Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton

Two Kissing Girls of Spitalfields

The following Lines are made on two Kissing Girls of Spittlefields.

That one’s a Man is false, they've both been felt,
Tho' Jolly swears, Bess is, or sh’ has been gelt.
She bullies, whistles, sings, and rants and swears
Beyond the Plyers at St. Katern’s Stairs;
She kisses all, but Jenny is her dear,
She feels her Bubbies, and she bites her ear:
They to the Garret or the Cellar sneak.
Play tricks, and put each other to the Squeak.
What Pity ’tis, in such a case as this,
One does not pass a Metamorphosis,
Then they'd not stop the flowing Breach of Dagnum
With Digitus vel instrumentum magnum.

     [Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer, Saturday, 10 August 1728]

Notes: Spitalfields Market in east London was noted for a high number of foreign immigrants, working mostly in the weaving trade. Dagenham Breach was a thousand-acre lake next to the Thames resulting from a repair to its walls from 1714 to eliminate a 400-foot mudbank that was a danger to shipping. It was near St Katharine's Dock, where men plied for work as porters unloading ships. The last line of course alludes to the penis which these two women lack, one reason that men cannot imagine women having sex together ("gelt" means castrated, i.e. lesbians are conceived as men without a penis, i.e. masculine women).

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Two Kissing Girls of Spitalfields", 23 April 2002 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/lowlife9.htm>

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