Story type: Essay
Wednesday, October 17, 1711.
‘Cervae 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; 
‘Trust not a Man, we are by Nature False,
Dissembling, Subtle, Cruel, and Unconstant:
When a Man talks of Love, with Caution trust him:
But if he Swears, he’ll certainly deceive thee.’
I might very much enlarge upon this Subject, but shall conclude it with a Story which I lately heard from one of our Spanish Officers,  and which may shew the Danger a Woman incurs by too great Familiarities with a Male Companion.
An Inhabitant of the Kingdom of Castile, being a Man of more than ordinary Prudence, and of a grave composed Behaviour, determined about the fiftieth Year of his Age to enter upon Wedlock. In order to make himself easy in it, he cast his Eye upon a young Woman who had nothing to recommend her but her Beauty and her Education, her Parents having been reduced to great Poverty by the Wars, [which ] for some Years have laid that whole Country waste. The Castilian having made his Addresses to her and married her, they lived together in perfect Happiness for some time; when at length the Husband’s Affairs made it necessary for him to take a Voyage to the Kingdom of Naples, where a great Part of his Estate lay. The Wife loved him too tenderly to be left behind him. They had not been a Shipboard above a Day, when they unluckily fell into the Hands of an Algerine Pirate, who carried the whole Company on Shore, and made them Slaves. The Castilian and his Wife had the Comfort to be under the same Master; who seeing how dearly they loved one another, and gasped after their Liberty, demanded a most exorbitant Price for their Ransom. The Castilian, though he would rather have died in Slavery himself, than have paid such a Sum as he found would go near to ruin him, was so moved with Compassion towards his Wife, that he sent repeated Orders to his Friend in Spain, (who happened to be his next Relation) to sell his Estate, and transmit the Money to him. His Friend hoping that the Terms of his Ransom might be made more reasonable, and unwilling to sell an Estate which he himself had some Prospect of inheriting, formed so many delays, that three whole Years passed away without any thing being done for the setting of them at Liberty.
There happened to live a French Renegado in the same Place where the Castilian and his Wife were kept Prisoners. As this Fellow had in him all the Vivacity of his Nation, he often entertained the Captives with Accounts of his own Adventures; to which he sometimes added a Song or a Dance, or some other Piece of Mirth, to divert them [during ] their Confinement. His Acquaintance with the Manners of the Algerines, enabled him likewise to do them several good Offices. The Castilian, as he was one Day in Conversation with this Renegado, discovered to him the Negligence and Treachery of his Correspondent in Castile, and at the same time asked his Advice how he should behave himself in that Exigency: He further told the Renegado, that he found it would be impossible for him to raise the Money, unless he himself might go over to dispose of his Estate. The Renegado, after having represented to him that his Algerine Master would never consent to his Release upon such a Pretence, at length contrived a Method for the Castlian to make his Escape in the Habit of a Seaman. The Castilian succeeded in his Attempt; and having sold his Estate, being afraid lest the Money should miscarry by the Way, and determining to perish with it rather than lose one who was much dearer to him than his Life, he returned himself in a little Vessel that was going to Algiers. It is impossible to describe the Joy he felt on this Occasion, when he considered that he should soon see the Wife whom he so much loved, and endear himself more to her by this uncommon Piece of Generosity.
The Renegado, during the Husband’s Absence, so insinuated himself into the good Graces of his young Wife, and so turned her Head with Stories of Gallantry, that she quickly thought him the finest Gentleman she had ever conversed with. To be brief, her Mind was quite alienated from the honest Castilian, whom she was taught to look upon as a formal old Fellow unworthy the Possession of so charming a Creature. She had been instructed by the Renegado how to manage herself upon his Arrival; so that she received him with an Appearance of the utmost Love and Gratitude, and at length perswaded him to trust their common Friend the Renegado with the Money he had brought over for their Ransom; as not questioning but he would beat down the Terms of it, and negotiate the Affair more to their Advantage than they themselves could do. The good Man admired her Prudence, and followed her Advice. I wish I could conceal the Sequel of this Story, but since I cannot I shall dispatch it in as few Words as possible. The Castilian having slept longer than ordinary the next Morning, upon his awaking found his Wife had left him: He immediately arose and enquired after her, but was told that she was seen with the Renegado about Break of Day. In a Word, her Lover having got all things ready for their Departure, they soon made their Escape out of the Territories of Algiers, carried away the Money, and left the Castilian in Captivity; who partly through the cruel Treatment of the incensed Algerine his Master, and partly through the unkind Usage of his unfaithful Wife, died some few Months after.
[Footnote 1: The story of Queen Emma, mother of Edward the Confessor, and her walking unhurt, blindfold and barefoot, over nine red-hot ploughshares, is told in Bayle’s Dictionary, a frequent suggester of allusions in the Spectator. Tonson reported that he usually found Bayle’s Dictionary open on Addison’s table whenever he called on him.]
[Footnote 2: Act 2.]
[Footnote 3: That is, English officers who had served in Spain.]
[Footnote 4: that]
[Footnote 5: in]
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