Fables for the Female Sex
A book that apparently went through a number of editions. 1783 seems to be some bookdealer's guess for this one. 16 fables strong on morality, less good on story. Thefable itself really becomes a derivative illustration of what is basically either sermon or satire. The woman's world that emerges here is frightening to imagine today. Frail fair thing, if she loses her honor once, a woman is doomed forever (The Female Seducers). Parents giving her to a man whom she has not chosen are the mother sheep giving her lamb to the wolf! Vanity claims in the last fable to rule the whole female race: Trust me, from titled dames to spinners,/'Tis I make saints, whoe'er makes sinners. The manifold advice may not be easy to put together: character will keep a man much more than looks; clothing should make a man imagine--not see--the best;striving nature to conceal/you only her defects reveal. A woman has fleeting beauty and gives it to a man for protection; he is grateful for the gift remembered and continues to protect her out of gratitude for what once was. Do not tease the man to whom you have said yes.
Unknown (title page missing)