaissez ce tableau c^l^bre intitule le “ Fruit D6fendu ” et representant deux jeunes fiUes regardant curieusement dans un volume qu'elles ont pris sur un rayon de la biblioth^que patemelle. EUes lisent des choses qui les font successive - ment sourire et rougir: eh bien! c’est la symbole vivant et grav6 de la 80 ci 6 t 6 de Londres. Qu’est en effet pour elle, le myst^re de la puret 6 en comparaison avec le myst^re du vice? Qui n’aimerait mieux connaltre les vies des p 6 cheurs que celles des saints? La sooi6t4 de Londres est infin^ment charitable parce que sa curiosit 6 ne connait pas des bonnes.’ — La Sociiti de Londres par un Diplomate Stranger, Thini edition. Paris, 1886. P. 301.

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up and gives the alann: people come rushing in, the poor officer is arrested and thrown into prison and eventually cashiered from his regiment in disgrace. Ten years elapsed. British officers presented a petition for the reinstatement of Baker Pascha, who had served with the Turkish forces in the Russian campaign (1877) and had been promoted to the rank of general for distinguished service in Egypt; whereupon a counter-petition appeared, signed by thousands of English ladies, who protested so indignantly that the Queen, in spite of the intercession of the Prince of Wales (a personal friend of Baker), simply did not dare to grant the original petition. On this occasion the press opened its columns to sundry screams of feminine indignation. One lady explained that English womanhood had been insulted in the person of Miss Dickenson. Another lady was overcome to think that a British officer could bring himself to shake hands with such a despicable creature as Baker, or to sit at the same table with him. A third wrote: ‘ His presence is an insult to every woman in the nation and a fourth held the opinion that even the mention of such a profligate’s name was a gross indecency. To speak of him at all must therefore be forbidden^.

It was necessary to dwell at some length on these salient features of the English national character and to set them in the right perspective because the knowledge of them and their continual recognition is essential to any under- standing of English sex-life and its peculiarities. For the character of a people (or of an individual) is revealed nowhere more clearly than in the realm of sex. Here those noteworthy peculiarities in race and individual are seen in sharpest, clearest outline, because a hiunan being is most completely himself in this sphere. Those prominent elements in the national character to which I have already

  • Presentation of the Baker Affair by Hector France, La Puiiqw

Albion. Paris, 1900. Pp. 180-183.

C [13]


drawn attention — Belf-assurance, brutality, tendency to eccentricity, and hypocrisy gave English sex-life its particu- lar stamp and cropped up everywhere in characteristic fashion, indeed, they generated four sexual phenomena which might have been considered typically English, namely, marriage by purchase; defloration-mmiia and abuse of children; flagellation-mania; frequency and scandalous treatment of divorce cases.

Up to the nineteenth century a very curious custom (I shall treat it at length in my first chapter) prevailed in England: a husband who was tired of his wife could sell her to the highest bidder in a crowd assembled in some public place. The Anglo-Saxons had practised this custom, which even then aroused astonishment amoi^ other nations.

But the English common people continued this revolting custom of the Middle Ages right on to the first decade of the nineteenth century. The fact that a man could lead his wife to market with a rope round her neck (such was the practice), offer her to the gaping crowd and sell her, fre- quently at a mock price, to the first comer — shows a mentality of indescribable coarseness and brutality: and also illustrates the tendency of the English to eccentricity, the spirit of spleen, the wish to astonish, to do something strange and unheard of. Both points will be seen clearly in the subsequent detailed account of marriage-sales.

In the realm of sex the self-assurance of the Englishman, coupled with his inborn brutality and eccentricity, often engendered defloration-mania and lust for virgins. In other lands, undoubtedly, individual men might be found who were especially attracted by a girl’s innocence; but the really appalling revelations in the PcM Mall Gazette turned a searchlight on the matter. The Englishman, aware of the high value of virginity in the modem world (antiquity thought otherwise), gave rein to his appetite for the rare

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and delicate in this field, and nowhere did brutal egoism and cold'heartedness appear in a more horrifying light.

A third manifestation of English brutality in the sphere of sex was the flagellation-mania — ^another heritage from the Anglo-Saxons. There is no more interesting chapter in the history of English sex-life than that which deals with the fascination the whip has exercised on the minds of men of every class and every age. From the standpoint of race- psychology the study of flagellation in England is im- doubtedly most productive: such deep-rooted tendencies should receive closer attention than has hitherto been the case, for then many sexual perversions appear in quite a lew light. Anyhow, brutality, eccentricity and hypocrisy found expression in the Englishman’s flagellation-mania in lice proportion.

And now I come to the last sexual expression of those three qualities I have just named: that is, the frequency and scandalous treatment of divorce and so-called crim.-con. oases^ They illustrate English nature; their number since the time of Henry VIII is enormous, and they are reported in the columns of the newspapers at length and in intimate detail in the most shameless and brutal manner*. Whoever lias studied even a small part of the vast English crim.- con. literature will be astonished how this people, with such an excessive feeling for propriety, could at the same

  • Grim. -Con. is an abbreviation of the words ‘ Criminal Conversation

Up to the Matrimonial Causes Act (1857), a husband could bring an action for damages against his wife’s paramour (action for criminal conversation). It was a common law suit, and the damages were estimated according to the loss he was supposed to have suffered by the seductiop and loss of his wife. This procedure was abolished by the 1857 Act and made part of the new divorce procedure, by way of a separate claim for damages against the co-respondent in a petition for dissolution of a marriage. — En.

  • i^cent legislation on this point has, of course, forbidden the pub-

lication of any details in a divorce case apart from the names and the facts given in the judge’s s umming -up. — Ed.

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time permit this scandalous reporting of most immoral divorce cases to persist year after year; and also enjoy discussing them with the greatest imaginable relish. Just at this point the three fundamental traits of the English national character emerged in a glaring l%ht, and combined to form an ensemble which a French writer described in the apt phrase the ‘ dessous de la pudibonderie anglaise

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In the opinion of the most varied aesthetic experts, the English race as a whole, not only the English woman, carries off first prize for beauty among the nations of Europe. According to Finck the English, both physically and spiritually, are the most finely developed race in the world. ‘ The Englishman is far and away the most beautiful “ animal in the world ”b’ The author of London and Paris remarked: ‘ Here beauty in both sexes is so general that only beauty of a high order attracts attention. It seems to me that fixsm this viewpoint the British nobihty at a court function must afford a glorious spectacle to any man, not poisoned by communist theories. Few courts can boast such natural grace, such health, such poise* ’. Archenholtz went so far as to place the beauty of English men above that of the women. ‘ The beauty of English women has become proverbial in Europe, but the men are even better looking. There is a certain amovmt of justification in women being called the fair sex on the continent; but in England where the phrase is in use, many paradoxes are current to show that only male gallantry tolerates the distinction. For instance, if you were to walk

  • H. T. Finck, Rofnantic Love and Personal Beauiy. Breslau, 1890.

Vol. n, pp. 632, 638.

• London and Paris. Weimar, 1799. Vol. IV, p. 104.

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down a line of English soldiers on parade, you would be amazed at their regular features, their beautiful eyes, their fresh complexions, the predominating oval frees, and finally at the slender disciplined build of their bodies. And what manhood! Irish and Highland soldiers are even taller; they have, too, a wild look in the eye which somehow suits their height extraordinarily well. But better-looking men nobody could hope to see than those of the London Volunteer Corps. True, they are the fine flower of the capital: artists, merchants, rich shop-keepers, townsfolk, all bom and bred in the lap of luxury for the arts of peace. This fine appearance, this admirable build, can be seen too in other companies of men in London. For example, firemen in green uniforms with large silver breast-plates march through the streets on certain days, with the band playing. What a lot of fine manly-lookmg fellows! In truth, there is hardly a man among them imderdeveloped or misshaped. Take the sailors on the Thames, the workmen in the large London factories and workshops, the numerous porters and draymen; have a look at the boys at Westminster, at Christ’s Hospital, at Charterhouse, at the schools of the London parishes, at Eton, etc.; everywhere you will find that, with the possible exception of Tmkey, nowhere in Europe can so many good looking men be seen as in England. Accordingly the beauty of women, which reduces men to slaves on the continent, does not produce anything like the same effect in England. The witchery of women is rendered practically ineffective by the same magic at work in the good looks of men: and more than that — as the truth is that the effect of male beauty on women is more powerful, swifter and more lasting than that of women’s beauty upon men. So no one need be surprised that English girls, at least many of them, pay rather open homage to men; that they not only oast invisible nets for the hearts of men like our own lovely

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countrywomen, but also themselves take aU the steps which have been the privilege of men in love to take since the beginning of the world: such as declarations, letters, messages by go-betweens, and all the honourable arts of courtship. A young man of striking appearance — ^for where practically all men are well made, only a man of exceptional good looks can attract attention — is inundated with watch- chains, toothpick cases (with suitable devices and mottoes, and never made quite the same), scarves, handkerchiefs (worked with mysterious letters and arrows, and so on), tie- pins (containing a lock of the giver’s hair), a regular collec- tion of souvenirs, called keepsakes, and neat little editions of favourite authors, especially Shenstone, Gray, and Pope’s Rape of the Lock, on the front page of which some telling verse is inscribed, and above all with letters. Such letters as the Widow Currie wrote to Tom Jones are certainly sent to himdreds of young men^.’

This is the fullest tribute I have ever read to the good looks of Englishmen and to the effects of these good looks. Archenholtz especially appreciated the regular features, the fine complexion and the slenderness of the Englishman. As a matter of fact, the fi^sh and delicate colour of the Englishman, noticeable even in quite old men, is largely due to the mild damp climate, which preserves the tissues of the skin. Emerson is of opinion that it is the health of the whole bodily structure which speaks to us in the flash and power of the eye. The passion for long walks, for riding, for tennis, for rowing and other games and exercises, as well as great cleanliness, has a great deal to do, without any doubt, with increasing English beauty, but it cannot be denied that its main cause is to be found in climatic conditions, in precisely those natural influences which are responsible for the

  • J. W. V. Archenholtz, Annals, Vol. VIII, pp. 247-250. Many letters

of the kind referred to are quoted.

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enchanting green of English lawns which have often been compared to the freshness of English complexions.

English women have long been considered the most beautiful women in Europe. It is extremely interesting to learn the effect which the overwhelming beauty of the Enghsh woman has produced upon different observers. Their descriptions are really more informative than any systematic analysis or any scientific study could be.

‘ Of aU the beauties said Archenholtz, ‘ to be found in this island, none is so wonderful as the charm of the fair sex. This is so convincing that every foreigner, whatever his country, would not hesitate for an instant in awarding the prize for beauty to English women. In lovely build, in neat figure, in shape of breast, in the tender skin of the face, where the gentlest features glimmer — ^in all this does the English girl excel

Julius Rodenberg exclaimed in ecstasy: ‘ Oh! England’s girls are beautiful! Let others go into raptures over the dark eye, the small foot, and the grace of the Parisienne. Give me a girl of England — with her aristocratic features, her two rows of white teeth, her two thick plaits of yellow hair, and her heart fuU of fire! * ’

The art historian Wagen has described the beauty of women of the English nobility, together with its setting, in the following account of a ball given by the Duke of Devonshire which he attended in Jime 1835:

‘ A withdrawingroom, the walls of which were decorated with mirrors and rose-colom«d hangings, in the centre of which was a wealth of flowers of every colour, filling the air with their sweetness, looked especially ornate and deli^tful. As though to complete the impression of a fairy world, and to add to its charm, the slender sylph-like forms of young

' Archenholtz, England, Vol. Ill, pp. 68-69.

  • Julius Rodenberg, Day and Nighi in London. Berlin, 1862. P. 64.

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English women of rank passed in and out, for this most fasUonable ball had gathered them in rare numbers. Here I encountered women like living van Dyck portraits; with the fine regular features, the transparent, warm complexion and fair hair which he knew how to reproduce so incomparably. Still more striking were quite Southern types, with black hair and sharply defined foreheads, on which grew small velvety eyebrows, giving a piquant effect to the face. They might well have descended fix)m the early Britons; at any rate the invading Saxons and Normans were blonde races.

‘ England possesses, for the highest class of society at any rate, a peculiarly favourable soil for such fiowers. And this is easily understandable. The physical education of children is nowhere so sensibly and healthily organised as in England: nowhere have I seen such a number of children bursting with health as here. Great regularity of life, simple but nourishing food and much outdoor exercise form the main features of their upbringing, which is strictly adhered to until the children are grown up.

‘ One great advantage is that the children are not forced to live in terribly overheated rooms for half the year as children in other Northern countries are obliged to do; for the open fire in England does not cause the same complications. Thus the skin does not become blotchy and unhealthy; but one finds here as in Italy that the bone structure eAxows through in a marked manner, which gives at once greater definition to the face and finer distinctions. Finally, it is remarkable how a special type of beauty has persisted in some of the old families: many collections of family portraits bear witness to this fact. The English aristocracy, owing to their greater freedom m the choice of wives, have avoided the degeneration to caricature and the stunted growth which is noticeable here and there in other countries^.’

Art and Artiata in England. Berlin, 1837. Vol. I, pp. 241-244.

[ 23 ]


The famous Rotten Row in Hyde Park provides a fit setting for the beauty of the well-bom Englishwoman. Gustav Basch remarked with reference to this brilliant parade: ‘ I have never seen such lovely girls; not on the Passegiata of Monte Pincio where the red glow of sunset lights up the glittering dome of St. Peter’s; not on the broad street of Posilipp, from which you may see the laurel-covered shore of the world’s most beautiful bay and the fiery column of Vesuvius; not under the chestnut trees at Longchamps — Long live the girls of Old England^’

Not only in aristocratic circles is feminine beauty so remarkable: it is to be found quite as frequently in middle- class society: Rasch, the author just quoted, even asserted that he had seen the most beautiful girls among prostitutes, who are generally recruited from the lowest class. ‘ English women are the most beautiful in Europe; but the girls who walk nightly in Regent Street are the most beautiful in London. You cannot find such another promenade on earth as that fix)m the colonnade of Her Majesty’s Theatre to the Circus — ^not under the glittering arcades of St. Mark’s Square, not on the Corso of the Eternal City, not in the Galerie d’Orleans, not in the gardens of the Palais Royal*.’

The French are also great admirers of English beauty. Taine often referred to the delicate loveliness of En g lish complexions: ‘ Many Society ladies put diamonds in their hair, and their bare shoulders have that incomparable whiteness which the candour of the lily hardly approaches.’ And though he considered that ugliness can be uglier in England than in France, he yet acknowledged that ‘English, women are generally more beautiful and healthier than Frenchwomen ’. Out of every ten girls one is remarkable,

' Gustav Basoh, Dark Houaes and Streets in London. Wittenberg, 1863. Vol. II, pp. 86-86.

‘IWa., Vol. n, p. 81.

[ 24 ]


while a naturalistic painter would look at five or six with pleasure. ‘ When Lady Mary Wortley Montague visited the court of the Regent of France, she created a sensation among our painted and affected beauties, by proudly showing them the natural loveliness of lively colouring and an unspoilt Fn g liah complexion! Faces remain young far longer than with us in France, especially in Paris, where they fade quickly: features remain fresh often to advanced old age.’ Taine has, moreover, described the type of English beauty portrayed by the poets: Shakespeare’s Virginia and Ophelia, Otway’s Belvidera, and Richardson’s Pamela. These girls and women are soft and fair; they have blue eyes and liljrwhite skins; they blush easily; they are timorously tender and grave and gentle; they are intended to yield, and to be dependent and faithful.

Lord Byron, who preferred Italian women, is yet obliged to own that among a hundred English women thirty at least would be pretty*.

Thackeray has created in Beatrix Esmond the ideal Englishwoman of the period, a brunette: ‘ She was a brown beauty; that is, her eyes, hair and eyebrows and eyelashes were dark; her hair curling with rich undulations and waving over her shoulders; but her complexion was as dazzling white as snow in sunshine: except her cheeks, which were a bright red and her lips which were of a still deeper crimson. Her mouth and chin, they said, were too large and full, and so they might be for a goddess in marble, but not for a woman whose eyes were fire, whose look was love, whose voice was the sweetest low song, whose shape was perfect symmetry, health, decision, activity, whose foot as it planted itself on the groimd was firm but flexible, and whose motion, whether rapid or slow, was always perfect grace — ^agile as a nymph,

  • Thomas Medwin, Talks unth Lord Byron. Second edition. Published

by H. Barsdorf. Leipzig, 1898. P. 18.

[ 26 ]


lofty as a queen — now melting, now imperious, now sarcastic — ^there was no single movement of hers but was beautiful. As he thinks of her, he who writes feels young {^ain and remembers a paragon^.’

But there is no quite perfect beauty on this earth; and many observers point out a striking defect in the beauty of Englishwomen — ^their large feet, which show to great disadvantage at the ballet. In operettas and ballets the dancers were ‘ mainly English; they have good fine figures, but their feet and ankle-bones are so large and coarse that no one who has an eye for beauty of line can look at them with pleasure* ’. Of course, envious Parisiennes delight to jeer at this imperfection of the Englishwoman*.

If you inquire into the reason of the English woman’s supreme beauty, of course you will have to agree with Wagen and others that conditions of life (sport, food, outdoor exercise, climate, etc.) must have a great deal to do with it. For all that, the primal cause must be looked for in the crossing of race-stock, which has occurred in a very marked degree in England, and which is known to have a strong influence on the development of physical beauty. Finck draws attention especially to the fact that the English nose has in the course of time grown noticeably more beautiful as a result of this crossing. A second basic cause of their beauty is the mental ripeness of the Enghsh woman, due to the care expended on intellectual development in the education of a girl. The charming ‘ lines of intelligence ’ which, according to Finck, can be traced in the countenance of an English lady, contribute much to the increase of her beauty.

The physical advantages of English women tally with the mental. In no country does the history of woman form so

> Finck, he. cit., pp. 631-532.

• London and Paris. Weimar, 1803. Vol. XII, p. 235.

  • Les Desaous de la Pudibonderie Anglaise, Vol. II, p. 28.

[ 26 ]


interesting a chapter in the history of general culture as in England: the country in which the modem woman’s movement originated, those strivings which were designated imder the name of the emancipation of women. This becomes clear if we look more closely at the character of the English woman who is predisposed to such striving. First to be noted is the early mental ripeness of English girls compared with French and German girls. This ripeness originates in no small degree from the greater freedom the English girl enjoys from her earliest youth onwards. However dry and proud and mannered an Englishman may be, nevertheless so far as intercourse between the sexes is concerned he has long retained the most admirable principles. This intercourse is of the freest imaginable. ‘ I am not a blind partisan of England and the English,’ said Fanny Lewald, ‘ but I see here the germ of the future, in such belief in goodness as I have never met elsewhere. When one sees a young and pretty girl at the Whittington Qub perfectly at ease among a number of men, with no other protection than mutual respect, one cannot deny that this people is far, very far, in advance of us on the way to the right goaF . ’ Every girl is allowed, almost without exception, to walk for hours arm in arm with a young man, some friend of the family; or at a party to talk undisturbed to any man she chooses in any room she likes. She is her own mistress, does, and leaves undone, what she likes, without any fault being found wdth her behaviour, which is often not at all genteel. Primness is completely foreign to the English woman. Good round oaths are often heard from the lips of gentlewomen, who are quite familiar with the slang of the sportsman and the stable. One day the Duchess of Marl- borough called on the Chancellor Lord Mansfield without giving her name; the man-servant went in to annoimce her ’ Fanny Lewald, England and Soodand. Berlin, 1864. Vol. II, p. 126.

[ 27 ]


and said: ‘ I couldn’t find out who she was, my Lord, but she swore so stiff that she must be a lady of quality^’. The subject of feminine conversation often gave occasion for criticism in the eighteenth century. Swift said: .

Or how should I, alas, relate The sum of all their senseless prate.

Their innuendoes, hints and slanders Their meanings lewd and double entanders!

Now comes the general scandal charge.

What some invent, the rest enlarge.

William Alexander, in his History of Woman, said that in Scotland and other parts of Northern Europe a woman would be as embarrassed to be discovered on her way to the Temple of Cloaca, as to that of Venus. In England a visit to that Temple hardly sufficed to raise a blush on the tenderest cheek. In Paris, too, during the last century, a gallant would often accompany his mistress to the altar of this goddess, and stand watch at the door, entertaining her with jests and endearments, while she conducted the ceremony within. If a lady felt this natural need in her carriage, she ordered the coachman to stop, and whoever might be in her company proceeded to relieve herself and afterwards took her seat once more, quite unembarrassed in the carriage*.

This early maturity, this lack of shyness and fi:eedom of intercourse give the English woman a male quality which strangely enough finds expression in her handwriting. Most English girls and women have a distinctly manly hand- writing and do not employ the long thin strokes almost habitual to French and German girls.

These characteristics of the English woman make it clear why she has won greater respect for herself than have her

‘ Georgians Hill, Women in English Life. London, 1896. Vol. I, p. 335.

• W. Alexander, The History of Woman from the Earliest Antiquity to the Present Time. London, 1779. Vol. II, p. 3.

[ 28 ]

8 ] Demgaed />// Win. Hogarth Eagntncl h// T. Coot



jontinental sisters. For that reason, even in the Middle \ges, England was called the ‘ Paradise of Woman^ A jlance at the history of English women will show how far this daim is justified.

Thomas Wright proved that all the characteristics of l^n g lish women were to be found already in the Anglo-Saxon. She was the careful housekeeper, the loving wife, the nurse and consoler of her husband, the noble and virtuous matron. The home was her domain. For we learn from a poem in the Exeter Book that ‘ it becomes a woman to be at her table: she who gads and chatters is full of faults. A man despises her and often strikes her on the cheek* ’. On the other hand, Anglo-Saxon women varied the monotony of domestic life by the study of Latin, which they not only read but also wrote with considerable fluency. Especially in the seventh and eighth centuries was interest in literature active: later, war with the Norman invader interrupted such study®. The Church, which branded ‘ the Eternal Womanly ’ as sinful, and the Feudal System also exercised a depressing influence upon the position of women. She was regarded as a kind of slave. Vassals and bondsmen were forced to pay a sum of money to the overlord on the marriage of their daughters*.

Neverthele8S,the self-assurance and corporate sense, which form the indispensable foundation of every struggle towards emancipation, were evidenced in English women even in the Middle Ages, and explain the reason why these struggles should have originated in England. In the year 1429 (under Henry VI) when the Duke of Gloucester had repudiated and imprisoned his wife, the Duchess Jacqueline, and set Eleanor Cobham in her place, a group of City dames came to the

  • W. Alezimder, ibid., Vol. I, p. 289.

'Thomas Wright, Domestic Manners in England during the Middle Ages. London, 1862. P. 52.

  • G. Hill, loc. cit., pp. 18, 22.
  • Ibid., p. 29.

D [29]


House of Lords aftd presented a petition against this wanton and injurious treatment of a woman. A contemporary account relates: ‘ One Mistress Stokes with divers other stout women of London, of good account and well apparelled, came openly to the Upper House of Parliament and delivered letters to the Duke of Gloucester, to the Archbishop and other lords there present, containing matters of rebuke and sharp reprehension to the said Duke of Gloucester, because he would not deliver his wife Jacqueline out of her grievous imprisonment, being then detained prisoner by the Duke of Burgundy, and suffering her to remain unkindly whilst he kept another adultress contrary to the law of God and the honourable estate of matrimony. They felt as aU good citizenesses should that they had part and lot in the affairs of the kingdom, and did not think it “ going out of their sphere ” to express their opinion on a matter of the gravest import*.’

This independent attitude of women found expression also during the rise of the Merchant Guilds in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, for women were admitted to them and, as Miss Toulmin Smith points out in the introduction to her book on English Guilds, to the same extent as men. Out of 500 guilds at least 490 had as many women members as men. Even when a priest was at the head of affairs women were admitted as lay members and enjoyed much the same rights as men. These ‘ sisters ’ of Guilds had the most varied vocations. The following ordinance of Edward III shows in how many branches of activity women were even then engaged, in the middle of the fourteenth century. ‘ But the intent of the King and his Council is that women, that is to say, brewers, bakers, carders, spiimers and workers so well of wool as of linen cloth and of silk; brawdesters and breakers of wool and all other that do use and worke all handy works, may fireely use and work as they have done before this time

  • G. Hill, Zoc. cit., pp. 36, 36.

[ 30 ]


without any impeachment or being restrained by this ordinance.’ As a matter of fact breweries were ahnost entirely in the hands of women, also the sale of beer at inns. The ‘ alewife ’ was a well-known character in ‘ merry old England ’. At the present day, too, many public houses in country districts of England are kept by women^.

Women deserve special mention in the English cloister of the Middle Ages. Up to the sixteenth century nuns enjoyed great freedom, and could choose whether they stayed for a long or a short time. For example, the mms of Appleton in Yorkshire were very jovial little ladies, and their prioress in 1489 was recommended to see to it: ‘ that none of your sisters use the alehouse nor the- waterside, where scores of strangers daily resort*.’ Abbesses took part in great synods, as, for example, the famous Elfleda at the beginning of the eighth century. English girls in the Middle Ages were for the most part educated in the cloister, where they learned not only the humanities but also musing, cooking, drawing, writing, music, singing, and so on. The so-called ‘ double monasteries ’ worked disastrously — ^those cloisters where men and women lived together. Gabriel d’Emilianne related of the house founded by Gilbert in 1148, called the GUbertine: ‘ He (Gilbert) in a short time got thirteen cloisters built in which 700 monks and 1,100 nuns lived together, separated only by the thickness of a wall. This hermaphroditic order, consisting of both sexes, soon produced worthy firait. For these holy virgins, nearly all of them, became pregnant, which gave occasion to the following verses;

Harum sunt quaedam steriles, quaedam parientes, Viigineoque tamen nomine cuncta tegunt.

Quae pastoraUs baculi dotatur honore.

Ilia quidem melius fertiliusque parit.

  • Q. Hill, loc. cil., pp. 44-47.

• Ibid., p. 76.

[ 31 ]


Vix etiam quaeris sterilis reperitur in illis,

Donee ejus aetas talia posse negat.

Tho’ some are barren Does, yet others,

By Fryars help, prove teeming mothers.

When all to such lewdness run All’s covered under name of nun.

The Abbess in honour as she excells,

Her belly too, more often swells.

If any She proves barren still.

Age is in fault, but not her will.

These nuns disposed of their children secretly to hide the scandal of their birth from the world; which accounts for the fact that at the time of the Reformation so many bones of little children were found, some in burial grounds, some in cesspools^’

The Reformation further confirmed and raised the status of English women. A contemporary traveller wrote: ‘ Women have much more freedom than in any other country. They are almost like masters.’ A Dutchman observed: ‘ England is called the Paradise of married women.’ Frederick, Duke of Wurtemburg, who visited England in 1592, also praised the extraordinary freedom which English women then enjoyed^ The desire for literary study became strong. No era, according to Dr. Wotton, was so rich in learned women as the sixteenth century. Study was so much the fashion that the fair sex seemed really to be convinced that Greek and Latin heightened their charms. Plato and Aristotle in the original lay on many a dressing-table. Georgiana Hill is of opinion that never in all history have there been so many great women as

^ Gabriel d’Emilianne, A Short History of Monastical Orders, London, 1693. P. 133.

• G. HiU, loe. cit., Vol. I, pp. 116, 118.

[ 32 ]


between the years 1500 and 1600. A contemporary poem, written by a man, gives the prize for learning to women:

You men yt read the memoryes Of wonders done and paste,

Remember will the historys Of women first and laste:

And tell me if I saye not true.

That women can do more than you.

And more than any man can do So quicklie and so trym What counterpointes of polycie.

Of arte and of artyfyce.

But women with facylictie Can compass and forecaste.

Princess Mary (later (^ueen), the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, was tutored by the famous Ludovicus Vives. Erasmus spoke with especial warmth in praise of her Latin. She wrote excellent Latin letters. Elizabeth, her step-sister, understood Latin, French and Italian, Greek too; studied theology, read with zest Plato, Aristotle, Xenophon, and translated a dialogue of Plato and two speeches of Socrates from Greek into Latin. Lady Jane Grey was also very learned, and was well grounded in Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, French and Italian. And not only princely ladies carried on these studies, but also noble women and burgesses like the daughters of Sir Anthony Coke, Henry VIII’s tutor, one of whom became the mother of Francis Bacon; and the daughter of Thomas More and Mary Sidney, sister of the Sir Philip Sidney, the famous author of the Arcadia. In a word, the sixteenth century was very favour- able to learning among women, perhaps because at that time so many women were in a position of authority. About 1661 the thrones of many kingdoms in Europe (including the English

[ 33 ]


and Scottish thrones) were occupied by women, and a malicious satire appeared — ‘ De regno vulvarum It was written by D’Aubign4 for Franfois Hotmann. It begins as follows:

Vulva regit Scotos*, vulva ac tenet ipsa Britannos* Flandros et Batavos nunc notha vulva regit*

Vulva regit populos, quos regnat Gallia portu*

Et fortes Gallos Itala vulva regit*

Hinc furiam furiis, vulvam conjungite vulvis,

Et naturae capax omnia regna capit.

The revolutions and Puritanism of the seventeenth cen- tury, combined with the licentiousness of the Restoration, were unfavourable to culture among women, which indeed received a marked setback in this century. Women found themselves between two parties, both equally hostile to their interests, libertines and ascetic Puritans. The former won the day. The lighter pleasures came into vogue; dancing and music were preferred to classical studies, and fine and gross sensuality were developed side by side. Priestesses of the latter like Lady Castlemaine, Francis Stuart, Louise de Querouville, Nell Gwynn and others carried all before them; and the few women like Lucy Aspley, Anna Halkett and Margaret Lucas who strove for higher culture attracted little attention. Mary Astell’s attempt to found a Protestant cloister, as well as her book A Serious Proposal to Ladies (1700), in which she pleaded for the mental and moral advance of women, can only be regarded as an isolated curiosity. Moreover, the belief in witches which flamed up for the last time in the seventeenth century

' Mary Stuart.

  • Elizabeth of England.

’ Margaret, Duchess of Parma, natural daughter of Emperor Charles V.

  • Catherine of Austria, sister of Charles V, widow of John III, King of

Portugal, and regent during the minority of his son Sebastian.

‘ Catherine de Medici.

[ 34 ]


(especially fed by the Puritans) did not serve to increase the general respect for women^.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century the position of English women in public life was far from satisfactory. Men held them in such scant respect at that time that a Mrs. Drake felt called upon to write an Essay in Defence of the Female Sex (London, 1696).

This state of affairs, however, soon underwent a change. The eighteenth century — ^the period of the Four Georges and of great writers and artists — ^is noteworthy also in the history of the English woman; indeed, of the whole female sex. The idea of all that is comprehended in the phrase ‘ the emancipation of women ’ was first clearly formulated in England, developed and made into a lasting subject of public agitation. The study of the beginnings of this movement would make an interesting theme for a special book, as a good many matters in those beginnings still remain obscure. I intend to confine myself to presenting the chief moments in the history of English women’s emanci- pation, and to passing a few critical remarks upon the subject of the emancipation of women in general.

The foundation, firom which alone the modem woman’s movement could arise, was enhghtenment and awakened individualism, spread by the influence of Rousseau’s writing (who curiously enough was an opponent of women’s emanci- pation). The self-assurance of the woman became active, and in England, where it had always existed and was only at times suppressed, it advanced once more with renewed energy. Miss Bellamy said: ‘ The superiority of mind, of which men

> James I, that learned eccentric, asks in his Demonologie: ‘ What can be the cause that there are twentie women given to that craft where there is only one man? ’ and gives his answer: ‘ that women are frailer than men ’. And he cites Eve’s fall as the beginning of Satan’s lordship over woman. The last witch was executed in 1716, when a mother and daughter were put to death at Huntington.

[ 36 ]


boast, is in truth only a common prop for male arrogance. How many women I might cite whose profound acquirements refute this absurdity which is ever on the lips of men.’ The initiative, thus taken by women, did not fail to have its effect on men, as the following poem shows:

The rights of woman, says a female pen.

Are to do everything as well as men.

And since the sex at length have been inclin’d To cultivate that useful part, the mind;

Since they have learnt to read, to write, to spell; Since some of them have wit and use it well;

Let us not force them back with brow severe.

Within the pole of ignorance and fear!

Confin’d entirely to domestic arts.

Producing only children, pies and tarts^.

When a man writes an Essai sur la Supirioriti Intdlec- tuelle de la Femme^, it is unlikely that the following poem, written at the same time and expressing the same opinions, contains any trace of irony:

I wonder why, by foul-mouthed men Women so slandered be.

Since it doth easily appear They’re better far than we.

Why are the graces, every one Pictur’d as women be.

If not to show that they, in grace,

Do more excel than we?

Why are the liberal sciences Pictur’d as women be.

If not to show that they in them Do more excel than we.

  • Memoirs of the Forty-five First Years of the Life of James LackingUm.

London, 1793. Pp. 266-277.

‘Dell’ Acqua, Essai sur la SttpdrioriU IntdlectueUe de la Femme. Berlin, 1798.

[ 36 ]


Why are the virtueB, every one,

Pictur’d as women be,

If not to show that they in them Do more excel than we?

Since women are so full of worth.

Let them all praised be —

For commendations they deserve.

In ampler wise than we*.

This self-assurance of women first found expression in the famous assemblies known as Blue Stocking Clijbs. Where did the remarkable name Blue Stocking originate? It began by having no trace of the slighting significance with which it is now used. The real origin of the name is still unknown. I must confine myself to giving various theories upon it. John Timbs finds the oldest mention of a Blue Stocking or ‘ Bas Bleu ’ in the Greek comedy which bears the title of The Banquet of Plutarch, where the name is applied to a woman with a strong liking for the business of literature. Mills, in his History of Chivalry, found the same designation in use in the ‘ Societa de la Calza’, foimded in Venice m 1400, in which the members at their literary discussions differen- tiated themselves by the colour of their stockings, following the customary usage of Italian Academies in the Middle Ages to employ distinguishing marks. The colours were at first fantastically varied, but one colour, blue, eventually predominated; and this society lasted till 1590. Then the name Blue Stocking reached Paris, where it branded feminine pedantry. From France it was imported into England, where it was used to describe the pettiness of literary effort in feminine coteries. According to Timbs, however, the Blue Stocking of the eighteenth centxuy is a home growth. Boswell noted in his Life of Dr. Johnson, imder the date 1781; ‘ About

  • Doings in London, p. 269.

[ 37 ]


this time it was much the fashion for several ladies to have evening assemblies where the fair sex might participate in conversation with literary and ingenious men, animated by a desire to please. These societies were denominated Blue Stocking Chiba ; the origin of which title being little known it may be worth while to relate it. One of the most eminent members of these societies, when they first commenced, was Mr. Stillingfleet, whose drees was remarkably grave and in particular it was observed that he wore blue stockings. Such was the excellence of his conversation, that his absence was felt as so great a loss, that it used to be said, “ We can do nothing without the blue stockings”; and thus by degrees the title was established

This assumption of Boswell is not quite correct. For, according to the Rev. Montagu Pennington, the biographer of Elizabeth Carter, Stillingfleet died in 1771* and had for foxirteen years given up the habit of wearing blue stockings®. According to Doran, the term Blue Stocking was first used in 1757 in a letter written by Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu, and that too in connection with Stillingfleet. So it is possible that the name does actually originate fium some definite per- sonality.

The merit of first starting societies, reserved wholly for conversation to the exclusion of every game, is generally attributed to Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu, n6e Robinson (not to be confused with her celebrated kinswoman Lady Mary Wortley Montagu) to Mrs. Vesey, an Irish lady, and to Mrs. Ord (daughter of the celebrated surgeon DiUington). The name Blue Stocking Club was given not merely to their assemblies but to any over which a lady presided. Parties at

> John Timbs, Clubs and Club Life in London. London, 1872. Pp. 169-170.

• Q. Hill, loc. cit., Vol. IT, p. 64.

' Doran, A Lady of the Last Century. London, 1873. P. 66.

[ 38 ]


Mesdames Montagu, Vesey and Ord were called ‘ bas bleu assemblies without distinction^.

That was the heyday of the Blue Stocking parties, which lasted on into the nineteenth century but which gradually came to neglect more and more their original purpose. Lord B3Ton’s diary, destroyed by Murray and Moore, contained a humorous account of a Blue Stocking tea party where young ladies on back seats ‘ tried hard to look wise and were only the prettier because they did not succeed® ’.

The example of the Blue Stockings was soon followed. Girls and women plunged with zest into the most profound learned studies, so that towards the end of the eighteenth century the large number of learned women filled foreign visitors with astonishment. ‘ Without wishing to stir up that hornets’ nest by asking : should womenfolk learn more than cooking, sewing and knitting, you only need a few years’ experience of life in London to be convinced that the jest “ She is a Blue Stocking ” has quite lost its savour®. Above aU, women eagerly studied Enghsh history. But numerous women read widely in physics, chemistry, surgery, medicine, botany, astronomy, mineralogy, the philosophy of Kant, dietetics, etc. They were especially attracted by the study of mineralogy and botany.

The ladies of good position who understood how to make themselves the centre of literary social life were imitated by middle- class women who founded so-called ‘ debating clubs ’ to which only persons of the female sex were admitted*.

  • Doran, ibid., pp. 264-271. According to Lady Crewe the ladies at Mrs.

Montagu’s parties are said to have actuaUy worn blue stockings. Cf. the article ‘ Elizabeth Montagu ’ in the Dictionary of National Biography. London, 1894. Vol. 38, p. 241.

’ J. Bussell, Memories and Counsels. Halle, 1876. P. 2.

  • London and Paris. Weimar, 1799. Vol. IV, p. 296.
  • Archenholtz, England, Vol. HI, p. 142.

[ 39 ]


According to Archenholtz these clubs were not a success, partly because the fair sex has small talent for public speaking, and in consequence the speeches, on either side, had been learned by heart beforehand, and partly because many young men, dressed as women, foimd their way in ! ‘

More than by these distinguished Salons and the unfor- tunate Debating Clubs, the cause of women’s emancipation was furthered by a book which, in spite of Mary Astell’s and Daniel Defoe’s pioneer work, must be described as the first book to treat the question in a comprehensive manner. The book, which was published in 1792, is A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797).

She was an impulsive and enthusiastic woman of great charm, both in appearance and manner. Her portrait, painted by Opie, was owned by her son-in-law, who was no less a man than the poet Shelley. Mary Wollstonecraft ’s book has been almost forgotten in the flood of Avriting about the woman question with which we are inundated by modem literature. Most new books on the subject betray a complete ignorance of this admirable work. So I feel it is all the more important to draw attention to it, as I consider it is the best work that has been written upon the woman question. For the authoress recognises always the important and funda- mental fact, which later J. S. Mill and after him many others have endeavoured either to dismiss or obscure, that man and woman are two diflFerent beings, and that in consequence there are limits to the emancipation of women. Mary Wollstone- craft’s book still delights the reader of to-day by its sound imderstanding of human nature: it is the beautiful expression of a profound spirit. Moderate in tone, it is also moderate in its claims, and above all recognises those fundamental differences between man and woman which all the firenzied efforts of our modem viragoes can never alter. Mary ‘ Archenholtz, Antuds, Vol. I, p. 469.

[ 40 ]


Wollstonecraft saw clearly that woman will never attain

he same degree of emancipation as man, and men will

always surpass them in many things. This thought per- meates the whole work.

In sketching shortly the most important moments in the history of women’s emancipation in England, I begin with literature. Among all the nations of Europe since the seventeenth century English women have possessed, rela- tively speaking, the largest number of writers. This is explained by the fact that English women take a much greater interest in literature, and read far more books than continental women. The girl, for example, who goes to town to shop, makes a practice of reading a book, just as an Enghshman spends a great deal of his leisure in reading. An observer could collect many amusing incidents caused by this reading mania in the streets of London. There have been lending libraries from the earliest days — eagerly patronised by the feminine public — such as those of Hookham and Lackington in the eighteenth century. James Lacking- ton writes in his Memoirs : ‘ Ladies do not now read only romances — ^though many of them are excellent productions which improve the heart as well as the mind, but they read also the best books in the English language, and many read the best authors in other languages as well. Many thousands of ladies who visit my shop know quite as well what books to choose and are quite as weU acquainted with works of taste and genius as the gentlemen of fashion who are so ready to sneer at women novel readers Naturally, of course, the number of light readers was greater than those interested in serious reading^; and it is not otherwise to-day.

^ James Lackington, Memoirs. London, 1793. P. 266.

• These novels were often of an extremely doubtful character. Jouy relates how he found a very erotic novel left behind by two ladies in Kensington Gardens (The Hermit of London y by M. de Jouy. Paris, 1820. Vol. I, p. 165). In a scene in The Rivals Sheridan pictures Lydia Languish

[ 41 ]


I shall only mention the most prominent among the vast number of English authoresses. Aphra Behn (1644-1689) (akin to Susanne Centlivre, her ‘ sister spirit in the Lord Priapus ’ as Johannes Scherr remarks*) was the only obscene woman writer that England produced, yet she possessed a talent by no means to be despised, and in her Oronooko pursued the same aim as, nearly two centuries later, Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe in Uncle Tom's Cabin. Miss Fanny Burney (1762-1840), who became Madame d’Arblay, achieved a high reputation in the eighteenth century, though she is known to-day mainly by Macaulay’s famous essay, her novels Evelina and Cecilia being almost forgotten. Anna Radcliffe (1764-1823), on the other hand, lives yet; her thrillers are still asked for at lending libraries.

The two most prominent women-writers in the nineteenth century were without doubt Felicia Hemans and Gleorge Eliot. Mrs. Hemans (1794-1836) sings of Clod’s mercy: her beautifully shaped ‘ songs, filled with devotion, are sweet- scented roses in the garland of English l 3 Tic 8 ’ (Scherr).

commisaioning her maid Lucy to fetch frivolous books from different libraries and endeavouring to hide the forbidden fruit from her aunt:

‘Lydia: Wait. Somebody’s coming. Quick. See who it is.

‘Lucy: Oh! It’s my Lord and your Aunt.

‘Lydia: Quick. Lucy, dear. Hide the books. Throw “Tanzai” under my toUet. Put “Adult^re Innocent” behind ‘‘ Human Duties”. Push Ovid imder the pillow, and “ Bijoux Indiscrete ” into your pocket.’

Cr^billon, Scarron and Diderot were also popular. Hogarth, in his ‘ Marriage k la Mode,’ portrayed Cr^billon’s ‘ Sopha ’ lying on the sofa of Lady Squanderfield; and Lichtenberg adds the comment that the book suits a lady’s library as nicely as silver balls or sugar plums a Christmas tree. On the other hand, however, as Moritz points out, English classics were widely circulated in the eighteenth century and read by high and low. His landlady, a tailor’s widow, read Milton by preference. English people, too, unlik e Germans even to-day, bought the books they read. Cheap editions of the classics were owned by everybody. Cf. C. Ph. Moritz, Travels in England in 1782. Leipzig. Pp. 34-35.

' J. Scherr, General History of Literature, ninth edition. Stuttgart, 1896. Vol. n, p. 47.

[ 42 ]


teorge Eliot (1819-80) was perhaps the most important of ,11 European women-novelists: in her novels (Scenes of JUriccd Life, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Middle- knarch) she endeavoured to solve contemporary problems, both philosophical and social, by bringing her genius to bear upon them; she was a poet whose name ‘ posterity will mention in the same breath with Dickens and Thackeray^

As regards art, English women have only excelled as painters during the last century. Fanny Reynolds, the por- trait painter, ‘ merely imitates her famous brother’s faults ’, his pupil, James Northcote, remarked; Mrs. Conway dis- tinguished herself as a miniature painter, Mrs. Carpenter as a painter of landscapes*.

In 1859 Miss Herford, Mrs. Grote and Mrs. Lind- Goldschmidt founded the Society of Lady Artists, which held its fortieth exhibition in 1896*.

There were opera-singers in England fix)m the be ginning of the eighteenth century, and composers from 1780, amongst others Mis. Beardman, Kate Fanny Loder, Eliza Flower, Mrs. Barnard, etc.*

Ever since the beginning of the eighteenth century, when the Duchess of Marlborough played such an important part in political life, English women have taken a lively interest in politics and have been especially active at elections. Moreover, the ladies of the eighteenth century delighted to discoiu^ on political topics in their letters'. In May 1738 there was an interesting debate, behind closed doors, in the House of Lords, to which only members of the Commons were to be admitted; a group of ladies determined to flout the order. At 9 a.m. they appeared at the door and Sir

‘ Ernst von Wolzogen, Ckorge Eliot. Leipzig, 1885. P. 228.

• G. HiU, loc. cit., Vol. I, pp. 294, 296.

• Ibid., Yol. n, p. 168 .

  • Ibid., Vol. n, pp. 172-174.

'Ibid., Yol I, p.336.

[ 43 ]


William Sanderson courteously informed them that tht Chancellor had issued orders forbidding their admission The Duchess of Queensberry, as ‘ leader of the squad stormed at the ill-breeding of a mere lawyer, and begged Sir William to let them in on the quiet. He refused politely at first, and then swore he would never let them pass. Her Grace replied with noble warmth that enter she would in spite of the Chancellor and the whole House. When the Peers were told, it was decided to starve her out. Orders were given that the doors should be kept closed till the sitting was over. But the Amazons proved themselves stout besiegers.

They stood their ground till 5 p.m. without food, banging and kicking the door to such purpose that speakers in the House could hardly be heard above the din. When the Lords ignored this conduct, the two Duchesses, expert in the tactics of war, ordered half-an-hom’s complete silence. The Chancellor took this for a sure proof that they had gone away, and gave orders for the doors to be thrown open, as members of the House of Commons were impatiently awaiting admission. On that, the ladies burst in and planted themselves in the front rows of the gallery. They stayed until 11 p.m., when the House rose; and throughout the debate applauded and booed, and made themselves generally conspicuous^.

It can easily be imagined what an effect this pohtical keenness of women produced at election times. Thus the Duchess of Devonshire worked hard for the return of Charles Fox in 1784. Fox won the election, in spite of the Tory poster: ‘No murder! No club law, no butcher’s law, no petticoat government ! ’ John Stuart Mill’s support of equal political rights for women is the most important event in the history of women’s struggle for political power during the nineteenth century in England. In May 1866 he presented to Parliament a petition to this effect, signed by 1,499 women;

> G. HiU. loc. eU., Vol. U, pp. 31-33.

[ 44 ]

\Vhom thrwlfeeks after maniajV Didofe xKie wBtli michril carriage Airid prov'd lierfcdf ati arranl liag^aje ?


. 4] nvknovii

Engraved by T .Phillihroivn from original by Hogarth THE HARLOT s PROORESS : APPREHENDED BY A MA(ilSTRATE


and on 19th May 1867, ‘ the day of days in the Woman’s Suffrage Calendar Mill proposed as an amendment to the ‘ Representation of the People Bill that the word man should be struck out and replaced by the word person. This Was rejected by 202 votes to 83. Since then the Central Committee of the National Society for Woman’s Suffrage, under the leadership of Mrs. Fawcett, worked actively to reach that goal towards which Mill strovei.

Very interesting is the history of the part played by women in the medical profession in England. In the Middle Ages any woman who possessed knowledge of medicine was regarded as a witch. During the reign of Henry V a petition was presented: ‘ that no women use the practyse of fisyck under payne of long emprisonment.’ Under Henry VIII women herbalists enjoyed special protection. Midwifery was practised by women in the Middle Ages. Not till 1518 were there accoucheurs, who however remained of inferior standing to the accoucheuses till 1750. But it was a man who by the discovery of the forceps made the greatest contribution to the ars obstetrica in thousands of years (Chamberlin about 1670). In 1671 a licensed midwife, Mrs. Jane Sharp, published the first book on midwifery: it went into four editions. As already mentioned, women’s great dislike of male midwives persisted till the end of the eighteenth century. This is confirmed by recorded instances that are very quaint. Thus Miss WiUughby, a midwife and daughter of Dr. Percy WiUughby, wished on one occasion to bring her father into consultation on a very critical case. He did not venture to enter the room openly. ‘At my daughter’s request ’, he says, ‘ I crawled in on hands and knees.’ That was in 1618. And one hundred and fifty years later a distinguished obstetrician and professor was obliged

  • G. Hill, loc. cit., pp. 35, 331. [Women’s franchise was, of course,

granted in 1915.]

E [45]


to crawl into a bedroom in the same surreptitious manner*. Amongst the many quacks who flourished during the eighteenth centiuy there were a few women who achieved some renown. The first women doctors in the nin eteenth century were Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell and Miss Elizabeth Garrett. In 1869 Sophia Jex-Blake started an agitation for the admission of women to the study of medicine. At length seven girls were permitted to attend medical lectures at Edinburgh University. As they were about to enter the lecture-room they were received by the medical students and a specially hired mob with the vilest abuse — and pelted with mud! Women were finally admitted to the study of medicine in 1876 by the Bussell Gurney Act*.

In the nursing profession the name of the noble MissFlorence Nightingale shines out for ever, since the days of the Crimean War. To her England owes the magnificent organisation known as the Nurses Training Institution at St. Thomas’s Hospital. Above all, have philanthropy and nursing been benefited in England by women.

The most energetic champion of the complete emancipa- tion of women was John Stuart Mill. His book The Subjec- tion of Women, which was published in 1869 and roused heated discussion, may be regarded as one of the most extreme in the literature of this question. It contains four chapters. In the first, the introduction, the author begins by pointing out that the standing of the two sexes has not been made different by natme. He instances as specially important that the character of the modem woman has been artificially produced and that no experience lies behind woman in a state of emancipation. Thus the advantages of men over women are one-sided. It is certain that the emancipated woman would not act contrary to her nature.

  • G. Hill, loc. cit., Vol. H, pp. 271-275.

• Ibid., Vol. n, pp. 284-286.

[ 46 ]


The second chapter describes modem marriage and pictures woman’s subjection under it. For even if a woman may often rule her husband, yet to have power neither in the affairs of the family nor of the state is but a mock- freedom. The wife, according to Mill, has the greatest hardships to bear in marriage.

The third chapter of Mill’s book deals with the admission of women to professions hitherto closed to them. He is of opinion that woman is equipped for every branch of human knowledge and activity, though he recognises the physical and mental differences between man and woman, which he believes can be explained by the long seclusion of woman.

In the fourth chapter, finally, he envisages the results of women’s emancipation which will yield a marked increase of individual talent as well as the clearer effect on public life of the moral influence of woman which to-day is latent. The uplifting of the whole status of womanhood will prove no less full of blessing for marriage.

In my earlier works I have already stated my conviction that the complete removal of social, political and adminis- trative distinctions between man and woman (that is, emancipation in Mill’s meaning of the term) would not be advantageous, would be, in fact, frankly unworkable. I also drew attention to the veritable core of the modem woman’s movement which consists in the fact women to-day can claim ‘ greater rights ’ and ‘ more numerous opportuni- ties of education ’. I said that woman is man’s companion with equal rights, but not with equal strength. Opponents and advocates of women’s freedom both fall into the same error. They compare what is incomparable. Whoever wishes to pass a fair and unbiassed judgment upon the woman question must realise, in my opinion, that it is impossible merely to place man and woman upon an equality as extreme theorists like Mill suggest. It is

[ 47 ]


customary to say they complete each other. Which is as much as to say that each has something that the other does not possess. But it is certain that these differences are more of a qualitative than of a quantitative kind. It cannot be said woman has less intelligence, is stupider than man, as those opponents of woman’s emancipation assert who pride themselves so much upon their male ‘ superiority’. But one must say woman has a different intelligence from man. Woman is not ‘ less ’ or ‘ more ’ than man, she is merely ‘ different ’. Buckle, in his fine essay on The Influence of Woman on Science, has offered one more convincing proof of his mind’s penetrating acuteness. He here investigates these differences of quality in the purely mental sphere, and proceeds to make abundantly clear that it will be as impossible for women to adopt all man’s capabilities as it is impossible for man to attain the merits of sheer womanliness. Buckle shows that Nature has made women more deductive and men more inductive. Women judge from the general, men from the particular. Women possess to a greater degree what is called intuition. They do not see so far as men; but what they see they grasp more quickly.

Will it be possible for women’s emancipation to remove those differences between man and woman which are rooted in their iimermost being? Even the most rabid advocates of women’s rights must accept the undeniable fact that woman bears children, not man: that woman menstruates, not man'. It remains equally true that these primitive functions will always be a hindrance to complete emancipa- tion, though they do not preclude advance and improvement in the intellectual and social position of women, which every fair-minded man willingly recognises as necessary.

‘ Thoiigh it has recently been asserted that man experiences ‘ something like menstruation ’.

[ 48 ]


But if one looks at the final goal, one sees it must be for ever unattainable.

I hope and believe that John Ruskin will remain right in the future too. He held woman’s work to be fivefold. (1) To please her fellow human beings. (2) To feed them appetisingly. (3) To clothe them. (4) To keep them clean and tidy. (5) To teach them. According to Mrs. Haw- thorne, home is the woman’s great arena, and will, she hopes, remain so. There she can exercise a sway that no king or emperor can rival. And it is compatible with culture, intellect and earnestness. I should like to cry aloud to the modem woman: Educate yourself; dedicate your time to science; take part in the thoughts and occupations of man, but do not seek to do as he does. For you will never be his equal, even as he will never be your equal.

[ 49 ]



According to Taine women in England are more womanly and men more manly than elsewhere. Each of the two natures reach their extreme development; the one, that of courage, resistance and initiative; the other, that of gentleness and self-sacrifice; the one is great in contentious- ness, determination and dominance, the other inexhaustible in patience and self-effacement. Hence the happiness and permanence of married life in England. In France marriage is the union merely of two comrades on very much the same footing: hence the perpetual crossness and irritation. In contrast to the woman in Southern countries, the woman in England yields herself up entirely, without care for herself: she seeks her happiness in obedience, in generosity, in service. She preserves one wish only, to live day by day ever more fully in the life of the husband she has chosen freely and for ever. Witness a long procession of characters in German and English literature. This old Germanic instinct is portrayed by Beaumont and Fletcher (in the characters of Bianca, Ordella, Arethusa, Juliana, Euphrasia, Amoret), Webster (Duchess of Malfi, Isabella), Ford and Greene (Penthea, Dorothea), etc. All these and many other women display a wonderful power of sacrifice and generosity in the midst of the sorest trials and the strongest temptations. Their soul is at once primitive and grave. Here women remain loyal longer than elsewhere. Their love does not consist in

[ 60 ]


tasting forbidden fruit; rather do they stake their whole life upon it*.

Finck maintains that modem romantic love originated in England. ‘ Love in England and America is romantic love, pure and simple, as it was first presented by Shakespeare and after him, with more or less exactness, by a hundred other poets and novelists. This love does not lack colour, warm glowing colour, but it is no longer mere local colour, of a kind peculiar to nation or province: it is love in its very essence, in its universal form: love such as in the course of time will hold sway and must hold sway over the whole of this planet. England wears in the crown, which her many services to civilisation have won for her, many a jewel; but the brightest of them is the fact that she was the first coimtry in the world — the world of antiquity, the world of the Middle Ages, and the world of to -day — to remove the bars from the windows of the great women-prison, to open all doors for the unhindered entry of Cupid and to make him everywhere at home and everywhere welcome*.’

The sacredness of marriage, which Burke in his treatise on The Svblirm and Beautiful praised in such glowing terms, is still to be met with in England, perhaps more firequently than in other cotmtries. Travellers and writers have always praised this inwardness of English family life, as for example Goldsmith pictures it in the first chapter of The Vicar of Wakefield, or as Miss Burney shows us in her diary, where she describes a walk of the Royal family at Windsor*.

The pessimistic conception of marital happiness which Byron expresses in the third canto of Don Jtuin (verses 6-10) is to be attributed rather to personal incidents than to any general experience.

• H. Taine, History of English Literature, Vol. I, pp. 407-409.

• Finck, loc. cit., Vol. 11, pp. 40-46.

• Cf. W. M. Thackeray, The Four Georges.

[ 61 ]


In contradiction to these pictures of English love and marriage stands the remarkable fact that marriage by purchase and usages linked with it dishonouring to woman have persisted in England from ancient times right up to the last century. Nowhere has marriage by purchase assmned such repulsive forms as in England. The crigin of this barbarous custom goes right back to the Anglo-Saxon era^. Jeaffreson gives a plausible explanation of the origin of English marriage by purchase. According to him, the English father brought up his daughters in the patriarchal period to very discreet ideas, so that on reaching marriage- able age they were unused to expensive ways; enriched him rather by their work. They not only did his cooking, but made his clothes and helped on the farm. So it came about that the more daughters a man had, the richer he was held to be. They were a direct source of gain for him. For this reason marriage by purchase was introduced neither in the interests of women nor in the interests of intending bridegrooms, but solely in those of the father with marriage- able daughters*. The custom was made possible by the lowly status of woman. According to Anglo-Saxon laws she was always obliged to live under the lordship of a man who was called her ‘ mundbora ’ or protector. The father was naturally the protector of the immarried daughter. On his death the brother took the father’s place. After him came the next of male kin, and in the absence of male kin, the King. The girl’s value was decided by her rank, and the law fixed the price which had to be paid for her*. A widow was worth only half as much as a

^ According to some, marriage by piirchase is thought to have prevailed among the ancient Britons. Cf. London As It is, Leipzig, 1826. P. 86.

  • J. C. Jeaffreson, Brides and Bridals, Second edition. London, 1873.

Vol. I,pp. 33-36.

• F. Somner Merryweather, Qlimmertngs in the Dark; or Shadows of the Olden Times, London, 18^. P. 190.

[ 62 ]


virgin^ . She was obliged, however, by a law of Canute to remain unmarried for at least twelve months after the death of her first husband. If she married within that period, she was obliged to hand over the fortune of her first husband to his next of kin. This was made law by Henry I. Every guest at the wedding gave the bridal pair a present. The mundbora conducted the daughter to the bridegroom with the words: ‘ I give thee my daughter, to be thy honour, and thy wife, to keep thy keeps, and to share with thee thy bed and goods.’ Then the priest gave his blessing to this marriage by purchase. On the morning after the wedding the bridegroom, before he got out of bed, gave his wife a valuable gift, the ‘ morgaen-gife which remained her special property^.

When Christianity reached England marriage by purchase had already become general and the various marriage laws applied directly to this institution. But a law of King Ethelbert enacted that a young husband might return his wife to her father and demand the repayment of the money he had given for her^, if he found her on closer inspection in a different condition from that which the seller had admitted. On the other hand, by a subsequent law, the man who did not marry a woman he had bought was obliged to forfeit the wedding price and to pay a fine as well^. Whoever had intercourse with a virgin was obliged to buy and marry her; or in the event of the father not agreeing to the marriage, at any rate pay her value in money. (Law of King Alfred.) If a free man dishonoured the wife of a free man, he was forced to pay the full ‘ weregeld ’ and also to

^ There were four grades of widow. First were worth SOs., second 208., third 128., fourth 68. So a poor man was often in a position to purchase a widow when he could not afford a virgin. Merryweather, loc. cit., p. 192.

  • Merryweather, loc. cit., pp. 192-194.
  • Jeaffroson, loc. cit., Vol. I, p. 55.
  • Thomas Wright, Domestic Manners in England during the Middle

Ages. London, 1862. P. 55.

[ 63 ]


purchase another wife for the wronged husband and bring her to the house^. Very speculative fathers sometimes even sold the same daughters to different men*.

Marriage by purchase continued in England up to the nineteenth century. In its first decades the sale of women was still relatively frequent. But even so late as 1884 such cases are on accredited record. In an article in All the Year Round of the 20th December 1884, more than twenty cases were given from the preceding year, with names and all details in which prices were paid for women varying from five and twenty guineas and half a pint of beer, to a penny and a dinner^. Marriage by purchase was very frequent in the eighteenth century, especially towards its end, and at the beginning of the nineteenth century. ‘ Never was the sale of women so frequent ’, says Archenholtz, ‘ as now. Scenes of this kind, once so rare, have become common. The sale of women among the common people is more fi'equent than ever*.’

Jouy remarks that in his time (about 1815) all efforts of authority to remove this scandal proved vain®. Most often

' Merryweather, loc. cii,, p, 192.

  • ‘ It was not uncommon for a greedy and unprincipled father, in this

old period, to sell a handsome daughter to three or four different suitors, and, after receiving as many handsome payments for her without sur- rendering immediate possession of her person, to give her at last to another admirer for an adequate consideration. '—Jeaffreson, loc. cit., Vol. I, pp. 39-40. The possibility of this repeated sale is explained by the fact the money could be paid long before marriage (even while the bride was still a child), and that, too, to cover the expenses of a good upbringing and good fare for the bride.

• Finck, he. ct<., Vol. II, p. 47.

  • Archenholtz, Annals. Vol. V, p. 329. Vol. XIX, p. 187 (of the years

1790 and 1796).

• ‘ Une coutume aussi infime s’est conserv6e sans interruption, qu’elle est mise chaque jour k execution; que si quelques magistrats des comt^s, inform^ que de semblables marches ahaient se faire, ont cherch6 k les emp^cher en envoyant sur les lieux des constables ou huissiers, la populace les a toujours dispenses, et qu’elle a maintenu ce qu’elle oonsid^re oomme son droit.* Jouy, L*Hermite de Jjondres, Vol. II, p. 324.

[ 54 ]


husbands sold their wives; fathers sold their daughters more seldom than in earlier days.

The conduct of such sales was the roughest imaginable and most humiliating for the unfortunate woman. Commonly the husband led his wife with a rope round her neck, on a market day, to the place where cattle were sold, bound her to a post and sold her to the highest bidder in the presence of the necessary witnesses. Some quite lowly official, often the husband himself, fixed the price, seldom more than a few shillings; then he untied her and led her round the market place by the rope^. The people called this kind of sale ‘ the horn market ’. The purchasers were usually widowers and bachelors. The woman became by such sale the authentic mate of the purchaser, and her children by him were looked upon as legitimate. Sometimes the new husband followed this purchase by a wedding in church. Thus a lord, for example, who had seduced the' wife of a servant, bought her formally from the husband and after- wards married her. The law allowed such marriages, which were regarded as legal. Women were offered for sale, too, in the newspapers. The following advertisement appeared in a Dublin paper in May 1791: ‘ A bargain to be sold.’ This was an expression which implied in Ireland the sale of a woman*. The ordinary place in London where these sales of women were held was Smithfield Market, where, too, as has been pointed out, the cattle market was held. In The Times of 22nd July 1797 the following notice occurs : ‘ By an oversight in the report on Smithfield Market we are not in a position to quote this week the price of women. The increasing value of the fairer sex is considered by various celebrated writers to be a

^ C5f. Jouy, loc. cit.yVol. II, pp. 317-319. Chapter ‘ Vente de Femmes k Londres \ Pp. 317-324. With a vignette showing such a sale-scene, in which the rope is to be seen.

  • Archenholtz, AnnaU, Vol. VII, p. 177.

[ 65 ]


sure sign of increasing civilisation. On these grounds Smith- field may raise a claim to rank as a place of special advance in refinement, for at its Market the price of women has lately risen from half a guinea to three guineas and a half^.’ On 12th April 1817, at Smithfield Cattle Market, Jouy saw a man, in the middle of a large crowd, struggling to put a rope round the neck of a young and pretty woman, who offered violent resistance. The noise attracted the attention of a constable, who arrested them both and took them before the magistrate. The man excused his conduct on the grounds of his wife’s infidelity, and she could not refute the charge. There was nothing for the magistrate to do except to deplore the barbarous scene and to caution the man to keep the peace in future. The woman was acquitted and both were released with the mildest warning*.

I shall give a few examples of this shocking ceremony, from which will be seen what slight value a woman had in England. ‘ A farmer’, so Archenholtz related, ‘ some time ago, living in an English county, advertised the loss of his horse in a London newspaper, and offered the finder a reward of five gumeas. Curiously enough it happened that his wife too ran away the next day, and the farmer in the same paper offered a reward for her recovery — of four shillings ! * ’ A labourer in Oxford sold his wife to a bricklayer for 100 shillings. He led her into the market-place, as usual by a rope, which he held on to until he had pocketed the money, whereupon he handed her over to her new husband and wished him the best of luck. A similar incident occurred in Essex where a man sold his wife and two children for half-a-crown. The ceremony was performed to music and the mother was obliged to walk three times round the

• Finok, he. cit., Vol. II, pp. 47-48.

• Jouy, he. ext., Vol. II, p. 319.

• Traits from the Character of English Criminals, p. 49.

[ 56 ]


market-place at Marchin Green with the rope round herneck. A journeyman carpenter in London sold his wife to a mate, who was overjoyed when a few weeks afterwards his new wife inherited an unexpected legacy of £1,500. In Notting- ham a man sold his wife three weeks after the wedding: a blacksmith bought her for a shilling. A countryman living near Thame in Oxfordshire had sold his wife a few years back, but without any formahties. His neighbours told him that the sale was not valid, and so he decided upon a repetition of the ceremony, fetched his former wife and led her seven miles round to Thame, where she was duly sold for half-a-crown. The more remarkable thing about it was that he had to pay fourpence tax on the woman, the same as for the purchase of a beast. A donkey-driver in Westminster sold his wife and his donkey together for 13 shillings and two pots of beer to another donkey-driver, whereupon they all three repaired to a pubhc-house and drank up the beer. In February 1790 the head of a parish by Swadlincote had a woman sold in Burton. Her husband had absconded from the woman, who in consequence had to be supported by the parish. To be rid of this burden, the parish coxmcillors sent the woman to Burton market, where she was bought for a florin. The purchase was carefully entered in the parish accounts, and the cost of the rope was included^. In March 1796 a button-maker in Sheffield disposed of his wife to a porter for the large sum of sixpence: the overseer of the market acted as witness for a fee of fourpence*. On the 9th December 1819 a man sold his wife to a painter for 5s. 6d.; on 30th January 1817 a gentleman of private means got rid of his wife for Is. 6d., whereupon he stood the buyer a glass of beer to drink his health in, he was so delighted. In April of the same year a very brutal man dragged his

  • Archenholtz, Annals, Vol. V, pp. 330-331.

• Ibid., Vol. XIX, p. 187.

[ 67 ]


wife with a rope round her neck, with the utmost cruelty, into the market-place at Dartmouth and sold her for two guineas. The plight of the woman, who had been married a year and a half, roused general sympathy; she suffered, too, under his brutal treatment. But her luck was in; she was bought by her first lover. The lowest price paid for a wife was threepence — in Nottingham, the same year.

On occasions the custom of marriage by purchase was applied to men. Though very seldom, examples yet occurred up to the nineteenth century of the sale of husbands, which the courts severely reprimanded but could not forbid any more than in the case of women. A certain Margaret Collins complained before the Mayor of Drogheda that her husband was living with another woman. The husband submitted that his uncommonly strong and furious wife, who often bit him in her rage (and that, too, quite recently), had handed him over to another woman, his present wife, at a price, twopence being first offered and l^d. taken^. At that the plaintiff, in the presence of the whole court, leaped at the newly married couple and went for them tooth and nail until she was dragged off*.

There is no need of lengthy argument to estimate rightly the coarseness and brutality which underlay the institution of marriage by purchase. The fact that it could last so long in England speaks clearly enough of itself. According to Finck, even in the lowest classes, the sellers frequently came in for rough handling, so that they were pelted with stones and mud; while for the wives, the horror of the proceedings was mitigated by the fact that in all accredited cases of this kind they were only too glad to be sold and thereby be fi:eed from their tyrants.

  • Wives, it is to be noted, valued husbands at an even lower figure than

husbands wives.

• Jouy, loc. cit., Vol. II, pp. 321-322.

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The frivolity with which marriage was treated in earlier days in England is strikingly illustrated by two curious phenomena in the sphere of matrimony, the so-called Fleet marriages and the notorious parsons of Gretna Green.

Fleet marriages take their name from Fleet Prison, in the City ward Fleet Ditch, in which the weddings were per- formed. Right up to the beginning of the eighteenth century a man walked about all day in front of the Fleet Prison, who asked the passers-by: ‘Anyone want to be married?’ as at fairs nowadays a showman will shout invitations to step up to see wax -works or a menagerie. On the doors hung a sign representing a man and woman with joined hands, and for a few pence the functioning parson married every couple who wanted to be united. In 1704 nearly 3,000 weddings were performed in this manner in four months^.

In 1735 a woman correspondent wrote to the OenMeman's Magazine complaining about the number of ruinous marriages which were celebrated every year in the Fleet Prison ‘ by a crowd of drunken clergymen in black coats who purported to be “ clerks ” and “ registrars to the Fleet,” who walked up and down Ludgate Hill and persuaded those in ale houses and ginshops to marriage, thereby keeping them on the Sabbath fix)m attendance at church* ’. From October 1704 to February 1705, 2,954 weddings were performed; often twenty or thirty couples were mated in a single day. Pennant related that often, when he was a young man passing by the prison, he was accosted by a dirty fellow who urged him to come inside and get married. He saw the clergyman walking to and fro before the door — ^an unwhole- some-looking, down-and-out creature clad in a dirty night-

Fanny Lewald, EngUmd and Scotland. Second edition. Berlin, 1864. Vol. n, p. 79.

  • Doings in London, p. 336.

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gown, with a fiery red face, ready to couple anybody foi glass of gin or a twist of tobacco. The Governor of the pris and the Registrar got handsome incomes from these weddinj

Even in 1754 public advertisements read: ‘ With leg warrant. Marriages are celebrated in the ancient Roj Chapel of St. John the Baptist in the Savoy Palace with tl greatest secrecy, despatch and regularity. There sm the time of the Reformation to the present day (moi than two hundred years) legal and authentic registers ha\ been kept. Costs amount to one guinea only, — inclusi'v of the five-shilling stamp. There are seven secret approache to this chapel, five by land and two by water^.’

Even more famous than these Fleet marriages were th romantic weddings of Gretna Green at which that ‘ helper ii romantic trouble as Fanny Lewald calls him, the blacksmitl of Gretna Green, officiated. Gretna Green has been th< Eldorado of unhappy lovers not only in novels (Englisl and German) but also in real life. Archenholtz gave th( following account of marriages made at Gretna Green : ‘ Thi marriage ceremony at Gretna Green on the Scottish border, whither people, anxious to be united, hasten with galloping post horses from all parts of the kingdom is so famous or rather notorious that a short description is necessary here. An Englishman, who played the part of bridegroom in a scene of this kind in 1790 writes as follows: After a tedious journey our coachman at length brought us to the cottage where the cement-master mixed his mortar to build the walls of Hymen’s temple. He was not at home. He was sought for half an hour and at last foimd in a tavern from which this high-priest of Hymen and also of Bacchus came reeling

^ Fanny Lewald, loc. city pp. 79-80. Similar marriages were the so-called Mayfair marriages, which were celebrated at the London May Fair, and the Canongate marriages in Edinburgh. Cf. Jeaffreson, loc. cit.y Vol. II, pp. 203 et aeq.

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in haste towards us. When I inquired about the price for which he coupled people, he made the modest demand of 30 guineas. But I gave him to understand that we would rather drive on another twenty miles to another clergyman than pay such an exorbitant fee. Whereupon he quickly changed his note, coming doivn to 10 guineas, to be paid, however, in advance. On this we agreed. But now he demanded a bottle of brandy from which during the ceremony, though it lasted hardly six minutes, he drank five glasses to strengthen his voice, as he put it. We asked for our marriage licence, which he immediately made out and signed with his name — Thomas Brown. It contained only a few lines to the

effect that the persons Charles and Mary had been

duly united by him according to the ritual of the English Church and the laws of the Scottish Church. When we desired the signature of witnesses, he said: This moment you shall have a couple of them; and gravely took a 'pen and with his hand wrote in two strange names. And we travelled back to England a properly married couple\’ This incredible procedure was confirmed by Jeaffreson, who has given the most complete historical account of Gretna Green weddings. In the first place, according to him, the so-called smith is a fable which had its origin in the poetic idea of Vulcan, the smith forging the chains of matrimony. There is no proof that any Gretna Green marriage was performed in a smithy or that any of the famous ‘ couplers ’ was a smith by trade. One of these so-called clergymen had been a common soldier, another was a tobacconist, and a third had carried a pedlar’s pack. All were drunkards and knaves. There is no evidence of a blacksmith being found among them.

A certain Scott was the first to marry lovers. George Gordon, an old soldier, followed him. Gordon succeeded in convincing the simple bumpkins in the neighbourhood that

^ Archenholtz, Annals^ Vol. VII, pp. 250-252.

F [ 61 ]


he had a special warrant to marry runaway lovers, for which he had to pay the government ten pounds a year. As no one wished to inspect this warrant, the knave was believed to hold the monopoly of conducting weddings. But in the year 1789 the fellow got a co-worker in Joe Paisley, once a tobacconist, who made himself quickly popular in the taverns of Gretna Green by his astonishing powers of drinking. The innkeepers felt great gratitude towards this ‘ clergyman ’, who did so much for them, and felt it also their duty to do all in their power to support him.

At weddings Gordon appeared in the uniform of a soldier. Paisley in complete clerical outfit. As he drank more and more he became a monster of obesity and weighed in the end over 21 stone. After his death many successors appeared. A former pedlar, David Laing, got the lion’s share. After the scandal caused by the abduction of the rich Miss Ellen Turner by Edward Jibbon Wakefield, he had to appear on one occasion as witness before the court; his evidence was most entertaining.

On the introduction of railways the number of marriages at Gretna increased for a time; they were finally put a stop to for ever, by law, in July 1856^

In the history of English marriage the phenomenon of marriage advertisement deserves its place. England is the home of the marriage advertisement. This is linked up with the early and remarkable development of newspapers, which in its turn was favoured by the reading mania of English people. On 19th July 1695 Houghton, the father of advertisement, printed in his Collection for Improvement

‘ JeaflFreson, loc. cit., Vo], II, pp. 208-214. This law runs: ‘After the 31st December 1856 no irregular marriage contracted in Scotland by declara- tion, acknowledgement or ceremony, shall be valid, unless one of the parties has at the date thereof his or her usual place of residence there or has lived in Scotland for 21 days next preceding such marriage; any law, custom or usage to the contrary notwit^tanding.’

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of Husbandry and Trade, the first advertisements of this kind: ‘A gentleman, thirty years old, who says he has a very considerable fortune, would like to marry a young gentlewoman, who has a fortune of about £3,000 and he is willing to make a proper contract on the matter.’

‘ A young man 25 years old, with a good business, whose father is ready to settle £1,000 on him, would Uke to make a suitable marriage. He has been brought up by his parents as a dissenter, and is a useful man.’

It is clear that these first marriage advertisements do not forget the punctum saliens (on which I need not enlarge). Houghton attached to these advertisements the remark that if it w'ere shown that he himself were disinterested and of great discretion and the inserters were of really good faith (which even to-day is very frequently open to question) these advertisements might prove themselves of great utility.

Houghton’s idea caught on, and especially from the middle of the eighteenth century marriage advertisements rapidly increased in number. A close study of them is most amusing. For in them once more a great deal of Enghsh eccentricity is to be seen. Readers will be interested to know what a few of these marriage advertise- ments are like.

Archenholtz wrote: ‘ One of the strangest British customs is the method of seeking a companion in marriage by means of advertisement in the newspaper. In August 1788 an advertisement appeared in London papers which easily outdid hundreds of others of a similar nature: it ran as follows: “ Advertisement for a Wife. Sir John Dimly, Bart., Lord of the Manor of Charleton near Worcester and of Henly Castle near Malvern Wells, wishes to make a contract of marriage with a young woman, and in the event of his death to settle on her £192,000 sterling, if she will take him for her husband. The young woman must possess a fortune

[ 63 ]


of 300 guineas of her own. It is all one, be she virgin or widow, yes, even she be pregnant by her former husband. More intimate information may be obtained from Sir John Dimly either by seeing him personally or by letter, but in the latter event postage must be paid.” You would consider the whole thing to be the invention of a practical joker if numerous circumstances had not substantiated its truths’

In the Hampshire Chronicle of June 1791 the following remarkable marriage advertisement appeared: ‘ All those who read this or hear of it are requested to think carefully whether they know a yoimg woman at all answering to this description: well developed and full of grace in her person; more a beautifully made woman than a pretty one; good teeth, soft lips, agreeable breath; the colour of her eyes, immaterial; further, a full firm and white bosom; affectionate and well educated but not witty; courteous and neat in speech, with looks that prove that she is able really to feel pleasure where she wishes to inspire it in others. If there be such a person, a gentleman 56 years old, but vigorous and strong, is determined to marry her, however small her fortune may be. He possesses an income of £800 a year and is ready to make a preliminary settlement on her of £100. But she must agree to live entirely in the country, to love the husband of her choice with all her heart, and withal she must not be more than seven years older or fourteen years younger than I am. Letters should be addressed, etc.* ’

In a Bristol paper appeared, August 1795: ‘ A gentleman needs a companion to journey with him towards matrimony; his intention is to depart as swiftly as possible, to leave the main roads and highways and to stroll in the paths in the wood of love. His fellow-traveller must be healthy, not too

  • Archenholtz, Annals, Vol. I, pp. 339-340.

• Ibid., Vol. VII, pp. 203-204.

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fat because that would make the journey troublesome, and to while away the hours of the marriage state, the chattier the better: etc.^ ’

On 22nd May 1797 a girl in London had the following advertisement printed in The Observer, a Sunday paper:


‘A young lady has been obliged for some years now to live secluded from the world for the pleasures of which she felt at least inclination, as her duty was to look after a sick relative. Now suddenly thrown among people, she finds that the possession of a large fortune in no way compensates her for the absence of the one person with whom she was accustomed to live. She is cut off from advantages enjoyed by others and is, in consequence, compelled to use the only means in her power, unusual as they may be, to find what she is seeking — a friend. Should a gentleman of breeding, who is not old, of good faith, pleasing, well-mannered and good family, or a lady who has such a brother or son, wish to know more of the undersigned, a few lines, should they prove agreeable, will receive careful attention: letters must be sent care of this newspaper which has the writer’s address, as delicacy at first forbids any other coxrrse.


Following this, for five consecutive Sundays many letters appeared in The Observer. The editor was obliged to issue an edition of his paper half as large again as usual, because everybody, especially the match-makers, were anxious to see how this public courtship would fare. All London talked of it, and in the papers as well as in society people liked to appear as though they knew well enough who this mysterious Eliza was.

  • Archenholtz, Annals, Vol. XVI, pp. 138-139.

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Eliza achieved her purpose, and had her choice among a large number of picked men. At first nothing was heard of the issue of the affair. But gradually in society people came along who pretended to know Eliza. Once at the opera the author of London and Paris was shown one of the most perfect beauties in a box, over whose chair a big handsome man was leaning. ‘ Have a good look at that couple; that is the famous Eliza, now Mrs. C., with her husband. She brought him a fortune of £70,000 and he is worth £30,000. They possess everything to make life delightful; but in themselves is their greatest wealth; they see little society and enjoy being with the boys she has borne him. I know fi"om a fairly reliable source a few facts about the courtship. I’ll tell you. She and her lady companion took a house and engaged new servants. Both were dressed in black and wore half-masks. Usually this surprised men, and they were unprepared for the serious, decided kind of talk. But as soon as ever Eliza saw that the man in her company deserved trust she opened her heart to him in the most delightful way, and said all she could to him — vdthout betraying her identity. At the end she got each man’s word of honour not to give her away, even if her choice did not fall on him. You can see few men can compare with Mr. C. in looks, and with the rest our Eliza, like other women, wasn’t too much concerned! ’.

Marriage advertisements of a doubtful nature appeared in early days as they still do to-day, for the cloak of anonymity was highly favourable to the secret ways of vice. It is known why prostitutes desire marriage. Archenholtz informs us: ‘ Nymphs of the street assumed the mask of virtue and desired in the papers to marry men of good repute. They advertised themselves usually as young, well-educated and of considerable means, and wanted only a small capital from

^ London and Paris ^ Vol. IV. Weimar, 1799. Pp. 27-34.

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the man or a decent business. People from the country and other inexperienced folk often fell into the snare. They found a charming creature with the tender look of innocence, who knew how to draw a moving picture of the unkind treatment she has received from friends and relations, whereby the ease with which her fortune was to be had was not forgotten. It worked, the man fell — and woke to find himself — but too late, betrayed*.’

Papers devoted entirely to marriage advertisements ap- peared first in England. The first of this kind was issued in London about 1870. The oldest read the Matrimonial News with the greatest delight, the ‘ journal le plus extra- ordinaire, le plus anglais, le plus excentrique, le plus original et la plus amusant de la Grande-Bretagne ’, as Hector France said*. Of the 500 or 600 persons who sought their happiness in its columns an average of 80 per cent, were women. The men belonged for the most part to the category which France, with bitter sarcasm, dubs the ‘ Alphonses du mariage ’, the bullies of marriage, and have become more numerous — alas! even in Germany — since then. Here are a few examples of these pitiful fellows:

‘ Albert, big, dark, 27 years old, without means except for his income of £80 a year, would like to make the acquaintance of a lady from 30-45 years old, who has the means to make a comfortable home. Photograph wanted.’

‘ Hubert, age 26, height five feet eight, dark, is considered a handsome man, has an affectionate and loving nature, is agreeable in manner but possesses only a modest pittance. He is anxious to correspond with an elderly lady, not older than 60 however [sic.'] and intends to marry immediately. She must possess the means to nm a comfortable establishment.

‘ Robert, engineer, age 27, height 6 feet, a good-looking

> Archenholtz, England, Vol. I, pp. 100-101.

' Hector France, Les Nuita de Londres. Paris, 1900. P. 309.

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fellow, dark, strongly built, well brought up, good references, is anxious to marry. His position is good but not very profitable. He wishes to correspond with a rich elderly lady or widow^ ’.

Marriage clubs and marriage agencies attached themselves to these matrimonial papers. There were marriage clubs as early as 1700; their members aided one another to make good marriages and took on the cost of weddings. Even then a lot of fraud and swindling became mixed up with which is the case still with more modem ‘ matrimonial clubs^ ’, so that the existence of their own ‘Detectives for Matrimonial Cases ’ is explained. For example, I take from the Daily Telegraph of 23rd July 1900 the following advertisement:

‘ Slater’s Detectives for Furnishing Matrimonial Details as to the social position, past character, future prospects, general habits and temper of the intended partner for life, in order to make marriage a success. Consultations free. — 1 Basinghall Street, E.C.’

Matrimonial agencies were also the product of the eighteenth century; they were not confined to England but are to be found also in France. The most famous London ‘ Marriage Bazaar ’ in the eighteenth century was the estab- lishment at 2 Dover Street, St. James’s. In its prospectus can be read what follows: ‘ Every visitor to Dover Street will be shown into a separate room. Whoever cannot state his wishes personally must do so in writing through a friend. Declarations must be drawn up with the greatest exactness, not only with regard to position but also to age, physical state and religion.’ The matrimonial candidate had to pay a preliminary fee of £5 6s., and as much again after the wedding. According to Sampson, the estabhshment was a

' Hector France, loc. city pp. 322-323.

  • Jeafireson, loc. cit.y Vol. II, p. 87.
  • Sampson, loc. cit.y p. 600.

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complete swindle. At one of Madame Cornelys’ famous masked balls, on 16tb July 1776, the following lampoon on it was distributed:

Marriage Treaties

Ye Nymphs forlorn who pine away in Shades !

Ye mournful Widows waiting for — Brocades!

Coxcombs who sigh for — Mode! and sighing Wits!

Bucks of St. James’s and ye half- moon’d Cits !

Ye old and young — the ugly and the fair!

To Hjmien’s Shrine haste, sacrifice despair.

Let Law divorce, tyrannic Husbands rail.

Hence dare their ire! — for here’s enough for sale.

Let Virtue’s mask the Wife awhile pursue,

Here’s fresh Supply — ^here Wives of ev’ry Hue !

Black, white, red, grey — ^the bright, the dull, the witty!

Here’s Dames for Courtiers, misses for the City!

As a curiosity, the following quaint advertisement of this agency in the Daily Advertiser of 1777 may here find place: ‘ Wanted by a young gentleman who has just started a place of his own, a lady of 18-25 years old, well bred and with a fortime of not less than £5,000; sound in wind and limb, 5 ft. 4 in. high without shoes on ; not fat but not too thin; clean skin; sweet breath and good teeth; without conceit or affectation; not too chatty and not quarrelsome, but yet with character enough to pay back a score; generous; not over- fashionable but always decent and tidy; the sort of person who can entertain her husband’s friends gaily and pleasantly, and make parties gay and attractive; who can keep his secrets so that he can open his heart to her on all occasions without restraint; who lets economy rule in the home, and can with a light heart reduce the budget if necessity requires^.’

  • Sampson, loc. cit., pp. 481-486.

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The frequency and nature of the so-called Divorce and Crim.-Con.^ cases must now be examined as a second characteristic phenomenon of English sex life. They form one of the most interesting chapters in the history of English morals: a chapter which is of a specifically English quality, and throws a peculiar light upon the character of the nation, as I have already mentioned in the introduction. To understand the national character, Crim.-Con. cases must be studied mostly, if not wholly, because they have evoked, like another English speciality the fiagellation-mania, an enormous mass of literature.

The frequency of divorce is remarkable even among the Anglo-Saxons, who seem to have derived it from their Celtic ancestors. ‘ Divorce plays a great role in all the Celtic sagas®’, for example in the Arthur Saga, Mordred seduces Guinevere, the wife of his uncle Arthur. Anglo- Saxon marriage was so easily broken that husband and wife could separate in the event of mutual incompatibility without more ado. Accordingly, intercourse between man and woman outside marriage was extremely widespread*. Divorces were quite common*.

There were two kinds of divorce. The first required re- marriage, the second did not®. Among the numerous Divorce Laws that of King Ethelred’s is particularly remarkable: ‘ If a freeman have been familiar with a freeman’s wife let him pay for it with his “ Wergild ” and provide another wife with his own money and bring her home to the other*.’

There was a law of King Edgar, which ordered that an

» See footnote on p. 15.

  • Carl Weiser, History of English Literature. Leipzig, 1898. P. 9.

» Thomas Wright, loc. cit., p. 54.

  • JeafiEreson, loc. cit., Vol. II, pp. 294-295.
  • W. Alexander, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 237.

« Thomas Wright, loc. cit., p. 55.

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adulterer or an adultress should live on bread and water three days a week for seven years^ In Canute’s time the adulteress had her nose and ears cut off and was condemned to perpetual celibacy, which in any case the Romish Church enjoined at that time*. Gradually the latter developed the principle of the indissolubility of marriage as a sacrament. It is noteworthy that in spite of this, divorces persisted during the Middle Ages in England® though they became less frequent. On the introduction of Protestantism, divorces again became daily occurrences and the eighteenth centm-y is especially notorious for the large number of Crim.-Con. cases.

In spite of the large number of these cases it was no easy matter to bring one to a successful conclusion. Above all, the man who brought an action against his wife must himself have been above suspicion. If he neglected her for a mistress, if he exceeded decency in speech or conduct, if he did not forbid the visits of a stranger and did not, as absolute master, drive his wife’s gallants out of the house, if he shut his eyes to what was going on and had been too complacent a husband — the seducer escaped all punishment. There were interesting examples of this. My

Lord , a complete fool, had a wife whose body, in his

opinion, resembled that of the Venus de Medici. Proud of having such charms at his disposal, he showed one of his friends his wife in her bath, for the friend had told him that he himself was married to the CaUipygian Venus. Unfor- tunately, the friend was so enflamed by what he saw that he determined to seduce the lady — which he succeeded in doing. On which the husband brought an action against

' W. Alexander, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 233.

  • Wright, he. cit., p. 64.

• Brockhaus Encydopaedia. Vol. V. ‘ Divorce.’

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the friend, with the result that he was himself punished as the seducer of his wife‘

An old colonel brought a young subaltern to his house. The subaltern fell in love with the wife of his superior officer. The husband informed the court that the subaltern after dinner had enjoyed his wife on the sofa in the next room. But it was also pointed out that the old eolonel had sat on over his wine while this happened, not taking that care of his wife which is the first duty of an English husband. The jury accordingly awarded him damages of one shilling only*.

In no country was the system of espionage on women BO highly developed as in England, where detective-bureaus, especially in Grim. -Con. proceedings, flourished. The famous Henry Slater recommended his detectives, who watched suspicious persons in all their comings and goings. ‘ What they do, what company they keep, whether the club can really be responsible for his late nights, and whether shopping only takes up so much of her time*.’ A similar advertisement of the same bureau read:

‘ Divorce

‘Before commeneing divorce proceedings consult Slater, who will secretly obtain all reliable evidence. Successful in every case wherein engaged in the Divorce Court for 13 years.’

As soon as sufficient evidence had been collected for the opening of a case (partly with the help of these detectives), pubUc proceedings took place. Crim.-Con. procedure in

• Lea Dessova de la Pvdibonderie Anglaiae. Paris, 1898. Vol. I, pp. xviii- xix. In a brochure on this case appeared a caricature in which Mylord

had lifted the other on his back in order to see his wife getting

out of the bath, with one foot on the side, the other in the water. Cf. Traits of Originals, p. 67.

• Ibid., p. xix.

• Advertisement in Daily Telegraph, 1900.

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England was notorious for its scandalous nature. Prudish England became unrecognisable on hearing the depositions which were made and listened to with the greatest composure. I will give the gist of some of the depositions to show their general quality.

A witness deposes that he has watched his good lady through the keyhole being kissed and cuddled and thrown on the sofa and afterwards putting her hair in order in front of the looking-glass.

Milady is accused of misdemeanour with an actor. Two women friends state, after taking the oath on a Testament, that they bored a hole in the wall through which they saw how this clever actor raised the lady’s dress and pressed a kiss on her knee se altius non iturum esse promittens,

Mrs. Harris told her housemaid to put fresh curtains up on her bed as her husband was coming. Not the husband, however, but the Reverend Mr. Craven came. Her young sister, her women friends, her maids stood watch all night in the passage. They heard the bed creak and the house- maid told the court that she recognised the same dreadful stains in the bed as Barbara Kjeutz saw in that of the unfortunate Queen Carohne of England^

A footman observed his mistress in a field with her lover ‘ in a very extraordinary situation ’. The judge said: ‘ Describe the position,’ and the witness se met d quatre pattes devant le tribunal^,

A bishop deposed that his wife had seduced a young man whom she introduced into the house under the pretence of marrying him to their daughter. He was informed by this same daughter that her mother spent the nights with the intended bridegroom, so he lay in hiding and heard kisses given and received. When silence fell, he broke open the

^ Les Dessom de la Pudibonderie Anglaise, Vol. I, p. xiii.

• Ibid.y p. xiv.

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door with the help of his daughter and footmen, with lights in their hands. They found ‘ the amorous couple naked in the same bed^

If the witness had not described a doubtful situation with sufficient accuracy, magistrates never wearied of digging out the most obscene details by plying the often very naive witness with questions. With some justice Hector France described Grim. -Con. magistrates as the worst pomographers^.

The whole conduct of these divorce cases points to a remarkable insensitiveness among Englishmen to scandal, even if it touched with its taint members of their family who were dragged into the proceedings. An Enghsh husband did not hesitate to broadcast his own shame. Archenholtz gave the following illustration of this:

‘A ship’s captain came upon his wife and one of his sailors when they expected not to be disturbed in what they were doing. He had her stripped naked and, with her lover, set astride a mast which was decked with streamers and carried on the shoulders of a number of sailors. The proces- sion went through the streets of East London while a band played and an amazing crowd of people followed.’

‘A country nobleman, who had come with his wife to London on a pleasure trip, had strong suspicions of her infidehty. He gave out he was going a journey and surprised

^ Lea Deaaous de la Pudibonderie AnglaiaCy p, xix.

  • ‘ Mais de tous les poraographes il n’en est peut etre pas de plus os6s que

les magistrals et les gens de la loi de la Grande-Bretagne. Dans les proems adult^re et de divorce, les cas d’enl^vement et de seduction de mineures, les scenes les plus risqu6e8 de viol et d’assault sur les fiUes impub^res, ils exigent des t^moins et des victimes un luxe de details et se complaisent k des questions k faire rougir les dragons de la Reine; et comme les d6bats sont publics, que le huis-clos n’existe pas, m§me dans les causes les plus grasses, les chercheurs de documents humains peuvent y puiser d’amples etudes pour Thistoire des moeurs du temps/ — France, In the Police Court. Paris, 1891. P. ix.

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her in the night in the arms of an officer. He was provided with cord and had them bound by men hand and foot and tied by the neck to the bed-posts. He exhibited them in this plight to all his friends and acquaintances. The fiiends brought others along, for which permission was gladly given and this strange spectacle lasted for four days, during which time the loving couple got nothing but bread and waters’

It was almost always the husband who gave the journalists the first details about his cuckoldom in order ‘ to enlighten the spirit of the nation His honour seemed to receive satisfaction by just that which in other countries would have been accounted public disgrace. In a divorce case the husband never made himself ridiculous, but it was always the wife’s lover, well thrashed, who went pale. A duel, which in other countries was the usual outcome of this sort of scandal, was regarded in England as utterly super- fluous, as, indeed, a chose ridicule.

The scandal of Crim.-Con. cases was to a certain extent increased and made lasting by print. English Crim.-Con. literature is vast. And the contents? A mass of moral ordure is heaped in these countless works, brochures, journals, songs, etc., concerning divorce cases. I should like to compare their contents with that in the works on so-called ‘ Pastoral Medicine,’ in which theologians, under the cloak of morality, complacently broadcast the most obscene and filthy things. The whole immorality of old England is concentrated in the twelve volumes of the Crim.-Con. Biographyy or celebrated trials in the Ecclesiastical and Civil Courts for Adultery and other Crimes connected with Incontinencyy from the Period of Henry VIII to the Present Time (by Francis Plowden, London, 1789). Not less obscene than the printed matter of this vast pomographical work are the illustrations of the ^ Archenholtz, Annals, Vol. I, pp. 398-399.

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text which, for example, show Mrs. Draper on the knees of her clerk; Mrs. Harris offering the charms of her bosom to her loved clerg 3 nnan; Mrs. Cibber quae tactibus obscoenis amantem Slopper irritcU; Mrs. Abergavenny showing her huge bosom to Sir Lyddel, with the caption ‘ You are necessary to me as the air I breathe ’, Milady Grosvenor surprised in bed with the Duke of Cumberland in an inn, and Milord avenging her infidelity with a servant girl on his knee^.

To spread this sort of filth among the populace was the business of those innumerable Crim.-Con. brochures and Crim.-Con. lampoons. ‘ The most scandalous literature in London ’, said the author of London and Paris, ‘consists of the reports of Crim.-Con. and Divorce Cases which are printed without expurgation. No book is asked for so frequently in the lending library, and the editions, reprints and extracts from them prove their popularity*.’ These brochures and songs on ‘ Criminal conversations ’ formed the main stock-in-trade of the so-called ‘ straw vendors ’. Some time after it had been illegal to sell such writings publicly, the vendors offered straws for sale which they wrapped up neatly in the song in question. Often these efforts were read aloud*. The newspapers, too, gave very full accounts of divorce cases, in which the word crim.-con. stared in large type above the actual articles. For some time there was even a Crim.-Con. Gazette (or Diurnal Register of the Treates [sfc] and Follies of the Present Day), which ap- peared in eighteen numbers from 20th November 1830 to 30th April 1831. It was illustrated, pubUshed by E. Elliot, and its contents were throughout obscene*. Byron has in the first canto of Don Juan (verses 188 and 189) lashed the

• Les Dessotis, etc., Vol. I, pp. xvii, xviii.

• London and Paris, Vol. VIII, p. 243.

• Rosenberg, pp. 37-38.

‘ Pisanus Fraxi, Catena Librorum Jacendorum. London. Pp. 388-389.

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EngraiTfl bg S. Davenport fron,' origin'll by Hogorlh THE HAKL()T\s progress : SCENE IN BRIDEWELL


fever of English newspaper writers for getting a crim.-con. case published as speedily as possible:

Here ends this canto. — Need I sing, or say,

How Juan, naked, favour’d by the night,

Who favours what she should not, found his way,

And reach’d his home in an unseemly plight?

The pleasant scandal which arose next day,

The nine days’ wonder that was brought to light.

And how Alfonso sued for a divorce.

Were in the English newspapers, of course.

If you would like to see the whole proceedings.

The depositions and the cause at full.

The names of all the witnesses, the pleadings.

Of counsel to nonsuit or to annul,

There’s more than one edition, and the readings Are various, but they none of them are dull;

The best is that in short-hand ta’en by Gurney^,

Who to Madrid on purpose made a journey.

No class of English theatre has overlooked the drawing value of divorce cases. The presentation of such crim.-con. cases, which enjoyed a vogue right up to the ’seventies of the nineteenth century, at the ' Coal Hole ’ was the most notorious. Faucher related of this: ‘ In a comer of London there is a tavern, which gives a dramatic, musical evening entertainment which has no precedent in any other place in the world and could have none. The tavern is called the Coal Hole. Every evening here for many, many years magistrates and jur3mien are caricatured; and propriety outraged as nowhere else in the world. And this in seemingly moral but really hypocritical England. The jurymen are the

^ Gumey was a publisher of crim.-con. cases in Byron’s time, notorious for his shamelessness.


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public, and the judge, who calls himself Baron Nicolson, is a fat old ruffian who presides over the assembly in a huge wig and black gown. Before him on the barristers’ bench sit three or four down-at-heel literary hacks who play their parts in barristers’ wigs and gowns. A mock divorce trial is being performed. The opposing counsel call on witnesses who appear in the box one after the other in suitable costumes, amongst them many men dressed as women. All the witnesses are obliged to kiss something which at a distance resembles a Bible and to raise their hand for the oath while the judge murmurs some gibberish. The witnesses are mostly needy actors who have come down in the world. The cross-examination to which they are subjected by the barrister or rather mock-barrister is extremely spicy! Licence has no limit here whatever. The judge finally sums up, puts a question to the jury, one of whom answers and passes sentence. Music follows and behind rises a curtain disclosing a brilliantly lighted little stage on which girls are grouped in flesh-coloured tights^.’ Especially in the eighteenth century, which far exceeded the nineteenth in the enormous munber of divorce cases, the smaller theatres and toiming companies were sure to draw a numerous and appreciative audience by producing plays and farces about adultery.

The list of famous Crim.-Con. cases* begins with that of Mervin, Lord Audley, Earl of Castlehaven, in 1631 which ended in the execution of the accused. Lord Audley, evidently a sexual pervert, was accused of forcing his wife

^Julius Faucher, Olimpses of Culture Compared in the Four Biggest European Capitals. Hanover, 1877. Pp. 428-429.

• Of course it is impossible, within the limits of this work, to give complete accoimts of these ‘ famous ’ cases, so that I must confine myself to giving a selection from the most characteristic. Those divorce cases which have become historic may be found collected in the little work Crim.-Con. actions and trials and other legal proceedings relating to marriage before the passing of the present Divorce Act. London. Cited as Crim.-con.

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to have frequent sexual intercourse with a footman in his presence, while using the same footman for pederasty. The case opened on 25th April 1631. The Countess, on being questioned, said that shortly after her marriage to the Earl, Amptil, a footman, came while she and her husband were in bed; and on this occasion Lord Audley spoke obscenely to her and told her that her body was his property, that she was to love Amptil in the same way as himself; that he would willingly take the responsibility if she slept with other men. She was forced to obey. He then attempted to force another footman on her. He called him into the room at night and revelled in looking at his private parts, forcing his wife to look also. On another occasion a ser- vant, Broadway, was obliged to rape the Countess while the Earl himself held her arms and legs. Afterwards the Countess wanted to kill herself with a knife which Broadway wrenched from her hand. Skipwith had to do the same with her. And his master often told him he would be pleased if a son were the result of this intercourse. This evidence was confirmed by the footmen and other witnesses. The Countess also deposed that her husband auxilio olei earn paedicavit^ and practised pederasty with the footmen. Lord Audley was found guilty of abetting a rape on his wife by the unanimous vote of the peers forming the court, and by 15 votes to 12 of committing pederasty in two cases. He was sentenced to death by strangling^ but the sentence was modified to decapitation, which was carried out at the Tower on 14th May 163H.

I will mention next, amongst the Crim.-Con. cases of the

^ Cf. ‘ The Tryal and Condemnation of Mervin, Lord Audley, Earl of Castlehaven, at Westminster April 5, 1631, for abetting a Rape upon his Countess, Committing Sodomy with his Servants and Commanding and Countenancing the Debauching of his Daughter.’ London, 1699. Crim.- Con., pp. 34-37. Further, the erotic magazine The Exquisite, for the year 1843, contains a complete account of tl^ case.

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eighteenth century, that against Catherine Earle, who saw Charles Holland, the actor, on the stage, fell violently in love with him and invited him by letter to become her lover, which the gallant actor immediately accepted. Mrs. Earle had married in 1750 and brought her husband a dowry of £10,850 besides ‘ very valuable plate and furniture’. Mr. Earle was also a very wealthy man with an annual income of £2-3,000. It is remarkable that Mrs. Earle’s dearest women- friends bore witness against her in this trial. Thus Mrs. Frances Nightingale deposed that she had frequently seen Mrs. Earle with Mr. Holland at the house of a third friend. Miss Gilbert, where Holland was invited to come by his lover. The two were always left alone at these parties. On 6th March 1765, when Mr. Holland was again at Miss Gilbert’s for supper, Mrs. Nightingale and Miss Gilbert watched the guilty couple through a hole which had been previously bored in the wall of an adjoining room. Mrs. Nightingale saw Holland kneel in front of Mrs. Earle, raise her skirts and kiss her knee. Miss Gilbert said she had seen still more and described minutely the act of adultery. A servant, Taylor, described how he acted as postilion d'amour to them. Edith Garlick, a maidservant, accom- panied her mistress to a restaurant under the Piazza at Covent Garden where Mrs. Earle drank tea with Mr. Holland and then retired with him for ten minutes to an adjoining bedroom. After this evidence a divorce was granted to William Earle^.

In 1771 the divorce of the nymphomaniac Mrs. Elizabeth Draper created a great sensation. She was the eldest of the ten children of a grocer named Hartnoll, and married Richard Draper on 16th August 1764, being then no longer a virgin. She was a perfect example of English beauty and

> Critn.-Con., pp. 69-73. Les Deasoua, etc., Vol. I, pp. 70-76.

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bewitched everybody with her loveliness. The first who could boast of her favours was a small negro in the service of her father. She was ten years old when he seduced her. At fifteen she married Mr. Draper, a rich merchant who was unfortunately impotent, but even had he been otherwise he would hardly have been able to prevent his wife’s daily increasing love-mania from finding extravagant expression. When she was first married and living on Mr. Draper’s estate in the country, she took intense pleasure in watching the mating of mares and stallions, and is said once to have realised with a stallion Juvenal’s verse — Imposito dunem svbmittcU meUo. Very soon after her marriage she began to lead a dissolute life. Her first liaison was in 1766 with a coachman, Charles Russell; then she made an apprentice, William Penfold, her victim, who at the age of fifteen entered Mr. Draper’s service in London an innocent country lad. Three weeks after his arrival Mrs. Draper approached after dinner, kissed him, undressed him and then herself, manu ejus genitalia tetigit, and seduced him. In court the obedient apprentice declared that he had to perform this service for his mistress twice a week. The virility of coach- men also appealed to her, as the postilion John Haylock enjoyed her favours at the same time. A maid, Sarah Eliot, asserted that after Haylock had visited Mrs. Draper the condition of the bed proved that adultery had been committed.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Draper’s nymphomania had reached its height. Miss Rutt relates that she once surprised three young fellows in her room. Mary Allen, a servant, watched through a hole in the wall‘ how her mistress sat with bare breasts in front of John Lancaster, a neighbouring land- owner. ‘ Lancaster was taking liberties with her. At this

^ This plays an ominous part in Crim.-Con. cases.

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time the boards on which she was standing, making a little noise, she heard Mrs. Draper say. Somebody was coming; on which she retired into the next room, but soon returned and looked through again; they had then left the fireplace, but the bed being near the door, she plainly heard them on it, and heard it crack and make a noise as if persons were pressing upon it; she also heard them whisper upon the bed. She continued listening for some minutes, and believed that they were commiting the crime of adultery together.’ One day a certain James Delegal was sitting in the theatre at Islington when he suddenly felt the lady next him ‘ put her hand on his private parts ’, and try to attract him to her. It was Mrs. Draper, who this time, however, was not fortunate. As last witness the 17-year-old Edward Goode gave evidence. He came to London about the middle of 1770 and saw Mrs. Draper for the first time at dinner in her husband’s house. At table she trod on his foot and secretly pressed his hand. At first Jie thought it was a joke, but the very next day she enticed him into a room, where there was a bed, put her arms round his neck and confessed her love. He tore himself away and fled, while she shouted threats after him. On the following day she sent for him. She lay in bed; and stopping by the door, he asked what she wanted. She said come into bed with me; whereupon he immediately went away. A little later she came down to him dressed. ‘ Elle accourt, et s’assied sur mes genoux, mfile des baisers au discours le plus tendre et coule une main dans . . . mon sein, Ifeve sa jupe et me dit “ Voulez-vous? ” Et je commis le pdch6 d’adultdre. Le jour suivant, apr^s diner, a peine le mari fut-il au bas de I’escalier, qu’elle vint chevaucher sur moi.’ The young man pictures in lively colours how he and the apprentice Penfold shared the ceaseless favours of this Messalina; and how at last, driven by pangs of conscience, they revealed everything to the

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master of the house. This remarkably scandalous case ended in complete divorced

Dorothea Kinsman allowed herself to be seduced by a eunuch almost before she was of marriageable age. She lived with him for seven years without finding his impotence unpleasant. At last, in 1784, she wrote from Naples after a long silence the following letter which was read in court word for word:

‘ My honoured Father, I am deeply upset over what has happened between me and Tenduci. My misfortune is mostly due to youthful ignorance. For some years I was only bewitched by his beautiful voice. But it has pleased God to bring me to a better frame of mind so that what has happened between me and a eunuch by way of marriage is not a holy bond in the sight of heaven.’

The good father sent her 200 guineas at once to rescue her from the clutches of this impotent creature; on which the daughter brought an action against her poor husband. The wording of the petition was as strange as the letter to her father. ‘Tenduci’, so it ran, ‘ was bom in Siena, he is now 40 years old and was deprived of his manhood at the age of nine; indeed, he suffered complete castration accord- ing to Italian practice. By this operation both testicles were removed, which makes it impossible for him to procreate and in consequence consummate a marriage. Tenduci came into the house of my father, who was a solicitor in Dublin, as my singing teacher eight years ago. It was not difficult for him to take advantage of my inexperience. We were secretly married by a Catholic priest and we fled as secretly. On our arrival in Italy, Tenduci gave out that I was a pupil, entrusted to bim by my parents. He was very careful not to speak of a marriage as there is a law in Italy which condemns to the gallows eunuchs who marry.’ The petition

  • Crim.-Con., pp. 100-106. Les Demms, etc., pp. 79-90.

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ended with the request that the marriage should be declared null and void and that Tenduci should be ordered to pay costs. But it was an untruth to declare Tenduci impotent. For later with Parisian ladies who, like the Roman ladies of Juvenal’s time, had a weakness for eunuchs, the singer proved to have manly qualities. This physiological truth^ seemed to be unknown to the English court which tried the case. He used the evidence of many witnesses with regard to his strange condition and they were astonishingly outspoken in that evidence. Amongst others an old Irish officer related how Tenduci had showed him a bad scar on the left side of the groin, a little above the scrotum. As he was present one day while Tenduci was dressing, he saw him take a red velvet bag from a trouser pocket. He asked him if it was a sacred relic from Rome. ‘ No, no,’ answered Tenduci, ‘ those are my testicles. I keep them with me in this bag ever since they were cut off.’ This drastic recital impressed the court so much that the marriage was declared null and void, especially fis it had been solemnised by a Catholic priest*.

The most famous English divorce case of the eighteenth century is that against Queen Caroline, wife of the Prince Regent, later George IV, ‘ with its incredible scandal, which flowed like a sewer from the floor of the House of Lords and sank the lustre of the Crown and the fair name of the reigning family in a sea of mud® ’ . Caroline Amalie Elizabeth was the daughter of Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbiittel, and was bom on 17th May 1768. She married the Prince of Wales, later George IV, on 8th April 1795. The marriage was unhappy from the start. ‘At their

’ Cf. also A. Moll, Libido SexuaUa, Vol. I, pp. 422-424.

  • Les Desgous, etc., Vol. II, pp. 24-27.

’ G. Braudes, Main Currents of Literature in the 18(A Century. Eighth edition. Charlottenburg, 1900. Published by H. Barsdorf. Vol. IV.

‘ Naturalism in England.’ P. 34.

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first meeting at St. James’s Palace, when the Princess knelt before him, the Prince called out to the Ambassador, Lord Malmesbury: “ Harris, bring me a glass of brandy, I don’t feel well”; and when it was suggested that a glass of water would be more suitable under the circumstances, he rushed from the room, swearing, without saying a word to his bride. At the wedding he was drunk and hiccuped con- tinuously during the ceremony. He not only treated the Princess with indifference, not only was outrageously neglectful and unfaithful; but with callous brutahty he shut her up, surrounded her with spies, and by a false accusation deprived her of her daughter, which led to frequent scenes at Court. The conduct of the Princess does not seem to have remained blameless long. At first she was merely unwise, but in later years she attempted to console herself and not always in a becoming manner. So we find her, a lady of fifty, travelling through Europe with her courier and chamberlain, the former valet, Bergami — ^an ItaUan “ Ruy Bias” — ^whom she loved tenderly, appointed to every possible position and covered with orders^.’ When the Prince came to the throne in 1820 as George IV, his consort came back to England, but was brought before the House of Lords and accused of infidelity by her husband, who had tried in vain to keep her out of the country. This tragic divorce trial lasted from 19th August 1820 till 10th November of the same year, and more' has been written about it than about any similar affair. ‘ As witnesses in this case, the King brought over shiploads of foreign hotel-waiters and chambermaids to give evidence against the Queen, which roused the bitterest outcry fix)m the English public ’. The taking of their evidence became one of the greatest scandals in the world’s history. Brandes says: ‘ I do not t hink I have ever read

  • G. Brandes, loc. cit. ,V ol. IV, pp. 259-260. It is very doubtfiil if the relations

between the Queen and Bergami were really as intimate asBrandesassumes.

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anything more shameless than the reports of this trial. Cross-examinations about the positions of bedrooms and beds, the state of the sheets in the morning; about a Queen and her chamberlain in complete neglig6, filled the columns of English newspapers day after day’ In order to give readers an idea of the repulsive nature of these cross- examinations, a few examples will be quoted.

Examination of Alessandro Finetti: ‘ Were you ever present when Bergami’s bed was warmed? — was not there when the bed was warmed but I brought a hot-water bottle. Did you see Bergami get out of bed to let it be warmed? — Yes. Was the Princess in the room at the time? — ^Yes. Do you remember your journey from Ancona to Rome? — I do. Do you remember seeing the Princess and Bergami together on any evening during that journey? — ^Not in the evening. Then at some other time of the day or night? — ^Never at night, but in the daytime. What time of day was it? — I do not remember if it was before or after dinner. Did you observe anything when you saw the two together? — Yes. What was that? — ^As I went through the courtyard I saw the Princess do this (made a movement). Who was with the Princess? — Bergami. (Here the counsel for the defence. Lord Brougham, objected to the witness merely making a sign. Only facts to which a name and an exact description could be given had up till now been permitted as evidence in English courts of law. The Lord Chancellor allowed the objection, and told the witness to answer in words not signs). Describe then how you saw the Princess and Bergami as they walked through the courtyard — ^The Princess was embracing Bergami. (A Peer asks: What do you understand by the word “embracing”? — She did this with her hands (makes a movement). Where did she put her hands? — ^The Princess put her hands round his

  • G. Brandea, foe. eit., Vol. IV, pp. 260-261.

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arms. Do you mean by that round his waist? — ^Yes. (The Attorney-General asks) Were they looking at each other? — They were. Were their faces close together? — ^Their faces were some distance apart because she is little and he is taU.’

Evidence of Louisa de Mont: ‘ Do you remember Her Majesty taking a bath on board ship? — Yes. Did she do so more than once? — I only remember two occasions. Who went with her? — ^Mr. Bergami. Did they both come on deck afterwards, or did Bergami come first? — Bergami came first and told me to go to Her Majesty and help her to dress. When Bergami called you, how long had he been with her Royal Highness? — Nearly three-quarters of an hour.’

Evidence of Vincenzo Guargito: ‘ Did you ever have orders to close the deck-tent when the Princess and Bergami were inside? — ^Yes. While you were doing so did you ever see the Princess and Bergami lying on their beds? (Mr. Williams remarks here: “ I think the question should run: Where did you see them? ” The Solicitor-General replies: “ I have no objection to putting two questions in place of one if Mr. Williams wishes.’') As you closed the deck-tent did you see the Princess on the bed? — Sometimes in bed, sometimes standing. And Bergami? — He lay mostly on the little bed. Did you close the tent, leaving them thus? — ^Yes. How was Bergami lying? On his back or on his side or how? — ^He lay on his back. Did you see Bergami come out of the tent afterwards? — Yes. How long after? — ^That varied from a quarter or a half to an hour. Did Bergami accompany the Princess every time she went below to the bath? — ^Always, and not only when she went for a bath but whatever she went for. Did the Princess have to go below for any other reasons? — Generally she went to the closet below deck. And Bergami went with her there too? — ^Yes.’

The following testimony must also be given:

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‘ At Keirlsruhe Her Majesty was one day found in Bergami’ room; she was sitting upon his bed, and he was in bed wit his arms around the neck of Her Majesty. She was surprise in this extraordinary situation by one of the femmes d chambre, who was going into the room by chance ... in tha bed was found a cloak, which Her Majesty was afterward seen wearing; and in that bed, also, certain marks were al«  observed by one of the servants. These marks, without hi saying anything further at present, would leave thei Lordships perhaps to infer that which he wished them t( understand.’

‘ What was the state of Bergami’s dress at the time yoi saw him in the passage going towards the bedroom of Hei Royal Highness? — He was not dressed. When you say h< was not dressed, what do you mean; what had he on? — H( was not dressed at all.’

  • On the 12th of that month she arrived at Salona. . .

A large bed was provided in the inner room for Her Majesty the outer room assigned for Bergami had no bed. There was no access to the bed in the inner room except through Bergami’s. It would be proved in evidence that, in the morning after Her Majesty had slept there, her bed had the appearance of having been slept in by two persons. There was only one passage to Her Majesty’s bedroom; that passage led from Bergami’s room, and in his room there was no bed.’

This scandalous trial ended with the complete acquittal of the unfortunate Queen, thanks chiefly to her brilliant defence by Lord Brougham, which culminated in his historic concluding speech, but she died in the following year in great measure owing to the mental and physical humiliations she had suffered in the course of her ordeal. The case astounded all Europe and inspired the poet Shelley to write his wonderful' satire Oedipus Tyrannus or SweUfoot the



Tyrant, an ‘ Aristophanic comedy, as happily conceived as Priitz’ Political Birth Chamber. The action takes place in Boeotia. English bulls appear here as swine. Mentality, manners and government are described in terms of hoggishness. The hjrpocrisy of the royal husband, the shameless hanying of the Queen on the subject of her purity, the perjury of Castlereagh and Sidmouth are all shown in the satire with consummate skQl^ ’.

A short time after this noteworthy Grim. -Con. affair, a case in which the famous actor Edmund Kean was involved, aroused almost as much interest. The trial took place on 17th January 1825. Robert Albion Cox claimed damages from Kean on the charge of adultery with his wife. The plaintiff, who had married in 1805, had lived happily with his wife until she became acquainted with Kean in 1813. Kean was at that time acting at Drury Lane Theatre. Mrs. Cox was a cultured woman, fond of the theatre and especially well read in Shakespeare; and she extravagantly admired the genius of the accused. Kean, who visited Cox’s house with his own wife, soon started a love affair with Mrs. Cox with such secrecy that the husband for a long time had not the least suspicion. The reading of Kean’s many love-letters made the trial especially interesting, as did also the evidence of witnesses to the clever manner in which the guilty pair had deceived Mr. Cox. Kean was sentenced to pay £800 damages*.

Of worse character than Kean’s letters were those which the yoimg Count de la Rochefoucauld wrote to Lady Cavendish in 1859, when he was attach^ to the French Embassy in Rome; and they played an important part in the divorce suit which her husband brought against her. No pen can describe the dirt and obscenity of these letters,

‘ G. Brandes, toe. cit., Vol. IV, p. 261.

• Crim.-Con., pp. 38-47.

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and from references which appear in them, the replies of the lady were even worse. At any rate twelve of the Count’s letters have won the distinction of completing one of the most obscene English erotic books. They occupy the last twenty-six pages of the fourth volume of the notorious Romance of Lust, which was published in 1873-76. The author of this book comments thus on the letters: ‘ When the counsel for the injured husband handed in the letters with their translation, he remarked that in his opinion they were too scandalous to be read in open court. The Judge looked at one or two and said, turning to the court: “I entirely agree with my learned friend. I shall take them home and refer to them in my summing-up to the jmy.” Some of the letters revel in the most incredible fantasies. The Coimt continually mentions how far his descriptions fall short of those in her replies. As he retains possession of the lady’s passionate assurances, one can only judge from his references to certain gross familiarities that she possessed as warm and licentious a temperament as my aunt and the divine Frankland (two heroines in the Romance of Lust). These interesting letters fell into my hands by chance, and I can assure the reader that they are the actual sworn literal translations which were found in Mrs. Chichester’s bureau by her husband and handed into the court. The Count, apparently, feared such a contingency, because he begged her again and again to destroy his letters when read. But with the strange shortsightedness of her sex she kept them, and they formed the only proof by which she lost her position in society and was ruined. She was a woman of forty-five and the mother of several children, but it is just these undisciplined and licentious matrons who are most attractive to a young man who feels flattered and proud to have conquered a woman of society. It was certain that she was no novice in depravity and had probably passed through

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many hands before he won her. He appears to have been quite “woman-mad”, one of the worst delusions a man can have^.’

It is impossible to give the content of these excessively obscene letters; it need only be noted that La Rochefoucauld confesses to his lady that she picked ‘ the flower of his virginity ‘I have never kissed another woman, and whatever misfortime may befall it will always be an indescribable happiness for me to remember that I lost my innocence through your enchanting caresses {par tes delices). This is perhaps the greatest happiness and the one consolation in my life — and will remain so. But before God, it is a great happiness and my delight such as cannot be found again on earth. I do not believe that he who took your innocence was as pure as I was, and if there is a greater joy than that which I know, I promise you never to seek or experience it, though I do not ask the same of you. I do not wish to hear other women spoken of: even to look at them disgusts me. You know it, and you know too that nothing in you disgusts me, but that everything that is you enchants me; and I love and worship it all. It is a kind of madness and you know it; for when you are kind you give me, at least in writing, the idea of that which you would not do, if you harbomed the least doubt about it.’ It is instructive to note to what lengths this passionate love leads the yoimg man who had in fact been pure, for his assertion must be believed. He describes with fervour the joys of Cunniliri/gus, urinam hibendi, faeces devorandi, the delicias omnium corporis partium of the loved woman. ‘ As much as the odour of woman is repugnant to me in general, the more do I like it in you. I beg of you to preserve that intoxicating perfume; but you are too clean, you wash yourself too much. I have

  • P. Fvaxi, Catena, pp. 686-586.

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often told you so in vain. When you will be quite my own I shall forbid you to do it too often, at most, once a day, my tongue and my saliva shall do the rest.’ In all this can be plainly recognised that form of Masochism which I should like to describe as juvenile, because it is so often seen in a man’s early love manifestations, even if it does not take such an extreme form as in this case. These aberrations are most often found when older women have seduced boys and youths. In this case at least the woman appears, as doctrix of the ara amandi, to have originated these perversions^.

The most important divorce trial at the end of the nineteenth century was that of Colin Campbell — not only because it affected aristocratic circles. On Friday, 26th November 1886 began, at the Law Courts, the divorce suit of Lord Colin Campbell against his wife, and at the same time of Lady Colin Campbell against her husband. The Duke of Marlborough, Colonel Butler, Captain Shaw and Dr. Bird were cited as co-respondents in the one case, and Miss Mary Watson in the other. The Duke of Argyll, father of Lord Colin, and the Marquis of Lome, his brother, and son-in-law of Queen Victoria, were present at the trial. Lady Colin had already brought a suit against her husband for brutal behaviour in March 1884. The court gave judgment for separation of bed and board, whereupon Lord Colin

  • With reference to these private letters, perhaps H. France is right in

sa 3 dng: ‘ Que de singuliers et ^tonnants Merits enrichiraient la chronique des mcBurs et les rayons des bibliophiles si des d^rots et prudes ne les avaient fait disparaitre, ou si k la veille du supreme voyage, le grand homme harcel6 par le confesseur ou tourment6 par le scrupule n’avait an6€uiti les pages naturalistes en sans poser devant le public il diversait en riant le fonds de son sac.’ — H. France, En Police Court, Preface, p. viii. This is confirmed by the incredible revelations regarding pornographic notebooks made by peasants and maids in the Stettin district. Cf. The Sexual Social Conditions of the Evangelical Peasants in the German Empire. Vol. I (by Pastor H. Wittenberg and Dr. E. Hiickstedt). Leipzig, 1896. Pp. 104-106.

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])rairin(j hff Rowlandson


Whoe'er has travelled life's dull round Through all its rarions paths hath been M Kst oft hare wondered to hare found This warmest welcome at an Inn.


sitting on Lord Colin’s bed with both arms round his neck*.’ Drs. Godson and Gibbons declared on the contrary that they examined Mary Watson in the morning and found her still a virgin, which however does not mean that sexual intercourse has not taken place*. Rosa Baer, formerly Lady Colin’s lady’s maid, says that she saw her commit adultery with Lord Blandford, which was confirmed by Lord Colin’s servants Delaroche and O’Neil. O’Neil once saw through the keyhole Lady Colin lying on the floor with Captain Shaw®. Sir Charles Russell’s cross-examination of O’Neil about this last occurrence is interesting and typically English. The maid, Eliza Wright, gave evidence that Lady Colin suffered from an infectious disease before she was married. ‘ Gonorrhea or syphilis? ’ asked the judge. ‘ Syphihs ’ was the prompt reply. It appeared from Lord Colin’s own evidence that he had been treated before marriage for venereal disease by several specialists, amongst them the famous Sir Henry Thompson, who admitted him to his clinic for operation. Lady Colin declares that she was infected by her husband after marriage. The doctors not only confirm this and emphatically deny the alleged miscarriage, but stress repeatedly that the character of Lady Colin’s illness pre- cluded the possibility of co-habitation, and that she could not at that time have committed adultery. The verdict of the jury acquitted the defendants. The costs of the trial, amounting to £15,000, were borne by Lord Colin*.

These few revelations about Enghsh divorce trials® are

^ Colin Campbell Divorce Case. London, 1887. Pp. 3-4.

  • Ibid., p. 10.

•Ibid., pp. 13-22, pp. 26-27.

« Cf. also the lively account of this trial by H. France, En Police Court, pp. 129-196.

• I will mention among famous divorce cases which I shaU not describe: The Talbot case (1856, Crim.~Con., pp. 11<33); the suit of Cranford v. Dilke (1886, En Police Court, pp. 91-109); the divorce petition of Admiral Parson (1890, En Police Court, pp. 119-128); and more recently the suit

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sufficient to show clearly how immoral and scandalous they were, and how coarsely they were conducted. The devastating pronouncement which Lord Lyndhurst gave in May 1857 on English divorce cases was endorsed by all Europeans, but did not stop the rage for divorce scandals in England. He said amongst other things: ‘ Lord Campbell has more than once described this kind of case as a disgrace to our legal practice and has stated with perfect rightness that no European country would tolerate it; and that continental lawyers with whom he had spoken condemned Enghsh law for still maintaining it. I think I can confirm the opinion of my noble and learned friend. At least, I have talked with many expert foreigners on this subject and have never heard another point of view expressed. In a book which appeared lately, I find the following passage on divorce trials: “ The husband shamelessly pockets the damages. The pubhcity in which these cases necessarily take place and aU the detafis and evidence about the accusation are in the highest degree scandalous and improper. For instance, the evidence of servants, young ladies-maids, which they give in detail before the public in open court — ^what they saw, heard or guessed — ^is no less than a kind of prostitution, even lower than the common form ” ^ ’.

These are hard words but true, and their effect was soon felt. For it is noticeable that in the second half of the nineteenth century divorce cases became much rarer*, which may well be regarded as a consequence of the pro- ceedings in the House of Lords in 1857.

of Captain James Vivian Forbes-Smith against his wife (Daily Telegraph, 19th July 1900).

  • Crim.-Con., p. 9.

• Ibid., Preface, p. 1. Another English speciality is the so-called ‘ Breach of Promise ’ case. Cf. Katscher, La^ of Fog, etc., pp. 275 ei seq., and Louis Blanc, Letlres aur Angleterre. Paris, 1866. Vol. Ill, pp. 121-126.

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The general character of English, and especially of London, prostitution was, in keeping with the character of the people, extraordinarily coarse and c 3 Tiical. An English observer, contrasting London prostitution with that of the Continent, said: ‘ In no continental capital is it possible to see society so shockingly in the grip of vice and debauchery as in our own metropolis; there recently in Waterloo Place, the Quadrant, Haymarket, Waterloo Road, not to mention the theatre foyers, scenes have been witnessed which one has never experienced in the most vicious of continental towns*’. Hector France also expresses himself strongly as regards the incredible shamelessness and coarseness of the English prostitutes; his countryman, however, Leon Faucher, feds that this coarseness has considerably diminished during the last thirty years. (His book English Studies appeared in 1856.) The Russian Tamowsky also states that in no other European town does prostitution appear in so cynical a form as in London*, and according to Hiigel, in no other country was prostitution carried on so generally and in so disgraceful and so bestial a manner*. The following state- ment will prove the general correctness of these opinions,

  • The Lancet, 1853. Vol. I, p. 347.
  • H. France, Lea Va-Nu-Pied de Londres. Paris, 1884. Pp. 8-9. Dr.

B. Tamowsky, Proatitniion and Abolitionism. Hamburg and Leipzig, 1890. P. 35.

  • Fr. S. Hiigel, On the History, Statistics and Regulation of Prostitution.

Vienna, 1866. P. 43.

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but it must not be forgotten that the shocking character of London prostitution had been called forth to no smaU extent by foreign prostitutes, the lowest of whom,, as we shall sec later, had flocked from abroad to London. When it is appreciated that with these prostitution necessarily means degeneration and brutalising of the character, it becomes obvious that no great distinction between English and foreign prostitutes should properly be made.

As regards the number of prostitutes in London, the estimates of different authors naturally differ considerably. Everyone knows that it is difficult, probably impossible, in any large town to obtain reliable statistical data on this point, particularly in the largest town in the world. To this is added the fact that in England there has never existed a system of control as on the Continent, so that for this reason an accurate knowledge of the numbers of public women is impossible to obtain, not to speak of private prostitution. All accounts therefore of the number of London prostitutes can only be regarded purely as estimates.

Any estimated . number can be divided naturafly into various categories. As regards the different classes of London prostitutes in the eighteenth century, Archenholtz wrote as follows: ‘ Those of the lowest class live together in open houses, under the supervision of matrons who provide them with food and clothing. Their clothes, in accordance with English luxury, are, even in the case of common girls, of silk, and many of them escape with them from their prisons and start trade on their own account.

‘ By this step up, the unfortunate girl, in addition Lo gaining her independence, obtains also the right to reject lovers whom she dislikes, which was not allowed in the open house. On the other hand, she is exposed to the neces- sity of providing entirely for herself, which if her income is poor or she is extravagant, may lead her to a debtors’

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prison. The uncertainty of payment leads all landlords who let rooms to such girls to double their rent. The extortionate sums generally obtained, and which are usually paid regularly for safety’s sake, induce people in reasonably good circumstances to open their houses to these unfortunate girls. They are given the best rooms and the best furniture for a weekly rent which far exceeds the yearly house rent with all taxes. Without these girls many thousand houses in the West End of London would stand empty. In the single parish of Marylebone, which is the largest and most thickly populated in England, there were a few years ago not less than 13,000 prostitutes, of which 1700 inhabited whole houses. These last live very respectably and are undisturbed in the exercise of their profession. They are so much lord in their own house, that should a distin- guished magistrate even attempt to disturb them in it, they could throw him out of the door. So long as they pay their taxes as promptly as other householders, they enjoy the same rights. Their houses are always charming, often beautifully furnished. They have chamber and waiting maids, often liveried servants, and many even their own carriage. A large number have life aimuities which they have received from their seducers or from rich and generous lovers when intoxicated. These annuities certainly secure them from need, but they are usually not sufficient to enable them to live sumptuously in the capital and to enjoy expensive pleasures; they therefore permit lovers’ visits, but only those whom they like — the others are sent away^’ .

It may also be noted, when the classes of London prosti- tutes are considered generally as Archenholtz here does, that they produced both main types, the brothel dweller and the independent prostitute.

‘ Archenholtz, England, Vol. II, pp. 246-248.

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The author of Doings in London divides prostitution in 1830 into the following general categories: First came the completely ‘ hackneyed ’ prostitutes, who haunted street comers, dark alleys, narrow streets and similar locahties, prowling round in the dark of the night, prostituting themselves for the smallest sums, becoming infected with venereal disease and in alliance with the commonest criminals and bullies. The second class was composed of those girls who lived in ‘ houses of retreat ’ for which they paid the proprietresses high fees, almost all their takings in fact, as they were usually provided with food and clothing. The only difference between these prostitutes and those of the first class was that those of the second are better dressed, for which advantage, however, they are kept under the strictest supervision by their extortionate mistresses. These houses of retreat were of the lowest kind, in which robbery, murder and drunkenness were the order of the day. Thirdly came the so-called bagnios and the brothels, the inmates of which were also under the care of matrons, but could not strictly be reckoned amongst the street prostitutes. Fourthly there were the so-called fashionable prostitutes with their own dwellings, dresses and servants, who were mostly kept by rich merchants, gentry and the like^.

Ryan likewise divides prostitutes into those who have their own dwellings and those who live in houses of retreat. To this latter class belong sempstresses, servants, theatre prostitutes and such like, also the sailors’ prostitutes of Thames-side — as everywhere, the dregs of prostitution — also canteen women and soldiers’ prostitutes*.

With which we come to the question of the recruiting of London prostitutes. Ryan gives the following useful list of the

^ Doings in London, pp. 92-93.

• Michael Ryan, Prostitution in London. London, 1839. P. 179.

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callings from which come the main contingent of prostitutes:

‘ Milliners, dress-makers, straw bonnet makers, furriers, hat- binders, silk-winders, tambour-workers, shoebinders, slop- women, or those who work for cheap tailors, those in pastry- cook, fancy and cigar shops, bazaars, servants to a great extent, frequenters of theatres, fairs, dancing-rooms which, with almost all places of public amusement in large towns and cities, are licentious. It is impossible to estimate the number of those addicted to secret prostitution in the different ranks of society^

In addition, there are young girls from the country with no experience of a town, who fall an easy prey to the procuresses and sink, with or without compulsion, into prostitution. ‘ These vile procuresses like to keep their eye on the country coaches which arrive daily in London in great numbers from all the provinces, and usually bring in country girls seeking service in the capital. Poor creatures of this kind are overjoyed when, on arrival in such a crowded place, of which they know nothing of the ins and outs, they find someone making them the friendliest advances, and out of what appears to be benevolence looking after them (apparently) like a mother. Events now lead gradually to their fall and thereafter to the receipt of instructions. In the evening the girl is sent out on the hunt^ ’.

In former and also more recent times the daughters of poor coimtry parsons took to prostitution in London in large numbers®. There are many examples of whole families being kept on prostitution. Ryan tells of a certain Leah Davis who brought up all her thirteen daughters to be

^ Ryan, loc. cit,, p. 174.

• Archenholtz, England^ Vol. II, p. 257, ‘ One of the causes of the number of these “ hUes de joie ** was probably the constant immigration from the provinces of young friendless girls eager to taste the delights of London.* — G. Hill, Women, Vol. I, p. 318.

• Archenholtz, loc. ciL, Vol. II, p. 252; and J.Rodenberg, loc. cit.,p. 255.



prostitutes, and kept brothels with them in dififerent parts of London^ In the eighteenth century, particularly, many London families had their prostitutes, though in another sense. According to Georgina Hill, most married men kept mistresses in one form or another. Many took them into their houses and had them eat at the same table as their wives, from which arrangement discord hardly ever arose. They were even seen going out in the comnany of the wife, and the only difference between them was that the mistress was usually better looking, better dressed, and not so stiff.

Further, the factory system has to be considered, which began to develop in England in the second half of the eighteenth century, and very soon, with its resulting concentratioix of women and children, had the worst possible effect on public morality, so that as early as 22nd June 1802 the indiscriminate employment of children as factory workers had to be prevented by law. The factories, with their concentration of large numbers of people of different sexes, mostly young, were, first in England, later also on the continent, a ceaseless source of prostitution. Colquhoun estimated as early as the year 1793 that amongst the 50,000 London prostitutes, not less than 20,000 were factory workers, whilst only 3,000 came from the domestic servant class^.

London and its suburbs^ naturally take the lion’s share of the English prostitutes, then comes Great Britain generally. All along, however, large numbers of foreign prostitutes have lent a special character to London prostitution. These, for the most part the dregs of the Continent which have drifted to London, form a ‘ hot-bed for the growth of

^ Ryan, loc. cit., pp. 137-138.

  • Tableau descriptif, etc., Vol, I, p. 118.
  • ‘ Some writers maintain that every one in three of the daughters of

persons in the lower rank in life become prostitutes before they are twenty years of age.’ — Ryan, loc, cit., p. 169.

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catinilaric existences* London, to a greater extent than all other capitals, harbours the lowest of this riff-raff, as it is further away and cut off by the sea. Besides which, both before and after the Revolution, all reprobates were expelled from France*. The hatred of the English for foreigners, which in this instance was quite justified, was aroused in particular at the beginning of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries against the large number of French immigrants, who by many London families were not allowed over their doorstep, so afraid were they of their sexual excesses*. The Londoner still calls all foreign prostitutes ‘ French women like the Lesbians and Phoenicians of old time, they enjoy the reputation of special refinements in all the arts of love, which are not always despised by John Bull*. Hector France remarks that these popular boule- vardieres are often Germans and Belgians who come to London in almost as large numbers as the French, princi- pally through the fast developing white-slave traffic, which must be considered later. In the fourth place are the Italians, then follow the other continental nations. Ryan has himself noticed some Greeks and East and West Indians amongst London prostitutes. The many negresses must not be forgotten, for whom the taste in London is almost as well developed as in Paris.

Yet one more category of girls must be mentioned, which has latterly unfortunately, to a great extent, become a prey to prostitution. This is that of waitresses. The waitress system is also of English origin. In the first chapter (p. 31) I mentioned that in the Middle Ages women played a great part in the life of English inns, that in those days the sale

  • Henry Dorgeel, The Oermana in England. London, 1885. P. 96.

• London and Paris, Vol. Ill, p. 14.

• Ibid., Vol. Vin, p. 17.

  • H. I^unoe, Lea Va-Nv-Pieda, etc., pp. 11-12.

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of beer was nearly always in the hands of women, and the ‘ ale wife ’ was a well-known folk-type. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries came the ‘ bar-maids women and girls who sold drinks behind the bar of the inn. From them the waitress evolved, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, whose work it was to go round the rooms of the inn, taking food and drink to the guests; out of this situation familiar relations between guests and waitresses developed spontaneously.

As regards the age of London prostitutes it was found, according to Talbot’s investigations, that in the year 1838, amongst 3,103 prostitutes 3 were under 15 years of age, 414 from 14 to 20, 872 from 20 to 25, 525 from 25 to 30, 237 from 30 to 40, 88 from 40 to 50, and 19 from 50 to 60. Talbot knew prostitutes of 10 and of 50 years of age. Those over 50 years were usually procuresses and brothel keepers*. Nowhere was the youth of some of the prostitutes so aston- ishing as in London, and in no town was child prostitution developed to such a shocking extent as in London. I shall enquire later into the evidences and origin of this pheno- menon®.

What is the general impression given by London prostitu- tion? What are and were the circumstances in which prostitutes live, the public activities of prostitution especially?

‘ So soon as it becomes dark ’, wrote Archenholtz, ‘ these girls (professional prostitutes), well tumed-out, in all seasons flood the principal streets and squares of the town. Many go on the man-hunt in borrowed clothes which they hire by the day from the matrons, who for safety’s sake 1 , loc. cit., p. 21.

• ‘ Parmi les traits qui peuvent servir k caract6ri8er la prostitution k Londres, ce qui surtout r^volte le coeur et excite I’indignation, c’est I’cLge auquel elle s’empare de ses victimes.’ — G. Bichelot, De la Prostitution en Anglkerre et en Bcosae. Paris, 1867. P. 16.

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pay another woman to follow the huntress continously on foot in order to see that she does not run away with the clothes. If the girl makes no capture and comes home without money, she will be ill-treated and must go hungry. They therefore accost passers-by and take them either home or to taverns. They can be seen standing in groups. The best class of prostitutes, who live independently, are content to go on their way till they are spoken to. Many married women even, who live in distant parts of the town, come to the Westminster district where they are unknown, and carry on the profession, either from vice or need. I have been astounded to see children of eight and nine years offer their company, at least so far as it would serve. The corruption of men’s hearts is so great, that even such children can find lovers to flirt with them. More than that: at midnight the girls leave the streets and old beggar women of 60 and more come out from their hiding places in order to serve drunken men returning heated from their revels, who must satisfy their animal needs blindly, as it were, ‘‘ at the galop”.^’

Schiitz similarly described this barbarous man-hunt: ‘ So soon as the streets are lamp-lighted, which lighting is not regulated by the changes of the moon, but by the fall of darkness, they begin to swarm with street girls who, well got-up and well dressed, display their attractions. Certain it is that no place in the world can be compared with London for wantonness, and even the strictest observer of chastity has many temptations to fight against; the number of evening and night prowlers is so imbelievable. Many of them stroll the streets alone, and it must be said to their credit that they are fairly discreet. Either they silently offer one their arm or they make use of all sorts of formulas, such as, for instance, ‘‘ I should so much like to marry you ”,

' Archenholtz, England, Vol. TI, pp. 256-258.

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“Your love would make me happy”, and much more of the same kind of talk. A single repulsing word is enough to drive these street ladies away, or it suffices even to pass silently by; but one must be careful not to move the right arm, as this sign may be taken for consent. Many, however, are not content with soliciting, but try to force their affections on one. It is difficult to get rid of these, as some- times four, five and more, in competition, attach themselves to one. The modesty which Herr von Archenholtz attributes to this class of women, I have never observed, and I think, on the contrary, that it would be easy to demonstrate con- clusively that they exceed in shamelessness, at an earlier age, any other women of easy virtue. What struck me most was the shamelessness of the children who, with the grown- ups, roamed the streets and offered their services to passers- by. Usually a crowd of female creatures stand in front of the theatres, amongst whom may be found children of nine and ten years — the best evidence of moral depravity in London. In general, the English nation oversteps all others in immorality, and the abuses which come to light through addiction to debauchery are unbelie vableL’ Sunday also, which was once kept so sacred in England, means no day of rest for the London prostitutes. On the contrary, it is a most important working day*.

In this hunt for men there was no lack of ‘ trade rivalry ’, and regular battles often took place amongst the prostitutes. Bbttiger amusingly describes a scene of this kind: ‘ They cannot stand new “ wares ”, who have not purchased their

^ F. W. V. Schiitz, Letters from London^ pp. 214-217,

  • \"oltaire described the English Sunday festival very correctly when

he said: ‘ On Sunday in London there is no opera, no comedies and no concerts. Card playing is strictly forbidden. On these days people go to church, to the inns and to the prostitutes ’ {(Euvres. Kehl, 1786. Vol. XIV, p. 61). According to v. Schiitz, ‘ the prostitutes parade tlie streets on Sundays the same as on other days, and the tea-gardens are fuller of this class of women than on week-days * (v. Schiitz, loc. ciL, p. 119).

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rights, invading the street where for some time they have been accustomed to offer their attractions. This fact came to light through a dispute between two such mercenary prostitutes which had to be settled by the Lord Mayor. One had insulted the other, and the reason for the attack was none other than that the complainant had ventured into a business district which was open to her: “ You must pay your footing ”, which meant you must first purchase your right to capture. The other thought she was on free ground, and thus she boldly defended herself in a practical manner as befitted a true Briton, till at last esprit de corps took a hand and other members of the numerous sister- hood did battle on the field with tongue, hand and foot‘.’

As von Schiitz mentions, one of the favourite haunts of the street-walking prostitutes was the neighbourhood of the theatres. Other favourite buildings were the numerous chinches, which was the case as early as the sixteenth century. Young people of the world gathered in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and walked about there to gossip, to laugh, to show off their new clothes. This procedure had become almost an institution, and the men paid compensation to the cathedral authorities for the noise their spurs made. Swind- lers, prostitutes and other vagabonds came there, and every- one conducted his business in the church*. Ryan says that in 1840 there were numerous churches and sacred buildings which could be cited as places of prostitution. Young elegants and merchants congregated at the time of the services in the neighbourhood of the churches, accosted the women coming out and took them to one of the numerous brothels situated in the vicinity. Girls also waited for men outside the churches*. Prostitution was also active in the

• London, and Paris, Vol. IX, p. 16.

• H. Taine, loc. cit, Vol. I, pp. 360-361.

• Ryan, loc, cit., p. 177.

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neighbourhood of the Houses of Parliament and the Law Courts^. The ports have at all times been the haunt of prostitutes of the lowest class who, especially on the departure and arrival of ships, collect in crowds and take boats out to the ships. Numbers of prostitutes also travel from London to other ports as soon as the arrival of a ship is announced, and terrible scenes are there enacted. After such orgies a large number of sailors are always attacked with venereal disease®.

Finally, one may note on the streets prostitutes belonging to a higher class, riding and driving about. In the eighteenth and up to the nineteenth century one could often see girls of this sort in fine phaetons drawn by beautiful ponies, driving round in the large parks®.

Sitting at a window counted for a long time in England as a sign of prostitution. ‘ To show oneself at the window ’, wrote Archenholtz, ‘ is considered very improper. Nothing less than some street incident which may arouse curiosity can excuse an honourable woman for opening the window. Public girls, on the other hand, interpret this morality the other way round* According to Ryan, the girls in the ill- famed Aubrey brothel often stood naked at the window and executed all manner of indecent movements and postures. The same thing happened in many other open houses in London. In contrast to this exhibition of attrac- tions at the window there is the very popular use at one time,

^ Ryan, loc. cit., p. 189.

  • Ibid., p. 190. This repulsive form of prostitution at the ports must

not be confused with the great marriage journeys to the East Indies which were formerly undertaken by girls who were anxious to marry, and who hoped there to find a man among the white people. ‘ The day after his arrival, the Captain would give a ball to which all the men came who wished to marry, in order to make their choice from amongst the newly-arrived beauties ’ (Rosenberg, loc. cit., pp. 196-198).

  • Ryan, loc. cit., p, 177.
  • Archenholtz, England, Vol. Ill, p. 74.

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namely in the Restoration period and in the first quarter of the eighteenth century, of the mask by professional prostitutes, mostly of the better classes, who thus sought to hide their calling, and also by married women who pursued amorous adventures.

In addition, many habitual prostitutes, in accordance with the custom of that time, used masks. This custom, according to Malcolm, gave a welcome opportunity to many immoral, curious and lascivious people to satisfy themselves by visiting places of ill-repute unrecognised, there to indulge in excesses of all kinds. An example of this happened in May 1724. The ‘ White Lion ’ in Wych Street, one of the last of the hundred Drury taverns, and very renowned in the time of Charles II on account of the conviviality of the frequenters of the concert and dance rooms at the top of the house, had for a long time a bad reputation by reason of the immoral orgies which took place there under the cloak of a concert, and the neighbours awaited impatiently the time when the law would be openly transgressed by the fre- quenters of the tavern. The time came, and the police discovered, amongst the commonest prostitutes, ladies of rank, rich merchants’ wives and their daughters; an assembly that surprised everyone, so that the prostitutes could hardly believe they were in such good company, and the distinguished newcomers were shocked when they saw the faces of the degenerate prostitutes. The latter went to Bridewell prison, the former were let off with a sharp warning^

One of the saddest manifestations of London prostitution was the existence of homeless girls, the number of whom was huge and who almost always fell victims to prostitution at an early age. As early as the eighteenth century these poor

^ J. P. Malcolm, Anecdotes of the Manners and Cnstoms of London during the Eighteenth Century. London, 1810. Vol. I, pp. 280-281.

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children of misfortune filled the streets of London at night- time with their clamour. ‘ What a pitiful sight it is an old book says, ‘ to see a crowd of little creatures lying in heaps close to one another, how even in the severest weather they sleep in the streets, and how some of them, hardly big enough to reach a man’s hip, are already pregnant and a burden on the parish whose dimg-heap serves them as a refuge! I have often thought that the removal of these brats of prostitution from the gates of a great Protestant town might be a work not altogether unworthy of our reforming street cleansers^.’

The growth of night life in London was encouraged to a great extent by the lighting of the town which, especially in the best districts, was really beautiful*. Numbers of oil lamps lighted the streets with a brilliance which was to be found in no other European town. The beginning of the nineteenth century brought gas lighting, which was first installed in Finsbury Square in the year 1808*.

With general lighting of the town an important change took place in the external manifestations of prostitu- tion. Whilst the public prostitutes had hitherto had their headquarters in the City, or more frequently on the borders of the City and the West End, they now spread over all parts of the town, principally in the West. The centre of prostitution in the eighteenth century was Covent Garden with Drury Lane, the centre in the nine- teenth century lay further West, in the Haymarket and Regent Street. It was first observed in London not only how the night lighting of a big town encouraged the spread of prostitution to all its parts, but how greatly the nightly

‘ Satan'g Harvest Home: or the present state of Whoreeraft, AdvJtery, Fornication, Procuring, Pimping, Sodomy, etc. London, 1749. P. 2.

  • Archenholtz, England, Vol. I, p. 197.
  • Henry B. Wheatley, London, Past and Present. London, 1891.

Vol. I, p. 46.




excesses in the higher grades of society also increased; but at the same time crimes which would be committed in darkness were thereby restrained. The appearence of the West End after midnight is thus described by an observer: ‘ Although it was already after 3 o’clock, the njrmphs and shepherds still sacrificed on the altar of Bacchus, and the peak of lust was reached. Carriages drove one behind the other, bringing the ladies from their dwellings into the arms of their beloved admirers who awaited them with the utmost impatience at the different pleasure resorts^’ The large parks also served as meeting places*. As already mentioned, Drury Lane and Covent Garden was the centre of prostitution in the eighteenth century. ‘ There is the good old market with its gabled church, immortalised by Hogarth, with its square which was formerly renowned as the gallant rendezvous of the town, and with its arcades in the middle, full of roots and oranges and bunches of mignonette.

‘ Covent Garden means Convent Garden; and this was originally the garden of the Abbey of Westminster, which under Edward VI was granted under patent to the Duke of Bedford, who still owns the whole of the land and property. From this time on, the quiet garden of the monks rapidly changed into one of the gayest and most fashionable quarters in London. The Duke built himself a palace here, and the Bussells loved the neighbourhood. The square also was built. When we pass Covent Garden we think of Dryden, of Voltaire and the beautiful actresses of Drury Lane*.’

The centre of modem London prostitution is the Haymarket and Regent Street in the West end, the most fashionable streets in London. In the introduction to an erotic novel,

' The Midnight Spy^ p. 116.

■ ‘ Here are also to be seen a number of tawdry misses, lying in wait for a fool of fortune, or an inexperienced countryman; in short, the walks exhibit a motley scene of vanity, folly and knavery ’ (ibid., p. 17).

• J. Rodenberg, loc. cit., pp. 60-61.

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Kate Handcock, which appeared in 1882, occurs the following: ‘ The subject of this short tale was a charming girl, whom

1 met late one night near the well-known Haymarket, the acknowledged centre of debauchery in London^.’ An idealised description of the activities in the Haymarket by that fine and sympathetic observer Julius Rodenberg, shows the character of the place only too plainly.

‘ Midnight is the hour of the Haymarket and the hour of the midnight tea-parties, to which beautiful sinners are invited for uplifting talks with bishops and nobles who wish to convert them to virtue. While sleep rules in London’s huge circumference and even the dance halls are dark and still, the “ Caf4 de la R^gence ” is still lighted up, and on the wide pavement as far as the columns of His Majesty’s Theatre begins the promenade which seldom ends before

2 or 3 in the morning.

‘ What a brightly-coloured intoxicating medley — what a hubbub of sound, what lights, stars, eyes, scarves, light footfalls and frivolous hearts! How the oyster houses fill up with elegant gentlemen from the theatre, their opera glasses still in their hands, and with ladies, hungry and thirsty from the dance, to keep them company. Past the slender tower of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields goes the crowd. The high columns of Charing Cross stand up in the night sky and the broad, majestic, ghostly facades of houses glimmer through the night; and ia the high windows of the sleeping buildings the moon is reflected. But on Haymarket Hill the sounds of traffic are loud. At the comer by the Caf4 de la R6gence drone the bagpipes, and the old Highland melody “ The Campbells are coming oho, oho! ” shrills through the night, above the noise of laughing, greeting and jesting*.’

^ Kate Handcock : or a Young OirVs Introduction to Fast Life. London, 1882. P. 1.

  • J. Rodenberg, loc. cit., pp. 254-255.



Regent Street, perhaps the ‘ most effective street of the metropolis ’ as Wheatley calls it, was laid out at the command of the Prince Regent, later King George IV, by the famous architect Nash in the years 1813 to 1820, and soon developed into the favourite and most up-to-date street in London.

‘ In the daytime Regent Street belongs to the nobility and gentry of Great Britain, but as six o’clock strikes the scene changes. Thereafter no carriage bearing a crown or coronet may be seen, the liveries and the aristocratic countenances of the court ladies disappear. Another public comes on the scene; other ladies with eyes often no less beautiful and with silk dresses which rustle no less, and until long after midnight the wide pavement on the right-hand side resembles the floor of a dance haU, and the coloured arcade of the Quadrant an Attic night-scene, full of people and the sound of all the languages of Europe. But on that subject we will say no more*.’

The author of the Memoirs of a Singer speaks of the ‘ so-called “ stretch ” in Regent Street ’ which she visited with her friends*, indicating that Regent Street was the haunt of the best class of prostitutes.

We will close this sketch of the general impression given by London prostitution with a description of one of the nightly promenades in the Haymarket and Regent Street, which began about 1 o’clock and continued till 3.

‘ In no continental town does a similar promenade take place. The wide footpaths of the Haymarket, from the arcades of His Majesty’s Theatre to the bend of Regent Street, shimmer in the reflection of the gas lamps and the mirrors of the ca£§s and restaurants which, like a sparkling belt, enclose the left-hand side of the street. All doors are open, all windows illuminated. From the small rooms

> J. Rodenberg, loc. cil., p. 3.

• The Memoirs of a Singer, Vol. II, p. 206.

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decorated in red and gold conies the sound of music, merry laughter and the clink of champagne glasses, and on their soft red velvet cushions the orgies of the London night are celebrated. Those small gaily decorated rooms, and the simplicity and quiet of the dining rooms in Cheapside, in which City merchants on the narrow seats behind the high brown settles consume their roast beef and drink their ale and porter from pewter mugs, silently, hat on head, the Times in their hand — what a contrast! And on the wide stone pavement the promenaders mingle, beautiful girls in shining dance frocks, pearls braided in their hair, promen- aders of all nations, from all towns and countries, laughing, whispering, disappearing through the brown mahogany doors of the cafts, coming and going. The night air is impregnated with the scent of patchouli and “ Eau de mille fleurs ”. The trains of satin dresses rustle on the stone, scarves float, rose-coloured ribbons flutter; sparkling eyes, caressing words; there a greeting, here a whisper and a laugh !

‘ Ever more lively becomes the scene; often it is difficult to make one’s way through the groups of girls and promenaders. AU languages of the world are heard, French, German, English, Italian, as under the shimmering arcades of St. Mark’s Piazza at 8 o’clock in the evening. Once again we see all the dancers from Cremome. There is the beautiful tall girl in the white muslin dress with the rose-coloured scarf and the gold-embroidered Arab mantle. On the arm of a tall fair man in the forties, in light summer clothing, she comes from the mahogany door of one of the restaurants. A long line of cabs and hansoms stands in the middle of the street.

‘ Her companion beckons one of the drivers — ^the couple get in. The beautiful girl in the gold-embroidered Arab mantle has disappeared from the stage of the modem London night.

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‘And there through that window we can see the lovely girl with the dark eyes and the gold blonde curls. She lies on a divan against the wall of the small blue carpeted room; in front of her sits a man, his back turned to the window, handing her sherry. The small table is spread with oysters, lobster salad and wine bottles. Her arms are burning, her soft complexion is reddened by the cham- pagne. How long since she forgot the printed paper which the serious silent man put into her small white hand in front of the fantastic door of the Magic Garden as she hurried here to her champagne, oysters and golden guineas ! Or did she not read it at all? We go further. It is nearly 2 o’clock. The pavement of the Haymarket becomes ever more lively the nearer we get to Piccadilly Circus. In Regent Street it is dark. The glow reflected from the gleaming windows of the caf(§s and restaurants is diminishing, the street will soon be lighted only by the long row of gas lamps. But for all that it is no more deserted than the Haymarket. Here also silk dresses rustle on the wide pavements and here floats the scent of “ Eau de mille fleurs ” and here also dark eyes and frivolous hearts greet one another. In Oxford Street the night is lonely and quiet. For Oxford Street 2 o’clock is a late hour. We meet no one. But there a light still streams across the street, coming from one of the public houses which are open after midnight. From within we hear sounds of voices, brawling and cries. Let us go inside! Ragged creatures crowd round the bar, behind which a fat bald man in shirt sleeves serve sale, porter, gin and whisky. What figures and what faces! What tom coats and dirty dresses! What women, half drunk, sipping a glass of gin and water! And this public house after midnight there at the comer of Oxford Street is, after all, merely an offshoot of the glittering cafts in the Haymarket^.’

^ Gustav Rasch, London by Nighty pp. 44-49.

[ 114 ]



The places where prostitution was mostly carried on in the early and later Middle Ages in England, and especially in London, were the public baths, the so-called bagnios, which have retained the name up to modem times. Accord- ing to Dufour, public baths came to the Europe of the Middle Ages principally through the Crusades, as a result of which a knowledge of the oriental warm baths was acquired^ The spread of the bath establishments was extraordinarily rapid in the Middle Ages. Dufour says that in Paris in the twelfth century nearly every street had its bath*, and according to Rudeck, even very small villages possessed’ these establishments®. Nearly every- where the sexes bathed together in these public establish- ments. Conditions in Germany are described by Rudeck as follows: ‘ In the early morning the bath-keeper annoimced in the street, by blasts on a horn, that all was ready. People of the lower classes then undressed almost completely at home and wended their way through the streets to the bath house. Guarinonius says that well educated burghers and their wives stripped in their homes and walked naked through the public streets to the bath house. “ How often indeed does the father run naked from the house through the streets

‘ P. Ihifour, Hiatoire de la ProatitvtUm. Brussels, 1861. Vol. VII, p. 42.

• Ibid., p. 42.

• W. Rudeck, Hialory of Public Morality in Oermany. Jena, 1897. P. 12.

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to the bath with his naked wife and naked children? How often do I see (I do not name the town) young girls of 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 years quite naked and with only a short linen bath robe, often tom, or as they say here in the country, with a ‘ Bath honour ’ as sole covering in front and round the shoulders! With this and bare feet, and one hand held behind for propriety, out of the house they go, through the long streets in broad daylight, running to the bath! How often do the stark naked, 10, 12, 14 and 16 year old youths run by their side, accompanying these vagabonds.” After this the last remnants of clothing are thrown off in the dressing room and the Turkish or water bath is entered stark naked. Hans von Schweinichen relates as follows: “When I was at the Court for a few days the old Duchess took a bath; I had to wait on her there as a youth. Before long a young girl came, called Katherina, stark naked, and called me to give her cold-water.” Many bath houses had a single dressing-room, which was of course used by both sexes at the same time. From many descriptions it is evident that two-seater bath tubs were often used by persons of different sexes at the same time ! ” In France people did not go naked through the streets, but the conditions at the baths were, according to the evidence, even worse than in Germany, so that before long a respectable woman could no longer be seen there.

Whilst the public baths in Germany and France soon degenerated into places of free sexual intercoxuse and prostitution, London went a step further, and these baths were established as official places of prostitution. The organisation of the baths as brothels took place in the reign of Henry II (1154-1189). These bath-brothels were almost entirely confined to the Southwark district on the south

  • W. Rudeok, loc. eit., pp. 6-7.

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bank of the Thames, outside the city walls, which district did not become a part of the capital until the year 1550. It was a sad quarter, full of old houses, their walls falling down, and only half of them inhabited. In addition there were gardens and places for dogs, bears and other fighting animals there.

In later times these bath establishments spread over the whole town, being then called ‘ Hothouses ’ or ‘ Bagnios ’. According to Wright, who also traces back to the Orient the introduction of the baths, they remained for a long time, up to the middle of the seventeenth century, the principal places of prostitution. They were usually called by the good English name ‘ hothouses sometimes, however, their oriental origin showed in the use of the Persian name hummum. This title is still preserved in the names of two modem hotels which are built on the site of similar establishments in Covent Garden*. Ben Jonson speaks of sweating in the hothouses, and a character in the old play The Puritan says, speaking of a difficult undertaking: ‘ Marry, I shall sweat as much over it as if I had been in sixteen hothouses.’ These hothouses were principally the resort of women and, as in the East, were soon the favourite meeting-places for hbertines with women and girls. Soon they were used to such an extent for these immoral purposes that the name ‘ Hothouse ’ or ‘ Bagnio ’ became identical with that of a brothel. This circumstance led to their gradual disuse. A very rare and remarkable woodcut of the time of James I, with the title ‘ Tittle-tattle, or the several branches of gossiping ’, illustrates m different Scenes the manner in which the young women of the day spent their time in idleness, and shows also the interior of a hothouse. In one of the rooms are women sitting in bath-robes and

^ Compare K. Baedeker, London and Environs, Tenth edition. Leipzig, 1890. P. 8.

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taking light refreshment, in another room they are enjoying themselves with men^.

From the history of mediseval prostitution, which was principally confined to the bagnios, a few salient points may be mentioned.

Public morality in England took a serious turn for the worse during the Norman invasion. Just as in France the Norman infiuence was felt in this way — ^Dufour ascribes to them the first introduction on a large scale of paederasty, which was later revived through the Crusades* — so England, directly after the invasion of the Normans, was inundated with vice of all sorts. The cordial relations between England and Prance later on during the Middle Ages resulted in the lax French morality regarding sex life finding its way into England, and especially in the upper circles, amongst the nobles and clergy. Alexander remarks: ‘ Neither the morals of the Englishwomen were much more restrained, nor was their character much more modest than that of the French- women. The same indecent familiarity was remarked in their public, and unbridled excess in their private behaviour. During the Christmas festivities nearly every nobleman entertained his vassals of both sexes, and a neighbouring clergyman was usually appointed by him to preside over these extravagantly lustful and indecent revels. He was, according to the character of hie office, usually designated the “ Abbot of Misrule ”. In the houses of the great were usually to be foimd rooms for the sewing and embroidery maids. The name that was given to these rooms, in accord- ance with the use that was made of them, became in time synonymous with that of a brothel. Indeed, so shameless in those days were all men of position, that even the clergy did not hesitate to have inscriptions put over the doors of

  • Th. Wright, A Hitiory cf English CvUwe. London, 1874. P. 496.
  • P. Dufour, he. c»(., Vol. Ill, p. 269.

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these rooms, plainly showing their purpose. The famous Cardinal Wolsey had over the door of a room of this kind in his palace the (Latin) words: “The house of the harlots of his Excellency the Cardinal^ Nicolaus Poplau, a Schles- wig nobleman, who in the year 1483 travelled much in Europe, informs us that Englishwomen meeting strangers were very free with their kisses, and remarks: ‘ Between English people — devilish marriages.’ All the songs of the English troubadours likewise point to the debauched life led by the nobles and clergy between the twelfth and the fifteenth centuries*. The English priesthood, according to an account in Fox’s Acts and Monuments, before the Reformation kept for itself more than 100,000 harlots (who in the mediaeval dialect were known as ‘ Lemmans ’ from the French ‘L’amante’), besides the numerous women they seduced in the confessionals*. When Henry II demanded that a priest who had disgraced the daughter of a noble and mur- dered the father, should be handed over to the secular arm, Archbishop Becket refused to do so as he had already punished the criminal by suspension, and a guilty person could not be punished twice for the same crime*. Of the Enghsh kings it is said that Henry I, Henry II and Richard I* lived in open polygamy and had more illegitimate than legitimate sons and daughters. Edward IV lived in con-

^ W. Alexander, loc, cit.^ Vol. I, pp. 11-12.

  • Eros. Stuttgart, 1849, Vol. I, p. 80.
  • P. Fraxi, Centuria Librorum ahscondiiorum. London, 1879. P. 208

(from now on referred to as Centuria). Here were described the many children’s skeletons which were found in the English convents, in the streams and other places. There was an original proposal to castrate all Catholic priests in England (!) which was made by the author of the document, ‘ Reasons humbly offered for a law to enact the castration of Popish ecclesiastics as the best way to prevent the growth of Popery in England. London, 17(X).’

  • EroSy Vol. II, p. 553.

‘ The frontispiece of the fifth volume of Dufour’s History of Prostitution shows Richard 1 in a house of iU fame.

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year 1646 finally closed^ This moral monarch, by means of a herald blowing a trumpet in the streets, invited disorderly women to ‘ keepe good and honest rule Stow, who recounts it, imfortunately does not say whether this categorical order was carried out*.

Towards the beginning of the seventeenth century, as an enquiry organised by one of the Aldermen of London showed, disorderly women had already spread to all districts. The Aldermen received an order to bring to punishment all prostitutes arrested in inns. They were also to see that the bath establishments in different parts of the town were not visited by prostitutes, and that the baths specially reserved for women were not frequented by young men, vagabonds and people of ill-fame. Owners of such establishments disobeying these orders were liable to a £20 fine.

Thus in the seventeenth century, especially under the influence of the Puritans, the bath establishments remained relatively free from the taint of their earlier connection with prostitution. When in the year 1649 a doctor, Peter Chamberlen, petitioned parliament for permission to open bath estabUshments all over England and published a brochure on the subject, his request was rejected on the grounds of morality*.

At the time of the Restoration at the end of the seventeenth century the bagnios awoke to new life. In the eighteenth century there were numbers of establishments of this kind in all parts of the town. Archenholtz gives the following picture of the bagnios of the eighteenth century: ‘ In London there is a certain kind of house, called bagnios, which

^ As C. J. Lecour (Prostitution in Paris and London, Paris, 1882. P. 269) rightly conjectures, on account of syphilis which heui newly appeared at that time and had been spreckd very rapidly by the bagnios.

• Rabutaux, loc, ciL, fol. 18.

  • Biographisches Lexicon der hervorragenden Arzte alter Zeiten und

Vdlker, Vienna and Leipzig, 1884. Vol. I, p. 696.

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are supposed to be baths; their real purpose, however, is to provide persons of both sexes with pleasure. These houses are well, and often richly, furnished, and every device for exciting the senses is either at hand or can be provided. Girls do not live there but they are fetched in chairs when required. None but those who are specially attractive in all ways are so honoured, and for this reason they often send their address to a hundred of these bagnios in order to make themselves known. A girl who is sent for and does not please receives no gratuity, the chair alone being paid for. The English retain »their solemnity even as regards their pleasures, and continently the business of such a house is conducted with a seriousness and propriety which is hard to credit. All noise and uproar is banned here; no loud footsteps are heard, every comer is carpeted and the numerous attendants speak quietly amongst themselves. Old people and degenerates can here receive flagellation, for which all establishments are prepared. In every bagnio is foimd a formula regarding baths, but they are seldom needed. These pleasures are very expensive, but in spite of this the many houses of the kind are full every night. Most of them are quite close to the theatres, and many taverns are in the same neighbourhood^.’

The centre of this bagnio prostitution in the eighteenth century was the Covent Garden neighbourhood. The most fashionable bagnio was that of Molly King, in the middle of Covent Garden. ‘ Ce rendez-vous 6tait le receptacle general

  • Archenholtz, England, Vol. II, pp. 261-262. It can be seen from this

description that the bagnios of the eighteenth centu^ fuJly resembled those of the Middle Ages in this feature, that they did not provide the inmates with board, and thus differed from actual brothels. The bagnios of the eighteenth century were more a type of ‘ temporary lodging ’. and were therefore suitable for use as amorous rendezvous. For this purpose they were very largely employed by men and women of all classes. Compare also Lea deasous, etc., Vol. I, pp. 91-92.

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des prostitutes et libertines de tous les rangs.’ WTien the proprietress gave up her business she had ‘ through the foolishness, the lasciviousness and the debauchery of the time ’ acquired a large fortune. The second principal bagnio was that of Mother Douglas, also called ‘ Mother Cole ’, who only received debauchees of the highest standing in her establishments. Princes and peers visited it, also many distinguished women came there incognito. Mrs. Gould, the proprietress of a bagnio also in the neighbourhood of Covent Garden, catered for aristocratic and well-bred ladies. Women who swore or carried on indecent conversation were thrown out without further ado. Her principal clients were rich merchants who, under the pretence of going to the country, usually came to the house on Saturday evening and stayed till early on Monday. She treated these with extreme courtesy, providing the ‘ most excellent liquors, very refined courtesans, the most elegant beds and furniture ’. Her best fnend was a public notary whom she loved tenderly, and who with his qualifications was very useful to her. The fourth high-class Covent Garden bagnio belonged to Mrs. Stanhope, known as ‘ Hellfire Stanhope ’, because an intimate fi:iend of hers was President of the Hellfire Club. She was a gifted woman and laid the greatest stress on the fact that she always provided her guests with the most beautiful girls.

The introduction of brothels proper, or, as they were called at that time, ‘ Seraglios ’, occurred in the year 1750 through a certain Mrs. Goadby. She had made several journeys to France, and had been initiated into the secrets of the famous Parisian siraiU, especially those of Justine Parish and

• With reference to the Paris, compare my book Der Marquis de Bade und seiner Zeit (Vol. I of the ‘ Studies in the history of the sex life of man,’ pp. 127-132).

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Montigny. The principles on which the last two were conducted, and which Mrs. Goadby to a great extent made her own, were the following:

The brothel proprietors accepted as far as possible only the most beautiful girls, and preferably those from different countries and of different faiths. All, however, were equally subject to the rules of the brothels and had to submit unconditionally to the orders of the brothel keeper, whose authority was supreme. It was also the duty of the girls to show ‘ le zhle le plus sincere pour les rites et les cer6monies de la d^esse de cypros ’ and to satisfy all fantasies, caprices and extravagances of the male visitors, carrying out their wishes in every particular. Finally, they must avoid all gastronomic and alcoholic excess in order that their behaviour should be modest and decent even in the pursuit of pleasure. It was an unpardonable crime to conceal from the brothel mistress gifts and monetary remunerations which were received over and above the very moderate fixed price. A night with a girl, together with a good supper, etc., cost a gold louis, a sum which, in comparison with the price paid in England up to that time for the same privileges, was very small. Usually these handmaids of Venus spent their time from the midday meal till the evening in a large salon, where some of them played the guitar, others accompanying them with songs, while some embroidered or plaited wreaths. During this time intoxicating drinks were forbidden; at the most, almond milk or similar harmless sweet liquors were allowed in order to avoid any chance of excess. Guests appeared in this salon usually after the theatres were over, when their custom was to offer a handkerchief to the lady of their choice. If this was accepted, she belonged to the man for the night.

Mrs. Goadby carried on this system after her return from France. She rented a very elegant house in Berwick Street,

K 125]


in the Soho district^ engaged the most famous London prostitutes and a surgeon to look after their health; no one was accepted about whom there was any suspicion in this connection. She had brought with her much fine French silk material and lace, so that her girls should be distinctively dressed. She did not, however, charge the low prices of the French brothels or prohibit alcoholic drinks.

Goadby’s establishment, which in every respect fulfilled its claim to ‘ refine our amorous amusements ’, soon achieved a great reputation and received large numbers of visitors of good standing, who could here indulge in any extravagance or perversity they wished. In a very short time Mrs. Goadby became a rich woman and later retired to a country property which she had acquired^.

She had numerous imitators who all tried to run their brothels on the same luxurious lines®. Malcolm says these

' The peculiar name ‘ Soho ’ comes from an old cry, ‘ So-ho ’ or ‘ So-how * which hunters gave when they found the hare. See Wheatley, he. cit., Vol. Ill, p. 262.

  • Les Sirails de Londres ou les Amusements Nocturnes. Brussels, no

year, pp. 10-12. This book is an exact French translation (original edition, Paris, 1801) of an important English work Nocturnal Revels : or, The History of King's Place, and other Modem Nunneries, etc. By a Monk of the Order of St. Francis. London, 1779 ; two vols. Pisan us Fraxi (Index, pp. 319-21) considers this work one of the few authentic sources for prostitution in London in the eighteenth century. It will be cited henceforth as 8irails.

• Poppet remarks with regard to the requirements of a well-managed brothel: ‘ As the Temple of Love depends for its existence on the appetites which are therein aroused, those who serve the goddess must employ in their persons every possible means of attracting men’s eyes to them- selves. All their thought and effort must be concentrated on a suitable wardrobe, and their dresses must be so cut that the attractions of the body may be fully displayed. Their smile is inviting, their movements are voluptuous, their dwelling elegant, the pictures which decorate it stimulate desire, their books are chosen with the same end in view, etc. In short, nothing is forgotten which may arouse sexual impulses. In addition, the prostitutes know thousands of ways in which to further their desires, and to invest the sexual act with ever-fresh attractions.’ — Poppet, Flagellation and its effects on sexual impulse in The Treasure-

[ 126 ]


were really remarkable^.

Charlotte Hayes, a demi-rnovdaine well known on account of her m^ny amorous adventures, first followed the example of Mrs. Gk)adby and rented in King’s Place, Pall Mall, a house which she furnished beautifully and opened soon after Mrs. Goadby’s seraiL Under the name of the Charlotte Hayes ‘Cloister*’, it soon achieved a great reputation on account of its marchandises choisies (as Charlotte Hayes called her girls). The ‘ nuns ’ were very beautiful girls whom she zealously initiated into the mysteries of the goddess of Cyprus, so familiar to her, and the sensual value of which she well understood. She gave them dresses, watches, gold ear-rings, and other expensive adornments, accounted to them also for their food, lodging and washing, so that they were soon loaded with debt and bound to their ‘ Abbess ’, nor could they obtain their freedom without the greatest difficulty.

The visitors to Charlotte Hayes’ serail were nearly all impotent debauchees who required every possible stimulation for the satisfaction of their lusts. The brothel mistress had

Digger, etc., by I. Scheible. Stuttgart, 1847. Vol. IV, pp. 375-376. The most luxurious brothej in the world was that known in Amsterdam as ‘ The Fountain It consisted of a large building with restaurant, dance- hall and private rooms, caf^, and a billiard-room on the roof of the house, where the most beautiful girls played billiards stark naked. At small tables round sat serious, blinking old gentlemen, comfortably smoking their long pipes, drinking their glass of grog and enjoying the remarkable spectacle. See Untrodden Fields of Anthropology. Paris, 1898. Vol. I, pp. 129-130.

^ ‘ These seraglios or whatever else the reader pleases to term them, are in many instances large and handsome houses.’

  • It is characteristic that in earlier times the brothels were known as

‘ cloisters ’, ‘ abbeys ’, and their inmates as ‘ nuns ’. Avignon and Montpellier had similar immoral abbeys. Toulouse had in the Rue de Comenge a brothel, the ‘ Grant-Abbey ’, etc. (see P. Bufour, he. cit., Vol. IV, p. 181). William IX, Duke of Aquitaine, the ‘ Gk)liath of Pros- titution was interested in a plan to found a huge brothel on the lines of a convent, conducted by the most famous harlots of Poitou (Dufour, he. eiU, Vol. IV, p. 131).

[ 127 ]


also to provide a supply of virgins which, as we shall see later, was an essential requirement for a good brothel.

This kind of pleasure must, of course, be paid for, and Hayes understood perfectly how to extract money from her visitors, as the following price-Hst shows:

Sunday the 9th January.

A young girl for Alderman Drybones. Nelly Blossom, about 19 years old, who has had no one for four days and who is a virgin ... 20 guineas.

A girl of 19 years, not older, for Baron Harry Flagellum. NeU Hardy from Bow Street,

Bat Flourish from Berners Street, or Miss

Birch from Chapel Street 10 guineas.

A beautiful lively girl for Lord Spaan. Black

Moll from Hedge Lane, who is very strong ... 5 guineas.

For Colonel Tearall a gentle woman. Mrs.

Mitchell’s servant, who has just come from the country and has not yet been out in the

world 10 guineas.

For Dr. Frettext, after consultation hours, a young agreeable person, sociable, with a white skin and a soft hand. Polly Nimble- wrist from Oxford, or Jenny Speedyhand

from Mayfair 2 guineas.

Lady Loveit, who has come from the baths at Bath, and who is disappointed in her love affair with Lord Alto, wants to have some- thing better, and to be well served this evening. Capt. O’Thimder or Sawney

Rawbone 50 guineas.

For His Excellency Count Alto, a fashionable woman for an hour only. Mrs. O’Smirk who came from Dunkirk, or Miss Graeful from Paddington 10 guineas.

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For Lord Pyebald, to play a game of piquet, for titillatione mammarum and so on, with no other object. Mrs. Tredrille from

Chelsea^ 5 guineas.

A husband and wife often met by chance at rendezvous in the same infamous brothel.

One day Mrs. Hayes sent the following circular to her clients: ‘ Mrs. Hayes commends herself respectfully to Lord . . . and takes the liberty of advising him that this evening at 7 o’clock precisely, 12 beautiful nymphs, spotless virgins, will carry out the famous Feast of Venus, as it is celebrated in Tahiti, under the instruction and leadership of Queen Oberea (which role will be taken by Mrs. Hayes herself).’

Cook’s travelling companion, Hawksworth, tells that in Tahiti young men and girls often copulate publicly before the people, receiving good advice from the bystanders, usually women, amongst whom the most important inhabitants are to be found. Thus the girls (of 11 years) receive their information at an early age*.

Mrs. Hayes had evidently read this report, and now decided to carry out the same ceremonies before her guests with the help of the ‘ Inventions, Imaginations and Caprices of Aretino ’, with which those taking part in the ceremony had to make themselves perfectly familiar. Twenty-three visitors of the highest standing came, amongst them live members of the House of Commons. Punctually at 7 o’clock the feast began, for which, for the men’s parts, Mrs. Hayes had engaged twelve athletic youths. These youths, with the nymphs, now celebrated the Tahiti Venus Feast before the eyes of the entranced audience®, after which a sumptuous

‘ S4rails, pp. 18-19.

■ See Ploss-Bartels, Das Weib in der Natur und Volkerbunde. Sixth edition. Leipzig, 1899. Vol. I, p. 433.

• ‘ On avait 6tendu sur le carreau un beau et large tapis, et on avait omi la sc^ne des meubles n^cessaires pour les difF<6rente8 attitudes dans

[ 129 ]


meal was taken. Charlotte Hayes retired from business with a fortime of £20,000.

King’s Place, Pall Mall, was the site of most of the new seraglios*. Mrs. Mitchell’s brothel was there, with the famous inscription in medio tutissimu^, also that of Mrs. Prendergast.

Amongst the brothel keepers of King’s Place was a negress. Miss Harriot, who had been brought to England by a rich planter from Kingston in Jamaica. After the death of her master, who died suddenly of smallpox, she very soon started her career.

Mrs. Nelson, formerly a famous ‘ beauty ’, began her work when the last traces of her own loveliness had disappeared as the result of her excesses. She therefore had to make up for lack of personal attraction by special refinements in the service of her clients. She first had a brothel in Wardour Street, Soho, at the comer of Holland Street, into which she managed by various means to entice young girls. She was bound in honour continually to provide fresh ‘ wares ’,

lesquelles les acteurs et actrices d4vou6s ^ Venus devaient paraitre, conform 6ment au systerne de TAr^tin. Apres que les hommes eurent pr^sente a chacune de leur maitresse un clou au moins de douze pouces de longueur, en imitation des presents re9us, en pareilles occasions par les dames d’Otaiti qui donnaient k un long clou la preference a toute autre chose, ils commen9erent leurs devotions et pass^rent avec la plus grande dexterite par toutes les diff6rentes evolutions des rites, relativement au mot d’ordre de santa Carlotta, en conservant le temps le plus regulier au contentement universel des spectateurs lascifs, dont I’imagination de quclques-un d’eux fut tellement transportee, quails ne purent attendre la fin de la scene pour cxecuter k leur tour leur partie dans cette fete Cyprienne, qui dura pres de deux heures, et obtint les plus vifs applaudisse- ments de I’assembiee. Madame Hayes avait si bien dirige sa troupe, qu’il n’y eut pas un manoeuvre qui ne fut executee avec la plus grande exactitude et la plus grande habilit^ ’ (Serails, p. 116).

' Sdrails, p. 118.

• ‘ Nous revenons maintenant au grand endroit d'amour, de plaisir et de bonheur, au c^lebre sanctum sanctorum, ou King’s Place ’ {Sdrails,

p. 160).

  • Ibid,, pp. 24, 60.

[ 130 ]


and did not hesitate even to take a position as pseudo- govemess in a school in order to entice young girls away. So soon as a newcomer arrived, her alleged husband, Mr. Nelson, wrote round to all important clients — and did not have to wait long for them to make their appearance.

Other brothels were those of Lucy Cooper in Bond Street^, Susannah Adams in Westminster^ and a certain Hannah, who had a large number of licentious houses in Johnson’s Court^. In Holbom there was a brothel in which meals could be obtained at midday^.

A special kind of brothel, consisting of three houses, was established by Miss Fawkland, the former mistress of a Major in the ‘ Black Guards ’. She called these serails in St. James’s Street the Temples of Aurora, Flora and Mystery, The principal entrance was in the ‘ Temple of Flora ’, the middle one of the three. On the left was the ‘ Temple of Aurora ’ and on the right the ‘ Temple of Mystery ’.

The Temple of Aurora contained twelve young girls in ages from 11 to 16. As soon as they were 16 they went over to the Temple of Flora, but never before this age. They were at once replaced by other girls of not more than 11, so that the Temple of Aurora, which Miss Fawkland called the ‘ first noviciate of pleasure ’, always held the same number of ‘ nuns ’. These were elegantly dressed and excellently fed and had two governesses who were always with them. The small girls were taught to read and write, embroider and sew. They had a dancing master, and a library of enter- taining books, amongst which were such works as Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, which they were allowed to read primarily in order to inflame their senses at an early age.

^ Serails, p. 15.

  • Archenholtz, Aivnalen, Vol. XVII, p. 197.

» Ibid., p. 198.

Vol. VII, p. 263.

[ 131 ]


The governesses also gave them theoretical instruction as to the relations between the sexes. Masturbation was, however, forbidden, and they were strictly watched in this connection. Walking out was not allowed. In this way Miss Fawkland brought up a stock of virgins, creatures early initiated into the mysteries of Venus, from whom, later on, considerable profit might be expected. In the meantime, even these young inmates of the Temple of Aurora had to receive visitors. Miss Fawkland, to be sure, satisfied herself beforehand as to their impotence, and they had to be over 60 years old, so that there should be nothing to fear as regards the virginity of the little girls. Lord Cornwallis, Lord Buckingham and Mr. Simpson were amongst the most zealous visitors to this temple of platonic love where so many ways of giving them satisfaction were known.

The Temple of Flora contained the same number of young ‘ nuns ’ who, as the result of their previous education, were extremely lively, merry, agreeable and ‘ indescribably sensual ’. In sliort, the visitor was so bewitched that he often had great difficulty in making a choice amongst so many attractions. In order to prevent jealousy and favouritism. Miss Fawkland arranged that all presents and sums of money received should be pooled and later divided equally amongst all. In contrast to other ‘ Abbesses Miss Fawkland was very generous to her ‘ nuns,’ who could easily leave the brothel without stealing her clothes or her money. Once they had left, however, no return was allowed. Her generosity brought to Miss Fawkland a large throng of beautiful girls, from which, however, she only took enough to make up her always strictly adhered to number of twelve for each temple. Of the twelve ‘nuns’ of the Temple of Flora, six came from that of Aurora. The author of the Serails de Londres describes in detail the origin and attractions

[ 132 ]


of the remaining six inmates of the flower temple, amongst the ‘ subscribing ’ visitors to which were Sheridan, Lord Hamilton, Lord Bolingbroke and Smollett.

The Temple of Mysteries justified its name on accoimt of the scenes of secret and unheard of debaucheries which were enacted there. Neither the inmates of the other two temples nor those of other brothels were allowed to enter it‘.

Near these brothels were many lodging places for ladies of good position. The most renowned was the hum retiro of Mrs. Redson in Bolton Street, Piccadilly, who never admitted regular prostitutes, but lived on better-class ladies, mostly married, who came to her to amuse themselves with a beau garqov?.

Mrs. Banks in Curzon Street, Mayfair, also provided ‘ vigorous men at the same time, though, she arranged for the presence of large numbers of the belles voluptueuses of the town, so that the men in this case also became her clients.

A speciality of the eighteenth century was the harems which some well-known rich men established for themselves. Archenholtz cites two examples of these harems.

‘ An Englishman who had recently returned from India rented a large house in London, not far from Soho Square, where he established a regular harem. He had a legal wife, but six odahsks besides, who aU slept near her in separate beds. These beds stood in a circle, in order to facilitate the nightly round(!) which he made with his wife’s consent. The most extraordinary thing was that in this little society the greatest harmony reigned. They ate their meals at the same table, and only in one particular was it rnilike an Oriental harem, the women were allowed to go out alone

  • Siraila, pp. 229-242.

2 Ibid., p. 223.

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when circumstances required; otherwise they were always in the company of the wife, who thereby acted as duenna^.’

In the eighth year of the eighteenth century Lord Balti- more’s serail became well known on account of a famous lawsuit which one of the inmates brought against her master. Lord Baltimore was a very rich and benevolent man. ‘ He had adopted the principle of living according to his whim, and he accordingly renounced all high offices and honours in his country, and never went to Court. His worst fault was his predilection for the fair sex, which was increased by his journeys to the East. After his return to England he had a very beautiful house built in the extreme West of London, towards the open fields, in a charming situation, on the model of a famous harem in Constantinople. Here he established a serail and peopled it with beautiful girls, all of whose wishes were gratified, except that they were not allowed to go out. They had their prescribed rules which had to be punctually observed, and old women were their warders. Thus Baltimore lived the life of a Turkish Pacha. When he tired of one of his odaUsks, he either gave her a handsome present or provided richly for her.’

Amongst the ‘ famous ’ brothel keepers of the nineteenth century, two especially stand out (if we here omit the true ‘ flagellation ’ brothels), Mary Wilson and Marie Aubrey.

Mary Wilson, the ‘ second Aloysia ’, the ‘ reviver of erotic literature ’, was at the height of her powers fi:om 1815 to 1830. She was the Gourdan of the nineteenth century, one of the ‘ queens ’ of prostitution, as Octave Uzanne calls this woman who, in the practice and improvement of her profession, made use of every modem device and refinement*.

Mary Wilson kept brothels successively in different parts of London — ^in Old Bond Street, Tonbridge Place, New

‘ Archenholtz, AnnaleUy Vol. I, p. 389.

• 0. Uzanne, Correspondance de Madame Gourdan, Brussels, 1883. P. 13.

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Road, St. Pancras, and finally lived in Hall Place, St. John’s Wood. She was indefatigable in her efforts to furnish this last Temple of Venus with every comfort and refinement, and achieved a considerable reputation in certain circles on accoimt of her collection of flagellation instruments. This was further increased in that she was always endeavour- ing to augment her ‘ armaments of love ’ and also gave much attention and zeal, which might have been better employed, to the increase and spread of erotic literature in England.

The second part of the first volume of the Voluptarian Cabinet (London, 1824), published by Mary Wilson with the significant motto ‘ Dum fatuimus vivimus,’ contains on pages 61-76 a very interesting project for an entirely new ladies’ brotheb, a so-called ‘ Eleusinian Institute ’. ‘ Any lady of rank and means may subscribe to this Institute, to which she shall always have the entry incognito; the married to commit what the world calls adultery, the unmarried to obey the commands of all-powerful nature, and to offer a sacrifice to the oldest of the gods, Priapus. I have bought a very convenient piece of land, lying between two main streets, from both of which it can be reached through shops in which only women’s goods are sold. In this space, between two rows of houses, I have erected a very elegant temple, in the centre of which are large salons, surrounded by charming and comfortable boudoirs. In these salons, arranged according to their class, can be seen the most attractive men of all types that I can obtain, expert in aU forms of pleasure to suit all tastes, and all in a state of great exaltation produced by good living and inertia. The ladies never enter the salons, but are shown

  • These designs and reform projects for brothels are very numerous in

the history of erotic literature. I need only mention the Marquis de Sade’s plan for a brothel, which has been preserved, and B6tif de la Bretonne’s Pornography.

[ 135 ]


the occupants through darkened windows in the boudoirs. In one room can be seen beautiful, elegantly dressed young men playing cards or music, in others, athletically built males, completely naked, wrestling or bathing. In short, there are so many kinds of these animals (sic) for them to look at that they cannot tell which to choose. As soon as their minds are made up, they ring for the chambermaid, call her to the window and show her the object of their desire, and he is forthwith brought to the boudoir.’

Of the erotic books which Mary Wilson published and had translated I might mention a translation of the Puttana errante of Aretino (‘ The Accomplished Whore ’, London, 1827); the Education de Laura by Mirabeau (‘ The Curtain Drawn Up, or the Education of Laura,’ as Vol. Ill of the Voluptarian Cabinet, London, 1824); also The Spirit of Flagellation, London, 1827. One erotic book. The Mysteries of Venus, which bears the name of Mary Wilson, was not written by her, but first appeared in Naples at a much later date, 1882.

Wilson found a worthy successor in Marie Aubrey, a Frenchwoman, who with her bully, John Williams, kept an infamous and celebrated brothel in Seymour Place, Bryanston Square, in the years 1825-37. This establish- ment was very largely frequented both by foreigners and natives, and according to Ryan was as fashionable a resort as ‘ the dwellings of the richest and noblest families ’. The house consisted of twelve or fourteen rooms (apart from the staff quarters), every room being most elegantly appointed. The salon especially, a very large room, was a most imposing sight, with its many valuable and beautiful pictures and costly furniture. Marie Aubrey allowed her guests the use of her beautiful solid silver table-ware. When the brothel was closed about twelve to fourteen young girls were foimd there, mostly French and Italian.

[ 136 ]


Besides Williams, who lived in the house and was supposed to carry on business as a coal merchant, there was a doctor living in the neighbourhood who acted as agent, and who used to visit the brothel frequently. He was often sent to the London suburbs and to France and Italy to procure girls, and frequently also visited the shops in Oxford Street and the vicinity, procuring girls who were seduced immediately upon their arrival in the brothel.

Ryan estimates the number of brothels in London in the year 1840 as 1,500! And this must have been only half the real number, as many of these houses concealed their true character under other designations, such as ‘ Institution for the Care of Children in the rooms of which, every night, an incredible number of young women pros- tituted themselvesL Talbot counted at that time 5,000 brothels, whilst the number of schools, churches and charitable institutions was only 2,150S outstanding evidence of the colossal and widespread influence of the sexual factor in the social life of mankind. This is demonstrated further by the fact (as the same author tells us) that the brothels were preferably erected in the neighbourhood of the churches, and did good business there, ‘ so that often the preacher from the chancel could see the happenings in a neighbouring brotheP,’ a picture which would have rejoiced the soul of a Marquis de Sade. ‘ One of the most notorious and infamous houses in London’, says Ryan, ‘ is opposite to a very much-frequented place of divine worship, and can be seen from its windows^.’

It is not necessary to call attention to the fact that the dock district possessed a particularly large number of brothels®.

^ Ryan, loc. cit., pp. 150-152, 154.

^Ibid., pp. 132-133.

  • Ibid,y p. 188.
  • Ibid.y p. 189.

» Ibid.y p. 189.

[ 137 ]


In Leicester Square and the vicinity, which for this reason were very favourite resorts of the French, were many semi-fashionable brothels.

I now come to the places of assignation of London prostitution', which are as numerous as they are various. In the first rank are the inns, restaurants and lodging-houses of all kinds, but first and foremost the taverns, that is the beer and wine houses of high and low standing.

R6tif de la Bretonne, in his Pornography, says that London could quite well dispense with her brothels, as there are the taverns where ‘ both sexes meet without supervision, and those who have a lively inclination to pleasure can command agreeable satisfaction in a manner which cannot be found so easily anywhere else* ’. The taverns are scattered all over the town. In the seventeenth and eighteenth eenturies the neighbourhood particularly of Drury Lane and Fleet Street were full of these inns.

Since the Restoration the London taverns have been a favourite resort of light women and prostitutes. Casanova writes: ‘ I went for distraction to the Star Tavern. Lord Pembroke had told me that I should find the most beautiful women and the most agreeable virtue in the capital there®.’ George Alexander Stevens, who had an accurate knowledge of amorous London, describes a certain type of tavern prostitute, the so-called ‘ Tavern plyers ’. When a company of young men had feasted well in a tavern, the waiter came in to ‘ inform your honours that four or five beautiful women

' Places of assignation may be anywhere, and a complete enumeration of them is therefore impossible. I am here concerned with dealing, as in my Studies, only with the important ones, and those characteristic of the time, people and town.

• R6tif de la Bretonne, Le Pomographe. Edit. H. Mireur. Brussels, 1879. P. 173.

• J. Casanova’s Memoirs. Edit. Alvensleben u. Schmidt. Vol. XV, p. 109.

[ 138 ]


had come to the door to enquire for your honours, and had left a message that they would call again. Upon which the bar was instructed to let the young men know when such and such ladies came again, and to bring them in. Now these women have a definite standing in the tavern, and all wait in a small room in which they are cooped like sheep at Smithfield, waiting to be let out. This is the nightly occupa- tion of these unfortunate women, and if they are counted amongst the best, what must be the life of the worst! ^ ’

The ‘Weatherby’ tavern was famous in the eighteenth century (1750), the resort of all ‘ good-for-nothings, men of the world, thieves and scoundrels a rendezvous for a ‘ great number of daughters of Venus of all classes, from the kept mistress to the common prostitute ’.

Other weU-known taverns in the eighteenth century were the ‘ Shakespeare ’ tavern*, the ‘ School of Venus ’, as Bob Derry’s tavern was called, and the ‘ Golden Lion ’ in the Strand, known as the ‘ Cat ’ ®.

In the nineteenth century prostitutes were accustomed to assemble in the ‘ long rooms ’ and ‘ saloons ’ of the taverns. Ryan says in this connection: ‘ There were also many glitter- ing saloons in different parts of the town, in each of which often as many as 200 prostitutes assembled at the same time. Rich and fashionable young men visited these places and chose their “friend” from amongst the girls gathered there. The taverns also possessed “ saloons” and they brought much profit to their proprietors. They were not altogether confined to the West End of London, nor to that side of Temple Bar, but were known in other parts of the town as “ long rooms”, especially in the neighbourhood of the river, where

• G. A. Stevens, The Adventures of a Specvlist; or a journey through London. London, 1788. Vol. II, p. 213.

• Serails, p. 81.

• P. Fraxi, Catena, p. 121.

[ 139 ]


many sailors are to be found. One of these long rooms wi capable of holding 500 people. The prostitutes were statione in rows in them, like the cattle at Smithfield Market*, ti the sailors and other guests had chosen their “ women ’ The couples then went to another large room in the taven and after revellings, drinking and dancing, the poor Jack Tai were taken to the brothels where they were stupefied wit strong drink, robbed and turned into the street with c without their clothes, or murdered by bullies and secretl put out of the way. The proprietors of these taverns di a good business in the sale of refreshments and othe “goods” and enticed prostitutes by promising them food an drink or money*.’

Besides the taverns there were the ‘ gin palaces ’, thos ‘ breeding grounds of vice and evil* ’ wliich Talbot puts o] the same level as the brothels, and of which he counted i 1838, in London, no less than 5,00CH ; further, the ‘ night houses ’, an offshoot of the taverns*. The oyster houses where in the eighteenth century female ‘ pals ’ robbec young men«, and the ‘ dining rooms ’, especially numerou in the neighbourhood of Drury Lane and Covent Gardei Theatre, served as rendezvous, and to this end displayed t transparent white placard in their windows, on which wai written in large green letters the word ‘ Beds In additior the restaurants in the vicinity of Leicester Square servec this immoral purpose. In the course of disclosures made bj

^ See above the same comparison by G. A. Stevens.

  • Ryan, ioc. ciL, p. 189. Archenholtz also notes the spaciousness of the

taverns. England, Vol. Ill, p. 146.

® Doings in London, p. 155.

  • Ryan, he. cit., p. 188.

® The Midnight Spy, pp. 98-110. He tells of one near Whitehall, and one in Newgate Street, where men of the world used to carry on philo- sophical discussions.

  • Doings in London, p. 77.

’ Rosenberg, he. cit., p. 121,

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the Pall Mall Gazette^ a scene in a similar restaurant was described^

Further assignation places of prostitution were the lodging- houses, which let private rooms such as those described by Cleland in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure^. Malcolm^ and Ryan also state that in the lower houses of this description fifty beds were often in use in which males and females from ten to forty years were found sleeping together. In St. Giles and Whitechapel, especially, the worst type of prostitution was practised in these lodging-houses^

The term ‘ Boarding House ’, too, often concealed a clandestine brothel, and strangers observed with astonish- ment young ladies in these ‘ Girls’ Schools ’ standing at the windows attracting passers-by with unambiguous gestures®.

Tobacconists, provision merchants and bakers’ shops, principally in the vicinity of the theatres and public places of amusement, also accommodated prostitutes during the day and evening, charging the most exorbitant prices®.

London, like most other large European towns, possessed up-to-date assignation places for prostitution in the so-called Massage Institutes, which did not provide for ordinary prostitution only, but first and foremost offered opportunities for the gratification of the various perver- sities of sexual activity. The abuse of masseuses in the large towns comes under the head of sexual chicanery (see my exposition in Chapter IV); certain popular tendencies in this therapy have been carried to the point of actual

^ Der Jungfrmentribut des modernen Babylon (‘ The virgins’ tribute to the modern Babylon ’). Budapest, 1885. P. 36.

  • J. Cleland, Memoirs of Fanny Hill. Paris, 1888. P. 67.

® Malcolm, loc. cit., Vol. I, p. 333.

  • Ryan, loc. cit., p. 201.

^ H. France, Lea Nuita de Londrea, p. 60.

  • Ryan, loc. cit., p. 189.


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immorality, and vice is practised under the cloak of ‘ Hypnotism ’ (also ‘ Spiritualism ’), ‘ Magneto-therapy ’ and ‘ Magnetism ‘ Sexual friction baths ‘ Massage ‘ Mechano and Electro-therapy In England, and especi- ally in London, illicit activities were pursued under the pseudonym ‘ governesses ’, ‘ manicure ’, and the like. In the columns of the journal Society, which ceased publication in July 1900, were to be found many suspicious advertise- ments of the following type :

Manicure and Treatment for Rheumatism.

Miss Desmond,

39, George Street, Baker Street, W. (side door). Hours 2-8. Late of 11a, Air Street, Regent Street, W.

Rheumatism and Neuralgia, Nerve and Insomnia Treatment.

School of Modern Discipline.


Augusta Montgomery, 27, Edgware Road, Oxford Street, W.

Hours 1 1 till 9.

The conduct of these London massage establishments was shown up some years ago by the so-called ‘ Massage Scandal A certain George Frederick Robertson, a musician, had been sent to a Massage Institute by the ‘ National Vigilance Society ’ (for the suppression of prostitution), but there committed the grossest immorality, extorting money from the girls, and was later sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. The descriptions he gives in his letters to the Society, of the various massage estab- lishments, appear to be founded on fact. About one of these institutes he writes: ‘ Madame M. is very inventive, and anyone who is willing to pay a pound or more can get there any sort of beastliness and immorality. The girls

[ 142 ]


practise all known sexual perversities and Madame M. is a harlot of no small ability.’ In a second letter the following appears: ‘ Your letter confirmed my fears as regards the practices carried on in establishments for the treatment of rheumatism and for manicure, etc. I strongly suspect that shameless women are engaged in these practices.’ The letter closed with a description of a massage institute in which he saw twelve naked girls prostituting their charms for all imaginable purposes^.

Shortly after this a case came before the courts with regard to a massage establishment kept by a negro, James Davis, at 120 Marylebone Road. Davis was summoned for bodily injury to a girl and also on the ground of article 1 of the new law with regard to bullies. The trial is interest- ing in so far as it shows that institutes of this sort in London mainly served the English mania for fiagellation. Hansen says, with regard to the case: ‘Mr. Freke Palmer (the prosecutor) remarked during the hearing that it would perhaps be a good thing if the court were mformed of the details of the case. The plaintiff had known the defendant for several years. She had lived formerly near Portland Road, but for two years now with the defendant at 120 Marylebone Road, and during the whole of that time he had lived on the money she earned as a dressmaker. In Marylebone Road the defendant kept a so-called massage establishment called the Ralneopathic establishment for the treatment of rheumatism, gout and neuralgia by dry hot-air baths, massage and discipline, etc. The plaintiff could tell the judge that the women engaged in the institute as attendants had been domestic servants of the defendant against whom he had behaved immorally, and had there- after taken them on as attendants, providing them with

> R<^ped in the Bailway. London, 1894 (1900). Pp. 178-184.

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the usual uniform. On the arrest of the defendant, amongst other letters, was foimd one which read as follows: “ Dear Mr. Davis. I cannot come to you to-day as I have made another appointment. I am sorry I was not at home when you called upon me. I should like to see you and will come to-morrow at this time. Have ‘ Kantschus ’ ready, one for me and one each for the two Spanish women. One shilling for each stroke.” The plaintiff said that she was often unmercifully whipped by the defendant. Men had also come to be massaged and were always alone with the attendants, and she herself had had to put up with various demands which were made of her. Further evidence showed that the defendant had made a considerable income from the foregoing, and that he had allowed gentlemen, on payment of a large entrance fee, to be present at the chastisement of his massage attendants.’

Resorts of gallantry and ‘ Bon Ton’, particularly character- istic of the eighteenth century, were the coffee-houses. These, however, at the height of their popularity, i.e,, at the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries, existed essentially for the entertainment of men, and may be regarded more as the forerunner of the later clubs. A short reference may, however, be made here to the most famous of the English coffee-houses, in view especially of conditions in later years^.

An Englishman, a merchant in the Levant named Edwards, brought coffee to London in the year 1652 and opened the first coffee-house*. The new custom spread rapidly; the coffee-houses were the meeting-places of the upper and

• For anyone who is interested in the, extremely engrossing history of the English coffee-houses from an intellectual point of view, an excellent book by Edward Forbes Robertson, The Early History of Coffee Houses in England (London, 1893), with a good bibliography, is recommended.

• Lecky, History of European Morals, p. 167.

[ 144 ]


middle classes, and all news was first disseminated there. ‘ Strangers remarked says Macaulay, ‘ that the coffee- houses are an institution which distinguishes London from all other towns ; that the coffee-house is the home of the Londoner, and that anyone looking for a gentleman usuaUy does not ask whether he lives in Fleet Street or Chancery Lane, but whether he frequents the Grecian coffee-house or the Rainbow.’ Every gentleman had at that time his special coffee-house where he was to be found at certain times and where he could get his letters. There were Tory and Whig coffee-houses and those for the different faiths^. Strangers were not admitted^. The most famous coffee- houses at the beginning of the eighteenth century were those of White, Will, the Grecian and the St. James’s coffee- house. In the first issue of the Tatler^ 12th April 1709, they were sketched as follows:

‘ Everything pertaining to gallantry, entertainment and conversation can be found at White’s chocolate house; poetry in Will’s coffee-house; learning in the Grecian coffee-house*; English and foreign novelties in St. James’ coffee-house ’.

' ‘ There were Puritan coflfee -houses where no oath was heard, and where straight-haired men in their nasal voices discussed predestination and damnation; Jews' coffee-houses, where black-eyed money-changers from Venice and Amsterdam met; papist coffee-houses where, according to the notions of good Protestants, Jesuits made plans for another great fibre and cast silver bullets to shoot the king with.’ — Macaulay, History of England, Vol. II, p. 100.

  • Paul Hensel, Engliache sdziale Zustdnde zu Anfang des 18 Jahrhunderts

(‘ English social conditions at the beginning of the eighteenth century ’), in Nerie Heidelberg Jahrb,, 1899, Vol. IX, p. 6. The author rightly regards the exclusion of strangers as a sign that the coffee-house was taking on the character of the club.

• ‘ Grecian Coffee House ’ in Devereux Court, Strand. ‘ I visited the Royal Society, at which the President, Sir Isaac Newton, the two secre- taries, the two Oxford Professors, Drs. Halley and Keil, as well as others were present, whose company we afterwai^s enjoyed at the Grecian Coffee House.’ Thoresby’s Tagebuch, Vol. II, p. 117, of the 12th June 1712 (after Wheatley, loc. cit, Vol. II, p. 148).

[ 145 ]


White’s C!hocolate and Coffee-House (called ‘White’s ’ for short) was opened in 1698 in St. James’s Street, No. 37-38, and was very soon famous as the resort of the gallant Jeunesse dorie of London, and also as a playhouse.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, in particular, all love affairs were arranged at White’s. Pending the publication of the Taller, Richard Steele thought to obtain all news of love intrigues from White’s. Jenyns says about White’s in the Modem Time Oenileman (1746):

From hence to White’s our virtuous Cato flies,

There sits with coimtenance erect and wise.

And talks of games of whist and pig -tail pies^.

Perhaps the most famous of the coffee-houses was Wfll’s at 1 Bow Street, Covent Garden (called after the proprietor, William Urwin), which was the meeting-place of poets, wits and fashionable men of the world at the time of the Restoration, and became particularly celebrated through the poet John Dryden. ‘ Nowhere do they smoke with more perseverance than in Will’s coffee-house; this well-known house, lying between Covent Garden and Bow Street, was dedicated to high intellectuality. The talk there was of freedom, of poets and of the unities of time and place; there was one faction for Perrault and the modems and another for Boileau and the ancients.

‘ Under no other roof could greater variety in the appearance of the visitors be seen. Earls with stars and orders, clergy in priests’ robes and bands, malicious lawyers, bashful yoimg people from the universities, translators and compilers of indexes in tom frieze coats. Everyone crowded round the

  • H. B. Wheatley, loc. cit., Vol. Ill, pp. 491-496. Rush recounts a

characteristic anecdote about White’s {Residence at the Court of London) under the 2nd March 1818: ‘ Let me relate what I heard of one of the Clubs — ^White’s — the great Tory Club in St. James. Somebody spoke of the lights kept burning there all night: “ Yes,” said a member, “ they have not been put out I should think since the reign of Charles II.” ’

[ 146 ]


chair where John Dry den sat, in the winter in the warmest corner near the fire, in the summer on the balcony. It was counted a privilege to stand and listen to him and to hear his opinion on Racine’s latest tragedy or Bossu’s discussion on epic poetry; a pinch from his snuff-box was an honour which would turn a young enthusiast’s head^’.

John Wilkes liked to go with his immoral companions to Wildman’s coffee-house in Bedford Street, Strand% and a rendezvous used by the demi-monde in 1702 was the ‘ Cloisters ’ coffee-house*. To-day the coffee-houses seem to have a more universal character compared with their earlier individuality 4 . Casanova mentioned the ‘Orange’ coffee-house as the most ‘ infamous place in the capital ’s. In later times the type of the modem ‘ caf6 ’ came into fashion near the old coffee-houses, in which were to be found many prostitutes, demi-mondaines and similar dubious elements. In 1870 the ‘ Turkish Divan ’ was particularly

^ Macaulay, loc. cit.y pp. 99-100. In a poem called ‘ A day’s ramble in Co vent Garden, 1691 ’ (in Poems in Burlesque ^ 1693), the galanitriea at Will’s are described as follows:

To Will’s I went, where Beau and Wit In mutual contemplation sit;

But which were Wits and which were Beaus,

The Devil sure’s in him who knows.

For either may be which you please,

These look like those who talk like these;

To make amends, there I saw Dryden.

Similarly E. Smith (in ‘ On John Phillip’s Death ’):

Rail on, ye triflers, who to Will’s repair.

For new lampoons, fresh cant or modish air.

See Wheatley, loc, cit., Vol. Ill, pp. 519-521.

2 Wheatley, loc cit., Vol. Ill, p. 515.

  • Malcolm, loc, cit., Vol. II, p. 121.
  • ‘ Thus you see that the coffee-houses in this metropolis comprehend

a great variety of characters, are frequented by all kinds of people, and al«) that they afford a stranger a very good notion of the inhabitants in general ’ (The Midnight Spy, p. 26).

  • Casanova, loc. ciL, Vol. XV, pp. 92-93.

[ 147 ]


well known, also the ‘ Caf6 de la Eegence. both of them in the Hayniarket^

In all large towns the big gardens and places of amusement are a focus of prostitution, affording an opportunity for the assembly of crowds of people.

In London and the rest of England the most widespread t 3 ^es of these pleasure resorts were the tea-gardens. As early as the eighteenth century there were an ‘ astonishing number ’ of these in and around London, and the small towns also had them. The most celebrated London tea-garden was ‘ Bagnigge Wells where over a thousand people drank tea at the same time on Sundays^. Others were Shakespeare’s tea- garden, where were numerous summer-houses containing paintings of scenes from the poet’s works^, and ‘ White Conduit House ’ in Pentonville, a sort of small VauxhalP.

In the year 1700® there existed many of these dubious tea-gardens in St. George’s Fields, on the Surrey side of the Thames, between Southwark and Lambeth. This place had been since olden days the favourite goal of Sunday strollers in London, and Puttenham, as early as 1698, says:

I crost the Thames to take the cheerful aire,

In open fields, the weather was so faire®.

The neighbourhood, towards the end of the eighteenth century, lost its rural character and was built over. Archenholtz remarks with regard to this: ‘ St. George’s Fields in the South of London, which a few years ago was a charming place and much frequented on account of

^ E. G. Ravenstein, London, etc. Hildburgh, 1871. P. 67.

  • ‘ ’Tis drinking tea, on Sunday afternoons — At Bagnigge Wells, in

china, and gilt spoons ’ (Doings in London, p. 235).

  • Archenholtz, England, Vol. Ill, pp. 216-217.
  • Wheatley, loc. cit., Vol. Ill, pp. 496-497.

® Malcolm, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 129.

  • Wheatley, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 99.

[ 148 ]


its walks and tea-gardens, had now become the prey of speculative builders. The whole of the fields are covered with small houses with six windows, three in front and three at the back, the tenants of which pay only £12 a year rent. These miserable huts serve as dwelling places for pro- fessional beggars, thieves, prostitutes and many poor families^’

Pennant mentions, in this connection, that in the year 1790 fine new footpaths had been laid out in this area^

The most celebrated of the tea-gardens in St. George’s Fields was the ‘ Dog and Duck ’, a place which had been known and frequented since 1643, but which suffered from an increasingly bad reputation as a centre of immorality and in 1812 was closed^.

St. George’s Fields, with taste and fashion struck, Display Arcadia at the Dog and Duck;

And Drury Misses here in tawdry pride.

Are there ‘ Pastoras ’ by the fountain side;

To frowsy bowers they reel through midnight damps, With Fauns half drunk, and Dryads breaking lamps.

(Garrick, Prologue to the Maid of the Oaks, 1774.)

V. Schiitz mentions a pleasure boat at the ‘Dog and Duck’ which was specially adapted for music, and which sailed around on a canal in the middle of the garden. He also found in one part of the gardens a building with nine suitably adapted rooms, ‘ in each of which there was a row of contiguous receptacles, on which eight persons could at the same time relieve their natural needs*’. According to Malcolm, the company which frequented the ‘ Dog and Duck ’ evening after evening consisted of ‘ some of the

^ Archenholtz, Annalen, Vol. I, p. 417.

  • Wheatley, loc, cit., Vol. II, p. 99.
  • Ibid,, p. 100.
  • V. Schiitz, loc. cit., pp. 53-54.

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most beautiful middle-class women of the town, their bullies and such -like young men, who could there, with no thought for the consequences, refresh the thirsty throats of their girls with fiery drinks. What, reader, do you think was the result of all this?* ’

The second of these ‘ incorrigible places of lascivious amusement ’ (Malcolm) in St. George’s Fields was the Apollo Garden. It was founded in the year 1788 by Mr. Clagget, the proprietor of the Pantheon in Oxford Street, as an imitation of Vauxhall, but it only existed for a few seasons®. In the middle of the gardens was a fine large orchestra. Malcolm and the author of Doings in London say that prostitution increased in these gardens to such a shocking extent that finally people of good standing were hardly to be seen there at all*.

A place which was particularly frequented by the demi- monde from 1700 to 1730 was Belsize House, near Hampstead, in the north of London, celebrated on account of its springs, its beautiful gardens, its playhouse, its race- course and dance halls, and last but not least, the activities of the prostitutes. In 1730 Belsize House was closed, as ‘ more gallantry than anything else went on there ’ and there was altogether too much ‘ licence® ’.

Another tea-garden was ‘ Jenny’s Whim ’, the Vauxhall of the lower classes, but also frequented by people like Horace Walpole and others. This was situated near the wooden bridge between Chelsea and Pimlico, which is now part of Victoria Station®.

  • Malcolm, loc. cit., Vol. I, p. 332. It is worth mentioning that there

were mineral springs at the ‘ Dog and Duck ’ which had long been in use for skin disease and scrofula and also to arrest the growth of cancer. See Campbell, Political Survey of Britain. London, 1774. Vol. I, p. 81.

  • Wheatley, loc. cit., Vol. I, p. 55.

‘ Doings in London, p. 236 ; Malcolm, loc. cit., Vol. I, p. 332.

' The Foreigner's Guide. London, 1730. Pp. 128, 148.

‘ Wheatley, loc. cit., Vol. II, pp. 306-306.



Between Piccadilly and South Audley Street lay May Fair, a celebrated place of amusement in the eighteenth century, and the source of many bad scandals^* in Ishngton was ‘ Sadler’s Wells ’, so called after a mineral spring in the possession of a certain Sadler who opened an establishment there in the year 1683. In the ‘ long room opposite to Sadler’s Wells ’, G. A. Stevens in July 1765 delivered his celebrated ‘ Lecture on Heads ’. ‘ Sadler’s Wells ’ still

exists on the same site in Islington between New River Head and St. John Street Road*. ‘ Sadler’s Wells’, together with another place, ‘ Islington Spa’, where was much dancing, and ‘ White Conduit House ’, also in Islington, were favourite resorts of Londoners who, particularly on Sundays, went there in crowds, as the following old poem shows:

Human beings here In couples multitudinous assembled.

Forming the drollest group that ever trod Fair Islingtonian plains — male after male.

Dog after dog, succeeding — husbands — wives —

Fathers and mothers — brothers — sisters — friends — Around, across, along the shrubby maze They walk, they sit, they stand*.

Very remarkable, on account of the women who frequented it, was the ‘ Temple of Flora ’ in the ‘ Garden of Venus ’, which Archenholtz mentions. It was almost entirely the resort of fashionable prostitutes who had invented a new way of ma^g their charms known. They ‘ paraded sitting in high phaetons through the streets, in wonderful Amazon costume, and accompanied by other girls, similarly dressed, riding alongside the phaetons*’. Men were allowed in the

• Wheatley, loc. cit., pp. 615-617.

• Wheatley, loc. cit., Vol. Ill, pp. 19*9-201.

• Doings in London, pp. 236-237.

‘ Archenholtz, Annalen, Vol. V, p. 282.

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gardens only on payment of an raitrance fee. It seems likely that these riding-crop swinging Amazons belonged to the ranks of the active flagellants.

Amongst the larger pleasure gardens of the eighteenth century were Marylebone (or, for short, Marybone) Gardens in the neighbourhood of the present Beaumont and Devon- shire Streets. It was laid out in the second half of the seventeenth century. Pepys remarks in his Diary, under date 7th May 1668; ‘ Then we went out to Marrowbone and walked in the Garden. I was there for the first time, it is a beautiful place.’ In the middle of the garden was a level green for bowling, a great attraction which the philosopher John Locke enjoyed. The garden was enlarged in 1730, and a spacious orchestra erected where, in the evenings, concerts and plays took place. In the middle of the eighteenth century John Trusler, the father of Dr. Trusler, was for many years proprietor of the gardens. He was a cook, and his dinners and breakfasts soon brought him a great reputation. Magnificent fireworks were often dis- played here, creations of the famous pyrotechnician, Torr6^, who worked here for many years. Marybone Gardens were much frequented by the gallant world, and were often men- tioned in Serails de Londres. From 1746 on the proprietors were obliged to engage a guard of soldiers in order that visitors could get safely back to London. In the year 1778 the garden was closed*, and at the beginning of the nineteenth century fine streets and squares had already been built on the site*.

All these and many other pleasure resorts of the eighteenth century served the purposes of both secret and open prostitution. So-called ‘ Charity Concerts ’ were often held

‘ See also Vol. I of these Studies for Torr6, p. 167.

•Wheatley, loc. cit., Vol. VI, pp. 511-513.

• Doings in London, p. 235.



in them, which many young men attended in all innocence, only to find themselves surrounded suddenly, as Malcolm tells us, by crowds of notorious procuresses and daughters of Cyprus. In 1757 the following Bill, presented by Sir John Fielding, was passed by Parliament: ‘ Any house, room, garden or other place which in London and Westminster or within 20 miles of the environs, not being licensed as a public dancing place, allows music or other entertainment of the same kind, shall be regarded as a disorderly house or place, and any authorised servant of the law may enter and arrest all persons found therein. Every person who owns such an unlicensed house, shall pay £100 sterling, and in addition suffer the punishment that the law has ordained in the case of bawdy houses^.’

We saw that many of the ‘ tea-gardens ’ and places of amusement fell victims to this law, especially towards the end of the eighteenth century. Those that remained dis- appeared with the outward spread of the town.

Of this charming series of pleasure gardens which beautified the whole of the nearer environs of London, and which in the eighteenth century gave the town such a distinctive character as compared with other European capitals^, two not merely achieved world fame but were actually in existence up to the nineteenth century. These were the celebrated Gardens of Vauxhall and of Ranelagh, described by countless visitors to London, and astonishing and delighting all. These places are very interesting historically,

^ Malcolm, loc. cit., Vol. I, pp. 331-332.

  • ‘ There was nothing that more distinguished the environs of the

metropolis a few years since (before the building rage commenced), than the number of gardens open for public entertainment. I do not mean simple tea-gardens, but places of the plan of Vauxhall Gardens, where concerts of vocal and instrumental music were to be heard, and where the eye was regaled with displays of fireworks, illuminated walks and other embellishments ’ (Doings in London, p. 234).

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and also deserve special consideration as regards the subject of this book.

Just as there is only one London, so there was only one Vauxhall, says 0. von Rosenberg*. Vauxhall lay on the south or Surrey side of the Thames, in the Borough of Lambeth. The derivation of the name has been attributed to various sources — some believed that the site belonged formerly to the celebrated Papist conspirator, Guy Fawkes, and that Vaux Hall is a corruption of ‘ Fawkes Hall others have proved convincingly that the groimd was the property in the year 1615 of a widow called Jane Vaux®. The latter is a more reasonable explanation of the unusual name ‘ Vauxhall ’ which, as is well known, was adopted later on in other towns to designate the same kind of place®.

This celebrated, or one may safely say the world’s most celebrated, pleasure garden was laid out in the year 1661, and known both as the ‘ New Spring Gardens ’ and ‘ Vauxhall ’. It soon developed into one of the principal haunts of London prostitution. As early as 30th May 1668 Pepys, in his Diary of that date, clearly indicates the nature of the company at Vauxhall: ‘ But oh lord! what a loose company it was there to-night, one need only to go there once to perceive the kind of doings there are.’ Two days after he went there again, and writes about it on 1st June 1668: ‘ Alone to Fox Hall, went walking there and saw young Newport and two other good-for-nothings from the town and saw them overtake two girls, who walked round with them for an hour, their masks before their faces.’ On 27th July 1668: ‘ Over the water with my wife and Deb and Mercer to Spring Garden, and eat there and walked;

‘ O. V. Rosenberg, loc, cii., p. 148.

  • Doings in Lond^, p. 234.

• See Vol. I of these Studies, p. 167, for the Parisian pleasure resort of the eighteenth century called by the same name.

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and observed how coarse some young gallants from the town were. They go into the arbours where there is no man and ravish the women there, and the audacity of vice in our time much enraged me. And so we to the water and with much pleasure home again.’ In Congreve’s comedy Love for Love (1695), Mrs. Frail says very revealingly: ‘ That’s a thing to do, to drive to Covent Garden Square in a hired coach and walk there with a friend! If I were to go to Knightsbridge or Chelsea or to Spring Garden or Bam Elms and walk alone there with a man, people would certainly make something of it.’ Wycherley also speaks of the bad reputation of Vauxhall, and Vanbrugh lays a very lively scene there. Etherege speaks in She Would If She Could and other dramas with sufficient clarity of ‘ FoxhaU ’. The Spectator describes in No. 383 how a masked prostitute accosted the walkers in Vauxhall and tried to attract their attention.

From 1712 to 1732 Vauxhall was little frequented. On 7th June 1732 it was again opened by Jonathan Tyers with a ridotto al fresco at which the Prince of Wales was present. The garden was strikingly embellished and lighted with thousands of lamps. Hogarth painted several pictures of Vauxhall, and Roubiliac created his celebrated statue of Handel, the most interesting thing to see there. Up to 1792 the entrance fee was 1 shilling, from then on 2 shillings and finally as high as 4 shillings. From 1850 on it was again 1 shilling. The last night of Vauxhall was 25th July 1859. The advertisement announced: ‘Farewell to Vauxhall! The last night for ever ! The last dance ! The last supper ! The last punch! and no extra charge! *’

The arbours and dark bushes in Vauxhall particularly served the purpose of prostitution and were always mentioned

  • Wheatley, loc. cit., Vol. Ill, pp. 426-430.

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as a great attraction. Tom Brown says: ‘ The ladies, who are only too glad to be alone, are delighted with the secluded paths in Spring Garden, where both sexes meet, and each acting as guide, manage in time to lose the way. The winding and side paths in these wildernesses are so confusing that the most experienced mother has often lost her way herself when looking for her daughters^’ The French Observer (1769) says: ‘ A great many small isolated bushes have been put there, which are convenient for lovers. These perhaps attract the English women most.’ In the year 1759 many complaints were made about the behaviour of the prostitutes and their male companions, who made an uproar in the dark bushes like ‘Cavalcanti’s bloodhounds’, and men were accused of taking women by force to these lonely spots and there raping them^ Casanova, that resourceful gallant, when at Vauxhall, offered a girl 20 guineas if she would ‘ give me a quarter-of-an-hour’s conversation in an arbour’, and another time proposed to her ‘ a walk amongst the bushes®’. Canning, in Loves of the Triangles (1768), describes a scene in these secluded arbours of Vauxhall:

There oft returning from the green retreats Where fair Vauxhallia decks her sylvan seats;

Where each spruce nymph from city counters free.

Sips the frothed syllabub or fragrant tea;

While with sliced ham, scraped beef and burnt champagne, Her prentice lover soothes his amorous pain.^

Von Rosenberg describes Vauxhall in the nineteenth century, towards the end of its supremacy: at that time the gardens were only open three times a week, on Monday,

' Tom Brown, AmusemerUs. London, 1700. P. 54.

^ Malcolm, he. cit., Vol. II, p. 178.

’ Casanova, loc. cit., Vol. XV, pp. 156, 165.

^ Wheatley, loc. cit., Vol. Ill, p. 429.

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Wednesday and Friday evenings, from the middle of May till the middle of August. People generally came from Westminster Bridge or Whitehall Stairs upstream to the gardens. ‘ Before one can get into the garden one has to buy a ticket at a ticket office which can hardly be seen for the darkness, which ticket is changed twice and more whilst one gropes about in half-dark, narrow boarded ways leading to the gardens. These long winding entries are evidently badly lighted and painted in such dark colours on purpose to astonish strangers to the greatest possible extent by the contrast when they enter the gardens through them. The darkness having already caused the curious to utter a half-dozen God-dams or other edifying expressions in his mother-tongue, he at last enters, as if by magic, the garden wherein all the senses are stunned. When I came to this place for the first time I could not persuade myself that I was not in a dream, but on earth. . . . Thousands of people, for the most part expensively dressed, are strolling in Vauxhall in a fiery sea of radiance from the brilliantly tinted gas lamps, the lights of which almost overshine the sun. Everywhere is music heard; here in a magic temple, the light of the countless lamps shining in through its pillars and arches, the most famous Italian voices sing their triumph; there musicians dressed as Turkish soldiers perform a noisy symphony in another similar temple, led by two genuine Moors skilfully beating their tambourines. In a Rotunda with three exits to the gardens, lighted by a huge bronze chandelier (20 ells square). Miss Peton, Madame Vestris, Herr Braham, delight the wandering crowd with their songs. And hardly is the last sound uttered, than aU turn towards a near-by comer of the garden to see a pantomime or a national or tight-rope dance in a specially constructed theatre. So soon as the dancers have finished, everyone turns to the great curtain behind which the French rider

M [157]


Du Croix, who performs daily in the circus of the Astley Theatre, stands ready with his wonderful horses to enact for them on an enormous terrace, the Battle of Waterloo, in which rider and horses show almost incredible skill. Fireworks usually mark the end of the evening’s enjoyment, which lasts about 4 hours, so that by this time it is almost midnight. The vocal and instrumental music in the afore- mentioned temples continues uninterruptedly, and latterly till towards morning. After the end of the show pieces everyone, even the light-shy night birds from abroad with their admirers, strolls for a time about the lighted winding paths. Here and there families are sitting at supper in separate decorated wooden arbours which, for I don’t know what purpose, seem to be intentionally in half darkness, and of which there are 30 to 40 in a row, completely hidden from each other by dividing walls. These arbours appear to me to be primarily intended for amorous adventures, rendezvous, etc., yet one sees respectable people in them. Silver plate is used in them, and one is waited on by men in scarlet livery, each with the number of the arbour he has to serve on his arm. The charge is one pound sterling per head, or rather per stomach. Besides these refreshment arbours, there are large, most brilhantly hghted rooms with galleries opening on to the gardens, raised 4 to 5 feet above the ground and built in Itahan style. Here the tables are decked with silver, and flowers which scent the air and delight the eye, and beautifully prepared dishes are served. The respectable elements in the company seldom stay after 2 o’clock in the morning at the latest, and the evening must be very fine to keep them till then. The low females with their equally low admirers who have drunk, some to the limit of their thirst, some to the limit of their purses, sleep in the gardens or the guard-room quietly till the morning, and should they be asked how things went last night, they would say:

[ 168 ]


“ after all they felt themselves pretty comfortable.” It would not be surprising to hear that they had experienced again in their dreams the wonders of Vauxhall; it would be as diflScult to give anyone the smallest conception of what they are like, as to try to make a blind man grasp the idea of colour*.’

During the last years of its existence Vauxhall seems to have revived its power of attraction by holding great masked balls there, as we are told by the authoress of Memoirs of a Singer, who stayed in London at the end of the year 1850.

Casanova carried out his ‘ erotic projects ’, as he called them, during his stay in London not only at Vauxhall but often at Ranelagh with its popular Rotunda*.

Ranelagh was laid out in Chelsea in the year 1742 to the design of the architect William Jones, on land which formerly belonged to Lord Ranelagh. The great Rotunda of Ranelagh measured 150 feet across, had an orchestra in the middle and boxes for spectators round the sides. The principal amusement was the so-called ‘ promenading round and round ’ the orchestra, whilst music was played and people took refreshments in the boxes. It was a sort of ‘ covered ’ Vauxhall. Samuel Johnson described Ranelagh as the most beautiful spot he had ever seen. It lasted for 60 years and was first closed in 1803 and pulled down in 1805*.

Walpole writes to Mann on the 26th May 1742 about the opening of Ranelagh : ‘ Two evenings ago Ranelagh Gardens in Chelsea were opened; the Prince, the Princess, the Duke, many of the nobility and a crowd of common people were there. There is a colossal amphitheatre, charmingly gilded,

‘ 0. V. Rosenberg, he. cit., pp. 140-148.

• Casanova, he. cit., Vol. XV, p. 110.

  • Chelsea Hospital now stands on the site.

[ 169 ]


painted and lighted, where anyone who cares for eating, drinking, looking on and crowds, can enter for 12 pence. The building and the laying out of the gardens cost £15,000. There are to be two masked balls there, admission a guinea for which you get supper and music. I was there yesterday evening, but did not think much of it. Vauxhall is better, for the garden is pleasanter and one gets there by water.’ Soon, however, Ranelagh was so popular and the discontented Walpole so reconciled to it, that he writes to Conway on the 29th June 1744: ‘ I go every evening to Ranelagh, which has quite beaten Vauxhall on the field. No one goes anywhere else. Lord Chesterfield likes it so much that he has all his letters sent there.’ According to Archenholtz, Ranelagh had no equal as a pleasure resort. ‘ The majestic shape and amazing size of the round salon, the marvellous lighting, the astonishing crowd of well dressed people moving about, the beautiful music, taken altogether makes a great show. The floor is covered with carpet so that no footfall is heard. Round the whole circle of the side walls are alcoves with tables laid ready for any of the spectators who wish for coffee or tea; similar tables stand also in the middle of the salon near a huge fireplace ornamented with lamps*.’ Archenholtz found the prices charged for food and drink at Ranelagh very high, but according to Moriz this was not the case.

A few of London’s amusement centres which were primarily resorts of the demi-monde in the second half of the nineteenth century are mentioned by the authoress of Memories of a Singer; i.e., Canterbury Hall, the Argyll Rooms, the Piccadilly Saloon, the Holbom Casino, Black Eagle, Caldwell 8uid Cremome Gardens*.

' Archenholtz, England, Vol. Ill, p. 201.

• Aiu den Memoiren einer Sangerin, Vol. II, pp. 196-198.

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As regards the entertainment in the ‘ Portland Rooms ’ she says: ‘ In the Portland Rooms balls were held in the winter season only. They began after midnight and went on till four or five in the morning. The ladies and gentlemen came in ball costume. English Bohemianism at its most elegant could there be seen, all the ladies in low dresses, no longer wearing mantillas and hats, the gentlemen also in ball costume with white waistcoats and collars. The Cancan was danced there, in a very unrestrained form, the women behaving in a more bacchantic fashion than in other places, but the police did not interfere.’

Of the places mentioned here^ the most celebrated in the sixth and seventh years of the nineteenth centmy were the ‘ Argyll Rooms ’, ‘ Cremome Gardens ’ and the ‘ National Assembly Rooms’, which have not yet been referred to.

The ‘ Argyll Rooms ’ (now the Trocadero) in Great Windmill Street* were at the height of their popularity in 1850 — ‘ the Argyll Rooms provided glittering entertainments. Behind the golden trellis work of the orchestra lively dance music was played until midnight, and in the charmingly decorated halls hundreds of beautiful girls, such as can only be seen in England, were dancing. But those days are

^ Smaller places of ajnusement of the demi-monde, and th^ masculine world of London which I may mention are the Hippodrome in Netting Hill (1837-1841) (Ryan, loc.cit., p, 115) ; the NovaScotia Gardens in Bethnal Green, one of the ‘ Black Spots of London which was done away with in 1860 (Wheatley, loc. cit . , Vol. II, p. 606); Dibdin's ‘ Sans Souci ’ in Leicester Square {ibid., Vol. Ill, p. 209); Highbury Bam in Islington; Royal Pavilion Gardens in North Woolwich ; Rosherville Gardens above Gravesend ; People’s Garden near WUlesden Junction (Ravenstein, London, p. 81 ; Baedeker’s London (1890), p. 45). All these gardens and places were carefully avoided by ladies of good standing.

• Not to be confused with the ‘ Argyll Rooms ’ on the east side of Regent Street at the comer of Little Argyll Street, a well-known concert house in which Spohr in 1820, C. M. von Weber in 1826, and Felix Mendelssohn in 1829 gave concerts (Wheatley, loc. cit., Vol. I, p. 60).

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gone — ^the Argyll Rooms are forsaken and the “ National Assembly Rooms ” in Holbom have taken their place^.’

These were, from about 1860 to 1870, a dancing centre for prostitution. The walls were brilliantly decorated, the orchestras enclosed in gilded trellis work, and Italian music was played. The most beautiful ball toilettes were to be seen there. They were situated at No. 218, High Holbom*. Julius Rodenberg describes an evening at the ‘ National Assembly Rooms ’, with all its splendour, which in reality was so illusory.

‘ “ The National Assembly Rooms ” — a twinkling gas globe like a star before the door — tells us that we are at the right spot. I am not taking the reader to the “ Argyll Rooms ” — they are once more deserted and their long forgotten rival (Holbom Casino was its former unpretentious name) has decked itself anew in beauty and splendour. A medley of bright lights, warmth and sweet scents stream out to meet us. The eye is dazzled by the green and gold colouring and the wall-high mirrors, in which the dream-like reflection of this bright world of dance and beauty is doubled and trebled. Sounds of Italian music come from the gilt trellis-enclosed orchestra. This is the home of Verdi, and the women, lovely and sensual, who recline in the green damask armchairs, are his Bacchantes. Everywhere is light, perfume and enjoy- ment, but it is all an illusion — if the light of day could but shine suddenly through the curtains, how grey, how dull, how pale and faded it would all appear — the velvet, the gold, the mirrors and the women themselves. But it is night, and the gas-light sheds its deceptive lustre over them®.’

If a London pleasure garden at the end of the nineteenth century could be compared with the Vauxhall of the

  • G. Rasch, London be% Nacht, pp. 25-26.
  • Ravenstein, loc, ciL, p. 78.

’ J. Rodenberg, loc, cit,, pp. 252, 254.

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eighteenth century, Cremome Gardens on the banka of the Thames at Chelsea had at least an outward similarity. ‘Cremome Gardens! Can it be a garden from some fairy tale to which those dark arboured ways lead? Still, silent foliage, wide lawns, colourful flower-beds shimmering, blue mirrors of water, dark alleys, kiosks in Moorish style, Turkish minarets, Arabian columned ways, modem dance halls with open galleries into which the moon shines, theatres with scenery in which genuine waterfalls splash, and where green wooded valleys, dark ravines and white snow-capped mountains are piled in perspective one behind the other. Gangways with artificial caves, mshing water, cmmbling ruins and shell grottos, views of wide distances with a backgroimd of blue hills, wonderfully decorated rooms so large that in them a hundred knights and squires in glittering, shining steel armour on caparisoned horses can do battle with swords and lances; over all, the star-bespangled canopy of the dark blue night sky, and the whole fantastic scenery of a magic garden lighted by a thousand sparkling gas lamps and flares held by garlanded statues — that is Cremome Gardens.

‘We walk slowly towards the other end of the magic garden. There also music is heard, not battle music, nor solemn marches, but lively dance music. The magnificent dance halls of the Argyll Rooms and the “National Assembly Rooms ” are here to-night under the blue star-spangled night sky, amidst the mstling of the trees and the whispering of the wind, in the soft air of the warm summer night, amongst shmbs and foliage and shimmering flower beds over which the white statues cast the coloured reflection of their torches, and quiet lakes whose dark mirror the night wind stirs. A great glittering room is before us, as light as day, and the eye must first get used to it, before it can distinguish the details of the fairy-like sceneiy. The dance hall is

[ 163 ]


round and surrounded on all sides by open arches, through which the dancers can see the gleaming flower beds, the minarets, the kiosks and the arboured alleys. All the arches and pillars are hung with coloured lamps, every pillar is entwined with illuminated garlands of flowers, and festoons of these connect the bright ceiling of this fairy-like dance hall with the arches. All the light is concentrated in the middle of the gay building and the corners are hidden by flower-decked grottos in which the dancers rest on fan- tastically decorated seats. The orchestra is not visible, and the music appears to come from the foliage-covered kiosks How lovely the dancers are, their light beautiful feet moving cm the shining parquet floor to the rhythm of a Strauss waltz. England’s women and girls are the loveliest in Europe; and those dancing there are the loveliest in London. What dark fiery eyes, what golden hair, what red lips, what classic features, what sensual lovely figures! They are all in magnificent ball toilettes, hair adorned with pearls and flowers, beautifully formed necks and shoulders bare, bare arms clasping their partners, leaning upon them and following the ever-quickening music. And who are they, these beautiful women in lovely ball toilettes, their hair threaded with pearls? Do they live in the tall stone palaces of Belgravia, with the solid balconies before the windows, past which we drove? Or do they come from the quiet distinguished streets looking on the flowers and lawns of Hyde Park and Regent’s Park? May not that lovely girl in the embroidered Arab mantle, over a white pink- veiled muslin dress, be a Duchess? With what aristocratic negligence she lies on that ottoman on the right, her sandalwood fan in her white soft hand, cooling her hot face. Her small feet, in soft grey elastic boots rest on the velvet cushions. The white frock is caught up and shows an embroidered petticoat and delicate stockings ; dark locks shade a high, aristocratic forehead; large, sad

[ 164 ]


blue eyes gaze out from under the shadow of a black silk wimple. Her lovely full bosom is heaving from the exertion of the dance, and how the white shoulders rise from the rich lace of the dress ! And, on the arm of her partner, a young midshipman, that blonde who is fanning herself with her perfumed handkerchief to cool herself! Her pale gold hair waves unadorned in rich natural curls over neck and shoulders — curls which are only to be seen in England — her black eyes sparkle like diamonds: pale gold hair, dark sparkling eyes, a blossom-white complexion, rosy with the exertion of the dance! A few more bars! It is midnight — the dance is ended. One after another the gas lamps are extinguished. The magic gardens of Cremorne become darker every moment. Everyone makes for the exits. Who were those dancers? We shall see them all again to-night. The girl with the pale gold curls with the fiery dark eyes, wrapped in a black silk mantilla, hurries past us alone through the dark arboured alleys to the exit. She calls a cab to drive to the town — if we like we can accompany her. As she sets her lovely foot on the step of the carriage, a silent dark-clothed man thrusts a folded leaflet into her hand. On the leaflet are the words: “ I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 2 Timothy 1, 2.” Who is the silent, serious-looking man who thrusts the leaflet into the hand of the girl with the long pale gold curls? He also is an example of one of the contrasts in which London is richer than any other town in Europe. He is a member of an organisation which for some years has been trying to save the beautiful sinners who dance in Cremorne and after midnight crowd the pavements of the Haymarket and Regent Street from the bottomless pit of destruction into which, in a few years’ time, pleasure and indulgence will cast them, who preach repentance to them after the midnight

[ 166 ]


dances, at the midnight tea-parties, who seek them out under the arches of His Majesty’s Theatre offering them home, fireside and employment. Will the beautiful sinner read the folded leaflet? Or shall we see her again in a dark room in the oyster house in the Haymarket, drinking sherry and champagne and laughingly throwing the folded leaflet of the black-clothed man on to the table?*’

• G. Basch, London bei NacM, pp. 36, 39-43. See also the description of Cremome Gardens in J. Rodenberg’s AlUagaleben in London (‘ Bound the Clock in London ’). Berlin, 1860. Pp. 56-63.

[ 166 ]



Procuration was developed to a greater extent and in more varied ways in London than in any other town; nowhere else were the agents of this deplorable, debased business so much in evidence. As regards also the cunning displayed in the practice of procuration, London, the central market for international traffic in young girls, took the first place and stood out in this connection in a way which can only be regarded as repulsive.

Colqhoxm^ reckons the number of panders in London in 1790 at 2,000. Richelot believes that in 1850 there were 5,000 procurers and procuresses in London. According to Ryan there were no less than 400,000 people directly or indirectly connected with prostitution®.

Tliis large number is. divided into different categories and types for which the English have distinctive names.

The most widespread class of panders (mostly women) is the ‘ Bawds ’ and ‘ Procurers ’ or ‘ Procuresses ’. The ‘ Bawd ’ is almost always a former prostitute, and usually the proprietress of a brothel. Richard King describes in his Frauds of London the activities of the ‘ Bawds ’ as follows: ‘ These old bawds frequent our religious gatherings and other public places with a young nun (as they themselves

' P. Colqhoun, he. cit., p. xxxi.

‘ Ryan, he. cit., p. 192.

[ 167 ]


call her) on their arm who, whilst the old creature, with eyes cast upwards, simulates piety and utters hypocritical prayers, tries to lead astray some man suitable for her purpose. When the service is over, the old woman on going out stumbles suddenly, falls down or faints as suits her purpose; the gentleman offers his help or his arm, or a coach to take her home; this she accepts, apologises for the trouble caused him, and begs her ‘ daughter ’ to thank the gentleman for his great kindness. This she does, and sur- reptitiously takes the stranger’s hand or shows her regard for him in some other way so as to establish intimacy with him. At the house the new acquaintance is invited to share a meal (long standing ready for this very purpose), during which the old woman on some pretext or other goes out of the room and leaves the couple alone, which opportunity the yoimg man does not fail to make use of ‘ Procurers ’ or ‘ Procuresses ’ are people who, while not actually owning a brothel, imdertake to provide ‘ wares ’ for those who do or for independent people. They frequent churches, taverns, theatres, shops, balls, masks, public gatherings and the like in order to ensnare their prey. In particular they keep their eyes on young men and girls come to London for the first time from the provinces; and in former times on the arrival of each mail coach from the country, quite a crowd of these panders would assemble at the terminus or even at the previous stopping-place, in order to entice the girls during their stay at the inn®. Panders of this type obtained and still obtain a large part of their supplies through newspaper advertisements.

The ‘ Pimps ’ were mostly of French origin and attached themselves to noblemen or other distinguished people, whilst

’ Richard King, The Frauds of London detected, or a new Warning-Piece against the iniquitous Practices of that Metropolis. London, 1770. Pp. 13-14.

• Ibid., pp. 56-67.

[ 168 ]


they masqueraded as fine gentlemen and set themselves to provide their patrons with every sort of sensual pleasure, and also to make known to them the loveliest girls in Paris with whom they pretended to be on the most intimate footing. Many noblemen employed these ‘ Pimps ’ who acted as ‘ Commissaries of Vice ’, and often at the same time carried on liaisons with the lady of the house, insinuated themselves into other houses to pick up what they could and usually ended as brothel agents. According to King, no Englishman could play this role with the success of a Frenchman*.

Richelot includes amongst the modem London panders those who travel on the Continent procuring young girls as dressmakers, governesses and so on, paying them their first quarter’s salary and then selling them at a high price in London to brothels. Shopkeepers (women) often belonged to the pander class, hung notices in their windows announcing vacancies for workgirls and then introduced them to prosti- tution. They themselves often kept a clandestine brothel. Many London procuresses went into the country, took jobs as farm workers, etc., and led astray the young girls who worked with them. Drivers and mail coachmen very largely assisted the panders. Finally the fortune- tellers* and dealers in obscene books* belonged to this class^.

The Restoration was a golden time for the panders, who enjoyed an esteem such as did not fall to their share even in the licentious century of the Renaissance. For the frivolous King Charles II himself in person honoured procuresses, such as the famous Creswell, with his visits. According to Philarete Chasles it was a flourishing time for these ladies, and scholars of that epoch have written of

‘ B. King, loc. cit., pp. 53-56.

• See Chapter V.

• See Chapter XVII.

• 6. Richelot, loc. cit., pp. 31-36.

[ 169 ]


the life and activities of nine representatives of the, in those days, highly honoured profession, amongst whom were Mother Ross, Mother Bennett, Mother Moreley and first and foremost Mother Beaulieu, which last sued the Arch- bishop of Rheims because he had placed ‘ orders ’ with her and had not paid her for them*. Creswell carried on procuration by means of a wonderful administrative system, and sent her emissaries and spies' throughout England and France. She died a prisoner in Bridewell, and bequeathed £10 to the minister on condition that he only spoke ‘ well ’ of her. After a sermon on morals in general, the preacher closed as follows: ‘ In accordance with the will of the departed, it is expected of me that I should mention her and should only speak well of her. All that I shall say of her is the following: she was bom well, lived weU and died well, in that she was bom with the name of Creswell, lived in Clerkenwell and died in Bridewell*.’

A very notorious procuress of the eighteenth century was Mother Needham, who, in spite of her great piety, was placed in the pillory on the 5th May 1731, and was so iU used by the populace that she died a few days after.

Every prostitute or woman who prostituted herself in London had her ‘ bully ’, who lived on her earnings, and seldom restricted himself to one woman. The ‘ bullies ’ were thieves, pickpockets and often murderers. Girls of not more than 13 years already had their bullies. The business of these vagabonds was partly to protect the prostitutes and partly to rob or murder visitors to the brothels. They were the most desperate characters, every one capable of the most horrible crimes. Usually they came from the lowest classes, but there were also

> Ph. Chasles, Vol. II, p. 88.

  • Ph. Chaslea, loc. cit, p. 89. J.Timbs, The Bomance of London. London.

P. 276.

[ 170 ]


bullies in the middle and higher classes. They all spent the day in beerhouses and iims, the nights in brothels where they committed the worst atrocities. Ryan reports the terrible fact that a great number of skeletons were found in London brothels, the victims of the ‘ bullies ’i. These were particularly numerous in the fourth decade of the nineteenth century in the ‘ bullies’ ’ quarter of the town, ‘ Fleet Ditch ’, where ‘ every house is the lowest and most infamous brothel ’. There was a very large aqueduct, in which the bodies of those murdered by the bullies were thrown and thus washed into the Thames, so that discovery was impossible*.

London was for a long time the central market for the traffic in young girls, which was carried on there on a huge scale and under the most shameful conditions. ‘ London, representing free prostitution, was also the chief central market for the export (and import) of young and older prostitutes to all European and American countries*.’

As regards the methods of this deplorable trade, the ‘ Disclosures of the Pall Mall Oazette ’ in the year 1886 and Alexis Splingard’s book Clarissa; Out of the dark houses of Belgium, with its introduction by Otto Henne am Rh 3 m, in which this subject is dealt with in a particularly detailed manner, have shed much light. Many facts are also found in the ‘ Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords on the Law relating to the protection of young girls, Session 1881 ’.

The Pall Mall Oazette stated with reference to the export and import of human wares as follows: ‘ London, or rather those who carry on the White Slave Traffic, provides the largest market in the world for the sale of human flesh. As

• Ryan, loc. cit., pp. 176-178.

• Ibid., p. 177.

• Tamowsky, toe. cU., p. 201.

[ 171 ]


with any business, the traffic is export and import. There is a great difference between England and other countries in that, whereas in England vice is entirely free, that on the Continent is carried on under strict regulations. The ruin, however, of young innocent girls, their poverty and complete helplessness, their destitution and absolute ignorance of the language, are as compelling a force as the savage horrors of the state brothels and the unfeeling barbarity of the doctors. The girls are usually brought from France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland to London for the purpose of seductioni.’

Belgium, the ‘ land of model prostitution ’, as 0. Henne am Rhyn calls it, is the principal importing country for English ‘ wares ’ of this kind — ‘ English parcels ’ as they are cynically called by the traffickers in young girls^.

In the year 1880, after repeated representations, the atten- tion of the British Government was called to the fact that this traffic was in full swing, and that young Englishwomen were being taken by false pretences to Belgium, there to be used for the purposes of prostitution, and kept by force in houses of ill fame. Through the efforts of Sir William Harcourt, the lawyer T. W. Snagge was sent to Belgium to enquire into these circumstances, which fully bore out the communicated facts. A Dutchman named Klyberg, with his wife, was the principal importer, during the whole of the ‘ seventies ’, of girls from London to the owners of houses of ill fame in Holland, Belgium and France. Henne am Rhyn quotes several ‘ business letters ’ of this Dutchman, amongst which the following is noteworthy. It was written by Klyberg when in hospital, as ‘ he had sprained a foot

^ Der Jungfrauentribut des modernen Babylon (The Virgin Tribute of Modern Babylon). Extracts from the Pall Mali Gazette. Budapest, 1885. Pp. 78-79 ; p. 85.

  • H. France, Les Nulls de Londres, p. 52 ; JungfraueniribtU, p. 86.

[ 172 ]



when travelling ’ (a pity he had not broken his neck) :

‘ My dear Quoilin,

‘ You will find me in London early on Tuesday, when you come to fetch your wares. You can take these away the same evening. Everything will be in readiness, and I can guarantee that if you fetch them from London it will only cost you the half of what it would in your own house. I have a lovely tall brunette girl, with glorious teeth, faultless bust; in a word, a beautiful woman and a good girl. My wife has had her for three weeks, and therefore wrote you. I have also a tall blonde girl when you have room. I am sorry I caimot go over, but I have business in Holland. I have been offered a house in Leyden, and should like to talk to you about it. Sarah, the woman who has the house in Amsterdam, has asked me about two lots, and the people in two other houses are also requiring goods, so that as soon as I can travel I shall make some money, and when I take over the house in Leyden I shall be my own agent and travel continuously. I shall have a lodging in London, where I can come to fetch girls^’.

Courtney, a Frenchman, was nearly as active as Klyberg in the export of English girls. Letters were foimd from many others living in the ill-famed ‘ French quarter ’ of London, with the same contents as that of Klyberg. Other traffickers in young girls were Carrotty Jack and a very dangerous gang consisting of John Sellecarts (also ‘ Sells ’ or ‘ Selly ’), Mrs. Sellecarts (also ‘ Mrs. Vero ’), Friedrich Schultz (also ‘ Marks ’), Emile Regnier and the infamous wife of the last. Sellecarts took girls from London and brought them to Brussels, where he was in league with all the brothel keepers. The woman with whom he lived, an Irishwoman called

^ Clarisaa, aus dunkeln Hdusem Belgiens. After the French original of Alexis Splingard. With introduction by Dr. Otto Henne am Rhyn. Leipzig. Pp. viii-x.


[ 173 ]


Raphael, whose real name he had no idea of, collected the girls and carried out the correspondence with the brothel keepers, as Sellecarts could not write. Amongst others she wrote the following significant letter:

‘ Greek Street,

‘ Soho Square, London, W.C.,

‘ 3rd April 1878.

‘ Madame,

‘ I hasten to inform you that I have two lovely English girls who wish to go into a “ House ”. Their true age and all papers are quite in order. I have not the honour to be personally known to you, but I beg you to believe that I do not do business like Kleber. I insist upon everything being properly (!) done, as since the Kleber affair it has become altogether too dangerous to send English girls abroad under false declarations and without carrying out the necessary formalities. My price is 300 francs for one girl, or 600 for the two. I shall bring them to Ostende, where you can fetch them yourself.

‘ I have the honour to greet you,

‘ Raphael^.’

H. France gives a list of similar brothels in Brussels which took girls mainly from England, and the ages of whom were not more than 12 to 14 years*.

The investigations of the Commission appointed by the Pall Mall Gazette in 1885 showed that this appalling traffic in young girls still continued after the enquiry instituted by Sir William Harcourt in 1880. The Commission reports: ‘ A few weeks ago a consignment of three “ parcels ” was sent from the neighbourhood of Leicester Square to Belgium. Two of them are now in Antwerp, the third in Brussels. A much larger consignment is expected shortly.’

‘ Clarissa, aus dunkeln Hdusem Bdgiens, pp. x-xi.

• H. France, Les Nuils de Londres, pp. 52-63.

[ 174 ]


A trader in these goods explained that usually a dozen young English girls are sent every month to the above- mentioned town, that is 250 a year, of which a third had already become prostitutes.

The celebrated Register of Girls, or so-called ‘ Lists of Ladies’, was used by the traffickers in girls and by prosti- tution generally, iix the eighteenth and part of the nineteenth centuries. Von Schiitz remarks in this connection: ‘ I might refer again on closing this letter to the remarkable leniency of the English police, demonstrated by the fact that from time to time lists of names of the most celebrated “ ladies of the town ” are printed and openly sold in London. How eagerly these “ lists of ladies ” are bought can be judged from the fact that 8,000 to 10,000 copies are issued, and sometimes sold out in a few days^’

Archenholtz’s statement that in his time the famous Register of Girls, which could formerly be obtained openly in the taverns of Covent Garden, had completely disappeared as the police were watching it, and would allow no more to be printed, is an errors For every number of the erotic periodical appearing in the year 1795, The Rangers' Magazine, contained a ‘ Monthly List of the Co vent Garden Cyprians; or the Vade Mecum of the Man of Pleasure ’, in which the physical attractions and the charms of individual girls were described in detaiP. C. de Mery also speaks of similar catalogues of prostitutes in the year 1828, and in the erotic periodical The Exquisite (London, 1842-1844), under the designation ‘ Stars of the Salons ‘ Sketches of Courtesans ’ and ‘Seduction unveiled’, was a list of names, adaresses and descriptions of popular harlots. In the year 1860 the Register of Girls still existed in the form of advertisements

^ V. Schiitz, loc. cit., p. 217.

  • Archenhoitz, Anncden, Vol. VIII, p. 243.

• P. Fraxi, Catena, pp. 337-338.

[ 175 ]


which the brothel keepers published in the newspapers, still under the heading ‘ lists of ladies in which they informed the public that fresh young girls were to be found in their brothels in all parts of the kingdom^.

The most celebrated of these lists was the one which Harris, a tavern keeper in Drury Lane, published every year from 1760 to 1793. Archenholtz states: ‘A tavern keeper in Drury Lane publishes every year a printed list of prostitutes who frequent his house and are otherwise known to him. This book bears the title “ Harris’s list of Covent Garden Ladies® ”. It contained their names, descriptions of their features, figures, manners, talents, etc., often showing much partiality. 8,000 copies were printed every year and were rapidly disposed of*.’ A complete series of this remarkable almanack is one of the greatest bibliographical rarities. The Brussels Library possesses a copy. No. 29883, pubUshed in 1765.

The London traffic in girls had a unique character and a decided bent in a certain direction on account of the widespread demand in England for virgins, i.e. the specifi- cally Enghsh defloration mania, which was met with nowhere else in the world to such a great extent and accompanied by such brutal practices. The study of this morbid demand for virgins throws a surprising light on the influence of suggestion and on the fact that sexual customs and perversities are spread through imitation, and that it is not always necessary to look for a pathological reason for these abnormahties. ‘ Forty years ago’, says Tamowsky, ‘not less than £50 was paid for a virgo Intacta, now one can be had for £5. Forty years ago one did not dare demand a medical proof of virginity, now one can get this for£l. Formerly the training

• Fr. S. Hugel, loc. cil., p. 146.

• Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies or A New Atlantis for the year. London, 1760-1793.

• Archenholtz, England, Vol. II, pp. 266-267.

[ 176 ]


of young girls for prostitution was not understood, now a speciality is made of it. One deduces from these facts that with time further progress will be made in this direction^’

One man requires 70 virgins a year, but would willingly take 100, and a doctor deflowered three virgins in a fort- nights

If an explanation is sought of the reason why, amongst the English, defloration mania should have reached such epidemic dimensions, account must not only be taken of the horrible results of this passion, in which the worst side of the British national character came into play, but the deeper psychological basis must be sought for. For the Enghshman, only the best is good enough. He must have something which can only once, and by only one person, be possessed, and of which he can boast before others. This is the case as regards the virginity of a girl, which attracts the Englishman primarily as something select and unique. According to an English author of the eighteenth century, who discourses in detail on the pleasures of defloration, the desire to seduce a virgin is an acquired taste, but none the less the acme of sensual pleasure. ‘ I hold truly that the enjoyment of a virgin, from the point of view of the physical as well as the psychic experiences of the seducer, is the highest peak of sensual pleasure. In the first place a man’s fancy wiU be inflamed by the prospect of the enjoyment of a woman whom he has long desired and tried to win, and who has never before (as he believes) been in bed with a man, in whose arms no man has yet lain, and whose virgin charms he will be the first to see and triumphantly enjoy. This exquisite work of the fancy prepares the body in the highest degree for sensual pleasure.’ The author then describes in great detail the delights of defioration, and with special

^ Taraowsky, loc, cit., p. 44.

  • Der Jungfratientribtd, pp. 48, 68.

[ 177 ]


enjoyment dwells on the cries of pain and the resistance to seduction made by a virgin^.

In conjunction with the above-mentioned motives, the sadistic element in defloration mania may be cited as especially noteworthy. An English author points out that debauchees who pay large sums to procuresses for virgins for the purpose of seduction, are nearly always flagello- maniacs and, in fact, active flagellants, who obtain unique enjoyment from whipping young girls so brutally that the blood flows*.

This mania for virgins was, as we saw, an old English vice, and had as its natural corollary child prostitution which, according to the unanimous evidence of all observers, had grown to frightful proportions in England. Von Schiitz and Archenholtz have mentioned the astonishing number of very young prostitutes in London in the eighteenth century. Ryan mentions a brothel in Crispin Street, Spitalfields, that in the year 1810 was conducted and solely intended for the purpose of procuring and prostituting little girls of under 14*. In 1830 there were many children’s brothels in London, amongst others that of a certain Maxwell in Betty Street, Commercial Road, Catherine Keeley in Dock Street, Commercial Road, and other brothels in the neighbourhood of Bedford Square and Mile End Road*. A certain John Jacobs and his wife kept a very well-known children’s brothel for 25 years®. The children’s brothel of David Romaine in Mile End was famous; when it was closed by the police, three girls of 15 years were found, on whose prostitution the worthy pair lived. Every possible

  • The. Battles of Venus. Haag (London), 1760. Pp. 24-26.
  • Venus’ School Mistress or Birchen Sports. Paris, 1898 (privately

printed). Appendix.

  • Ryan, loc. cit., p. 109.
  • Ibid., p. 124.
  • Ibid., p. 138.

[ 178 ]


method of seducing children of both sexes was employed in this establishment. There were often assembled there on Saturday evening ten to fourteen boys, in ages from 10 to 15 years, for the purpose of the most horrible immorality with the girls. Usually one of the three little girls was sent out on the streets on Saturday evening in order to entice the boys into the house, when, the number and the total sum represented being large enough, they were let into the den of immorality, where the other two girls naturally visited them. This custom was frequently observed by the police, who often saw twelve boys go into the brothel together. Ryan rightly surmises that the results of these excesses would mean ruin for the boys^ The most depraved activities were carried on by William Sheen, who had numerous brothels in the worst districts of the town (Wentworth Street, Spitalfields and others). He organised regular pornological clubs where men and women practised the most horrible immorality with the children! There were always from thirty to forty children in his brothels®.

Hector France makes the most shocking disclosures with regard to child prostitution in London in later years. The chapter ‘ Marche aux enfants ’ in Va-nu-Pieda de Londres should be read® ! A correspondent of the Figaro says: ‘ Every evening towards midnight more than 500 girls in ages between 12 and 15 years parade between Piccadilly Circus and Waterloo Place, that is on a stretch of ground no more than 300 yards long^.'

^ Ryan, loc. cit., pp. 138-139.

= Ibid.y pp. 149-150.

  • Ibid.y pp. 30-40. See also ‘ Le Gagne- Pain de Lily,' ibid.y pp. 192-198.
  • Faucher remarked forty years earlier : ‘ Entre Spitalfields et Bethnal

Green, sur ime route dont Taccroissement de la population a fait une rue, se tient, les lundis et les mardis, entre six et sept heures du matin, un march6 aux enfants Va-nu-PiedSy p. 33). ChUdren could be bought

here for any purpose. Thus Hadji Ali ben Mohamed, owner of an acrobatic

[ 179 ]


The famous revelations of the Pall Mall Gazette in the year 1885, however, have thrown the most light on the prostitution of very young girls and the sale of children for the purposes of immorality. As Tamowsky rightly says, the accurate circumstantial evidence given leaves no ground for suspicion as to their truth. They made such a deep impression that the price of single copies of the paper rose to 5s, ^ and 20,000 copies were distributed^ W. H. Stead^ was the leader of the investigations of the secret commission set up by the Pall Mall Gazette^ which began its work on Whit Monday 1885 and continued uninterruptedly thereafter day and night. The first official suggestion for such an investigation was received by the office of the paper from the City Treasurer, Mr. Benjamin Scott, President of the London ‘ Committee for the Prevention of Traffic with English Girls ’. The secret commission was formed under the auspices of the Pall Mall Gazette^ and it was instructed to investigate the facts independently of the police, although it worked in conjunction with the Home Office and the Local Government Board. Stead presided over the details of preparing the work of the Commission and over the enlistment of the support of distinguished people. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of London and Westminster, and also the prison chaplains, took their share. ‘ Besides the churches, I obtained the help of those societies

troop which performed in Westminster Aquarium in 1879, bought twenty young English children in ages from four to twelve years, at 25 francs per head (ibid.^ p. 36).

» Tamowsky, loc, cit., p. 41.

  • William Thomas Stead, born on 5th July 1849 at Howden-on-Tyne,

took over in 1880 the post of Assistant Editor to the Pall Mall Gazette under John Morley, and in 1883 became Editor of the paper. At the beginning of the year 1890 he retired from this post and founded the Review o/ Reviews. In latter years he became well known both as a pacifist and through his intercession on behalf of the Boers in connection with the South African War.

[ 180 ]


which exist for the suppression of this traffic, of ladies working for hospitals and asylums, and of all those whose philanthropic and religious zeal brings them in direct contact with actual conditions.’ The result of the enquiry, according to Stead, spoke for itself, though he says that the disclosures made are never so terrible as the facts themselves. Then also the Commission could only ‘ skim the surface of the proposition ’. The whole thing was carried through in less than six weeks, with a total outlay of £300 sterling, ‘ less than a rich man would spend on the corruption of a single shop girl of the better class, say the daughter of a coachman or a doctor^ ’.

The revelations of the Pall Mall Gazette principally referred to those crimes which Stead rightly classed as ‘ sexual outrages ’ in contradistinction to ‘sexual immorality’. To these outrages belong: (1) Buying, selling and seduction of children. (2) Procuring of virgins. (3) Enticing and ruin of women. (4) International girl-slave trade. With regard to the first point in particular, the enquiry has collected definite information which it is impossible to go into here in detail. I must confine myself to a short analysis of the important contents of the report of the Pall Mall Gazette.

According to Stead it was a fact that in London a system was in full operation imder which the rape of virgins was one of the most ordinary events, that these virgins were mostly of tender years, actually too yoimg to imderstand the nature of the crime whose victims they were against their wiU; that these atrocities were continually being perpetrated and practically never pimished, and that the arrangements for procuring these victims of London’s lust, certifying their virginity, seducing them, and destroying the traces of the seduction, were carried out with a facility and an efficiency which to those

' Der Jungfrauentribviy p. viii.

[ 181 ]


who have not had actual experience of the ease with which crime can be perpetrated, is almost unbelievable. A brothel keeper made the following eonfession to Stead: ‘ There is always a demand for virgins as you call them, “ fresh girls ” as we call them in the trade, and a pander who understands his business has his eyes open in every direction.

‘ His stock of girls is always being exhausted, so that he has to be eontinually filling it up and looking out for suitable “numbers” in order to keep up the reputation of hishouse. Thehuntfor “fresh girls” takesagood deal oftime, but it is simple and fairly easy once one knows the ropes. I myself have been into the country and have disguised myself in all manners of ways in order to get girls; occasion- ally I have worn the dress of a minister, let the girl believe that I intended to marry her and so obtained possession of her in order to oblige a good client. How was this done? When I had paid court for some time to my girl, I proposed to her that I should take her to London to show her the sights of the town. I brought her up with me, took her about and gave her a great deal to eat and drink — particu- larly to drink. I took her to the theatre and so arranged that she should miss the last train. She was now very tired, a little muddled with drink and excitement and very frightened at finding herself alone in the town without friends. I offered her a suitable lodging for the night, she went to bed in my house, and thus the business was done. My client had a virgin, I received my commission of 10 or 20 pounds sterling and the next morning the girl, who had lost her character and did not dare go home, would in all probability do what the others do, she would become one of my “ numbers ”, which means that she would earn her living on the streets for the benefit of my house. That is a very simple example of the way in which we recruit girls. An- other very easy way of obtaining virgins is to breed them.

[ 182 ]


Many women who live on the streets have female children, and they have to earn their living. When they are 12 or 13 years old they are saleable. For a very attractive “number” of this sort they receive 20 to 40 pounds sterling. I send my own daughter from my own brothel on to the streets. I know now a couple of very pretty Uttle girls who will soon be sold. They have only to take the first step, and it would be bad business not to make as much out of it as possible. Parents who are given to drink often sell their children to brothel keepers. In the East End of London you can buy as many “ fresh girls ’ ’ as you want. In one street in Dalston you can buy a dozen of them. Sometimes the supply is greater than the demand and you have to seduce your girls yourself or get someone in to do it, which is very bad business. There is a man named S. who has an appointment at a well- known house to seduce the young girls and fit them for the needs of the house when there is no demand for virgins but for girls who have already been seduced*.’

In the year 1885 there was a systematically organised traffic in virgins in London. Particularly infamous was the ‘ firm ’ of the procuresses X. and Z., whose speciahty was the provision of virgins. The house was founded in 1881 (almost immediately after her own defloration) by Miss X., a young, energetic and very cunning person. She was then 16 years old! She was introduced to a man by a young girl who had already been seduced, and who pocketed half the price of her innocence as commission. The ease with which her go-betweep had made a couple of pounds was a revelation to her, and immediately after her own fall she began to look for young girls. In two years’ time the business had reached such proportions that she was obliged to take Miss Z., a somewhat older girl, as working partner. ‘ We deal in virginity,’ said this worthy maiden to Stead, ‘ but not in

^ Der Jungfrauentributt pp. 10-12.

[ 183 ]


virgins. My partner procures the girls, who are seduced and taken back to their relatives. The business is then at an end so far as we are concerned. We deal only in “ first seduction a girl only goes through our hands once. Our customers desire virgins, not damaged goods, and usually they only see these once^.’ Most of the virgins in this institution were recruited firom amongst children and shop girls, governesses, cooks and servants. ‘ Young girls from the country, fresh and rosy, are easily found in the shops or out walking. But the principal source of supply is the nursemaids. My old client always says to me: ‘ Why don’t you supply nursemaids? In Hyde Park there are as many as you want, and they are all virgins*.’ The large parks were systematically searched by these procuresses for ‘ fresh girls ’; Hyde Park and the Green Park gave the best results in the mornings in this respect. Regent’s Park in the after- noons. ‘ As we go on our way, we look out for a pretty girl; once found, we talk to her; during the next few weeks we try to meet her as often as possible, till we have won her confi- dence to such an extent that we can persuade her into considering how easy it is to make a pound sterling by receiv- ing a visit from a man®.’ Certain it is that a great percentage of the girls submitted of their own free wiU to the enticements of the procuresses, knowing very well the fate that awaited them. Stead describes a scene at a procuress’s, when she made a young girl go through ‘ aU sorts of movements ’ in order to show off her good qualities to the best advantage. He asked the poor victim why she had let herself be seduced, whereon the girl told him candidly that it was on account of the money*. The prices paid by men of the world for the

• Der JungframrUribvt, p. 50.

• Ibid., p. 53.

• Ibid., p. 54.

‘ Ibid., p. 41.

[ 184 ]


provision of virgins was much higher in the West End of London than in the East End. In the wholesale house of the firm X. and Z. the price for a virgin was £5, in a brothel in the East End £10, and in the West End £20 sterling^.

In the case of a girl who was given to a man by force for defloration against her will, various methods were employed. Some brothel keepers made use of narcotics. ‘ She slept when he did it — she was fast asleep. To tell the truth she had been put to sleep, as often happens. I gave her a sleeping draught — it is a mixture of laudanum and some- thing else, chloroform is often mixed with it, but I use either snuff or laudanum. We call it “ black draught they lie there almost as dead, and the girl first knows in the morning what has happened. And then? Oh, then she cries a great deal with the pain, but she is surprised and hardly knows what has happened, except that she can hardly move for pain. We naturally tell her that eveiything is all right; all girls have to go through it once; she is over it now without knowing anything about it and no amount of crying will help*.’ Others tried to avoid any scandal by carefully choosing the situation of the house or the room. Many houses had an undergroimd room from which no sornid could be heard, and which would never be discovered. Or the room was thickly padded and thus the cries of the children were inaudible. ‘ In my house ’, said a highly respectable woman who had a villa in the West End of London, ‘ you can gloat over the cries of the girls with the certainty that no one will hear them besides yourself.’ In order to taste the full complete voluptuousness caused by the cries of the immature child, there was no necessity for a padded or undergroimd room. ‘ Here is a room where you

‘ Der JungfrauetUribvi, pp. 38-39. ' Ibid., p. 16.

[ 186 ]


will be quite safe. The house itself stands in its own grounds, the walls are thick, a double carpet covers the floor. The only window, which looks on the garden at the back, is doubly protected, first with shutters then with heavy curtains. You can lock the door and do what you like. The girl can shriek murder till all is blue but no sound will be heard. The servants will be far away at the other end of the house, I only will be about to see that all is quiet. If some means of stopping the cries is at hand, a cushion, a bed-cover or even a handkerchief, there is no danger at all. To many men the cries of pain of the tortured girl are the essence of their enjoyments’

In order to facilitate this abominable act for an impotent debauchee who no longer had strength to overcome the resistance of a powerful girl, the binding of the unfortunate child was often carried out. ‘ In order to oblige a rich client, who had so dissipated his vitality in debauchery and excesses, that none but very young girls could satisfy his exhausted senses, an exceedingly worthy lady undertook to bind a girl, of 14 or 15 years old, hand and foot to the four comers of the bed, so that any resistance, with the exception of her useless cries, would be impossible. Before it was finally decided to bind the girl, the lady of the house, a strong woman, placed her services gladly at the disposal of her client, holding the girl down forcibly while her rich patron carried out his desire. Even that was too much for him, and he requested that the lower part of the girl’s body should be strapped down. Tying down for the purpose of rape is not at all imusual in Half Moon Street and in Anna Rosenberg’s brothel in Liverpool*.’

How well organised down to the last detail this seduction

> Der Jungfrauentribut, pp. 21-22.

• Ibid., pp. 23-24.

[ 186 ]


traffic was in London, is shown by the fact that the brothels and procuresses had their OAvn doctors (sit venia verbo!), who had to supply so-called ‘ certificates of virginit}' ’ after a thorough examination of the girls in this respect. Stead bespoke one day at the house of the procuresses X. and Z. no less than five virgins, and relates in a lively manner the course the negotiations took, particularly in regard to the examination for virginity:

‘ The business was concluded, the advance payment handed over and the procuresses undertook to deliver the goods the following Saturday. At a certain place in the Marylebone Road I awaited the company at half-past four. A minute later I saw the women X. and Z. coming, but with only three girls. One was big, pretty and seemed to be about 16 years old; the others were younger with somewhat clumsy figures. Two of them were shop girls, the third was learning the trade of a dressmaker. The procuresses were full of profuse apologies. They had been to Highgate to make up the number of five virgins, but two of those in prospect could not go out that day. They would bring these on Monday without fail, and, indeed, to make up for loss of time, they undertook to bring three girls on Monday instead of two, altogether six virgins. We went in to the doctor’s. The girls, who did not know one another, and did not dare to speak to one another, were examined separately, making no objection. After the examination they signed a paper agreeing to their seduction. To the great surprise of the girls two of them failed to obtain the certificate of virginity. The doctor could not be sure that they were not virgins, yet they were not “virgo intacta” in the technical sense. I gave the two girls five shillings for their trouble in coming, paid X. and Z. their commission for the one genuine virgin, and went away with the following document in my pocket:

[ 187 ]


‘ “ St., London, W.

‘“17th June 1885.

‘ “ I hereby state that I have to-day examined D., sixteen years old, and confirmed her virginity.

‘ Nothing could have been simpler or more business-like than this deal, which differed from the usual method of procedure of the firm X. and Z. only in that the doctor’s examination took the place of seduction. Equipped with my scrap of paper, I could take my virgins to whom I liked. Last Friday morning they brought four young girls to the doctor; three were fourteen and one eighteen years old. The last was an assistant cook in one of the best-known hotels in the West End. The three younger girls were rejected by the doctor, only the eighteen-year-old received the certificate. “ Can the little rascals have been seen already! ’’ Mrs. Z. exclaimed in annoyance. “ It is always the young ones who cannot pass the examination.” In ten days I have had nine girls delivered to me, of which four received a certificate of virginity, whilst five were rejected^.’

The investigations of the Pall Mall Gazette revealed the astonishing fact that in London at the end of the nineteenth century a method was in use which was customary in the Middle Ages and up to the seventeenth century, neglected and rare in the eighteenth century and then revived. I mean the artificial restoration of lost virginity. Stead’s investigations showed that the sale of patched-up girls in London was quite a usual thing. Reading this part of the disclosures, one might imagine oneself taken back to the time of the Middle Ages.

Althoi^h in olden times in the Orient, and in classical days, such practices were carried on, the scholarly monks

• Der JungfrauerUribtU, pp. 65, 67.

[ 188 ]



and Arabian doctors of the Middle Ages first raised to a fine art the restoration of virginity. All later writers on this subject rely on Avicenna or Albertus Magnus and other representatives of scholastic medicine for their information. These medical scholars had drawn up a list of so many ‘ Signa vel probae virginitatis ’ that in the case of failure they were obliged to relinquish some of the methods by which they re-established the appearance of virginity, that is the concealment of the ‘ Signa corruptionis virginitatis’. I once extracted from the writings of the French doctor, Heinrich von Mondeville, published by J. Pagel, a typical collection of these methods, amongst which astringent plants, pieces of broken glass and leeches, or sponges or fish bladders soaked in blood and inserted in the vulva, etc., may be mentioned. This type of treatment was much resorted to during the whole of the Middle Ages. The writings of Albertus Magnus have been widely disseminated since the sixteenth century in volumes of extracts from the so-called Albertus Parvus (‘ Alberti Parvi Lucii Libellus de mirabilibus Naturae arcanis’), so that according to Dufour all the great ladies and gentlemen of tbe seventeenth century knew recipes for the restoration of virginity. In particular, the barbers and bath-keepers were skilled in this art, and no less the old prostitutes and procuresses. Venette mentions the steam from a little vinegar, in which has been thrown a red-hot iron or brick, an astringent decoction of acorns or of sloes, myrrh, Proven9al roses, cypress nuts, unguentum adstringens fernelii, water distilled from myrrh, etc., as means by which ‘ the normal female parts, now too wide open, may be drawn together and closed ’. Artificial uniting of the parts seems also to have been much used as a means of restoring virginity.

In the eighteenth century these practices were still general in aU fashionable brothels. In London, Charlotte Hayes


[ 189 ]


enjoyed a great reputation in this connection. In the Sirails de Londres it is told how the celebrated Don Juan, George Selwyn (see the third chapter), once at the brothel asked Hayes about the virginity of her nuns. Alderman Portsoken had told him that he had been surprised to find at the Hayes’ one night previously a genuine virgin. Charlotte Hayes, Selwyn relates, gave it as her opinion that a woman could lose her virginity 600 times and yet continue to pass as a virgin. Dr. O’Patrick had restored most satisfactorily her own thousand times lost virginity*.

England seemed to be the only country in Europe which could boast of the existence of these mediaeval malpractices within its borders. One finds it hard to believe that such things as are reported by Stead should have been possible at the end of the nineteenth century: ‘ When I was carrying out investigations in Ostend I became very uneasy on account of discoveries which were made by a trustworthy agent at the other end of the town. These related to a house which was kept by a seemingly highly respectable midwife, where children of panders were brought before being seduced in order that their virginity might be established, where after the seduction they were brought back to be “ patched up ”, and where abortions could be carried out. The existence of this house was no secret. It was well known in the trade, and my agent was directed to it without any trouble by a “ gay woman ” whose acquaintance

1 ‘ Que quant k THymen, elle avait toujours entendu dire que c’^tait un dieu, et que par consequent il ne faisait point partie de la formation de la femme; qu’elle hasardait done de dire, qu’elle avait maintenant dans son seminaire autant de virginites qu’il en fallait pour contenter toute la cour des Aldermans, et la Chambre des Ck^mmunes par-dessus la marche; qu’elle avait une personne, Mile Su . . y, arrivant justment de la Comedie avec le conseiller Pliant, qui, dans une semaine, avait fait trent-trois editions de virginalite: que Mile Su . . y, etant la fiUe d’un libraire, et ayant travailie sous Tinspection de son p^re, oonnaissait la valeur des eitions nouvelles ’ (Les SdraUs de Londres, p. 47).

[ 190 ]


he had opportunely made. The respectable old woman had doubtless another business of a less doubtful character, but in the trade her calling was unquestionably, in the first place, the certification of virginity, and in the second place the reparation of injuries caused by brutality, in which she possessed great skill and dexterity. She knew how these were done, but was powerless to prevent them; all she could do was to alleviate the pain and, so far as possible, repair the damages of debauchery for which she was not responsible nor was she able to control it. She would provide a virgin in order to oblige a client, or rather she delivered as a virgin a girl who had long taken leave of her virginity. The number of patched-up virgins which Madame Jeffries delivered to her aristocratic clientele in the neighbourhood of the Quadrant was regarded as one of the most remarkable sidelines in the business of the great dealer in human beings of Chelsea.’

The disclosures made by the Pall Mall Gazette, the most important of which have been reproduced in the foregoing, aroused tremendous excitement. The indignation in England was so great that the prosecution of the editorial staff of the paper was threatened, principally in order to prevent the publication of the names of those accused. Many meetings were held with this object, but the Government gave up the idea of prosecution and answered that they themselves would take steps to investigate the matter in conjunction with the police. In the meantime the PaU Mall Gazette demanded that a Commission should be set up, composed of persons of high standing, by which the truth of the facts revealed might be proved. This Commission sat from 11 in the morning tiU 5 in the evening of 29th July 1885, and its President announced afterwards that the following resolution had been passed:

[ 191 ]


‘ In the course of our enquiry we decided to set aside the chaises that have been brought against private persons, certain associations and the methods of the police. We confined ourselves to proving the existence of organisations illegally carrying on an immoral trade. Having carefully examined the witnesses and the evidence submitted to us, we have come to the conclusion that, apart from the accuracy of the details — ^for which we cannot vouch — ^the facts revealed by the PaU Mali Gazette are on the whole correct in their essentials.’ — Signed: Edward Benson, Archbishop of Canter- bury, A. Temple, Bishop of London, Cardinal Manning, Samuel Morley, M.P., and R. Reid, Q.C.^

After the enquiry there was a change over of popular feeling in favour of the Pall Mall Gazette, and a general crusade against this criminal traffic was demanded with the object of putting a permanent stop to it.

Hector France described very vividly the celebrated meeting which was held in Hyde Park at the end of August 1885, on the strength of the Pall Mall Gazette disclosures. It was one of the largest gatherings within memory. More than 250,000 people of both sexes and all ages and classes took part in it. From 5 o’clock on, on a Saturday afternoon, an enormous crowd of people streamed along Piccadilly to Hyde Park, in the midst of which was borne a large white banner with the inscription ‘ Honour the Pall Mall Gazette ’, whilst William Stead rode on a waggon in trimnph, through the crowd, who everywhere greeted bim with the enthusiastic cry ‘ Long life to Stead! ’ Each person carried a bouquet of white roses, the symbol of purity. To be sure, shoulder to shoulder with members of all the religious organisations were prostitutes in large numbers, making up to the men in a free and easy manner and with

^ Tamowaky) loc, cit,^ pp. 41-42.

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licentious coarseness. The effect of the religious and moral tracts which were distributed on this occasion was nullified by a pornographic journal The Devil, which was also distri- buted, and on the first page of which three girls in tights displayed their voluptuous charms. Speech after speech from men, and still more from women, continued into the night, and finally the following resolution was unanimously passed:

‘ The citizens of London declare their shame and indig- nation with regard to the evils which have been exposed.

‘ They declare through this meeting that they will support the authorities and wiU help them in the strict carrying out of the penal laws.

‘ It is the duty of every good citizen to look social and moral evils resolutely in the face, evils which are the cause of those appalling vices, the victims of which are their own daughters, in order that these evils may be stamped out*.’

A short time after this meeting there appeared in Lloyd’s News an article entitled ‘ A mother who is looking for her daughter ’. Stead and his companions were accused of having stolen, seduced and kidnapped the 13-year-old Eliza Armstrong. Stead published in the Poll Mall Gazette the particulars of his purchase of the little Eliza, for which he made use of the services of an experienced procuress, took on himself the whole responsibility for the matter, and travelled at once to England fixim Switzerland, where he then was.

Eliza Armstrong was, as Stead accurately described in the ‘ Disclosures of the PaU MaU Gazette ’, bought by him through a former prostitute named Jarett, examined by a midwife, Maury, as to her virginity, and drugged with chloroform. Stead was in the room with her, but did not

  • H. France, En PMct Court, pp. 18-27.



interfere with her in any way. She was then taken to Paris to be received into the Salvation Army there. Later, when much excitement over the case had been aroused, she was taken back to her parents, who were paid double the amount of the previously agreed sum. Notwithstanding, the ease against Stead and his associates, amongst whom was the ‘ General ’ of the Salvation Army, Mr. Booth, was proceeded with zealously, just as if the disclosers of these atrocities were themselves the greatest criminals, whilst the infamous procuress was allowed to proceed peacefully with her horrible work. Stead and his fellow accused, with the exception of Booth, after a long trial full of incidents grave and gay, were sentenced to several months’ imprisonments

On 12th January 1886 Stead, at the expiry of his sentence, was released from prison. A great meeting was held in his honour in Exeter Hall the same evening.

The disclosures of the Pall Mall Gazette and the perhaps too zealous investigations of Stead, did no damage at all to the London traffic in girls. At l&rst, probably as the result of the uproar which was caused, the price of living wares was somewhat increased. This crisis, however, soon passed over, the business went quietly on its way, and it was possible to say that ‘ the market has been lively and the demand and number of orders have increased: the supply of “ patched up ” girls exceeds the demand^ ’.

^ See H. France, loc. cit,, pp. 28-90 (‘ Le Cas d’Elisa Armstrong’).

  • Tamowsky, loc. cit.^ p. 43. H. France teUs of the case of a certain

Louisa Hart, an infamous young procuress, who enticed young girls from the street into her house and gave them over to old men for deflora- tion. (En Police Court, pp. 212-220.)

[ 194 ]



The relation of prostitution to crime was closer in England than in other countries because English prostitution enjoyed a greater measure of freedom than was possible else- where. In England the good of the community was sacri- ficed to the freedom of the individual. Whilst the spiritual and physical health of the individual was more carefully regulated than his sexual activities, the irregular sex life of society, as one might appropriately term prostitution, could never be kept within bounds nor reduced without causing a great deal of harm, but it could not be allowed to develop free and unhindered. It was in point of fact regarded favourably by the police.

In order to understand the circumstances we must bring to mind the legal inviolability of domestic authority granted by the Habeas Corpus Act, under which the English police dare only enter a dwelling when a crime had been committed or they were authorised by a magistrate’s warrant. If it was desired to proceed against a brothel keeper, the law required that two tax-paying plaintiffs living in the same parish should make their complaints to a constable or a tax collector, on which they would be taken before a Justice of the Peace, where they would be obliged to pay £20 security for the costs of prosecution and £50 for the collection of evidence for the trial. Only then would the authorities issue an order for the arrest of the defendant. The plaintiffs

[ 196 ]


appeared before the court, which set the defendant free against his promise to appear at his trial to defend himself.

At the trial the plaintiffs must furnish circumstantial evidence. If the defendant was condemned, each of the plaintiffs had the right to an indemnity of £10; if he were acquitted, they lost their deposits. As evidence, it was necessary that one person should declare before the court that he had committed an act of immorality in the brothel in question. It can be imagined how difficult it was to obtain such evidence. If the defendant feared condemnation, he left the parish where he was accused, whereupon the trial had to be discontinued and the defendant who had removed to another parish had to be proceeded against once more by residents therein in the same way. If the condemnation of a brothel keeper finally resulted, he was given only ten days’ imprisonment^.

This legal protection and the great measure of individual freedom gave a imique character to the social position of prostitution in England. It might be said that English prudery tried to regard the situation as non-existent and to veil its nature, insomuch as the prostitute is no prostitute before the world. ‘ Before the law, the evidence of a prostitute, whatever her class, is as good as any other.’ These anomalies show that there is difficulty in reconciling ideals and principles with actual facts, which is a common situation*.

^ Hiigel, loc. cit., pp. 146-146.

  • Archenholtz, England, Vol. II, p. 249, The authoress of the Memoirs

of a Singer says with regard to the relatively good social position of the London prostitute: ‘ The street girls, although they are called prostitutes in the police reports, are at the same time not such social pariahs as on the continent, and they are better protected by the law than elsewhere; if they are insulted by anyone, or called dishonourable names, the offender is punished; they are also not so shunned as a class as elsewhere, and for this reason they do not call themselves prostitutes, but independent ladies.’ From the Memoirs of a Singer, Vol. II, pp. 196-197.

[ 196 ]


Another reason for the unrestricted character of liln glish prostitution was the open leniency of the police who, in some w&ya, played the role actually of official bullies to the prostitutes. In the eighteenth century complaints were made about these corrupt conditions. The police then consisted for the most part of the unreliable, sleepy ‘parochial watchmen ’, the ‘ night constables ’, whom the people jokingly caUed ‘ Charlies ’. The modem London police, however, founded by Sir Robert Peel in 1828 , had on the whole preserved the old patriarchal attitude towards prostitution. There still existed, as Stead termed it, an ‘ unnatural alliance ’ between prostitutes and police^.

In theory the policeman certainly possesses no power over the house of ill fame. Though if he likes he can make it almost impossible for an open house to do business.

‘ “The police are the brothel keeper’s best friend ”, said a former proprietor to me ’, wrote Stead.

‘ “ In what way? ”

‘ “ Because they shut their eyes. And the brothel keepers are the best friends of the police, because they pay them.”

‘ “ How much have you paid the police? ” I asked him.

‘ “Three pounds a week whether the times were good or

bad, ” he answered, “and my establishment was only a small one.”

‘ In Edinburgh I received the report of a missionary, who told me that he knew of a case in that town of a gentleman rescuing a girl from the hands of a policeman who had continually threatened her with arrest until she finally acceded to his wishes. He very rightly concluded that for this one known case there were probably hundreds of unknown ones. Many policemen are bachelors and live in barracks

^ It must be pointed out that the days of Stead only are here referred

to, i.e. the 1880 ’s, and that Scotland Yard of to-day has nothing to do with the * unnatural alliance ’ here referred to.

[ 197 ]


like soldiers, and to them are entrusted the unconditional control of the streets, which after all are the drawing-rooms of the poor^.’

Hector France mentions more than once the bribery of the police by prostitutes*.

In view of all this it is not surprising that prostitution and crime were nowhere so intimately related as in London, where robbery, theft and murder were practised under the eye of the police and went unpunished. The danger of London prostitution is an ever-recurring theme in all accounts of the morals of the English capital.

No less dangerous in London were the conditions in the brothels. The author of London and Paris reports: ‘ The disorderly conduct of the paid prostitutes is so gross that one can hardly speak of it with propriety; it is therefore no wonder that such a fertile source of evil of every kind is so seldom referred to in public. For instance, in Castle Street, Oxford Street, there is hardly a house where from early morning till night-time, it is not possible to see the most revolting spectacles. In particular, there is a house there kept by an old sinner which is remarkable on account of its monstrous licentiousness; to go by appearances, however, this should soon cause its downfall. As many stories are told privately about this house as about an enchanted castle. My gossip had the following at first hand. Yesterday at midnight, he said, a man was thrown out of the window by three women. He fell in the gutter and was half dead before the night watchman discovered him and raised the alarm. The man was drunk, had let himself be enticed into the murderous den and apparently would not pay what he was asked. A quarrel followed and finally the rough

  • Der JungfrauetUribta, pp. 63-66.

• L«s Va-nu-Pied» de. Lcmdres, p. 10.

[ 198 ]


handling^.’ R. Cruikshank has drawn a similar typical brothel scene. A man sits between two prostitutes, one of whom drinks with him while the other takes his money and watch, handing them to a bully hidden in the background. The accompanying text says that the victim will later, completely drunk, be put outside, where he will wake up the next morning*.

In earlier times the inexperienced provincial immediately on his arrival in London became the victim of rogues and prostitutes. Macaulay gives an exquisite description of the arrival of one of these pitiable ‘ greenhorns ’ in the British metropolis.

‘ Wheti a landowner from Lincolnshire or Shropshire appeared in Fleet Street, it was as easy for the populace to tell where he came from as if he were a Turk or a Lascar. His dress, his gait, his speech, the way in which he gazed at the shops, stumbled in the gutters, ran up against sack carriers, and stood imder the gutters of the roofs, showed him to be a prime subject for the operations of the practical jokers and rogues. Bullies pushed him into the gutter, hackney coachmen bespattered him from head to foot, thieves investigated at their ease the great pockets of his riding coat, while he stood entranced at the gUtter of the Lord Mayor’s Show.* Swindlers, still sore from a flogging, introduced themselves to him and appeared tO him the most respectable and worthy gentlemen he had ever seen. Painted women, the off-scourings of Lewkner Lane and Whetstone Park, represented themselves to him as countesses and noble ladies*.’

' London and Paris. Weimar, 1801. Vol. VIII, pp. 171-172.

  • Doings in London, p. 81.
  • Macaulay, he. cit., Vol. II, p. 101. It is characteristic that moat English

descriptions of the morals of London are in the form of the enlightenment of a provincial by one bom with a knowledge of aU the secrets of the capital. Such is the' Midnight Spy, Ned Ward’s The London Spy, Doings

[ 199 ]


Amoi^t the criminaJis and vagabonds connected with prostitution the beggars and receivers should next be men- tioned. The London beggars were perhaps the greatest swindlers and cheats in the world. Since the time of the Middle Ages they had their headquarters in the (now rebuilt) neighbourhood of St. Giles and were a well-organised band, which was again divided into different classes, and had its own languages, the so-called ‘ cant ’ or ‘ slang ’. Every day these beggars divided up into single small groups scattered throughout the town. The beggars of St. Giles were once famed as ‘ men of the world ’ amongst the London populace, and carried on regular orgies with the prostitutes, giving themselves up to the most debauched immorality. As Urbanus and Fidelio in the MidnigM Spy draw near to the vicinity of St. Giles, they hear from afar singing and dancing and learn that here the ‘ Beggars’ Club ’ of St. Giles holds its nightly revels; the members during the day received from charitable rich folk the means by which they could spend the night in revellings and excesses^. Archenholtz, too, mentions this jovial ‘Beggars’ Club’ of St. Giles*.

There was also a ‘ Beggars’ School ’ in which an old woman instructed children in the art and the secrets of begging. This ‘ Academy ’ was primarily intended for girls*.

The receivers, of which Colqhoun in his time counted 3,000, were also in league with the prostitutes, indeed thieves often brought stolen goods into the brothels*.

in London, etc. Richard King also, in his Fravda of London, is specially concerned for the welfare of the poor ‘ greenhorns whom he cannot warn sufficiently against the great number of dangers and rascals of the capital.

> The Midnight Spy, p. 33.

•Archenholtz, England, Vol. I, p. 170.

• Doinga in London, p. 119. King William IV was supposed, as Prince of Wales, to have once been present at a ‘ Beggars’ Camival ’ in St. Giles.

• Und., p. 230.



The ‘ trappers ’ worked with a ‘ big-bellied ’ harlot for the purposes of their swindling and blackmailing operations. One of these girls, noticeably big in the body, would with the help of the ‘trapper’ and his accomplices, who act as wit- nesses, get hold of a yoimg man, by whom she would pretend to be pregnant. A policeman was called and the prostitute swore that the man in question was the father of her child, on which there was nothing for him to do but to pay up if he wished to avoid the most unpleasant consequences. Richard King says that the ‘ trappers ’ were in particularly close alliance with the brothels of Covent Garden, Drury Lane and Hedge Lane, and were set by the harlots, bullies, ‘ setters ’ and pickpockets to watch any particularly promising prey. Should the person in question be found sitting one day in a public place, the two ‘ trappers ’ would join him and start the following conversation: ‘ Jack, that is the gentleman who at such and such a time did so and so to me.’ ‘ Yes, I recognise him quite well. I will give him a good thrashing.’ A third scoundrel now comes on the scene and proposes to the gentleman that he should pay these youths money to hush up the matter, as they are capable of committing any crime. He whispers this quietly in his ear. If he refuses the third man begins to argue and there is a quarrel. A crowd collects and often the gentleman gets the worst of it. If he lets himself be persuaded to pay hush money, the trappers have him safe and continue to extort money from him by means of letters and messages which they send him. Nearly always, however, it is the regular fiequenters of brothels who fall into the hands of these rogues, as they do not dare to tackle persons they know nothing about*.

Child substitutors were nearly always recruited fiom the procuresses’ amd prostitute’ class. The author of Doings in

> R. King, loe. dt., pp. 89-91.

[ 201 ]


London relates the following as a characteristic story of the methods of these infamous individuals: ‘ A young “ green- horn ”, fresh from the country, met a street girl in the Haymarket, who in a friendly manner offered him a lodging for the night. He willingly agreed and accompanied her, after much feasting, to her dwelling. No. 2, Union Court, Orchard Street, Westminster, where they spent the night together.

When he awoke in the morning the youth was very much surprised to find that the girl had disappeared and in her place a young baby was fast asleep in the bed. He discovered further that she had taken with her his stockings, with their contents of thirteen sovereigns and some silver. In his dilemma he called the owner of the house, but no one could give him any enlightenment. He protested and swore that the child did not belong to him and that he would not have anything to do with it, and after a stormy scene ran out of the house without stockings to inform the police, who pretended to take steps to find the girl. He was obliged to return home the greater part of the way on foot, in a sad frame of mind, thinking of his foolishness and repenting of it at his leisured’

London was particularly ill-famed for the huge number of pickpockets, both men and women, to be found there. King’s belief that there were more pickpockets in London than in the whole of the rest of Europe held good for many years*. These criminals were mostly connected in some way with prostitution. Prostitutes were nearly all most skilful pickpockets and generally had male assistance in their thefts. Robbery in the brothels, and also in the dwellings of the independent prostitutes, was an everyday occurrence in

  • Doings in London, p. 91.
  • B. King, he. cit., p. 61.

[ 202 ]


London*. As many as thirty or forty prostitutes, dressed as fine ladies, often managed to get into large gatherings in the eighteenth century, especially masked balls, and robbed the guests to their hearts’ content. In the year 1795, indeed, on the King’s birthday, a common prostitute smuggled herself into a Com^ baU and took away valuable property to the amount of 1,700 pounds sterling*. Mori? tells of his visit to Vauxhall Gardens: ‘ As all the people came out in a crowd, there was a great cry: “Take care of your pockets!” which meant that a pickpocket in the throng had had a lucky haul*.’

The last class of London criminals to be considered is that of the professional burglars, robbers and murderers, the ‘ outbreakers ’, ‘ footpads ’ and ‘ highwaymen ’. Whilst the first belonged to the lowest bullies’ class, the ‘ highway- man ’ was regarded as the aristocrat of criminals. ‘ To ensure his success and safety it was necessary for the highway robber to be a bold and skilful rider, and for his manners and his external appearance generally to be those of the OAvner of a fine steed. For this reason he generally led an aristocratic life, appeared in fashionable coffee and gambling houses, and laid wagers with prominent men at horse races. Sometimes he was in any case a man of good family and breeding; there was, and perhaps still is, a romantic admira- tion for some of the freelances of this profession. The common man eagerly swallowed the tales of his wildness and dexterity, of the occasional proofs of his generosity and good-heartedness, of his love relationships, of the wonders of his riding, of his desperate fights and of his manly bearing before the court of justice and on the way to the gallows. The highwajTnan was foimd on every main country road;

' See similar cases in Doings in London, p. 91, etc.

• Tableau descriptif de Londres, Vol. I, pp. 121-122; Doings in London, p. 153.

• Moriz, he. cit., p. 36.

1203 ]


the waste land in particular, through which ran the main roads in the vicinity of London, was infested by robbers of this kind. Hounslow Heath on the Great West Road and Finchley Common on the Great North Road were perhaps the most famous of these districts^.’

One of the most celebrated of the highwaymen wae Claude Duval*, a one-time French page to the Duke of Richmond in the seventeenth century, notable for his gallantry to pretty ladies; on account of his attacks on travellers, Holloway between Islington and Highgate was for a long time imsafe. After his death a street there was named ‘ Duval’s Lane

‘It was told how Claude Duval took to the woods, was the leader of a terrible gang and had the honour of being cited in a King’s Proclamation as the foremost amongst known criminals; how he, at the head of his band, held up the carriage of a lady from which a booty of 400 poimds was taken, how he only kept 100 poimds for himself and promised to give the rest back to the fair owner if she would dance a Coranto with him on the heath; how his bewitching gallantry won the hearts of the women, how his skill in the use of the sword and pistol made him the terror of all men; how at the end of 1670 he was overpowered when full of sweet wine, and how ladies of the highest rank visited him in prison and pleaded for his life® . Equally loved by the ladies was M’Lean, the “ fashionable highwayman ” in the first half of the eighteenth century. Horace Walpole was overtaken and robbed in Hyde Park by this man on a November night in 1749*.’

‘ Macaulay, he. cit., Vol. II, pp. 112, 113.

  • A full account of him is given in the chapter ‘ Notorious Highway-

men ’ in the Romance of London by John Timbs, pp. 241-269. 1^ alk>

J. Bodenberg, Studienreisen in England (‘Instructive Excursions in England ’). Leipzig, 1872. Pp. 285-293.

' Macaulay, he. cit., Vol. II, p. 114.

  • The Romance of London, p. ^9.

[ 204 ]


The close relationship between the criminals of London and prostitution is shown particularly clearly by the fact that in the ‘ Thieves’ Clubs ’ and the thieves’ quarters, prostitutes play a prominent part. Archenholtz says that girls (‘ whose beautiful form is intended by nature to be honoured ’) belong to most of the robber gangs. During the daytime these girls acted as spies, at night as assistants. The Parish of St. Giles had many thieves’ clubs, i.e., houses where the thieves congregated in large numbers and held licentious orgies with their prostitutes. There was a particularly Hi-famed public-house in St. Giles which bore the inscription ‘ Here you may get drunk for a penny, dead drunk for twopence, and get straw for nothing ’. In the cellars of these houses men and women held debauches day and nights The ‘ Blood Bowl House ’ in Smithfield was another of the same kind, which Hogarth represents in the ninth number of Industry and Idleness. There was a beer-house in the cellar which was a meeting-place for the most abandoned male and female rogues.

In those days the two main headquarters of London criminals were the ‘ Golden Lane ’ district and that of Whitefriars. Of Golden Lane, Stype writes as early as 1667: ‘ Of no great accoxmt either for buildings or inhabitants*.’ Whitefiriars, on the borders of the City and the Temple, sheltered in every house, from the cellar to the roof, rogues and infamous creatures whom ‘ women even worse than they had followed into their retreats* ’.

The gambling houses were also centres of crime and prostitution in London in the eighteenth century, and were at that time at the height of their prosperity. Sexual activity is often combined with gambling, as is anything

' Archenholtz, England, Vol. I, p. 173.

• Wheatley, ioc. cit,, Vol. II, p. 121.

• Macaulay, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 93.

P [ 206 ]


which will induce a state of high nervous excitement. C. J. Weber remarks: ‘ Play leads to other excesses — ^little good comes from easily got money; one. is in the mood for pleasure, and he who loses seeks to drown his care — and so takes refuge in both wine and women!^ ’

Card sharpers and big gamblers were very glad to make use of the services of pretty women in order to heighten the attractions of the game, and to console unlucky players for their losses and encourage them to lay fresh wagers. The French emigrants in London not only increased the number of gambling dens to a considerable extent, but also introduced to them a large and dubious female element*. ‘ Here at the gaming tables many ladies ape the sirens of old times. They use the influence of their beauty to lead men to ruin*.’

According to Colqhoun there were at the end of the eighteenth century about 2,000 professional gamblers, sharpers and ‘ black-feet ’ in London, and in Westminster alone 40 gambling houses, where Faro-banks were held the whole day long and ‘ Rouge et Noir ’ and other games of chance were played. From this place five ladies of fashion received for each ‘ rout ’ 50 pounds and also one-eighth of the winnings. Seven gambling houses were supported by subscription, six admitted only their own clients, and three were open to any stranger or debauchee. Wine and food were to be had in any quantity in all*. In addition, in nearly all public places of amusement and at balls there waa gambling. Archenholtz says: ‘ Never was gambling so general in England. In very many prominent houses

  • Carl Julius Weber, Deutschland, oder Briefe tines in Deutschland

reisenden Deutscher (‘ Germany, or Letters from a German travelling in Germany ’). Third edition. Stuttgart. Vol. IV, p. 146.

' Colqhoun, loc. cit., p. xUii.

  • Archenholtz, Annalen, Vol. XI, p. 422.
  • Colqhoun, loc. cit., p. xxiz.

[ 206 ]


assemblies and balls were held simply for the purpose of gambling^.’

Some of the ill-famed gambling dens which existed up to the middle of the nineteenth century were those in St. James’s Street, Waterloo Place and Park Place. Amongst the worst in the eighteenth century was ‘ Mordington’s a gambling house in the vicinity of Covent Garden, whose owner was a certain woman named Mordington, and which was referred to by the Middlesex jury in the year 1744 as ‘ a place of debauchery, idleness and evil* This gambling house was closely connected with the brothel kept by Molly King, which was usually visited by players from the house*.

Mention should also be made here of the remarkable ‘ Blasphemous clubs ’, clubs ‘ for special pornographic purposes which combined sexual excesses with atrocities of all kinds. These were gatherings, mostly of men, but also of women and men, who aimed at suitably Combining immorality and outrage® . Smollett lays the responsibility for the demoralisation and depravity of his time to a large extent on these clubs*. Macaulay says that thieves and robbers were hardly so dangerous to peaceful citizens as the members of these clubs, who, like the sadists, combined crime with excess.

These ‘ blasphemous societies ’ originated in the time of the Restoration. It was then a favourite pastime ‘ for licentious young gentlemen to go about the streets creating an uproar, breaking windows, overturning sedan chairs,

^ Archenholtz, AnnaleUy Vol. V, p. 337.

  • Wheatley, loc. cit. , Vol. II, p. 563.
  • Sirails de Londres, pp. 3-4.
  • With regard to these, so far as sexual perversities are concerned, see

Chapters VI and VII.

  • ‘ They added blasphemy to riot.* — J. Timbs, Clubs and Club Life in

London (1872), p. 38.

  • lbid.

[ 207 ]


thrashing peaceful men, and importuning pretty women with their coarse pleasantries Since the Restoration various different bands of these tyrants had ruled over the streets. Pepys mentions in his Diary the ‘Bailers’ of this time: ‘ Harry Killigrew explained to me what the latterly much-discussed society, the “ BaUer”, really is. It consists of some young fools amongst whom he himself is included and of Lady Bennet with her women; they indulge in all imaginable immoralities and excesses and dance there completely naked^’

Somewhat later, in the time of Queen Anne, the Mohocks or Mohawks led their crazy existence. They dragged people into the streets at night time, beat them up and stabbed them, cut pieces off them and ‘ roasted ’ others. The most barbaric members of the Mohocks Club were called ‘ Tumblers ’. They stood girls and women on their heads. Yet other imique outrages were practised by the ‘ Sweaters ’. Six of them surroimded the victim and placed the points of their swords against him. Those ‘ Sweaters ’ to whom the back of the attacked man was turned, pricked him with their swords on ‘ that part where the schoolboy is punished and when he turned round for pain, the other ‘ Sweaters ’ repeated this ‘ pricking operation ’. In No. 332 of the Spectator an adventure of this kind was described. Another wild pastime of the Mohocks was to put women in casks and let them roU down Ludgate or Snow Hill.

The principle of the ‘ Bold Bucks ’ was to act in ‘ flaming lust ’ in the same manner as their animal namesakes. They dragged all females indiscriminately into the streets — mothers and grandmothers as well as daughters. Even their own sisters feared their lust and avoided their vicinity.

‘ MaoauW, loc. cit., Vol. II, pp. 90-01. J. Timbe, loe. eit,, p. 33, mentions ‘ Mums ’, ‘ Nickers * Hswkabites ’.

[ 208 ]


‘ Blind bold love ’ was their motto, and they behaved like the beasts after which they were named^.

The ‘ Hell-fire Club the head of which was the Duke of Wharton, was very celebrated in the first half of the eighteenth century. It specialised in more ‘ transcendental wickedness ’ in that its members used the ritual of religious cults at their gatherings; these were held in small taverns, and the ceremonies were carried out with ‘ the greatest regularity ’ and with ‘ Obscenities, curses, blasphemies ’ *. According to Archenholtz’ description it must have been a sort of ‘ Satan’s Club ’, and probably celebrated ‘ black masses He said: ‘ A few years ago a society was formed, the object of which was to make fun of all religions. They called it the Hell-fire Club. Their assembly hall was turned into a sort of temple in which stood an altar where they prayed in secret to the devil. Every gathering of members of this hellish Order began with an invocation, entreating the invisible help of Satan’s godhead. The well-known Lord Sandwich and many other prominent Britons were members of this peculiar club, which is however done away with* ’. Arthur Dinaux says that the Hell-fire Club was a company of rouis who, unconcerned with politics, employed their time in eating and drinking and enjoying life per fas et nefas*.

The Hell-fire Club became so mischievous that a Bill for its suppression was brought in in the Upper House, during the discussion of which the Earl of Peterborough declared that he stood for a parliamentary king but not for a parliamentary religion, and the Duke of Wharton, with an old family bible in his hand, tried to belittle the chaiges made against the club*.

> Malcolm, loc. eit., Vol. I, p. 264.

  • Ibid., p. 265.
  • Arohe^oltz, England, Vol. I, p. 279.
  • Arthur Dinaux, Lee Soeiitie Badinee. Paris, 1867. Vol. I, p. 319.
  • J. Timbe, loe. eU., p. 38.

[ 209 ]


In March 1788 a club was discovered with the significant name of the ‘ Cock and Hen Club ‘ Under this title says Archenholtz, ‘ licentious creatures gathered together in the parish of Clerkenwell in the northern district of the capital. The club had a male and a female president. Here unbridled excesses were carried on, disturbing the neighbours, and after much difficulty fifteen constables succeeded in raiding the club. There they found 157 persons of both sexes, mostly hopelessly drunk, who defended themselves with sticks, tongs and shovels, but were overpowered. Most of them then threw themselves out of the window or off the roof, but sixty were captured and taken to prison.’

The most fashionable of all the clubs of this kind which were carried on in distinguished circles was the ‘ Order of St. Francis of Medmenham Abbey ’, so called after the founder.

He had studied exhaustively in Italy the commxmities of monks and nuns which seemed to him to go so much against nature and reason, and after he returned to England he decided to foimd a burlesque institution in the name of Saint Francis which would clearly demonstrate the absurdity of the cloister and would be the home not of asceticism but of happy jollity and unrestrained sociability. He therefore associated himself with several other prominent men of the world with this end in view. They rented a small island in the Thames near Hampton, built a fine house containing many comfortable rooms, a library, a music room, a gaming room, etc., and called it Medmenham Abbey. The company spent several months here in the summer, and so that Adam should not be alone, it was incumbent on every member to bring with him a lady of ‘ lively, easy and agreeable charac- ter’. Opulent dinners were given there, at which the wine conduced much to the enlivenment of the company, and after which the ladies usually withdrew with their chosen.

[ 210 ]


The talk during the meal was transparently licentious and full of double meanings, increasing the excitement of the company. A special dress was worn with great piety by both male and female ‘Franciscans’. Reception into the Order took place in a special chapel, with peals of bells and music, before twelve ‘ knights to whom the candidates made their confession of faith and swore fealty^ So long as the ladies stayed in Medmenham Abbey they regarded themselves as the legitimate wives of the monks, and each monk took care not to disturb the honeymoon of the others. In order that a woman should not be discovered there by her husband, father or other acquaintance, these unique priestesses of Venus arrived masked, passed all the monks in review, and only unmasked when they were sure that there was no danger. Otherwise they could at once with- draw unhindered. At these gatherings of the monks and nuns of Medmenliam Abbey, all ‘ forms of physical and platonic love ’ were tried out, and the conversation was often so obscene and licentious that the ladies used their fans to hide their blushes, and very often made the pretence of shyness an excuse to ‘ retire for a time with their lovers ’. Particularly noteworthy was the fact that this pious cloister availed itself of the services of midwives and doctors to a great extent. In certain cases the ladies, when they thought it necessary, could retire for a time from the world, and in Medmenham Abbey contribute to the increase of the population. The children resulting from these unions were ‘ sons and daughters of the Holy Francis ’ and were brought up at Medmenham Abbeys.

' John Wilkes indulged in a rough joke at the admission of Jemmy Twitcher (Lord Sandwich). See W. F. Rae. Wilkes, Sheridan, Fox, the Opposition under George the Third. London, 1874. P. 58.

2 Les Sirails de Loudres, pp. ix-xv.

[ 211 ]



The oldest ‘ Rescue Houses ’ for prostitutes were in France, where Archbishop William as early as the year 1226 founded the ‘ Maison des Filles-Dieu ’, towards which King Louis the Holy gave a considerable sum on condition that 200 girls should be taken in. In 1490 a monk, Jean Tisserand, founded the ‘ Maison des FUles-p^nitentes The first ‘ Magdalen Establishment ’ was erected in 1618 by a merchant, Robert de Montry^.

In England the ‘ Magdalen Institutions ’ or ‘ Asylums ’ have only been in existence since the eighteenth century.

The oldest is the celebrated Magdalen Hospital, which is still in existence, and which in the year 1768 was founded by the unfortunate Court chaplain (who ended on the gallows), Dr. William Dodd, its first home being in Prescot Street, Goodman’s Fields. Horace Walpole visited it fix>m North- umberlandHousewitha large party shortly after it was opened on 27th January 1760, and thus writes about it: ‘ Prince Edward, Colonel Brudenel, his groom, Lady Northumberland, Lady Mary Coke, Lady Carlisle, Miss Pelham, Lady Hertford, Lord Beauchamp, Lord Huntingdon, Mr. Bowman and I. . . . The Magdalens sang a hymn, you cannot think how

> Dufour, loc. cit. Hiigel, loc. cit., p. 219.

[ 212 ]


beautifully. . . . Dr. Dodd, the unfortunate minister, preached in the French manner, very eloquent and stirring. When closing, he turned to His Royal Highness, whom he addressed as “ Most Illustrious Prince ”, and begged his protection, and I suggested to the “ illustrious one” that he should ask for the sermon to be printed*.

In the year 1772 the Magdalen Hospital was removed to St. George’s Fields. At that time a very interesting de- scription of it appeared in the periodical London and Paris aa follows: ‘ If you go out over Blackfriars Bridge, after about half-an-hour, you come on the right-hand side to the Hospital of this name for repentant sinners. . . . London has amongst other virtues, the merit of trying to reduce the number of these hindrances (to betterment), although only a few amongst the many “ women of the town ” make use of the philanthropic establishment at Magdalen House. Admission is obtained on a written petition only. As there are many amongst these unfortunate women whb are of good family and upbringing, a distinction has been made between them, so that the better sort will not be frightened away, and these are put together, as also those of the lower class. Each one does a certain amount of work, and what she earns from it, in accordance with the decision of the committee for the time being, is added to the small capital which is given to her on leaving, so that she may be able to support herself. It is left entirely to her own choice as to what she does in this direction, and the sale of the articles is arranged by certain people outside the establishment. The women are treated with the greatest consideration and kindness, so that no unpleasant thoughts of prison may be connected with the house. After three years they often go into service or return to their parents.

  • Walpok’t Letters to Oeorge Montagu, Vol. Ill, p. 282. Quoted

according to Wheatley, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 4S4.

[ 213 ]


‘ On admission, the woman is required to sign the rules which are to be observed, and she engages either to pay a yearly sum of £10 for board, lodging and necessaries, or to stay in the hostel for three years; the Board has power to discharge anyone should it think fit. In any case, no female who has once been admitted may leave the house without a permit from the Superintendent. Each one has her own bed and locker, of which she keeps the key herself. In many rooms there are small cabinets or alcoves, which as a reward for good behaviour are allotted to the best of the inmates, so that in their leisure hours they may be alone. Their real names are written in the register, but they prefer to be known by fictitious names. No reference is made to their former way of life, and the slightest hint of it even is forbidden. In the institution they are all dressed alike in light grey uniform; their other clothing is equally simple and extraordinarily clean; on the whole their appearance must be very attractive. A young man who had the opportunity of seeing all the Magdalens assembled together could hardly describe the effect made on him by the sight of so many attractive women, whose simple clothes, modesty proper to the place, serious cloister-like demeanour, and consciousness of guilt, lent them an irresistible, winning charm. He felt, on thinking it over afterwards, that the forms, faces and spiritual characteristics he had seen there must melt the cold heart of any conscientious judge and move him to acquit the beautiful sinners unconditionally.

‘ The life is strenuous and regular. Excess and licentious conversation is punished with arrest and forfeiture of wages.

‘ And what use is made of this kindly philanthropic insti- tution? Published reports state that from 1768, when it was founded, to Christmas 1786, no less than 2,471 women had been admitted. Of this number 300, accustomed to an independent life, could not tolerate the restrictions of the



community and were obliged to leave; 46 came either because they were out of their minds or had incurable diseases; 60 died; 52 never came back to the establishment fix)m the hospitals where they had been sent for treatment; 338 were dismissed for various faults and disorderly behaviour, but 1,608 were either sent back to their parents improved(?), or they married, or took up some useful calling^.’

The other principal institutions for repentant prostitutes in London were the Lock Asylum, foimded in 1787 for girls who had left the hospital of the same name, and admitting 18 to 20 persons; the ‘ London Female Penitentiary ’ in PentonviUe, founded in 1807, which took in 93 girls; the Guardian Society, which was founded in 1812 for the admission of 31 prostitutes; the ‘ Maritime Penitent Refuge ’ for saDors’ prostitutes, which was founded in 1829; and further the ‘ British Penitent Female Refuge ’, the ‘ Female Mission South London Penitentiary ’, etc.®

According to Ryan, from the foundation of the first five Magdalen Hospitals till 1838, about 11,000 persons altogether were admitted, whilst during the same time four million were submerged in prostitution! During the same period 462 million pounds was spent in the pursuit of excesses, and not the tenth part in the reduction of them®.

Alongside the Magdalen Houses were the Foundling Hos- pitals, of which there was only one in London. At the end of the eighteenth century it could take in 550 foimdlings. But from each mother, who was obliged to legitimatise it, only one child was taken, in order not to encourage immorality*.

^ London and Paris. Weimar, 1799. Vol. Ill, pp. 110-116. Most of the girls when they were discharged were not yet twenty years old. See The Picture of Londmi, 1818, p. 209, where there is also a description of this old Magdalen house.

• Ryan, loc. cit., p. 127. Hiigel, Uk. ciL, p. 220.

» Ryan, loc. cif., p. 187.

  • London and Paris^ Vol. XII, p. 237.



In connection with these institutions there have always been in England, and especially in London, many so-called ‘ Morality Societies which exist for the suppression of the evil of prostitution and its accompanying vice.

As early as the beginning of the eighteenth century there was a ‘ Society for the Reformation of Manners The Bishop of London preached for it in the year 1726 against the excesses and immorality of the masked balls*. ‘ The Society for the Suppression of Vice,’ founded in 1802, became of considerable importance. The philanthropist, Wilberforce, states the aim of this society in his preface to the ‘ Report of the Society for the Suppression of Vice

The minimum annual subscription was one guinea. The aims of the institution were:

1. Prevention of the secularising of Sunday.

2. Obeying the precepts of the Scriptures.

3. Suppression of obscene books and pictures.

4. Supervision and extermination of open houses.

5. Taking of measures against fortune tellers, male and


So far as the fourth point is concerned, the Society does not appear to have been very successful. From 1802 to 1817 eleven brothels in all were suppressed through the ‘ Society for the Suppression of Vice in the year 1837 it was only able, in spite of all its efforts, to obtain the legal suppression

^ A modem author criticises these societies very sharply: ‘ He belonged to a self- constituted Society of National Purity, which rather helped to spread unclean practices and create impure thoughts ; as, for the rest, is the natural tendency of all such Associations. These men sometimes took upon themselves to apply the necessary correction or antidote, and the world at large would be indeed startled did it know of the impure punishments inflicted in its name and for its social purification’ (Raped in the Raihvay^ p. 177). It is indeed possible that doubtful elemento were sometimes smuggled into these societies and, imder the cover of the fight against vice, carried out their unsavoury projects.

■ H. D. Traill, Social England, London, 1896. Vol. V, p. 141.

[ 216 ]


of 18 out of the 2-3,000 brothels in London^. A clearer example could not be found of the folly of attempts to suppress prostitution by force.

In May 1836 the ‘ London Society for the Protection of Young Females and Prevention of Juvenile Prostitution ’ started its activities. It received much support, especially from the higher ranks of the clergy*.

In the year 1847 Naval Lieutenant Blackmore associated with a City Missionary, Mr. John Vanderkiste, in a ‘ coura- geous effort to save or improve a handful of these victims of battle ’. He founded, with his own money and with the support of many friends, two houses for the admission and care of unfortunate girls, the so-called ‘ Female Temporary Homes ‘ The hardest part of the work, which required the complete surrender of the soul, was the seeking out of the victim of social evil in her haunts, so glamorous by night and so melancholy by day, talking to her quietly and — once she had recovered sobriety — knowing how to persuade her through unremitting kindness of the imderlying virtues of purity and modesty. These Franklins and MacClintocks of morality went on their moonlight expeditions from Gray’s Inn Lane, through Holbom Hill and Fleet Street to Regent Street, Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, the great centres of vice, frivolity and misery, and they repeated these journeys evening after evening for some years, parting company at certain places and meetmg again at others.

‘ They distributed amongst the people whom they were trying to get hold of, leaflets with the address of a guest house in which they could find shelter, a fire and a little food. Like ships at sea, these brave travellers kept their “Log-books” in which they recorded the details and the results of their expeditions. The “ Log-books ” were printed

  • Bysn, loc. eit., pp. 90, 108, 148.

■■ ■ p. 118 .

[ 217 ]


from time to time, and distributed to friends and supporters of the Moonlight Mission. No novel reads so interestingly as these pages, in which the deepest misery, the lowest depravity and the deepest remorse are depicted; none however could arouse so powerfully in the breast of the reader such a growing sense of pity, of abhorrence, of hate and of love. It often happened — the reports in the “Log- book” mention this — that readers became lovers; in one case a conversion led to three offers of marriage, one of which, that of a minister of the Evangelical High Church, was accepted. Here we have reality and the tragic grandeur of fate. Here we have as scenery the beautiful streets of London in the gaslight and moonlight; here we have as heroines the loveliest and unhappiest girls in England, and for heroes two men, saving souls in this medley of dance, glitter, music, wine and patchouli^’

The first approach to the girls to be saved was generally through the giving of a religious book, tract or leaflet, as G. Rasch (see above) tells us. North Peat says in this connection in his Stars of the Night, or Humor ovs Curiosi- ties in England : ‘ It was ten o’clock in the evening. We were furnished with small religious and moral tracts which had, besides the good advice contained in them, the address of our house on the wrapper, and on another page an invitation to the lost girl to visit us. It is curious to note that these brochures, in order to make it more likely that they would be accepted, were usually so done up as to give them the appearance of a letter or note^’

Later, girls who were amenable to this religious influence were invited to the so-called ‘ Morality teas ’, where, to the accompaniment of tea, food and pious songs, repentance

^ J. Rodenberg, Day and Night in London, pp. 256-262.

• Extract from C. J. Lecour, La Prostitution d Paris et d Londres. Paris, 1882. P. 274.

[ 218 ]


was preached!. Hector France describes one of these The moralisatevr very vividly if satirically. It was given by the ‘ Blue Ribbon Army ’ to a number of ballet dancers, and ten sermons were preached one after another at short intervals in one and the same evening. A great tumult arose, which finally developed into a regular fight*. Also an indication of how far one can get by these methods. Do people really believe that prostitution can be prevented by sermons?

The conclusions that Tamowsky drew from the efforts of the English Magdalen Houses and morality societies are in this regard very instructive. In his opinion, none of these societies is of the slightest use in the matter of prostitution, nor can ever be. This is clearly to be seen from the financial reports of the most genuine of these societies. The ‘Guardian Society’, for example, from 1812 to 1850 provided 1 ,932 prostitutes with shelter, of which 843 left the institution or had to be sent away for improper behaviour, 533 were returned to their families, that is to the same relatives who had sold them or given them to prostitution, 53 were sent to their own parishes by the society, whereby their later fate was unknown, 17 died in the institution, 31 remained in the institution and 455 took posts, or in any case, after they left the asylum, supported themselves more or less respectably. Their fate is also unknown. Tamowsky concludes from this report that three -fourths of the prostitutes who are admitted to asylums go back to prostitution and that the last fourth is not finally rescued from prostitution. ‘ What proportion of those who are “Turned to Truth” fall into prostitution again after a month or two, the philanthropic society is imable to say. It has fulfilled its task, it has helped the unfortunates in need of help, has made the

' Leoour, loc. cU., p. 273.

' H. France, En Police Court, pp. 228-237.

[ 219 ]


immorality of their position clear to them, showed them the possibility of honest service, and provided them with the means of continuing on this path, also promised them future support. The society is in the right; but the prosti- tute is also in the right, who, after a month or a year in the path of virtue exclaims: ‘ Kill me rather once and for all, but I cannot live this life any longer, my soul yearns for the old ways*.’

In face of these facts, the efforts made by the so-called ‘ Abolitionists* ’ are highly irrational if not dangerous. The idea of Abolitionism is the removal from prostitution of all supervision and the abolition of the former as a lawful and tolerated institution.

Mrs. Josephine Butler founded in the year 1875 the ‘ Ladies’ National Association for the Repeal of the Conta- gious Diseases Act ’ as well as an International League, the ‘ F6d6ration britannique, continentale et g6n6rale ’, with the object of suppressing the regulation of prostitution in some English towns which had resulted from the passing in 1864 of the ‘ Contagious Diseases Act ’. This Association has since then organised assemblies every year in different European countries. In the year 1889 its principles were laid before the Congress in Geneva in the form of eighteer theses, which have since been established as the programme of abolitionism at congresses in Genoa, The Hague and ir London. These run:

1. Moral principles for both sexes are inseparable am


2. The natural rights of the man are the same as those o

the woman.

‘Tamowsky, loc. cit., pp. 111-112.

  • Not to be confused with American Abolitionism, which means tl

abolition of slavery, and which ceased to exist on the 1st January 18R when its object was accomplished.

[ 220 ]



3. Offences against purity are as culpable on the man’s side as on that of the woman.

4. Self-control in matters of sex is one of the most impor- tant principles of health for individuals and for the community.

6. The State, as the representative of justice, should in no case countenance evil, and least of all ally itself with vice.

6. Prostitution is a basic infringement of the laws of nature and hygiene; its organisation is directly opposed to the laws which penalise instigation to immorality.

7. The legal guarantees of personal liberty must be the same for both sexes.

8. The law should allow no infringement of the right which every woman possesses to control her own affairs.

9. Any regulation of prostitution is not only powerless against the spread of syphilis, but is favourable to this; in addition it encourages immorality, leads to an increase in the percentage of illegitimate births, to the growth of secret prostitution and the decrease of social and individual morality. The regulation of prostitu- tion as a prophylactic against disease which is produced through prostitution, must be unconditionally rejected.

10. The State, whose duty it is to protect both sexes in the same measure, demoralises the prostitutes themselves by regulation and therefore lowers the status of women. The compulsory medical examination of harlots — the foundation of any regulation — ^is an insult to the woman, and calls for so much the greater opposition, because it leads to the complete submerging of the unfortunate creature who is forced to submit to it, in extinguishing the last rays of modesty, which even the most outcast do not altogether lack.


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11. Compulsory medical examination is a false guarantee of the health of the woman examined. It is a betrayal of society under the cloak of medical sanction and at the same time an attack upon personal liberty which, if at all, should be made upon both sexes alike.

12. Compulsory medical examination of men or women applied under regulation does violence in a revolting manner to the rights of man, is an insult to the best achievements of civilisation and an unfortunate hygienic error. The licensing of open houses sanctions an immoral convention which regards immorality as necessary for the man.

13. The open house leads to degradation of morality, is dangerously stimulating, and a school of dishonour.

14. The women of the open house are kept there by force and become regular slaves; they are subject to the caprices of the owner, who has complete control over their minds and bodies.

16. The State should use no hygienic methods for cleansing prostitution, inasmuch as there is no question here of danger which is external as in an epidemic, but of one which men risk of their own free will, knowing of its existence.

16. The State must prohibit all collective organisation of prostitution in all forms and prosecute all those connected with it; it must stamp out vice instead of all 3 dng itself with it and regulating it.

17. The concepts which arise from the regulation of vice are not consistent with the salvation of the victims of prostitution.

18. The regulation of prostitution is, as experience teaches, a very great hindrance to the conversion of prostitutes, inasmuch as registration and medical examination



injure the modesty to which no harlot is a stranger, and make more difficult the possible and desirable conversion of the fallen to the path of honour^.

In order to pronounce a correct judgment on these points, it must be borne in mind, as Blaschko very rightly shows, that there are two kinds of abolitionism, which may be designated pious and radical abolitionism.

Pious abolitionism, which regards prostitution as an immoral arrangement and extra-marital sexual intercourse as a sin, thinks to exterminate prostitution through abolition of regulation. According to its tenets, regulation cannot be consistent with the moral or Christian idea of the State; they describe it as an immoral pact between the State and vice, which latter should not be regarded as an unavoidable social phenomenon, but should be destroyed and penalised.

Radical abolitionism certainly recognises the necessity for, and the impossibility of exterminating, prostitution, and it does not become indignant over the immorality of ‘ State as pander ’, but it holds that regulation is injurious to the liberty of the citizen andean encroachment on the rights of the individual, also that it entails oppression of the posses- sionless for the benefit of the possessor, and of the female sex for the benefit of the male. It therefore demands the freedom of prostitution*.

Professor Benjamin Tamowsky , in his important book on Prostitution and Abolitionism (Hamburg, 1890), has clearly shown the complete futility of the principles of the latter. I can only advise the reader who wishes for further informa- tion on this important subject to go to his book. The

^ Tamowsky, he. cit., pp. 16-18.

  • A. Blaschko, Syphilis and Prostitution from the point of view of public

health regulation. Berlin, 1893. P. 144. The same writer in the 'International Conference on the prophylaxy of 83 ^hili 8 and venereal diseases’. German Medical Weekly, 1899. No. 39.

[ 223 ]


author indicates therein that to desire the extermination of prostitution is a Utopian idea, also that it is a grave error to suppose that State supervision has in itself a demoralising effect on society, and that the brothels in no way favour the spread of prostitution. Also that supervision neither constitutes any guarantee nor is a suppression of the right of the individual to prostitute herself. According to Tamowsky it is also indisputable that rational regulation prevents the spread of syphilis.

Blaschko has also severely criticised the ideas of the abolitionists, in that he declares the opinion of the ‘ pious ’ abolitionists that the State should have nothing to do with prostitution in any way but should suppress and penalise it in all its branches, is not open to discussion, as the State must make allowances for the actual needs of society, and must mitigate or lessen as far as possible the consequences of the satisfaction of these needs. With ‘ radical ’ abolitionism Blaschko agrees to this extent that he would do away with the whole institution of ‘ moral police ’ as it exists to-day, and in its place provide sound sanitary supervision. That ‘ the danger of prostitution, in consequence of professional operations — in conformity with the law that the danger is increased fourfold in ratio to the number of sexual relation- ships — ^is so excessively great that, in face of the impossi- bility of the individual protecting himself adequately, it is necessary and right for society to do this^.’

I must say that I have great sympathy with Blaschko’s opinion that that melancholy institution, the ‘ moral police ’, should be done away with. But I caimot understand how it is possible to carry out a regular sanitary supervision without police help. A certain amount of coercion must be used with prostitutes in this coimection, and as the doctors

i Blaschko, loe. cit., pp. 144-146.

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themselves cannot use it, the help of the police organisation in the regulation of prostitution, the necessity for which the humane and philanthropic Blaschko himself recognises, cannot be dispensed with.

There is no doubt in any case that the present methods of regulating prostitution can be considerably improved. The ‘ brothel slaves ’ who are spoken of in the 14th thesis of the Abolitionists should not exist. Procuresses and bullies must be punished unmercifully. I am, in spite of all attacks upon brothels, of the opinion that a State -housed prostitu- tion offers the greatest safeguard against all these evil conditions.

If society is to be forcibly cured of the unfortunate errors which at the same time are certainly not answerable for its sickness, and submitted to regular supervision in order to protect it from iU health, the State is justified in preventing as far as possible prostitution and sexual excesses and irregularities of every kind (even the morbid) which are liable to injure society. It is not necessary to be a criminal in order to endanger the well-being of the commimity. And therefore it is the duty of the State to protect society from evil, whatever its origin. In this the idea of abolitionism is justified.

I close with a few antitheses which Tamowsky has opposed to the Abolitionists:

The good of the community is the principal aim of all legislation.

In the name of this good the interests of the individual must be sacrificed to those of society.

Prostitution cannot be suppressed either by penalisation nor by regulation, nor by complete freedom in the traffic of the body.

Unconditional penalising of prostitution leads to the

[ 226 ]


growth of its more hidden forms, to the development of family prostitution.

Free prostitution leads to unhindered competition in the strengthening and multiplication of the arts of provocation to immorality and at the same time to the combining of prostitution with other licentious activities.

Failure in regularising prostitution, that is failure in compulsory supervision and hospital treatment of the infected prostitutes, leads undeniably to an increase in the spread of syphilis through these last.

Syphilis is not only a bodily disease which is acquired in the course of guilty sexual relationships as, so to speak, a merited punishment for vice. On the contrary, the worst consequence of syphilis is that it causes the innocent to suffer.

A well-governed society is bound, through the taking of appropriate measures for the protection of its members, to look to the future as well as the present as regards the con- sequences of syphilis.

Regulation of prostitution, by means of which the demoralising influence of the latter on society is lessened and the mischief caused by the spread of syphilis reduced — such regulation does not aim at depriving those women who practise immorality as a profession of the right to prostitute themselves, but on the contrary to limit this personal right through a series of practical regulations.

Just as limitation of the sale of wine and regulation of licences does not take from the drinkers the right to get drunk, so the legal supervision of prostitution and the brothels is not an encouragement but a limitation of the freedom of immoral and licentious persons.

Legal impartiality and not the caprice of the adminis- trators must govern the registration of prostitutes.

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For the purpose of limiting the spread of syphilis and venereal infections through prostitution, strenuous measures must be taken to: 1. Reduce the mortality of prostitutes themselves; 2. Protect the community from the spread of the disease through already infected prostitutes; and 3. Bring into operation the most suitable methods of treating diseased prostitutes.

In the present condition of society I hold that the doctrine which teaches that freedom of prostitution is a criminal weakness is unworthy of true philanthropy'.

‘ Tarnowsky, Zoc. cil., pp. 216-218.

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The immorality of English sexual life reached its culmin- ating point during the Restoration period. Never before — nor since — have such orgies been indulged in. Crude and vulgar sensuality and brutish lust prevailed to a greater extent in the reign of Charles II than ever before.

Despite their efforts to imitate French manners, Charles’s court and the whole society of those times were far from showing the elegant refinement and wit which caused French corruption to appear in so attractive a fight. One should not be misled by reading the Memoirs of Qrammont by Hamilton, in which the state of affairs is considerably idealised. When Hamilton says ‘At court all was happiness and pleasure, refinement and splendour such as may be called forth only by a prince of gentle and noble character. Beauties sought only to be enchanting, men tried to please and everyone made the most of their natural gifts. Some of them distinguished themselves by the grace of their dancing, some in the magnificence of their appearance and some by their wit, but most of them by their love affairs and very few of them by their faithfulness^’, he gives with concise brevity a brilliant picture of the frivolity and c3micism of that society. One important feature, however, was passed over, one which impressed its specific English

  • TKt MtmoirB of Count Qrammont, by Anthony Hamilton. Jena, 1863.

P. 143.

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character on each of ‘ the merry, thoughtless days of Charles II this was the boundless coarseness and brutality in their debauchery. Grammont is not the book to read in order to learn of this, but the Diary of the good Pepys, the poems of Rochester, the comedies of Etherege, Wycherley, Vanbrugh, Farquhar and others. From all these, Taine’s thoroughly correct judgment on the immorality of the Restoration period was certainly drawn. He makes a very interesting comparison between French and English corruption of this period: ‘ The polish of the French deceives and blinds us. In a Frenchman debauchery is not entirely shocking; when the animal in him is released it is not accompanied by boundless excesses; fundamentally he is not really so coarse and brutal as the Englishman. The glittering layer of ice by which he is covered may be broken through without releasing the boisterous, turbid, muddy stream that rages and foams within his neighbour. In England the contrary is the fact. As soon as the external varnish of morality is scratched off, there appears the animal in man in aU its passionate coarseness and hatefulness. An English statesman declared that in France the rage of the captive mob could be calmed by appealing to their humanity and honour, whereas in England raw flesh must be thrown to them in order to calm them. Violation, blood, orgy: this is Uie element in which this society mob feels at home: they lack everything that might make an excuse for carnival, above all wit {eaprity.'

I believe that a reading of the Memoirs of Orammont would convince anyone of the fact that love was never coarser and more vulgar than in the English society of the Restoration. Women had never before been treated so roughly and unscrupulously by men. The purely sensual cult of woman-worship was never before performed in

  • H. Tsine, hoc. dt., Vol. II, pp. 8, 11.

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such a disgusting manner. Macaulay rightly remarks: ‘ Unbridled debauchery, the natural consequence of unnatural severity, was the prevailing fashion in those days, involving, of course, the moral degradation of women. It was good taste to idolise feminine beauty in a coarse and shameless manner. Admiration and desire aroused by women was very rarely combined with respect and real attachment or with anykindof chivalrous feeling for them, and the qualities which fitted them to play the part of companion, adviser and trustworthy friend, repelled the libertines of Whitehall instead of attracting them. Any lady of the court exhibiting her white throat and bosom at balls and parties, distinguish- ing herself by quick and appropriate repartee, flirting with chamberlains and captains of the Guard, singing ambiguous songs with an ambiguous expression in her eyes, slipping occasionally into a page’s dress to perform some mischievous prank — had more chance of being worshipped by a devoted circle of admirers, of being honoured by the Royal attention, of marrying some rich and distinguished nobleman, than Johanna Grey or Lucy Hutchinson would ever have hadL’

Anyone wanting a contemporary account of those times in order to obtain a true, clear and memorable picture of them in their real colours, should read the famous Memoires du Comte de Grammont by Anthony Hamilton^. This book, written in French by an Englishman, is one of those which should be read regularly every year^. I do not hesitate to compare Hamilton with Tacitus. He, like the famous

' Macaulay, loc. cit., Vol. II, pp. 196-197.

  • First edition: Mdmoires de la vie du Comte du Qrammovt, contenant

particulik,rement Vkistoire amoureuse de la cour d'Angleterre, sous le r^gne de Charles 11, (Cologne, 1713.) Good edition (with notes and index) by G. Brunet (Paris, 1869) and H. Motheau (Paris, 1876). I have used the French edition, Mirrunres du Comte de Orammont par A. Hamilton: new edition, with essay by Sainto-Beuve (Paris, Gamier Fibres, no date).

• C. A. Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi. Paris (Gamier Fr^res, no date). Vol. I, p. 102.

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Roman historian, stands above events; and, like the latter, can express himself vividly but concisely, thus deepening the impression he makes on his readers and giving them food for much thought on his subject.

According to Sainte-Beuve it is impossible to analyse the Mernoires de Orarnmont. They have to be read consecu- tively in order to get a clear idea of the Restoration period. In describing this period I shall refer also to various other sources, so that a more vivid picture may be obtained of the characteristics of the time and people.

Restoration society was the creation of Charles II, and its existence depended on him. There was never a king, not even Louis XV, who impressed the stamp of his personahty upon his surroundings so deeply as did Charles II. The theory that only energetic characters are able to exercise much influence on their contemporaries seems here to be at fault. Even lack of energy may sometimes prove infectious, especially in the case of such an artist in pleasure and lust as Charles. It must also be remembered that on his return from exile the people welcomed in him the liberator who would release them from the fetters of the Puritanism which had weighed so heavily upon them, and the beginning of a new, happier and easier epoch dates therefrom.

The proverb ‘ Idleness is the mother of sin ’ proved to be very true in the case of Charles II. In an old edition of Rochester’s and Dorset’s works, a noteworthy characteristic of the King is mentioned which seems to have been little appreciated, but which, in my opinion, helps very much to give a clear picture of his personality. According to this book the King was more negligent and idle than lascivious, and like many female libertines of those days let himself be led into debauchery rather in order to please others than for the satisfaction of his own desires. Especially towards the end of his life indolence played a much more important part

[ 231 ]


than love in the hours he spent with his mistresses. These latter served chiefly to fill his serail — what he really wanted was amusement and flirtation^ As regards the psychology of debauchees it must be remembered that it is not always lust which produces idleness. Often enough the contrary may be the case : idleness is the cause of sin. Charles II was thus a lover of idleness and frivolous pleasures. He was quite unable to control or restrain himself. He did not believe in human virtue, or in human sympathy; he had no desire for success and no sense of guilt. His frivolous weak- ness was of a type possessed by no other man of his intelligence. He was a slave, although not a deceived one, and, in addition, devoted beyond measure to sensual gratification*.’

Hamilton gives a very true picture of Charles : ‘ The King was inferior to no one as regards figure, carriage and apparel. He was versatile and of gentle and kindly disposition. His mind was open to all impressions, he was sympathetic to sufferers, inexorable to evil-doers and, if anything, too soft- hearted, Capable of any exertion when need arose, so long as events pursued their ordinary course, he would take nothing seriously and could not become deeply absorbed in anything. Often he was a victim, but even more often the slave of his inclinations*.’

Although this unprincipled king, lacking character and energy, was of a sensual nature and possessed a regular harem of mistresses, love with him was more of a pleasant pastime than a passion. Love to society in those days was a coin which could be made use of. Mrs. Manley writes in her Atalantis: ‘ People no wadays do not love for the sake of

^ Macaulay, loe, cit., pp. 181-182, 183.

■ “ A Short Character of King Charles II in The Works of (he Earis of Rochester f Roscommon, Dorset, etc. London, 1714. Vol. I, pp. lii to lx.

• MSmioires du Comte de Chramrrumt, p. 76.

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love, but chiefly on account of its use and profit to them‘ . It was to the interest of the women to make everyone fall in love with them, and the mere indifference of a young man was looked upon as an insult‘. The King, by his own example, encouraged this view. The “ vapours ”, the hysteria of to-day, were made use of even at that time to usher in changes in the affections and to dupe and console deceived husbands. Any disease, the cause of which was not known, was, according to the fashion of those days, called the ‘ ‘ vapours ” . If a lady ran short of money to play bassette with and her husband refused to give her any, she immediately summoned the “ vapours ” to her aid, and the same thing happened whenever occasion arose. For instance, if she were not allowed to attend a party with her friends, she would drive incognito in a hired cab to her seamstress on the pretext of having a dress made. But her lover would join her there and thus the husband was deceived. What was he then to do? Did he oppose the will of the lady he must expect the “ vapours ” to set in in force. In short, the “ vapours ” were so fashionable that they served as excuse and often enough as remedy for all kinds of diseases*.’

After these preUminary remarks on the external character ofCharles’s court, let us try to depict some of its outstanding personaUties, and first of all the ladies.

Of all the numerous mistresses of Charles II, three were undoubtedly the most famous: Lady Castlemaine, the Duchess of Portsmouth and Nell Gwynn.

Barbara Vilhers, Countess of Castlemaine and later Duchess of Cleveland, daughter of WUham Vilhers, second Viscoimt Grandison, was bom in 1641 in Westminster. As

  • The AUdantis of Mrs. Manley, or a secret Report on the most distinguished

Persons in England. Haag, 1714. P. 631.

  • Ibid., p. 488.

• Ibid., p. 484.

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early as 1656 she was surrounded by a great number of admirers. On the 14th April 1659 she married Roger Palmer, later Earl of Castlemaine, but he does not seem to have been the father of any of her many children. Intimate relations between Charles II and Mrs. Palmer began on the 28th May 1660, the day of the King’s return to Whitehall.

On the 25th February 1661 her first child, Anna, was bom, whom the King acknowledged as his daughter, although her existence had been attributed to the Earl of Chesterfield, to whom she bore a striking resemblance. On the 13th May 1662, the day of the arrival of Katherine of Braganza, whom the King had chosen for his wife, he was staying, according to Pepys’ Diary, at the house of Lady Castlemaine. But there appears to have been no hght before her house, and this caused a great sensation. The King and his lover had sent for scales to have themselves weighed, and the lady, being pregnant, was the heavier of the two. She drew attention to herself by speaking very arrogantly to the new Queen. Pepys writes: ‘ The Queen, in the presence of her ladies, remarked to Lady Castlemaine, that she was afraid the King would catch cold by staying until so late at night at her house. Whereupon the Countess answered in a loud voice that he never stayed long, he always left early enough (although he very seldom went away from her before two or three in the morning), so he probably spent his nights somewhere else. The King just then entered the room, and hearing her insolent answer, whispered in her ear that she was a vulgar, impertinent woman and commanded her to leave the court. This she did immediately and moved into a hired apartment in Pall Mall, where she remained for two or three days. Then she sent a message to the King asking whether she might have her things fetched. He answered that she must come and see to them herself. She did so, the King joined her, and they were again good friends.’

[ 234 ]


Such temporary partings were frequent, but the strong- minded woman on these occasions always knew how to handle the King so as to bring him to his knees. Another passage from Pepys’ Diary: ‘ Although the King and Lady Castlemaine are reconciled, she no longer lives in Whitehall, but at the house of Sir D. Harris, where the King visits her. He says she expects him to ask forgiveness on his knees and to promise that he will never again so insult her. She threatened to send his natural children to him, which almost drove him out of his senses. In her fury she . shouted that she had had enough of him and would have all his letters to her printed.’ Despite the objections of the Queen, the Countess was appointed a member of her own Royal household. In June 1662 she bore the King a second child, a son, Charles. She then began to have many other love affairs, but the King still visited her four evenings a week, ‘ when he stole back to her alone and secretly through the private garden, so that even the sentinels knew and talked about it, which is certainly a bad thing for a king ’ (Pepys).

On the 20th September 1663 a third child was bom to Lady Castlemaine (Henry), but the King refused to own him. He nevertheless loaded her on this occasion with valuable gifts. Two more children followed: on the 5th September 1664 and on the 28th December 1665. In 1666 Lady Castlemaine moved into her sumptuous apartment at Hampton Court. At that time her love affair with the worthless Sir Harry Jermyn led to very frequent quarrels with the King.

In 1668, when several brothels in the City were done away with, a very ingenious pamphlet was published, bearing the title : Petition, of the poor Whore to the most serene, illustrious, august and excellent Lady of pleasure. Countess of Castlemaine. Signed: Madame CreswelP . This was followed somewhat later

‘ A notorious procuress in the time of Charles II.



by a burlesque answer: ‘ given at our closet in King Street die Veneris, 24th April, 1668.’ After 1674 Lady Castlemaine was supplanted in the King’s affections by the Duchess of Portsmouth, but she soon consoled herself with a number of new admirers, among whom was J ohn Ellis. A great stir was roused by her liaison with the rope-dancer, Jacob Hall, and with John Churchill, who later became the famous Duke of Marlborough. Hamilton writes of the former in his concise but most expressive way: ‘ Jacob Hall, a famous rope- dancer, was very fashionable in London in those days, and delighted the spectators with his skill and strength. The Countess wished to convince herself privately of his physical attributes, for his figure in his professional dress appeared to be that of an athlete, and his legs were very different from those of the ever- victorious Jermyn. Judging from the rumours spread all over the City, and from the numerous derisive poems, more flattering to the dancer than to the Countess, she was not at all disappointed in him. But she did not mind gossip, and her beauty became ever more radiant'.’ In her Atalantis Mary Manley gives a very detailed description of the relations between Lady Castle- maine and Marlborough. She calls the Countess here very pertinently ‘ Duchesse de 1’ Inconstant ‘ Fortunatus ’ is John Churchill, later Duke of Marlborough. One of his aunts was ‘ Controller of the household of the Duchesse de I’lnconstant, favourite of the Emperor Sigismund the second* and she was the most distinguished member of the family. Young Fortunatus visited her frequently. One day the Duchesse met him there, and being very impulsive fell in love with him and commanded him to come and see her after the King had gone to bed. The clever aunt, who knew her mistress only too well, was quite aware of what

^ Memoirs of OrammorU^ p. 89.

  • This is supposed to be Charles U.

[ 236 ]


she wanted from her nephew; she was very glad of his good fortune, and spent the whole day adorning and perfuming him in order to ensure his success. After reminding Vtim of various important points, she led the young Adonis to the bed of her beloved Venus. The Duchess was delighted, and later she seems to have discovered that this was the first time his young heart had been kindled by the flame of love. The youth’s obvious confusion, which so overcame him that he hardly knew what he was doing, and his evident lack of experience, were a fresh attraction for her, and she was very well satisfied with her first trial of him. He too, however, was well aware of how to turn this unexpected luck to his own advantage*.’ Bishop Burnet writes: ‘ As soon as the Duchess of Cleveland believed herself to have been jilted by the King, she consoled herself with numerous love-affairs. On one occasion she was surprised, by Buckingham’s arrangement, by the King himself; her lover sprang out of the window.’

Wilham Wycherley, the writer of comic poetry, a very handsome man, was also caught in the net of this Messalina, and Mrs. Manley relates in a very vivid manner her liaison with Lord Dover. Churchill, who was in love with Sarah Jennings, later his famous wife, had long tired of his affair with Lady Castlemaine, and was waiting for a favourable opportunity to part from her. He therefore asked his friend Lord Dover to keep an appointment he had made with her instead of himself. ‘ The next day the Duchess was to go to Churchill immediately after dinner. She was so anxious to be with him that she had not the patience to dine properly, and arrived just at the appointed time. As she was expected the servants had been, as usual, sent out of the way, except one who was in the secret. This man told her that his master was awaiting her in a small room where he had gone

‘ AtdUinlis, pp. 680-682.

R [ 237 ]


to rest after his bath. She hurried in. The windows were closed, the curtains drawn and the small room was dark. She, however, made out the shape of a male figure lying on a couch stretched out in a very indecent position on account of the summer heat, and having nothing on but a thin wrap covering his body. He had been cautious enough to cover his face with the laces of the pillow, lest he should be recognised. His joy at the arrival of the Duchess caused him to make some movement which pleased the Duchess so that she could not delay taking advantage of the situation.’ It is easy to guess what happened next. On the 16th June 1672 she again — pa(re incerto — bore a child: her third daughter, Barbara. In 1677 she went to Paris, whence she corresponded regularly with the King.

She returned in 1685 to England to start an affair with the actor Goodman, by whom this most prolific of all mistresses bore a son in March 1686. After that she had a number of liaisons. Her husband, who in the reign of James II had acted, not too successfully, as ambassador to the Pope, died on the 2l8t July 1705. Four months later the nympho- maniac widow of 64 married young Robert Fielding, one of the most handsome men of his time, who was also known as ‘ Beau Fielding ’. He was, however, a coarse fellow who treated his old wife very roughly. It turned out fortimately that he was already married to another woman, so she sued him for divorce. In the course of the proceedings some of her letters were read, and their appalling indecency was not at all surprising to those who had heard the stories of her incredible depravity. She survived this last event by only a few years, and died on the 8th October 1709 of dropsy. This woman, who was referred to by Macaulay as the ‘ most extravagant, despotic, -and most shameless of all depraved women* ’ was of an extraordinary beauty of figure and face.

  • Macaulay, toe. cU., Vol. HI, p. 278.

[ 238 ]


According toOldmixon ‘ she was the most beautiful and most voluptuous of all the Royal concubines She had a lovely round face with a childlike expression, red-brown hair and marvellous dark blue eyes. Many pictures have handed down to posterity a record of her famous beauty. By or after Lely alone there are five portraits of Lady Castlemaine, one of them in the well-known Hampton Court Gallery*.

Louise Ilen6e de K^rouaille (KSroualle), Duchess of Ports- mouth and Aubigny, daughter of a Breton nobleman, was bom in 1649. She became Maid of Honour at the Court of Duchess Henriette of Orleans, a sister of Charles II, with whom she came to England in 1670. By that time the King had become tired of Lady Castlemaine. In 1670 Evelyn for the first time saw ‘ this new famous beauty, who however, in my opinion, has a stupid babyish face ’. In October 1671 she became the official mistress of Charles II, on which fact Louis XIV congratulated her. On 29th July 1672 she bore the King a son, Charles Lennox, first Duke of Richmond.

As a Frenchwoman and a Catholic she was very unpopular in England. The people called her ‘ Carewell ’ or ‘ Madame Carwell ’. On 19th August 1673 she received the title of Duchess of Portsmouth, to which Louis XIV added that of Duchesse d’Aubigny. She influenced Charles in his friendly approaches to France*. She kept her position, a very brilliant one extettially, imtil the death of the King. She had received from the King £136,668 in all. Her house was

  • The whole description chiefly after DictUmary of National Biography.

Ed. by Sidney Lee, London, 1899. Vol. 58, pp. 312-318. Compare further G. S. Steinmann, Memoirs of Barbara, Duchess of Clev^nd (London, 1871); Mrs. Manley’s Atalantis; OrammoTU's Memoirs; Macau- lay ’a History of England ; Pepys’ Diary.

‘Macaulay ascribes to the sister of Charles II, the above-mentioned Duchess Henriette of Orleans, the greater part in this rapprochement {loc. cit., p. 221). 'The sister’s persuasion and the witchery of her friend succeeded in influencing the weak Charles in the short space of ten days to do just as Louis wished.’ Grammont (comment), p. 311.

[ 239 ]


famished with the greatest luxury. According to Evelyn, ‘ Her apartment in Whitehall was ten times as beautiful as that of the Queen’. He tells of a visit which he paid her in company with the King. ‘ I followed His Majesty through the galleries and went with a few members of his suite to the dressing-room of the Duchess, next to her bedroom. She had just got out of bed, was dressed in a light morning gown, and His Majesty with the gallants stood around whilst she was combed by her maids. What I found most surprising was the rich and magnificent furnishings of her room^.’ After the death of Charles II the Duchess returned to France and spent the rest of her life on her estate in Aubigny. She lived until 17th November 1734. Voltaire saw her as an old woman, and found her very beautiful. George Selwyn also saw her then. Lely, Kneller, H. Gascar and Mignard painted portraits of this unusual beauty, whose ‘ gentle, soft and childlike features were increased in charm by her French liveliness ’ (Macaulay). Her motto, ‘ En la rose je fieuris ’, was adopted by her descendants, the Dukes of Richmond and Gordon*.

Undoubtedly the most attractive figure of all Charles’s mistresses, and also the most popular, was Nell Gwynn. She was in her lifetime the most generally beloved of the Royal mistresses on account of her kindly, child-like, naive, and withal true English character. On the whole, according to Thomas Campbell, amongst Charles’s mistresses his ‘ Loves of the theatre ’ were the least costly and unpopular*. Nell Gwynn was one of these ‘ theatre loves ’.

Eleanor Gwyn (or Gwynn), generally called ‘ Nell Gwynn’,

• Compare also Macaulay’s description of the room, Vol. II, p. 169.

• Description after Dictionary of National Biography. London, 1892. Vol. 31, pp. 69-62. J. H. Jesse, Literary and Historical Memorials of London. London, 1847. Vol. II, pp. 210-211. Evelyn’s Diary. H. Foraeron, Louise de Kirotudle, Duchesse de Portsmoulh. Paris, 1886.

• Thomas Campbell, Life of Mrs. Siddons. London, 1834. Vol. I, p. 99.

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the daughter of a fishwife, was bom in London on 2nd February 1650. Until her thirteenth year she sold oranges in the Theatre Royal, and also, according to a satire of Rochester’s, herrings. Later a travelling actor took her into his company and she sang in public-houses. Her beautiful face induced the notorious procuress, ‘ Mother Ross ’, to take her into her brothel, where she was given lessons in spelling, arithmetic and singing. The actor Charles Hart and John Lacy were her lovers. Hart under- took to train the talented Nelly for the stage. She first appeared in 1665 as Cydaria in Indian Emperor, by Dryden.

She was not a first-rate artist, but her natural liveliness and grace were combined with a talent for singing and dancing. Pepys frequently expresses his admiration for her. He calls her the ‘pretty, witty Nell ’ (3rd April 1665). ‘ The ladies act very well, especially little Nelly.’ After having seen her in Cdia, he kissed her. So did his wife, and he added: ‘. . . she is an exceptionally pretty creature ’ (23rd January 1666). She drew the attention of the King to herself in 1671.

Dryden had written for her an epilogue to his play Tyrannic Love. Such epilogues, containing the most frivol- ous verses, were preferably recited by women. ‘ The tone of the Epilogues was always very free, and they were almost always recited by the most popular actresses. Nothing delighted the audience more than to hear the most indeUcate verses recited by a pretty young girl, who was supposed as yet to be innocent^.’ In this particular case there were some imusual circumstances. William Preston, a mediocre actor of a small company, had appeared in a new play in an extremely large hat which brought the play a wholly unexpected success. Dryden therefore made Nell Gwynn appear in ‘ a hat of the size of a very large cart-wheel ’, which made her little figure look so funny, and her so lovely,

‘ Macaulay, Uk. cit., Vol. II, p. 134.

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that everyone was enchanted, and the King took her home and then and there made her his mistress. She still, however, continued her profession; Dryden gave her his best parts, and she remained the favourite of the public. Pepys writes of her appearance in Dryden ’s Virgin Queen. ‘ In this play there is a comic character, Florinel, which I never hope to see again played so well as it was played by Nell Gwynn, equally when she appeared as a savage girl and as a young fop. She took off the bearing and manners of a conceited young coxcomb in a way no actor can.’ Many anecdotes, especially in Tom Brown’s State Poems and in poems by Etherege, show how popular she became within a very short time. She was called ‘ The poor man’s friend ’, and her position as mistress was less resented than in the case of the aristocratic loves of the King. It was considered by the people to be more the result of fate than of vice, and they took her part passionately in the incessant quarrels between herself and the Duchess of Portsmouth.

Many illuminating stories were related about these quarrels. The mob one day gathered before the shop of a jeweller in Cheapside to see the Duchess of Portsmouth fetch a splendid silver service, the gift of the King, and broke out in abuse of her. They cried out that they would like to see the silver melted and poured down her throat. The presents really belonged to the beloved Nell. ‘ What a pity it should not be bestowed on Madame Ellen! ’ On another occasion Nell drove in her carriage through the streets of Oxford. The mob took her for her rival, and abused and threatened her. She then laughed and put her head out of the window, crying to them: ‘ Pray, good people, be civil; I am the Protestant whore.’ She was well able to make her rival look ridiculous. The Duchess of Portsmouth asserted that she was closely related to the most aristocratic French families, and each time one of these relatives died she went into

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mourning. On one occasion a French prince had died and she, of course, appeared in black. On the very same day the news of the death of a Tartar Chan happened to reach England. Nelly appeared at the court in mourning. She was standing close to her rival when a friend of hers asked her the reason for this. ‘ Oh,’ she said, ‘ didn’t you know of the loss I have sulfered through the death of the Chan?’ ‘ What the devil was the Chan of Tartary to you? ’ answered the friend. ‘ Oh, exactly the same as the Prince de . . . was to Mademoiselle de Qu^rouaille.’ Madame de S6vign6 men- tions in her letters the relationship between these two famous mistresses. ‘ The Duchess had not foreseen that she would pne day find an actress in her way. And this actress is just as haughty as MUe. herself. She often insults her, makes faces at her, deprives her of the King and boasts each time he gives her the preference. She is young, indiscreet, wild, good-humoured. She sings, dances and plays her parts with an extraordinary charm. She has a son by the King and hopes that he will own the child. Of the Duchess she says; “ This person wants people to believe that she is a lady of rank and is related to the first families in France. If this be true, why does she degrade herself by being a courtesan? She ought to die of shame. As for me, it is my profession, and I don’t want any better. I have a son by the King whom his father ought to own, and he will, for he loves me as much as her.” ’ Nell had two sons by the King, one of whom later was given the title of Duke of St. Albans. The King loved her fondly till the end of his life, and, according to Burnet, his last words (to the Duke of York) were: ‘Let not poor Nellie starve^.’ She survived the King by a short

  • This is not quite correct, as these were neither the last words of

Charles nor did they refer to Noll Qwynn. Macaulay says: ‘ During the night Charles earnestly commended the Duchess of Portsmouth to the care of James; “and do not let poor Nellie starve ”, he added kindly. The Queen sent her excuses for her absence through Halifax; she was

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time only. She died on 13th November 1687, when only thirty-seven, of apoplexy. Nell Gwynn was a typical English girl: frank, not sentimental, kindhearted and grateful to her old fnends, amongst whom were the poets Otway and Dryden. She never interfered in politics and was, unlike Ls^y Castlemaine, faithful to the King, although he was not her first lover. He was her ‘ third Charles ’. Whether it was Dorset or Captain Hart who had the honour of being her ‘ first Charles ’ is, according to Macaulay, uncertain. But Dorset seems the more likely. According to Bishop Burnet, Nell Gwynn was ‘ the most high spirited and absurd creature that ever lived at a Royal court ’. She had a pretty, graceful little figure, red-brown hair and very small feet; when she laughed her eyes nearly disappeared. There are very many pictures of Nell Gwynn. One of them, by Lely, is in the Garrick Club; a second is in the Lely Room in the Hampton Court Gallery; a third in the National Portrait Gallery. No. 306 of King James’s Gallery was ‘ Madame Gwynn, naked, with a Cupid ’, by Lely. Many others besides have painted her portrait. Algernon Charles Swinburne wrote a beautiful memorial to Eleanor Gwynn in the following poem in his Poems and Ballads:

Sweet heart, that no taint of the throne or the stage Could touch with unclean transformation, or alter To the likeness of courtiers whose consciences falter At the smile or the frown, at the mirth or the rage.

Of a master whom chance could inflame or assuage.

Our Lady of Laughter, invoked in no psalter.

Adored of no faithful that cringe and that palter.

Praise be with thee yet from a hag-ridden age.

too overoome by sorrow to take her place at the bedside of the King, and begged his fornveness for all the offences she had committed contrary to his wishes. “ She begs my forgiveness, poor woman,” cried Charles. “ 1 beg hers with all my heart Macaulay, loc. cU., Vol. II, pp.176-177.

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Our Lady of Pity thou wast: and to thee

All England, whose sons are the sons of the sea,

Gives thanks, and will hear not if history snarls.

When the name of the friend of her sailors is spoken:

And thy lover she cannot but love — ^by the token

That thy name was the last on the lips of King Charles^.

Aroxmd these three famous mistresses of King Charles II were grouped the many other inmates of the harem of this woman-mad king, whose names for the most part have not come down to posterity; those beauties Avho, competing with the above-mentioned in lust, love and pleasure, gave to this court such a characteristic stamp.

Miss" Stewart, who later became the wife of the Duke of Richmond, early tried to oust Lady Castlemaine from the King’s favour*. She was remarkably beautiful, but not equally interesting. ‘ It is strange that such unusual physical charms should be combined with such dullness of mind. All her features were regular, but her figure was not

^ Compiled from Dictionary of National Biography (London, 1890, Vol. 23, pp. 401-403); Memoirs of the life of Eleanor Gwinn (London, 1752); Cunningham, Story of Nell Owynn\ Thomas Campbell, Life of Mrs. Siddons (London, 1834, Vol. II, pp. 99-101); Grammont’s Memoirs; Macaulay; Pepys; A. C. Swinburne, Poems and Ballads (third series, London, 1897, p. 132).

■ ‘ Lady Castlemaine noticed that the King followed Miss Stewart with his eyes, but instead of being jealous, she encouraged him as much as she could, perhaps out of the carelessness of a woman who is very con- scious of her charms, perhaps in order to remove suspicion from her new love-affair with Jermyn. She regarded this budding passion, which must surprise the whole court, not only without anxiety, but she went so far as to make a favourite of her rival, and invited her to all the suppers she gave to the King; trusting to the power of her own beauty, she often invited the young lady to spend the night with her, and as the King came every morning to see Lady Castlemaine before she got up, he found Miss Stewart with her in bed. Early passion finds irresistible charm in the smallest things, but the unwary Castlemaine had no anxiety about letting her rival be seen in such a position at her side; trusting no doubt that whenever she chose, she would be able victoriously to divert the King’s attention from Miss Stewart ’ [Mimoires du Comte de Orammont, pp. 57-88).

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perfect; she was slender, rather upright and exceeded the average height of women. She was charming, danced very well and spoke French better than her mother-tongue.

With courteous manners she combined a fine taste in dress which is impossible to acquire imless one has been brought up in France. She was of such a childish disposition that she laughed at everything. She enjoyed the simplest jokes with a vivacity which was more suitable to a child of 12 or 13. Except for playing with dolls, she was like a child — ^blindman’s buff was her favourite game, she would build card houses whilst others were playing for high stakes, and the courtiers were often to be seen helping her^.’ Pepys describes her as one of the most beautiful creatures he ever saw. ‘ If any woman can surpass Lady Castlemaine in beauty and charm, this is the one, and I shall not be at all surprised if the King changes. She is the cause of his cold- ness to the Coimtess^.’ Miss Stewart distinguished herself by her lasciviousness^ and cynical shamelessness. Hamilton remarks that the bathing negligees of the court ladies served only to exhibit their charms without being actually indecent.

  • MSmoires du Comte de Orammont, pp. 88, 112.

• Ibid., p. 328.

' ‘ Old Carlingford and the mad Crofts, those lively wits, used to tell her the most wonderful yams at every opportunity. I know no stories, and if I did I have no talent for telling them. For this reason I was embarrassed when she asked me for them. One day when she was teasing me I said: “ I don’t know any. Madam.” “ Then invent one ”, she said. “ I am still less capable of doing that, but if you like I will tell you a dream, a more extraordinary one than usual.” Her curiosity was aroused and it had to be satisfied at once. I told her, therefore, that in my dream the most charming creature in the world, whom I dearly loved, came to see me in the night. I then drew her own picture under the cover of this wonderful beauty, but I told her also that the spirit had come to me with the most favourable intentions, and had not behaved badly. But this did not satisfy Miss Stewart’s thirst for knowledge, and I had to describe all the proofs of her favour which the lovely phantom had shown me; she did not seem either surprised nor embarrass^, and attentively listmiing to the story, she made me repeat many times a particularly nice bit.’ Ibid., p. 270.

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Miss Stewart was so thoroughly convinced of her own superiority that if any of the other court ladies were praised for their nice legs or arms, she immediately gave a practical demonstration of her own. ‘ Indeed, with a little skill I don’t think it would be difficult to get her, all imsuspecting, completely unclothed.’ Hamilton gave Miss Stewart a very nice horse in order to enjoy her charming figiue mounted. The King preferred hawking to all hunting sports, because the ladies also could easily take part in it, and on such occasions he was surrounded very often by all the beauties of the court. On these occasions hard riding often gave the ladies opportunities to exhibit — intentionally or uninten- tionally — ^their secret charms. Hamilton describes a scene like this with Miss Stewart. She left the court in 1667 in order to marry the Duke of Richmond. Evel 3 m writes of this marriage in his Diary on 26th April 1667^

The gentlemen of the court were no better than the ladies — on the contrary, they surpassed them in frivolity. It is difficult to say whether the men or women were better depicted in Hamilton’s classic description. Seldom has so small a frame contained so many varied and unique figures.

The relations between men and women of the type we have been discussing must have been incredibly coarse. Gossip of the lowest kind and the filthiest slander were the weapons employed by men and women against each other in their usually very unequal disputes. The women despised

  • The marriage was made necessary by the fact that the King — ^in

consequence of Lady Castlemairie’s disclosures — had surprised Miss Stewart with the Duke of Richmond. Hamilton writes: ‘ It was near midnight. The King came on his mistress’s maids, who curtseyed profoundly on his entrance and told him in a whisper that Miss Stewart felt suddenly iU after he had left her, but had gone to bed and was now, thank God, sleeping peacefully. “ I must make certain of this ”, exclaimed the King, pushing back those who stood in his way. Miss Stewart was actually in bed, but by no means asleep. The Duke of Richmond was sitting at the head of the bed, and he was also far from asleep.’



the men no less than they were themselves despised, and the honour of women was trodden underfoot. The systematic libel actions, for instance, brought against Miss Hyde solely in order to prevent James II from marrying her, were out- rageous. One Talbot says she granted him an interview in her father’s private room which turned out to be so lively that they both forgot the things on the table in their interest in what they were doing, and unfortunately spilt a whole bottle of ink on a five-page despatch, ‘ whereupon the King’s monkey, having been accused of this mischief, was for a long time in disgrace’. Jermyn mentioned in several places longer and more fortunate appointments with Miss Hyde. Both stated, however, that they had enjoyed ‘ but the small pleasures of love On the other hand, Killigrew declared that he enjoyed Miss Hyde’s favours to the utmost limits. ‘ He was a merry, sly fellow, and had a talent for telling anecdotes in a most amusing fashion. His rendezvous, he said, took place in a different small room, built right above the water and intended for quite other purposes than love- making. They had two or three swans for witnesses, who had probably had the same luck on several other occasions, for the lady frequented this room and enjoyed much pleasure therein^.’

Conversations about the charms of the opposite sex were always vulgar and shameless either with men or women. Women liked to discuss the physical abilities of famous wooers; men, on the other hand, analysed exhaustively the constitution of the female body. Men sometimes handed over their wives to their friends to make what use they liked of them, as Mr. Cooke did to Sir William Baron*.

Deceived husbands sometimes revenged themselves in a very queer fashion ‘ without poison or iron ’, but thor-

' Mimoirea du Comie de OrammarU, pp. 134-135.

  • Mrs. Manley’s AUdantie, p. 483.

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oughly satisfactory to them. Southesk went to the most notorious places in order to pick up ‘ the most disgusting of all diseases. But he only half succeeded in revenging himself because, after he had undergone the most drastic treatment to get rid of the disease, he was the only one to have his gift returned to him by his wife, for she carried on no more intercourse with the man for whom the present was intended*.’ It was lucky for the Marquis de Flamarens that the only ‘ present ’ he was given by Lady Southesk was her fond heart*.

There were frequent scenes of jealousy between the ladies, especially the numerous mistresses of the King®.

Pregnancy and child-birth were everyday events. The haughty Miss Warmestre, ‘ apparently mistaking the date, took the liberty of being confined at court ’. Miss Bellenden, warned by this example, was prudent enough to leave court shortly after, in order to avoid being turned out*. Lady Castlemaine’s ‘ figure was distorted by a third or fourth

^ Mdmoires du Comte de Orammonty p. 139.

  • Ibid.y p. 175.

» Grammont presented the King with a splendid coach with glass windows. ‘ The Queen had a feeling that this wonderful carriage would bring her luck, and wished to be the first to use it with the Duchess of York. Lady Castlemaine saw her in it and, being convinced that she would look much prettier in it than in any other, she asked the King to lend her the magic carriage to be driven in it in Hyde Park, on the first fine day. Miss Stewart expressed the same desire and asked for the carriage for the very same day. The King was at a loss, for there was no means of arbitrating between the two Goddesses, whose former friendship had changed to mortal hatred, for each wanted to be the first to have the carriage. Lady Castlemaine was pregnant and threatened to bear her child prematurely should her rival be granted the favour. Miss Stewart, on the other hand, assured the King that she would never let herself be put in that condition if he did not fulfil her wishes. This latter threat won the fight, and Lady Castlemaine was so upset and furious that she almost kept her word. It was also said that the triumph cost her rival a little of her innocence ’ (Mimoires du Comte de Orammonty p. 119). pp. 183, 184.

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pregnancy, and the King was good enough to put it to his own debit^

Pepys was told by Captain Ferrers that ‘ at a ball at court about a month previously, a maid of honour had dropped a baby whilst dancing It is said to have been carried off in a handkerchief, and the King kept it in his private room for about a week and dissected it, making coarse jokes*. The Queen knew only too well that the King was not specially anxious to have legitimate children as long as his lovely mistresses would provide him with illegitimate heirs*.

Amusements never lacked at this court of lascivious debauchery. But of all these, riding was especially popular, when the ladies could display all their charms. ‘ There were outings on horseback when mounted ladies did their best — with or without success — to display their charms* ’, as, for instance, when Miss Arabella ChurchiU was given the opportunity to show the Duke of York the contrast between her face and her body*. Pepys one day saw a troop of ladies returning from their riding and followed them to the Court of Whitehall, saw them trying on each others’ plumed hats and heard their peals of laughter. ‘ It was the loveliest sight, with their beauty and their gorgeous costumes, that I have ever seen in my life. But the loveliest of all was Miss Stewart in her riding dress with her red-feathered hat on the side of her head, her sweet eyes, her little Roman nose and splendid figure, the loveliest I have ever seen*.’ Indeed, the King loved her best when he saw her on horseback.

• Mimoirea du Comte de Ornmnumt^ p. 259.

• Taine, loc, cU,^ Vol. II, p. 23,

• Mhnoirea du Comte de Orammoni, p. 262,

^Ibid.,^. 116.

p. 247.

• J. H. Jesse, Literary and Historical Memorials of London, London, 1847. Vol. n, p. 247.

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The most pernicious fact about this distinguished society was that the people followed its vicious example. No other epoch in the history of public morals shows so clearly the unhealthy influence of a corrupt upper class on the morals of the people as this, when special pleasure was taken in maintaining constant touch with the common burghers and people of the lower classes. Rochester, for instance, settled down in the City for a short time, originally with the intention of becoming acquainted with the secrets of the citizens; that is, he intended ‘ to take part under an assumed name and in disguise, in their amusements and parties and occasionally in the enjoyment of their wives. He was invited to all the parties, and while he discussed with the men the faults and the weakness of the Government, he joined with the women in criticising the court ladies and mistresses of the King. He upheld their opinion that these shocking abuses rankled in the marrow of the poor people.

The pretty ladies of the City were in no way inferior to those of the West End, yet in their part of the town one husband was generally content with one wife. Finally, outdoing their complaints, he declared his astonishment that fire from heaven had not fallen on Whitehall and consumed it, whilst good-for-nothings like Rochester, Killigrew and Sidney were tolerated, who asserted that all London husbands were cuckolds and their wives painted their faces. This kind of thing made him so popular with the men, and sought after, that he soon grew tired of the banquets and the importunacy of the merchant-folk*.’ Miss Frances Jennings and Miss Price, disguised as ‘ orange girls ’, offered and sold their fruit in the City, and, of course, had all sorts of adventures, according to Hamilton. The ladies of the court often disguised themselves, and even the Queen mixed amongst the people at fairs, disguised as a peasant woman.

‘ J. H. J^se, foe. cit., p. 221.

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Bishop Bumet writes: ‘ The court in those days took part in the most licentious masquerades. King and Queen, ladies and courtiers, went about in disguise, entered the houses of unknown people and danced there, making bad jokes. It was not easy for them to be recognised by such as did not know the secret. They were carried about in common hired chairs, and the Queen was once lost by her chairmen, not knowing her identity. She was left all alone and did not know what to do. In the end she had to drive to Whitehall in a hired coach*.’

But this hobnobbing with the lower classes went even farther than that. John Evelyn writes about the ladies of rank, that they frequented taverns in which a courtesan would never have set her foot. ‘ But you will be even more astonished to hear that they passed their large glasses round, drank each other’s healths, danced to the music of the violin, freely distributed kisses, and called this a decent form of amusement*.’ De Cominges, French Am bassador at Charles’s court, reports that indulgence in excesses in taverns and brothels was common amongst people of rank, and even ladies of very distinguished families would accom- pany their gallants to such places to drink Spanish wine*.

J. H. Jesse, in his Literary and Historical Memorials of London, interspersed with verses, gives a poetic description of life during the Restoration period, which may be included here as a fitting close to this section*:

‘ Live while we live ’, the frolic monarch cries;

Away with thought in joy’s delicious hours,

Of love and mirth, of melody and flowers!

Lo! on the ear voluptuous music falls,

Comte de Orammont (Comment), p. 330.
  • G. Hill, Women in English Life. London, 1896. Vol. I, 184.
  • Ibid., p. 187.
  • J. H. Jesse, ho. cit., Vol. II, pp. 204-206.

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The lamps are flashing on the mirrored walls;

How rich the odours and how gay the rooms With sparkling jewels and with waving plumes!

Bright names that live in history’s page we trace, Hyde’s moumiul look, and Monmouth’s angel face; Portsmouth’s dark eye, and Cleveland’s haughty charms That chained a monarch to her snowy arms;

There royal Catherine cheeks the jealous tear.

While pleads her lord in beauty’s flattered ear;

There gleams the star on graceful Villiers’ breast,

Here the grouped courtiers laugh at Wilmot’s jest: There glittering heaps of tempting gold entice The wealthy fool to chance the dangerous dice;

Here floats young beauty through the graceful dance. Feigns the fond sigh, or throws the wanton glance; There the soft love song to yon group apart.

Steals with delicious sweetness o’er the heart;

The easy monarch glides from fair to fair.

Hints the warm wish, or breathes the amorous prayer.

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The influence of the spirit of the Restoration period upon English social life was tremendous. The general constitution of the upper classes, as they were established in the reign of Charles II, has, on the whole, remained unchanged up to the present day. The expulsion of the Stuarts did not alter the character of English society life. The beginning of the eighteenth century exhibits the same tendencies in this society, but in an ennobled form, becoming gradually, in the course of the eighteenth century, through intellectual interests, more refined and established. Paul Hensel remarks in his interesting essay on English social conditions at the beginning of the eighteenth century: ‘ A return of Puritan austerity was not to be feared. It was, and re- mained, a worldly generation, thinking more of getting on in the world than of seeking the way to salvation. But religion was no longer scorned and the idleness of the upper classes was condemned.’ Nevertheless, Hensel considers the main characteristic of that period to be ‘ the absence of the most important element in our lives to-day’: work, although it was not so bad as in the days so faithfully described for us by Pepys in his Diary^. The disinclination to regular

  • P. Hensel, English Social Conditions at the Beginning of the Eighteenth

Century. Neue Heidelb. Jahrb., 1899. Pp. 2-3.

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occupation still prevailed in England during the eighteenth century.

Due to their long sojourn in France, the Stuarts had brought with them to England a predilection for French habits and manners, and the intimate relations between French and English society were personified by individuals like Grammont and St. Evremond. Francophilia is the most noteworthy bequest of the Restoration period, giving un- deniably a peculiar flavour to the eighteenth century.

Next to Francophilia, sentimentality is a prominent characteristic of English society. The idea of sentimentality is a peculiarly English one. The first literary manifestation of this idea which, to a certain extent, popularised it, was Laurence Sterne’s Sentimental Journey. The second repre- sentative of this school is Samuel Richardson (1680-1761). He was the founder of the sentimental family , novel, describing the everyday conflicts of private life. Richardson sought to depict this life with its noble sentiments, its good deeds, its fine humanity, but also with its need, its vices, its meanness.

The sentimentality of the eighteenth century often manifested itself in a strange manner, which we can scarcely understand nowadays. The floods of tears which, for example, flow unceasingly in the heartrending books of the German Miller, flowed in reality. When Casanova recited a touching passage of Ariosto’s Orlando Furiosoto an audience including, amongst others, Voltaire and Madame Denis, he modulated his intonations according to the emotions he wished to call forth. ‘ My violent efforts to hold back my tears were visible to everyone, and the eyes of the listeners were full, but in the end I cried so unrestrainedly that my audience sobbed in sympathy. M. Voltaire and Madame Denis fell on my neck, but their embraces could not stop my tears. Voltaire remarked: “ I have always said that the secret of calling

[ 266 ]


forth tears is to weep oneself, but the tears must be real ones and they must come from a deeply moved soul

A yet more remarkable example of sentimentality can be foimd in Serails de Londres (a work playing more or less the same role in English society of the eighteenth century as did GrammonVs Memoirs in that of the seventeenth century). It is a story of a young count who frequented the brothel of Mrs. Dubery solely in order to carry on sentimental conver- sation with one of the prostitutes, giving her each time a note for twenty pounds. The reason for this peculiar caprice was his sexual impotence, and this was his way of seeking some substitute for physical pleasure^. Sentimentality in this case is obviously a means of sexual satisfaction, a substitute and equivalent for natural sexual activity, and is a positive proof of the morbid character of these artificial emotions.

The general character of society of the eighteenth century was, in comparison with that of the Restoration period, decidedly more refined and ennobled. Men like Rochester or Dorset seem, in spite of their brilliant talents, common and vulgar fellows in comparison with Selwyn and March, with their polished manners and elegant, well-bred be- haviour. This later society, too, was ruled by the spirit of Rococo. The prevailing mode of entertainment was light, pleasant conversation, accompanied, of course, by ‘ gossip The so-called ‘ demi-reps^ ’ of the eighteenth century in England must not be confused with the French demi- mondaines of the nineteenth century. The demi-reps were ladies of not perfectly irreproachable reputation, and they were exposed to the permanent danger of being ‘ dissected alive at the tea-tables^ The gossiping women of London

‘ Casanova, Memoirs (Leipzig), Vol. XI, p. 33.

  • Lea Sirails de Londres (Brussels, no date), new edition, pp. 160-162.
  • From ‘ demi-reputation
  • G. Hill, loc, cit.t Vol. I, p. 343.

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were a favourite topic for the moralising authors of the eighteenth century, Addison, Steele, Sterne, for example, and the good Richard King, who emphasised particularly in his Frauds of London the destructive effect of their gossip^

The aristocracy and the common people in the eighteenth century were more widely separated from each other than in the seventeenth century, when a kind of patriarchal relationship still existed between them. In addition, the court, according to Archenholtz, no longer frequented common brothels, but the courtiers maintained brothels of their own.

‘ There are other houses as well, in the vicinity of St. James’s Palace, where a number of nymphs are kept for the pleasure of the courtiers. There is a street called King’s Place, containing charming houses, inhabited solely by priestesses of Venus living under the supervision of well-to- do matrons. They go to public places of amusement, even the most expensive ones, and are always very well dressed. Each of these nimneries^ ” has its own carriages and liveried servants, for the girls never go on foot except for their walks in the Park. They pay for their apartment and food and are treated as boarders although, however, obliged to submit to the rules of the house. The high price paid even for entry to these temples kept the mob from frequenting them, and for this reason rich and distinguished people came the more. The famous Fox, before he became a Minister, was one of the many visitors to these houses, and often hurried straight from there to Parliament, where he affected all by his eloquence. It is remarkable that so long

^ R. King, The Frauds of Loudoriy p. 30.

• ‘ Nunnery * was a mediaeval name for brothel, first used in France. See the chapter, ‘ Women’s Houses ’, in Iwan Bloch’s Prostitution^ Vol. I. Berlin, 1912.

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as this man lived the life of a libertine he was respected for his justice and uprightness and for his true patriotism. But when he devoted himself entirely to politics he renounced his debaucheries and his virtues at the same time'.’ This is a veiy interesting psychological manifestation. For the virtues and faults of the individual have a very close con- nection with his or her sexual life. If the former are to be imderstood, the latter must be taken into account, and what applies to the individual applies likewise to society. The sexual life of a society, with its various S3Tnptoms, is always a true reflection of the culture of the age.

The grand fancy-dress balls, at this time at the height of their popularity, were the rallying point of the best society.

The precursors of these balls were the ‘ masques ’ of the seventeenth century, and three of the most famous authors of these were Daniel, Campion and Ben Jonson. This last had, according to Taine, really invented these plays, at which sumptuous luxury was displayed.

‘ His hands shuffle all things together: the Greek gods, the whole Olympus of olden time, allegorical figures as depicted by the painters of those days, the divine, the human, the abstract, and the real, the antique and the modem. He brings them all on to the stage, creating a mixed brew of harmonious grouping, songs, allegories, to excite or intoxicate the artistic senses of the onlookers. The 41ite of the kingdom appears on the stage — ^no buffoons in borrowed, ill-fitting costumes, moving uncouthly about, but ladies of the court, queens in the full splendour of their rank and pride, decked with real diamonds. They make a show of the luxuries they possess, so that the whole splendour of national life may be concentrated, like jewels in a jewel-case at the opera. What dresses! What pomp!

  • Archenholtz, England, Vol. II, pp. 260-261.

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What a gathering of queer individuak ! What a crowd of gipsies, magicians, gods, heroes, priests, gnomes! What transformations, dances, wedding-songs and fights! What a shifting of scenery, landscapes, buildings, floating islands, triumphal arches, symbolic spheres! Gk)ld glitters, jewels sparkle, the purple catches the light of the big chandelier in its rich folds, the ruffled silk reflects the light, flashing diamonds adorn the ladies’ bosoms. The brocaded costumes are covered with silver embroidery and decorated with strings of pearls, appliqu6d with golden flowers and ihiits and all kinds of bizarre arabesques, giving the impression of a picture within a picture. The steps of the throne are adorned with statues of the Grod of Love holding torches. Musicians in scarlet and purple wraps, with laurel-wreaths on their heads, play in the arbours, crowds of masked players pass up and down in ever-changing groups. Some of them wear silver and red-brown costumes, others sea-green and orange. The short white jackets are embroidered with gold, and all costiames and jewels are surpassingly rich. The throne floats in a sea of light^.’

But these masques of the seventeenth century were mere show pieces, and thus differed from the masquerades of the eighteenth century, in which the whole of the distinguished company took part, The fancy-dress balls were essential components of the richly coloured picture of EngUsh High Society in the eighteenth century; and Fitzgerald rightly picks them out as ‘ the note ’ of the general taste, mentioning at the same time the large buildings erected for this special purpose, such as Ranelagh®, the Pantheon®, Almack’s, and the famous building of Madame Comelys in Soho Square*.

  • Taine, loc. cit., Vol. I, pp. 460-461.
  • See Chapter IV.
  • P. Fitzgerald, Life of Oeorge IV, Vol. I, p. 62.

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The fancy-dress balls helped to a very great extent to spread immorality. Complaints were made at the very beginning of the excesses indulged in at such festivals. The Bishop of London in 1726 preached from the pulpit against fancy-dress balls. Three years later the ‘ Grand Jury of Middlesex ’ declared that the fancy-dress balls were the chief promoters of vice and immorality^. Great scandals were often caused by the behaviour of the mob, on which Archenholtz reports as follows: ‘ The English mob takes part in fancy-dress balls in a curious and such an unpleasant way, that it is surprising how refined ladies can, under such circumstances, seek such dearly-bought pleasures. Owing to their great number, many of the carriages were compelled to wait for a time in the street, and the masked passengers were at the mercy of the crowd. All the waiting carriages were illuminated with torches by these outcasts of the nation, deriding those inside with the wit of the fish market, obscenities and bawls of laughter. They climbed on the wheels of the carriages, holding their torches under the noses of those inside. But the amusement usually went no further than curiosity and derision*.’

The costumes at such fancy-dress balls were mostly rich and very expensive; some of the ladies, however, distin- guished themselves by their lack of costume. Lady Eliza- beth Montague gives a description of the costume of a certain Miss Chudleigh at a fancy-dress ball in 1750: ‘ Miss Chud- leigh’s dress, or rather undress, was very interesting. She represented “ Iphigenia before her sacrifice ”, but she was so unclothed that the High Priest had no difficulty at all in closely examining the victim. The ladies, who themselves were not too strait-laced, were so revolted at this that they

  • H. D. Traill, Social England. London, 1898. Vol. V, pp. 141-142.

‘Archenholtz, England, Vol. Ill, pp. 216-216.

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refused to speak to her^.’ ‘ Spleen’, too, was often expressed in curious ways. King George III, who was not especially fond of the fancy-dress balls, once in 1771 induced Colonel Luttrel to terrify the company at a ball by appearing in a coffin clad in a shroud; he accordingly did this, frightening the guests and especially the ladies, until he was finally turned out by a man disguised as a sailor*.

The most famous fancy-dress balls of the eighteenth century were those at Almack’s, and those arranged by Madame Comelys (or ComeHs).

Almack’s was so called after the name of a Scotchman who had the ballroom built in 1764, on the southern side of King Street, St. James’s, and inaugurated it by giving a sumptuous festival ball attended, amongst others, by the Duke of Cumberland, the victor of Culloden. The great ballroom held 1,700 persons. The fancy-dress balls at Almack’s were organised by a committee of distinguished ladies, and only members of the ‘ upper ten ’ were admitted. Gilly Williams describes in his letter to George Selwyn on the 23rd February 1765; ‘ A new subscription of 10 guineas has been inaugurated at Almack’s for which, in three very elegant, newly-built rooms, one can attend a ball and supper a week for twelve weeks. Considering the rather high entrance fee, it is to be presumed that the company will be a select one.’

Almack’s existed until after the middle of the nineteenth century, and was later called Willis’s, this being the name of its new proprietor. Until 1850 the entertainments held there were distinguished by their exclusiveness. After that time the reputation of this old and famous establishment

^ Doran, A Lady of the Last Cerdury^ p. 57.

• Archenholtz, England, Vol. Ill, pp. 213-214.

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gradually declined owing to the ‘ plebeian invasion and finally it was closed in 1863^

The fancy-dress balls arranged by Madame Comelys (Comely or Cornells), the ‘ Empress of Taste and Voluptu- ousness*’, one of the most interesting adventuresses of the eighteenth century, were even more sumptuous than those at Almacks.

Madame Comelys, as she was called in London, was originally Teresa Imer. She came from the German Tyrol, and was the daughter of the actor Imer, whose troupe performed in Italian theatres in the first three decades of the eighteenth century. Teresa was a striking beauty, and in her early years had had love affairs with distinguished Italian gallants, such as Senator Malipieri, at whose house she became acquainted with Casanova in 1740. We learn from the Memoirs of the latter that she was his lover for a short time, and that he adopted her son, bom in 1746, whom he took to see her after her emigration to London in 1763*.

The clearest picture of her personality and life may be obtained from descriptions of her by some of her con- temporaries.

Archenholtz wTites: ‘ This German-Tyrolean woman of low origin attained to a good position in London by the recitals she gave, edthough she was but a very mediocre singer. Having made the acquaintance of several dis- tinguished ladies, she rented a large fine house and had it

• Since the beginning of the nineteenth century Almacks had served as a concert hall. Concerts were given here from 1808 to 1810 by Mrs. Billington, Mrs. Braham and Signor Naldi, the rivals of Catalini who sang in the * Hanover Square Rooms \ Charles Kemble^s famous Shake- speare recitals were given here in 1844. See J. Timbs, Curioaitiea of London, p. 3.

• Sirails de Londrea, p. 216.

• See Victor Ottmann, Jacob Casanova von SeingaU, his Life and his Works, Stuttgart, 1900. Pp. 19-20, 22-23, 62, 76.

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furnished in princely fashion^. The entertainments here consisted of recitals, balls and masquerades. No one but subscribers were admitted, and even these had to produce a written permit from one of the presiding ladies. Less than twelve tickets could not be bought, and these at first cost only six guineas, but later the price was raised to nine guineas. For the first year the number of subscribers was 2,700. The anniversary of the foundation of the establish- ment was celebrated every year by a fancy-dress ball, on which occasion anyone was admitted without distinction. The entrance fee was two guineas, but for this sum a fine supper was served at two o’clock in the morning. She told me herself that more than 8,000 tickets were sold on such occasions.’

All these festivals differed considerably from one another, thanks to the inventive genius of this woman of extra- ordinary talents. Illuminated arcades, triumphal arches, rooms transformed into gardens with orange-trees, foun- tains and lovely flowers were seen here; transparent paint- ings and inscriptions, flights of stairs and avenues with coloured lamps arranged in pyramidal and other designs, festooned with garlands; speciafiy arranged tables for the repast, a series of splendid rooms, each furnished luxuriously in some oriental style — Persian, Indian, Chinese, etc. The greatest ceremony prevailed, augmenting considerably the splendour of the entertainment. Nine thousand artistically arranged wax candies burnt in the rooms on these anni- versaries.

Madame Comelys was not avaricious; she was always in debt and was, as a rule, imprisoned after each party, until at last these entertainments had to be discontinued, and

  • This house was called ‘ Carlisle House and was in Soho Square by

the present Greek Street. See Henry Sampson, A History of Advertising. London, 1874. Pp. 483-484; and Jouy, L'hermite de Londres, Vol. I, p. C.

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henceforth she, the former ‘ Empress of Taste depended entirely on the kindheartedness and charity of her friends^

The Soho masquerades were in vogue for about twenty years, during which time Madame Comelys was repeatedly in the debtor’s prison, and, after a final bankruptcy, she disappeared from the scene for ever. The famous house at 20-21 Soho Square existed for many years and preserved some of its former splendour in its interior decoration. Its last owners were a firm — equally celebrated in its way — Crosse and Blackwell of ‘ Pickles ’ fame^!

The game ‘ Faro ’ mentioned in Humphrey Clinker as a special attraction at Cornelys’ house, was one of the indispensable fashionable amusements of distinguished English society in the eighteenth century, and had passion- ate devotees, particularly in the higher-class demi-monde. Some idea of how widely this vice was spread amongst women is given by the correspondence of George Selwyn, which contains several descriptions on the subject, and these are confirmed in the memoirs of Casanova®.

The distinguished courtesans of the eighteenth century can be compared in every respect to French ‘ Maitresses these having indubitably been their models. The same wit, the same elegance, the same splendour, and not infrequently the same cunning. The search for pleasure held men and women equally in its grip. Lady Mary Wortley Montague writes in one of her letters: ‘ I deplore the unpopularity of the married state, which is scorned by our young girls nowadays, as once by the young men. Both sexes have

^ Casanova’s MemoirSy Vol. XV, pp. 91, 108-109.

■ Adrian, in his English Sketchesy gives a very vivid description of a masquerade under Greorge IV (Frankfurt a.M., 1830), Vol. I, pp. 82-124; also Pierce Egan in his Life in LondoUy ed. Hotten, London, 1900, pp. 230-250, with the ‘ Masquerade song *, pp. 240-242.

• See E. J. Roscoe and Helen Clergue, George SelwyUy his Utters and his life, London, 1899. P. 18.

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discovered its inconveniences,^ and many feminine libertines may be found amongst young women of rank. No one is shocked to hear that “ Miss So and So, Maid of Honour, has got nicely over her confinement

The actress Anna Bellamy was the most talented of all these English courtesans. She was beautiful and clever, and her house was a regular ‘ Bureau d’Esprit ’, a gathering place of all distinguished and learned men, and even ladies of high rank^, and she is worthy of mention in the history of the emancipation of women. At the same time, she was one of the most amorous and lascivious women of her age. She was bom in 1731, the illegitimate daughter of Lord Tyrawley, an old roue. She became an actress at Covent Garden Theatre, and died in 1788, after writing her rightly famous memoirs^.

Archenholtz describes Miss Bellamy as follows:

‘ Whilst we are on the subject of distinguished courtesans, we must mention the brilliant actress who played for 30 years in London theatres, Miss Anna Bellamy, who is still alive and has just finished her “ Memoirs ”, containing the very interesting and instructive history of her life. She was perhaps not quite an Aspasia, but more a Maintenon. Her beauty, her wit, her intelligence, her talents, her generosity and refined manners irresistibly attracted everyone to her. Her house was a gathering place of great and celebrated men. She was an intimate friend of Yoimg, Thomson, Littleton, Garrick and Chesterfield. Ministers of State, generals, ambassadors, visited her daily and sat at her table,

^ Quoted from Johannes Scherr, History of ETiglish Literature. Second edition. Leipzig, 1874. P. 125.

  • Sextuil Debaucheries in the Countries of the Old and New World, etc. New

edition, without place or date, p. 137.

• See P. Fitzgerald, The Romance of the English Stage (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 106; Archenholtz, Annals, Vol. I, p. 402; Walter Thombury, Haunted London (ed. Walford, London, 1880), pp. 317-318.

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at which the choicest food for mind and body was abun- dantly offered them, adding to the refined pleasures of social life. She took an active part in court affairs, and in the elections. She could scarcely be quoted as a model of feminine virtue, for she always had a favourite lover with whom she lived. But so great was the power of her extra- ordinary merits and her well-proved nobleness of spirit, that even irreproachably virtuous ladies of the highest rank main- tained social intercourse with her and permitted their daugh- ters to do the same, for the good of their minds and hearts^.’

It is of psychological interest that this woman, who had loved and was loved by so many — even by the famous Fox* — came in the end to the knowledge which is spared to no man or woman of pleasure: ‘ Les jouissances que la vie offre a nos sens, a de grandes intervalles, sont souvent perfides, presque toujours Equivoques et jamais dmables; mais les peines sont sures, elles semblent plus s’identifier avec notre existence*.’ It is a pity that this observation, of particular interest considering the mouth from which it came, should have escaped the attention of Schopenhauer, the great philosopher of pessimism, whose habit it was to collect and quote such-like sayings.

Besides Miss Bellamy, Kitty Fisher and Fanny Murray were regarded as the most accomplished courtesans of that period; they are mentioned in many writings of their day*,

' Archenholtz, England, Vol. 11, pp. 256-256.

• Miss Bellamy, Memoirs, Vol. I, pp. 260 S. ? Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 27-28.

  • For example, in a book which appeared at Geneva in 1785, Amours

el les Aventures du Lord Fox, at the close of which the following remarkable reflection appears: ‘ Les femmes qui, dans les slides plus recul^, ont fait commerce de leur vertu, peuvent-elles se comparer k celles de nos jours? Les Flora, les Lais, etc., ont vEcu dans I’iclat de la magnificence: encore laiss^rent-elles aprte leur mort d’immenses richesses. Flora, en mourant, a 14gu4 au S&iat de Rome une somme considerable poiu I’institution d’une fete annuelle sous le nom de Jeuz Floraux. En Angleterre, une con- temporaine de Fanny Murray et de Edtty Fisher devint assez riche pour se donner 30,000 livres st. de rente.’

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admired by their most celebrated contemporaries for their extraordinary beauty, and vied with each other in gallantry and unparalleled luxury.

Archenholtz writes of Kitty Fisher: ‘ One of these girls, Kitty Fisher, distinguished herself — about 26 years ago — by the unique manner in which she served the goddess Venus. By nature endowed in the highest degree with beauty and intelligence, wit and liveliness, she was greatly admired and desired by all such as preferred the joys of sexual contacts to all the other pleasures of life. This priestess was well aware of her value, and fixed therefore the sum of 100 guineas as the price of her favours for one night; she had, nevertheless, plenty of admirers, who did not appear to be discouraged by this large amount. The late Duke of York, brother of the present king, was amongst them. After having spent a night with her, he gaye her a bank-note for £50 sterling, for he happened to have no more on him. Miss Fisher was very much offended, and gave him to imderstand that she did not wish any further visits from him, and to show her contempt for his present she sent the bank-note (which, as everyone knows, is made of a specially thin paper) to a pastrycook, who put it into a tartlet which she afterwards ate for breakfast^.’ This anecdote, reminiscent of the history of Cleopatra’s pearl*, is consistent with other reports of the unhmited pride of this ‘ Flora of London ’. She chose her lovers only from amongst men of good position, as was seen when she was once taken ill. Amongst other celebrities, six members of the House of Lords had their names entered in the list of visitors. She was very extravagant, and in luxiuy did her best to surpass the highest classes of society. She did not, for instance, deny herself the pleasure of once eating fiiesh strawberries

‘ Archenholtz, England, Vol. II, pp. 251-252.

  • This is perhaps why Reynolds painted her as Cleopatra.

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in 'winter, for which she had to pay the enormous price of twenty guineas! One night she surprised the audience of a theatre by ha'ving tea served in her box during the performance. In short, she resembled an English Dubarry*.

Fanny Miirray (died in 1770) was the daughter of a musician in Bath, and had been married to a Mr. Boss. She was renowned between 1735 and 1745. Horace Walpole mentions her in a letter to Conway in 1746 sis a ‘ famous beauty ’. She was the mistress, amongst others, of John Spencer and Beau Nash. Her name was immortalised in a very doubtful fashion by the role she was given in the obscene satire of the well-known political agitator and author, John Wilkes, An Essay on Woman, dedicated to her, in which she is represented in sexual actmty*.

There were many other beautiful and intelligent cour- tesans in the eighteenth century, such as Miss Lucy Cooper, frequently mentioned in Sirails de Londres and in other similar books on courtesans; further, Mrs. Harriet Errington, who used to honour her numerous (mostly military) lovers by presenting them ■with locks of her hair*; and Miss Parsons, the lover of the Duke of Grafton*.

' Tableau descriptif, moral, philosophique et critique de Londres en 1816. Paris, 1817. Vol. I, p. 118.

• See ‘ Wilkes and the Essay on Woman * in Notes and Queries, second series, No. 79, 4th July 1857, p. 1; No. 80, 11th July, p. 21; and No. 81, 18th July 1857, p. 41. A German book, History of the famous Miss Fanny Murray, translated from the English (Nuremburg, 1780), was not accessible, nor the English original.

• See the Memoirs of Mrs. Harriet Er-g-n, containing her amours, intrigues and tHe-d-tHes with Colonel M-n, Colonel T-l-n, Captain 8m4h, ete. London, 1780-90. On the title-page the heroine is depicted holding a pair of scissors, with which she has just cut off a lock of her hair for her gallant. This lies on a piece of paper.

• Memoirs of the amours, intrigues and adventures of Charles August du Fitz-Roy, DulU of Orafton, with Miss Parsons. London, 1769; aJso under the title: Intrigues h la mode. Biographical memoirs of the Duke of Orafton, induding some particulars in the Ufe of the celebrcUed Miss Anna Bella Parsons. London, no date. With coloured portrait of Parsons.

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These priestesses of Venus generally had, besides the lovers who supported them, a great number of admirers, some of whom feU desperately in love with them, and were driven by jealousy to commit terrible deeds, as in the tragic career of Miss Ray, who was murdered by the preacher Hackman.

James Hackman, son of an officer and at first himself an officer, later a preacher, became acquainted at Lord Sand- wich’s house in Minchinbroke with Miss Martha Ray, daughter of an artisan in Hol 5 rwell Street, London. When eighteen years old she had become the mistress of John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich, by whom she afterwards had several children. She was unusually pretty, and every- body was charmed with her exceptional beauty and by her marvellous voice, which had been trained by Giardini for the stage. Hackman immediately fell passionately in love with this attractive young woman and pursued her for years with proposals of marriage which, however, always met with refusal. He ended by putting a buUet through her head on the 7th April 1779 in a fit of jealousy, as she left the theatre after a performance of Love in a Village. She was killed on the spot. He then turned the pistol against himself, but was not severely wounded. This affair made a great stir, and reports on it were published next day in all the London newspapers. But he very soon atoned for his crime, for he died at the age of twenty-seven on the gallows at Tyburn. Miss Ray was thirty-fouri.

The English theatre also contributed to the number of

^ See Dictionary of National Biography ^ ed. Stephen and Lee (London, 1890), Vol. 23, pp. 422-423; J. H. Jesse, George Selwyn and his contem^ poraries (London, 1882), Vol. IV, pp. 59-65 (with picture of Ray by Dance on p. 59). Boswell describes, in the Life of Johnson, the execution of Hackman, whom he accompanied to Tyburn. Sir Herbert Croft in 1780 published a fictitious correspondence between Hackman and Miss Ray, under the title Love and Madness — a story too true, in a series of letters between parties whose names would perhaps he merUioned were they less known or less lamented, London, 1780, 8vo.




the courtesans of the eighteenth century. The ladies of the theatre allowed themselves almost imlimited sexual free- dom, which in smaller towns and in itinerant troupes of players, differed little from genuine shameless prostitution^

The author of London and Paris writes of the famous singer (of Drury Lane and Covent Garden), Mrs. Billington:

  • I have seldom seen the gifts of the gods and goddesses so

lavishly bestowed on one woman as on this musical Pandora. Apollo gave her the magic gift of music and mime; Bacchus dissected ten of his fresh, roimd-hmbed, plump maenads and nymphs and created of them a picturesque, lovely, rosy form to be his faithful servant; the goddess of Cyprus rewarded her devout priestess for the abundant clouds of incense which she burnt at secret altars in her honour, by yoking royal princes, dukes and nobles to her chariot.’

‘ When she first cast her magic net in Dublin the Duke of Rutland, Viceroy of Ireland, was caught in it. She had long arrived at a mutual tolerance with the man whose name she took on giving up her maiden name of Weichsel. “ Her obliging temper cannot resist the importmiities of afflicted swains”, writes the author of the secret theatre chronicles. Secret History of the Green Boom (London, 1796, Vol. II, p. 73), in which the curious will also find a list of the parts she took at Covent Garden.

‘Cyprus also sent her youngest maidens and graces to adorn her firm, rosy, plump limbs with glittering jewels, her throat and wrists with strings of oriental pearls and topaz pendants, her fingers with diamond rings, her figure with gems and golden girdles; Minerva, the goddess of plastic and graphic arts, had her portrayed by a himdred painters and copper-plate engravers (last winter her por- traits in small and large copper-plate, in water colour,

  • See A Secret History of the Qreen Room, by Hazzlewood (London, 1796),

Vol. I, p. 318.

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in charcoal, were the favourites in London print shops). Mercury, finally, led the god of wealth and opulence, Pluto, to her house, and the little blind god likewise found his way in'.’

A somewhat tempestuous career was that of another heroine of the stage, Mrs. Abington (Fanny Barton). Daughter of a soldier, she was at first a flower-girl. She had many love-affairs, which resulted in her inevitable infection with venereal disease; she was later on introduced by the demi-mondaine and procuress. Sail Parker, proprietress of a fashionable brothel, into distinguished society. Here she became a fiiend of the notorious brothel-keeper and courtesan, Charlotte Hayes, and became well known as such ‘ at the genteel houses about Co vent Garden ’. In 1752 she appeared for the first time as ‘ Miranda ’ in The Busy- body on the stage of the Haymarket Theatre, .where she was very successful. She married the conductor, Abington, with whom she had previously been surprised in intimate tite-d-tiles. Her wedding-day — or rather, her nuptial night — was marked by a tragi-comic event.

Not long before her marriage she had a liaison with a very rich and extravagant Creole. He happened to return from a voyage on the night of her wedding to Abington, and hoped to spend some happy hours with her. He rapped at her door at about midnight, and inquired if Miss Barton were in. The maid informed him that Miss Barton, in the meantime, had become Mrs. Abington, and had just retired to rest with her newly marrifed husband. The unhappy Creole made an infernal noise, and insisted on speaking to his unfaithful mistress. She finally appeared,

  • Bfittiger, London and Paris (Weimar, 1806), Vol. IX, pp. 73-76. See

also the Secret Histo^ of the Oreen Room, Vol. II, pp. 67-76, where her love-affair with the impresario Daly is described, and it is told how her husband caught her in flagranti with him. Her liaisons with the Duke of Butlaiid, old Mr. Morgan and others are also related.

1271 ]


dressed rather scantily, and assured him that the maid had told him the truth, but that she would nevertheless hence- forth visit him every evening and would spend the whole night with him! But he called her foul names and left her for ever. Her husband, too, was soon obliged to part from her because of her scandalous behaviour in Ireland, where she earned a great many laiu^els for her art, but became famous also on account of her love affairs, and by her shameless attire, in which her almost entirely naked bosom was exposed to lascivious, leering glances^.

The actress Mrs. Edwards had also been, like Mrs. Abington, a prostitute in a Covent Garden brothel before she went on the stage*.

The actress Mrs. Williams of Drury Lane was a perma- nent visitor to the fashionable brothels in Duke and Berkeley Streets, and her private income resulting therefrom amoimted to a considerable sum®. Mrs. Curtis, a very ‘ vicious ’ woman, sister of the famous actress Mrs. Siddons, delivered lectures in Dr. Graham’s ‘ Temple of Health ’ on certain topics that ‘ would make decent people blush® ’.

Mrs. Harlowe, of Covent Garden Theatre, was notorious for her numerous love-affairs with very old men. She evidently suffered from the abnormal condition which Krafft-Ebing lately designated as ‘ gerontophilia® ’.

The actress and courtesan Harriet Wilson, the ‘ English Ninon ’, who became the mistress of Lord Craven when only fifteen, and afterwards had many love-affairs with men of high rank, such as the Duke of Wellington, the Duke of Argyle, and others, lived in the first quarter of the nine- teenth century, in the reign of George IV. In her Memoirs,

  • Secret History of the Green Room, Vol. I, pp. 41-68.
  • IM., Vol. I, p. 248.
  • Ibid., Vol. I, p. 353.
  • Ibid., Vol. II, p. 18.

‘ Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 262-264.

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describing her extremely eventful career as a courtesan, she gives a very clear picture of the frivolous lives of society people of this period.

The unlimited sexual freedom of actresses ceetsed in the reign of Victoria. This freedom, by the way, had been severely condemned by the most famous of all actresses of the eighteenth century, Mrs. Siddons, the most perfect interpreter of Lady Macbeth, who moved George III to tears by her wonderful performance; her hand had been respectfully kissed by Samuel Johnson; according to the lawyer Erskine she was a model of eloquence; and she was immortalised by Sir Joshua Rejmolds as the famous ‘ Tragic Muse The absolute unapproachableness of some of the actresses often called for desperate measures on the part of passionate, rejected lovers. The beautiful tragic actress. Miss Kelly, was twice shot at from the audience by rejected lovers*. In Victorian English society, actresses led a most respectable domestic life. Badly-paid chorus girls and ballet dancers only were for sale, and even the most beautiful of the more renowned actresses were ‘ de simples et bonnes bourgeoises*’.

There were ample opportunities, apart from the theatres, of becoming acquainted -with prominent courtesans: at Rane- lagh, Vauxhall, at fancy-dress balls and promenades, and especially in the elegant confectioners’ shops, such as Hickson’s (in Piccadilly), renowned for its wonderful cakes, consumed standing, while the eye roamed over the gallery of assembled beauties, and the internal heat was cooled with soda-water, fashionable since about 1810*. The so- called ‘ Alpha Cottages ’ between Regent’s Park and

‘Thombury, Haunted London, pp. 319-320.

  • Ibid., p. 336.
  • It4mo, La vie gcdante en Anffleterre, p. 179. See also Aus der

Londoner OeseUschafl (Leipzig, 1885), p. 309.

  • Jouy, L’hermite de Londrea, Vol. I, p. 336.

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Paddington, the pdites maisons of distinguished English society, were likewise rendezvous for amorous adventures^.

But the best and easiest opportunities for gallant ladies to exhibit their charms were presented by evening parties or ‘ routs ’, called ‘ arenas of fashion in the upper classes ’ by the author of Doings in London.

Gambling was the chief amusement here according to Huttner, but as is known all over the world, gambling and love are almost inseparable.

Jouy and von Rosenberg in the nineteenth century give a detailed account of these routs. Von Rosenberg describes in a particularly sarcastic and emphatic manner the fashion- able behaviour of young people here, the flirtations of the fair sex and the bored cynicism of juvenile greybeards.

‘Some booksellers and print-sellers, such as Ackermann and others, had a great collection of caricatures, drawings, sketches, copper-plates and the like, which they hired out for routs: three, four and up to five guineas were paid for them on each occasion.

‘ A number of elegant ladies and gentlemen sit around a table laden with pictures, caricatures, copper-plates, dis- cussing the problems of light and shade, form and colour, of Rubens, Van Dyck, Raphael and so on. Form and colour had probably been thoroughly studied by these ladies before their mirrors. They keep themselves upright in their tight corsets, and the finest Chinese paints give them colour enough in the candlelight to prevent the rest of the ladies from casting a shadow upon their beauty. See, there is a novice, just come from school, perusing some nicely bound volumes and, seeing that mamma is absent, she quietly turns over the leaves in search of forbidden passages of Byron’s Don Juan. A well-made but poorly dressed demi-god in high collar and stiff cravat lies stretched comfortably on a sofa, gazing

  • Jouy, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 162.

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nonchalantly through his lorgnette at the fairies standing about who, nearly fainting with fatigue, would give half the world for the quarter of a chair. All the means which beauty and an eloquent eye can invent they employ to make this reciunbent Adonis abandon his composure and stUl more his comfortable position, but all in vain. He remains cool and prostrate.’

This is a quite good representation of the British Don Juan who, in the society of the eighteenth century and of the reign of George IV, played a very prominent but not at all creditable role. The study of English Don Juans gives a very interesting psychological insight into the character and peculiarities of the English men of pleasure who were the models for French and German novels of the nineteenth century.

One of the main features of the British Don Juans, who are completely distinct from the libertines of the Latin and of the other Teutonic countries, is the cool, brazen calmness with which they indulge in the sensual pleasures of life; love to them is much less an affair of passion than one of pride and of the gratification of their consciousness of power. The French, the Italian Don Juan is driven from conquest to conquest by his passionate sensuality. This is the principal motive for his actions and for his mode of life. The English Don Juan seduces on principle for the sake of experiment; he pursues love as a kind of sport^. SensuaUty plays but a secondary role and in the midst of his sensual enjoyment the coldness of his heart is still painfully apparent.

This is the ‘ rake ’ described by Richardson in his Clarissa Harlows. Taine writes of this type of English Don Juan:

  • Queensbeny writes in 1766 to Selwyn: ‘Bully (that is, Lord Boling-

broke) is appearing again in society, and swears that he will seduce any innocent girl whatever. I do not doubt that he will.’ See Jesse, George Selwyn, Vol. II, p. 66.

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‘ What a character! How very English! How different firom Mozart’s or Moli^re’s Don Juan! Unyielding pride, the desire to subjugate others, the provocative love of battle, the need for ascendency, these are his predominant features. Sensuahty is but of secondary importance compared to these. He will spare a young innocent girl because he knows the conquest would be too easy and because her grand- mother begs him not to seduce her. His slogan is: humiUate the proud! “ I like opposition ”, he writes in one of his letters. Pride, nothing but limitless, insatiable, absurd pride is the main, the only, the central motive of his whole being. He confesses that he considers himself the equal of Csesar and he condescends to private conquests out of mere caprice. “ I’ll be damned if I’d marry the world’s highest-bom and most beautiful princess if I knew or only suspected that she had hesitated but for a second between me and an emperor! ” He is generally a joUy and witty talker but his humour is only an outward S3anptom; he is coarse and immoral, he jests like a hangman, harshly and cruelly, over the evil deeds he has committed, or is about to commit. It can truly be said of the libertines of this country and of those times, that they threw human flesh into the carrion-pit. One of Lovelace’s distinguished friends decoys a yoimg innocent girl, makes her drunk, spends the night with her in a brotheP, and departs, leaving her there in payment of the bill, and rubs his hands serenely in learning that she had been imprisoned and had gone out of her mind and died. In France libertines were but frivolous fellows, whereas here they were mean brutes. Knavery had poisoned their love*.’

In view of the fact that an unmarried young man of the

‘ It was not much better in the Midnight Spy (p. 62), when Don Juan Barnwell, son of an apothecary in Bed Lion Square, systematically seduced young girls and pas^ them on to his friends. Thus he alone furnished a whole crowd of prostitutes.

  • H. Taine, loc. dt., Vol. II, pp. 406-7.

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eighteenth century, with an annual income of £2,000, spent -£1,800 on his private amusements, in which ‘girls’ took the first and last place^, no one will be surprised at lichtenberg’s description of such a ‘ rake

‘ The real rake gambles, drinks, f . . . s, speaks of amorous pills and bougies, as one of us would speak of candied fruits or sweets; turns night into day and day into night, hence the eternal assaults against street lanterns and active and passive fights with the guard; he ruins innocent creatines who love him, fights duels with persons whose honour he has injured, spends money extravagantly, his own and that of other people, and all this is for the purpose of acquiring a reputation for himself*.’

A distinguished man of the world of this type generally got up at noon or very frequently not until 3 p.m.; he took his breakfast and then went out on foot or on horseback. He dined with a few of his friends at 8, chatting with them until 11, and afterwards went to VauxhaU to spend another £20 on bad wine. He finally visited one or more brothels and went home at 4 in the morning®.

These evening visits to brothels were signs of hon ton. All famous libertines of the eighteenth century, such as Foote, Selwyn, Gleorge Alexander Stevens, Lord Pembroke, GiUy Williams, and. others, were to be found there.

The frequency of suicide is a conspicuous symptom of English Society. Montesquieu, even, was struck by it*. Archenholtz was greatly amazed by the appalling frequency of suicide cases amongst London libertines. ‘ In other countries young people of wealth and rank very seldom

  • Archenholtz, England, Vol. II, p. 266.

'Lichtenberg’s descriptions of Hogarth’s engravings, published by Kottenkamp (Stuttgart, 1882), p. 224 (to the Brat page of the Rake's Progress).

  • Jouy, loe. dt., Vol. I, pp. 330>331.
  • Taine, foe. eit., Vol. II, p. 203.

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seem to tire of their lives. It is not at all unusual in England, where great freedom prevails and people are able to satisfy their desires without fear of police interference, as in Paris; thus the nerves of these libertines soon get worn out and satiety steps in, leading at last to tragedy*.

According to Schiitz, climate and food were less responsible for these phenomena than the satiety, the profoimd melan- choly, which comes from disappointment at the futility of all sensual pleasures. ‘ Luxury in London is extraordinary, and a youth who has thus rioted his passions in a perpetual frenzy, on reaching the age of manhood is seldom able to endure the adversities of life, these being in most cases the results of his early follies and debaucheries. We cannot, then, be surprised at his desire to make an end of it all*.’

But a hypochondriacal disposition, as well as the heavy, gloomy elements of the English character, are equally important causes of these suicides, committed mostly, according to Rosenberg, in November, the notoriously foggy month. Suicides were often enough committed in brothels! A son of Lord Milton thus went one night to one of the fashionable brothels, had twelve of the most attractive girls sent in and gave them a sumptuous meal. He then closed the doors, ordered the girls to undress and entertain him with voluptuous poses and dances for a few hours. He then rewarded them in princely fashion, and shot himselft.

The famous and notorious Duke of Queensberry, better known under the nicknames of ‘ Old Q.’ or ‘ Lord Piccadilly ’, was one of those whose lives really consisted of nothing but an endless series of love-affairs and amorous rendezvous*.

> Archenholtz, England, Vol. Ill, p. 128.

  • V. Sciihtz, loc. eU., pp. 171-172.
  • Archenholtz, he. ext., Vol. Ill, pp. 131-132.
  • The following description is chiefly from Jesse, he. eU., Vol. I, pp.

194-210, and the Dictionary of National Biography, ed. Stephen (London, 1888), Vol. XV, pp. 373-374.

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He resembled the Don Juans of Latin countries in his insatiable lust.

William Douglas, third Earl of March and fourth Duke of Queensberry, was bom in 1724. As a schoolboy he be- trayed unusual and eccentric sexual inclinations, and later on he was to surpass all libertines of his age in this respect, being much assisted by his high rank and his princely forttme. He was a very elegant and perfect libertine, passionately devoted to gambling and horse-racing, a connoisseur and patron of arts and artists, a model of taste and elegance as regards his attire, and, in addition, kind-hearted, charitable and jovial. But these good points were negligible in comparison with his unparalleled debaucheries. The older he got, the crazier he became in this respect.

His house in Piccadilly (afterwards No. 138, near Park Lane) and his villa in Richmond were the Capri of this modem Tiberius. Sitting in the porch or at the window of his house in Piccadilly, this old man of eighty-six could be seen every day looking down at the passing beauties with amorous glances*. If he saw an acquaintance amongst the passing girls, or if one of them aroused his special interest, he ordered his groom — standing always at the door — ^to go and call her in. Incredible debaucheries, insane eccentricities in the realm of sexual pleasure, went on under the roof of this house, to which only sly allusions were made by his contemporaries, who spoke of it as the home of ‘ Oriental voluptuousness ’ and ‘ refined sensuahty ’ ! Woman was everything to him, the only aim, the only reason for exist- ence; although at the last he became deaf in one ear and blind in one eye, he paid his French physician Elis6e

^ * This wrinkled, paralysed, toothless old Don Juan died the same corrupt unrepentant fehow he had been in the most fiery days of his youth. In a house in Piccadilly there is a low window where old Queens- berry is said to have sat in order to leer at passing women with voluptuous eyes.* Thackeray, The Four Oeorgea.

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(former physician of Louis XV) large sums for each day his life could be prolonged. Elis6e had to assist him at his love-afFairs and help him in making preparations for his happy hours. Old Q. did not die of love, but of eating too much fruit, over 86 years old, on the 23rd December 1810. He faced death calmly and coolly, unlike the pious Samuel Johnson. He was, like Selwyn, never married, and be- queathed his immense fortune to his relatives, though one miUion was left by him to his servants and to some of his former lovers^.

Sir Nathanial Wraxall, who was personally acquainted with old Q. during the last period of his life, writes of him: ‘ He sought for pleasure in all its forms, and was as eager for it at 80 as he had been when only 20. Having exhausted all the imaginable pleasures of human life, he settled down in his house near Hyde Park Comer, looking out of his windows at what Johnson had called “ the full stream of human life ”. I saw him nearly every day during the last seven years of his life. His body became a ruin, but his mind remained young. The fact is that in December 1810, when at the point of death, his bed was literally covered with at least 70 billets doux and letters written by women of the most varied social positions, from duchesses to semi- prostitutes. Being unable to open and read the letters, he ordered them to be left on his bed unopened, and they lay there imtil his death. Several fabulous stories about him were related — and believed — ^in the City, as, for instance, that he had a glass eye, that he used to take milk baths (in consequence of which belief Londoners had, according

  • Catalogue of the legatees in Jesse, loc. cU., Vol. I, pp. 206-210. The

apothecary Fuller, in Piccadilly, claimed in addition £10,000 for 9,340 visits which he said he had paid to the Duke in the last seven and a half years of his life, and for 1,215 nights during which he had watched by himi The judge awarded him £7,000. Cfentleman’s Magazine, Vol. 81, Book II, p. 81.

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to Jesse, an insurmountable distaste for milk), and other absurd things. It is, however, a fact that he performed the scene of Paris and the three goddesses in his dressing-room: three of the most wonderfully beautiful girls in London were brought there, dressed like the Homeric goddesses on the Mount of Ida, whilst he, in a shepherd’s costume, rewarded the one he considered the most beautiful with a golden apple. This classic scene took place in his house opposite the Green Park. Neither the Duke of Buckingham — mentioned by Pope — ^whose whole life passed in an ecstasy of voluptuousness, nor any other contemporary libertine, ever indulged in such eccentric performances as took place in this rakish periods’

Old Q.’s passion for music accounts for his predilection for opera-singers and ballet-dancers. Owing to this passion for prima donnas and ballerinas, he supported the Italian opera in London financially to a considerable extent. The dancer Zamperini (bom in Venice 1745) was one of his best- known mistresses, whose charming features were immortal- ised by the painter Hone (reproduction of portrait, Jesse, Vol. II, p. 69). In 1766 the Duke of Queensberry wrote to his friend Selwyn in France: ‘ I love this little girl, but how long the love will last I cannot tell. It may increase or be over before you are back^.’ This declaration is very charac- teristic of the Don Juans of those days. Indeed, ‘ Lord Piccadilly ’ was notorious for the number of love-aflFairs he ‘ wound up ’ every year, and for his extraordinary experience in erotic matters, in consequence of which he plays an important part in English decadent and porno- graphic literature^.

^ Jesse, loc. cit., Vol. I, pp. 200-203.

  • Ibid., Vol. II, p. 106.

• The first place must be given here to the interesting work of J. P. Henstone, Thi Piccadilly Ambulator, or Old Q., containing memoirs of the Private Life of the evergreen Votary of Venus (London, 1808), with a picture

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A curious mixture of depravity, eccentricity and scholarly inclinations, combined with a love of travel inherited from his mother, are foimd in the character of Edward Wortley Montague, son of the famous Lady Mary Wortley Montague, referred to in a work of Coates^ as ‘ the British Don Juan His life (1713-1776) was a series of curious adventures in all the countries of Europe and Asia. As a boy he escaped several times from his parents’ house. Once he went to a chimney-sweep to serve as his apprentice; another time he went on board a ship as a cabin-boy; yet again he fled to Spain as a mule-driver*. His parents forgave him several times, but finally they had enough of his escapades, and when his mother died she bequeathed him one guinea®. After the death of his parents he left England for ever, travelled, especially in the East, changed his religion more than once, and died a Mohammedan. He had many love affairs in each country and many children by different women. But at last he longed for a legitimate heir. His plan was to marry a poor woman already pregnant, and to

of the Duke on the verandah of his house in Piccadilly. Further, old Q. was mentioned in the Memoirs of Bellamy, Vol. I, p. 59 (of the French edition); in Thackeray’s Virginians as the Earl of March; in S4rails de Londres and another erotic book, The Wedding Night or Battles of Vernis, a Voluptuous Disclosure^ etc. (London, about 1830), which contains a long description of the Duke; in Wraxall’s Memoirs; Horace Walpole’s letters; Wheatley’s Round about Piccadilly. The Memoirs of the Life of the Duke of Queensberry are worthless. Jesse included in the fourth volume of his great work on the period of George Selwyn, a picture on the title-page which brings before us the features of the famous old Q., after a plate by J. Cook. It is a jovial, smiling face with a great eagle’s nose, which latter seems to confirm the old saying that men with great noses are great in love.

  • Henry Coates, The British Don Juan; being a rutrralive of the singular

amours, entertaining adventures, remarkable travels, etc., of the Hon. Edward W. Montague, son of the celebrated Lady Mary Wortley Montague (London, 1823).

  • Archenholtz, England, Vol. Ill, pp. 81-82.
  • Doran, A Lady of ihe Last Century, p. 130.

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adopt the child bom after the marrit^e. For, owing to his age and weak physical condition, he was convinced that he could not venture to hope for a child of his own^. He therefore declared, a few months before his death, his intention to many a ‘ widow or a lonely lady of good family, and of refined manners, who must be in the fifth, sixth, seventh or eight month of her pregnancy* His cousin, Elizabeth Montague, writes of this queer fellow: ‘ When I first became acquainted with him, he was a dandy and a libertine; I little knew then that one day he would be engaged in rabbinical studies, wandering through the Orient as one of the travelling scholars of the world*.’

A counterpart to Edward Montague was the notorious Baltimore, who had a regular Turkish harem in London. An action was brought against him for rape, but he was acquitted. Thereafter, he left England and never again returned. Casanova met him in Naples. Barthold describes this libertine as follows: ‘ This eccentric British libertine had been wandering through Europe for years, and was determined to travel as long as he could, for he did not wish to know where he was to be buried. Like a sultan he travelled in 1769 with eight women, a physician and two negroes, whom he called his Corregidores, because they policed his wandering sirail. With the assistance of his Aesculapius he acquired interesting experiences regarding his houris. He fed the fat ones only with acids, the thin ones on a milk diet and beef-tea. When he arrived in Vienna with his suite. Count von Schrottenbach asked him which out of the eight ladies was his wife. He answered that

  • Coates, loc. cit., p. 209.
  • The Encyclopaedia Britannica, eighth edition (Edinburgh, 1860), Vol.

XV, p. 506.

  • Doran, loc. cit., p. 130. He wrote also several treatises for the Royal

Society and greater works, amongst others a book on The Rise and Fall of the Ancient Republics.

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he was an Englishman, and as he did not care to stay in a country where he was called to account for his being or not being legally married, and where he could not settle the affair by a fight, he chose to leave immediately for some other country^.’

It is obvious from these descriptions of the most promi- nent types of aristocratic English libertines of the eighteenth century that they belonged to a very curious species of Don Juan, and their adventures and their doings generally were stamped with the eccentricity of the English. The fact that these rouM were, in most cases, immensely rich, enabled them to satisfy all their desires without restraint.

Beside these aristocratic libertines, those of the middle classes were of comparatively less importance, although, like the former, they were seen everywhere: in the brothels, in the parks, in music-halls, at the races and the theatres.

One of these middle-class libertmes was Charles James Fox, the famous statesman, one of the ‘ best dressed men of his day ’, a leader of the ‘ Macoaronis ’, and at the same time one of the most notorious rakes. ‘ The worst libertmes were outdone by him in his passion for every kind of vice, insane luxury, wild pranks, pursuit of women and excessive drinking* ’. Samuel Foote (1720-1777) must also be men- tioned here, the ‘ modem Aristophanes ’, an actor at the Haymarket Theatre, a dramatic poet, a very extravagant, jovial libertine, who took an active part in all the mad pranks of bis good-for-nothing friends. In Serails de Londres^, a visit he, George Selwyn, and Price paid to the brothel of Charlotte Hayes is described, the curiosity of the two former having been for some time excited by Price’s enthusiastic description of the pleasures to be found there. They became

  • F. W. Barthold, loc. cii., Vol. II, pp. 306-306.
  • Jesse, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 220.
  • Sirails de Londrea, pp. 34-46.

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acquainted there with a well-known Spanish courtesan,

‘ Coimtess of Medina ’, who told them the eventful story of her life. Samuel Foote made a short speech to Mrs. Hayes, in which he enlarged upon the excellent qualities of the brothel, whilst George Selwyn was engaged in exploring the virginity of the inmates.

We postpone imtil later the description of George IV and his friend George Brummell as being typically representative of English High Society at the close of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century, and we will close this long list of English Don Juans with a few words on Lord Byron, whose love-hfe has been so much discussed.

In spite of his fiery, passionate soul and of his early desire for love, which set him aflame for Mary Duff when only eight, and for her beautiful cousin, Margaret Parker, when twelve. Lord Byron cannot be said to have been a typical Don Juan. He was not ‘ a lover of many ’, but rather ‘ loved by many ’, a man to whom women were always more devoted than he to them. His genius, his passion, his beauty, attracted women and took their hearts by storm. But in most ceises his own was untouched, as with Lady Caroline Lamb, and with the charming Jane Clara Clairmont, mother of his daughter Allegra.

Walter Scott writes of Lord Byron: ‘ His was a face one might dream of.’ One of England’s most beautiful women exclaimed on seeing him for the first time: ‘ This pale face will be my destiny! ’ Ackermann, one of the many Byron biographers, writes of him that in many cases ‘ he cast a downright spell over his lady worshippers ’, but he himself was not the slave of woman*. The memoirs of Frances Ann Kemble give an idea of the irresistible impression he made on women. Under these circiunstances, it can be imagined how

  • Richard Ackermann, Lord Byron. His life, his works, his influence on

Oerman literature. Heidelberg, 1901. P. 69.


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difficult it must have been for him to be guided by the ordinary principles of respectable convention in his relations with women. They followed him wherever he went, and, in their jealousy, those he rejected tried to damage his moral reputation by malicious gossip and lies. Thus, in pubUc opinion Lord Byron was regarded as a lascivious Don Juan, and Enghsh society turned from him when the mysterious tragedy of his marriage with Annabella Milbanke became known: she left him quite unexpectedly after a year, and sued for divorce on the strength of ‘ secret information ’ of a spy. This ‘ secret information ’ is imknown to this day‘. It is a fact, however, that Lady Byron later accused her husband of having carried on an incestuous liaison with his stepsister, Mrs. Augusta Leigh. She related this story, regarded even by Jeaffreson as ‘ monstrous and absolutely false* ’, to Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, who published it in her libellous book*. The complete falsity of this charge is satisfactorily proved in the Byron biographies written by Elze, Jeaffreson, Ackermann and others.

A peculiar contribution to the question of Lady Byron’s divorce proceedings is given in two obscene poems published in 1865-1866, which must naturally be taken with some reserve as regards the cardinal point, but they must not be omitted from the history of this marriage, and should be discussed in detail*. The title of the volume containing these poems is: Don Leon; a poem by the late Lord Byron, author of Don Juan, Childe Harold, etc., etc. And forming part of the private journal of his lordship, supposed to have been entirely destroyed by Thos. Moore.

‘ See Ackermann, loc, ctt., pp. 74-75.

  • J. C. Jeaffreson, The Real Lord Byron. London, 1883. Vol. II, p. 356.

» H. Beecher Stowe, Lady Byron vindicated, etc, London, 1870.

  • After Pisanus Fraxi, Index librorum prohibitorum, London, 1877.

Pp. 189-193.

[ 286 ]


Pardon, dear Tom, these thoughts on days gone by;

Me men revile, and thou must justify.

Yet in my bosom apprehensions rise,

(For brother poets have their jealousies)

Lest under false pretences thou shouldst turn A faithless Mend and these confessions bum.

To which is added : Leon to AnnabeUa; an epistle from Lord Byron to Lady Byron. London: Printed for the Book- sellers. 1866. 8vo, 52 -t- 67 + 17 pages.

The first poem, Don Leon, consists of 1,455 verses and it is an enthusiastic apology for paederasty. Lord Byron describes therein his various paederastic love affairs, excusing and defending himself for his tendency to paedication, this latter being — ^according to him — the reason for his conflict with his wife, in that he attempted and practised paedication with her during her pregnancy.

Ah, fatal hour! for thence my sorrows date:

Thence sprung the source of her undying hate Fiends from her breast the sacred secret wrung. Then called me monster; and, with evil tongue. Mysterious tales of false Satanic art Devised, and forced us evermore to part.

Lord Byron pleaded in excuse that he had committed the act because coitus could not be performed in the usual way owing to his wife’s advanced pregnancy.

The second poem: Leon to Annabdl; an epistle from Lord Byron to Lady Byron, explaining the real cause of eternal separation, and forming the most curious passage in the Secret History of the Noble Poet. Here the verdict of Lady Byron’s lawyer, Lushington, is quoted: ‘ Lady Byron cannot live any longer with her husband. He has given her cause for divorce, which must remain for ever unrevealed.

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Her honour as a woman forbids any further intercourse with him.’ In the poem allusion is made to the reasons for separation:

Oh, lovely woman! by your Maker’s hand For man’s delight and solace wisely planned. Thankless is she who nature’s boimty mocks,

Nor gives Love entrance whereso’er he knocks.

Matrons of Rome, held ye yomeelves disgraced In yielding to your husband’s wayward taste?

Ah, no! — by tender complaisance ye reigned:

No wife of woimded modesty complained^

Neither of the two poems, of course, were really written by Lord B3rron. Pisanus Fraxi learned from an acquaintance of the publisher, William Dugdale, that on the purchase of the manuscript in 1860 Dugdale really believed the poems were written by Lord Byron himself and was about to demand from Lady Byron a considerable sum as the price of his promise not to publish them. He, however, gave up the idea on the warning of a gentleman who, on examining the poems more closely, found passages in them containing allusions to events which happened after Lord Byron’s death.

Another accusation had been brought against Lord Byron, previously to that of Mrs. Beecher Stowe. He was, in both cases, accused of sexual crimes. Whether incest or paedica- tion was the graver of the two, remains an open question. No evidence whatsoever was produced to sustain either of them, or his alleged homosexuality, which was enlarged

  • A new edition of ‘ Leon to Annabel! ’ was published bearing the Utle:

The Cheat Secret Bevealed! Suppressed poem by Lord Byron, never before published, Leon to AnnabeUa. Lord Byron to Lady Byron, an epistte explaining the real cause of eternal separation, and justifying the practice which led to it. Forming the most curious passage in the secret history of the noble poet, influencing the whole of his future career, etc. A yet later edition appeared in Brussels in 1876.

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upon by Moll*. Jeaffreson’s report on Byron’s ‘ Harem ’ in Venice* is, owing to this author’s prejudices against B 3 Ton, to be accepted with caution, although there is no denying that the poet led a very debauched life in Venice and this period of his life was the main reason for the great output of literature on his ‘ love adventures ’ ®.

With George IV (died 1830), who indulged in debauchery until the last few years of his life, this gallant period, which included the second half of the eighteenth and the first third of the nineteenth century, came to an end, and was followed, with the exception of the short interval of the reign of WiUiam IV, by the Victorian era, lasting sixty-five years, in which the whole character of society completely «. !’ anged for the better as regards morals. That is, it became more moral, although this description, as will be seen, must be subjected to certain limitations.

The influence and conduct of the court has always been of the greatest importance in the character and morality of the aristocracy, which is always imitated by the middle-class for its social life generally. Thus the pure and happy domestic life of the Queen naturally could not fail to exercise a great influence, and an abrupt end was put to the previous period of dissipation. The gambling houses, the gallant promenades of Vauxhall and Ranelagh, the taverns and brothels, gave place to a number of strictly moral fashionable clubs; while the routs, which gave so many opportunities for flirtations, love adventures and seduction, were replaced by blameless receptions and garden parties. Duels were done away with,

  • A. Moll, Die Kontrdre Sexualempjindung. Third edition. Berlin, 1899.

Pp. 136-137.

• J. C. Jeaflfreson, he. eit., Vol. II, p. 68.

’ For example. The Loves of Byron, his with Celebrated Women; Amours of lard Byron (London, 1848); Private Intrigues of Lord Byron; Private Life of Lord Byron; C. Reiter, Lord Byron’s lAebesabenteueri ca. 1858, two parts.

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theatres were thoroughly reformed, and thus distinguished society was and is, to all outward appearance, a model of morality and piurity. But unfortunately an occasional flash of lightning sometimes reveals a very dark side to things!

Such flashes are seen in the shape of repeated scandalous trials for adultery, or of the PaU Mall Gazette’s revelations on the epidemic of defloration-mania in the ’eighties, this being in its way a unique and speciflcally English feature; or in the shape of the so-called annual ‘ elopement season when some distinguished lady would run off with her groom or coachman.

Neither is the ‘gallant life’ completely done away with. Only, the Don Juan of to-day prefers Paris to London for the scene of his love afiairs and especially at the time of the second Empire, rich and distinguished Englishmen were much sought after by famous Paris hostesses. And there are even now certain pretty and elegant ladies, possessing fine houses and considerable incomes, who are neither respectable middle-class wives nor real courtesans. ‘ C’est xme femme qui garde sa liberty et sa dignity, qu’on n’approche que difificile- ment, qui choisit ses compagnonsdetendresse non surla livr^e mais d’aprte son gout. Elio garde eon ind^pendance, ne d^daigne ni les cadeaux ni I’argent ofiert, mais ne lie pas son existence. Elle aime le plaisir en femme du monde, exquise et ra£Bn4e, et flanquerait a la porte le goujat qui se per- mettrait des plaisanteries grossi^res. Elle ne mine pas les hommes comme nos sauteuses parisiennes, et se livre a I’amour pour I’amour, y apportant tout autant de feu que le partenaire^ ’. Here we have a realisation of the ideals of ‘ fi:ee love ’.

Besides these women there are still always distinguished cocottes to be seen at fashionable hours in !l^nd Street and

  • B6mo, La vie gakmU en AngUterre, pp. 44-45.

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in Hyde Park, often enough carrying on social intercourse with respectable women.

The picture drawn in the well-known book London Society by an Acclimatised Foreigner (Leipzig, 1885), by a foreign diplomat, was, on the whole, true enough. He does not fail to stigmatise the frivolity hidden behind the prudishness which was especially conspicuous in discussing delicate topics. Much light is thrown upon this dark background of English social life by the authoress of a book published in 1861, by the well-known Berlin publisher Otto Janke, and entitled Memoirs of a Oerman Governess. These memoirs, to all appearances authentic, give a true account of real events and impressions. They contain also examples of the appalling corruption of morals in certain English aristocratic circles. These ‘ black sides ’ of the social life of the English upper classes must not be hushed up, neither because they are usually hidden by the oft-mentioned prudishness, nor because, on the other hand, they are in contrast to the highest and noblest forms of pleasure which in England can be enjoyed as in no other country. And therefore I gladly complete these descriptions by giving a pleasant picture of this fine art of living drawn by the art connoisseur Wagen^.

‘ On the whole the assertion is justified that none know as thoroughly the art of enjoying life so finely and nobly as the English of the upper classes, who are not only rich but generally accomplished. They possess beautiful surroimdings, ample opportimities for enjoying music, excellent private libraries, lovely country houses, are able to travel in the most interesting and beautiful parts of Europe and of the whole world. FinaBy, they can enjoy the most varied and interesting social intercourse, and it must be admitted that they have not much left to wish for.’

  • Wagen, Kunstwerke und KunsUer in England^ Vol. II, p. 78.

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The loveliest and most extraordinary amongst the many beautiful gallant women of the eighteenth century was ‘ that incarnation of healthy animal beauty* ’ Emma Hamilton, whose wonderful life and fate is a remarkable contribution to the history of English Society morals and must therefore be dealt with in special detail.

Emma Lyon was bom in 1761 in Cheshire, the daughter of poor parents. At the age of twelve she became a nursery- maid in the house of a physician, Thomas, at Hawarden. She liked the family and never forgot them. At sixteen she entered the service of a greengrocer in London. Later on she was with a rich lady in whose library she had an opportunity of satisfying her desire for reading; she read all the bad novels she could get hold of, which prematurely excited and heated her fancy. Her ever-increasing charm was the means of her getting a situation in a family where she was treated as one of themselves; she took part in all their entertain- ments, and her talent for the stage was awakened.

Her future career was determined by her incomparable beauty. A contemporary’s description of her is as follows:

‘ She had a perfect figure, fine regular features, and an indescribable charm and attractiveness about her face and in her expression. Her movements were light and graceful. She was joyous and gay, but far from giving an impression

• Traill, Social England, Vol. V, p, 299.

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of frivolous flirtatiousness. Her lovely, clear voice, her expressive singing, soon charmed everyone around her and she b^an to take part in dramatic performances arranged at the house, winning general admiration and universal praise. She also soon began to show signs of the courage and self- reliance which were to dominate her character ever after- wards^.’

Her first love affair had begun in a very curious way. A relative of hers was taken by the press-gang for a sailor, and when she applied to the Captain, John Willet Payne, for his freedom, he granted it but at the price of her own body. Thus she became the Captain’s mistress. Later on a very rich and respected nobleman. Sir Henry Featherston, fell in love with her, and she was taken by him from her first lover. He took her to his country residence in Sussex, where she lived for a few months in splendour and enjoyment. In the autumn he took her to London, but soon left her alone, and she was threatened with poverty. She then became acquainted with the notorious charlatan Dr. Graham, pro- prietor of the famous ‘ Temple of Health ’, of which we shall learn later. Graham was fascinated with her beauty and decided, in order to give new life to the exposition of his theories tmd to wideh the already shrinking circle of his pupils, to employ at his lectm^s, as a means of illustrating his points, a yoimg woman who was the perfect example of beauty and health. He sought, and found Emma, who suddenly found herself the representative of the blessed deities, enchantii^ the rapidly increasing circle of pupils. She sat as model to several painters and sculptors. Many valuable objels d'art of those times were copies of her beautiful face and figure. The number of her admirers was steadily growing and by this time she was free from idl financial troubles.

‘ History of Lady HamiUon (Leipzig, 1816), pp. 26-26.

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A great friend of the arts, Sir Charles Greville, also made Emma his mistress, further improved her talents, and took her to Ranelagh, then the ‘ most fashionable place of amusement and gallantry, where she immediately became the centre of attraction, everyone being charmed by her beauty, her dramatic talents and her lovely voiced’ . She had her mother to live with her, took the name of Emma Harte, and by Sir Charles had two daughters and a son whose aunt she was supposed to be.

Sir Charles Greville was a nephew of the celebrated diplomat and connoisseur. Sir William Hamilton, British Ambassador at the Court of Naples.

He was one of those learned English epicureans who had, since the middle of the eighteenth century, settled down in sunny Italy to enjoy his life in a milder climate, surrounded with works of art, in contact with learned men, scholars and artists. He was ‘ engaged in philosophy, poetry, studied (like the elder Pliny) the phenomena of Vesuvius and, as a modem Pausanias,the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. At the same time he was a passionate himtsman, and would roam the woods for whole days with the King, or go fishing with a line in an open boat under the scorching sim, although he was seventy years of age. Even later, in 1801, on cele- brating Lord Nelson’s victory at Copenhagen, he danced the tarantella with his wife, forty years his junior, and quite wore her out. He also took pleasure in the sight of young people of both sexes, as we leam from Goethe’s Voyage’, the author saw, after dinner, a dozen youths swimming in the sea; a pleasure which was paid for by Sir William every afternoon*’.

This lover of art and life came to London in 1789, and at the house of his nephew Greville became acquainted with

• History of Lady Hamilton, p. 33.

• Ibid., p. 309.

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his beautiful mistress. He was immediately taken by her beauty and artistic mind, and most lively desires were aroused in him. The fulfilment of his wishes was made possible by the unsatisfactory financial situation of Greville, and so Hamilton found, as Goethe in his Voyage in Italy writes, ‘ after his long study of art and nature, the summit of all joy in nature and art in a beautiful young girl’.

Emma accompanied him to Italy, where she so perfected herself in her art under his guidance that her enchanted teacher married her the following year, and thus she was admitted at court. Here she soon became of infiuence, due mainly to her intimate friendship with Caroline, Queen of Naples, whose debaucheries made the court of Naples a modem Capri, as described in a rather exaggerated fashion in the Marquis de Sade’s Justine et Jvliette. According to the result of the critical revision of Gorani and Coletta’s state- ments by Moritz Brosch, Caroline undoubtedly deserved to be named the ‘ Messalina of Naples ’, for besides many love-affairs with different men, she was passionately in love with her friend Emma Hamilton. They were inseparable, and vied with each other in organising luxurious feasts and in devising and planning new and artistic amusements. There, also, Emma found many admirers, and was in no wise insensible to them: Lord Bristol, the Bishop of Derry (an ingenious, lively, coarse-witted man, whose rich assort- ment of anecdotes and bon mots seemed to be inexhaustible), had the honour of being one of her lovers.

The most celebrated and most portentous of all her love affairs was the one with Nelson, the great British admiral and victor of Aboukir. He first came to Naples in 1798, where a great festival in his honour was given by Sir William and Lady Hamilton, and attended by 1,800 guests. The relations between Nelson and Lady Hamilton soon became very intimate; they made excursions in disguise.

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wandering through the streets of Naples, visiting public places where they enjoyed themselves with the girls.

A revolution broke out, the court fled to Palermo, and Nelson accompanied his mistress there. Sir William and Lady Hamilton returned in 1800 to London with Nelson. They rented a house together in Piccadilly, where Emma bore her lover a son, Horatio Nelson. During the periods of separation due to Nelson’s expeditions to Copenhagen and Boulogne, he wrote most passionate letters to his beloved.

‘ You need not be afraid of any woman in the world; besides yourself, not one is anything to me: I know but one, for who could be compared with my Emma? May Heaven soon give me the blessing of seeing your dear angel face again. You are unparalleled — there is no one worthy of cleaning your shoes. I am, always was and shall always be, yoin: most devoted and constant friend.’ On the 6th September 1802 Sir William Hamilton died, and Emma was compelled to leave the house in Piccadilly and moved into Clarges Street. Nelson settled on her an annual allowance of £1,200 after the birth of a girl. The hero’s death at Trafalgar (21st October 1806) put an abrupt end to their union. Before his death he exclaimed: ‘ I am dying, it will soon be all over with me. Give my hair and all I possess to my beloved Lady Hamilton! ’ And once more, already dying, he said to his physician: ‘ Hardy, take care of my beloved Lady Hamilton! Take care of my poor Lady Hamilton! ’

After the death of her beloved hero, Emma very soon started on the downward path. She led a dissipated life, plunged into debt, was imprisoned in 1813 in the debtors’ jail, and died in Calais in 1816 of a disease of the liveri.

  • History of Lady Hamilton (Leipzig, 1816); The, Letters of Lord Nelson

to Lady Hamilton (London, 1814, two volumes); J. C. Jeafireson, Lady HamiUon and Lord Nelson (London, 1887, two volumes).

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This extraordinary woman attained an important position in the history of morals and art in another field, rather than through her amorous and adventurous career; she was the inventor and the firat perfect presenter of the so-called plastic poses or tableavx vivants, still in favour and frequently seen in variety and music-halls even in our own times, and which, performed by this plastic sorceress, reached the level of the most noble and highest art.

‘ But the genius of Mrs. Hamilton writes Archenholtz‘, ‘ was manifested especially in a new invention. It consisted of the inutation of the attire and poses of antique female beauties as portrayed by well-known statues and pictures. She herself personified them with great art. She appeared in the graceful pose of a pensive Madonna of Guido; a few minutes — a slight change of raiment — and the Madonna vanished and changed into a Bacchante reeling with happi- ness, a Diana of the chase or a Medicean Venus. She thus represented all the greatest statues and pictures, so long as the subject was a woman.’

Goethe, in his Voyage in Italy, left an incomparably beautiful memorial of Lady Hamilton’s poses with their conciseness and light grace.

‘ She is an Englishwoman of about 20 and is very beauti- ful and well built. She has a Greek dress made for her which suits her wonderfully. She lets her hair down, takes a couple of shawls, and presents such a variety of poses, gestures, expressions, etc., that one finally wonders whether one is dreaming. Accomplishments vainly attempted by many artists were here seen finished, spontaneous and in surprisiug variety: standing, kneeling, sitting, lying, serious, sad, teasing, voluptuous, repentant, enticing, menacing, anxious and so on, one follows after another. She changes

  • Archenholtz, British Annals (1791), Vol. VII, pp. 167-168.

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the drapery of her scarves and makes a hundred different head-dresses with one and the same piece of material. The old Knight holds the lights for her, and is wholly absorbed in the business. He sees in her all the antiques, the beautiful profiles of Sicilian coins, and even the Apollo of Belvedere. Anyway, it is a delightful entertamment, and we enjoyed it two evenings. This morning she is being painted by Tischbein.’

The most beautiful poses of Lady Hamilton were drawn and published in a volume of twenty-four engravings by the Prussian historical painter Friedrich Rehberg^.

According to Henry Angelo’s statement in his Memoirs, Emma once posed as a model at the Royal Academy of Art*. It is possible that this is the subject of a very spiteful etching by the caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson, formerly in possession of the bibliophile Pisanus Fraxi, now in that of the South Kensington Museum, London. Its title is ‘ Lady H . . . Poses ’, and represents the interior of a painter’s studio. An old man lifts a curtain and points to a young, naked girl standing as a model before a youth sitting at an easel, drawing with one hand and with the other holding a glass to his eye. In the background on the right two figures are embracing, and in the foregroimd, to the left, on the floor, two heads kissing each other are seen. The composition is very clever and the naked girl is especi- ally well drawn*.

‘ Drawings faithfully copied from Nature, etc. By Frederick Rehberg, Historical Painter in His Prussian Majesty’s service at Rome (1794).

■ * Reminiscences of Henry Angdo, wUh Memoirs of his late Father and friends (London, 1830), Vol. II, p. 242.

  • See Pisanus Fraxi, Centwria librorum absconditorum (London, 1879),

pp. 367-369.

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A FULL study of the history of human sexual hfe necessi- tates the examination of internal and external sexuality in the widest sense of the word: by which is meant, natural and artificial, alimentary and medicinal means of stimulating one’s own or attracting another’s sexual instinct, and also for the removal of and protection against certain conse- quences of legitimate and illegitimate sexual intercourse.

Stimulation and attraction of the libido sexualis has been brought about in the ahmentary sphere by alcoholic and gastronomic excesses; in the medicinal sphere by aphro- disiacs and cosmetics.

Among xmdesirable consequences of intercourse, against which special measures are taken, pregnancy, venereal diseases and impotence are the most important. From the earliest times a whole mass of quack remedies for abortion and prevention have been in evidence; and this has brought into being a special class of criminal, often most injurious to the general health and life of the community, namely, the quack.

This natural connection is to be seen in the study of the history of sexuality in England.

There is no doubt that the manner in which a people eats and drinks exercises a very strong influence upon its


[ 301 ]


sexual life. The sort and choice of food and drink must not be ignored. In general it may be stated that an excessive consumption of meat and alcohol in the diet acts as a sexual stimulant, whereas a predominatingly vegetable diet — ^from which certain vegetables, acting as aphrodisiacs, have been excluded — produces a soothing effect upon the vita sexualis.

With this in mind it is clear that the Englishman’s diet must exercise considerable influence upon his sexual life. For English diet has from ancient times been characterised by an unusually large consumption of meat and alcohol, accompanied by widespread intemperance at table. There can be no doubt that this has influenced the form and expression of the vita sexualis of the English, and helps to explain the frequency of such phenomena as, for example, flagellation -mania' .

The well-known English folk-song, ‘ Oh, the roast beef of Old England’, points to the age of this preference for meat. Johann Joachim Becher, a doctor of the seventeenth century, refers to this in his Psychosophia as a generally accepted fact:

‘ It is well known how unhealthy and smelly Englishmen are with their perpetual devouring of meat*.’ Boisgufllebert, a French writer of the seventeenth century, describes the English in the same way as powerful beer-drinkers and meat eaters right down to the lowest classes, while the French of his time consumed almost nothing but bread®. Another Frenchman of that time, H. Misson de Valbourg, who published (The Hague, 1698 *) an extremely interesting

• Hilttner, loc. cit., p. 170, speaks of the ‘ deleterious effect of the frequent enjoyment of animal food on the blood and the consequent degeneration in morals

• J. J. Becher, Psychosophia. Second edition. Frankfurt, 1673. P. 200.

• Wilhelm Roscher, System der Volkswirtschaft (National Economy). Twentieth edition. Stuttgart, 1892. Vol. I, p. 628.

‘ H. Misson de Valbourg, Mimoires et observations faites par un voyageur en Angkterre. The Hague, 1698. Pp. 392-393.

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description of the country, people and customs of England after staying there for some years, relates: ‘ Les Anglais mangent beaucoup a diner. Ils mangent a reprises et remplissent le sac. Leur souper est leger. Gloutons a midi, fort sobres au soir. J’avais toujours oui dire qu’ils 4taient camassiers; et j’ai trouv4 que cela est vrai. En m’a parl6 de plusieurs personne en Angleterre qui n’ont jamais mang4 de pain; et pour Tordinaire, ils en mangent tr^s peu. Ils grignotent de temps en temps quelque miette, pendant qu’ils machent la chair a grandes bouch^es.’

English authors corroborate foreign observers. Traill remarks that intemperance was so great in the reign of James I that ladies and gentlemen of the court frequently became dead drunk and rolled on the floor*; Macaulay refers to the enormous consumption of beer among the middle and lower classes from the fifteenth century, with a corre- sponding consumption of wine among the upper. After the end of a meal it was usual for the men to be lying drunk under the table*.

Paul Hensel, in his valuable studies of Enghsh life at the beginning of the eighteenth century® describes the state of affairs at that time: ‘ Everybody drank then, and by preference, heavy wines. Burgundy was preferred to light red wine. Port wine and Sherry ran Burgundy close . . . Ladies did not refuse heavy wines at dinner, and the rest of the day did not pass without liqueurs of various kinds.’

Gastronomical themes were treated by celebrated writers. WilUam King wrote for the Beefsteak Club an Art of Cookery* .

•Traill, loc. cit., Vol. IV, p. 161.

  • Macaulay, History of England. German by W. Besseler. Brunswick

1859. Vol. II, pp. 47-48.

  • P. Heneel, Engliache sociale Zustande zu Anfang des achtzehnten Jahr-

hunderts (English Social Life at the Beginning of the 18th Century). New Heidelberg Aimual, 1899, Vol. IV, pp. 4-6.

  • Grass, loc. cit., Vol. Ill, p. 374.

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As the eighteenth century progressed there was an increase rather than a decline to be noticed in attention to the pleasures of the table. The lower classes especially shared the interest in food and drink in a marked manner.

From 1775 the taking of brandy increased to a formidable degree*. Moriz found the commonest sign in London to be ‘ Dealer in Foreign Spirituous Liquors ’. He maintains that at the last uprising more men were to be found dead by empty casks of brandy than were shot by the soldiers*. There were, too, special drinking parties who met regularly for the enjoyment of a particular spirituous drink. Such, for example, at the end of the eighteenth century was that of The Eccentrics who foregathered with a man called Fulham in Chandos Street, St. Martin’s Lane, to partake of a certain kind of ale known as ‘ Brilliant ’*.

Very favourite places for gastronomical and alcoholic indulgence were brothels, and bagnios and taverns frequented by prostitutes, which calls attention to the close connection between excesses in either sphere. These various temples of Venus generally possessed food and drink licences; and orgies were celebrated in honour of Venus and of Bacchus.

In the eighteenth century a strange role was played by the chamber-pot at table. Forster* recounts: ‘ The difference of food between the east end and west end of the town is remark- able. The total stranger however would find little difference; for everywhere people are stiff and unhelpful. Before dinner they sit motionless in their chairs, say Uttle, fold their arms and are bored, until it is time for the meal. Then the women flock into the dining-room, no one gives them an arm. They start immediately to drink as at an inn, or drink one to

  • London and Paris, Vol. IQ, pp. 16 fif.
  • C. Ph. Moriz, Beisen tines Deuischen in England im 1782. Berlin,

1783. P.21.

  • John Bee, lot. cU., pp. 16-17 and 73.

‘ Forater, loc. cB., pp. 227-8.

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another, separately; and afterwards healths are drunk. Also, as soon as the ladies go, the chamber-pot is brought in everywhere.’

There was httle change in the nineteenth century: indeed, things got much worse in the matter of indulgence in alcohol. The consumption of meat, too, increased. Economic reports are really astonishing. Porter reckoned the consumption of a decent family, including children and servants, at 370 pounds each a year! While the yearly consumption of meat per head from 1868 to 1871 amounted to 102’1 lb., it increased to 110'7 lb. in the years 1872 to 1883. In various orphanages in London the daily allowance of meat for each child was on the average between 0*23 and 0’438 lb. In France a soldier gets a daily meat ration of 350 grams on active service: in England he gets twice as much, namely 670 grams.

This excessive consumption of meat is not only respon- sible for the prevalence of gout, a specifically English complaint, but without doubt exercises a stimulating effect upon the vita aexudlia.

The general endeavour of men to increase their natural abilities in regard to the function of the sexual instinct is probably one of the causes of the use of aphrodisiacs in the narrower meaning of the word: particularly in cases where this need exists because of the loss or diminution of the ‘ potentia coeundi et generandi’.

Of the food which in England is considered specially stimulating, Ryan mentions in particular: Fish, turtle, oysters, crab, lobster, eggs, artichokes, truffles, mushrooms, celery, cocoa, onions, ginger, pepper, apricots, strawberries and peaches^.

Song George IV prized the aphrodisiacal property of truffles so highly, that his ambassadors at Turin, Naples,

  • M. Ryan, ProtHtutim in London (1839), p. 384.

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Florence, etc., had instructions to keep the royal kitchens well supplied by special courier with large delicate and tasty truffles!.

In England ginger was not only taken inwardly as an aphrodisiac, but it was thought that its outward application had a stimulating effect upon the libido sexualis. Thus, in an erotic pamphlet The Amatory Experiences of a Surgeon (London, 1881), the hero seduces two women, whilst he touches them with his hands rubbed in ginger.

Medicinal love-means, especially in the Middle Ages, were administered in the form of potions and powder. In the fifteenth century, for example, on the accusation of Richard III, Lady Elizabeth Grey was arraigned before Parliament for having enticed King Edward IV into marriage by means of a love-potion*. In later times cantharides were used almost entirely as medicinal stimulants, and especially in the eighteenth century they were the chief aphrodisiac. On this two-edged and dangerous expedient Venette writes: ‘ Spanish flies (cantharides) have so violent an effect upon the natural organs of both sexes. For if only two or three grains are taken, such burning and inflammation ensue that actual illness intervenes. This happened to a friend of mine some time ago who is still alive: his best man, in despair at seeing his own beloved married, resolved to put such cantharides in a cake which was to be eaten on the evening of the wedding. As the night passed, the bride- groom was so strong on his wife that at length she was almost worn out. But this pleasure was changed to distress: the groom at midnight was so inflamed that he could only make water with the greatest pain, and passed blood. Fear added to his suffering and he actually fainted. The

  • John Davenport, Aphrodisiacs and Anti-aphrodisiacs. London, 1869.

P 88

  • 7^,, pp. 72-73.

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greatest care had to be taken of him until he was restored to healths’

This well-described case illustrates the almost typical consequences of the use of cantharides — the extreme inflammation of the urinary passage. Moreover, in many instances the expedient fails, as for example in the Serails de Londres a nobleman had to have recourse to scourging with a birch when cantharides had failed to awaken his potency^.

In another erotic pamphlet, Randiana or Excitable Tales (New York, 1884), marvellous powers are ascribed to Pinero- Balsam. At present such medicinal aphrodisiacs are sold generally by ‘ rubber-goods ’ shops in the neighbourhood between Oxford Street and Leicester Square, but in England they have as little repute as in other northern countries, and mainly because the Englishman in need of a stimulant prefers flagellation to all other means.

As last group of aphrodisiacs certain appliances must be mentioned which women use to excite their libido sexualis, and which may be described as surrogates of the man. They are artificial reproductions of the male organ in the form of phalli, ‘ godemiches ’, ‘ consolateurs ’, ‘ bijoux indiscrets \ ‘ bijoux de religieuse \ ‘ Cazzi ’, ‘ paYapilla \ etc. In England they were sometimes used under the name of dildoe or indiscreet toy.

According to an English author they are of great antiquity. Pictures of them in the hands of women are to be found in ancient Babylonian sculptures. For ‘ far away in those mystic times, among those primeval civilizations, one thing was then as it is to-day, one thing was destined to continue unaltered, the same, the passions, the loves and

u Venette, AbJiandlungvonErzetigung der Menachen. (A Treatise on the Generation of Men). KOnigsberg and Leipzig, 1738. 1^. 187-200.

  • SiraiU de Ixmdres, p. 175.

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the lusts of women In ancient India women made use of them also; and we know the ancient Greeks knew of godemich^s from the plays of Aristophanes and other writers of comedy.

The countries of Western Europe learned of godemich^s from the ancients. The physicians of the Middle Ages mention these appliances. In a catalogue of ecclesiastical punishments compiled by Bishop Burchard of Worms in the twelfth century occurs the following: ‘ Fecisti quod quaedam mulieres facere solent, ut faceres quoddam molimen aut machinamentum in modum virilis membri, ad mensiuram tuae voluntatis, et illud loca verendorum tuorum, aut alterius, cum aliquibus ligaturis coUigare, et fomicationem faoeres, cum aliis mulierculis, vel aliae eodem instrumento sive aho tecum?*’ From this description it is clear to what refinements of use for various purposes (masturbation, coitus, etc.) the godemich^ was put.

During the Renaissance these appliances were made mostly in Italy and introduced into France. ‘ C’^tait ritalie des Borgia et des Medici,’ says Dufour, ‘qui avait enseign^ & la France, toutes ces pratiques, tous ces instru- ments, tons ces stimulants de prostitution; c’4tait la cour qui avait toujours la main dans ces jeux obsc^nes; c’^tait elle qui, ardente ^ s’emparer de ses innovations impures, les accr^ditait et les popularisait dans la nation, oh il ne resta bientot plus rien de la vieille candeur gauloise*.’ Catherine de Medici once found no fewer than four such bienfaiteurs in the box of one of her court-ladies*. In the seventeenth century godemich^s were made in France of velvet or glass*. A refinement was introduced by way of

‘ Ploss and Bartels, loc. dt., p. 463.

• P. Dufour, loc. dt., Vol. V, p. 261.


  • d'SeoU dec Fittet (Cologne), p. 126.

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novelty in the eighteenth century and was much appreciated. That was the addition of an artificial bag filled with hot milk, the compression of which simulated the act of ejacula- tion. Pictures of such consolateurs are often to be seen in erotic books of the eighteenth century. In Germany, too, these appliances were known. In 1701 Maria Cillie Jurgens was accused in Hamburg of having unnatural intercourse with Anna Elizabeth Buncken with the help of such an instrument*.

In England dildoes, as they were called, were in great request, at any rate from the eighteenth century. John Bee remarks that they were originally called ‘ dil-dols ’, and that these instruments had formerly been used far more frequently than in his time* (1835). Archenholtz gives further details over the commerce in dildoes in the eighteenth century: ‘ A woman, Mrs. Phillips, used this means to get her stock in trade known, for her shop is unique in the world. It consists of wares which are never sold publicly, which indeed can hardly be found at all in ordinary towns, and are only made and used in London and Paris. In Paris they are sold secretly in fancy shops; in London this woman has a shop near Leicester Square with them as her only wares*.’

Ryan* refers to the use of godemich^s in London brothels about 1840. According to a later authority they are sold at present by purveyors of erotic literature. They usually cost £2 10s.‘ and are made of india-rubber. There are different kinds; one that can be used by two women at the

‘ C. Trammer, Studies of Torture and WUch Trials, etc. Hamburg, 1844. Vol. I, pp. 81-82.

  • Bee, loc. dt., p. 206.
  • Archenholtz, England, Vol. Ill, p. 125.
  • Ryan, loe. eit., pp. 198-109.
  • Love and Safety, p. 60.

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same time, another with appliances for several orificia corporis, a third with an attachment for the chin, etc.*

Superstition appears at times to play a part in the practice of these and similar appliances. Thus in a pornographic book. Nunnery Tales; or Cruising under false Colours. A Tale of Love and i/wst (London, 1866-1867, 3 vols.) there is an exact portrayal (Vol. I, p. 70) of the way in which girls suffering from green sickness obtain relief by the use of the neck of a turkey.

An account of present use of the dildoe in England is to be found in the Story of a Dildoe, a Tale in Five Tableaux (London, 1880), in which three girls purchase such an instru- ment from their milliner. All details of its purchase and preparation and use are here fully described.

The ‘ Wonderful and Edifying History of the Origin of the Godemich^ or Dildo ’ which is printed at the end of an erotic work The Schoolfellows; or Young Ladies Guide to Love (London, 1830) is not an original, but is translated from L'Histoire merveiUeuse et edifiante du Godemiche in the second part of UAretin ou la Debauche de TEsprit of Abb^ Dulaurens (Rome, 1763 and 1768)’.

The use of cosmetics is less widespread in England than in other, especially romance, countries. Archenholtz remarks: ‘ English women rely on their natural beauty so much that they despise artificial aid. Only a few filles dejoie put rouge on. Many, even on the most festive occasions, never put powder on their hair. Cleanliness, which is very carefully attended to, increases not a little the natural charms of the fair sex.’

The Celtic inhabitants of Britain knew, however, certain

  • Love and Safety, p. 66.
  • On the present use of the godemiche see I. Bloch, The Sexual Life of

our Time. London, 1908. P. 412.

1310 ]


cosmetics, such as hair-lotion, rouge and hair dye*. According to Wright, small tweezers are to be found in the graves of Anglo-Saxon women: these were clearly used for the removal of superfluous hair. They knew, too, about colouring the hair. After the Danish invasion it was men who principally used cosmetics*.

The century of gallantry and refinement led to the renaissance of cosmetics in England. Numerous perfumed waters and soaps were imported from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Turkey. But Windsor and Bristol soap was also much in use, and the famous ‘ Washballs* ’ which contained injurious substances like white lead, quicksilver, etc. Especially celebrated was a Danish cosmetic which contained a mixture of numerous beauty- waters compormded with borax, vinegar, bread, eggs and — the heads and wings of doves. By its agency, women of fifty were said to be able to recover the fresh complexion of a girl of twenty*. In the eighteenth century face-powder and rouge came into prominence as cosmetics; and according to Hiittner, EngUsh women brought the appUcation of rouge to a fine art.

Powdering, which has been known in England since the sixteenth century, was used almost to excess during the eighteenth century. In 1795 a tax was put upon powder, which caused much bitterness. Up to the middle of June in this year 300,000 persons had paid a guinea each for the right to use powder for one year. Others gave up powder for themselves, but had their horses or dogs powdered who were not taxed*. The tax, however, had this good effect: it roused energetic opposition to the excessive use of powder,

> Trill, loc. cit., Vol. I, p. 114.

• Wright, loc. cit., p. 80.

• G. HiU, loc. cU., Vol. II, pp. 82-84.

  • Ibid., Vol. II, p. 83.

‘ Arcbenholtz, Annals, Vol. XVI, pp. 183-184.



which was led by the Duke of Bedford. Archenholtz relates*: ‘ The Duke of Bedford was responsible for a remarkable scene; in September 17£6 he organised a pleasure party near Woburn Abbey among many of his friends, including Lords Russell, Villers and Paget, and Mr. Lambton, Mr. Day, Mr. Vernon, members of Parliament, and other prominent men. Here in the open a solemn ceremony took place of combing out of powder and cutting off of hair. All heads were cropped close and all the company agreed to pay a forfeit if any of them within a stated time used powder or ribbon for his hair. This example was very soon followed by the gentry of Bedfordshire and Hampshire, and the ladies vied with the men in no longer using powder, if not in cutting their hair.’

In the history of means of prevention and abortion in England, the very prototype of the first named is the condom, that sheath for the covering of the male organ before coitus, made out of the appendix of lambs, of fish-bladder, or rubber and so on, which is supposed to have been invented by a doctor named Conton in the reign of Charles II and which serves as a preventive against venereal disease and con- ception*. In spite of careful research I can trace no such person as Dr. Conton in the seventeenth century. In the sixteenth century, moreover. Dr. Fallopia had recommended sheaths of linen, and that such sheaths were in use in the seventeenth century is seen from the pomographical brochure, already mentioned, UEcole des FiUea (published in the reign of Charles II), where Suzanne informs Fanchon that men put ‘ un petit linge ’ over their member to prevent pregnancy. For all that the improvement of these sheaths by the use of animal skin may be attributable to the

  • Archenholtz, Annals, Vol. XVI, pp. 184-186.
  • For farther details of the condom see I. Bloch, Sexual Life of our

Time, pp. 378-79.

[ 312 ]


Dr. Conton who gave his name to the condom. Casanova also speaks ‘ of the little shields which the English have invented to keep the fair sex from worrying^’. In the eighteenth century, at aU events, the condom was everywhere in use. As English speciaHties of more recent times. Hector France mentions condoms decorated with the portraits of Gladstone and even more eminent persons*.

Bee mentions the word ‘ relieved ’ as in popular use for the practice of abortion. Even then such criminal advertise- ments appeared in the papers. A certain White living in St. Paul’s Churchyard practised abortion as his calling*. At a later date Pisanus Fraxi* refers to the widespread increase of this criminal practice in England, which was far greater than would be supposed from legal cases. A gentleman who had studied the question wrote to him: ‘ I know a case where a girl went to a doctor in the West End and found six or seven girls in the waiting-room, awaiting their turn to be operated on. The same occurred on two other occasions when she consulted that doctor. They were for the most part ballet girls or women in some way connected with the theatre. The fee was £5. ’

Means for abortion, taken internally, are also in use. According to Taylor, English women use mainly Juniperus Sabina, the needles of the yew, iron-sulphate and iron- chloride, and in some cases even cantharides*. Maiden-pills made by a French doctor are much used; as is the apparatus for the prevention of conception, invented by an American doctor*.

• Casanova, Memoirs, Vol. XIII, p. 208.

• Hector France, Lea Va-Nu-Pieda de Londrea (Paris), p. 66.

• John Bee, loc. cit., p. 212.

‘ P. Fraxi, Index lAbrorum ProhMiorum. London, 1877. P. xxxvi.

• PloBS and Bartels, Woman, Vol. I, p. 764.

• BAmo, loc, cit., p. 263.

[ 313 ]


Both in England and America pessaries are a favourite means of prevention; they often work, too, quite mechanically as means of abortion. The transactions of the National Medical Association for 1864 described no less than 123 kinds of pessary, ‘ from a simple stopper to a patent thrashing machine ’ which could only be worn under the largest crinoline and looked like a water wheel. Dr. Buck, who gives the information, remarks acidly‘: ‘ Pessaries, I suppose, are sometimes useful, but there are more than there is any necessity for. I do think that this fillin g the vagina with such traps, making a Chinese toy-shop of it, is outrageous. Hippocrates said that he would never recommend a pessary to procure abortion — nay, he swore he never would. Were he ahve now he would never recommend one at all. If there were fewer abortions there would be fewer pessaries, and if there were fewer pessaries there would be fewer abortions. Our grandmothers never knew they had wombs only as they were reminded of it by the struggles of a healthy foetus; which by the by they always held on to. Nowadays, even our young women must have their wombs shored up, and if a baby accidentally gets in by the side of the machinery and finds a lodgment in the uterus, it may, per- chance, have a knitting-needle stuck in its eyes before it has any.’

For women and girls who are afraid of such criminal methods or by whom they have failed, there were even in the eighteenth century places and arrangements for secret deliveries. ‘ We have here ’, says Hiittner*, ‘ a large number of nursing homes in which young ladies can, unknown by the world, produce their illegitimate children. Nearly every newspaper receives announcements of one or more of such houses and their owners are in quite good odour with this

’ New York Medical Journal, Vol. V, p. 464.

• Huttner, loc. cit., pp. 180-181.

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honourable profession.’ Archenholtz^ gives further details about this: ‘ There are houses in London where women can be secretly confined, where they are provided with every comfort and well looked after. Their name and station remain unknown not only to their attendants but even to the owners of the house, so that the patient is as secure as if the confinement had taken place in another country, especially should she have chosen a house at some distance from her own home. The position of such houses is made known partly through the papers and partly by printed slips distributed in the streets.’

In the chapter on Pregnancy belong two interesting brochures of that time.

The first, by John Henry Mauclerc, who wrote under the pseudonym of James Blondel, is epoch-making in the history of the teaching in the so-called ‘ overlooking ’ of women, which Mauclerc subjected to a brilliant criticism in his treatise on the power of imagination in pregnant women*, which appeared in 1727, so that very little was actually left of this ancient superstition.

The second work is obviously an amusing satire by Sir John HiU (or, according to the bibliographer Lowndes, by F. Coventry) on the dispute taking place at that time between Albrecht v. Haller and Caspur Friedrich Wolff with regard to different theories of fertilisation. The title speaks for itself. In the German edition it runs: ^Lucina sine concubitu, that is, a letter to the Royal Society of Science, wherein it is proved in an incontrovertible manner both by reason and experience that a woman can become pregnant without the aid of a man and bring forth a child ’ (Frankfort and Leipzig, 1751, 8vo). Hereupon Richard Roe

^ Archenholtz, England, Vol. Ill, p. 124.

■ J. Blondel, Three Remarkable Reports on the Power of the Imagination in Pregnant Women and its Effect upon the Foetus. Strassburg, 1756.

[ 316 ]


wrote a second satire called after the French edition of Combes: Concvbitus sine Lucina, ou le Plaisir sans peine. Biponse A la lettre: Lucina sine concvbitu ’ (Londres, 1752, 8vo. Later translated by Mercier de Compi^gne under the title Lucine affranchie des his de concours. Paris, 1799*).

Diseases of the sexual organs are mentioned in middle English medical works. But from the end of the fifteenth century only purely local complaints are named, swellings and running sores which are mostly designated under the universal name ‘ Burning ’. S3^hilis was first brought into England in 1496, probably by English mercenaries who fought under Charles VIII in Italy in 1495. The new disease was called ‘Spanish pox’, later ‘ French pox ’, and in Bristol ‘ Jlforfetw Burdigalensis \ because it was introduced there from Bordeaux in 1498*. The error of classing all venereal diseases as identical was thoroughly established in the eighteenth century in England by the famous experiments of John Hunten the Hunter Museum, called after him, has made his name familiar to visitors to London. Ricords’ clever experiments were the first to prove that syphilis is toto caeh a different disease from the local venereal infections*.

Owing to the vast expanse of English trading activities venereal diseases became very widespread, especially as from the beginning of the seventeenth century London was sought out by foreigners more than any other town in the world. In an old work which appeared in 1749, Sedan's

  • Bibliographical material is given by H. Hayn, Bibliotheca Oermanorum

gynaecologica et coamelica. Leipzig, 1886. P. 73. Also J. Gay, Bibliographic deeouvragesrelatifa&l’amour. Fourth edition. Lille, 1897. Vol. II,par.917.

  • Cf. I. Bloch, The Origin of Syphilis. A medical and historical enquiry.

Jena, 1901. Vol. I, p. 276.

  • Cf. on Hunter’s experiments E. Lang, Lectures on Syphilis. Second

editiem. Wiesbaden, 1896. Pp. 34-39.

[ 316 ]


Harvest Home, or the Present State of Whorecraft, Adultery, Fornication, etc., we read: ‘ The greatest evil which accom- panies prostitution and which can befall mankind is the spread of that infectious disease called French pox, which has caused such ghastly ravages in Europe for two hundred years. In this country it is so seldom absent from whore- craft, which is nowadays termed gallantry and genteel behaviour, that a healthy robust constitution is regarded as a mark of bad breeding and lack of gentihty; and a healthy young fellow is considered as a boor who has spent his days in a peasant’s hut. ... In general our aristocracy seems to be distinguished by bad health, probably caused by the effects of this ruinous disease. Husbands infect their wives, wives their husbands or even their children: these infect their nurses who pass it on to other children so that no age, no sex, and no rank is completely free from this scourge* .’ The author of Serails de Londres confirms the prevalence of syphilis among English upper classes during the eighteenth century*. London was feared by foreigners for this reason. Schtitz* relates: ‘ The illnesses to which foreigners are sometimes subject after a few months’ stay in London are no proof of this; for if these gentlemen were to give us an honest account of their conduct, we should soon find that the sensual pleasures for which London caters so richly are more to blame for their illnesses than the much abused climate.’

In Gay’s Beggar's Opera Mrs. Trapes, the brothel keeper, complains of ‘ having eleven genteel clients in the surgeon’s hands*’; but other brothel keepers took better care of the health of their clients. For example, the famous Mrs. Goadby kept a doctor to examine the girls before admission and to

  • Satan’s Harvest Home, etc. London, 1749. P. 31.
  • SiraUs de Londres, p. 213.
  • Schutz, loc. ctl., p. 69.
  • Taine, toe. cit., Vol. II, p. 209.


[ 317 ]


reject all of those whose health was open to question*. According to Girtanner it was the fashion in London ‘ for young sparks always to carry with them a piece of grease in a little box so that if necessary they could smear the glands with it before intercourse*

Even the old motive of revenge by infection crops up sometimes. A nobleman told the procuress Charlotte Hayes that he had wagered a rival for his wife’s affection that he would catch syphilis within a month, and asked Hayes to procure a syphilitic girl so that through her his rival might be punished. Hayes hired him such a girl for £30, who actually infected the man in question*.

Until the middle of the nineteenth century the spread of syphilis among children was appalling. When Ryan states that brothels were visited yearly by 100,000 boys*, we need not be surprised that during the years 1827-1835 no fewer than 2,700 cases of venereal disease occurred amongst children between the ages of 11 and 16. Logan confirms this and remarks: ‘ In one of our hospitals I found five little girls aged 13, 12, 11,9, and 8 suffering from a shameful illness. The mother of the last was also suffering from the same disease. Three of these girls lived at home with their mother and had not been seduced by other children®.’ In London there are even special nursing homes for infected children between the ages of 10 and 14. The Lock Hospital in Harrow Road (founded as early as 1746) is the best known for venereal disease. Lecour in his book on prostitution in Paris and London* reveals facts about the number of persons

• Serails de. Londres, p. 12.

• Christopher Girtanner, Treatise on Venereal Disease. Gtottingen, 1788. Vol. I, p. 275.

• Sirails de Londres, pp. 20-21.

• Ryan, Prostitution in London, p. 186.

‘ Ryan, toe. cit., p. 120. H. France, Va-Nu-Pieds, p. 40.

• C. J. hecour, la Prostitution cl Parisetd Londres. Paris, 1882. Pp. 270 flF.

[ 318 ]


treated in this and similar hospitals. According to Ryan, 44,973 suflFerers from venereal disease were admitted to the Lock Hospital from January 1747 to March 1836^

In the last decades of the nineteenth century the spread of venereal disease in London and English ports became so great that so-called ‘ health-bureaus ’ were established to supply healthy prostitutes, who were given a certificate by the examining doctors*.

Jeannel (confirmed by Tamowski) pointed out that England was, in the nineteenth century, the main source of infection, and spread sexual disease because of her enormous overseas trade and her Colonial empire in all parts of the world.

However, these conditions appear to have undergone considerable improvement as much in consequence of a saner outlook on social questions and the instruction of the people on the dangers and effect of venereal disease whereby the number of the infected has greatly decreased, as of the present repugnance of unmarried English people to unregu- lated satisfaction outside marriage, which leads to earlier marriages.

  • Ryan, loc. cit., p. 186.

’ Leoour, loc. cit., p. 273. A. Blasohko, Syphilis and Prostitution, Berlin, 1893. P. 147.

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Flagellation-mania (the desire to beat and flog) and preference for the use of the rod may be described as a specifi- cally English abuse; it was so widespread among all ranks and ages that it formed one of the most interesting features of their sexual life. True, beating as a punishment and the rod as a sexual stimulant have played a part (and still do) amongst other races; any study of the subject reveals the fact that the desire to mishandle another by flogging is latent in human nature, being connected with the sexual instinct. Undoubt- edly flogging, beating and whipping have been practised as punishment everywhere in the world since the dawn of history, both among the civilised and the savage; and this form of correction frequently acted as an aphrodisiac, and was employed by the person who administered it from sexual motives. The connection between active or passive flagella- tion and the sexual impulse has always been a matter of universal knowledge. Nevertheless it is possible to maintain that England was at one time the classic land of flagellation. For this assumption rests on factual evidence. In no other country had the passion for the rod been so systematically practised and developed; nowhere else had the whole of literature since the seventeenth century — ^poetry and prose, decent and indecent — ^been so occupied with this theme. At the same time no stage or daily newspaper elswhere had handled the theme with such opeimess — ^which is specially

[ 320 ]


remarkable in view of English prudery concerning sexual matters. Finally, no other people possess so many artists who have devoted their talent to this strange subject. The greater prevalence of flagellation in England is largely due to the fact that in other European countries this passion is nearly always concealed under the cloak of religion and remains in that sphere, whereas in England its purely worldly character was calculated to give it considerable prominence — and, in fact, did so.

‘ Countless English books are devoted to this subject alone: no English erotic writing is from accounts of flagellation, and many single pictures present scenes of whipping. The rod has separated man and wife; its devotees have been found in the most high-class girl schools, and in earlier times it was spoken of on the stage without concealment'.’

The strongest evidence for the prevalence of flagellation- mania in English education is the fact that far the greatest part of earlier literature on flagellation in Germany and France was compiled from translations and reproductions from English sources. Neither France nor Germany has pro- duced such a spate of erotic and non-erotic literature on the subject as England. In other peoples it is always a question of isolated sensualists and the impotent, who employ the rod as an aphrodisiac. ‘ All tender considerations of modem humanity ’, says Taine, ‘ have failed to abolish boxing- matches and the use of the rod among this people*.’

That it is the specifically English element (i.e. Anglo-Saxon, not Celtic or Norman) which is prone to this tendency is

• P. Fraxi, Index librorum prohibitorum, being notes bio-hiblio-icono- graphical and critical on curious and uncommon books. London, 1877. Pp. xl-zli.

• H. Taine, History of English Literature. Leipzig, 1878. Vol. I, p. 43. Also Eulenburg calls Elngland * the promis^ land, the temple of flagellation’. (Eulenburg, Sadism and Masochism. Wiesbaden, 1902. P. 60.)

[ 321 ]


proved by the fact that the old Anglo-Saxons introduced the use of the rod into England, and that both Anglo-Saxon men and women used it with passion*. This fact has always been noted by historians. Hector France also calls the use of the rod an ‘institution ancienne et vraiementnationale’ and an ‘usage tout saxon ’ which has been handed down from one generation to another as a sacred tradition, but has survived chiefly by the force of example and imitation*.

The spread of flagellation-mania among people of every rank and age in English society aifords further evidence that it was a specific national quality and not a passion limited to a small circle of sensualists and the like. The author of the introduction to one of the best-known English books on flagellation remarks: ‘ Many people, insufficiently acquainted with human nature, believe that the passion for flagellation must be confined to the aged or to men exhausted by sexual perversion. But this is not the case. For there are just as many youths and men in the prime of life who are victims of this passion as there are old men and weaklings.’ The author then instances generals, admirals, colonels, captains, bishops, judges, barristers, lords, members of the House of Commons and doctors as devotees of the rod*. The same can be said of the female sex, amongst whom the use of the rod was not con- fined to the lower classes but was prevalent in the highest circles, as will be seen in later pages*.

Taine appears inclined to attribute their excessive use of the rod to their way of life, above all to their over-indulgence

  • J. Wright, Domestic Manners in England during the Middle Ages.

London, 1862. P. 66.

  • H. France, Les Nuils de Londres. Paris, 1900. P. 229.
  • Venus’ Schoolmistress or Birchen Sports. Reprinted from the

edition of 1788, "with a Preface by Mary Wilson, containing some account of the late Mrs. Berkley. Paris, Soci6t6 des Bibliophiles, etc., 1898. P. Tiii.

  • Cf. also H. France, loc. cit., p. 229.



in meat and alcohol, which I also have referred to, and which certainly serves to encourage the use of a strong stimulant like flagellation. After drinking, and eating an incredible amount of meat, ‘ the coarse human animal finally satisfies itself with noise and sensuality^

Besides the manner of hfe, another factor comes promin- ently into the history of Enghsh flagellation — namely, the sexual. And in order to understand this, it is necessary to examine the universal connection between flagellation and sexuality.

There is, of course, something abnormal in sexual flagella- tion, though it has a natural connection with the accomphsh- ment of the sexual act among human beings.

Flagellation has become the main method of activity of sadistic tendencies, just ‘ because all physiological sadistic accompaniments of sexual intercourse are united in it, and come to light with renewed force. Only by means of flagel- lation can the sadist enjoy the full ensemble of etiological impulses which his sadistic feelings demand. Flagellation therefore is generally best explained as the imitation and conscious synthesis of all physiological sadistic accompani- ments of coitus® ’.

Certain expressions, movements, colour-changes of the person flagellated resemble phenomena in the sexual act and awaken the same association of ideas as sexual sensations arouse.

When we examine separate motives for sexual flagellation, we discover that in its most usually practised form, the whipping of the posterior, the purely aesthetic charm of that portion of the body is a direct cause of flagellation. Delolme^

^ Taine, loc, cit.^ pp. 43-44. * I. Bloch, loc. cit., p. 76.

• Delolme, The History of the Flagellants y or the Advantages of Discipline : being a Paraphrase and Commerdary on the ‘ Historia Flagdlantium * of the Abbs BoileaUy Doctor of the Sorb^nCy etc. By One who is not Doctor of the Sorbonne (J. L. Delolme), London, 1777, pp. 328-329.

[ 323 ]


recalls how an elderly lady, shocked at the wrinkles of her face, surveyed the rest of her body in a large mirror and discovered to her delight that the shape of that part remained flawlessly beautiful. He points out further that many people find great attraction in the sight of the posterior, and so, thinking of it creates a predisposition to flagellation- mania. He thinks ‘ sight in love ’ plays a great part in the matter.

The ancient Greeks knew well the aesthetic significance of the posterior, as is proved by the creation of Aphrodite Kallipygos. Anthropologists and aestheticiansof a later date refer clearly to the beauty of this part. Moreau remarks: ‘ Les reliefs qui les (les cuisses) surmontent posterieurement, ces formes, dont la V^nus Callipyge offre le plus parfait module, ont un genre de beaiut^ qu’il serait difficile de d^crire, et qui parait consister principalement dans le passage agr^able que ces renflements ^tablissent entre le torse et le membre*.’

An authority on aesthetics, Schasler* calls the posterior a quite unjustly despised part of the body, and when not despised, derided, and proceeds as follows: ‘ Its high aesthetic significance, even in comparison with the bosom, does not rest only in the fact that like the tail in animals, it serves to hide the opening used for emptying, but that it seems made by its plastic beautiful roundness to distract the attention from that natural but none the lessunaesthetic function, and to make us forget it, a contingency which does not arise among shameless animals.’ According to Frusta, this explains the fact that the ‘ artistic sense * is aroused in both sexes by ‘ the sight the callipygean charms vmcovered

  • J. L. Moreau, Hiatoire NatvreUe de la Femme. Paris, 1803. Pp.


  • Max Sohasler, Aeethetica. Leipzig and Prague. Vol. I, pp. 175-176.

[ 324 ]


and this leads to the enchantment of the sensibility of the organa of sight and touch^ \

Later poets, too, have celebrated the aesthetic charm of this part of the body. Delolme and Bertram (Cooper) name Rabelais, Lafontaine, Rousseau, Scarron, Lord Bolingbroke as its admirers. Pavilion, a bd-esprit in the reign of Louis XIV sings its splendour in a poem La Mdtamorphose du Cul d'lris en Astre^ \

Apart from the general aesthetic significance of the posterior as explained by Moreau and Schasler, the more actual plaistic charms of this part exercise a distinct influence by its shape. G. Jaeger thinks that this accounts wholly for its fascination. Vischer is of the opinion that the peach-like shape of the posterior awakens aesthetic satisfaction*. De Sade, too, explains that the ‘rondeur, conformation forme enchanteresse ’ form the attraction which surrounds this place {JustinCy Vol. I, p. 42). Then, too, excessive size of posterior, such as is frequently to be found among Hottentots and Negro races*, exerts a certain charm on some persons. In conse- quence, flagellants effect the artificial enlargement of this part. Such a ‘ philopodex ’ in the ‘ Exhibition of Female Flagellants ’ requested the painter to portray the women’s

^ Frusta, Flagellation arid the Jesuit Confessional Stuttgart, 1834. P.311.

■ Delolme, loc. cit., pp. 234-238. Rev. Wm. Cooper, B.A., Flagellation and the Flagellants, A History of the Rod in aU countries from the earliest period to the present time. Illustrated. London, 1896. P. 4. There is an analysis of Pavilion’s poem in J. Gay, Bibliographie des ouvrages reUUifs h Vamour, atuc femmes et au mariage. Lemonnyer, Lille, 1899. Vol. Ill,

g. 216.

  • G. Jaeger in the Yearbook of Sexual Studies. Leipzig, 1900. Vol. 11,

p. 66.

  • Cf. W. Reinhard, Under the Stick. Dresden, 1903. Pp. 176-180.

In this respect woman is put before man. * Natibus gaudent majoribus feminae, id quod jam Cercidas poeta de Venere et Atheniensibus feminis. Inde Kn.k\ivvyov^ a se dictis praedioavit”. J. Rosenbaum, Desexuali organismorum fabrica, eto. HaUe, 1832. P.61.

[ 326 ]


posteriors as over rather than under the size which the artist or sculptor is accustomed to allow their proportion. Others watch scenes of flagellation through magnifying glasses in order to have the flagellated part as gigantic as possible before their eyes'.

In the Venus Schoolmistress occurs a very remarkable comment on the human posterior. The author maintains that boys up to 16 have very similar posteriors but that afterwards they assume an ‘ individual ’ character. Some retain their childish shape, others become large and take on a hard and rough quality. The author also maintains that men with well developed posteriors marry earlier than others, as these callipygean Adonises exercise a great fascination upon women and surpass other men in their potentia coeundi et generandi^.

The influence of this plastic attraction explains the fact that many persons find great satisfaction in seeing the posteriors merely uncovered without resorting to flagellation, and obtain sexual pleasure from the sight. ‘ Flagellation and uncovering ’, says Ryan, ‘ are inseparable, and often cause erection even in children*.’ Uncovering with no consequent whipping is frequently sufficient to attain this end.

Thus in a German brochure on flagellation several persons are shown watching the callipygean charms through opera glasses*; and in Justine, by the Marquis de Sade (Vol. Ill, p. 34), a great callipygean revue occurs for the libertine Vemeuil, comprising girls, boys and women, young and old. In certain country districts of Brittany this exhibition of nates

  • Such a scene is described in Memoirs of a Russian Dancer. Milwaukee,

1898. Vol. II, pp. 81 ff.

• Venus Sclwolmistress, pp. 97-99.

’ Ryan, he. cit., p. 382.

‘ In Venusberg, or Experiences in a Pension. Budapest, no date. P, 49.

[ 326 ]


is arranged in most extraordinary manner, namely, in the middle of a so-called TouU er c'kas (French chaiiere), that is, a large apparatus in the form of wooden spectacles, through which the spectator pushes his head, while a woman uncovers her posterior before him*.

In England this liking for the mere pleasures of sight has produced a special sort of prostitute, the so-called ‘ posture girls This t 3 rpe appears to have sprung up about 1750. They crop up first in various erotic writings of the time. Thus, in the History of the Human Heart, or The Adventures of a Young Gentleman (London, 1769, p. 116), there is talk of ‘ posture girls who stripped stark naked and mounted them- selves upon the middle of the table ’ to show their beauties. In the fifth tale (‘ The Royal Rake ’) of the New Attalantis for the Year 1762, ‘ Posture Nan ’ is celebrated as ‘ the greatest mistress in her sex at this art ’. The behaviour of these girls in a brothel in Great Russell Street has been very openly described in the Midnight Spy. ‘ Behold an object ’, says Urbanus, ‘ which rouses at once our disgust and our pity. A beautiful woman lies stretched on the floor and offers to the view just those parts of her body that, were she not without all shame, she would most zealously seek to conceal. As she is given to drink, she arrives usually half drunk, and after two or three glasses of Madeira exposes herself to men in this unseemly manner. Look, she is on aU fours now, like an animal. She is ridiculed, and men gloat over such prostitution of incomparable beauty*.’

When we pass on to the subject of the actual act of flagella- tion, we must chiefly draw attention to the charms exercised by pigmentation, which before and during the performance

‘ Olosaaire cryptologique du breton. Paris, 1899. Vol. VI, pp. 65-66.

  • The Midnight Spy. London, 1766. P. 67. ‘ Posture Masters ’ must not

be confused with ‘ Posture Girls \ They were jugglers and contortionists, who bore this name from the time of Charles II. Cf. I. Strutt, The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England. London, 1830. Pp. 235-236.

[ 327 ]


affect the eye of the active flagellant. Colouring plays a great part in the vtUi sexiudis of both sexes.

When the flagellant brings about a reddening of the nates he is only seeking to produce a natural accompaniment of the libido sexualis. Confirmation of this is found in the fact that savage races paint their posteriors red to make them con- spicuous, as is the case with apes*. Perhaps the contrast of colour between the beaten and unbeaten parts has a sexual effect*.

The special and very strong sexual attraction aroused by the flow of blood to the flagellated parts, and their consequent reddening, is given great prominence in all works on flagella- tion®. Frusta relates: ‘ A famous and highly respected German count of the eighteenth century, who was madly in love with his young and beautiful wife, never found her so attractive as when he had properly punished her with the rod. She received — ^for she herself got no pleasure fiom the affair — anything she Uked to ask, if she submitted. What is supposed to have roused him most was the change in colour of the skin. For hours he gazed and could not have enough of the sight.’ Brantome relates similar occurrences in his Dames Oalantes*.

Bloch points out that pictmes of flagellation scenes, in which the flagellated parts are mostly painted a brilliant red, also provide proof of the attraction of this discoloration by beating®.

The author of the Romance of Chastisement (London, 1870, p. 72) thinks that the posteriora of human beings possess the inherent power of reddening, even without flagellation, and

> Delolme, loc. cit., p. 234.

  • Bloch, loc. dt., p. 80.
  • B.g., Raped on Ote Railwatf. London, 1899. P. 140.
  • Frusta, loc. cit., p. 312.
  • Bloch, loc. cU., p. 81.

[ 328 ]


claims himself to have seen the alternate p aling and reddening of these parts.

A further attraction is provided by the violent movements and twitchings which affect the parts during chastisement, and which may be regarded as the simulation of certain movements during coitus^. The ‘ quivering the ‘ oscilla- tion the ‘ voluptuous twitching ’ of the flagellated part are invariably mentioned in accounts of flagellation scenes. A letter from Alkiphron, speaking of the movement of the posterior at the ‘ caUipygean games ’ (after the French trans- lation by Abb6 Richard), says: ‘ Dans leur jeu rapide, da ns leurs convulsions aimables, ces spheres n’ont pas le tremble- ment de ceUes de Myrrhine. Leur mouvement ressemble au doux g^missement de I’onde. Aussitot eUe redouble les las- cives crispations avec tant d’agilit^, qu’un applaudissement universel lui d^ceme les honneurs du triomphe*.’ In the ‘ Kallipyge ’ the movements of the posteriora were even to a certain extent reproduced in a spectator, who said it was as though that part of bim wished to describe the sensations aroused by the flogging*.

A very important, perhaps the chief, cause of active flagellation is the sadistic tendency of the flagellant. Cooper* says: ‘ Amongst the elements which compose the passion of the flagellant, the chief one appears to be — according to an old writer — a sensation of satisfaction at the sufferings of others, arising from the evil tendencies

  • ‘The ancient Indians,’ says Bloch (loc. cit., p. 79), ‘who accomplished

wonders in the observation and co-ordination of the outward manifesta- tions of libido sexualis, define as a symptom of the sexual ardour of women the “ twitching of the posterior The same twitching of this region is magnified at the moment of orgasm. They resemble closely the reflex movements caused by pain or death-throes, and just for that reason arouse the sadist because they appear completely involuntary.’

  • P. Dufour, he. cit., Vol. I, pp. 190-191.
  • The CaUipygian, Milwaukee, 1898. P. 142.
  • Cooper, he. cit., p. 164.

[ 329 ]


which linked with the good are to be found in the heart of every man; and the close connection between cruelty and lust, which finds pleasure in the sight of the frequently ridiculous movements and convulsions of some one who is being flogged.’

Those cases in. which persons dehght in watching the greatest number of floggings possible can also be traced to predominating sadistic tendencies. An ofiicer who had often watched the chastisement of his younger brothers and sisters, developed a quite insane passion for flogging. He used to bribe the warders in a Dutch reformatory to let him act as flogging-master; and when that was not possible he would watch while the female prisoners were whipped*.

These sadistic flagellants were chiefly roused by seeing the whipping fetch blood; for which reason the punishment had always to be continued up to that point in order to give the flagellant the desired satisfaction. This was portrayed, for example, in the Justine of the Marquis de Sade (Vol. I, p. 265). Dufour perceives in this thirst for blood the main difference between the flagellation of antiquity and that of the Christian era.

The masochistic element is prominent in passive flagella- tion. The person flagellated is filled with ‘a mystical sensation (a mixture of sensuality and fantasy) of subjection to the strength of another, of reversion to childhood of his personahty, as well as simultaneous deep shame and delight at the ill-treatment administered* ’. According to Krafft- Ebing*, passive flagellation serves the man inclined to the perversion of masochism mainly as an expression of his desire to be dominated by the woman. Such a situation is sharply portrayed in the famous picture of Hans Baldung

> Cooper, loc. cit., p. 165.

• Frusta, loc. cit., p. 312.

• KrafFt-Ebing, PsychopcUhia sexuoJw. Tenth edition. Stuttgart, 1899. P.90.

[ 330 ]


in which Aristotle serves Phyllis as a horse and is urged on with the whip. The following case, noted by Cooper, also illustrates the masochism of the person flagellated: A nobleman in the reign of George JI hired a house in London and a pretty housekeeper. Once a week she had to prepare everything necessary for scrubbing a room, and also engage two women, of whom one was obliged to represent the housekeeper and the other the housemaid and help him with the work. While the nobleman scrubbed the room he behaved as though he were a girl from the poor house, and did the work so badly that one or both of the women had to whip him as the poor-house children were whipped by their mistresses!^

Further, in Otway’s comedy Venice Preserved (Act III, Sc. 1) a similar masochistic whipping scene takes place. The senile senator Antonio visits his mistress Aquilina in order to romp with her. He asks her to spit in his face; then behaves like a dog, crawls under the table and begs her to treat him like a dog, to kick him and so on, till finally the courtesan fetches a rod and whips him from the room^.

The ‘ magnetic theory ’ of flagellation is exhaustively treated in the English book The Romance of Chastisement. When the flogging is carried out by a practised female hand, the author says that a kind of magnetism runs from her to the victim (N.B. often male) and back again. A woman, flagellated, described the magnetic condition as follows:

‘ Fear and shame went. It was as if I gave myself to the embraces of a man whom I loved so much that I anticipated his wildest desires. But no man was in my thoughts, rather Martinet (the governess) was the object of my worship, and I felt that I shared her passion through the rod. The rapport, as exponents of magnetism call it, was so

^ Cooper, he. cit., pp. 167-168.

  • Cf. P. Fraxi, Centuria librorum absconditorum, p. 450.

[ 331 ]


strong tjiat I could guess her thoughts. Had she desired me to oflFer the front of my body to her blows, I should have tried to obey, in spite of being bound. A magnetic shudder ran through us both which increased with every blow. It was, however, quite impossible for me to say whether pain or pleasure predominated,’

The main characteristic of religious flagellation, asceticism, self-abasement, shows very distinct sexual elements. Bloch remarks on this: ‘ Asceticism originates in the opposition between spirit and matter, rooted in primitive man, which causes the latter — in man his physical being, especially its most intense expression, sexual desire — ^to be regarded as something impure, to be fought, overcome and if possible destroyed, in order to save his purely spiritual being. With the vow of poverty, sexual abstinence, the fight against the “ flesh ” (the church fathers always referred to the genital organs as “caro”) is the chief psychological feature of asceticism. But in order to overcome the “ flesh ”, to fight the often intensively increasing sexual urge and if possible stamp it out, the ascetic was obliged to be always on his guard against it, always to be thinking of it. Consequently he occupied himself far more with sexual desire than the normal man. Sex mortification and sex perversion . . . these are the two poles between which the ascetic’s life swings — ^which in any case points to a strong admixttire of sexuality. Asceticism is often only the means of obtaining sexual satisfaction in another form and in a higher degree^.’

James II of England may be mentioned as another example of the connection between religion and lust; he was one of the greatest sensualists of his time (vide above) and, at the same time, a bigoted Catholic. Macaulay relates that his consort, Mary of Modena, whom he shamefully neglected and betrayed, kept till the end of her life the rod with which he atoned for

  • I. Blooh, he. cit., pp. 96-96.

[ 332 ]


his ill-treatment of her on his back, and bequeathed it on her death as a relic to the convent of Chaillot^. Religious dis- cipline brought sexual abuses most quickly in its train when it was practised together by persons of different sex, and the man beat the woman or vice versa. A Puritan writer says with justice: ‘ It is not seemly for a man to let himself be beaten by a woman, and a girl is ruined when she receives blows fix>m a man*.’

Passive flagellation plays a great part as a simple pre- luninary to intercourse. Pisanus Fraxi is of opinion that flagellation, if it has any value at all, should be only a prepara- tory act, ‘an incentive to higher pleasure ’, a means to an end, not the end itself*.

The purely physical effects of whipping on the sexual system are explained by the reflex excitement in the sexual sphere, especially the sympathetic nervous centres m the spine, caused by sharp and painful blows on the skin, particu- larly in the neighbourhood of the sexual organs. Dr. Meibom even asserts that the effect of flagellation on the coming of erection can be accurately observed, and that the oscittationes menibri are regulated according to the number of strokes applied*. John Davenport says: ‘ As an erotic stimulant, more particularly, it may be observed that, considering the many intimate and sympathetic relations existing between the nervous branches of the extremity of the spinal marrow, it is impossible to doubt that flagellation exercised upon the buttocks and the adjacent parts has a powerful effect upon the organs of generation*.’

‘ T. B. Macaulay, History of England.

  • Cooper, he. cit., p. 174.
  • P. Fraxi, he. eit., p. 242.
  • Henry Meibomius, A Treatise of the use of Flogging at venereal

affaire. . . London, 1718, pp. 310-311.

  • Davenport, he. cit., p. 113.

z [333]


The Duchess Leonora Gonzaga of Mantua may be men- tioned as an example of the preparatory effect of passive flagellation; she made her mother whip her in order to feel more warmth in intercourse and so conceive*.

At the same time, active flagellation is often used as a quick preparatory means of putting a person into a favourable condition for the practice of coitus. This applies to women as well as men. The activity of female flagellants often ends by the summoning of a man to satisfy the desires roused in them by the whipping. In the same way male flagellants often have recourse to their wives or a brothel after active flagellation. Thomas Bartholinus relates: ‘ Persians and Russians chastise their wives with blows from a stick on the posterior before they perform their marital duty. Barclay assures us that with the Russians the love of the husband is measured by the number of blows he gives. The bride in Russia would rather be without any other piece of household goods than rods. These rods are never used for punishment, but only for the purpose mentioned*.’

The stimulating effect of active, and even more of passive, flagellation has been utilised for therapeutic purposes. Physicians of olden times incorporated flagellation in all seriousness into their therapy, as a proved means against hindrances to normal sexual intercourse, and to assist preg- nancy; but, above all, in cases of impotence, both generandi and also coeundi. Arabian physicians are said to have prescribed it to patients suffering in this way.

‘ During my stay in Paris I was called to one of the many brothels in the Rue St. Honors to attend to a prostitute who had been taken ill at her profession. As I entered her room I heard the angry voice of a woman in the next room; the

  • A. Eulenburg, Sadism and Masochism. Wiesbaden, 1902. P. 58.

•Th. Bartholinus by J. H. Meibom. ‘ On the Utility of Whipping’, etc., in The Treasure-seeher, Vol. IV, pp. 257-268.

[ 334 ]


woman who needed my assistance did not give me time to ask the cause of the noise. In a low voice she begged me to keep quiet, carefully moved the curtain and let me look through a small opening, where I saw a comedy of the most absurd description — which, by the way, was repeated twice a week. The chief character, a charming brunette, had her neck and legs and posterior quite uncovered. Four old men stood round her in official wigs. Their costume, their condition, their expression forced me to bite my lips to keep from bursting into laughter. These white-haired old libertines were playing at “ school ”, as little boys sometimes do among themselves. The whore, holding a bundle of rods, chastised each in turn: and the one who received the most strokes was the weakest among them. They kissed their mistress while she worked away with the beating; and the comedy only came to an end when tired nature mocked further efforts. My patient was much amused at my astonishment, and told me several anecdotes of an even more comic description, as happened daily in their “ cloister”. “ We have got ”, she declared, “ the most important office in Paris, for we enjoy the privilege of venturing to apply the rod to the most distinguished members of the clergy, of the official world and of business”*.’

In the pornographic work On the Venusberg, flagellation is put to an extremely strange therapeutic usage. Here an old, nearly blind, man was brought in whenever girls were being whipped, because ‘ the sound of the swish of the rod and the crying of the beaten girl strengthened his sight for a little while by lust; so he longed to attain this happiness as often as possible! ’

Not less fantastic are the applications of the rod in lunacy

  • TraiU du Fouet, et de acs effets sur le physique de I’amour, ou Aphro-

diaiaque externe. Ouvrage mMico-philosophiqm, auivi d’une diaaertation aur lea Moyena d’exciter auz Plaiaira de L’amour par D. . . . (P. A. Doppet), Midicin. Paris, 1788, and Stuttgart, 1847. Pp. 381-383.

[ 336 ]


{Cadiua Awrdianvs), hypochondria, epilepsy, gout; it may be useful certainly as a preventive measure or as a means of suggestion, though it is better replaced by other less harmful methods. Cooper tells of a doctor who regarded the rod pretty well as Dr. Sangrada did cold water and the letting of blood. It was a panacea in his eyes, as it ‘ brought sluggish veins into activity, loosened acid deposits, cleansed the body of the vapours, made the head clear, the bowels active, the blood flow and the nerves strong^’.

Not less interesting is the fact that a certain cosmetic effect is ascribed to flagellation. It is said to develop a certain embonpoint in the parts flagellated by bringing the blood circulation fix)m inside out to the skin. Galen relates that horse-dealers administered regular beatings to their horses in order to make them fat*. Flagellation is said to be especi- ally favourable to the development of caUipygean charms. This behef comes out in the work of an ancient writer of comedy where a procuress is shown beating her girls to get them laiger posteriors.

But it is the habitual praotice of flagellation, combining with all these various motives, which raises it to the point of a veritable passion. Pico deUa Mirandula pointed this out*. Both active and passive flagellation can by frequent repetition assume an overwhelming attraction both for the flagellant and the flagellated.

Bloch remarks; ‘ Concerning the teacher and the warder, either may at the start of his activity be entirely free from any sadistic tendency, which is rather introduced during the course of his habitual use of corporal punishment so that gradually it becomes a pleasure*.*

  • Cf. the interesting chapter ‘ The famous therapeutic and medicinal

properties of the rod ’ in Cooper, Joe. cit., pp. 67-70.

  • Ibid., p. 68.

' Meibom, loc. cU., p. 265.

  • Bloch, loc. cU., Vol. II, p. 86.

[ 336 ]


earlier, the former Chief of Police of Paris, writes of the ‘ material ’ for whipping and flogging: ‘ Among certain prostitutes a veritable arsenal of instruments of torture can be found: Whips, rod, knotted sticks, leather thongs in which nails have been driven, etc., etc. The dried blo^ which covers these instruments offers proof that they are not kept merely as playthings and for show, but are actually used for the satisfaction of monstrous lusts'.’ A patient of KrafPt-Ebing stated as a fact that ‘ every experienced prostitute was accustomed to possess some instrument for flagellation, usually a rod*’.

Flagellating with flowers is a tender love-service, as described in the Kattipyge, and a picture of such a scene has been made by a celebrated French artist as the title- page of de Villiot’s En Virginie.

Even more extraordinary materials have been used for flagellation. In the erotic brochure On the Venushwrg, it is mentioned that fine asbestos, rubbed to powder and applied to the human skin, induces a prickling and burning sensation which increases in strength the more the part in question is rubbed and scratched. By this means the same effect is produced as by whipping without so much damage to the skin.

The brush is an instrument quite often employed for flagellation. This is mentioned in an erotic brochure. Lascivious Oems (London, 1866, pp. 48-66), where the impo- tent Edward Tracy is bound to the bed-post by his lady and belaboured first with a rod and then with a brush. ‘ StiU I was iTot satiated. Seizing a hand-brush, I struck the raw flesh with the bristles and scrubbed it with them. I then took the eau-de-Cologne bottle from the dressing-table and poured the contents over the parts and resumed f^e use of the hair-

• UUo, The FlageUation Mania. Dresden, 1901. P. 48.

  • V. Krafft-Eln^, Ptyehopathia SexuaUe, p. 96.

[ 337 ]


brush.’ The unfortunate lover, naturally enough, fainted under this barbarous treatment.

Refinements of flagellation have been thought of; for example, whipping by machines, so that where possible several persons can be whipped at the same time. These fantasies are mainly of Anglo-American origin. In the eighteenth century an English hon vivant^ Chace Price, tried to construct a machine which could flagellate forty persons simultaneously. The famous actor Samuel Foote had a long discussion about it with the inventor in the brothel of Char- lotte Hayes, as Price was anxious to get his invention patented^ In 1830 Talbot saw such a machine for flagellation at work in a London brothel*. Lately, Americans have taken up the idea again. In the English paper Society the following letter from Henry Rowlands was published on 14th October 18903: ‘ If the American press can be believed, our cousins in the United States have invented nothing less than a machine for the infliction of corporal punishment. This invention, however, can make no claim to originality, as I have long possessed a book, at least eighty years old, which I picked up second-hand in the Rue Montmartre, and in which a wooden contrivance is described: to this two rods are fixed and a boy and a girl can be beaten at the same time. Mr. Croquemitaine undertakes the necessary handling of the boys, while Mrs. Croquemitaine attends carefully to the girls. To judge by a picture it is possible to deal with a large number of delinquents in a comparatively short space of time without fatigue or becoming unduly overheated.’

Americans, at the summit of civilisation, attempted to break all records in this sphere by applying electricity to the

» Lts Serails de LondreSj p. 46.

  • Ryan, loc. cit, p. 381.
  • Education of John Bull. Dresden, 1901. Vol. II, p. 126. Cf. concerning
  • Whipping-machines ’ Hansen, Stick and Whip, pp. 121-122 (and two

satirical prints, pp. 122 and 124).

[ 338 ]


operation of these machines for flagellation. Chicago papers reported that an industrial school at Denver had introduced an electrically driven whipping contrivance. De Villiot^ des- cribed it as follows: ‘ The contrivance in question has the form of a chair which lacks the seat or cane bottom. The patient seats himself on this after having uncovered what is dis- respectfully termed his posterior. This up-to-date chair is sufficiently raised to allow four beaters fixed beneath it to operate freely in a rotatory movement more or less rapid according to the wish of the operator, who has only to switch on an electric battery fixed to the chair with metal wires. The beaters, set in motion, do their job most conscientiously, and possess the advantage of working in a regulated, orderly manner and without the least fatigue to the operator. As to the feelings of the principal party — that is to say, the pupil — who is held in the chair by a vice gripping ankles and wrists, American papers say nothing. The operator has only to press a button and the whipping chair does the rest.’

From flagellation instruments we must turn to the 'personnel of flagellation, as it is not a matter of indifference who wields the rod or how the rod is wielded.

With regard to the last point, flagellation had been raised in England to a veritable art and had produced a special branch of prostitution, the so-called ‘ governesses ’ who got their name from governors with authority to inflict frequent corporal punishment. In the introduction to Venus School- mistress occurs the following: ‘ Women who give most satisfaction to lovers of the discipline are called governesses because they have acquired by experience a tact and a operandi which the common run do not possess. For a woman will not get the custom of lovers of the rod by mere wielding of the rod or readiness to flagellate. She must rather be

‘ De Villiot, Etudes sur la Flagellation. Paris, 1899. Pp. 364-365.

[ 339 ]


well educated by an experienced woman and made perfect in the art. She must possess a quick and intense method, to recognise the various aberrations of men’s fancy, and show instant readiness to meet and satisfy them^.’

In consequence, sexual flagellation requires great delicacy and a certain aavoir fair e on the part of both men and women flagellants. The author* of a brochure on flagellation which appeared in London in 1868 (The Merry Order of St. Bridge) remarks: ‘ There is a huge difference in the manner of whip- ping. The application or toleration of the rod brings no enjoyment if it is done in the ordinary way, as when a woman strikes out in a temper. But if an elegant and well-dressed lady handles the rod proudly and gracefully, then whipping or being whipped becomes a real pleasure*.’

The English practice of flagellation developed refinements in the application of the rod; above all, the notorious ‘ cut up ’, which is flagellation of the genital and perineal sphere. It is described at length in most English brochures on flagellation: for example. The Romance of Chastisement, or Reveiations of the School and, Bedroom (London, 1870, p. 62), and in The Romance of Chastisement, or the Revelations of Miss Darcy (London, 1866). In a later brochure it is suggested that the ‘ cut up ’ was then still in use in schools*. The Marquis de Sekle, that refined martyr, certainly knew about it (Justine, Vol. II, p. 197).

The practice of flagellation receives quite special peculiari- ties and an individual character owing to the fact that it is

  • Venus Schoolmistress, p. iz.

' Probably Bertram, who wrote The History of the Bod under the name of Cooper.

  • The Merry Order of St. Bridget. Personal BecoUections of the Use of the

Bod. By Margaret Anson. York. Printed for the Author’s Friends. 1857. London, 1868. F. 181.

  • With Bod attd Bum; or Sport in the West End of London. By Ophelia

Cox. A true tale by a young governess. London and New York, 1898. P. 16.

[ 340 ]


accompanied by certain other eccentricities and adornments. Apart from the sadistic and masochistic propensity of most flagellants, other perversities function in the practice of flagellation. The author of Vemis Schoolmistress remarks:

‘ I could flU a whole book with an account of the many and various strange whims to which men are prone in flagellation^’ .

Clothing, for example, plays a great part — both in the case of the woman flagellating and of the man flagellated. Nmner- ous active flagellants, both men and women, want the full uncovering of their victims only in part, as this affords them greater pleasure. The author of The Romance of Chastisement (London, 1870, p. 80) rightly terms ‘ bath-nakedness ’ decent compared with the extremely improper partial uncovering of girls or boys to be flagellated.

Similarly, in the Exhibition of Female Flagellants it is written: ‘ Nakedness must be partial during flagellation in order to obtain the highest degree of satisfaction ’, and the suggestion is made so to arrange the clothing of different people that each one presents a different part of the body to the eye of the flagellant.

Costume as such, the general arrangement of clothing, has a great effect frequently upon flagellants, as well as the contrast which clothing affords to the part unclothed. This is the case with both active and passive flagellants. Thus a passive flagellant requires the woman who is to beat him to be dressed in the habit of a nun*. In the Romance of Chastisement the flagellated girls wear Empire costume; in a book of anecdotes. The Sublime of Flagellation, a young devotee of the rod is driven to beg his mistress to beat him when she is wearing her gala robes. Shoes covered with gold spangles, gold-threaded silk stockings, skirt, necklace, brace- lets, have proved his undoing. Often women’s underclothing

‘ Venus S^ootmistress, p. 66.

  • The Merry Order of St. Bridget (London, 1868), p. 26.

[ 341 ]


and dresses were specially decorated where they end in the neighbourhood of the thighs and posterior in order to draw attention to this part.

In another brochure the ‘ Lady in White ’ is mentioned as a special attraction. ‘ Frau Hautville made a very pretty toilet for the occasion (flagellation); she was entirely in white, in the dress of a novice taking the veil. The frock was considerably changed as it was too flowing for the occasion, but all was white silk and lace; and she looked like a little angel when her toilet was finished. From top to toe she wore nothing that was not pure white. White shoes with diamonds sparkling on the bows; white silk stockings, tied above her round knees with white silk garters with white bows; white underclothes of the finest linen embroidered with lilies. Her frock was of silk — the soft, spun kind which does not crumple, richly embroidered with Mechlin lace, and over her head she wore a four-cornered veil*.’

The nosegay belonged to the outer adornment of women flagellants in England. It was worn usually in the bosom, and its perfume roused the feeling of the striker and of the person, man or woman, struck.

Nosegays, worn in a special manner, appear at an earlier date to have served as signs among prostitutes, so that men with such tendencies might know that the woman wearing such a nosegay would satisfy their desire for flagellation. These ‘ nosegays of lechery ’ were much worn in the eigh- teenth century at the great pleasure gardens of VauxhaU and Ranelagh.

The so-called voyeurs, that is persons who find sexual satisfaction in merely looking on at the flagellation of others, form a special group of devotees of the rod.

Thus Frusta relates that an officer, in his later years,

  • Flagellation Experiences. German by E. Weber. Dresden, 1901 .

Pp. 130-131.

[ 342 ]


well known to him and of high rank, quartered in W. and in M., paid one or other of the police-agents a ducat to be allowed to watch every time when prostitutes, arrested by the police, were flogged^ The same author knew a respected pohce official who ordered females by the dozen to be beaten with rods on the bare or partly bare lower part of the body. ‘He watched the spectacle with society ladies, and took snuff. In his earlier years he gave the police agents of M. and V. a ducat each time for permission to watch the flogging of girls and women who had been seen after eight o’clock in the streets and had therefore been brought to the poUce-station. In 1819, at one of the “ Hepp! Hepp! ” — also in brilliant company — he ordered over twenty servant-girls, including some very respectable ones, who had been brought in, to be unmercifully whipped. He fell into disgrace later because a lady took a pinch of snuff from a box inside which was a picture of a young woman being flogged*.’

The existence of feminine voyeurs is proved by a very remarkable passage from the Memoirs of John Bell, ci Domestic Servant (London, 1797), which Pisanus Fraxi* quotes: ‘ The next place which I took was with a rich widow whose family consisted of two schoolgirl nieces and a twelve-year-old nephew. She had been a beautiful woman and was still pretty. When she engaged me, she remarked that she relied on my doing all she might require of me. To this I agreed. It soon became apparent what ‘‘ all ” meant: for when I brought in breakfast the next morning she asked me if I had ever been a servant in a school, and helped to whip the children? I said No; but remarked that I had often whipped my brother whom I had taught to read. About half an hour later her nephew ran into me while I was carrying a plate,

^ Frusta, he, cit., p. 266.

  • Ibid.y pp. 305-306.

• P. Fraxi, Centuria, pp. 460-461.



which fell and broke. “ Now, John,” she said, “ hold the boy tight while I fetch a good rod.” She quickly fetched one firom the cupboard and gave it to me with the words: “ Sit down and give him the rod as you did to your brother.” I gave the little lad a thorough beating, which my mistress watched with evident pleasure. “ Very good ”, she said. “ You see what the boy needs, and you can always give it to him when he deserves it, but, mind you, only in my presence.” Then I understood that she had a great passion for watching children being whipped, but in spite of that I must admit I was much astonished when on the same evening after tea she ordered me to perform the same ceremony on her two nieces. It was, as a fact, something new for the young ladies of the house to be whipped by a servant. When my mistress noticed my hesitation she looked at me sternly and called: “ At once. On this sofa, or you quit my service.” ’ On which the servant whipped the two girls and the boy again, as much as his mistress wished. ‘ It is needless to recount the different ways in which I carried out my new and unusual duties. In the morning she liked the whipping to be performed while she sat sewing, and coimted the stitches and the strokes. In the evening she enjoyed the pleasure at tea-time, sipping from her saucer, at the same time saying quietly: “ Please, John, a little more to the right. That do.” ’ Finally, a fifteen-year-old page was engaged, who was often whipped in the presence of the mistress.

In an old English collection of anecdotes, mostly drawn firom life. The Cherub, or Guardian of Female Innocence (London, 1792), the activity of a voymr is recounted in detail. It deals with a rich old banker of Broad Street who made an arrangement with the heads of two girl-schools (one at Hackney, the other at Stratford), whereby on the weekly payment of a large sum of money he indulged in a strange pleasure. In each school the customary punishment of the

[ 344 ]


children took place on the day of his weekly visit. While the old gentleman looked through an opening from a neighbouring room, the children were brought in one after the other, uncovered and whipped*.

Of course the sexual nature of flagellation is most frequent and most apparent when it occurs between persons of different sex.

Even a beating given to a woman by a man without lust will always, just because of the difference of sex, take on a certain sexual nuance, while it is much more rarely the case with beating between persons of the same sex, and only enters in after frequent repetition.

On the other hand, when sexual relations exist between persons of the same sex, as with homosexuals, flagellation will, of course, have exactly the same erotic character as with persons of a different sex.

Moll mentions cases of flagellation between umings*. But the parallel is specially interesting which he draws between passive flagellation and passive pederasty, both of which he attributes to the desire for special excitement in the posterior region affected by them*. This connection has not escaped the Marquis de Sade also. He asserts that passive flagellation provokes the tendency to passive pederasty and vice versa {Juliette, Vol. VI, p. 228, note). Doppet, too, proves that chastisement on the posterior with rods very often brings out the tendency to pederasty in boys*.

In the same sexual flagellation often occurs between female homosexuals, known as tribads. MoU assumes that

  • Tht Cherub, or Chtardian of Female Innocence. Exposing the Arts of

Boarding Schools, Hired Fortune Tellers, Corrupt Milliners, Apparent Ladies of Fashion. London, 1792. P. 17.

  • Moll, Sexual Sensibility in Opposites. Berlin, 1899. Pp. 280-287.
  • Hnd., pp. 240-241.
  • Doppet, loc. dt., p. 403.

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homosexuality in women heightens the tendency to it^ The Hungarian women who came to Germany in the fourteenth century, undressed themselves in public, and, while singing all kinds of strange songs, beat themselves with rods and sharp goads, were possibly among these homo- sexually inclined women. In the eighteenth century in France and England several flagellant clubs of tribads were known to exist. About Paris, Frusta* remarks: ‘ Finally there were young females who beat themselves in gardens with rose-twigs, and struck Milesian attitudes. In Paris during the revolution several similar associations were discovered, to which respectable women had been enticed. In them Sappho was honoured as protective goddess: her picture adorned the altar in the hall where everything was calculated to make sense and fantasy reel. The orgies opened with flagellation; the most shameful sex perversions ended them. Deep hatred against man was the first principle to be impressed upon them. La Galerie des Femmes (Jouy, Hamburg, 1799) contains an artistic representation of the facts, true in the main^.’

After this account of the universal causes and manifesta- tions of erotic flagellation, which contains many glimpses of English conditions, we will turn to the consideration of its history in England in particular.

One fact stands out in the history of English flagellation- mania — the extraordinarily strong tendency to active flagellation in English women.

It is very difficult to decide the question whether cruelty is more frequent in men or in women: one can, however, state with certainty that cruelty in women is far subtler

^ Moll, loc, cit., p. 565.

» Frusta, loc. cit., p. 40.

  • In Tableau VII, entitled ' Sappho, ou les Lesbiennes ’.

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than in men. ‘ Woman/ says Virey, ‘ blood-thirsty and insatiable in revenge, carries cruelty to the point of insanity just as she attains to the very peaks of virtue^’ According to Bloch* man is more inclined to follow passionate impulse in cruel actions, while calculated ‘ cold ’ cruelty is peculiar to woman; and linked as it is with fiendish malice, awakes more horror than the less considered cruelty of man. Nobody has more clearly recognised and portrayed the nature of female cruelty than Leopold von Sacher-Meisoch in his romances and novels, of which I will only mention the cycle, first published recently, called Crud Women (Dresden, 1901, 2 vols.). Sacher-Masoch, this remarkable apologist of female cruelty, describes in all his literary creations ‘ the woman with Sphinx eyes who is cruel because lustful and becomes lustful through cruelty* ’.

It appears that female cruelty makes preferential use of flagellation to satisfy her desires*. Pisanus Fraxi states that there is sufficient evidence to prove that woman finds pleasure in chastising others, that she has a greater tendency to flagellation than man, and is more insatiable and unfeeling during its performance®. Zimmerman says the same thing in

^ J. J. Virey, Woman. Leipzig, 1827. Pp. 188-189.

• I. Bloch, Sexual Life of our Time. Pp. 665 ff.

•L. von Sacher-Masoch, Cruel Women. Dresden, 1901. Vol. I, p. 6.

♦ But female cruelty shows itself very clearly in other forms. Virey quotes authentic instances. Thus in many savage tribes it is mostly women who find pleasure in murdering and torturing prisoners of war. (Vide Heame, Voyage, Vol. II, p. 32.) Cf. also Eulenburg, Sadism and Masochism, p. 72. In the beginning of the nineteenth century, as Abb6 Richard relates in his Description of Italy, Vol. V, p. 242, Roman women took nightly walks in summer to all the butchers to see the oxen killed and watch their still twitching bodies. It may also be recalled that women of ancient Rome gave the sign by a movement of the thumb to kill gladiators; and that in Spain women patronise bloodthirsty bull- fights more eagerly than men. Cf. also the interesting and instructive chapter ‘ Female Cruelty * by Eulenburg (Sadism and Masochism, pp. 68-77).

‘ P. Fraxi, Centuria, p. 461.

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his Travel Notdmok. ‘ In the study of mankind, especially in the psychological sense, it is most remarkable that the fair sex is distinguished for its cruelty of this kind. Many of its members make a practice of being present at the flogging of slaves, and even go so far as to use the ox- whip themselves or take it from the overseer if he is not striking hard enough. Negro servants are veritable martyrs to white women^.’

From aU accounts we possess, English women are consti- tuted by nature so as to possess slightly greater coldness of heart and inclination to cruelty than her continental sisters.

It was these proud and imposing flgures*, who have always by means of the rod subdued English male arrogance, who

  • delighted in administering the birch ’. For it must be em-

phatically stated that the English female flagellant was nearly always active, whether she belonged to the highest rank or the lowest. An acquaintance of Pisanus Fraxi, a devotee of the rod and well known in flageUistic circles, told him: ‘ I have personally known several ladies of high rank who had a remarkable passion for flagellation, and carry it out with pitiless cruelty. I also know the young and pretty wife of a preacher who has the passion to excess. I only knew one woman who liked passive flagellation; she, however, came from the lower classes. When she was intoxicated, she had her posterior whipped till the rod dripped with blood, calling out all the time, “ Harder, harder! ” and scolding if the punishment were too gentle*.’ Only in England are there rich gentlewomen who without being prostitutes practise active flagellation for pleasure. Cases like that of ‘ the flogging widow ’, which is recounted in Experiences of Flagdlalion, are

  • Frusta, loc. cil., p. 291.
  • Such a woman is admirably portrayed in the picture of an English

artist as ‘ Lady Termagant Flaybum She is about to whip her stepson. Reproduction in P. I^xi, Centuria, pp. 456-457. Also in D. Hansen, Sikk and Whip, Second edition, p. 177.

  • P. Fraxi, Index, p. 46.

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by no means exceptional in English society. The following is the story of the ‘ flogging widow ’ in the book mentioned:

‘ Not long ago a rich, or apparently rich, widow appeared suddenly in society. Mrs. W. lived very well, kept her carriage and had a beautifully furnished house with a number of well-trained servants. No one knew the source of her wealth or whence she came; but she was soon received in the best society and won a prominent place by her downright manner and her appearance. Like many fine ladies she had a secret passion for the rod; and strange stories became current amongst her maids of the way in which she satisfied it on herself and on the girls; it was also rumoured that she had been accustomed to use the rod very freely upon her late husband. After his death she became acquainted with a young student who visited her under pretext of giving her lessons, but really to receive a sound beating at her hands*.’

As has already been mentioned in the introduction, the history of flagellation-mania amongst EngUsh women can be traced to the Anglo-Saxon epoch. Here this tendency in women is the more noticeable because Anglo-Saxon penal laws were very mild as regards corporal pimishment. One of the best authorities on this period, Thomas Wright*, draws attention to the cruelty of Anglo-Saxon women towards their dependants as a strange fact. It even happened, on occasions, that menservants and maids were whipped to death by their mistresses. Many accounts speak of the accomplished manner in which these women wielded the rod. Pictorial representa- tions of such flagellation scenes have also survived.

In the eighteenth century it is possible to point to regular clubs for female flagellants from which the conclusion may be

'^Experiences of FlageUaticm. Dresden, 1901. P. 80.

’Thomas Wright, Domestic Manners, pp. 56-57 (picture of flagellation scene, Plate 37, p. 67). Cf. also Wright, History of English Culture, pp. 69-70.

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drawn that the number of women with this tendency had noticeably increased.

A detailed description of such a club which met every Thursday evening in Jermyn Street can be read in the Bon Ton Magazine of December 1792: ‘ These female mem- bers are mainly married women who, tired of marriage in its usual form and the cold indifference which is wont to accom- pany it, determined by a novel method to re-awaken the ecstasy which they knew at the beginning of their married life. . . . The honourable society or club to which we refer never has fewer than twelve members. At each meeting six are chastised by the other six. They draw lots for the order of procedure: then either a written speech is read or an extempore one delivered on the effects of flagellation, as it has been practised from the earliest ages up to the present day, in monasteries and convents, brothels and private houses; after which the six patients take their places and the six flagellants begin the practical demonstration, first uncov- ering those parts which though less visible and less within reach of mishandling, are yet more sensitive and lively than others. The president of the club hands to each a stout rod, and begins the chastisement herself, with any variation she likes while the others watch. Sometimes, by order of the president, the whipping starts on the calves and goes up to the posterior, until the whole region, as Shakespeare says, from milk-white “ becomes one red After the president the other flagellants take their turn.’

The most notorious female flagellant of the eighteenth century was Elizabeth Brownrigg, an obvious sadist, who was executed at Tyburn on 14th September 1767. She was the wife of James Brownrigg, a plumber, of Fleur-de-Luce Cburt, Fleet Street, London. She was a midwife in the parish of St. Dunstan’s, and took girls as apprentices. On the outside she appeared a thoroughly respectable. God-fearing woman, but



at home she figured as fiercely cruel mistress to the appren- tices; she had in 1765 three of these, Mary Mitchell, Mary Jones and Mary Clifford, and ‘ trained ’ them by means of daily brutal floggings. ‘ She beat the children as a drunken coster beats his donkey.’ Mary Jones succeeded in escaping, but Mary Mitchell was brought back, after an attempted flight, by Mrs. Brownrigg’s son. Mary Clifford was treated worst: every day she was beaten with a stick, a broom- handle or a horse-whip; and with Mitchell she was often undressed and bound for several hours and kept in the cellar on bread and water. One day Mary Clifford was undressed, bound and beaten five times, and after being in hospital a few days, died from the effects of her dreadful maltreatment.

The Brownriggs were arrested. The husband and son were sentenced to six months each, and Mrs. Brownrigg to the gallows'.

Nowhere has flagellantist prostitution started so soon or been developed to such a degree as in England. Speculation on men’s masochistic tendencies to passive flagellation, com- bined with their own preference for active flagellation, led many women to develop a subtle skill in the art of whipping and in the application of the rod; and eventually to the establishment of special brothels for flagellation. From the end of the eighteenth century (formerly, about 1760, a Mrs. Jenkins had won great renown as a flagellant) and through- out the nineteenth century, they form a characteristic feature of prostitution in London*.

These brothels, which increased in London from 1800 onwards*, were devoted solely to flagellation, and their

^ Cf. for this cause cilibre Cooper, loc, ci7., pp. 174-176. Experiences of Flagellation, pp. 125-128.

  • Etude sur la Flagellation, p. 178.

■ Yet there were institutions devoted solely to flagellation in the eighteenth century, such as the ‘ White House that of ‘ Mother Cum- mins *, the * Elysium in Brydges Street etc. Cf. Fraxi, Index, p. 312.

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description as ‘ flagellation-brothels ’ is accurate. They were generally luxuriously appointed, and served not only as places where men could submit to their heart’s content to passive flagellation, but also as educational institutions {sit venia verbo) where girls and women could acquire the gentle art of whipping and the graceful application of the rod.

Pisanus Fraxi has collected absolutely authentic details about these flagellation-brothels. He maintains that many of the female assistants themselves took a great interest, even a passion, in their caUing^. There were not only women who merely, Ittcri causa, satisfied men’s flagellation-mania, but many who wielded the rod with the greatest pleasure, quite unlike prostitutes in general. They took pupils too, as has been mentioned^ in the Ars flageUandi.

According to Fraxi it would be easy to compile a long list of these keepers of flagellation-brothels. He confines himself, however, to naming the most notorious. At the beginning of the nineteenth centiuy Mrs. Collet enjoyed such renown as a subtle flagellant that even George IV visited her, which is an established fact. She had a brothel at first in Tavistock Court, Covent Garden; from which she moved to the neigh- bourhood of Portland Place; from there she migrated to Bedford Street, Russell Square, where she died. She brought up her niece to the same calling: she later, as Mrs. Mitchell, carried on a flourishing business at 22 Waterloo Road (later 44), and at last in St. Mary’s Square, Kennington. She was followed by Mrs. James, who started life as a maid in the family of Lord Claiuicarde. She established a brothel in Soho (7 Carlisle Street) for flagellation, and made a large fortime, so that later she retired from ‘ business ’ and took a luxuriously furnished house in Netting Hill , full of pictures, while she herself appeared in public loaded with jewels.

But without doubt the queen of flagellation was Mrs.

‘ P. Fraxi, Index, p. xlvi.

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Theresa Berkley, who kept a famous establishment at 28 Charlotte Street, Portland Place. She was past-mistress of her art, an expert in knowing the various whims of men clients, which she satisfied in the most refined manner; at the same time, she was an excellent business woman and put by a considerable fortune.

‘ She possessed the first great requirement of a courtesan, namely lubricity. For without herself being licentious, a woman cannot long keep an incUnation to such activity, and it is soon obvious that she is only anxious to fill her pockets with pounds, shillings and pence. She could be jovial and amusing; and used to find out every inclination, every whim, every mood, every wish of her clients, and satisfy them, as soon as ever she was suitably paid. Her arsenal of instru- ments was vastly more complete than that of any other governess. Her care of the rods was extraordinarily thorough.

‘ They were always kept in water so that they should be green and supple. She had a dozen tapering whip thongs, a dozen cat-o’ -nine-tails studded with needle points, various kinds of thin supple switches, leather straps as thick as traces, curry-combs and ox-hide straps studded with nails, which had become tough and hard from constant use, also hoUy and gorse and a prickly evei^reen called “ butcher’s bush ”. During the siunmer, glass and Chinese vases were kept filled with green nettles with which the “ dead were often brought to life again”. Thus in her establishment anyone pirovided with reasonable means could have himself beaten with canes, scourges, whips and straps, pricked with needles, half-strangled, scrubbed with many kinds of harsh brushes, scourged with nettles, curry-combed, bled and tortured until he had had enough of it.’

Theresa Berkley became particularly famous in her pro- fession through her invention of the ‘ Berkley Horse ’ or

[ 363 ]


‘ Chevalet She invented this apparatus for the flogging of men early in 1828. It was really an adjustable ladder which could be extended to a considerable length, and on which the victim was securely strapped, openings being left for the head and genitals^ In Mrs. Berkley’s Memoirs there was a copper- plate showing the ‘ horse ’ in use. Mrs. Berkley herself is seen flogging the posterior of a man strapped to the Chevalet, while a very decollete girl sitting on a chair underneath acts as ‘ Frictrix ’ to him.

This new and unique invention brought the Berkley a large clientele and enormous profits. When she died in September 1836 she left a fortune of £10,000 which she had amassed in eight years. In her Memoirs there was also a picture of another speciality of her estabUshment, a compound pulley on the first floor, to which a man could be attached by his hands and flogged in this position.

A very interesting insight into the eccentricities of her male clientele is given by the following letter from a flagello- maniac to the Berkley which was first published in Venus Schoolmistress:

January 1836.

To Madame T. Berkley,

28 Charlotte Street, Portland Place.

Honoured lady,

I am an ill-behaved young man and quite incorrigible! The most celebrated tutors in London have chastised me but have been unable to correct my wilfulness. A gentleman of

^ An illustration of the ‘horse’ appeared in the 1836 edition of Venvs Schoolmistress, which P. Fraxi reproduced in his Index Librorum pro- hibitorum on p. xliv. After this reproduction the picture was repeated in Hansen’s Stick and Whip, p. 167, and Eulenburg’s Sadism and Maso- chism, p. 61. The Chevalet is also found in modem flagellation pictures. In Paris during the Exhibition of 1900 it was made much practical use of and greatly appreciated by men of the world. Compare Hansen, ioc. cit, p. 171.

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the name of Brunswick recommended me to a Madame Brown, who was supposed to have remarkably strong arms. Another sent me to Madame Wilson in Marylebone, who was even less slenderly built. The old hotelier Jaunay, of Leicester Square, took me to Mrs. Calmers, who is supposed to be very experienced in the use of the stick, and I was invited to dinner with this lady. She received me in her elegantly appointed house, but to no purpose! In spite of her imposing form and the strength of her arm, she could make no impres- sion on me! Another advised me to go to Mrs. Jones. But she, like all the others, tried in vain to belabour my back with sticks. Captain Johnson recommended me to Betsy Burgess, who is supposed to be a skilful governess. The bookseller Brooks, of Bond Street, gave me one of Mrs. Collett’s cards and also Mrs. Beverley’s. I am aware that all these ladies understand their profession, but their united efforts failed to make any impression on me.

Finally, honoured lady, I received an introduction from your close friend. Count G., which is causing me to jump for joy, because I have been told of your famous apparatus, the Chevalet, which should succeed in punishing sufficiently undisciplined young men like myself.

I will come to see you at the beginning of February, when I am in London with my friend the Count, where Parliamen- tary duties await us; but in order that there shjall be no misunderstanding between us, I herewith give you a list of my requirements.

1. It is necessary that I should be securely fastened to the Chevalet with chains which I will bring myself.

2. A pound sterling for the first blood drawn.

3. Two pounds sterling if the blood runs down to my heels.

4. Three pounds sterling if my heels are bathed in blood.

5. Four pounds sterling if the blood reaches the floor.

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6. Five pounds sterling if you succ^ in making me lose consciousness.

I am, honoured lady,

Your quite incorrigible,


In the second half of the nineteenth century, also, flagella- tion establishments flourished in London. Amongst others, Mrs. Sarah Potter, alias Stewart, was very well known in the ’sixties. There is a remarkable little book about her which was incidentally published with the object of making public the facts of her arrest in the year 1863, on the charge of a girl whom she had beaten against her will*.

‘ Her method of carrying on her business was that the girls received board, lodging and clothing, and in return were expected to minister to the lusts of the cUentele of her “ Boarding House ”. The girls were flogged in many different ways. Often they were bound to the ladder, at other times whipped roimd the room or laid on the bed. Any idea or innovation which the perverted fancy could imagine was made use of to vary the orgies, for which the lady of the house received 5 to 15 pounds sterling. The income from the “ School ” enabled Stewart to rent a coimtry house and to keep a lover, to the great scandal of the neighbours.’

More recent flagellation brothels are described by Pisanus Fraxi; among them one to which twenty young women came

^ Mysteries of Flagellation, or a History of the Secret Ceremonies of the Society of Flagellants, The sainUy 'practice of the birch! St. Francis whipj^ by the Devil! How'to svbdue the passions by the art of flogging! WiOi> many curious anecdotes of the prevalence of this curious pastime in all nations and epochs, whether savage or civilis^. Printed by C. Brown, 44, Wych Street, Strand. Price 2d. On the title-page was a woodcut of a girl undressing herself, while on either side stand an old man and an old woman, both holding a rod in their right hand, the man, in addition, holding a rope in his left; in the back^und is a ladder. Compare P. Fraxi, Index, p. 311.

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to go through all the dififerent stages of a ‘ schoolmistress and powerfiilly to wield the rod. The written requests of their ‘ pupils ’ were often quite remarkable. Some men wished to be laid over the knee like children, others whipped on the back of a servant maid, still others wanted to be tied up*.

An article by Otto Brandes entitled Die Aus'peitscherin (The Female Flogger) in the Zeitgeist (a supplement to the Berliner TageblaU) of 23rd October 1893, together with the letters which appeared in the English paper Society during the year 1900, point to the widespread tendency at that time to active flagellation among English women. ‘ During my stay in London in 1901 a shoe shop

in W Street was said to be a secret flagellation brothel.’

But in general the old ‘ flogging estabhshments ’ have changed to modem ‘ manicure institutes ’ and the hke, of which one could see elegant examples in the West End, especially in the neighbourhood of one particular street.

The following invitation card, an original device, is for ‘ Grentlemen Flagellants ’ and was printed at the end of the book The Sublime of Flagellation :

‘ A short time after the appearance of the “ fashionable lectmes ” in Paris, the following .card was passed on by booksellers to each purchaser of the work.

‘ “AH purchasers of the ‘lecture’ who are curious to judge of its effects, will, if they go the proper way about it, be directed to a lady of outstanding bodily and spiritual culture. If the proper compliments are made to her, she will deliver each of the ‘ lectures ’ with a rare eloquence and a happy union of a powerfully S 3 m[ipathetic voice and movement.

‘“This lady haa her own house. Her ‘lecture room’ is furnished with rods, with cat-o’ -nine-tails, and with some

‘ Fraxi, Index, pp. zliv ff.

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of the finest flagellation pictures. She also has a strong woman who is quite capable of taking a man on her back, in case he wishes to be treated like a schoolboy. She and her servant will also lend themselves to passive flagellation, if it be so desired. The price of the first lecture is one guinea, each succeeding one half-a-guinea, and to the servant, if acting as ‘ mount ’, half-a-crown.

‘ “ N.B. — Single gentlemen, who like to represent themselves as schoolboys, can also be visited by the lady and servant at any hour, but especially in the early morning before they get up. They can then have the enchanting entertainment of being taken out of bed, set upon the ‘ mount ’, and whipped: all of which will be carried out with astonishing art.” ’

From the foregoing, it is clear that the male flagello- maniac usually requires to be whipped himself, but also practises active flagellation frequently, extending this both to girls and boys.

In the introduction to Ventis Schoolmistress (p. viii), male flagellants are divided into three classes:

1. Those who like to receive a more or less severe chastise- ment from the hand of a woman who takes pleasure in wielding the rod with power and skill.

2. Those who like to apply the rod themselves to a female.

3. Those who are neither active nor passive flagellants, but who get sufficient sexual excitement from just looking on at a flagellation.

The old-time poet Christopher Marlowe (1664-1593) describes even in his own time a disciple of passive flagella- tion in the following characteristic epigram:

When Francis comes to solace with his whore.

He sends for rods and strips himself stark naked;

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For his lust sleeps, and will not rise before By whipping of the wench it be awaked.

I envy him not, but wish I had the power.

To make his wench but one half hour*.

There was also the notorious individual who made the streets of London unsafe at the end of the seventeenth century, and who would hft up the clothes of any women he met and give them a slap or a blow. He went about his work so skilfully that popular belief invested him with supernatural powers. He was called ‘ Whipping Tom ’ . Pisanus Fraxi* mentions a literary curiosity dealing with this pecuUaf flagellant, entitled: Whipping Tom Brought to Light, and exposed to View : In an account of several late Adventures of pretended Whipping Spirit. London, printed for Edivard Brooks 1681 .’ In this book Whipping Tom’s pranks are described as follows:

‘ Whipping Tom for some weeks past has lurked about in alleys and courts in Fleet Street, Chancery Lane, Shoe Lane, Fetter Lane, the Strand, Holbom and other places, and at unawares seazes upon such as he can conveniently light on, and turning them up as nimble as an Eel [sic), makes their Butt ends cry Spanko; and then (according to the report of those who have felt the weight of his Paws) vanished; for you must know, that having left the Country, he has not the advantage of getting Rods, and therefore is obliged to use his hands instead thereof. His first adventure, as near as we can learn, was on a Servant Maid in New Street, who being sent out look her Master {sic), as she was turning a Comer, perceived a Tall black Man standing up against the wall, as if he had been making water, but she had not passed for, but with great speed and violence seized her and in a trice

  • The Works of Christopher Marlowe. London, 1826. Vol. Ill, p. 454.

• P. Fraxi, CerUuria, p. 469.

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laying her across his knee, took up her Liimen, and lay’d so hard upon her Backside as made her cry out most piteously for help, the which he no sooner perceiving to approach (as she declares) but he vanished; and although diligent search was made no person could be found.’

As mentioned, the ‘ flogging cuUies^ ’, that is the devotees of passive flagellation, undoubtedly formed the greater proportion of male flagellants, but there were active flagel- lants as well amongst these, and very frequently the tendency to passive is combined with that of active flagellation.

The doings of such male flagellants are apparently, according to actual facts, very clearly described in a com- pletely sadistic work: The Experimental Lecture of Colonel Spanker (London, 1879)*.

It deals with a company of aristocratic flagellants, under the leadership of ‘ Colonel Spanker ’, who rent a house in Mayfair near Hyde Park which they entrust to the care of a former brothel keeper, who assists in flagellation orgies held in it and procures the young women to be whipped. At first they engage poor women from the streets (flower girls and the like), who are ready if well paid to allow themselves to be whipped. But ‘ the lack of all sensitiveness and modesty in such poorly educated young women became quite disagreeable. . . .’

So two young women of gentle birth are enticed into the house and cruelly beaten and tortured.

‘ This book,’ remarks an English bibliophile, ‘ which we can fairly assert is the most coldly cruel and unblushingly

  • * Cull ’ or ‘ cully ’ meant either bully or frequently the customers of

a brothel who paid money for ‘ secret, sweet and costly pleasures ’. Poll Ellis (a prostitute) laid a large net in order, as she ironically said, the better to catch the ‘ cuUs ’. Compare Jolm Bee, Sportaman’s Slang, etc., p, 61.

'Cf. P. Fraxi, Catena, pp. 246-251; Hansen, Bod and Whip, pp. 196-206.

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indecent of any we have ever read, stands entirely alone in the English language. It seems to be the wild dream, or rather nightmare, of some vicious, used-up old rake, who, positively worn out, and his hide tanned and whipped to insensibility by diurnal flogging, has gone mad on the subject of beastly flagellation.’

Male flagellants who practise active flagellation are described, in the same terms as in the Lecture of Colonel Spanker, in another book. The Convent School, or Early Experiences of a Young Flagellant, by Rosa Belinda Coote (London, 1876), in which a woman is whipped and tortured in the most cruel way by two men.

Sexual flagellation and an ardent passion for the rod in England are not only manifested in brothels, but appear in almost all social activities, where they play a more important part than is the case in other countries.

In this respect, the English schools demand first con- sideration. Many men have left us their memories of ‘ school miseries ’, and have so clearly described the chastisements given by the teachers, that we may almost assume that they have found pleasure therein, in the same way as their masters. Mention of these beatings in schools are to be foimd in Specimens of Table-Talk by S. T. Coleridge (27th May 1830), in Essays of Elia and Recollections of Christ’s Hospital by Charles Lamb, in the Autobiography of a Working Man (London, 1848) by Alexander Somerville, in Self Formation, or the History of an Individual Mind (London, 1837) by Capel Loft, in Memoirs of a Cape Rifleman by Colonel White- horn, in the works of Leigh Hunt, and of many others.

Further rich material for a history of flagellation in English schools exists in many novels and romances and other works of belletristic literature, written from both experience and observation, such as Richard Head’s English Rogue, Fielding’s Tom Jones, SmoUett’s Roderick Random,

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Captain Manyat’s Rattlin' Reefer, Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby, Kingsley’s Westuxird Ho!

Very outspoken descriptions of corporal punishment in schools is given in the two books Settlers and Convicts (London, 1847) and Twelve Years a Slave (London, 1853). Frusta states: ‘ Whipping, scourging and beating have been very common from olden times in England, the classical land of freedom, and stiU are to this very day, though there are no Jesuits there. Home education is carried on with extreme severity and is accompanied by the whipping of both sexes, which lasts longest in the case of males. In the large colleges, until recent times, eighteen to twenty-one-year old young people were thrashed. The memoirs of Trelawney, the well-known friend of Byron, give a surprising picture from the inside of English school punishments in many establishments, and remove the need for further evidence^’.

Schoolmasters such as Dr. Gill* (beginning of the seven- teenth century) and Dr. Colet of St. Paul’s School, Dr. Drury and Dr. Vaughan of Harrow, Dr. Busby, Dr. Keate and Major Edgeworth of Eton, and Dr. James Bowyer® of Christ’s Hospital, have become proverbial. They all appear to have agreed with Edgar Allen Poe in regard to the handling

' Frusta, Catena, p. 254. Cf. ako Delolme, loc. cit., pp. 69-70, with quotations from the works of the writers Fielding and Gay, and the lines : The Schoolboy’s desire is a play-day,

The Schoolmaster’s joy is to flog.

• Cf. OiU upon Gill, or OilVs Ass uncased, unstript, unbound (London, 1608) ; or Davenant, On Doctor Gill, Master of Pauls School.

• When the poet Coleridge heard of the death of his old schoolmaster, Bowyer, he remarked that it was lucky that the cherubim who would conduct him to Heaven had but head and wings. Otherwise he would have undoubtedly have beaten them on the way Cf. W. H. Blanch, The Blue Coat Boys (London, 1877), p. 90, with an illustration showing various famous and influential people who had experienced the rod at Eton and at Christ’s Hospital; and also anecdotes of Lamb and of Leigh Hunt. The above story has been also told of Dr. Busby.

[ 362 ]


of the cane, when he said: ‘ Children are never too tender to be beaten. They are like tough beefsteaks that become the more tender the more they are beaten.’ Or perhaps with Lord Byron, who in Don Juan (Canto II, Stanza I) admonishes the schoolmaster:

Oh ye, who teach the ingenuous youth of nations, Holland, France, England, Germany or Spain,

I pray ye flog them upon all occasions.

It mends their morals, never mind the pain.

Westminster School had a bad reputation from olden days. According to Cooper* they did not use a birch rod there, but one made of apple twigs in a wooden holder. Two juniors held the office of ‘ rod maker ’ and had to provide the school with rods. The inventor of the Westminster rod was sup- posed to be Dr. Bacher, who was in charge of the school from 1454 to 1487. For his punishment the delinquent had to kneel on a block, his posterior was exposed and the teacher gave him either four strokes, the so-called ‘ scrubber ’, or six strokes, the ‘ biblical ’.

The two best-known flagellants of Westminster were Dr. Busby and Dr. Vincent. Busby’s rod was the ‘sieve which separates the chaff of learning from the wheat* ’. Vincent’s rule was nearly as bad as Busby’s ‘ reign of terror ’. Cooper says: ‘ He was not content with the prescribed punishments, but also cuffed the boys and boxed their ears. Coleman took up the cudgels against this, and said that a pedagogue had the right to colour his scholars red in the proper places, but that he had no right to make them black and blue with his fingers. Under Vincent’s rule the school founded a periodical which was called the FlageUant, and which so aroused his wrath that he threatened to take legal proceedings against

> Cooper, loc. cit., p. 137.

Ibid., p. 136.

[ 363 ]


the publisher. Then Southey, who had also held him up to ridicule in an article, came forward and announced himself as the author, and Vincent was unable to take any further steps against the schools’

An eccentric flagellant of Westminster School was Dr. Parr. His rod supplier was a man who had been taken down from the gallows and brought back to hfe, and from this man Parr always received the rods with a ‘ well-pleased smile* ’.

There is no doubt that the practice of flogging at West- minster School produced many flagellomaniacs. As early as the seventeenth century a poet, Thomas Shadwell, intro- duced the subject into a comedy of his, The. Virtuoso (Act 4). The old roui, Snarl, comes into a brothel to be flogged, and is asked by the girl: ‘ I wonder that a thing which I like so little shoidd give you so much pleasure? ’ To which he answered: ‘ I got so used to it at Westminster School that I have not been able to do without it since.’

This custom was undoubtedly bound up with the unbridled knmorahty and sexual freedom which, according to Hiittner*, was rife at Westminster School and at Eton in the eighteenth century.

At the latter school it appears that in each boy’s account there was a charge of half-a-guinea for birches. Dr. Keate held office here with merciless severity from 1809 for a quarter of a century. His insatiable passion for the stick was the subject of many stories in contemporary and later literature. As one anecdote relates, he knew the posteriors of his pupils better than their faces*.

At the Universities, too, up to the eighteenth century, the students were given corporal punishment. Milton and

  • Cooper, loc. cit., p. 137.


  • Hiittner, London Customs, pp. 188-189, 192.
  • Compare Cooper, loc. cit., p. 138.

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Designed by irAW. Hogarth [PL


Johnson both appear to have been punished in this way coram publico^ .

The ‘ whipping stocks ’ and the ‘ whipping horse ’ played a large part in these punishments. Thackeray* tells of the floggings that the poet Steele had to undergo at the old Charterhouse School at Smithfield: ‘ He was very idle. He was whipped deservedly a great number of times. Though he had very good parts of his own, he got other boys to do his lessons for him, and only took just as much trouble as should enable him to scuffle through his exercises, and by good fortune escape the flogging block. One hundred and fifty years after I have myself inspected, but only as an amateur, that instrument of righteous torture still existing, and in occasional use, in a secluded private apartment of the old Charterhouse School; and have no doubt it is the very counterpart, if not the ancient and interesting machine itself, at which poor Dick Steele submitted himself to the tormentors.

The rod was used no less in girls’ boarding schools and pensions than in the boys’ schools.

These ‘ Ladies’ Boarding Schools ’ existed in England from the end of the seventeenth century, but even in those days seem to have had a bad reputation on account of the way in which they were managed. Writers of that period condemn most bitterly the excessive whipping of young girls in these schools on the naked posterior, and the lascivious habits necessarily resulting therefrom*. William Alexander com- plains of the frivolous education received by the girls in these expensive schools*. The principals of the numerous ‘ Acade- mies for Young Ladies ’ had in most oases unlimited power over the minds and bodies of the girls entrusted to them by

1 Cooper, he. eit., pp. 139-140.

  • W. M. Thackeray, English Humorists of the Eighteenth, Century.

London, 1863.

• Malcolm, Anecdotes of the manners and customs of London, Vol. I, p. 328.

  • W. Alexander, History of Women, Vol. I, p. 48.

BB [365]


the nobility and the rich burghers, and used these powers zealously and unscrupulously.

As regards the English girls’ schools in the eighteenth century, we learn many interesting particulars from Cooper. Lady Frances Pennoyer of BulUngham Court in Hertford- shire writes in her diary under date 2nd January 1766: ‘ Went to the school as I intended, and met Dr. Aubrey on the way. Found the school girls all assembled and the teacher anxiously looking out. She is a charming young girl, but I should think too pretty for such a position. Dr. Aubrey went in with me and assured me that he had had much experience of whipping in girls’ high schools, and was glad when the girls blushed. “ It showed very seemly modesty ”, he said. The two girls who were to receive punishment were prepared by the teacher. They knelt down and begged forgiveness. I was glad to see how nicely they took their punishment, which I gave them myself, in order to show the teacher how best to use the rods^’

Cooper also quotes the experience of an English lady in a girls’ pension, which she described in a letter at the end of the eighteenth century. The writer relates, amongst other things: ‘Punishment in girls’ schools was already being reduced, but Miss Pomeroy still believed in it and made great use of it. If one of us had to be accused of a fault (and you can imagine the trifles that were called faults!), and it was considered that we ought to be punished, we had to go to the teacher’s desk, and after a deep curtsey, ask to be allowed to fetch the cane. Permission was given with much ceremony, and we went out and came back without gloves and with the cane on a cushion. Then we kneeled down and presented the cane, which the teacher took and gave us a few strokes on the naked arms and neck. There were two kinds of cane; one made of birchrods and one of fine whalebone wound roimd ‘ Cooper, loe. eU., pp. 125-126.

[ 366 ]


with waxed thread. Both gave much pain, but the one made of whalebone, which we called “soko”, was the most feared.

‘ The strokes were like those made by the cat-o’ -nine-tails and went deep into our flesh. “ Soko ” was used for serious faults, that is for any lack of respect for either of the two principals. This was a particularly fine school, in which 30 young girls were taken from the best families. It was not unusual for them to stay at school till they were 18 or 19 and a good marriage had been arranged for them, or until an older sister married and made room for them, so that they could be introduced to society. But young or old, none could escape the cane when Miss Pomeroy had made up her mind. There were so many punishments in Regent House that even the most zealous adherent of the proverb “ Spare the rod and spoil the child ” would have been satisfied.

‘ There were two or three grades of severe punishment. The first took place in Miss Pomeroy’s room in the presence of herself and the servant. The second was the public preparation for punishment before the whole school, which was, however, followed by forgiveness, and the third was the public carrying out of the punishment. The only occasion when I received punishment in Miss Pomeroy’s room, I remember as if it were yesterday, old woman as I am to-day! I was told to bring the cane to a room which the principal called her study. There I found the two ladies, knelt down before them and offered them the cane.

‘ This was taken by the elder of them who, as it seemed to me, fondled it gently with her fingers. Then she rang and ordered the maid to prepare me. This consisted simply in lifting up my frock and fastening my hands. I was terribly frightened as I had never in my life been whipped, and the shame of it so overcame me that a bad attack of hysteria was the result of my first punishment at school. Alas! I got used later on to seeing the cane used and to feeling it! I have seen

[ 367 ]


haJf-clothed girls of marriageable age whipped before all their schoolfellows for any small misdemeanour. There was a special dress, like a nightdress, which was put on for public punishment, and the culprit was brought out in this when her schoolfellows were assembled. She then had to bend over a desk, her hands were fastened and her feet stuck in the stocks.

‘ One young girl was punished in this way shortly before she left school to be married. I will call her Miss Darwin. She had naturally very little ability, and she was always stealing. Nothing was safe from her. It was what is now called kleptomania, but we had no grand names for crimes when I was young, and steahng was stealing, and there was an end of it! One afternoon Miss Pomeroy said: “ Ladies, you will dress half-an-hour earlier this afternoon and be in class at half-past 4 o’clock instead of five.” We looked at each other and Miss Darwin blushed but said nothing, and we went to our rooms. Then we found out what had happened, as the girl who ciurled my hair had to provide the canes, and had that day bound a perfectly new one specially for the occasion. At the appointed time we were all assembled and Miss Pomeroy took her place. Miss Darwin was made to stand in the middle of the room and then the principal related what she had done and what she must undergo.

‘ She was a very pretty girl and in size and appearance quite grown-up, but she stood there as if a caning were quite a natural occurrence. She was beautifully dressed in green brocade with a white silk underdress, and many pretty ornaments. Miss Pomeroy rang and said to the servant: “ Prepare her! ” The girl curtseyed and asked permission to take off her gloves. Miss Darwin bowed and the midress- ing proceeded. Then the robe of punishment was put on and the young lady offered Miss Pomeroy the cane on her

[ 368 ]


knees, after which she was led by two teachers to a desk and fastened as has been related. Miss Pomeroy then beat her so severely that red weals were to be seen all over the white skin. After the punishment all her limbs trembled, her face glowed and her eyes sparkled. She gave the cane back to the teacher on her knees and went out to change her clothes^’

These two stories need no further comment in order to make perfectly clear the sexual element contained in them, and are sufficient, although one could add to them a large number of similar authentic reports, to justify Huttner’s remarks* on the great and universal immorality in the English boarding schools of the eighteenth century.

The application of these punishments was naturally most dangerous in those schools which were frequented by both boys and girls and where the boys were punished sans gine before the girls and vice versa. This was the custom, for instance, in the eighteenth century in the English charity schools, where the noble patronesses themselves often were present when punishments were given, and had so- called ‘ punishment days ’. The ladies themselves gave the cane to boys and girls indiscriminately. This seemed, as a ‘ true, unadulterated report ’ of that time says, to give them quite exceptional pleasure*. Pisanus Fraxi* quotes the following authentic ^ letter from a gentleman who was known to him, dated 13th May, 1859, which throws considerable light on these conditions:

‘ In my childhood it was the custom in the preparatory schools for boys and girls together to be under the authority of a woman, and for the cane to be used on all occasions with the utmost severity. We were whipped in the presence

  • Cooper, loc. cU., pp. 144-146.
  • Hiittner, loc. cU., p. 170 .
  • Co<^r, loc. eit., pp. 130-133.
  • P. Fraxi, Centwria, pp. 468-469.

[ 369 ]


of both sexes, the girls laid on the knee or held under the arm, the boys on the back of a servant maid. This last often came to our (the boys’) room and played “ schoolmistress,” and the girls did the same. I have a lively recollection of an extraordinary scepe in this connection, which convinced me that many women are slaves to this particular passion.

‘ In the school I have mentioned, the woman who helped the teacher evidently much enjoyed seeing punishment given, although she was very fond of all of us and was herself a great favourite with the boys. But every morning she would tell some of the boys, never without an accompani- ment of jokes and giggling, that they must not leave until “ Missus ” had paid them a visit, or in the evening that they must wait so long until “ Missus” had had a “ little conversa- tion with you,” and that the latter was to be expected any minute with a couple of terrifying canes. This girl took a lot of trouble with us, and I am afraid brought our puberty much too soon to its fuU development. She had a large bust and arranged her dress always so that when we were punished by being whipped, and had to put our hands round her, we could feel her bosom, the movements of which gave us a very pleasant sensation. Many boys got them- selves punished purposely in order to experience this sensa- tion. Although forty years have passed since then, my recollection of it is as clear as if it had been yesterday.’

In the Memoirs of a Schoolmaster (Bath, 1790) there is a remarkable chapter, ‘My Marriage’, in which the teacher relates how he fell in love with a widow, whom he surprised punishing her daughter, and to whom, after their marriage, he gave absolute authority to punish his pupils, which she did in her boudoir with all her might.

Even more remarkable are the flagellantic fantasies of an English schoolmaster in an account published by

[ 370 ]


Pisanus Fraxi‘ of an anonymous author, entitled: Schoolmaster's little Dinner. In this is described the visit of a teacher in north Yorkshire to a neighbouring colleague, a widower, who was passionately fond of the use of the cane, and who satisfied this passion in the most peculiar ways. His housekeeper was called ‘Mother Birch’ on account of her exceptional skill in making rods with good prickles. The teller of the story found with his colleagues two other pedagogues, a Dr. S., well known as a fanatical flagellant, and a Mr. T., who looked somewhat boyish. On going into the dining-room these met with a remarkable sight. In the four comers of the room were four candelabras, apparently held by four boys with naked posteriors. They were tied up and the hands so fastened that it looked as if they held the candelabra. After the first course the four worthy peda- gogues set themselves to flogging the bare posteriors of the boys, in which work Dr. S. and the host were the most zealous. They then sat down with great appetite, and ‘ Dr. S. crunched the bones with his teeth as if they were those of the boys whom he had punished! ’ The dessert was brought in by four other boys in blue jackets trimmed with silver, and white breeches. The host then took out ‘ four beautiful little canes bound with blue ribbon ’ and the peculiar quartette again began their questionable activities.

Thereafter Mr. T. was bound on the ‘ horse ’ and his gestures and grimaces during the punishment highly amused his three lovable colleagues. The host himself carried out the whipping of his guest, in which he employed the method of the famous Dr. Keate, which was very uncomfortable for the victim. Mr. T. roared with pain and begged to be let loose, which, however, did not disturb the second Dr. Keate in his favoxirite occupation. Dr. S. continued the flagel-

^ P. Fraxi, CerUnria, pp. 453-456. The author calls himself ‘ Thackeray Pedagogus ’

[ 371 ]


lation of his colleague till the poor T., half fainting with pain, was set free, on which a hand of whist finished off this edifying ‘ little dinner

Under such conditions it is no wonder that sometimes, as we saw by the example of the ladies in the charity school, flagellomaniacs who did not belong to the teaching profession gained entrance to schools in order to be present when punishments were given or to carry them out themselves.

The best known case was that of Lieutenant Sir E. C ,

who often went to Christ’s Hospital to punish the children and to be caned by them^.

The impropriety and the serious consequences of the methods of punishment used in the schools could not long remain hidden. For this reason all corporal punishment in English schools has many times been forbidden — it was prohibited for example in all the best schools and colleges in the year 1838*. But so deeply rooted in the Enghsh was the passion for the cane, that corporal punishment in the schools and pensions was retained until recently and nearly to the same extent as in former times. If the English magazine Society could fill columns during two years of publication with reports, communications and letters on the use of the cane, it seems clear that the so-called pedagogic flagello- mania, which is of course nothing more than disguised sensuahty must have been general in England.

The same may be said of the detailed reports on flogging in the London schools which are to be found in the Etvde sur la FlageUaiion^. Hector France also, and he can be relied upon in this connectiGn, says: ‘II ne faudrait pas croire qu’il s’agit ici d’un Episode isolG, cas particulier a une Gcole dirig6e par une vieille fiUe hyst^rique qui passe ses rages de

‘ Cooper, loc. dt., pp. 166-167.

  • Byan, Prostitution in London, p. 382.
  • Etude, sur la Flagellation, pp. ^3-324, 366-383.



chair sech^e et les col^res de ses attentes de9ues en meutris- sant des chairs fraiches; il est, sinon g6n6ral, au moins tr^s commun, ainsi que le prouveront surabondamment les pages qui vont suivre,’ and he then quotes a large number of very bad examples^.

In one of the letters reported to Society is the follow- ing: ‘ Your correspondents often ask whether corporal punishment is still in force in the better class girls’ schools. I can assure you that it does still exist and that for various reasons it grows daily in popularity. Many schools in which corporal punishment had hitherto not been known are gradually taking to it, at first only in the form of what is called “ slapping ”, that is hitting the hands with a stick. I do not believe in these methods, as they may easily cause injury to the bones and sinews. It would be much better to use a pliant reed cane than an unyielding stick, which only injures without causing the sharp pain desired. Others of our better class girls’ schools use the old-fashioned canes, sticks and scourges, sometimes on the upper and sometimes on the lower parts of the body*.’

Conditions in the secular schools were repeated in the convent schools, convents and churches. The Reverend Zachary Crofton, a minister who was also a flagellant, was mentioned by Delolme; in the year 1660 he was Vicar of the Parish of St. Botolph, Aldgate, London, and a very truculent gentleman both in religion and politics. Bishop Kennet relates in his Chronicle, according to Dr. Calamy’s account of it, that Crofton must have been a great devotee of flagel- lation; he once gave his servant maid a very severe punish- ment, and later published a work in praise of flagellation®.

  • See the chapter ‘ Filles fess^es ’ in Nuits de Londree, pp. 203-216; also

the foUowing ‘ Dompteuse de filles pp. 217-226.

•TheEducationofJohnBvU. Dresden, 1902. Newedition. Vol.IV,p.44.

• Delolme, he. cit., pp. 200-201.

[ 373 ]


In Experiences of Flagellation a scene in a convent school is described, when the Mother Superior acted as flagellant, and much enjoyed the shrieks of the little girls she ill-treated^.

Andrew Steinmetz in his work on’ the English Jesuits* reports on the use of the rod under them. He writes as follows: ‘ During the fasts we used scourging twice a week. The doorkeeper announced: “ Mortification ” and we under- stood what he meant. When he had made the round with the “ deo gratias ” we prepared ourselves by baring our shoulders — every novice sat on his bed — and grasped the scourge. The time which the porter required for these preliminaries was supposed to suffice for the other novices. We were always ready when he rang a small bell and then, oh! if it edifies you, friendly reader, then be edified, if it makes you laugh, then laugh to your heart’s content at the sound of the twenty scourges falling like a shower of hail on twenty iimocent shoulders. I think we were limited to twelve blows, which were given as quickly as possible, and all finished at the same time. In the excitement produced, which was very like that of a shower bath, we could not refrain from throwing the scourge down on to the desk and then creeping with very pleasant sensations under the bedclothes! After the flagellation chorus, a young novice might be heard to giggle: “ It was quite natural.” He could not help it! Why have I described these scenes of foUy so vividly? Because it is foUy, and the “ holy fathers ” must regard it as such. But further, I regard it as very dangerous folly, which has results quite other than those intended. The reader must understand what I mean.


In venas animumqueJ

' FlageUaiionaerfdhrungen, pp. 111-113.

  • Andrew Steinmetz, The Novitiate, or a year among the English Jesuits.

London, 1846. Pp. 248 et seq.

[ 374 ]


If my own experience is worth anjrthing, then I declare to the Jesuits that their “ Discipline and chains ” defeats its own object, and I reinforce my opinion with the help of the laws of physiology. In this matter we can say with truth: nocet empta dolore voluptas! ’

As regards the domestic use of the rod, this should be considered next in connection with marriage. A corre- spondent of the periodical Society says: ‘ With my whole heart I endorse the opinion of your correspondent with regard to the reciprocal punishment of man and wife; family discords of many sorts can be easily avoided thereby, and I think it is a wonderful excuse for the renewal of old healing remedies — -the kissing habit, etc. There is a unique attraction in whipping one’s own wife or in being whipped by her hand. I hope that a time will come when all quarrels will be settled by the rod^.’ The ideal of this devotee of the rod would apparently be those people of whom it is reported that they regard the rod in marriage as a token of great tenderness*.

According to Cooper, during the whole of the Anglo- Saxon period the husband had the right to beat his wife. By the civil law he could for any fault ‘ Flagellis et fustibus

' The Ediication of John Bull. New edition. Vol. IV, p. 44.

  • According to Frusta, ioc.ctV., p. 276, blows are regarded as caresses by

the Indians of Guyana, which taste they share with the Russian women. The latter ' used to take it, and stiD do so, as a mark of contempt and a sign of diminishing affection if they are not punished from time to time. And these customs belong not only to the lower but to the higher classes of society also. In the Toilette der Grazien an interesting Frenchman, who married a beautiful Russian lady, tells how after fourteen days of the tenderest marital relations, she suddenly became pensive, sad and melancholy and uttered the deepest sighs. After much urging and insistence on the part of the husband, she at last explained in the fourth week, blushing with shame: “How can I believe that you love me? Have we not been married four weeks, and you have not beaten me once?“ The husband, glad enough that that was the only obstacle to his happiness, did not delay in satisfying her. He provided himself with a fairly humane and elegant cane, and the lady complained no more.*

[ 376 ]


aoriter verberare uxorem in other cases only ‘ modicam castigationem adhibere In the time of Charles II this right was only taken advantage of by the lower classes of the people. On a stall in the church at Stratford-on-Avon is a wood carving showing a man who is giving his wife something more than a ‘ modicam castigationem her position being as original as uncomfortable'.

More frequently than between married couples, punish- ment was used between parents and children, that is the former carried this out on the latter. The correspondence in Society gives very detailed reports on the frequency of punishment by parents, and sees in this an obvious method of causing a tendency to flagellation. The latter is strikingly demonstrated in the already mentioned and very authentic Memoirs of a German Governess. The authoress tells of her experience in the house of Lady Georgiana N. at No. 7 Park Crescent, London, mother of several children, the most striking of which were a girl of 12 years, as pretty as a picture, and a boy of 11, whom she treated with quite excep- tional cruelty. The governess shall tell her story herself:

‘ In my relations with her I found this lady on the whole quite agreeable, except in certain moods, to which I also attributed the inconsistency with which she treated her daughter. I could not understand how on some mornings when she had been to see her mother she came back crying and so badly beaten that she could neither sit nor walk. I should have had a heart of stone if I had not been most terribly pained, as I could not see the smallest reason for such barbaric punishment of the charming child. For a long time I could find no solution to my problem, and usually an hour after her mother would be smothering her with kisses and presents.

  • Cooper, he. cit., pp. 172-173.

[ 376 ]


‘ One day Mrs. M., Lady Georgiana’s maid, came to me and said that her mistress had asked her speak to me about a matter which as a mother was painful to her, and at the same time to ask me to watch Georgiana and, later, all the children, with the utmost care, as they were addicted to a sin which would ruin their bodies and finally also their souls.

" “But what is this sin? ” I asked with the utmost astonish- ment. “ She is always under my eyes and I have never seen the slightest sign of evil in her.”

‘ “ Oh, you would not believe how depraved all these children are! There is not a single day when they do not practise their vices. Milady and I see it with our own eyes, and then they have to confess it, and not being willing to do so, we beat them till they tell us everything. You cannot think how hard it often is, sometimes we are both so worn out with the beating that we cannot move our arms.”

‘ At this revolting recital I saw red. “ Is it possible ”, I cried, “ that a mother should so beat her children? You say yourself that the children are beaten till they confess; that is a torture that is not employed over the whole civilised world for the worst crime, and how is it possible for anyone to make use of it with children? What sort of a sin are the poor little creatures guilty of? ”

‘ The woman then told me, with the fury of an inquisitor, that the children were all addicted to the vice of self-abuse, and when I doubted this she threatened me with the wrath of Lady Georgiana. However sharply after this I watched Georgiana and kept her under my eye, I could never see anything unseemly in her behaviour. One day Lady Georgiana called me; Sir Charles was also there, and they addressed me rudely : “I engaged you to supervise my children and in order that you might do this satis- factorily, have told you of their bad habits. But you do not seem to do your duty, as Georgiana indulges her vice as

[ 377 ]


wickedly as ever. You must either prevent this or we must part, as if you cannot watch one child, what will happen when the others are under your care? ”

‘“My Lady,” I answered quietly, “I have watched Georgiana as the apple of my eye, and can guarantee that she has never done anything wrong.”

‘ “ There is, however, evidence to the contrary, is there not, Sir Charles? ” she said, turning to him.

‘ “ Certainly,” said he, and the lady gave me such a detailed description of the facts that I nearly fainted; she also gave me, for my instruction, a book by the Frenchman Dr. Riofray, and asked me to read it carefully.

‘ Every morning after breakfast Mrs. M. fetched Georgiana and Charlotte to their mother, and there w^ere few days that they were not beaten till the blood flowed. Miss J. and I heard their cries of pain, which tore our hearts, without our being able to do anything to help. The second boy, George, was also accused of this fault, and treated with the same cruelty. Only Lavinia, the eldest, a girl of thirteen years, was never called to her mother and therefore never beaten. When I once remarked how glad I was that Lavinia was free from this habit, she said: “ Ah, she is as bad as the others, but she is too ugly for me to take any trouble with her.”

‘ On the orders of Lady Georgiana, Mrs. M. then had to have some incredible machines made for the children by a well-known mechanic in Oxford Street, In the autumn we were again brought back to London, and here the children’s sufferings, together with our own, continued as ever. Each one was cruelly ill-treated every day, and, incredible as it may seem, it is yet true, that when they had been beaten till the blood flowed, Mrs. M., on the orders of the mother, was obliged to rub in pepper and salt. And all this devilish cruelty was practised by Lady N. on the pretext of curing her children of an unnatural sin!

[ 378 ]


‘ I did not cease my care, but to my deepest sorrow I noted an increase in her cruelty to her children. They were tied at night by the hands and feet to the bedposts, and the mother invented all sorts of other cruelties; she also tried all she could to make me take my share in these atrocities and threatened me with her anger when she saw her plans fail. Thus she had me called one day as Charlotte lay bound hand and foot on her bed, quite naked and beaten and bleeding all over her body. When I came in the poor child gave me a look which I shall never forget; the mother handed me a birch rod which had been broken and was covered with blood, and invited me to “ do my duty for once ”

No further quotation is necessary to reveal from this very vivid description the true nature of the cruelty shown by a mother to her children. That it was purely sexual is most clearly obvious from the clever goading of the children, by which the mother suggested sexual misdeeds to them, and from the circumstance that only the pretty children were ill-treated, whilst she left the ugly ones in peace. Further examples of the flagellation of grown daughters by their mothers are to be found in the Etude aur la flagellation*.

More frequent and 'more understandable, although none the less inexcusable, is flagellation of children by their stepmothers. Frusta remarks generally with regard to this: ‘ A remarkable psychological trait appears in the tendency of many step-parents to chastise the children entrusted to them; the words “ stepfather ” and “ stepmother ” are in many countries synonymous with “ much beating ”. Selfish- ness and lack of affection, cruelty and sensuality are

‘ Memoirs of a Oerman Oovemesa in Belgium, England, Spain, Portugal, Poland and Oermany. Berlin, 1861. Pp. 30-31, 33, 34, 30, 40-41.

> Etude sur la flagellation, pp. 446-462.

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mingled in this phenomenon, and the female sex is certainly the worst. The author knows many stories which emphasise this point and throw light enough on the peculiarities and compulsions of the human heart. Such instances were more frequent in past days, when corporal punishment was often continued over the age of majority, and these traits are found more often, as we have pointed out, in the more refined personalities than in the commoner, and in peculiar temperaments and humours. There is evidence from female mouths showing how seldom satisfactory relations are established between stepchildren and parents as regards their domestic discipline. There were women who had a passion for beating their stepsons and daughters as often as possible under the pretext of motherly correction, whilst with men this tendency showed itself more clearly towards the females. Seduction and adultery, onanism and suicide often resulted therefrom. The author once knew a celebrated officer who, not only at the age of twelve and fourteen, but even when he was twenty years old and had his epaulettes, received the rod from his stepmother, who carried out his punishment with the greatest zeal. Another who received incredible punishment, and frequently besides saw his grown-up sisters and cousins punished for episodes which had occurred at dances or for love affairs, became in the highest degree addicted to excessive sexual love combined with the most unbridled flagellation-mania; he began with page boys and kitchen maids and ended with anything he could get hold of. A few years ago a yoimg man of sixteen who in his father’s absence had been obliged by his step- mother to strip and undergo horse-whipping, himg himself from shame and despair. The author also knew twelve years ago a pretty dressmaker who up to a short time previously had been beaten by her stepfather, who was in love with her, daily or as often as she gave him cause for

[ 380 ]


jealousy^.’ A typical pictured representation of these relationships is the above-mentioned drawing of Lady ‘ Termagant Flaybum ’ who beat her stepson after meals, a ‘ Scene which is enacted every day in Grosvenor Square to the disgust of the neighbours*

There was a similarity between the relationships of step- mother and stepchildren and those of lady and servant or page, who, especiaUy when she was beautiful, often enjoyed the rod for sexual motives when given by the lady. ‘ In the days when it was the custom to chastise pages and other servants with the rod, the passion for this was often developed to an alarming extent, and many ladies excelled in this branch of domestic authority. When a lady was of a serious turn of mind, she felt convinced of the usefulness of punishment, although an anatomical curiosity and an indefinite iimer feeling about it were never quite absent. If, however, she was not of an honest nature, she usually tried in this way to satisfy her sensual tendencies*.’ Hector France says that many English ladies even invited their friends to their boudoirs when they were going to punish their servant maids or pages*. In The Merry Order of St. Bridget, a lady at her toilet, in which he had to help her, gave her servant the rod. Also in The Quintessence of Birch Discipline (London, 1883) a page was beaten by both his mistresses.

Tutors also, and factory owners, often flogged their pupils, workpeople, factory girls, etc., out of sensuality. Cooper reports on the following cases: ‘ The owner of a straw-plaiting factory in a village in Bedfordshire, who was always accustomed to beat the young girls in his factory, was one day to his great astonishment sentenced to six

1 Frusta, loc. cit., pp. 265-266.

  • P. Fraxi, Cenluria, p. 466.
  • Cooper, loc. cit., p. 164.
  • H. France, Les NuiU de Londres, pp. 229-230.

CO [381]


months’ imprisonment because he had indecently beaten one of the young girls with rods. All girls who worked in dressmaking establishments, mantel, corset and similar shops, were liable to flogging, and during their apprentice- ship these punishments were often very severe. A dress- maker in Pall Mall, who a hundred years ago supplied the highest class goods, had a bad reputation for severity. She learnt the use of the rod in Paris, where she served as chambermaid in the house of a prominent family*.’

Flagellomania can most easily be satisfied in those institutions where the victims are obliged to submit uncondi- tionally and where public interference is impossible or at least very difficult. To these belong primarily the houses of correction, prisons, workhouses and the army and navy.

In England in the olden days the most frightful ptmish- ments were given in the prisons, with regard to which Macaulay, Ryan and Cooper supply exact details. The master of a workhouse in England was dismissed because he had beaten several of the women under his charge in the most improper manner. In the year 1841 James Miles, the master of a workhouse in Rochester, was prosecuted because he beat the children, especially girls of 12 and 14, with heavy birch rods.

The Courts of Justice came to recognise that it must be regarded as grossly indecent for a man to whip a girl*.

The sexual element was very clearly to be seen in the celebrated flogging of the prostitutes in the London prison of Bridewell. Edward Ward, at the beginning of the eighteenth century gives a very lively description of this flagellation of the prostitutes*.

‘ From thence my friend conducted me to Bridewell, being

' Ckxjper, loc.eit., p. 176.

  • Ibid., pp. 170-171.

• The London Spy, pp. 129, 136, 139, 140.

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Court-day, to give me the diversion of seeing the lechery of some Towi Ladies cooled by a Cat of nine Tails. We followed our noses and walked up to take a view of their ladies, who we found were shut up as close as nuns; but like so many slaves, were under the care and direction of an over-seer, who walked about a very flexible weapon of office, to correct such hempen journey-women, who were unhappily troubled with the spirit of idleness. These smelt as frowzily as so many goats in a Welsh gentleman’s stable, or rather a litter of piss-tail children under the care of a parish nurse; and looked with as much modesty as so many Newgate saints canonised at the Old Bailey. Some seemed so very young that I thought it very strange they should know sin enough at those years to bring them so early into a state of misery. My friend reconducted me back into the first quadrangle, and led me up a pair of stairs into a spacious chamber, where the court was sitting in great grandeur and order.

‘ A grave gentleman, whose awful looks bespoke him some honourable citizen, was mounted in the Judgment Seat, armed with a hammer, like a change-broker at Lloyd’s Coffee House, when selling goods by inch of candle; and a woman under the lash in the next room; where folding doors were opened, that the whole court might see the punishment inflicted; at last down went the hammer and the scourging ceased; that I protest, till I was undeceived, I thought the offenders had been Popish penitents, who by the delusion of their priests, were drawn thither to buy lashes by auction.

‘ The honourable Court, I observed, were chiefly attended by fellows in blew-coats, and women in blew-aprons. Another accusation being then delivered by a flat-cap against a poor wench, who having no friend to speak in her behalf, proclamation was made, viz., all you are willing E-th T-11, should have present punishment, pray hold up your hands:

[ 383 ]


Which, was done accordingly: and then she was ordered the civility of the house, and was forced to show her tender back and tempting bubbies, to the grave sages of the august assembly, who were moved by her modest mien,together with the whiteness of her skin, to give her but a gentle correction.’

In the English army and navy the cat-o’-nine-tails played a regrettable part up to modem times, together with punishment with the rod^. When such horrible things could occur as the beating to death of a negress by Captain Kimber, for his own pleasure and with no fault on her part®, it must be realised that the sexual element prevailed in these punishments to a very serious extent*.

In earlier times flagellation scenes were even staged at the best English theatres, and the theme was discussed with the greatest candour on the stage, for example in the opera The Boarding School, or the Sham Captain, which was presented at Drury Lane Theatre in 1733, and in which the verse occurred:

While she is stripping to get a good whipping.

I’ll away, dance and play.

Yes I will, that I will;

While she is stripping to get a good whipping.

I’ll go and romp with the girls and the boys, etc.

I myself in the year 1901 saw on the stage of a London suburban theatre with a bad reputation, the Standard Theatre, a similar whipping of the naked torso of a man by a woman in the play, A Wold's Revenge. Red stripes even appeared after each blow of the whip to the delight of the very questionable public!

Representations of punishments were very popular at

  • H. France, loc. cU., p. 235.
  • Archenholtz, British Annals. Hamburg, 1795. Vol. XI, pp. 158-160.
  • Compare Cooper, loc. cit., pp. 112-121; FlagdUUnmoerfahrungen, p. 76.

[ 384 ]


annual fairs^. The tendency to flagellation was also satisfied fiequently in the form of party games. To this class belong primarily the so-called ‘ school games which in England were eagerly played by the children, and in which the child taking the part of the teacher gave punishment with hand or cane*. According to Frusta, juvenile flagellation clubs have sometimes resulted from these, first with homo- then with hetero-sexual tendencies*. Amongst such may be mentioned ‘ la main chaude ’, ‘ das Schaften ’, ‘ beating the ham ’* and a bad forfeit game in which the clothing was taken off garment by garment and the rod used*.

Flagellation formed further a popular theme for discussion in English periodicals to an extent which is known in no other country and would not be possible. In the old Spectator, in the Rambler, The Original Rambler, in Notes and Q'mries,th.e! subject was dealt with. Detailed discussions were found in the Gentleman's Magazine of January and February 1735 and October 1780, in The Bon Ton Magazine of November 1791, March, April, July 1792, August 1793, February, March 1794, November, December 1795, January, February 1796, in- the World 1856, No. 22; The Coventry Herald, 17th October 1856; The Times 1856, November 16-21, 1861, 18th March; in The Leader 11th February 1860; in The Star 6th May 1860. The English Woman's Domestic Magazine, April to December 1870, contained most of the contributions, also Society 1899 and 1900. Town Talk also gave a good deal of space to this subject in the ’eighties. It naturally appeared in the advertisements, usually dis- guised as ‘ Manicure ’ but also often quite openly as ‘ Discipline ’.

  • P. Fraxi, Centuria, pp. 469-470.
  • Compare Stock und Peitsche, pp. 144-146.
  • Frusta, loc. cit., p. 265.
  • Hansen, loc. cit., pp. 146-147.
  • Frusta, loc. cU., p. 267.

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We have already spoken in the introduction to this chapter of the extraordinary exploitation of the subject in literature. Even that king of English literature, Samuel Johnson, ‘ lost no opportunity of praising the rod and was regarded as an authority in this domain* George Coleman’s The Rodiad (London, about 1820) is generally held to be one of the most remarkable specimens in the anthology of the rod. This was not published by Coleman, but by a client of Sarah Potter*; the quintessence of English flagellatism is proclaimed in the much-quoted verses:

Delightful sport! whose never failing charm Makes young blood tingle and keeps old blood warm.

  • Oxiper, loc. cit., p. 172.

• Compare P.Fraxi, Ceniuria, pp. 471-474; Cooper, loc. cit., pp. 160-153.

[ 386 ]



Although, as we shall see, the history of English morals provides interesting details and examples of the occurrence of sexual love between persons of the same sex, or homo- sexuality (uranism, paederasty, and tribady)*, yet, according to the experience of Pisanus FraxP, the number of homo- sexuals in England must be very small compared with those of other, especially Latin, countries. Havelock Ellis does not venture to make any preeise statement on the number of English homosexuals and declares excessive an estimate that they amount to five per cent, of the well-educated middle-class people*. He thus leaves us, and rightly, in complete uncertainty regarding the proportion of homo- sexuals in England.

Neither does J. L. Pavia’s work on Masculine. Homo- sexuality in England (published in Magnus Hirschfeld’s Quarterly Review, Leipzig, 1909) give any exact information regarding their number. But judging from his statements, it is quite considerable not only in London, but also in the

^ A more technical term for homosexuality is sexual inversion. Paeder- asty is commonly called sodomy. The paederast is also termed a ‘ bugger ' (similar to the French ‘ bougre which is derived from the paederastic sect of the Bulgars in the eleventh century) or ‘ catamite the effeminate passive paederast is known by the name of ‘ Miss Nancy * or ‘ Nancy boy

  • Pisanus Fraxi, Index Ubrorum prohibitarum, London, 1877. P. xxxiv.

• Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex: Sexual Inversion, Philadelphia, 1901. P. 30.

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provincial towns, giving rise to exactly similar manifesta- tions as in other European capitals (specifically homosexual haimts and theatres, public baths frequented only by homosexuals, and so on). Thus the statement of Pisanus Fraxi that homosexuality in England has not increased to the extent it has in Latin countries appears doubtful, at least demanding a close investigation, taking into account the fact that in all countries the big towns form the meeting- place of the greater number of homosexuals, some of whom come in from the provinces.

In England, as in other Teutonic countries, an occasional apparent increase in homosexuality in certain circles can be observed. It is then a question each time of the effect of external mfiuences such as corruption at court (as in the time of Charles II), or certain degenerate fashions such as those met with in the eighteenth century. Times, for instance, like those represented very clearly in Rochester’s notorious paederast drama Sodom, are very favourable to a real epidemic increase in homosexual tendencies, which are sometimes manifested in a slight and imcertain fashion but, at other times, are strongly roused and can lead to an apparent perversion of natural feeling. In such instances it is a question of a ‘ pseudo-homosexuality ’, to the apparent large increase of which in England Pavia also refers, particularly among such bodies as sailors, schoolboys and university students, mine and street workers, footballers, athletes, members of certain men’s and boys’ associations and the like. Lack of intercourse with woman, and especially indulgence in alcohol, here play an important part.

The development of pseudo-homosexuality has probably been helped by the irnique nature of the En gli'sh club, frequented exclusively by men. The intensive cultivation of games in England may also have something to do with it, in the same way as this was regarded by the Greeks as



having, given the original impetus to the cult of homo- sexuality. On the other hand, there is a serious obstacle to the spread of homosexuality on a large scale amongst the English in that no other people is so opposed to the practice of this vice. Archenholtz wrote: ‘ Since English women are so beautiful and the enjoyment of them is so general, the revulsion of these Islanders against paederasty passes all bounds. Attempted homosexuality is punished by the pillory and several years of imprisonment, the act itself by the gallows. The pillory, however, is almost as good as death^.’

This revulsion finds expression sometimes in erotic writings. It is significant that the publisher of the Voluptarian Cabinet, Mary Wilson, announced in the Preface to the third volume of this work, which contains a translation of Mirabeau’s ‘ le Rideau lev6 ’, that she had taken the liberty of replacing a paederastic scene in the original by a flagellation scene. ‘ It is regrettable, indeed, that one of the best French works should be disfigured by descriptions of socratistical love. But it is even more regrettable that such ideas should be translated into our language. I do not speak thus only because I am a woman — ^if I were a man I should consider it equally criminal to encourage the spread of doctrines the adoption of which has such terrible consequences*.’

This was, however, written by the proprietress of a brothel, by whom love between men must a priori be condemned as damaging to her business.

The extraordinarily severe punishments meted out show that paederasty is regarded in England as one of the most

‘ J. W. V. Archenholtz, England and Italy. Leipzig, 1787. Vol. II, p. 267. Compare also his Annalm der brititUBhen (hschichte. Hamburg, 1791. Vol. V, p. 362.

'Compare P. Fraxi, Catena librorwn tacendorum. London, 1885. Pp. 296-297.

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hideous of crimes. Numa Praetorius has collected in the first volume of the Annual of Sexual (Zwischenstufen) the respective definitions of the English Penal Code of the forms of this vice^. According to the Code they are dis- tinguished as follows: 1. Buggery (unnatural immorality) including (o) Sodomy (referring only to immissio penis in anum, irrespective of whether it takes place between mem- bers of the same or of different sexes), (b) Bestiality. The act itself is punished by imprisonment for life, an attempted act by imprisonment up to ten years. 2. Immoral practices between men (mutual onany, practices resembling co- habitation). These are punished by imprisonment with hard labour up to two years. Assistance in, instigation to and attempts at these practices are punished in the same manner. (In Scotland up to 1889 culprits were sentenced to death for these crimes.) We need hardly mention that we consider these measures barbarous and unworthy of a civilised country, and as a preventative of the spread of homosexual practices they are quite useless. In a general sense the State is empowered through the immorality clauses of the Penal Code to deal with homosexual seduction of children in the same way as hetero-sexual immorality with children.

Blackmail directed against homosexuals is pimished in England as severely as paederasty, that is with penal servitude of from three years to a life sentence, or imprison- ment with or without hard labour up to two years. If the defendant is under sixteen, with or without flo gg in g . It is stressed by the law that the blackmail or attempt at black- mail must be accompanied by a direct accusation of

  • Numa Praetorius, ‘ Punishments prescribed for homosexual inter-

course ’ in Jahrbuch fur aexueUe Zwiachenstufm, published by Dr. M. Hirschfeld, Leipzig, 1899, Vol. I, p. 142. Compare also Pavia, loc. cit., Vol. II, pp. 397-408.

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paederasty, particularly a written accusation. Despite these severe measures, blackmail against homosexuals flourishes in all its forms, as shown by Pavia.

The first historical traces of homosexuality in England date back to the Norman period. According to Havelock Ellis the second Norman King of England, William Rufus (1087-1100), was imdoubtedly a homosexual^. He does not say what evidence he has to support this assertion, and it must therefore be taken with some reserve. Another English king suspected of having been a homosexual was Edward II (1307-1327), who was accused of very intimate relationships with his favourites, especially with the Frenchman Gaveston*. Christopher Marlowe, in his famous drama The troublesome Reign and lamentable Death of Eduard II (London, 1593), alluded to these relationships. Indeed, it is easy to perceive in reading the drama that the homosexual character of the relations between the King and Gaveston was intentionally stressed by the poet. In addition, both men are described a« bisexuals. Before the passion for handsome men and boys had taken hold on the King he had dearly loved his wife, and Gaveston also had hetero-sexual tendencies. His love-affair with the King’s niece is described in detail by Marlowe (Act II, Scene 1 ), and the King himself wanted his favoiu-ite to marry her. It cannot therefore be concluded from Marlowe’s representation that Edward II was purely a homosexual.

That Marlowe (1564-1693) himself, as Havelock Ellis supposes, was a homosexual, is not proved. The fact is that he liked to frequent brothels and had numerous passionate

' Havelock Ellis, loc. cit., p. 22.

• Compare Ellis, loc. cit., p. 22; W. P. Dodge, Piers Gaveston (London, 1898).

[ 391 ]


love relationships with women^, and was said to have been stabbed finally on account of a soldier’s whore whom he was waylaying*. This of course, does not mean that he did not occasionally indulge in homosexual love.

Another English poet of the sixteenth century had a much greater right than Marlowe to be considered a homosexual. This was Nicholas Udall (died 1557), the author of the first English comedy: Ralph Royster -Doysler. An article on him in the Dictionary of National Biography states that he was, as a teacher at Eton, very ill-famed amongst the pupils for his predilection for the administration of corporal punish- ment. Tusser reports that on one occasion he received fifty- three blows from Udall for a slight or non-existent fault. This was probably a case of homosexuality combined with sadism. In 1541 he was accused of unnatural sexual immorality, which he admitted before a Court of Justice.

He was dismissed from Eton and imprisoned for a short time, but the affair does not seem to have affected his reputation unfavourably, because later on he was appointed Vicar of Braintree and was highly esteemed by King Edward VI and Queen Mary. The former gave him a Pre- bendaryship at Windsor and the latter appointed him Director of Westminster School*.

According to Havelock EUis, Richard Bamfield, lyric poet of Elizabeth’s time, also betrayed homosexual ten- dencies in some of his poems addressed to his friends, by which even the most tolerant of his contemporaries were greatly outraged. He was a landowner in Shropshire and apparently died a bachelor*.

‘ Pr6l8z regards the other evil deeds of which Marlowe is accused as inventions (I^. cit., pp. 144 ff.)

‘Compare H. Taine, History of English Literature (Leipzig, 1878), Vol. I, p. 378.

' Compare H. Ellis, loc. cit., p. 23.


[ 392 ]


Another prominent personality amongst homosexuals in the seventeenth CCTitury was King James I (1603-1625), of whom it was said: ‘ Rex fuit Elisabeth, mmc est Regina Jacobus*.’ Havelock Ellis says he was imdoubtedly an uming*. Becker and Weber declared in their works on The History of the World that James always had a great predilection for handsome young men and that his favourites were chosen accordingly®. The King’s homosexual tendency was the subject of H. von Schaeffer’s comedy Check to the King, in which he describes how James was taken in by the beauty of a young girl disguised as a boy.

Mervin, Lord Audlegh, Earl of Castlehaven, was a typical homosexual voyeur who carried on sexual intercom?se with his footman and compeUed his wife and daughter to cohabit with this and other men servants in his presence*. He was executed on the 14th May 1631.

In a very strange and rare English document of 1643, which was published with the permission of Parliament for the pmpose of branding simdry priests for their vices, an account (No. 94) is given of the charges against a certain John Wilson, Vicar of Arlington, in accordance with which he ‘ repeatedly attempted, in the most beastly manner, to practise paederasty with National Browne, Samuel Andrews and Robert Williams, belonging to his parish, and induced them by persuasion and violence to commit this abominable sin, thereby, as he was not ashamed to boast, bringing the number of his victims up to eighteen. He declared, moreover, that he preferred men to women as regards sexual inter- course, because of the shame and dishonour that might arise from begetting bastards. He had further attempted to abuse

‘ Jahrbvch fiir aexudle 2jwi8chm8tufen (Leipzig, 1900), Vol. p, 68.

  • H. Ellis, Zoc. cit,, p. 22,

•Compare Moll, Kontrdre Sextialempfindung (Sexual Sensibility in Opposites), third edition, pp. 112-113.

  • Pavia, loc, ciU, Vol. Ill, pp. 32-34.

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a mare, and finally declared in public that paederasty was not a crimed’

The Restoration period was also very favourable to the spread of paederasty. We learn from numerous allusions in contemporary literature how frequent homosexual relations were in the reign of Charles II. In the first place, Rochester, in his notorious homosexual drama Sodom (detailed mention of which will be foimd later on in this book), gave us a terrible satire on the true activities of the homosexuals in his time, regarding the sexual act of the paederasts as a new and exciting ‘ raffinement ’ compared to the boredom engendered by hetero-sexual intercourse.

In the second half of the seventeenth century the number of homosexuals increased to such an extent that they were able to form their own clubs. In any case, the existence of the first of these clubs has been proved at the end of the seventeenth century. It was called ‘ The Mollies’ Club ’. Edward Ward pyrites in his History of London Clvbs^ pub- lished in 1709: ‘ There is a curious band of fellows in the town who call themselves “ Mollies ” (effeminates, weaklings), who are so totally destitute of all masculine attributes that they prefer to behave as women. They adopt all the small vanities natural to the feminine sex to such an extent that they try to speak, v alk, chatter, shriek and scold as women do, aping them as well in other respects. In a certain tavern in the City, the name of which I will not mention, not wishing to bring the house into disrepute, they hold parties and regular gatherings. As soon as they arrive there they begin to behave exactly as women do, carrying on light

' The first Century of Scandalous, Malignant Priests, etc. London, 1643. Compare P. Fraxi, Centuria librorum abscond itorum (London, 1879), pp. 40-41. On the 6th December 1640 Atherton, Bishop of Waterford, was executed in Dublin for paederasty. Compare Th^ Crimes of the Clergy, etc., with an appendix entitled ‘ The Scourge of Ireland ’ (London, 1823), p. 25. The paederast J. Childe met the same fate in 1640 (ibid.).

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gossip as is the custom of a merry company of real women. Later on, one of their brothers — or rather “ sisters ” — (in their feminine jargon) would be dressed in a woman’s nightgown with a silken night-cap, and thus representing a woman, bears a “ child ” (a dummy being to hand for this purpose), which is afterwards baptised, while another man in a large hat plays the part of a country midAvife, a third that of a nurse, the rest of them acting as imseemly guests at a christening. Each had to discourse at length, and with great impropriety of the pleasures of a “ husband ” and children, and praise the virtues of the former and the won- derful talents of the latter. Some others, in the role of “ widows ”, lamented the deplorable loss of their “ husbands ”. Thus each imitated the petty feminine faults of women gossiping over coffee, in order to disguise their natural feelings (as men) towards the fair sex, and to encourage unnatural lusts. They continued these practices imtil they were discovered and driven away from their hiding-place by some agents of the Reform Society. Several of them were publicly punished, and this fortunately ended their scandalous orgies'.’

The spread of paederasty which began during the Restora- tion period, still persisted in the eighteenth century, and was specially favoured by degeneration in certain customs of the time. The historian must not overlook the impetus given to depravity by fashion and custom, and must clearly define the relevant connections between these and sex life. As fashion has a sexual origin, it reacts on the sexual life of its time, giving it in its turn special characteristics.

It is very significant that in one of the works Avritten at that time against paederasty the prevailing luxmy in

‘ The History of the Ixmdon Clubs, etc. By the atUhor of the London Spy. Printed by J. DetUm, Near Fleet Street, 1709. New edition, London, pp. 28-29.

[ 395 ]


articles of clothing is severely criticised as one of the causes of unnatmnl lust. The author says: ‘ I must admit that no age ever produced anything so perverse as the clothing of the men of the present time who caU themselves “ pretty fellows ” Their coiffures require nothing more than a row of hakpins to make them look completely feminine. It is easily realised why they always take great care to be as “ pretty ” as possible when they meet their companions, and all manliness is diametrically opposed to this unnatural behaviour. Consequently they try their best to imitate the mannerisms and dress of the opposite sex. By reason of aU this our young gentlemen’s dress at the present time is most vulgar and in very bad taste. It is very difficult nowadays to tell a gentleman from a servant. Their shoes, with low heels, are the emblems of their low minds, and the large buckles on them equal the extent of their affectation. The waistcoat, made of silver cloth, abundantly trimmed with lace, worn with a common blue jacket resembling a livery, has something so miserably perverse about it that it revolts me. I feel ashamed when I see them aping the servants about, carrying a big oaken stick, more suitable for an usher than for a gentleman. But the most intolerable thing is their hair, brushed high above the forehead and drawn together behind with a large comb as if it were a regular coiffure. I am told that some of our tip-top “ beaus ” wear frilled bonnets to give them a more womanly appearance, so that Master MoUy has nothing to do but put on his frilly little bonnet and he will pass for a lady, except for his deplorable face. But even this can be remedied by means of powder and paint, which last is as much used by our men as by the French women. There is nothing more amusing than their new “ joke ” hats of the latest fashion, which are ridi- culously dandyish. But to see them at balls or in evening dress — ^in silk jackets of many colours, revolts me beyond all

[ 396 ]


measure. They had much better put on real women’s dresses and petticoats instead of doing things by halves.’

The author scourges further the then very general bad habit of men kissing one another, which fact he rightly regards as one of the possible causes of an inclination to homosexuality:

‘ Of all the customs accompanying this wave of effeminacy, there is none more hateful, prevalent and injurious than that of men kissing one another. This habit was imported from Italy, the mother and nurse of paederasty, where a love affair between master and page is more often seen than between the master and a pretty girl. But this scourge has spread not only in Italy, but in France, where it was first imitated, and women in convents bum with a passionate and unnatural love for each other in a manner too indecent for description. I must take the part of my countrywomen to this extent that I assert, or at least hope, that this eharge cannot be brought against them. However, I must admit that I feel revolted and scandalised whenever I see two ladies falling in each other’s arms and kissing each other in a lascivious manner. Still, the sight of two repulsive lads, holding and caressing each other's hands and exchanging tender kisses, is even more disgusting. Although many quite distinguished gentlemen may be seen acting in this way, only because it is fashionable, the country will not be rid of infamous practices until these customs are done away with. For this is the first step in the direction of the abominable sin of paederasty. Under the cloak of fashion, catamite prostitutes offer their perverse services in the open street. I cannot imagine anything more repulsive than the sight of a couple of men caressing and kissing each other, as is to be seen daily in our most frequented public places, and not a single word of reproach may be said against them, for they have the excuse “ It is the fashion now”. Oh, cursed fashion!

DD [ 397 ]


Imported fSrom Italy with a lot of other unnatural vices! Are our own original sins not sufficient? Are we to add to them those brought from abroad to fill up the measure of our iniquities and prepare us still further for the judgment of God?i\

Very rightly, in these remarkable descriptions, the effe- minacy of men and their mutual kisses in the fashion of the time are regarded only as a sort of general symptom of homosexuality, and could not be taken as a positive proof of any one’s immorality. It was emphasised only that these bad habits were favourable to the spread of homosexuality, and this is the only point of view from which the question may be regarded. The simple fact that men choose to wear women’s dresses or kiss each other cannot be regarded as a sign of their homosexuahty, but this fashion surely supports and facilitates such tendencies in the form of pseudo- homosexuality. And above all, it will be taken advantage of by genuine paederasts who may now, under the cloak of fashion, show their feelings openly and unhindered.

This intimate and tender method of greeting between men must evidently have had unpleasant results, for it seems to have gone out of fashion towards the end of the eighteenth century. A. v. Schiitz remarks: ‘ No embrace is admitted between men, and laughter would be aroused by so doing, as a bow and hand-shaking are the only forms of civility recognised^.’

According to Bomemann, the connection between kisses and homosexuality was clearly recognised at the beginning of the nineteenth century. ‘ The kiss of friendship between

^ Satan's Harvest Home or the 'present state of Whorecraft, Adultery ^ Fornication, Procuring, Pimping, Sodomy, and the Game at Flatts, and other Satanic works, daily propagated in this good Protestant Kingdom, Collected from the memoirs of an intimate comrade of the Hon. Jack S . n . r etc. London, 1749. Pp. 50 ei seq.

  • V. Schiitz, Briefe Uber London (Letters from London), p. 122.



men is strictly avoided as inclining towards the sin regarded in England as more abominable than any others’ When Amireau in London As It Is wishes to greet the Doctor by embracing and kissing him, the latter gently wards him off, and contents himself with giving him a hearty handshake with the words: ‘ My friend, you must give up the habit of kissing one of your own sex; it is not the custom in England, and is only done by women^.’

The spread of paederasty in the eighteenth century is evidenced by the existence of regular boys’ brothels and several secret paederastic clubs.

According to the reports of the Old Baile}^ from 1720 to 1730, the paederasts had brothels of their own, with boy prostitutes at the disposal of their masculine lovers. Inter- esting particulars on this subject are found in a rare booklet, printed probably in Paris: A Free Examination into the Penal Statutes: XXV. Henry Vllly Cap. 6 and V. Eliz.^ c. 17, addresst to both Houses of Parliament by A. Pilgrimy Londony 1833^

Several authors of the eighteenth century have written of the secret paederastic clubs. Archenholtz*, for instance, tells us the history of one of these clubs, whose members gathered in a public-house near Clare Market, London.

' W. Bomemann, Einblicke in England und London im Jahre 1818 (Glimpses of England and London in the Year 1818). Berlin, 1819. P. 179.

  • Santo Domingo, London wle es isi, usw (London as it is, etc.), Leipzig,

1826, p. 15. Thackeray remarks: ‘ In the poems of Shadwell, Higgons, Congreve and the comic poets of their time, the gentlemen, on meeting, fall into each other’s arms: “ Listen, Jack, I must embrace you ”, it goes: “ By God, George, Harry, I must kiss you, my lad! ” And in the same way the poets greeted their brothers. The gentlemen of literature no longer kiss each other. I doubt if they love each other any more.’ — England's Humor- ists (Hamburg, 1854), p. 79.

  • P. Fraxi, Index librorum prohibitorum. London, 1877. P. xxxiv.
  • Originalzuge aus deni Charakter englischer Sonderlinge (Original Traits

of English Eccentrics), Leipzig, 1796. Pp. 158-160 (after Archenholtz).

[ 399 ]


‘ In October 1794 Bow Street Police Station received an anonymous letter to the effect that a group of men were accustomed to gather every Monday night in an inn called the “ Bunch of Grapes ”, near Clare Market, for the most imnatural and hideous purposes. The report stated further that the members of this club were nearly all thieves and forgers.

‘ The police naturally considered it their duty to verify the truth of these statements, and two pohcemen were sent the following Monday to the inn, with instructions to mix with the members of the club.

‘ This they did, stayed for a while and had ample oppor- tunity of witnessing the disgusting proceedings.

‘ Next Monday the magistrate, Bond, sent the police- watch to the public-house. They burst open the door, guarded the windows and doors to prevent the monsters escaping and overpowered them.

‘ On entering the room the guard found two fellows in women’s attire, with muffs and wide shawls and most fashionable turban-like bonnets, silken pinafores, etc. Their faces were painted and powdered, and they were dancing a minuet in the middle of the room, whilst the others were standing round watching them in the most improper attitudes.

‘ They were all arrested, a total of 18, and the following morning, clad in their women’s dresses, they were taken before the magistrate to be questioned. It turned out that each member of the club had a woman’s name, such as “ Lady Golding ”, “ Countess Papillon ”, “ Miss Fanny ”, etc., by which he was known to the other members of this shameful company.

‘ An enormous number of people gathered outside the Police Station and threatened to lynch the prisoners. These latter were handcuffed in pairs and chained together, and

[ 400 ]


thus led away to prison accompanied by a strong escort of soldiers to protect them from the wrath of the mob. It was, however, impossible to prevent the people throwing stones and mud at the culprits the whole way there.’

Another paederasts’ club held their meetings about 1785 in Clement’s Lane, near the Strand. The worst sexual debaucheries went on here also, but the scene in the midst of which they were discovered was so ridiculous that it aroused laughter and merriment rather than revolt and wrath: they were caught in the act of nursing and feeding some of their suffering ‘ sisters ’ lying in ‘ childbed ’ ! the new-born babies being represented by big dolls. The new ‘ mothers ’ played their part so well that one of them succeeded in misleading a polieeman, and was released by him on the supposition that it was a woman*.

At the same period there was a paederastic society in Exeter, whose members were nearly aU men of rank and wealth. These also were caught in the midst of their orgies, and legal proceedings were started against fifteen of them, which, naturally, ended in their acquittal. But the incensed people were so convinced of their guilt that they burnt them in efl&gy without respect for their rank*.

A third proof of the appalling spread of paederasty in the eighteenth century is afforded by the numerous actions against paederasts. According to Satan's Harvest Home,

‘ paederasty in former times was a vice almost unkno\m to our people. And, indeed, one would suppose that in a coimtry possessed of such angelically beautiful women no such hateful aberrations could exist. Now, however, our papers are often full of the crimes committed by these brutes, and despite their having been severely punished on many occasions, we have every reason to fear that many of

  • The Phoenix of Sodom, etc. (London, 1813), p. 27.


[ 401 ]


them are undiscovered as yet, and this terrible vice may thus take root more firmly day by day The majority of actions were taken against individuals of the lower classes, probably because these had gone to work less cautiously, but men of high rank were also called to account by the law for their paederastic practices. The trials ended comparatively often in acquittal for lack of evidence.

The course of one of these paederast trials is described by Archenholtz: ‘ Two Englishmen, Leith and Drew, were accused of paederasty or, according to the English formula, of the “ horrid, brutish crime, the name of which must not be pronounced amongst Christians’*. As the details of these delicate affairs must be discussed and explained fully and circumstantially, the judges were careful to clear the Court of women and youths. The evidence given by the plaintiffs was, as was generally the case in these trials, very imperfect. On the other hand, the defendants denied the accusation, and produced witnesses to prove their predilection for women. They were in consequence acquitted^’

Some of the well-known trials of this nature were those of Briggs and Bacon in 1790% of the actor Samuel Foote^ of the innkeeper Thomas Andrews in 1761 for active paederasty with the sleeping John Finimore*, of teachers in colleges for paederastic assaults on their pupils (as, for instance, the Reverend Dr. Thistlethwayte and Mr. Swinton of Wadham College, Oxford*^), and finally of men of high position in society such as Mr. Beckford, Richard Heber,

1 Archenholtz, British Annals (1789), Vol. Ill, p. 13.

  • Ibid,, Vol. V, p. 150.
  • Archenholtz, England und Italien, Vol. II, p. 268.
  • Pavia, loc. ciL, Vol. Ill, p. 34.

‘This is reported in A Faithful Narrative of the Proceedings in a late Affair between the Rev, Mr, John Swinton and Mr. George Baker, etc. To which is prefixed, A Particular Account of the Proceedings against Robert Thisdetliwayte, late Doctor of Divinity, etc., for a sodomitical attempt upon Mr. W. French, Commoner of the same college, London, 1739. 8vo, 32 pp.

[ 402 ]


Gray Bennet, Jocelyne, Bishop of Clogher, Bankes and Baring Wall^

In Mrs. Manley’s Atalantis (p. 723) Sir William Cowper was stated to be a paederast. In the Crimes of the Clergy (Lon- don, 1823), Lord Courtney (p. 730), who fled to France; John Fenwick, Vicar of Bryall in Northumberland (p. 8), who in 1797 fled to Naples; the Methodist preacher John Holland, alias Dr. Saunders; the Earl of Leicester (p. 730); Saudelands, Rector of Five Fields Chapel, Chelsea (p. 723); Captain Sawyer, who was imprisoned for ‘ indecent be- haviour with men ’, and many others are accused of paederasty.

The history of homosexuality in England in the nineteenth century begins with the discovery of the ill-famed ‘ Vere Street Coterie ’ which, in the first decade of the century, carried on its immoral activities in a public -house in Vere Street, near Clare Market, London. This district seems to have been favoured in homosexual circles*.

A detailed report on this paederast club may be read in the following rare book, a copy of which is to be found in the British Museum:

The Phoenix of Sodom, being an Exhibition of the Oambols Practised by the Ancient Lechers of Sodom and Oomorrah, embellished and improved with the Modern Refinements in Sodomitical Practices by the members of the Vere Street Coterie of detestable memory. Sold by J, Cook at and to be had at all the Booksellers, 1813. Holloway, printer. Artillery Lane, Tooley Street, (8vo, pp. 71.)

  • P. Fraxi, Index, p. 340.
  • Baker, Stories of the Streets of London (London, 1889), p. 154, calls

Clare Market ‘ the once notorious haunt of vice

  • A space appears to have been left here for Cook’s more exact address,

which he was perhaps supposed to fill in himself.

[ 403 ]


This book was written by a lawyer, Holloway (6 Rich- mond Buildings, Soho), probably a relative of the printer. It was written in defence of James Cook, innkeeper of the ‘ White Swan ’, in Vere Street, Clare Market, the gathering- place of the paederasts. Cook, when he was imprisoned in Newgate, was badly fleeced by a lawyer named Wooley, tmder the pretext of ‘ getting him through ’ the Court, and who used him at the same time as a scapegoat. He was not found guilty as regards the main part of the charge, and his accusation was limited to the fact that he had let his house be used for immoral purposes. In the hope of obtaining a milder sentence, he offered to give the names of the rich and distinguished visitors to his house, but this further incensed the judge, and he was sentenced to the pillory. Had the judge availed himself of Cook’s offer, many well- known distinguished men would have been compromised, for ‘ even men in priest’s attire went straight from the chajicel to that sink of iniquity in Vere Street and other similar places^’.

The arrangements and management of the Vere Street house were described by the author of the above-mentioned book as follows:

‘ The ill-famed house in question was arranged most appropriately for its purpose. One of the rooms was equipped with four beds, another was furnished in the style of a lady’s boudoir with dressing-table and all conveniences, paint, powder, etc. A third room was called the “ Chapel ”, where marriages were celebrated, sometimes between a “ feminine ” grenadier, six foot tall, and a “ petit maitre ” who was half the height of his “ beloved wife ”! These weddings were celebrated in proper style with “ brides- maids ”, best men, etc., and the nuptial night was often spent in the same room with two or three other couples

  • The Phoenix of Sodom, etc., p. 27.

[ 404 ]


and under the eyes of the rest of the company. However incredible this may soimd, the reader may be assured that such was the perfect truth. In the upper part of the house lived the fellows who were always at the disposal of occa- sional visitors. They employed all those enticing methods which are used by feminine prostitutes in a brothel, the only difference between the former and the latter being a greater lack of decency in the men. Prominent men of honourable professions could be seen with lads of the lowest type “ in ” or “ supra lectum ”. But the performance of such abhorrent acts was more bearable by far than the disgusting conversation which accompanied it, and which, according to Cook, was some of it so obscene that it could not possibly be reproduced either in words or in writing. It seems that some of these fellows were married and took pleasure, when together, in making fun of their wives, whom they called “ Tommies ”, boasting of having compelled them to do things too loathsome for mention. I must quote one example, a case which brought a peer of the realm and his infamous associate to the gallows. I refer to the case of Lord Audley, who was accused of violence and paederastic abuse of his own wife. The husband himself used to relate this at Vere Street to many of the visitors, in the presence of his wife and accomplice, who took part in the narration as if it had been a praiseworthy act. This unfortunate woman was so deeply abased that she frequently submitted herself to this act. The miserable fellow was one of three depraved creatures who lived in the same house in the City. One of them was known by the name of “ Venus ”.

‘ The majority of these reptiles seem to have taken fictitious names which, as a rule, did not harmonise with their profession. For instance, “ Kitty Cambric ” was a coal merchant, “ Miss Selina ” an errand boy in a police- station, “ Black-eyed Leonora ” a drummer, “ Pretty

[ 406 ]


Harriet ” a butcher, “ Lady Godiva ” a waiter, the

Duchess of Gloucester ” a gentleman’s servant, the “ Duchess of Devonshire ” a blacksmith, and “ Miss Sweet- lips ” a coimtry shopkeeper.

‘ It is widely and very naturally supposed that those possessed by such passions were usually very effeminate persons. But Cook’s report teaches tis that this was a false supposition and the contrary is often the case; that, for instance, Fanny Murray^ Lucy Cooper^ and Kitty Fisher® are now represented by an athletic sailor, a herculean porter and a deaf smith respectively. The last of these had two sons, very good-looking yoimg men, both of whom were, as he himself boasted, as corrupt as their father.

‘ These were some of the ordinary members of the club. The occasional members were, however, more numerous and, if possible, even worse, because they occupied higher positions in society. These “ ladies ”, like the real ones, had their favourite men. One of them. White, a drummer of the guard, was executed some time ago for a repulsive crime committed against a certain Lieut. Hebden*. White, as a general favourite, was very well versed in the secrets of the fashionable members of the club, with regard to which, immediately before his execution, he made a detailed written report, the truth of which he maintained to the last. It is impossible to reproduce this because the person who copied it in the presence of a police-officer declared that the narrative made him so ill that he could write no further®.’ Cook recounts further that a gentleman from a respectable

' See p. 268 for this famous courtesan.

  • See p. 268.
  • See p. 267.
  • Lieut. John Newball Hepburn, not * Hebden *, and Thomas White

were in December 1810 in the Old Bailey accused of an unnatural crime which had been committed on the 27th May of that year, found guilty, and both sentenced to death.

‘ The Phoenix of Sodom, pp. 10-14.

[ 406 ]


house in the City often visited one of these inn-brothels, staying there for several days and nights, durmg which time he usually enjoyed himself with eight, ten or even a dozen different men and boys^.

‘ Sunday was the usual great day for appointments, to which some came from a long distance, sometimes 30 miles from London, in order to take part in festivities and elegant amusements with grenadiers, servants, waiters, drummers and the whole band of catamites in human form, from the sweepings of Sodom to the refuse of Gomorrah*-’

Pisanus Fraxi quotes from a daily paper of that period details of the discovery of this paederasts’ club and the capture of its members*. The existence of such an associa- tion could not long be concealed. The suspicions of the authorities at Bow Street were aroused long before the actual break-up, which took place in July 1810. Con- temporary newspapers write of it as follows: ‘ Last Sunday night at 11 o’clock, three divisions of the Guard, accom- panied by policemen, were sent out with this end in view. The secret was so well kept that the object of the raid was unknown to all, except Mr. Reed’s confidant who led the divisions. The result was most successful.’ Twenty-three individuals were arrested and brought to the police station of St. Clement Dane, whence they were taken to Bow Street in cabs on Monday morning between ten and eleven o’clock, for their hearing. A ‘ raging crowd collected, con- sisting chiefly of women ’, who were so incensed and aggres- sive that ‘ it was with the greatest difficulty that they were prevented from lynching the prisoners ’.

The trial of seven of these took place at the Middlesex Court of Justice in Clerkenwell on Saturday the 22nd

• The Phoenix of Sodom, p. 17.

• Ibid., p. 22.

• P. Fraxi, Index librorum prohibitomm, pp. 333-338.

[ 407 ]


September, namely William Amos, alias Sally Fox, the innkeeper James Cook, Philip Kett, William Thomson, Richard Francis, James Done and Robert Aspinal. All were found guilty. Amos, who had been twice convicted previously for similar misdemeanour, was this time sen- tenced to three years’ imprisonment and to the pillory in the Haymarket opposite Panton Street. Aspinal, who seemed to have been less active than the others, was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment, and the rest to two years’ imprisonment and to the pillory in the same place.

The sojourn in the pillory proved to be an excruciating torment for the unfortunate prisoners. A newspaper describes it as follows:

‘ All classes of society were filled with disgust at the detestable doings of these creatures to such an extent that many thousands of people came to see them punished. Quite early in the morning the Old Bailey was literally besieged, and the thronging crowds put an end to the business of the Court at 12 o’clock. The shops from Ludgate Hill to the Haymarket were closed, the streets crowded with people who wished to see the villains pass by. Four of them had been taken from the House of Correction to Newgate on the Wednesday night, where Cook and Amos joined them, so that they might go together to the scene of their punish- ment.

‘ Shortly after 12 noon the “ ammunition carts ” started from the neighbouring market places. These were a number of carts drawn by butcher boys, who had previously filled them with offal and dung from the slaughter houses. Street vendors were also in readiness, carrying on their heads batskets filled with rotten apples, pears, cabbages and other vegetables and corpses of dogs and cats. All these articles



were sold at high prices to the onlookers, who spared no expense in order to provide themselves with missiles.

‘ A group of fishwives were there, armed with stinking flaunders and decaying guts. But these were not sold, as their zealous owners wished to keep them for their own use.

‘ The Sheriffs and officials of the City arrived at 12.30 with more than a hundred mounted men, armed constables, and a hundred policemen on foot. These men were sent to Old Bailey Yard, where a wagon, generally used for transporting prisoners from the London prisons to the galleys, was waiting ready for the culprits. The wagon was drawn by two horses, led by two men armed with a pair of pistols. The gates of the Old Bailey were closed and all strangers shut out. The prisoners were brought out and seated in the wagon. Amos laughed, and was thereupon reproached by his companions. They all sat erect and apparently cahn, but as they glanced up and saw the mass of spectators, covering even the roofs of the houses, they appeared to become alarmed. As the church clock struck half-past twelve the gates were opened. At the same time the crowd endeavoured to rush in, but they were driven back. A large posse of policemen, about sixty officers, armed and mounted as aforementioned, headed the pro- cession, with the City officers. Next came the wagon, escorted by about forty officers and the Sheriffs. The first greeting the prisoners received was a volley of mud and a serenade of hissing, shouts and curses, so that they were obliged to bend down towards the floor of the wagon in order to try and avoid the missiles. The mob, and especially the women, had collected and piled up a great quantity of mud from the streets with which to give the villains a warm welcome. These heaps looked like ammunition dumps in a shooting ground. They were soon exhausted, and by the time the wagon came to the old house which once belonged to the ill-famed Jonathan Wild, the prisoners looked like

[ 409 ]


bears just emerged from a pool of mud. The rain of mud continued all the way lo the Haymarket, and before half the way was done they resembled human beings no longer. Had the journey been a more lengthy one, the wagon would have been filled to the brim with dung and dirt. The inn- keeper, who sat a little apart from the others, was a big strong fellow and could not hide himself as easily as the other smaller men. Therefore, and because he was very well known, he was bombarded twice as furiously as the rest of them. Dead dogs and cats, offal, rotten potatoes, etc., showered upon him from every direction. His apparently manly attitude called forth increased wrath, and only the passing on of the wagon prevented his being lynched. At one o’clock four of them were put into a new pillory specially made for this occasion — the two others, Amos and Cook, enjoyed the privilege of a pillory to themselves, and they were accordingly driven to St. Martin’s Police Station. Long before any of them reached the places where the pillories awaited them, their faces were totally disfigured by blows, missiles and mud, and looked like living dung-hills. About fifty women obtained permission to form a circle round them, and these incessantly bombarded them with dirt, rotten potatoes and eggs, with dead cats, ofiFal, mud and dung from slop-pails and buckets brought by some of the butchers of St. James’s Market. The villains were treated very cruelly, but as the first party consisted of four, they had less to endure than was the case with the other two. In an hour’s time these four were re-seated in the wagon and taken by way of St. Martin’s Lane, Compton Street and Holborn to Cold Bath Fields Prison — ^welcomed in the same way as on their journey from Newgate. After their release from the pillory, the fiishwives and butcher boys who had shown such zeal were treated handsomely to brandy and wine, the price of which was collected on the spot. A few minutes later the

[ 410 ]


last two, Cook and Amos, alias Fox, were put into the pillory. Cook covered his face with his hands and lamented deplorably because of the terrible blows he received. Amos likewise moaned piteously and showed a large brick-bat which had been thrown at his face. The Under-Sheriff declared that the sentence must be carried out, and they started slowly for the piDory. Cook did not say a word, but at the sight of the preparations which were being made, Amos solemnly declared his innocence. The mob, however, furiously hissed and shouted at him, so he, also, was put into the pUlory, and in a few minutes they were both covered with filth and mud and their faces were more badly injured even than those of the other four men. Cook received several blows on his face and a big bruise on his brow, and both of Amos’ eyes were terribly swollen and stuck together. When they were finally released Cook nearly fainted, and they had to be helped to their wagon, which took them back to Newgate by the same route, the same welcome accompanying them. Cook lay down again on the seat, but Amos was recumbent in dirt and dung until their arrival at Newgate, where they finally took refuge from the wrath of the most furious mob ever seen. As they passed the end of Catherine Street, Strand, a coach- man stood up in his vehicle and gave Cook five or six blows with his whip.

‘ It is impossible to reproduce here the abusive language of the mob and the insults that were poured on these monsters during their journey. Fortunately, the weather was dry or they would have been suffocated. From the moment the wagon had started, the wrath of the mob began to pour on them in the shape of regular showers of filth and dirt. Before they reached Temple Bar the wretches were covered with such a thick layer of mud that they appeared inhuman. They were fettered and seated in such a manner that they could not he down and at the most could only protect their heads

[ 411 ]


to a linodted extent from the missiles by bending them. Some of them were badly injured by brick-bats and their facee bled horribly. The streets through which they passed reverberated with the shouts and curses hurled at them by the mob.’

Even those who approved of the State taking severe measures against the ever-increasing spread of paederasty would condemn scenes such as those described above, pro- voked by the State and legal authorities themselves. The only, and very doubtful, extenuatir^ circumstance was that the pillory, with all its cruel and repulsive accompani- ments, was a general method of punishing other misdeeds also, tmtil about the beginning of the nineteenth century, the culprits being completely abandoned to the wrath of the mob. In any case, as early as 1830 the punishment for paederasty had become much milder. Adrian remarks: ‘ Paederasty is progressing to an appalling extent, and I have heard many public trials of these cases before the Courts; that, for instance, of a man who one day enticed a boy to go with him behind St. Giles’s Church, and who was arrested and sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment. An upholsterer, a husband and father, who had attempted to interfere with one of his fellow-workmen, was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment, although all his acquaintances gave most favourable evidence as to his character. Thrfee boys accused of the same crime were sentenced to eight months’ imprison- ment^.’

A few more scandalous cases of this period are worth mentioning.

Mr. Greenfield, one of the most respected ministers in Edinburgh, and like many Scottish priests in receipt of a small income, decided to increase it by establishing a boarding

' Adrian, Skizzen aus England (Sketches from England), Frankfurt a.M., 1833. Vol. II,p. 11.

[ 412 ]


house for university students. He was taken in the act of unnatural sexual intercourse with one of these young men. For the sake of the reputation of both parties, the affair was hushed up and it was treated as a case of mental disease. Greenfield renounced his position and spent the rest of his life in retirement under nominal supervision.

The last Earl of Findlater and Seafield died in 1820. He was a gifted and intellectual man, but when some of his other characteristics became known he was obliged to leave England and thereafter spent most of his time on the Con- tinent, where he could more easily satisfy his desires. After his death the title of Findlater expired, but that of Seafield was inherited by Colonel Grant. Nearly the whole of his fortune was bequeathed to a Saxon family of the name of Fischer, especially to a young member of the same who, during his lifetime had been his page, and later on became his private secretary. The relatives of Lord Findlater refused to pay this legacy, and Fischer sued them for the money in the Scottish Courts. The family refused payment because the legacy was bequeathed ‘ob turpem causam’. The trial went on for a long time, and two commissioners were sent to Saxony to ascertain the truth of the matter. But the scandal caused by the members of such a prominent family bringing disgrace upon their good name for pecuniary reasons was so great, that friends interfered and an arrange- ment was made whereby Fischer received £60,000, that is, nearly the whole of his claimL

A few years later Mr. Muirhead, a rich landowner in Lanarkshire, near Glasgow, had to leave the country on account of paederasty*.

Mr. J. Wood, a lawyer in Edinburgh who moved in the best circles and was much esteemed as a philanthropist, devoting

^ P. Fraxi, Index y p. 341.

  • Ibid,




a great part of his time to the promotion of education and spending for some years a few hours daily teaching in the schools, was caught in the act of paederastic practices with his pupils. He availed himself of a hint which was given to him and fled to America, whence he never returned^

Thereafter paederasty appears to have had many devotees, particularly in Scotland and in Lancashire, where, according to the English police-surgeon Taylor, socratic love is extremely often to be met with. In Manchester and Liverpool there is hardly a session of the courts when one or more of these cases does not come up for trial. It is, likewise, also very common amongst English sailors^. According to Pavia, the Duke of Cumberland (son of George III) and Lord Castlereagh, later Marquis of London- derry, Minister of War, were homosexuals^.

The doings of the London paederasts at the beginning of the second part of the nineteenth century are described very vividly in a book published about 1850 or 1860, YokeVs Preceptor y in the section: ‘ A few words on Margeries in order to become acquainted with the ways and hiding- places of these brutish beings. ... In the last few years the number of these brutes in human shape generally called “ Margeries ”, “ PoofFs ”, etc., has increased in the capital to such an extent that for the sake of public safety an exact knowledge of them is necessary. The punishment for their abominable crimes is not nearly severe enough, and so long as the law will not treat them more drastically, there can be no hope of their suppression. The fellows are too well paid (mainly because they are — as is generally known — supported by their rich associates) to care a jot if they have to spend a few months in prison. Why was punishment in

' P. Fraxi, loc, cit., pp. 341-342.

  • Untrodden Fields of Anthropology ^ Vol. II, p. 356.
  • Pavia, loc. cit.^ Vol. Ill, p. 36.

[ 414 ]


the pillory abolished? Would it not be very wholesome for such brutes? They cannot be sufficiently disgraced and humiliated. The reader must believe that it is a fact that these monsters walk the streets just like feminine prostitutes on the look out for opportunities.

‘ Indeed, the Quadrant, Holbom, Fleet Street and the Strand are full of them. Not so very long ago signs and bills were himg in the windows of respectable hotels in the vicinity of Charing Cross with the notice: “ Beware of paederasts! ”

‘ They usually gather near the picture shops, and are recognisable by their effeminate appearance, fashionable clothing, etc. When they see anyone whom they tliink might be a good catch, they put their fingers in a curious way under their coat-flap and move them about there: this is their way of offering their services.

‘ Many of them hang about in saloons, theatres, caffis, etc. We could report many disgusting cases of the brutish activities of these wretches, but we do not wish to trespass on the reader’s time with such a repulsive topic. There are, however, one or two anecdotes which we must relate.

‘ The Quadrant is visited by a great number of the most notorious paederasts, who parade there in search of their “ prey ”, just like so many feminine prostitutes. One of them was called “ the Fair Eliza ”. This fellow lived in Westminster and had a mistress who was not ashamed to live on the income derived from his disgusting practices. Another fellow named “ Betsy H.”, who frequented the Strand, Fleet Street and St. Martin’s Court, is one of the most notorious and shameless paederasts. He is often seen in music-halls reciting obscene poems. His father was a notorious pander for men, and he himself has been imprisoned several times. Nevertheless, he still carries on his disgraceful occupation.

[ 415 ]


‘ There have been many homosexuals amongst actors, some of them enjoying a very good reputation. We could give the names of many of them, but from a sense of pity we will not do so. A very rich director of one of the big theatres is said to have carried on paederastic intercourse with one of his actors, and it is also generally known that another actor, playing French parts in a circus on the other side of the river, belongs likewise to that miserable and repulsive brotherhood*.’

Whether the above-mentioned paederast, known under the name of ‘ Fair Eliza ’, be identical with the homosexual actor Eliza Edwards referred to by Tamowsky and the English physician Taylor, is not known*.

A description of paederasty in London was published in 1881: The Sins of the Cities of the Plain; or The Recollections of a Mary-Ann. W ith short essays on, Sodomism and Tribadism. The author remarks in the appendix that as he was crossing Leicester Square on a sunny November afternoon in 1880, his attention was drawn to an extraordinarily handsome and effeminate-looking lad who was walking up and down, casting occasional glances at shop windows, and turning back again in order to attract and interest passers-by. This youth was a ‘ Mary Ann ’, as paederasts were then called by the people. His doings and adventures are related in this work, and the book reveals very interesting particulars of the sexual life and intercourse of paederasts, which is by no means confined to members of their own sex. Particular attention is given by the author — obviously firom personal experience — ^to the prominent paederasts Bolton and Park, arrested in 1887, who, disguised as women, had nmnerous

  • Yokel’s Preceptor: or more sprees in London, etc. London. Printed and

published by H. Smith, 37 HolyweU Street, Strand. Pp. 6 et seq.

• B. XamowBky, Die krankhaften Erscheinungen des OescMechtsinnes. Berlin, 1886. Pp. 15-16.

[ 416 ]


love-affairs with men. They got ofif lightly and, later on, pursued their former profession in Lisbon^.

To complete the presentation of nineteenth -century homo- sexuality in London contained in this book, we might mention F. Remo’s Ddinmtions, also of the beginning of the ’eighties®, and the already cited reports by Pavia (one of the greatest experts on homosexuality) on the life and doings of umings in London.

The former mentions amongst other things the ‘ Dublin Scandal ’ of 1884 and the ‘ Cleveland Street Affair ’ of 1889, which was the result of an article in the North London Press declaring that No. 19, Cleveland Street, Tottenham Court Road, was frequented by certain aristocrats for homo- sexual purposes. Although legal evidence was produced in court which completely justified the article, i.e., that a brothel for men was run in that house by a certain Hammond, and a male prostitute gave the names of earls and other nobles who frequented the house, nevertheless fhe Editor was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for slander. Pavia cites several other meeting-places, the resorts, past and present, of homosexuals, such as Holborn Casino, Argyll Rooms, the auditory of the Empire Theatre, St. James’s Buffet, Piccadilly Buffet, Marble Arch, near Hyde Park, ‘ The Enterprise ’ in the East End, a homosexual resort near the Elephant and Castle, etc., etc.

The following passage from Johannes Schlaf’s Third Realm (1900, page 73) is probably also based on personal observa- tion. Describing London night life, he says: ‘ There were old gentlemen who would enter into love-affairs with young soldiers, good-looking, strong, healthy fellows, willing for a

^See also Hirschfeld, Jahrbuch fiir SexueUe Zwischenatufen (1900), Vol. II, p. 63.

■ F. R6mo, La vie galante en Angleterre. Paris, 1887. Pp. 14-15, 260-261.

[ 417 ]


pound sterling to comply with any request, and the devil knows what other freaks.’

As in other countries, monasteries, colleges and boarding- schools in England are favourable to the development of homosexual tendencies. In an article in the New Review, July 1893 (‘ Our Public Schools, their Methods and Morals ’), the anonymous author compares the morals of English public schools with those of Sodom and Gomorrah*, and W. F. Stead writes in the Review of Reviews on the 15th June 1895: ‘ Should everyone found guilty of Oscar Wilde’s crime be imprisoned, there would be a very surprising emigration from Eton, Harrow, Rugby and Winchester to the jails of Pentonville and Holloway. Until then, boys are free to pick up tendencies and habits in public schools for which they may be sentenced to hard labour later on*.’

In contrast to the comparatively mild punishments given for paederasty about the middle of the century, more severe measures have been taken against it during the last decade, as may be seen from some of the trials of later days.

The trial of the poet Oscar Wilde in 1895 was undoubtedly the most sensational of all*. Oscar Wilde, a remarkably gifted poet, gave expression to a purely aesthetic tendency in modem English poetry. Tliis was evident in all his works, espe-

^ See Jahrbuch fiir sexudle Zwischenatuferiy Vol. Ill, p. 404.

  • Ibid.y p. 500.

• See the detailed necrology by Nunia Praetorious in Jahrbuch filr sexudle Zwischenstuferiy Vol. Ill, pp. 265-274; also 0. Sero, The Wilde Case and the Problem of Homosexuality (Leipzig, 1896); Handl, ‘The Wilde Triar in Die Zeity Vienna, 15th June 1895, No. 37; H. Rebell, ‘Defense d’Oscar Wilde * in Mercure de FraneSy 1895; Tybald in Echo de Paris of the 29th May 1895; Paul Adam, * L’Assaut malicieux ’ in Revue Blanche of the 15th May 1895; Henry de R6gnier, ‘ Souvenirs sur Oscar Wilde ’ in Revue Blanche of the 16th December 1895; W. F. Stead in the Revieu of Reviews of the 15th June 1895, pp. 491-492; notice in Jahrbuch fiir sexuelle ZwischenstufeUy Vol. Ill, pp. 550 and 608; Bernstein in Die Neue Zeity 1895, Nos. 32 and 34; Havelock Ellis, loc. cit,, p. 212; Robert H. Sherard, Oscar Wilde, the Story of an unhappy Friendshipy Popular edition, London, 1908.

[ 418 ]


cially in the novel we o/DonanCrraj/^ Wilde, a married

man, appears to have developed — for the same reasons as the ancient Greeks — a preference for homosexual activity. In Dorian Gray he describes the love of the painter Hall- ward for the youth Dorian Gray; this attachment was ‘ perfectly idealistic and spiritual, purely artistic and aesthetic, but nevertheless homosexual The poet himself describes it to the judges in the following idealistic form:

‘ The love, which in our day must not be called by its real name, the love of a man of riper years for a younger one — as for instance that of Jonathan for David — the foundation of Plato’s philosophy, sung by Shakespeare and Michelangelo in their sonnets, this pure and profound attachment, spiritual and perfect, by which the greatest artists were inspired to create their most magnificent works — this love is, in our century, so misunderstood that it has brought me before a Court of Justice. Nevertheless, it is beautiful, august and sublime, the noblest of all forms of attachment. It is purely spiritual and can exist only between an older and a younger man, provided that the older is spiritual and highly intelligent whilst the younger still possesses intact freshness of soul, a capacity for hope and the ability to find pleasure and joy in fife. It must be so, but the world will not understand it. It brings scorn on those who practise it and sometimes even puts them in the pillory.’

Unfortunately this theory suffered shipwreck when trans- posed into reaUty, just as in the time of ancient Hellas. For these attachments cannot possibly be looked upon as purely psychical. And a really pure and noble friendship between men will not stand the slightest admixture of sexuaUty without assuming a homosexual character. With Wilde the sexual side predominated. Numa Praetoria writes of him

^ See J. Gaulke, ‘Oscar Wilde's “Dorian Gray"' in Jahrbuchfiir sexueUe Zwischenstufen, Vol. Ill, pp. 276-291,



that he ‘ led the life of a true sensuaUst and always let his sensuality take its course without any repression whatso- ever.’ He frequented aristocratic circles, where he entered into what may doubtless be considered sexual relationships with young men. His relations with the twenty-year-old Lord Alfred Douglas resulted in his imprisonment, on the accusation of the young man’s father. Wilde was, in 1895, sentenced to two years’ penal servitude for lascivious prac- tices with men. After having served his time, the unhappy man went to live in Paris, where he died on the 7th December 1900, abandoned by all his friends.

Although Wilde cannot be acquitted of all guilt, it must be admitted that his punishment was much too severe.

The physician and author John Addington Symonds, the well-known authority on the Renaissance and collaborator with Havelock Ellis in his works on homosexuality, is said to have himself displayed homosexual tendencies, although he was a married man‘. The excellent chapter in Ellis’ book on homosexuality in Greece was written by him. Further particulars regarding the individuahty of Symonds are given in his biography by Horatio Brown*.

According to the following report in Jahrbuch fur sexueUe Zunschenstufen^, the late Marquis of Anglesey, who died in 1905, seems to have had homosexual tendencies, or at least to have been exceedingly effeminate.

‘ The divorce suit recently brought by the beautiful young Marchioness of Anglesey against her husband caused no astonishment. The young bride, who parted from her husband during their honeymoon, was long ago expected to try to regain her freedom. The Marchioness, nee Chetwynd,

‘ Moll, KorUrdre Sexualempfindung, third edition, p. 143.

• H. Brown, The Life and Letters of J, A, Symonds, London, 1894.

  • Vol. Ill, pp. 543-544. See also Pavia, he, cit,, Vol. Ill, p. 48.

[ 420 ]


daughter of Sir Gieorge Chetwynd and the Marchioness of Hastings, was only eighteen years old when she, two years previously, consented to be the wife of the then Earl of Urbridge. With her lovely finely-chiseUed features, framed by a mass of reddish-golden hair, her beautiful violet eyes, she was one of the most ad mir ed beauties in England. She was always surrounded by groups of enthusiastic admirers, but she was impressed by the soft and gentle individuality of the Marquis, and preferred him to anyone else. Little did she know how much her future husband resembled a pampered, spoilt, eccentric woman, possessed of aU the foibles and caprices of the fair sex. Indeed, the then twenty- five-year-old nobleman, who on his father’s death became the fifth Marquis of Anglesey, looked like a beautiful young woman, in man’s dress, more than anything else. He was not at all ashamed to powder his face in order to look paler and more interesting. He was always perfumed, and his fine slender fingers were always covered with rings. He was seen promenading in Piccadilly or on the Boulevards in Paris with a snow-white, pink-ribboned poodle in his arms, who was just as abundantly perfumed with patchouli and Eau d’Espagne as his master. In this aristocratic young Croesus a fine serpentine-dancer was lost. To appear on the stage of theatres or music halls as an imitator of the famous and graceful danseuse Loie Fuller was one of the Marquis’s greatest pleasures.’

According to Spitzka‘, Lord Combury, who was British Governor of New York in the reign of Queen Anne and a notorious waster, was in the habit, in spite of his exalted position, of walking in the street dressed as a woman and behaving like a courtesan.

‘ Spitzka in the Chicago Medical Review, 20th August 1881, quotes KrafiFt-Ebing’s Peychopathia sexualie, tenth edition, Stuttgart, 1899.

[ 421 ]


One of the earliest references to homosexual relations between women (tribady) is contained in Sir Philip Sidney’s pastoral romance Arcadia, dating from the sixteenth century. One passage relating to two princesses who go to bed together reads as follows: ‘ They adorned the bed with their prettiest clothes, so that on this night it surpassed the couch of Venus. Then they caressed each other, exchanging tender, though chaste, embraces and sweet, though cold, kisses. It seemed as though the God of Love were playing with them without his arrow, or that, tired of his own fervours, he had come to refresh himself between their sweet Ups.’

At the voluptuous court of Charles II conditions were extremely favourable for the spread of Lesbian love. It appears that, in particular, a certain lady of the court had made advances to other women. The lady was Miss Hobart Hamilton, who is mentioned in the Memoirs of Count Grammont.

‘ Miss Hobart was a type of woman up till then unknown in England, just as her appearance must have been striking in a country where it was an exception for a young person not to be good-looking. She had a good figure, a resolute manner, and also intelligence, but she was not prudent enough. Her imagination was too vivid and somewhat unbridled. Her burning glance was the reverse of attractive. She was tender hearted, but, so it was said, only towards the fair sex.

‘ The first to attract her attention and tender solicitude was Miss Baggot, who reciprocated innocently and un- suspectingly. But on realising that all her friendship was not sufficient to satisfy the passion of a Hobart, she renounced her conquest in favour of the small niece of the governess, who felt greatly honoured by this.

‘ Rumours concerning this irregularity — ^whether true or not — soon began to circulate at court, but the people of the court were too uncultured to know about this refinement of

[ 422 ]


the tender affections which was so familiar in ancient Greece, and they formed the opinion that the august Miss Hobart, with her preference for the fair sex, was something different from what she appeared to be.

‘ Owing to her new gift they began to sing satirical songs about her, and as a result of the innuendoes her friends finally deserted her.

‘ One day the ladies went for a ride, and upon their return a certain Miss Temple dismounted at Miss Hobart’s house for rest and refreshment after the fatigue of the ride. However, first of all she asked permission to change her underwear, that is to say, to undress in the presence of her hostess. Her wish was, of course, readily granted.

‘ “ That’s exactly what I was going to suggest to you ”, said Miss Hobart. “ Although you look as lovely as an angel in your riding habit, there is nothing like fresh linen and comfort. I can’t tell you ”, she added, placing her arm round Miss Temple’s shoulders, “ how glad I should be if you would feel at home here. What I specially appreciate in you is your sense of cleanliness. In this respect, as well as in many others, you’re very different from some of the other ladies. Take, for instance, that little fool Miss Jennings. You must have observed that she was admired by most of the dandies at court on account of her marvellous complexion, which is probably not entirely natural, and on account of her follies which, on the contrary, are very natural, and for which she is regarded as very witty. I have spent a great deal of time in her society and was on good enough terms with her to know something about her intellectual gifts; but the fact that they are no better than her feet does not mean much. I have been told some edifying little stories about her unclean habits. She is said to abhor water like a cat. Just imagine, she never washes her whole body, but only those parts that are visible — her face, neck and hands ”.

[ 423 ]


‘ Miss Temple was even more pleased with this than with the sweets she was offered, and in order to waste no time Miss Hobart undressed her before the maid had come in. At first Miss Temple made a few remonstrances, for she did not wish to accept such a service from a lady of Miss Hobart’s standing at Court, but Miss Hobart insisted that she was only too pleased to help. When they had finished eating sweets and Miss Temple was undressed, her hostess said: “ Let us go to the bathroom, where we can have a nice chat without being disturbed by a possible visitor.” Miss Temple consented and the two of them sat down on a couch. “ You are too young, my dear,” began Miss Hobart, “ to know anything about the terrible and dangerous character of men ”, etc.’

Follows a vivid description of the manner in which Miss Hobart endeavoured to present the male sex in the worst possible light, in order to convert her guest to the idea of love between women, and, in particular, to the idea of love for herself (Miss Hobart). She spoke of the gentlemen of the Court and depicted Rochester, in particular, in the darkest colours imaginable. An eavesdropping maid overheard the conversation and repeated it to Rochester, who had Miss Hobart ‘ dressed down ’ by Killegrew in the presence of Miss Temple.

‘ Your inclinations and your passion for young Miss Temple are known to everyone except herself, but if she had an inkling of what you want of her, she would surely treat you in the same way as Lady Falmouth had done. I advise you not to continue setting traps for a young girl who is too chaste to fall in with your wishes. I further advise you to reinstate your maid, in order to stop her objectionable gossip. She tells everyone that she is pregnant, and ascribes it to you (sic) and charges you with the basest ingratitude. You may rest assured that I have not invented these things.



However, should you disbelieve that I have heard this from her own mouth, let me inform you that she overheard your entire conversation in the bathroom and gave me a detailed account of it, not omitting your witty descriptions of all our fnends at Court, and the improper couplet you recited to this lovely girl, also how you finally lured poor Miss Temple into the trap which you only set her in order to see her charms.

The author of ScUan's Harvest Home (London, 1794) dealt with London’s Lesbians of the eighteenth century. At that time Lesbian love was called ‘ game of fiats ’, which probably meant a special mode of sexual intercourse between women. This ‘ new kind of sin ’, so widespread among ladies of high social position, was said to be just as common in Twickenham as it is in Turkey.

Hiittner writes about the occurrence of homosexual practices at girls’ boarding schools^ while Archenholtz even records the existence of Lesbian clubs®.

‘ There is no hmit to Ubidiousness in London. There are females who avoid aU intimate intercourse with the opposite sex, confining themselves to their own sex. These females are called Lesbians. They have small societies, known as Anandrinic Societies, of which Mrs. Y. . . . *, formerly a famous London actress, was one of the presidents. These Lesbians offer up their unclean sacrifices at these places, but their altars are not worthy of the secret groves where Dionne’s doves were united in love; all they deserve is a thick veil to obscure them fix)m the sight of men.’

• ‘ . . . And these inexperienced young creatures, full of sensuality, are left together without any supervision whatever, especially when they are in bed, and they spend their time reading obscene novels or in even more shameful amusements that are unmentionable.’ Hiittner, Sittm- gemalde von London (London Morals), pp. 183-4.

• Archenholtz, England, Vol. I, pp. 269-270.

‘This was most probably Mn. Yates of the Drury Lane Theatre (d. 1787).

[ 426 ]


On the 5th July 1777 a woman was sent to prison for six months for wearing male attire and for ‘ marrying ’ three different womens

According to H. Ellis, Lesbianism was in his day mostly indulged in by the, ladies of the London stage and by prostitutes. A friend of his gave him the following account of the goings-on at the big London theatres and music-halls:

‘ Passionate friendships between girls — ranging from the most innocent associations to Lesbian love — are very common among the actresses, chorus and ballet girls. The latter seem to have a special bent for it. The confusion in the crowded dressing rooms, where the girls frequently have to wait for hours between calls in an over-stimulated state, presents ample opportunities for the development of such emotional aberrations. In nearly every theatre there is a group of girls who are avoided by the rest, or isolate them- selves from the rest, though they are inordinately devoted to each other within the group. The majority of them are prepared to flirt with the opposite sex as well. But I know a few who would never speak to a man, and who are never seen without a permanent girl friend. If the latter belongs to another company, her “ lover ” waits for her at the stage door each night. However, these relations in most cases do not go very far. The English girl of the lower and middle classes, whether chaste or not, is always completely governed by tradition and conventional ideas. Ignorance and con- vention prevent her from accomplishing the logical con- summation of this perverse association. Among the upper classes, as well as among better class prostitutes, these perverse practices have developed to their full extent, owing to the greater hberty of movement and action and to the pre- vaihng freedom from prejudice.’

  • P. Mantegazza, Historico- Anthropological Studies of Sexual Life.

Jena. P. 98.

[ 426 ]


Thus it is clear from the above that these homosexual tendencies may sometimes be traced to accidental origins, and are often due to circumstances similar to those described here. The same may be said of prostitutes. The homosexual tendency is not necessarily congenital with them and is frequently only a form of compensation for the absence of normal love. Ellis’s informant said the following about the practice of homosexuahty among London prostitutes: ‘ In London such things arc far less obvious and this phenomenon is less frequent, but by no means very rare. A considerable number of well-known prostitutes are reputed to have a homosexual tendency, but this does not affect their attitude towards their profession. I do not know of any prostitute who confines herself exclusively to Lesbianism, but I have heard hints to the effect that there have been one or two such abnormal creatures. One night I visited the Corinthian Club (a locale frequented by better-class prostitutes) and heard a fashionably dressed prostitute announcing that she would go home with a girl, and no one present doubted her word. Another prostitute had quite a number of female clients who bought photographs of her. But among lower- class prostitutes such practices are extremely rare. Many of them have never heard of any such practices, except, per- haps, of paederasty. They are usually shocked and even outraged when they hear about it, and consider it as part of “ French bestiality ”. NaturaUy, every prostitute has a girl friend with whom she sleeps occasionally, but as a rule this signifies no more than in the case of all other girls.’

In addition to homosexual persons of both sexes there are also numerous cases of physical and psychical hybrides, such as the viragines, hermaphrodites, and persons of dual sex, whose tendencies are neither expressly heterosexual, nor expressly homosexual, and in whom the two tendencies prevail sometimes alternately and sometimes simultaneously.

[ 427 ]


Butler, in his Hvdibras, mentions such a ‘man- woman’. In his age he had many models for a virago, such as the woman bandit Moll Cutpurse, who Uved in the time of Charles I. She never indulged in the pleasures of feminine adornments, never dressed stylishly, and generally displayed no feminine characteristics. She wore male dress and committed her thefts and hold-ups in the neighborhood of London^. One day the notorious highwayman Thomas Rumbold (executed in 1689) met a colleague who robbed him of his purse. In the ensuing fight Rumbold proved the victor. He bound his enemy hand and foot and searched him for his lost purse. Unbuttoning his adversary’s coat he was amazed to find that ‘ he ’ was a woman. The virago then told him that she was the daughter of an armourer. ‘ In my youth’, she said, ‘ my mother wanted me to be a seamstress; but aU her pleadings, warnings and reprimands failed to diminish my martial spirit. I was no use in the kitchen, either. I was always hanging about in my father’s workshop, enjoying the sight of the instruments of war which he was producing. It was my greatest pleasure to be allowed to brandish a nice sharp sword ’.

When she was twelve years old she took fencing lessons in secret. In her fifteenth year she married an innkeeper, but her married life was very unhappy. Every now and then she donned a man’s suit, made excursions to the highways and held up travellers*.

It is interesting to note that there was another virago, the woman pirate Mary Reed (eighteenth century), whose sexual tendencies — as in the case of the above-mentioned Amazon — ^were determined by external circumstances. Her mother deliberately and systematically brought her up as a

  • E. Whitehead, Life, Deeds and Fates of the Most Remarkable English

Highwaymen and Pirates, Part I, pp. 93-96.

• Ibid., Part I, pp. 186-189.

[ 428 ]


boy and she was made to enter the service of a French lady as a groom. This naturally contributed very considerably in the course of the years to the development of her masculine characteristics. Finally she enhsted in the Navy and served on board a warship. However, in spite of aU this, she was hetero-sexual, for she fell passionately in love with a soldier, whom she later married^

The well-known Chevalier d’Eon played a notorious part as a man-woman, or rather woman-man, in the ’seventies of the eighteenth century. He hved in England for a long time. Everybody thought he was a woman, except Archen- holtz, who happened to be in England when the d’Eon affair was causing a stir in that country. He suggested that d’Eon might in fact be a man, since he had been admitted as a member to a Masonic Lodge. Archenholtz further records:

‘ He (d’Eon) declared in 1777 that he would on a certain date produce proofs as to his sex.

‘ He fixed the place and the hour. The scene was to be a large coffee -house in the City during Exchange hours, probably in order to make sure of a large audience. There was an almost incredible rush. He appeared in the fuU dress uniform of a French captain, with the Louis Cross on his tunic. He made a speech, declaring that he had come to prove his manhood to all who doubted and would do so by the use of either his sword or stick. But as the challenge was not taken up by anyone, the Chevaher went home triumphantly’.’

Subsequently d’Eon gave a display of swordsmanship. ‘ It was in January 1793 that he exhibited bis skill as a fencer at Ranelagh. This strange creature, now sixty-seven years old, appeared on this occasion in the costume of Minerva, in full armour, with a helmet adorned with plumes. He fought with

  • Whitehead, he. cit., Part II, pp. 75-81.

’Archenholtz, England, Vol. 11, pp. 108-113, 117-123.

KF [429]


another Frenchman, a certain Sainville, who was a great artist and an expert swordsman, and displayed extra- ordinary sldll. This new kind of entertainment attracted a large crowd of distinguished spectators. The scene of the contest was a stage erected for the purpose. Present was an English girl named Miss Bateman, a beautiful young woman who was devoted to the art of fencing, and who later became d’Eon’s pupil and intimate friend'.’ Hannah Moore, who had long wanted to make the Chevalier’s acquaintance, finally met him at a dinner party and was quite charmed with his, or rather her, gift for conversation, her wit, culture and gaiety.

He was of a gay disposition, especially after he had drunk one or two bottles of Burgundy. Hannah Moore found it most ridiculous that this female creature should be dis- cussing with General Johnson with the utmost thoroughness, sometimes observing ‘ . . . quand j’6tais colonel d’lm tel regiment. . . .’ One Chevalier d’Eon, the pious lady finally concluded, was enough*.

Chevaher d’Eon also played a part in Enghsh eroticism. Thus, for instance, it is recorded in the Adventures of an Irish Smock (London, ca. 1875, pp. 51-53) that Chevalier Madame d’Eon confessed the truth concerning her sex to a courtesan. According to Adrian, an author who wrote in the first decade of the nineteenth century, Englishwomen have a greater natural propensity for viraginity than women of other nations. He was struck with the long, soldierly stride of the EngUshwoman, as being characteristic of her. ‘When you see two Englishwomen taking a walk together, you are reminded of a drummer and a corporal on the march. Their

  • Archenholtz, British Annals, Vol. XI, pp. 426-427. Cf. also v. Schtitz,

Letters from London, pp. 60-52.

  • Jesse, Oeorge Selwyn and his Contemporaries, Vol. I, p. 283. Cf. also on

d’Eon History of Pope Joan by M. J. A. L., Leipzig, 1788 ; and J. Larwood, The Story of the London Parks, London, 1881. Pp. 436-438.

[ 430 ]


steps are so even, so regular and measured, lacking all feminine gracefulness and possessing a resolute, masculine character ^

Bornemann,on the other hand, holds that viraginity is but rarely to be encountered in England as compared with other countries, and mentions among its principal manifestations wild riding, an enthusiasm for hunting, and the like. ‘ The ladies are far too much in favour of the slogan “ the wilder the better ”, and take a keen pleasure in thunder and lightning, scorching heat and pouring rain, whereas a fashionable gentleman does not like to go riding without a large parasol or umbrella to protect him from the sun or rain. The Master endeavours to play the part of a delicate creature, while the Mistress Ukes to appear strong and bold. Both strive to attract attention and admiration in the wrong direction*.’

A certain London cattle-drover named Bob Bussicks (died 1792) achieved a certain notoriety among real hermaphrodites in the middle of the eighteenth century. He was one of the ‘ sights ’ of London. A whole book was devoted to this pitiable creature, an obscene work entitled Letters from Laura and Evelyne, giving an Account of their Mock Marriage, Wedding Trip, etc, (London, 1883).

Both Laura and Evelyne were hermaphrodites, each being capable of playing both the active and the passive parts in sexual intercourse. They relate the incidents preceding and following their ‘ wedding ’ with their ‘ super sexual con- sorts ’. An orgy held in their honour at a London pomological club is also described in the most obscene manner at the end of this hermaphroditic novel.

^ Adrian, loc, cit,, Vol. II, p. 16.

• W. Bomemann, Qlimpaes of England and London in 1818. Berlin, 1819. Pp. 194-6.

[ 431 ]



Harshness is said to be one of the most prominent of all the English national characteristics. This assertion is based on the views of perfectly unbiassed observers who are, like the author of the present work, firm friends of the English. Archenholtz, Macaulay, and Taine are among those who hold this view. Taine writes that this brutal trait of the ancient Anglo-Saxons still persists in their descendants, as evidenced by the prevalence of blood sports, the excessive use of the ‘ cat ’, etc. Macaulay also admits that the principal traits of the English character have remained unchanged for many generations, though it must never- theless be agreed that a considerable part of the brutalities of earlier times have been eliminated as a result of education.

However, cruel punitive measures like the pillory men- tioned in the previous chapter, public whippings, and bloody boxing contests^ lasted until the middle of the nineteenth century. All the foreign observers, from Lichtenberg to Steffen, remark on the disagreeable impression they gained of the peculiarly English sport of ‘ pugilism ’. Lichtenberg,

  • Fights, compared with which boxing may be regarded as a gentle,

refined and harmless pastime, were the favourite amusement of many people. Great masses of spectators assembled to see the gladiators massacring each other with lethal weapons, and they screamed wdth pleasure if one of the fighters lost a finger or an eye (Macaulay, History of England).

[ 432 ]


in a letter addressed to J. C. Dieterich on this subject, in 1725 wrote: ‘ The morning before yesterday two men were fighting in the street where I five. One of them was knocked down by his opponent right at the beginning of the fight, and died on the spot. I removed the body, but had not seen the whole brutal contests’ Another boxing match is described by Lichtenberg in a letter dated the 28th Sep- tember 1775. Hiittner, in the summer of 1802, saw a boxing encounter in Wimbledon, near London, between the Jew Elias and the notorious pugilist Tom Jones. The former, after a terrible combat lasting twenty minutes, landed a blow to Jones’s ear, knocking him down.

Prize-fights were staged by pugilists around 1830 at the smaller theatres, especially in that at Catherine Street, Strand. Adrian describes one of these pugilistic performances at the above-mentioned theatre in his English Sketches^ in a chapter entitled ‘ Boxers in which he writes of the almost incredible coarseness of the spectators.

In the ’forties of the nineteenth century boxing was prohibited by the police.

‘ But news of a proposed prize fight between two brutish fellows always leaks out to the public, who go along in large numbers to see them, encouraging them by applause, and honouring them by betting on the result. It is a repulsive sight. When the exhibition is over the result is published in the newspapers. The Press helps to glorify this worst of nuisances. Foreigners are requested to note that summary arrests follow if the police learn about these spectacles and arrive in time*. Yet in spite of the fact that public boxing

^ Letters of Lichtenberg, edit. Albert Leitzmarm and Carl Schiiddekopf. Leipzig, 1901. Vol. I,p. 219.

  • J. Gambihler, Handbook for Visitors to London. Munich, 1844.

Pp. 142-3.

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contests were prohibited and pursued by law, they continued to attract a large section of the English public*.’

These facts alone are sufficient to show to what extent sadistic tendencies were developed in the English people. But a still more striking contribution to the history of Sadism, i.e., the lustful joy experienced by perverts at the sight of pain and suffering in human beings or animals is provided by the public executions, which have exercised a powerful attraction and ghoulish fascination on the English from earliest times.

‘ This secret lust, which attracts so many people to the horrible spectacle of pubhc executions, is a type of excite- ment in which the sexual element predominates and actually takes possession of the spectators during the act of execu- tion. This is the subject of the Marquis de Sade’s notorious novels, which are by no means pure fiction, but are, on the contrary, a reflection of the truth*.’

This unholy pleasure in killing and torturing is too con- spicuous a feature of ‘ Merry Old England ’ to require a more detailed description. We need only think of the plays of Marlowe and Shakespeare, or of those of Ford, Massinger and others, in which the horrible blood lust of the age is so clearly depicted. We will only quote here a few examples from more recent times of this fanatical lust for executions.

During the Restoration period the noble knights took considerable pleasure in attending the most horrible execu- tions. Even ‘ gently nurtured ’ ladies came to feast their eyes on the horrible spectacle. ‘ The good Evelyn applauded them, the courtiers praised them in song. They had sunk so

^ G. Steffen, City of Five Million Inhabitants, p, 201, Compare re history of pugilism in England Pierce Egan’s Boxiana, or Sketches of ancient and M^em Pugilism, London, 1824. Four Vols.

  • Ivan Bloch, Contributions to the Aetiology of the Psychopalhia Sexualis

(Dresden, 1903), Vol. II, p. 48, and The Sexual Life of Our Times (Berlm, 1909), p. 621.

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low, and their senses were blunted to such an extent that they were not in the least nauseated by the awful pro- ceedings, which would have filled with horror anyone possessing normal feelings of humanity. Some even went further than that. When John Coke, the learned lawyer, was being quartered, Captain Turner, who was in charge, ordered the executioners to bring another prisoner named Hugh Peters on the scaffold to be quartered, and to ask him whether he was satisfied with their work, which the executioners, rubbing their bloody hands, duly did. Characteristically enough, immediately .after experiencing the pleasures of the spectacle of torture and execution, these bloodthirsty noblemen hurried away to indulge in the most incredible debaucheries and orgies*. This is one of the most patent proofs of the sexual origin of their cruel lust*.’

Tyburn, where the executions in London took place, was a recognised venue of entertainment in the eighteenth .century. Seats were booked in advance, as at cock fights and boxing matches. No Monday passed without an execution. Very often several prisoners, up to fifteen at a time, were tortured to death, and on such occasions the crowd of spectators was always more numerous®. Tom Browne records that an old lawyer who had offices in Holbom always used to grant his clerks leave of absence on execution days, so that they might have some ‘ fun Lady Hamilton considered it a deUghtful experience to have attended in Naples the executions of Prince Caraccioli, the physician Cirillo, and others®. Thack- eray writes: ‘ A hundred years ago crowds assembled in large numbers to witness the last appearance of a highwayman

> H. Taine, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 18, 19.

• Mrs. Manley, AUdaviis, p. 672.

• J. Rodenberg, Sttidienreisen in England. Leipzig, 1872. P. 289.

• W. Thombury, Uaunied London. London, 1880. P. 374.

• The. Story of Lady Emma Hamilton. Leipzig, 1816. P. 118.

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and to make fun of him. Swift, with grim humour, advised him to obtain a white shirt and to tie a black or red ribbon round his white cap, so as to enter the cart cheerfully. The same hero inspired Gay to some of his loveliest ballads and other poetical works*.’

But he was mistaken when, further on, he wrote: ‘ Condi- tions are different now (1850). If a victim were brought out to be executed in a public place, all the windows would be hastily closed and the people, sick with horror, would with- draw into their houses and bar the doors.’

Executions in England, up to the last decades of the nineteenth century, were a favourite entertainment for the masses.

Schlesinger writes on this subject as follows:

‘ So you want to hear something about our national festivals? ’ said a highly educated English lady who was a frequent visitor to the Continent, and was only too keenly aware of the shortcomings of her beloved country, which she saw clearly and without bias. ‘ So you want to know where our festivals are held? The grape harvests, Shrovetide frohcs, and other events which are celebrated by country folk in your sunny land with wine, dancing and general merry- making? Well, I will tell you. They are held at Newgate, sir, if there happens to be an execution, or in Horsemonger Lane, or at some other nice place outside the jails. Crowds of people assemble there from daybreak until the moment when the hangman performs his horrible duty. Your fairs and festivals are sparsely attended as compared with the multitudes who assemble at these places. The windows of the surrounding houses are let at high prices; stands for specta- tors are erected; stalls for the sale of food and drink spring up in the vicinity like mushrooms. The people pay good prices for beer and brandy. People come along from great

  • Thackeray, English Humorists, pp. 108-109.

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distances on foot and on horseback, or in carriages, to witness the barbarous performance. And the first rows are occupied by women, by my countrywomen. But they are by no means women of the lower classes only. They also include smartly dressed ladies, pretty girls with golden locks. Oh, it is a terrible shame, but it is true. And, of course, it is the deplorable duty of our newspapers to give a complete account of the horrible event, not omitting even the most minute detail of the victim’s last agonised convulsions — their readers would never forgive them if they did^’

This description is by no means exaggerated. That was the true position until comparatively recently not only in the big cities but also in the provinces. A passage in Holzen- dorff’s excellent work on the uselessness of capital punish- ment refers to this subject in the following terms:

‘ The otherwise peaceful and good-natured population of a small town displays unusual malice on the occasion of an execution, and it may therefore be asserted that attendance at the performance of capital punishment brings to the surface the basest instincts not only in the case of wicked and corrupted people, but also in those who are otherwise of a gentle disposition. Dymond reports that an execution carried out at Chelmsford was made the occasion of a “ veritable carnival of debauchery ” by the populace. The executioner was entertained to dinner at a public house the night before the execution in order to make him relate incidents from his professional experience. People were streaming to the scene from a radius of twenty miles. Young men and women formed merry groups and enjoyed them- selves thoroughly*.’

^ M. Schlesinger, Wanderings through London (Berlin, 1852), Vol. I, p. 164.

  • Quoted in Bloch, Beitrdge zur Aetiologie der Psychopathia Sexiudia

(Dresden, 1903), Vol. II, pp. 49-50.



It would be difficult to demonstrate more clearly than does the latter fact that this gruesome delight in execution had a sexual basis, which in turn proves that the tendency was a sadistic one.

Under the influence of such ‘ shows which were repeated again and again, some individuals developed into regular ‘ execution fans The latter included a large proportion of persons of high rank.

In Aspects of the Character of English Eccentrics^ the following passage occurs: ‘ The sight of executed criminals affords a different, but just as extraordinary kind of pleasure

to S a gentleman who is otherwise universally respected

for his sterling character. Executions have an indescribable fascination for him and exercise an inexplicable effect upon him. One of his friends reproached him Avith this; S. . . . made excuses and wagered that he would not attend the next execution, a thing he had never done before. The day of the next execution arrived, and brought with it an irresistible urge for S. ... to indulge in his favourite recrea- tion. He rode to Tyburn (the place of execution) and paid the wager. When the regicide Damiens was tom in pieces by horses in Paris*, S. . . . travelled to the French capital for the sole purpose of witnessing the event, and paid the executioner to allow him to be present on the execution platform, in order to obtain a close view of the gmesome proceedings. After witnessing the execution he immediately returned to England.’

‘ S.’ was most probably George Selwyn, one of the most notorious execution fans of the eighteenth century.

• Leipzig, 1796-1798, p. 48.

  • '8ee detailed description of this fearful execution, ‘ Assassinat de

Louis XV et supplice de Damiens Extrait par Lemonty des Mimoirea manuacrita du Due de Cray. Revue Retroapective. Paris, 1883. Tome 1, pp. 367-370.

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The most gruesome details of a suicide or murder, a view of the distorted corpse, the appearance of dying people, were objects of keen interest to him and filled him with a strange, painful glee, Horace Walpole tells numerous anecdotes about the peculiar pleasures of his friend. When the first Lord Holland lay dying, Selwyn, as one of his intimate friends, insisted on seeing him. ‘ If Mr. Selwyn calls again,’ said Lord Holland to his butler, ‘ show him in. If I am stUl aUve I shall be pleased to see him, and if I am dead he will be pleased to see me.’

Some, of Selwyn’s friends were themselves addicted to this peculiar sport and encouraged Selwyn to indulge in it. Thus GiUy Williams wrote to Selwyn: ‘ Harrington’s door- keeper was condemned yesterday. Cadogan and I have already booked seats at Brazier’s, and I hope the Rev. Digby will arrive in time to witness the show with us. I assume that we shall also have the company of your honour, unless your palate is too spoilt for such simple fare*.’

Another friend, Henry St. John, begins a letter to Selwyn by recoimting what he and his brother saw at an execution: ‘ We enjoyed a full view of Mr. Waistcott as he mounted the scaffold with a white cockade in his hat.’

It appears that there have also been execution fans in England in more recent times. Hector Prance writes of an English baronet who, for several years, collected knives and daggers used by murderers and hangman’s ropes, and who subsequently sought for even more intense emotional experiences and acted the part of executioner himself. This man was known in Essex by the nickname ‘ Amateur Hangman ’. One day the official executioner was pre- vented from carrying out an execution, and the baronet immediately volunteered to officiate in his stead. After that

' E. S. BoBCoe and Helen Cletgue, Oeorge Sdwyn, his Letters, and his Life. London, 1899. Pp. 17-18. Also Timbs, Curiosities of London, p. 744.

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he found pleasure in the work, and at every execution he requested the Sheriff of the county to entrust him with the task of the executioner, which he performed with aristo- cratic elegance and with obvious pleasure, and also gratis. Thus within a short space of time he executed with rare skill three ordinary murderers, two patricides, two conjugal mur- derers, four child murderers, as well as two women poisoners. He appeared to experience particular pleasure in executing women, and at such times he wore a peculiar, cruel smile on his face. This gentleman was a member of the exclusive ‘ Army and Navy Club ’, before which he once had to justify himself on account of his gruesome activities, which he did to such good purpose that he was allowed to retain his membership of the Club.

Hector France once witnessed a sale of hangman’s ropes at an auction room in the Euston Road. Each rope bore a label marked by the executioner Marwood with the name of the condemned person, the date of the execution, and the nature of the crime. Thus it was possible, according to the purchaser’s taste, to buy a souvenir of a poisoner, a strangler or a patricide. The ropes with which wife murderers had been hanged were in great demand. Many gentlemen and young ladies of poetic aspect fought for the possession of these doubtful mementoes. One old maid bought an entire collection of the ropes. The part of the rope which had been in actual contact with the criminal’s neck were most eagerly bid for^

Among the really sadistic criminals of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries the highwayman Tom Dorbel deserves to be mentioned. Having committed a series of robberies, and having with great difficulty escaped the gallows, he took service as butler to a lady in Great Ormond Street, London. One day this lady sent him to Bristol to

» H. France, he, cit,, pp. 248-249.

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escort her young niece back to London. On the last stage of the journey he remained alone with her in the coach, raped and assaulted her in the most brutal manner, and satisfied his bestial lust on the gravely injured girl. Then collecting all her valuables, he ran away, but was captured and executed on 23rd March*.

The notorious prostitute Miss Annabella Parsons was once assaulted by a sadist and wounded on the genital organs with a penknife {Letters of the Duke of C., etc., Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1770, p. 272).

One of the earhest examples of a so-called ‘ Ripper ’ was the ‘ Monster ’, a man named Wilhams, who in April and May of the year 1790 rendered the streets of London unsafe for girls.

‘ The most remarkable court case of the year 1790 ’, relates Archenholtz*, ‘ was the case of the so-called “ Monster ”, who had wantonly injured an incredible number of women. As plaintiffs there appeared at the court Lady Walpole, Mrs. Boumey, Mrs. Smyth, Mrs. Blany, Mrs. Newman, Miss Porter with her two sisters. Miss Toussaint, Miss Godfrey, the two Misses Boughano, and many other less prominent persons of the female sex, aU of whom had either been wounded or had had their clothes cut by the “ Monster’s ” knife. The criminal’s name was Remrick Wilhams. The case was heard on the 8th of July at the Old Bailey, which was practically full of women. The elder Miss Porter appeared as one of the plaintiffs. Her counsel, a man named Pigot, invited the court to hsten to the most remark- able story upon which a prosecution had ever been based. He said: “ I must call your attention to a scene that is so new in the annals of humanity, a scene so inexphcable, so unnatural, that one might have regarded it, out of respect for human nature, as impossible, and might still be so regarded, but for

^ C. Whitehead, Zoc. dl.^ Vol. I, pp. 361-365.

• Archenholtz, British Annals, Vol. V, pp. 176-183.

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the fact that the proofs are of a kind that cannot fail to convince the senses.” This creature, charged with a nameless crime, the possibility of whose existence no legislator had ever dreamt of, a creature who stood alone among all human-kind, deserves to be described as to his physical appearance. He was five and a half feet tall and slightly built. He had a dark brown complexion, a long face, a long nose, and a wild look in his eyes. His features were not irregular, and his hair was naturally curly. However, he was not charged with bestial lust for the blood of women, but for “ damaging clothes ”. He was charged on three counts and was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on each, or a total of six years, to be served at Newgate. On the expira- tion of his sentence he was bound over in £400 sterling to be of good behaviour.” ’

Further details of this case are reported — in a very sceptical sense — by Georg Forster, who was staying in London at the time. He mentions the ‘ Monster ’ in his diary under the date of 12th May 1790:

‘ For the past four weeks the whole of London has been talking about the “ Monster ”. The newspapers are full of him; the playwrights entertain audiences with his exploits from the stage; the ladies are afraid of him; the mob give every pedestrian a keen look in case he is the “ Monster ”; all the walls are covered with posters advertising a reward for the apprehension of the “ Monster ”; a fund has been opened to finance the hunt; Mrs. Smith, a society lady, has shot him with a pistol behind the ear; he disguises himself, goes about in various different guises, wounding beautiful women with a specially invented instrument, with hooks hidden in bouquets of flowers, with knitting pins, etc. And this “ Monster ” is nothing more nor less than a phantom in- vented to amuse the bored inhabitants of London town. A pickpocket who may have learnt to turn pockets inside out

[ 442 ]


and empty them with the aid of an instrument might per- haps have injured a woman while picking her pocket in this manner; and this insignificant incident was sufficient as a basis for the story of a “ Monster ” who is supposed to be enraged with feminine beauty, sufficient to render probable a conspiracy between a number of similar creatures, who out of sheer cussedness or out of revenge, or perhaps out of perversity, are intent on destroying the whole feminine sex, or at any rate the beautiful portion of it^.’

In view of Archenholtz’s detailed report of the trial, and, above all, in view of the numerous similar cases in our own times, there is no reason to doubt the truth of Archenholtz’s statement. Archenholtz describes in a delightful manner the temporary beneficial effect of the appearance of the ‘ Ripper ’ on public morals.

‘ The nocturnal scenes in the streets between pleasure- seeking men and prostitutes, which went a great deal further here than in Paris, received a severe setback, for no man could, after dark, approach even a respectable girl in order to speak to her. The fair creatures fled in terror; and even the priestesses of Venus, who were waiting in the street for sacrifices, solicited less readily, for fear that they might be confronted by the “Monster”. The “peripatetic” passions disappeared. The order of things was reversed, and only those men were safe from suspicion who appeared in the street “ after dark under the protection of a female ”. Lady Wallace always carried a gold-mounted pistol for fear of the “ Monster

A true ‘ English Girard ’, whose case bore a striking resemblance to that of the Dotorious French Jesuit Girard*,

^ Letters and Diaries of Georg Forster of his journey on the Lower Rhine, in England and France in the spring of 1790. Halle, 1893. Pp. 224-225.

• Archenholtz, British Annods, Vol. V, pp. 332-333.

• Historic von Paier Girard und Modem. Cadiire (Cologne, 1732).

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was the clergyman Scoolt, who read obscene books with the daughter of Inspector Reddic, took her to the theatre, and finally to a brothel, where he introduced her to every kind of vice, after which he left her in the lurch in the most shameful manner, having first administered to her, as Girard had done to Catherine Cadifere, an abortive medicine*.

The act perpetrated on the 9th July 1824 by the Catholic priest John Carroll, in Ballymore, does not belong to the same category, because he was subsequently found to be insane. He had already ‘ exorcised the devil ’ from several people by jumping about on their bodies! On Friday the 9th July 1824 he called at the house of the nail-maker, Thomas Sinnot. The latter’s daughter, a pretty little creature of three or four years, who was lying in bed in the same room where Carroll was, happened to start screaming. Carroll immediately declared that the child was possessed by the devil, and jumped on the bed and on to the unfortu- nate child. Hearing the child’s screams, her father tried to restrain the priest, but several fanatics who happened to be present, including the girl’s own mother, prevented him from doing so, and the mother even assisted the priest in the performance of his shameful ceremonial. She had to bring a barrel of salt water, the contents of which he poured over the unconscious child, and when the water became mixed with the blood streaming from the child’s body, he cried in insane ecstasy: ‘ Witness the miracle! I have changed water into blood! ’ Then he turned the barrel so abruptly that the child was strangled and died. Carroll left the house with a command to the others that they must not touch the child until his return. Two doctors declared Carroll insane, and he was confined in a lunatic asylum. However, the fanatical spectators were certainly not insane, and provide deplorable confirmation of the sadistic basis of religious fanaticism,

‘ Arohenholtx, Britiiih Annals, Vol. XDI, pp. 155-166.

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which was similarly in evidence in the story of the cruci- fixions at Wildisbuch*.

CJorvin* writes of a young girl who lived in the ’forties of the nineteenth century in London, and who confessed that she had no other reason for killing children and animals than the peculiar, insane joy which she experienced when com- mitting such acts. It gave her satisfaction to witness the death agonies of living creatiu-es. For years before she was discovered she had indulged her presumably innate homi- cidal mania, and had had many victims.

According to the usually well-informed author of Memoirs of a Singer, sexual murders occurred in England compara- tively frequently, and she quotes several examples^. The best- known of the sexual murderers was the unknown maniac referred to as ‘ Jack the Ripper ’ in the ’nineties of last century, who made the East End of London unsafe, and who is said to have been identified as an insane student.

It is at aU events a noteworthy fact that semi-erbtic and erotic literature in England during the nineteenth century assumed a sadistic character which was, at any rate to the same extent, alien to it up till then. Pisanus Fraxi, who was best acquainted with this fateful metamorphosis, writes in this connection: ‘ It is obvious that modem authors have allowed themselves to be influenced by the harmful, blood- thirsty and unnatural doctrines of the Marquis de Sade, and have imitated the cynicism, cruelty and the unspeakable lasciviousness which are a characteristic feature of his works, and which, it must be admitted, he handled with masterly skill. That is why the character of English erotic fiction has undergone a radical change, resulting in the complete

^ See Atrocious Acts of Catholic Priests^ etc. (London, no date). Referred to by P. Fraxi, Index, pp. 100-2.

  • Corvin, Die Oeissler, third edition (Zurich, no date), p. 341.
  • Memoirs of a Singer, Vol. II (Bucarest, no date). Vol. II, p. 191.


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loss of its healthy tone (if erotic literature can have a healthy tone at all)*.’

This sadistic tendency of the later English erotic Uterature was considerably fostered by the thirst for sensations which is peculiar to the English, and which we encounter in every phase of life. Smollett, in Roderick Random, does not allow Mr. Melopoyn to succeed financially as an author before he enters this exciting field. ‘ I have earned many a meal with the aid of a monster; a robbery has often brought me a great deal of money; but a murder at the right time has never left me in the lurch*.’

A few of such more recent English novels of sadistic tendency deserve to be mentioned here as being highly instructive in an investigation of the influence of the Marquis de Sade on the imaginations of their authors.

The most notorious publication of this kind bears the title The Pleasures of Cruelty, and is expressly described as a ‘ Sequel ’ to the Marquis de Sade’s Justine and Juliette, I have only seen a reprint of it*, though it must originally have appeared before 1880, for in the third volume of the erotic periodical The Pearl (pp. 169-176), which was pub- lished in that year, an episode — ‘ The Sultan’s Reverie ’, an extract from The Pleasures of Cruelty — is already quoted (Vol. II, pp. 32-52 in the reprint mentioned above). Pisanus Fraxi does not appear to have known of this work, which was written by a worthy successor of the Marquis de Sade, since it is not mentioned in his three- volume bibhography. However, The Pleasures of Cruelty is one of the most blatant imitations of Justine and Juliette, and is obviously based on a most careful reading of the latter work, scenes from

• P. Fraxi, Catena librorum tacendorum (London, 1885), pp. xlii-xliii.

• Smollett, Adventures of Roderick Random.

• The Pleasures of Cruelty (London and Paris, 1898). Three vols., small 8ro.

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which are expressly mentioned (Vol. II, p, 8). The following analysis .also confirms this view.

Sir Charles Dacre, a wealthy baronet, and one of George IV’s gay companions, is already at the age of thirty-eight a completely blas^ gentleman and a total physical wreck. He tries in vain to stimulate anew his jaded senses at the gaming-tables and in the brothels of Brussels, Vienna and Paris. He therefore one day requests Madame Josephine, a notorious procuress, at whose house he happens to be staying, to procure for him new sexual sensations. She offers to rejuvenate him completely on payment of a fee of £500. However, she could only accomplish this with the aid of his daughters — Sir Charles is the father of three daughters, Maud, Alice and Flora, aged eighteen, seventeen and fifteen respectively — the method being that he should rape, torture and humiliate them in every conceivable manner, which would stimulate him by the thought that he is degrading his own flesh and blood. In order to carry out this thoroughly sadistic plan without interference from the police, they go to Turkish territory, on the shores of the Bosphorus, where they rent a house. They eqmp in a remote part of the building a ‘ torture chamber ’, with whips, rods, chains and other instruments of torture. In addition. Sir Charles can indulge in the sport of fishing and hunting, as the house is quite close to the sea.

‘ The Torture Chamber ’, which constitutes the first part of The Pleasures of Cruelty^ describes the most abominable sadistic scenes enacted by the father and Madame Josephine with the three girls, who are forced to take an active part. Interlinked vrith this part is a story related by Madame Josephine concerning the rape and brutal treatment of a German girl by a French hbertine. In this first part flagellation and pedication are principally dealt with. In the second scene Maud is whipped to death by her own father.

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Sir Charles thereupon travels to Constantinople in order to procure fresh victims on whom he can satisfy his sadistic desire. This is the theme of Part Two. Sir Charles discovers in Constantinople four orphan girls, the daughters of a Greek merchant who had shortly before lost his entire for- tune and died of cholera. The girls, Haidee, Veneria, Sophia and Melissa (aged twenty-four, seventeen, thirteen and ten), are lured by the libertine to his castle, and immedi- ately subjected to the worst sadistic practices, in which Lucidora, a former inmate of a harem, but now assistant to Madame Josephine, participates. These practices are too horrible to be mentioned here, but they are mainly imitations of descriptions to be found in Justine and Juliette. Here, again, various obscene episodes are inter- twined, such as a story about a sadistic Sultan, about Catherine II, about an Englishwoman who makes her own daughter the subject of her sadistic pleasures, about a father who flagellates his own daughter for the same purpose.

In the third part of the book a new sadist appears on the scene. Count de Bonvit of Paris, who participates in the ‘ stances ’ of Sir Charles, Madame Josephine and Lucidora, and carries on with the first-named obscene conversations on the Ars amandi, in the course of which the sexual excesses of Henry IV and the sexual adventures of a Belgian nun are related.

By the end of the third, and last, part the ‘ victims ’ have already become enthusiastic and active sadists, and Madame Josephine is sent to Paris in order to find new active and passive female members for this sadist club.

A further sadistic publication is described as Revelries and Devilries, or Scenes in the Life of Sir Lionel Heythorp, Bt. (London, 1867, with seven obscene coloured etchings and a frontispiece). Four Oxford scholars and an officer, whose

[ 448 ]


names are known to Pisanus FraxiS though he refuses to give them, combined to write this obscene work. Each of them wrote a story, and the four stories were merged into one con- tinuous narrative in three chapters. A great deal is said in the book about flagellation, in addition to other repulsive incidents, the most horrible of which relates to a visit to a lunatic asylum, the erotic idiosyncrasies of the inmates being described in the coarsest manner. The book concludes with a chapter entitled ‘ A Night in the Borough ’, being the description of an orgy so obscene that even the Marquis de Sade in his wildest dreams could not have thought of it.

The Inutility of Virtue (London, 1830) describes in auto- biographical form the adventures of an opera singer bom in Naples. On her way to Rome, where she is to marry Count Torso, she falls into the hands of a brigand, by whom she is raped. Later she marries a man whom she loves, and to whom she wishes to remain faithful. But in spite of her good intentions and her repeated assurances of fidehty, she becomes a prey to every man with whom she comes in contact. AU these adventures are of the most ordinary type. The book is probably not a translation from the French, as stated on the title-page, but seems, nevertheless, to have originated from a French source.

Although cruelty and bloodthirstiness, such as the joli Marquis revelled in, are less pronounced in this story, the adventures related in it nevertheless remind the reader very forcibly of the idea propounded by the Marquis de Sade’s Justine concerning the invariable misfortune that accom- panies virtue. Justine, the heroine of the Marquis de Sade’s story, like our singer, falls into the hands of brigands right at the beginning.

Another notorious product of sadistic imagination is the Romance of Lust (London, 1873). This work was also written

  • P. Frazi, Golem, p. 181 .

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by several authors and contains various stories, which were given continuity by a famous collector of erotic pictures and objects of art. He performed the task' dining a journey to Japan*. The book contains scenes more obscene than any in Justine.

Genuine sadistic ideas are also propounded in the Experi- menUd Lecture hy CoUmd Spanker (London, 1878), a brief analysis of which is contained in the earlier part of this work. The work is a glorification of the joys to be derived from psychical and physical cruelty.

‘ Sensual pleasure Can be excited by two things; firstly, if we believe that the object of our love approaches our ideal of beauty, and secondly, if we see the person concerned in process of experiencing the most intense sensations possible. Now, no sensation is more vivid than that of pain; the shock it produces is real and certain. It does not mislead, like the comedy of lust at which women always play but never really experience. The man who is capable of making the most powerful impression on a woman, of inducing the extreme of excitement and thrill in the feminine organism, is capable of securing the highest degree of sensual pleasure for himself.’

As a certain English bibliophile rightly observes, these sentences contain the quintessence of the entire philosophy which the Marquis de Sade has propounded in such great detail in his notorious works, in which his descriptions of sanguinary orgies, phlebotomy, vivisection and tortures of aU kinds, combined with blasphemy, tend to show the import- ance attached to the moral humiliation of the victim. It is in this sense that in the Experimental Lecture a sensitive, gently nurtured young woman is subjected to the most abominable tortures. In the case of Justine and Juliette all thought of

  • See P. Frazi, Catena, p. 188.

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reality is precluded by the large number of individuals involved in the orgies and by the murders, whereas in the Experimental Lecture the entire action is handled so carefully and methodically that the reader is led to believe in the reality of the proceedings described.

The endurance of pain and humiliation as a form of sexual satisfaction, known as masochism, appears in English sexual life mainly as passive submission to flagellation, but generally the English character is more inclined to sadistic acts. Nevertheless, masochistic tendencies — apart from the ‘ age of chivalry ’ — can be traced in the history of English customs. Thus there were people in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who swallowed sulphiu* and urine in order to win their adored ones, as described, for instance, in Middleton’s Dutch Courtesan.

A well-known masochist of the eighteenth century was a ‘ man about town ’ named Tracey who was completely dominated by his mistress, a brothel owner named Charlotte Hayes. He submitted to any indignity imposed by her, and tolerated with slavish acquiescence all her infidehties. She even entertained at his expense her various lovers at the Shakespeare or Rose Tavern, where Tracey had opened credits for her. She knew how to make herself desirable to him by wearing smart and erotically suggestive dresses, but made him pay heavily for her favours. Thus Tracey in a short time dissipated his enormous fortune and died at an early age^.

Another masochist in the year 1791 aroused considerable attention in London by his strange end, for his death was directly due to his masochistic practices. He was a musician named Kotzwarra, and since Us case is both interesting and authentic we will deal with it here in detail.

  • See Les SiraiU de Londret, p. 16 .

[ 461 ]


J. W. Archenholtz* repoits the affair as follows ;

‘ A most curious incident occurred in London resulting in a criminal prosecution. There was a musician there, Kotz- warra of Prague, a man possessing extraordinary musical gifts, who played thirteen different instruments, some of them with considerable virtuosity. I knew him personally and frequently admired his talent. The famous musicians Bach and Abel, who achieved such fame in England,,regarded him as unique in Europe as a performer on the contra-bass; he had also beaten all his rivals in the playing of this instru- ment in London, Paris and Venice. The above-mentioned musicians in the years 1769 and 1770 frequently invited him to participate in their great concerts at Hanover Square, pa 3 dng hi m princely fees. However, Kotzwarra soon began to neglect his talents and lived a life of dissipation. He became a voluptuary of the worst kind, and thought of nothing but the artificial intensification of his sensual pleasures. He was told that a hanged person, owing to the more rapid circulation of the blood and the distension of certain vessels, enjoys a very pleasant sensation for several minutes. According to the evidence of witnesses, he had frequently tried the experiment, always in the presence of prostitutes, whom he rewarded for their assistance. In order to repeat the experiment once more he visited, one day in September, a prostitute living in the neighbourhood of Covent Garden, and requested her to hang him, but to release the rope after five minutes. The poor girl at first refused to participate in this strange performance, but Kotzwarra finally succeeded in overcoming her objections by means of persuasion and gifts of money.

‘ She hanged Kotzwarra, fixing the rope to the door, and releasing it at the end of five minutes. But the man gave no

' Archenholtz, British Annals of the Year 1791. Hamburg, 1793. Vol. Vn, pp. 38-41.

[ 462 ]


sign of life, and although every effort was made to revive him, he remained dead. The girl, Susan Hill, was arrested for murder, and a verdict of “ wilful murder ” was returned against her at the preliminary proceedings by the jury, who deliberated from 5 o’clock in the afternoon till 2 a.m. the next morning. They debated the question for nine hours and finally thought that by their severe verdict they would prevent the co-operation of such girls in abnormal sexual practices. The poor girl had to stand her trial at the Old Bailey on a charge involving life or death, but the judge r^arded her act not as murder but as unpremeditated man- slaughter, which was, of course, the logical view to take. She was therefore liberated immediately, with exhortations to lead a better life. The facts that came to light in the course of the trial were so subversive of modesty, and so dangerous to public morality, that the judge not only requested all the women present to leave the court, but also ordered all the documents relating to the case to be destroyed.’

Susan Hill’s evidence, which is reprinted in Modem Propen- sities, etc., a pamphlet of the period, was as follows: ‘ That on the afternoon of the 2nd September, between the hours of one and two, a man whom she had never seen, and who was identical with the deceased, had come to the house where she was residing, the street door having been open. He asked her whether she would like to have a drink with him. She asked for port, he for brandy and water, and he gave her some money for both, also two shillings for ham and beef, which she also purchased. A little later they went to a back room, where a number of most indecent acts took place. In particular, he asked her to tear his genital organ in two, which she refused. Then he said that he would like to be hanged for five minutes and observed, while giving her the money to buy the rope, that this would increase his pleasure and produce the desired effect. She brought two thin cords

[ 463 ]


and placed them round his neck. He then drew himself up on the door of the back room, where he was hanging very low, and he drew up his legs. After five minutes she cut him down and he fell on the floor. She thought he had only fainted and called a neighbour woman living opposite to her assist- ance. The accused was acquitted.’

The Editor of the Bon Ton Magazine, in No. 31 of that periodical, dated September 1793, wrote a notice of the above-mentioned pamphlet, the frontispiece of which was reproduced, and also discussed the Kotzwarra case, adding the following dissertation on ‘ The Effects of Temporary Strangulation on the Human Body ’.

‘ The strangulation of Kotzwarra, although it proved fatal, has not entirely stopped the bestial practice of suspension. The girl who assisted that eccentric lover in the operation has stated that a few seconds before his death he had shown certain signs which clearly proved the pleasant effect of this procedure.

‘ When this statement of the fair object of our illustration was repeated to a wealthy citizen of Bristol who, although he requires assistance in the secret affairs of Venus, is never- theless a man of considerable public prominence, he decided to try the experiment with greater caution. Accordingly, he came to the Metropolis at the beginning of last month and immediately applied to a pretty girl in Charlotte Street, to whom he frankly revealed his impotence, informing her of the method by which this evil could be eliminated, so that he might enjoy her lovely person to the full. In order to secure her consent he brought into play the infallible argument of gold in a liberal manner, and as he had already provided himself with the stimulating rope, the process was imme- diately begun.’

The man stepped on a low stool, attached the sling to a ventilator, threw the other end over a cross beam, and, with

[ 464 ]


the aid of his fair companion, fastened it in such a manner that the possibility of danger was eliminated. The low stool was then removed and our hero was suspended in such a manner that his feet were just touching the floor. Within thirty seconds the stimulating effect of this peculiar pro- cedure was clearly in evidence. But suddenly he began to show alarming symptoms, so that the girl quickly released her peculiar lover. But in order to revive him completely it was necessary to invoke the assistance of the Society for Reviving Drowned Persons*.

The Berlin masseurs also have a similar strange clientele, as many of them are equipped, in addition to their usual instruments of torture, with such ‘ hanging apparatus

In modem times masochism in England appears to have gained ground to a greater extent than formerly, as evidenced, in particular, by the appearance of masochist publications. As a prototype of these we mhy quote Oynecocracy, which is ‘ a narrative of the adventures and psychological experiences of Julian Robinson (afterwards Viscoimt Ladywood) under petticoat rule, written by him- self ’ (Paris and Rotterdam, 1893). This book was translated into German and French. It deals with the systematic education of a young nobleman in masochism. The process consists in this, that a French governess, a very strict young lady, assisted by similarly energetic ladies and chamber- maids, dresses him up as a woman and inculcates in him a taste for the nauseating masochistic processes which she c unnin gly links with sexual pleasures.

  • The Bon Ton Magazine, Vol. Ill, p. 242.

• Ivan Bloch, Beitrage zur Aetiologie der Pgychopaihia Sexmlia, Part II, p. 173..

[ 455 ]



According to the author of Memoirs of a Singer (Vol. II, p. 188), a very widespread sexual perversity in England is exhibitionism, that is to say, the uncovering of the lower parts of the body in public for the purpose of provoking sexual excitement in the exhibitionist. This tendency was apparently responsible for the appearance of a special class of prostitutes, the so-called ‘ posture girls ’, in eighteenth- century England. Hogarth, on the third plate of ‘ The Rake’s Progress ’, represents such a ‘ posture girl ’, who exhibits her charms in a most remarkable manner.

According to Lichtenberg there was only one small town in England up to the beginning of the nineteenth century where a naked woman was allowed to appear in public. The name of that town was Coventry.

There was an ancient custom in Coventry, according to which, on a certain day each year, a young girl rode naked along the main street and afterwards dined — stiU naked — with the mayor of the town. The chronicler assures the reader that Coventry never lacked candidates in canying out this old custom'.

The history of English morals reveals several examples of fetishism. Archenholtz mentions a case of hair fetishism: ‘ I once knew an Englishman, a very nice, amiable sort of

  • Eros, Stuttgart, 1849, Vol. II, p. 120.

[ 456 ]


man, yet, as he himself told me, he had a strange taste deeply rooted in his soul. The greatest pleasure he could conceive was to comb the hair of a pretty young woman. He had a beautiful mistress for the purpose. Love and faithfulness were of no importance to him; all he wanted from her was to be allowed to play with her hair whenever he liked. And when he wished to do this, the girl had to remove the hairpins from her hair, so that he could run his fingers through it. This gave him a voluptuous thrill all over his body^’

One of the queerest characters in Venus Schoolmistress is an old man who experiences a violent sexual agitation at the sight of a muff, and asks to be stroked with it all over his body. He also enjoys the sight of a lady with her hands in a muff.

A case of costume fetishism is described in the Battles of Venus, in which the author declares that he prefers to have sexual intercourse with an elegantly dressed woman than with a femina denudata.

Race fetishism also has numerous adherents of both sexes in England. Detailed records in Sirails des London (pp. 150-154) concerning the negress Harriet in London show that she always had numerous distinguished lovers.

Hogarth depicted her in his etching ‘ The Discovery ’, in the role of a lover, though an involuntary one. Commenting on this etching, Lichtenberg writes: ‘ The extent to which black beauties are capable of fascinating white men is revealed by the genealogical trees of many mulattoes in the West Indies. And it is not only in the West Indies that distinguished men occasionally prefer negresses to white women, perhaps because brown bread is sometimes a deli- cacy to jaded palates.’

‘ Archenholtz, England and Italy (Leipzig, 1786), Vol. I, pp. 448-449.

[ 457 ]


Adrian mentions the predilection of some London ladies for Arabs. During his sojourn in London he very frequently saw dusky sons of the desert hanging about street comers, and behaving exactly like female prostitutes. A man in the know once explained to him the reason for this phenomenon.

‘ Our language is not rich in decent expressions for the indecent. London ladies sometimes have strange caprices. By London ladies I do not mean the respectable wives of City men or the women of the upper classes, who apparently care little or nothing about respectabibty, but the women who live in special circumstances, supported or neglected by rich men, and naturally of easy virtue. They all appear to be violently attracted by those supposedly strong little bronzed men. If you have a quarter of an hour to spare, spend it in watching one of those smartly dressed sons of the desert. You will be sure to see either a faithful manservant or a sly, discreet lady’s maid passing him and giving him a sign. The turbaned fellow will follow with apparent nonchalance, take his instructions, or go straight to the appointed place.’

Adrian further learned that these Arabs were also favoured by London paederasts, and sometimes acted as regular male prostitutes^.

That tendencies to copralagnia and scatology were not infrequent among the English will be apparent ^m certain passages in Butler’s Hudibras, a work published in the eighteenth century, and from a book entitled The Benefit of Farting Explained, and further from the fact that a rich English bibliophile had a book written on this subject and had it published. This book, which was printed in only twenty copies for private circulation, bore the title. An Essay

  • Adrian, Sketches from England. Frankfurt a.M., 1833. Vol. II,

pp. 8-10.

[ 468 ]


on Wind, with Curious Anecdotes of Eminent Peteurs, etc. Written for the edification of windbound ladies and gentlemen (Paris, Quantin, 1877)^

Octave Uzanne mentions scatology in England in his very clever and witty criticism of Swinburne’s A Study of Ben Jonson (London, 1889), in which Swinburne observes in connection with Ben Jonson’s scatological epigrams that it is most regrettable that such a great writer should have cultivated coprology, which is really a French speciality.

To which Uzanne remarks:

‘ Outre que cette insistance a agiter la matifere n’ indigue pas line d^licatesse olfactive aussi sensible que les premiers mots I’auraient pu faire supposer, M. Swinburne trouverait- il beaucoup d’^crivains anglais, du XV au XVIII sifecle, qui n’aient pas fait le plongeon dont il parle, et lui serait-il bien difficile de citer m6me de nos jours, des 6crivains anglais — oh, ceux-la de la “ baser sort ” — qui s’y baignent a plaisir ou s’y vautrent par metier ? ’ He quotes, among others, passages from Shakespeare, Swift and Smollett, and concludes: ‘ Les Anglais, au surplus, le savent bien, qu’ils n’ont pas besoin de chercher en France ni ailleurs, puisqu’ils sont la “ Merry England ”, et que s’il faut en croire de petits papiers imprimis qui circulent parmi les couches profondes des lecteurs de la Grande-Bretagne a I’insu, sans doute du grande pofete, I’homme heureux est celui qui se d^lecte “ in the smell of his own Farts ” ®

In spite of this, however, Swinburne’s view is well founded, since the French and Italians possess purely scatological poems, as will be seen at the merest glance at the Bibliotheca scatologica.

' Cf. J. Gay, Bibliographie des ouvruges relatifs d V amour ^ etc. 4th edition. LiUe, 1897. Vol. IV, p. 172.

  • Cf. Le livre modeme. 1890. Vol. I.

[ 469 ]


Venus Cloacina, as an object of poetic glorification, is very rarely to be encountered among Germanic peoples.

Incest occurred in England with remarkable frequency. According to a number of observers, this appalling fact may be ascribed to the circumstance that the members of the family in slum districts all sleep in the same room, and often enough the same bed is used by father and daughter, mother and son, sister and brother. Countless cases of incest in England are known from reports by various authors, including Archenholtz, but we will only quote two of the most notorious instances from an early period.

The first of these relates to the trial of Thomas Weir, Mayor of Edinburgh, which took place in the year 1670. A detailed report of the trial is contained in a very rare pamphlet entitled Ravillac Redivivus, to which is annexed an account of the Tryal of that most wicked Pharisee, Mayor Thomas Weir, who was executed for Adultery, Incest and Bestiality. In which are many Observable Passages, especially relating to the present Affairs of Church and State. In a letter from a Scottish to an English gentleman. London, printed by Henry Hills, 1678.

Weir, who was Mayor of Edinburgh during the Rebellion, distinguished himself by his bestial cruelty to the Royalist Party, and owing to his Pharisean and hypocritical ways, he passed as a very pious man. But towards the end of his life, which was full of infamy, murder and unnatural lusts and pleasures, Thomas Weir, now a septuagenarian, was seized with a deep repentance, and made public confession to Lord Abbotshall, who was at that time Governor of Edinburgh, of all his sins.

A prosecution was instituted against Weir and his sister on the 9th April 1670, on the basis of his own evidence which, according to the physicians, Weir had given in full possession of his mental faculties. Weir’s confessions were

[ 460 ]

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read aloud at the trial. He had seduced his sister when she was ten years old. Subsequently he continued sexual intercourse with her at their father’s house, and finally lived incestuously with her for a number of years in Edin- burgh. He had likewise seduced his step-daughter Margaret Bourdon, daughter of his deceased wife, and lived with her for some time. In addition, during the lifetime of his wife, he had betrayed her with a number of married and unmar- ried women, especially with a certain Bessy Weems, a maid- servant living in their house. In addition to adultery and incest, he had made himself guilty of the unnatural sin of Sodomism, in that he had had sexual intercourse with cows and mares, and especially with one of his mares, upon which he once rode to New Mills.

The witnesses who were examined by the court gave evidence of what they had seen with their own eyes, giving a detailed account of all they knew, and describing the situations in which they had seen the accused. In his sister’s evidence the devil was mentioned a number of times.

Thomas Weir and his sister were sentenced to death. On Monday the 11th April 1670 Weir was bound to a stake and strangled, after which his body was burned. His sister, Jane Weir, was hanged the following day.

A most horrible account of incestuous acts continued for several generations is contained in the story of the Scotch robber Sawney Beane who lived in the time of James I, a story which was handed down through generations.

‘ Sawney Beane^ was the son of a navvy in East Lothian, Scotland. In his early boyhood he had vicious inclinations, and as a youth he eloped with an equally vicious and depraved female. They hid themselves in a cave in the wilds of Galloway. The cave was very large and close to the sea-

^ Cf. Sawney Beane in C. Whitehead’s LiveSy Deeds and Foies of the most Notable English Robbers and Pirates, Leipzig, 1834.




shore, so that the surrounding land was frequently flooded at high tide. There were many twists and turns in the path that led to the cave.

It was from this lair that they conducted their robberies, and in order to avoid discovery they murdered all their victims after robbing them. As the problem of provisions was causing them considerable difficulty, they decided to feed on human flesh. For this purpose they dragged the bodies of their victims into the cave, where they pickled them. They lived like this, by robbery and murder, until they had eight sons and six daughters. From the incestuous alhances of the latter sprang eighteen grandsons and fourteen granddaughters. The entire family participated in the killings and robberies, and lived by cannibalism.

In the course of the years the countryside gradually became seriously depopulated, and the disappearance of so many people finally moved the authorities to investigate. But the cannibals succeeded in evading discovery for a very long time.

When the officers of the law finally entered the cave the sight that met their eyes surpassed in horror everything that had ever been seen or heard of up till then. There were arms and legs of men, women and children dangling from the walls and roof of the cave, like so many chunks of cured animal flesh. Further quantities of human flesh were pickled in tubs. Money, gold and silver, jewellery, clothes and immense quantities of other goods lay on the floor of the cave in large piles, or hung from the walls.

The entire ghoufish family was taken into custody. The remains of the murdered people were buried on the beach, while the prisoners, together with their accumulated plunder, were taken to Edinburgh.

Crowds of people rushed to see this horrible family of incestuous ghouls, robbers and murderers, which had within

[ 462 ]


twenty-five years grown in numbers to twenty-seven males and twenty-one females.

The day after their arrival in Edinburgh the entire family was executed without trial, and in the most cruel manner. The men’s intestines were torn out, their hands and feet were cut off and they were then left to bleed to death. The female members of the family were burnt.

They all died without displaying the least sign of repent- ance, and continued to shout filthy curses to the last.

The cases of Thomas Weir and Sawney Beaue provide striking proof that the wildest imaginings of a Marquis de Sade may be equalled, and even far surpassed, by reahty.

Incest is also encountered in Enghsh literature. The most famous example is John Ford’s CHovanni and Annabella, the monstrous tragedy of sexual love between brother and sister, in which the poet does not shrink from the fact of Annabella’s pregnancy through her brother Giovanni. In the last act is a dreadful, beautiful love scene between them, that ends with the brother stabbing his sister to death^.

Quite the most horrible example of an incest novel is Letters from a Friend in Paris (London, 1874. Two volumes), in which one incestuous incident Uterally follows another. The scene of the work is in France. The author himself, the hero of the story, is a photographer who is received into a family through a mutual friend with whom he has paeder- istic relations. The friend is to marry a daughter of the family, after the hero himself has already enjoyed her. This family consists of father, mother, two daughters and a son, who five together incestuously and welcome the photographer as a comrade to their orgies. Next to incest,

‘ Cf. PrOlsz, he. eit., Vol. II, pp. 16-18 (contains also a more detailed account of the incest theme in world literature). Also H. Taine, he. eit., Vol. I, pp. 397-99.

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paederasty plays an important part in this product of a corrupt imagination, worthy of a Marquis de Sade.

In conclusion the ubiquitous subject of masturbation should be noticed: A very considerable literature^ on it exists in England, as elsewhere, and, as in all other countries, the self-appointed morahsts, aiming at self-advertisement and profit, are responsible for most of it. For they claim that masturbation is the cause of all possible and impossible evils and seem to prefer to make use of the subject to boost their ‘ wares ’, partly through journals and partly by means of leaflets passed from hand to hand, the dangerously exaggerated contents of which can be seen from Ryan’s quoted examples^.

^ From the eighteenth century may be mentioned: Eronania, or the Misusing of the Marriage-bed by Er and Onan, to which is added Letters of Advice, about a Weighting of Conscience, viz., of defiling himself. London, 1724, 8vo. Ononia, or the heinous Sin of Self Pollution. London, 1724, 12mo. Ononia, or the Heinous sin of self Pollution, and aU its frightful Consequence in both Sexes. The 12th edition. London, 1727. A suppiemerU to the Ononia, or the Heinous sin of self Pollution. Ononia eocaminated and delected, by Philo Castitatis. The second edition. 1724, 12mo. Onanism display'd. London, 1726, 12mo.

  • M. Ryan, Prostitution in London, London, 1839. Pp. 12-13.

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Dress and fashion are products of the human sexual instincts. This view, which not so long ago was opposed for example by von Schurtz in his Philosophy of Dress, has during the last few years been fully confirmed by scientific enquiries, which have been made by prominent anthropologists and ethnologists in particular (Steinen, Westermarck, Stratz, amongst others)^. As a result, dress has developed as a means of sexual attraction and, through its constant companion, fashion, is varied in every possible direction, always however falling back on the effects produced by the emphasis and exaggeration of certain features and the partial exposure of others*. The veiling, equally with the unveiling of certain parts, serve as sexual stimulators, according to the nature of the attractions in question, as Tasso has already recognised:

‘ Non copre sue bellezze, e non I’espose ’ {Do not cover her beauties nor expose them).

In the study of the modes of different times and peoples traces are foxmd everywhere of these two basic sexual elements, as is also the case in the study of the most important periods in the history of English fashion.

  • It is interesting to learn, as regards the English mode, that as early

as the previous century William Alexander, the celebrated author of the History of Women, afSmed the sexual origin of dress.

  • See with regard to the main principles of fashion Iwon Bloch’s

Contributions to Psycopathia sexualis, Vol. I, pp. 139-175. Dresden, 1902. Also I. Bloch, The Sexual Life of our Time. London, 1909. Pp. 162-153.

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One can only speak of English fashion in a limited sense, as England, to a greater extent even than other European countries, was in early days under the — ^in this respect — completely dominating influence of the French. Walsingham dated the introduction and spread of the French fashions in England from the siege of Calais in the year 1347^. Some peculiarities of English fashion have always, however remained, and especially in later times certain aspects of the mode bore the impress of the English character in many ways, as for instance the so-called Dandyism, which served to express something speciflcafly English.

Whilst the Anglo-Saxon invaders still generally retained the primitive Germanic dress*, the Normans had already hegim to cultivate a greater refinement and more ostentation in their dress, which received a stimulus from the introduction of silk material (with the end of the thirteenth century). The wives of some nobles first appeared in silk dresses at a ball at Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire in the year 1286*. At that time the over-dresses were wide and long, the under- dresses narrow and short, the former touching the ground all round. These ‘ trains ’ were often a subject of satire. ‘ The ladies make their trains a thousand times as long as peacocks and magpies ’, as an old English comic poem says*. These overlong over-dresses were slit almost half-way up the sides by the prostitutes, so that the legs clad in tight stockings might be seen.

Special pockets were made for the breasts, which were thus particularly accentuated®.

  • I. D’Israeli, Curiosities of Literature. London, 1896. P. 84.
  • S«e Bruno K6hler, AUgemeine Trachienkunde. Leipzig. Vol. II,

pp. 188-198.

  • Alexander, loc. cit. London, 1779. Vol. II, p. 133.
  • Friedrich Hottenroth, Implements of dress, house, field and war of the

peoples of old and later times. Second edition. Stuttgart, 1891. Vol. II, p. 133.

» Bruno Kohler, loc. cit., Vol. II, pp. 219-220.

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The true all-powerful sovereignty of the mode began in the fourteenth century, or rather in the last decades of the same. Brimo Kohler remarks: ‘ Ever more zealously were the fashionable frivolities of the French-Biugimdians imitated in England. Formerly we had always been some decades behind the French in adopting their fashions in dress, now we kept step with them in all their modes. The tendency, which was again becoming noticeable, to invest foreign clothes with a specifically Enghsh character soon had the result that the bizarre French-Burgundian costumes became in certain ways stiU more atrocious in appearance and were therefore still more uncomfortable in use than in France. As the result of such a craze for luxury in dress, even the lower classes sacrificed everything in order to appear as finely clothed as possible^.’

This luxury was particularly preposterous in the time of Richard II. Sir John Arundel possessed no fewer than fifty-two suits of gold-embroidered clothes. The prelates especially delighted in the most luxurious extravagances of the fashion. Chaucer said of them that they changed their clothes every day (had ‘ chaunge of clothing everie daie ’). In the ‘ Persones Tale ’ he launched his sharpest sarcasm and satire against the abominable fashions of his time, and spread himself especially over the highly serious consequences in the sexual sense of the too great “ scantness ” of the hose, the close fit of which emphasised in the most shameless way the buttocks and genital regions, so that with many people ‘ the buttockes behind ’ looked ‘ as if they were the hinder part of a sheape in the ful of the mone According to Hottenroth, a fashion was set by the effeminate Richard II for the wearing of wide sleeves with tight-fitting coats, but narrow short sleeves with trailing dresses which at the same time fitted clingingly round the upper part of the

‘ Bruno Kohler, loc. cU., Vol. IV, p. 26.

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body, and the result was that the men, especially when seen from behind, looked exactly like the women. Over all was worn a long coat with a stand-up collar, which in front came to the chin and at the back somewhat higher, to the roots of the hair. With this attire the face was shaved to the smoothness of a woman’s and no beard was wom^. An unusual variety of colours began to appear in the different garments, as is shown particularly in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Indeed, one and the same article of clothing would be parti-coloured — one stocking would be white above and red beneath, or white and blue, or white and black, or black and red, and so on®. All this was bound to lead to a softening and an effeminacy of the men and to give considerable impetus to homosexual tendencies.

Whilst under Henry VIII the smooth-shaved faces disappeared and beards took their place, a new and immoral freak of fashion appeared, the so-called ‘ Genital Shield ’, an exaggerated padding of the hose in the vicinity of the genitals, which latter were thereby emphasised in the most indecent fashion and exposed to the lascivious gaze. Hottenroth describes the immodest hose of that period as follows: ‘ Hose were largely worn slit up their whole length and lined with padded imder-hose of another colour. They were bound with horizontal coloured stripes of material, short distances apart, or decorated in some other way with brightly-coloured strips of material inset. Thus fashioned the hose were called “trusses”. The “genital shield,” padded and slit, was put on to a three-cornered flap, and though the “trusses” were nearly covered by the coat flaps, could always be seen between the latter*.’

• Hottenroth, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 133.

• D’lsraeli, loc. cit., p. 84.

• Hottenroth, he. cit., Vol. II, p. 141.



In the Elizabethan period the stiff Spanish fashion did nothing to prevent the display of glittering luxury and the adoption of various eccentricities in the world of fashion. Thus, according to I. DTsraeli, the fashion of enormous leg coverings was exaggerated to the most ludicrous extent. The dandies of that period stuffed their hose With feathers, rags and other materials till they attained an enormous width, so that they looked like great sacks, and at the public plays special seats had to be provided for these monstrous swollen extremities. On their side, the ladies in their ridiculous hooped skirts literally kept the men at their distance. In this way the dandies managed to combine the different fashions of the world in their attire^. Take, for example, the huge neck-ruffs of the Spanish costume, which in England were increased tenfold in size and circumference, and one can imagine how a really fashionably dressed individual burdened himself, and how glad he must have been to be rid of his clothes at least at night and to go to bed completely naked. For up to the time of James I night- shirts were very unusual. Archenholtz says: ‘ When this king was still a child and under the care of Lady Mar, he was taken ill in the night with colic. All the men and women servants rushed in to him stark naked, and only the Coimtess appeared in a half-length shirt*.’

An example of the excess of luxury under James I was given by his favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, whose extravagance passed all bounds. Apart from the fact that he always bought the most costly materials for his clothes, such as satin, velvet, and gold and silver stuffs, he had them trimmed not only with the most expensive braiding and the richest coloured embroidery, but also with pearls, precious stones and jewelled buttons in artistic goldwork. And of

  • I. D’Israeli, loc. cii., pp. 83-84.

• Archenholtz, British Annals, Vol. I, p. 419.

[ 469 ]


these complete suits he possessed in 1 625 not less than twenty- seven of which each cost about 35,000 francs, whilst for the suit he had made for the marriage of Charles I he gave 600,000 francs! *

This exaggerated display was followed in the frivolous and easy-going period of the Restoration under Charles II by a fashion for nakedness. The chief consideration was now not the beauty and cost of the clothes, but the service of love, and the pretty ladies of the court of Charles II vied with each other in displaying their hidden charms to the lustful gaze of their admirers. Weiss* characterises the fashion of this period as follows :

‘ Style remained generally French during the reign of Charles II, and in its details a still greater similarity developed. Encouragement was given to the prevailing fashion by the King’s methods with his mistresses, introduced by himself and carried to the point of open licentiousness. The display of stuffs, in decorations and trimmings, in the use of ribbons, bows, costly braids and laces reached, as in France, the height of extravagance; but as regards outline, the more conspicuous exaggerations were at least avoided, such as the draperies of lace used for the arms and hands, the eccentric padding of the front edges of the upper-robe and so on, and this all tended to greater freedom of movement. On the other hand, none of the French methods of increasing the purely physical attractions were relinquished. As regards exposure of the neck, breast and arms, as in the use of false hair, paint and patches, not only was nothing given to the French leaders of fashion, but on the contrary, they were far outstripped.’

In fact, the shameless exposure of women’s shoulders and

• Weiss, Koslumkunde (Encyclopedia of Dress). Stuttgart, 1872.

P. 1028.

Wd., Vol. n, pp. 1034-1036.

[ 470 ]


breasts in which, as D’lsraeli tellsS the Queen ahnost outdid the other women, reached such a height that several writers published protests against it. In 1672 a book appeared with the title: New Instructions to Youth as to their Behaviour, together with a Discussion of some Novelties in the Mode; against powdering the Hair, Naked Breasts and Patches, and other unseemly Customs. The author included two pictures of women in his book, representing ‘ Virtue ’ and ‘ Vice The Srst is chastely and modestly dressed. ‘ Vice ’ has two great breasts sticking out from a low corset and the face is disfigured with numerous patches of different shapes*. Another book denouncing nudity, which was held in some esteem, was that published by Edward Cooke, 1678, for which the famous theologian, Richard Baxter, wrote a foreword. It bore the title: A just and reasonable Beprehen- sion of naked Breasts and Shoulders, 1678, 8vo. Finally, in 1683 there appeared a third book entitled: England's Vanity; orthe VoiceofOod against the Monstrous Sin of Pride in Dress and Apparel, which was called forth by the depravity of the fashions*.

A ridiculous custom of that time was the carrying of muffs by the men. Samuel Pepys relates in his Diary that he took an old muff of his wife’s for his own use and gave her a new one instead*.

The sole virtue of the mode in the Restoration period was its comparatively greater naturalness and simplicity, which, in spite of the tendency to frivolity, had a wholesome effect. The fashion of the eighteenth century afforded a great contrast, with its artificiality and the rapid changes it

  • D’lsraeli, hoc. cil., p. 86.


  • Ibid. Weiss, he. cit, Vol. II, p. 1035. Gay, Bibliographie dea Ouvrages

relaii/s d Vamour. Third edition. Turin, 1871. Vol. I, p. 3.

  • Traill, Social England, Vol. IV, p. 486.

[ 471 ]


brought about. Georgiana Hill says: ‘ No century displayed so much artificiality. Clothing, customs, pleasures, talk — all showed the same rebellion against unspoilt Nature^.’ An enumeration of the eccentricities of the mode between 1700 and 1800 in the works of Malcolm should be studied, when the justice of this opinion will be recognised.

Weiss also comments upon the frequency with which the fashion changed as a typical phenomenon in England in the eighteenth century, with the early appearance of dandyism, decked in all the colours of the rainbow, the like of which was not be seen even in France*. W. Alexander gives a vivid insight into the fickleness of fashion as regards the dress of English women*. At the beginning of the eighteenth century the opinion seems to have been generally spread abroad that Nature had made the lower part of women’s bodies much to big, wherefore man considered it necessary to use all the means at his disposal to restrain it and decrease its size. Towards the middle of the century the discovery was made that as regards the lower part of the female body Nature had not for some time made it as big as it ought to be. This defect was therefore remedied, and in 1759 and 1760, both old and young women looked as if they were all pregnant. Ten years later the first fashion was again the favourite. No less striking were the revolutions which the breasts and shoulders had to undergo in the different phases of the mode in the eighteenth century. At the beginning of the century it was highly indecent for the flesh to be seen two inches below the neck; in the middle of the century this part was clothed in the most elegant taste, and the greater part of the breast and shoulders exposed to view. A few years later every woman was muffled up to the

^ G. Hill, Women in English Life, Vol. I, p. 307.

• Weiss, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 1274.

  • W. Alexander, loc. cit., Vol. 11, pp. I37-I38.

[ 472 ]


chin, and in the ’seventies breasts and shoulders were again seen. A satire of the end of the century, which makes fun most wittily of the rapid changes in the fashion, contains the following: ‘ It was recently remarked with astonishment

at Drury Lane, that Lady P ’s dress was more than

a half hour out of fashion^

The principal reason for these extraordinary variations in the fashion, which even in France were not observed to the same extent, was the introduction of the great shops and fashion bazaars, which as early as the eighteenth century had developed in London to some extent, other European towns being a long way behind in this respect. In 1792 von Schiitz considers ‘ the smartening up of the merchants’ stores as an eccentricity of the English nation ’, and ‘ for a stranger it is such an unusual sight that one can spend hours looking at it. Behind the high large-paned windows of the lower floor, the merchant displays his wares, and many of them are well versed in the art of arranging their shops so attractively as to tempt many buyers*’.

In Cheapside and Charing Cross some of these great bazaars and shops were in existence as early as the beginning of the eighteenth century®; later, however. Old and New Bond Street became the centre of the fashion bazaars and were soon ‘ written high in the annals of luxury and the mode ’, as ‘ promenoirs du caprice et du bon ton ’ and ‘ coles6 de coquetterie'*.

The frequenting of the larger shops soon became a necessary part of fashionable life, and as early as the middle of the eighteenth century a new word was coined, namely ‘ shopping ’. Alexander says: ‘ “ Shopping”, as it is called, is a fashionable female amusement. Two, three and some-

> G. Hill, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 61.

  • Von Schiitz, Briefe iiber London. Hamburg, 1792. P. 223.

» The Foreigner's Guide, p. 66.

  • Tableau deacriptif de Londres, p. 276.

[ 473 ]


times more ladies, accompanied by their gallants, make a round of the most celebrated shops and inspect the fashionable goods,* without the intention of spending a single sixpence. Having tortured the shop people the whole morning, they return home, either without any notion of their foolishness or, what is worse, without giving a thought to the trouble and importunity they have caused in con- sequence of it^.’ The daily shopping was as important a fashionable occupation during the season as was in Paris the daily appearance in a box at the Opera*. As a rule these promenades in Bond Street began about 3 or 4 in the after- noon. Jouy divided the visitors, men and women, into three groups. The first makes genuine purchases, the second goes from curiosity and in order to be in the fashion, and the third group does it from pure boredom*.

Highly typical wm the role played by the men and women employees in the large fashion shops, amongst which Prichard’s and Oakley’s were the most celebrated, which role is another proof of the close connection between fashion and sex life.

As early a« 1765 came the demand for strong, good-looking young men to serve in the ladies’ fashion shops, who would create a market through the impression made by their personalities on the world of prominent ladies, and many scandals arose even in those days from this custom*. At the end of the century Boettiger says: ‘ As the female population of this town is not devoid of feeling for a handsome male form and fresh red cheeks, the cunning Bondstreeters look out for well-built, personable and promising shop assistants, with whom a lascivious lady might very well care to exchange a couple of dozen more words than is warranted by her

  • Alexander, Joe. cit., Vol. I, pp. 98-100.
  • Tableau descri^if, p. 273.
  • Jouy, L’HermiU de Londres, Vol. Ill, p. 7.
  • Malcolm, loc. cit., Vol. I, p. 368.

[ 474 ]


business. Here lies the solution of the problem of why fashionable women folk find it so difficult to tear themselves away from Bond Street, and spend the whole morning haggling and bargaining over a headdress, a couple of ells of ribbon or a pair of shoes. It was pointed out above that there were also many shop girls in London, of which Bond Street had a choice supply, but it must not be forgotten that they were greatly outnumbered by the polite good- looking young shopmen. The more attractive the shopmen, the more numerous and faithful the female customers^’

The pretty shopgirls and modistes provided a similar attraction for the men customers. ‘ Toutes ces jolies mar- chandes rivalisent entr’elles, pour fixer I’attention des promeneurs. En achetant des bagatelles, on glisse quelque propos d’amour; la marchande r^pond par un doux sourire ou quelque furtif coup d’ceil®.’

These pretty modistes were often to be seen in the evening at Ranelagh on the arms of their gallants, and equally often they trod the steep path of prostitution, in which the male dandies, who from 11 in the morning till 5 in the evening idled their time away in the merchants’ stores, the sweet shops, fruit shops, coffee-houses, etc., ‘ skimming the cream of fashion, taste and beauty*’, were only too willing to help them.

In the second half of the eighteenth century the luxury of fashion developed to an astounding extent such as was seen in no other European coimtry. According to Archenholtz the display in dress was so outrageous, that less thought was given to the attire than to the pleasure of squandering money. An everyday night-cap of the Duchess of Devonshire cost 10 guineas, anjl the night-dress of the

• Boettiger, London and Parit. Weimar, 1799. Vol. IV, p. 276.

• TaMam descriptif, p. 275.

• London and Pane, Vol. IV, p. 276.

[ 476 ]


widowed Duchess of Rutland cost 100 guineas. When Cblonel L. was obliged to come to an arrangement with his creditors, the account of a hat-maker, amongst others, was presented, who in the short period of seventeen months had supplied hats to the amoimt of £119*. Ladies of rank usually paid 600 guineas or more annually to their dressmakers; in addition, the fashion advisers received their honorarium. Mrs. Abington, the well-known actress, was a celebrated adviser of this sort. She drove round the town, called on certain ladies, and thereby earned £1,500 to £1,600 annually. Her ‘ tasteful attire on the stage was always studied by the spectators, whereby they could ensure the closest imitation of her style* ’.

Naturally, this luxury indulged in by ladies who were unable to afford it, frequently led them into bad ways, to adultery and prostitution. They sold their attractions to the highest bidder in order to pay for their costly clothes. Hiittner says: ‘ For a year I have been engaged in investigat- ing the causes leading to the many adultery trials, and have found that amongst five wives who have parted from their husbands, there are always at least three who through extravagance in dress and lack of means had been tempted, in order to pay their way, to sacrifice to the gold of the seducer that which he, through his personal attractions alone, would never have obtained of them®.’ In the middle and lower classes the same conditions prevailed. ‘ The wives and daughters of music masters, schoolmasters, tailors and other manual workers dress very little, if at all, differently from ladies of the front rank, and they copy not only the ostentation, but all the fashionable follies of the great*.’

‘ Archenholtz, Britiache Annalen auf das Jahr 1788, pp. 412-415.

• Archenholtz, England und Itaiien, Vol. I, pp. 165-166.

• Huttner, loc. cit., p. 40.

• Ibid., p. 41.

[ 476 ]

Designed by ir//?. Hogarth Engraved by Thos. Cook



As regards the details of this fashionable luxury, the hairdressing, especially the women’s, was one of the worst examples. According to Alexander this was an ancient heritage from Anglo-Saxon times, as the Anglo-Saxon women in their day regarded the coiffure as their greatest personal beauty^. After the middle of the eighteenth century the art of hairdressing developed enormously. Alexander declared that it was imxjossible to enumerate all the incredible varieties of female coiffures in use m his time. They were built up to such a size by the use of the most varied materials, such as wool, ribbons, laces, ostrich feathers, curls, combs, pins, pomades and pastes and false hair, that it was usual, when the owner stood up, for it to form a third of the total height of her body*! Often a complete flower or fruit garden decked the head. The actor Garrick made fun of this last fashion when he once, dressed as a woman, appeared on the stage in a coiffure built up of every sort of vegetable, in which the beetroot was particularly conspicuous*. Even miniature coaches, ships and animals crowned the 2-fb. high coiffure*. Many anecdotes were told of the consequences of this extravagant fashion. Thus it was said of a lady who complained at an evening party of a bad pain in her neck, that it came out that during the drive to the party she had been obliged to bend her head so that her chin rested on her knees, as the height of her head-dress was so much too great for the carriage. Caricatures of that time show ladies in sedan chairs with open tops from which their colossal head-dresses protruded*.

As these artificial coiffures cost a great deal of time and

‘Alexander, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 114.

•Ibid., Vol. II, p. 139.

• G. Hill, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 38.

‘ W. M. Cooper, Der Flagdlanlisimus und die FlageUanten. Dresden, 1899. P. 143.

• G. Hill, ioc. cU„ Vol. n, p. 37.


[ 477 ]


money, they were, when possible, dressed by the ladies themselves and naturally not taken down at night-time^. The result of the same coiffure remaining imdisturbed for weeks at a time was that the pomades used went rancid*, and the most insanitary condition was reached, in fact quite often vermin bred in hair which was not combed out for months on end*.

In conjunction with the natural hair, the false, i.e., the wigs, played an important part during the whole of the eighteenth century. Gleorgiana Hill calls these ‘ the great feature of the dress of the eighteenth century* ’. In the end they were worn, not only by men, but by women, girls and youths, and even by children of 14 years*. A song of the period indicates that the perruque was an indispensable adjunct of the ffishionable toilette:

And now for to dress up my beau with a grace.

Let a well-frizzled wig be set off from his face,

With a bag quite m taste from Paris just come.

That was made and tyed up by Monsieur Frisson,

With powder* quite grey, then his head is complete;

If dress’d in the fashion; no matter for wit.

In May 1795 a certain Ross, who called himself ‘ Proprietor of the Ornamental Hair-manufactory’, advertised the fact that he had received from Germany, Spain and Italy 300 lb. of glorious long hair, and that it was longer and more beautifully coloured than any that had ever been seen in

‘ Traill, Social England, Vol. V, p. 366.

• G. HiU, he. cit., Vol. II. p. 44.

• Nocturnal Revels, or the History of the King's Place and other modem Nunneries. London, 1779. Vol. I, p. 102.

  • G. Hill, he. cU., Vol. II, p. 9.

' Httttner, he. dt., p. 36.

  • The powder was always perfumed, and the greatest variety of scents

was sold for this piurpose. G. Hill, he. oit., Vol. II, pp. 12.13.

[ 478 ]


England. He invited the ladies to come to his warehouse in Bishopsgate, where they ‘ would be astonished by his exceptional and tasteful assortment of hair. His nbi g nnnH were of French hair, the most beautiful the imagination could picture. He had in stock about 1,000 lots, of fifty different lengths, including twenty different kinds of chestnut brown alone, and an almost endless assortment of other colours, such as black-grey, red, etc.’ The prices of these chignons varied from 5 shillings to 6 guineas*.

This mania for wigs produced a special class of thief, the wig thief, who fi^quented the streets of London in great numbers, and with much skill snatched their wigs from the heads of the passers-by, thereafter selling them*.

As on their hair, great store was also set by the fair sex on their millinery. Archenholtz remarks: ‘ One of the chief adornments of women, however, is their hats, which are now richly trimmed with feathers and ribbons. Without these, no one, either of the upper or the lower classes, dare set her foot outside the door. No beggar woman even will be seen without a hat. They have their own way of putting them on which the ladies of other countries do not seem able to imitate successfully, and thus the effect of the hats is not so striking on them. This peculiar effect caused Linguet to say that had Homer known these attractive adornments, he would have given Venus an English hat in addition to her girdle!* ’

The most celebrated of these hats was, in conjunction with the ‘ mob ’ and the ‘ Fly-cap a la Th^r^se ’, the ‘ Ranelagh- mob a hat which was worn by the demi-mondaines at Ranelagh. It consisted almost entirely of gauze which was

  • Archenholtz, British Annals, Vol. XVI (1795), pp. 182-183. See

also G. HiU, loc. cit, Vol. II, pp. 13-14 re the hair merchant.

  • HiU, loc. cit., Vol. n, pp. 22-24.
  • Archenholtz, England und Italien, Vol. Ill, p. 73.

[ 479 ]


twisted round the head, crossed under the chin, and fastened at the back of the head with the ends left hanging^.

The fashionable extravagances of that period were also uniquely displayed in the clothing of the female bosom. On the use of the corset, George Forster remarks*: ‘ Another horror of the present-day clothing is the corset, which is worn as generally as ever, and now on account of the frightful high gauze bodices they make an excrescence of the bust, which at least does protect this delicate part from injury, but does not tend to the beautifying of the female form.’ Worse than this were the artificial bosoms which were seen in London, and worn chiefly in the latter years of the eighteenth century*. ‘ It has recently been the fashion amongst women of the world to appear half naked, and to display the hidden charms of their bodies, and quite a number of these fashionable females who have no natural bosom to display, take refuge in artificial ones made of wax, so that they shall not be given away by the mode.’ Madame Thiknesse relates in her newly -published morality novel The School for Fashion, Part II, p. 119, a true story m this coimection:

‘ A young lady who was to be married in a few days time to a worthy man, was with her betrothed at the house of a lady of position. As the company was very numerous, the air became stiflingly hot, and caused the unfortimate girl to faint suddenly. The whole room was at once in a turmoil; they unfastened the bodice of her dress, in order to give her more air, and all at once two of the daintiest wax breasts fell to the groirnd from out of the gauze material of the bodice. The ladies screamed, and I do not doubt were secretly delighted at this public discovery. It can be imagined

• Traill, Social England, Vol. V, p. 356. Hill, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 55.

• George Forster’s Letters and Diaries on his Journeys on the Lower Rhine, in England and in France in the early part of 1790. Published by Albert Leitzmann, Halle, 1893. P. 234.

• Weiss, he. cit., Vol. II, p. 1278.

[ 480 ]


better than described, how great was the astonishment of the poor deceived bridegroom, who had doubtless often been bewitched by the charms of the alabaster bosom of his beloved. His love for the deceitful woman at once changed to the deepest scorn; the unfortunate girl was the object of general ridicule, and she lost at once and the same time her lover, admiration and the esteem of her acquaintances^.’