I shall close this Subject with giving you one Caution: When you have gained a Victory, do not push it too far; ’tis sufficient to let the Company and your Adversary see ’tis in your Power, but that you are too generous to make use of it.
[Footnote 1: Part I., canto i., v. 69, 70.]
[Footnote 2: “it is”, and in first reprint.]
* * * * *
No. 198. Wednesday, October 17, 1711. Addison.
luporum praeda rapacium
Sectamur ultro, quos opimus
Fallere et effugere est triumphus.’
There is a Species of Women, whom I shall distinguish by the Name of Salamanders. Now a Salamander is a kind of Heroine in Chastity, that treads upon Fire, and lives in the Midst of Flames without being hurt. A Salamander knows no Distinction of Sex in those she converses with, grows familiar with a Stranger at first Sight, and is not so narrow-spirited as to observe whether the Person she talks to be in Breeches or Petticoats. She admits a Male Visitant to her Bed-side, plays with him a whole Afternoon at Pickette, walks with him two or three Hours by Moon-light; and is extreamly Scandalized at the unreasonableness of an Husband, or the severity of a Parent, that would debar the Sex from such innocent Liberties. Your Salamander is therefore a perpetual Declaimer against Jealousie, and Admirer of the French Good-breeding, and a great Stickler for Freedom in Conversation. In short, the Salamander lives in an invincible State of Simplicity and Innocence: Her Constitution is preserv’d in a kind of natural Frost; she wonders what People mean by Temptation; and defies Mankind to do their worst. Her Chastity is engaged in a constant Ordeal, or fiery Tryal: (Like good Queen Emma, ) the pretty Innocent walks blindfold among burning Ploughshares, without being scorched or singed by them.
It is not therefore for the Use of the Salamander, whether in a married or single State of Life, that I design the following Paper; but for such Females only as are made of Flesh and Blood, and find themselves subject to Human Frailties.
As for this Part of the fair Sex who are not of the Salamander Kind, I would most earnestly advise them to observe a quite different Conduct in their Behaviour; and to avoid as much as possible what Religion calls Temptations, and the World Opportunities. Did they but know how many Thousands of their Sex have been gradually betrayed from innocent Freedoms to Ruin and Infamy; and how many Millions of ours have begun with Flatteries, Protestations and Endearments, but ended with Reproaches, Perjury, and Perfidiousness; they would shun like Death the very first Approaches of one that might lead them into inextricable Labyrinths of Guilt and Misery. I must so far give up the Cause of the Male World, as to exhort the Female Sex in the Language of Chamont in the Orphan;