If one might be serious on this prevailing Folly, one might observe, that it is a melancholy thing, when the World is mercenary even to the buying and selling our very Persons, that young Women, tho’ they have never so great Attractions from Nature, are never the nearer being happily disposed of in Marriage; I say, it is very hard under this Necessity, it shall not be possible for them to go into a way of Trade for their Maintenance, but their very Excellencies and personal Perfections shall be a Disadvantage to them, and subject them to be treated as if they stood there to sell their Persons to Prostitution. There cannot be a more melancholy Circumstance to one who has made any Observation in the World, than one of those erring Creatures exposed to Bankruptcy. When that happens, none of these toying Fools will do any more than any other Man they meet to preserve her from Infamy, Insult, and Distemper. A Woman is naturally more helpless than the other Sex; and a Man of Honour and Sense should have this in his View in all Manner of Commerce with her. Were this well weighed, Inconsideration, Ribaldry, and Nonsense, would not be more natural to entertain Women with than Men; and it would be as much Impertinence to go into a Shop of one of these young Women without buying, as into that of any other Trader. I shall end this Speculation with a Letter I have received from a pretty Milliner in the City.
’I have read your Account of Beauties, and was not a little surprized to find no Character of my self in it. I do assure you I have little else to do but to give Audience as I am such. Here are Merchants of no small Consideration, who call in as certainly as they go to ’Change, to say something of my roguish Eye: And here is one who makes me once or twice a Week tumble over all my Goods, and then owns it was only a Gallantry to see me act with these pretty Hands; then lays out three Pence in a little Ribbon for his Wrist-bands, and thinks he is a Man of great Vivacity. There is an ugly Thing not far off me, whose Shop is frequented only by People of Business, that is all Day long as busy as possible. Must I that am a Beauty be treated with for nothing but my Beauty? Be pleased to assign Rates to my kind Glances, or make all pay who come to see me, or I shall be undone by my Admirers for want of Customers. Albacinda, Eudosia, and all the rest would be used just as we are, if they were in our Condition; therefore pray consider the Distress of us the lower Order of Beauties, and I shall be
Your obliged humble Servant.
[Footnote 1: In the first issue this is numbered by mistake 156. The wrong numbering is continued to No. 163, when two successive papers are numbered 163; there is no 164, and then two papers are numbered 165. After this, at 166 the numbering falls right.]