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No. 175 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

Thursday, September 20, 1711.

‘Proximus a tectis ignis defenditur aegre:’

Ov. ‘Rem. Am.’

I shall this Day entertain my Readers with two or three Letters I have received from my Correspondents: The first discovers to me a Species of Females which have hitherto escaped my Notice, and is as follows.


‘I am a young Gentleman of a competent Fortune, and a sufficient Taste of Learning, to spend five or six Hours every Day very agreeably among my Books. That I might have nothing to divert me from my Studies, and to avoid the Noises of Coaches and Chair-men, I have taken Lodgings in a very narrow Street, not far from Whitehall; but it is my Misfortune to be so posted, that my Lodgings are directly opposite to those of a Jezebel. You are to know, Sir, that a Jezebel (so call’d by the Neighbourhood from displaying her pernicious Charms at her Window) appears constantly dress’d at her Sash, and has a thousand little Tricks and Fooleries to attract the Eyes of all the idle young Fellows in the Neighbourhood. I have seen more than six Persons at once from their several Windows observing the Jezebel I am now complaining of. I at first looked on her my self with the highest Contempt, could divert my self with her Airs for half an Hour, and afterwards take up my Plutarch with great Tranquillity of Mind; but was a little vexed to find that in less than a Month she had considerably stoln upon my Time, so that I resolved to look at her no more. But the Jezebel, who, as I suppose, might think it a Diminution to her Honour, to have the Number of her Gazers lessen’d, resolved not to part with me so, and began to play so many new Tricks at her Window, that it was impossible for me to forbear observing her. I verily believe she put her self to the Expence of a new Wax Baby on purpose to plague me; she us’d to dandle and play with this Figure as impertinently as if it had been a real Child: sometimes she would let fall a Glove or a Pin Cushion in the Street, and shut or open her Casement three or four times in a Minute. When I had almost wean’d my self from this, she came in her Shift-Sleeves, and dress’d at the Window. I had no Way left but to let down my Curtains, which I submitted to, though it considerably darkned my Room, and was pleased to think that I had at last got the better of her; but was surpriz’d the next Morning to hear her talking out of her Window quite cross the Street, with another Woman that lodges over me: I am since informed, that she made her a Visit, and got acquainted with her within three Hours after the Fall of my Window Curtains.

Sir, I am plagued every Moment in the Day one way or other in my own Chambers; and the Jezebel has the Satisfaction to know, that, tho’ I am not looking at her, I am list’ning to her impertinent Dialogues that pass over my Head. I would immediately change my Lodgings, but that I think it might look like a plain Confession that I am conquer’d; and besides this, I am told that most Quarters of the Town are infested with these Creatures. If they are so, I am sure ’tis such an Abuse, as a Lover of Learning and Silence ought to take notice of.

I am, SIR,
Yours, etc.’

I am afraid, by some Lines in this Letter, that my young Student is touched with a Distemper which he hardly seems to dream of and is too far gone in it to receive Advice. However, I shall animadvert in due time on the Abuse which he mentions, having my self observed a Nest of Jezebels near the Temple, who make it their Diversion to draw up the Eyes of young Templars, that at the same time they may see them stumble in an unlucky Gutter which runs under the Window.