BOOK I. CONTAINING AS MUCH OF THE BIRTH OF THE FOUNDLING AS IS NECESSARY OR PROPER TO ACQUAINT THE READER WITH IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS HISTORY.
7. Chapter vii. Containing such grave matter...
"There are other consequences, not indeed so dreadful or replete with
horror as this; and yet such, as, if attentively considered, must, one
would think, deter all of your sex at least from the commission of
"For by it you are rendered infamous, and driven, like lepers of old,
out of society; at least, from the society of all but wicked and
reprobate persons; for no others will associate with you.
"If you have fortunes, you are hereby rendered incapable of enjoying
them; if you have none, you are disabled from acquiring any, nay
almost of procuring your sustenance; for no persons of character will
receive you into their houses. Thus you are often driven by necessity
itself into a state of shame and misery, which unavoidably ends in the
destruction of both body and soul.
"Can any pleasure compensate these evils? Can any temptation have
sophistry and delusion strong enough to persuade you to so simple a
bargain? Or can any carnal appetite so overpower your reason, or so
totally lay it asleep, as to prevent your flying with affright and
terror from a crime which carries such punishment always with it?
"How base and mean must that woman be, how void of that dignity of
mind, and decent pride, without which we are not worthy the name of
human creatures, who can bear to level herself with the lowest animal,
and to sacrifice all that is great and noble in her, all her heavenly
part, to an appetite which she hath in common with the vilest branch
of the creation! For no woman, sure, will plead the passion of love
for an excuse. This would be to own herself the mere tool and bubble
of the man. Love, however barbarously we may corrupt and pervert its
meaning, as it is a laudable, is a rational passion, and can never be
violent but when reciprocal; for though the Scripture bids us love our
enemies, it means not with that fervent love which we naturally bear
towards our friends; much less that we should sacrifice to them our
lives, and what ought to be dearer to us, our innocence. Now in what
light, but that of an enemy, can a reasonable woman regard the man who
solicits her to entail on herself all the misery I have described to
you, and who would purchase to himself a short, trivial, contemptible
pleasure, so greatly at her expense! For, by the laws of custom, the
whole shame, with all its dreadful consequences, falls intirely upon
her. Can love, which always seeks the good of its object, attempt to
betray a woman into a bargain where she is so greatly to be the loser?
If such corrupter, therefore, should have the impudence to pretend a
real affection for her, ought not the woman to regard him not only as
an enemy, but as the worst of all enemies, a false, designing,
treacherous, pretended friend, who intends not only to debauch her
body, but her understanding at the same time?"