Madge Culls



THIS is one of the most abandoned and infamous characters that disgrace Society; as their passion counteracts the prospects of futurity, and deprives the most beautiful part of the Community of their rights.

   THE name of the vice which is here intended, is better omitted than expressed; it is sufficient to say, that it is happy for this country that its growth is exotic, and that no culture will bring it into fashion, nor no name give it a sanction.

   IT is said to have been imported into this country from Italy. If such are the refinements of foreign travel, it had been better that England had ever retained her native roughness, than to have imported those vices which CHURCHILL says are

"Sins, if such sins can be, which shut out grace,
"Which for the guilty have no hope, no place
"Ev'n in God's mercy. Sins 'gainst nature's plan
"Possess the land at large, and man for man
"Burns in those fires which hell alone could raise,
"To make him more than damn'd; which in the days
"Of punishment, when guilt becomes her prey,
"With all her tortures she can scarce repay."

   THESE wretches have many ways and means of conveying intelligence, and many signals by which they discover themselves to each other; they have likewise several houses of rendezvous, whither they resort: but their chief place of meeting is the Bird-cage Walk, in St. James's Park, whither they resort about twilight.

   THEY are easily discovered by their signals, which are pretty nearly as follow: If one of them sits on a bench, he pats the backs of his hands; if you follow them, they put a white handkerchief thro' the skirts of their coat, and wave it to and fro; but if they are met by you, their thumbs are stuck in the arm-pits of their waistcoats, and they play their fingers upon their breasts.

   BY means of these signals they retire to satisfy a passion too horrible for description, too detestable for language; a passion which deserves the punishment not of the law only, but an exclusion from Society on the most light glance of just suspicion of it.

SOURCE: George Parker, A View of Society and Manners in High and Low Life, 2 vols, London: Printed for the Author, 1781; vol. 2, pp. 85-8.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Madge Culls, 1781", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. 26 February 2002 <>.

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