Female policy detected, or, The arts of designing women laid open

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Female policy detected, or, The arts of designing women laid open  (1840-1850) 

Edward Ward is bibliographic antecedent but not author.

female policy


or the

arts of designing women

laid open


printed for the booksellers.




Of all vices, an unlawful freedom with the female sex is the most predominant, and of all sins hath the most powerful temptations; and many allurements do bctray and draw men into this folly. The inducements of the fair sex are so prevailing, a propensity in nature so forcible, it is hard to stand unmoved, when tempted forward by the charms of a subtle woman, and drove by the foul desires of an unbounded lust.

But as there is no passion too strong to be conquered, or temptation too great to be resisted, so if you will observe the maxims I shall give you in this little treatise, you will be armed against beauty, make love your subject, and all the subtleties of the fair sex shall truckle, and become instruments of direction, instead of your ruin.

Be careful how you conceive too good an opinion of a woman at first sight, for you see not the woman truly, but her ornaments. Paint, patches, and fine dresses are to hide defects; for beauty, like truth, is always best when plainest.

Many in rich dress look inviting, whose beauty, when they undress, flies away with their apparel, and leaves you (as Juno did Ixion) nothing but a cloudy mistress to embrace.

If you like a woman, and would discover if she be in nature what she may seem by art, surprise her in a morning undressed, and it is ten to one but you will find your goddess hath shifted off her divinity, and the angel you so much admired, turned into a Mallion.

Be always jealous of a maid that extols her own virtue; a wife who exclaims against her own husband in his absence, and a widow that eourts your eompany; for when a woman praises her virtue, it is as a shop-keeper does a commodity, desiring to be rid of it; and she that sticks not to lay open the failings of her husband to another, will to the same man lay open herself, whenever he shall require it of her; and when a widow seems fond of your conversation, be sure it is through design, and if you are not careful, she will bury you alive.

Be not tempted to pick up any woman in the street; but if you should, be sure you have one eye before, and another behind; for whosoever lust leads, danger follows.

Covet not the presents of a fond woman, for they are baits left to ensnare you, and while you

think you are a gainer by her gifts, you are losing yourself.

Whoever is trepanned by a woman's smiles, is as a fly hampered in a eobweb, whieh waits the leisure of the spider when he shall be devoured.

He that serves the lust of a woman makes himself her monkey, for she admires him no longer than while he is playing with his tail

Be as careful how you lie upon a whore, as how you keep one: for by the former you will get nothing, and by the latter, lose every thing you have got.

Mistrust a woman that seems rieh by her own discourse; for she that talks much of her fortune hath generally but little.

Think not every woman rieh that wears gay apparel, for many forfeit their virtue to maintain their pride

Build not too grcat faith on the sight of a few guineas or a gold watch; these may be but showing-horns to draw you to your ruin

Believe no man's affirmation of a woman's fortune, unless you know him; for designs are never carried on without abettors.

Be sure of her portion, though you take her virtue upon credit; but he that takes both upon trust, may find, when too late, that he hath neither to trust to

Endeavour not to continue a woman's love by gifts, for every present you make her may be the purchase of a rival: besides the love gifts, and if you use them to it, they will love you no longer than while you are giving.

Believe not the trivial favours of a woman as a demonstration of her love; for they take pride to be beloved, though it may be by those they scorn.

Raise not an opinion of yourself upon the flatteries of a woman, nor think her praises any sign of love, but her cunning; for designing women, like great politicians, flatter them they design to ruin. Let no woman charm you with the music of a smooth tongue, for many can talk well that act ill.

Believe no woman the more virtuous for resisting the first attempt; for like besieged towns, they will withstand several efforts, and at last surrender upon capitulation.

Some women (like strong holds,) are to be taken but one way, which if you cannot readily attain, be content, she will find ways to direct you if she likes y u.

When a lewd woman serves your necessity, it is with a certain expectancy you should serve her lust. Her kindness is measured by your eapaeity, and continuance of her favours dwells upon the repetition of your performances. She will stretch her purse-strings to support you in extravagancies, if you strain as much to supply her unbounded leehery; but you may be sure she will be your servant no longer than you remain her drudge.

He that is stallion to a whore, is a slave to iniquity, and a champion to another's vices, a coward in a good cause, and a eurse to himself.

Let no woman tempt you by her wit to love her; for she who hath wit enough to tempt you hath enough to deceive you.

Suffer not yourself to be ensnared by a woman over free in her gestures, or conversation; for whosoever is most active in behaviour, behaves herself like a lover of much action, and whosoever is free in much eompany will be freer when but two together. Think not the amorous glances of a woman towards you, gives you title to her affection; for they can look one way when their hearts are another.

Expect no good quality in a woman more than what she shows; for it is a maxim in their politics, to put the best side outwards.

If you love a woman, be careful how you show it; for your nibbling at the bait may too early discover a willingness to be caught

Waste not your strength in the employment of beauty, neither your time nor money in corrupting virtue; but marry a chaste wife of a good family, with a moderate fortune, and you need not question being happy.




Whosoever resigns her virtue to gratify another's will, will not scruple the same freedom with another, to pleasure her own; for few women love so well as to love a gallant better than themselves.

She who will loss her reputation to oblige you, will hazard your love to gratify herself; and she that will do both, can never be constant.

Put no confidence in a woman that has lost her honour; for she who is without reputation, hath nothing to engage her to be faithful.

Constaney is maintained by virtue; and she that hath lost her virtue, hath nothing left to oblige her to be constant.

Shc that prefers pleasure bcforc virtue, will be constant to her lust, but not to you.

Nothing cngages a man's affeetion so much to a woman as belief of her constaney; but it is better to believe her otherwise, for then she can never deeeive you; women are sensible that constancy is more prised than beauty: but it is a maxim among their sex, to deceive us most in what we most value.

Nothing is more ridieulous than to keep a miss

for she that you keep will keep another if she can; their being the same ambition in her to be the mistress of another, as there is in you to be master of her; and he that thinks a woman constant because he keeps her, proves a knave to himself, and a fool to his madam.

Put not faith in a woman that is wife to another; for she who is not constant to her husband will never be so to you.

A woman who hath a husband and admits of a gallant, let him look upon her as Monsieur Ragout’s mistress, who was constant to the whole troop.

A married woman, if lewd, is subtle by experience; for she who hath her husband to deceive every day, can deceive a gallant at leisure.

A durable love is the supporter of constancy; but that love can never be lasting that stands on a false bottom.

Be constant to no woman but a wife; if you be, you deceive yourself; expect no constancy in a whore, for she will deceive you

Credit no woman’s words who hath lost her virtue, but believe the contrary, for she talks counter.

If you have contracted any friendship with a woman, let all she can do for you be no more than you deserve; but if she prove constant, let it be more than you cxpect.

Think not woman is most faithful to him she is most fond of; for to him she deceives most she seems most obliging.

Believe not all to be virgins who talk much of their virginity; for all would seem maids that have been otherwise.

To one a woman may be constant; but if she divides her affections between two, she can be constant to neither.

If you are familiar with another’s wife, believe her not when she says she knows none but her husband and you; for she will swear to her husband she knows none but himself.

Credit nothing a woman says as to her constancy or virtue; for she will justify her innocence before him with whom she has been guilty.

Love no woman in the absence of her husband, you only stop a gap for another who will return you no thanks for your labour, and remember his approach will be your distance.

If you have a woman, concealed it; oblige her with courtesies, but show no passion; for by your prudence you may master her, to whom a discovery of your love will make you become a servant.

Measure a woman’s love by her jealousy: for she loves him best of whom she is most jealous; and of whom she is most jealous, to him she is most constant

Be jealous of a woman that will not be jealous of you; for she that will not be jealous loves you not; and she that loves you not will not be constant to you.

Answer all the expeetations of a woman you would keep constant; for one single neglect hazards the loss of her affeetions.

Keep a watchful eye over the woman whom you love; seem not to be over credulous of her virtue; if you do, she will make trials of your faith.

She who kisses her husband in public, hath generally her eye on him she would kiss in private; and she that will kiss both in public and private values not where she kisses.

Be constant to your wife that she may be constant to you; for gratitude may constrain a woman to preserve those bonds which revenge may make her violate.

Chuse for your wife a prudent woman, for prudence preserves virtue, virtue love, love constancy.

Inconstancy in a wife makes wedlock a bramble, which bears abundance of thorns.

Inconstancy in a husband makes inconstancy in a wife; and an inconstant wife makes a husband a constant cuckold.

Trust no man with your wife abroad, nor court your friend to bear her company at home in your absence; for opportunity and importunity may conquer the most heroie virtue.

Carry no man to your mistress if you prize her; for if she loves you, she will be eivil to your friend for your sake.

It is the poliey of a designing woman to oblige the friend of him that loves her. To aequaint herself by that means with his affairs that she may manage him the better.

Most women are of eold eonstitutions, and under the dominion of them; and remember it as an approved maxim, that all sublunary things are subject to mutation.

Constaney is a great virtue, and its opposite is a dangerous viee; whoever negleets the former to praetise the latter, is neither to be loved nor trusted.

It is good to be wise, it is wisdom to be just. and just to be eonstant.




The love of woman is easy to be gained, but diffieult to be preserved. You may with more ease subdue virtue, and bring a ehaste woman to your embraees, than engage her to be eonstant.

It is a reeeived opinion among their sex that the passion of love eeases in a man after

enjoyment, and the esteem he had before of her person, is much lessened by her condescensions to his desires; which conception occasions her to withdraw her affections from you (unless every hour you confirm her in a different faith by fresh assurances) covetting to be beloved by somebody who hath a good opinion of her virtues; for there is nothing more certain, than that women who have been deceived themselves take a secret delight in deceiving others; therefore you that are the deceivers, be careful you be not deceived.

The love of a virgin is innocent and lasting as her virtue. The love of a just wife friendly and delightful. The love of a lewd woman lustful and revengeful.

If you are the favourate of a lady, and depend upon her courtesies, you must be industrious to oblige her, and as watchful to preserve her from the efforts of rivals, or you will soon find your mistress like a pop-gun, the last pellet she receives will drive out the former.

Sympathise not with a woman who loves you passionately; for as she finds your love increases, she will cool her own with the assurance of yours.

If you have gained a woman's love, and would preserve it, be sure be constant in your visits; for you will find most women have such bad memories, that a week's absence will make them forget you.

The love of a woman hath its seasons, like the year, its spring, summer, autumn and winter. It begins with a warm desire, and is nourished to a greater heat by the kind influenee of the objcet, till the harvest of her joys are full ripe; but when the fruits of her affeetion are reaped and gathered, you will soon pereeive some sharp breezes, as signs of an approaehing winter.

The love of a ehaste woman will be eontinued towards you as long as you behave yourself well; but the love of a woman who hath lost her virtue is but during pleasure

Love a woman with moderation, that loves you to an excess; her passion will naturally reduee itself to the same equality, for no extremes are lasting; and then you have the advantage, for the eountenanee of a little love shows a constant temper, and looks friendly and obliging when a passion eooled to the same indifferenee will look slighting and neglective. Besides, he that loves a woman too mueh, is apt to love himself too little.

Depend not on the love of a lewd woman, it is a reed will soon deceive you, her love is entangled with her lust; to eontinue the one, is to be a slave to the other, and rather than to be that, I would share the punishment of Sisiphus.

Secure not your love to a woman, by oaths or protestations; for she will then think you have bound yourself to continue that respect, whieh would be otherwise her care and study to merit and preserve.

Let not the protestations of a woman's love to you be a preeednet to folly, though you love her; for she does it only to tempt you to give in the same seeurity, that she may have the more to upbraid you with, whenever you shall prove false.

If you are beloved by a person you cannot marry, whom you are willing to seeure to your own embraees, draw what you can from her insinuations; the more you get, the faster you bind her; she will not part with that easily, which she hath purehased dearly; and the more you eost her, the more she will prize you.

The love of a woman is much to be pitied, the love of a wife highly to be valued, but the love of a vieious woman deserves neither; for she will ove any that will serve her lust.

Give no eneouragement to the love of another's wife; for it is lustful in the beginning, treaeherous all along, and dangerous in the end.

Love is a distemper will wade through the greatest diffieulties to obtain a cure; he that is the physician may expect what fee he pleases; therefore do you take care how you become the patient.

Seraphic love is the bliss of angels, mutual love the comfort of mankind, natural love the chain of the world, but lustful love the mother of misfortune.

To love a wife is our duty, to love a friend is our interest, but to love a courtezan is a dangerous ventnre.




Of all passions, that of revenge is the most opposite to reason and good humour: it will so far blind and deceive the judgment, that persons under this madness value not what injuries they do themselves in rashly attempting some trifling prejudice to an adversary. This passion in woman springs mostly from the envenomed seeds of corrupted love; (as the best wine once turned becomes the sharpest vinegar) and is so predominant in this sex, that they value nothing they do to accomplish those cnds in which the sweetness of their revenge is centered; and as they love to extrcmcs, every little neglect they construe a great slight, and through their weakness, mistake accident often for design, and fling themselves by their own whimsies and conceits, into an evil opinion of person whom they love.

Thus oftentimes they let their own jealousies pass for realities, and sour their affeetions into a sharp revenge without a just oceasion, turning furies to those they loved, through a faneiful ingratitude; which I conceive to be the ehief reason why women are more subjeet to this passion than men.

Covet therefore no woman’s love, but whom you will be diligent to oblige; for a small negleet is taken by them as a great ingratitude.

Deal with a revengeful woman as with a handgrenade, which you east from you as soon as the fuse is lighted, lest it burst to the prejudiee of him that fired it.

Have no familiarity with her you have disobliged, lest, bee-like she stings you with her tail.

She who onee loved you, and is turned your enemy, look on her always to be so; be not deluded by her flatteries to give it into her power to hurt you; for women though they seem to forget a wrong they have been foreed to suffer, yet you will find they have good memories when they have power to revenge it.

Trespass not on the affeetions of a woman who loves you to excess; for women (like ale) if over sweet will turn sour the sooner.

Take not always a woman's frowns as slights, nor her smiles as a sure argument of her love, for every time the sun is elouded it does not predict foul weather, and when she shines out a storm may be near at hand. Woman ean dissemble their passions, and change their looks as a seorpion can its eolour.

A woman's love is like to vinegar, whieh can never be redueed to its primitive goodness, but will always remain sour till it is dead.

Nothing is so revengeful as an injured woman; for whieh reason the poets have ordered the furies to be put in the feminine gender.

The love of a virtuous woman is a great blessing: but if onee lost by ingratitude, you will find that she will turn her love that eould not last, into a revenge that will.

Shun a woman that is your enemy; for every time she sees you it puts her to fresh misehiefs.

If you have dealt ungratefully with a woman, eonverse with none that respeet her, lest at some time or other it should happen to your prejudiee,

The passions of an envious woman are virulent, and flattery the only antidote to expel the poison.

To dissemble shows more prudenee than to aggravate; by the one you may paeify the fury of fermented spirits, when the other will beget in your enemy fresh resolutions for misehief.

Be mereiful to those you ean overpower; but flatter sueh enemies you eannot eonquer; for revenge (though sweet to those who seek it) is always bitter to the sufferers

Some women are politicly penitent: after a revenge completed, they will palliate the injury, with succeeding pity; but think the sorrow of such a person as great as hers, who weeping follows a dead husband to the grave, whom she has wished out of the world a thousand times while he was living.

Changes in inconstant tempers are never to be minded: she who does you a willing injury, and seems sorry for it, it is your prudence to believe that she only grieves the misehief she has done you is no greater. Trust an enemy who hath once hurt you, upon a reeonciliation, no farther than you would the fawning of a mastiff dog which had attemped to worry you.

Most women are polite in their love, but much more subtle in their revenge; therefore be eareful how you affront them, or deceive them, to deserve it; besides it is ignoble to offend the peevish, or hurt the weak.

Make not her that loves you, by ingratitude, your enemy; for revenge (like a crab-tree) produees a sweet blossom, but a sour fruit.




Stateliness in a woman may beeome her as she walks, but pride in eonversation is hateful and ridiculous, and cxposes the person affected with it to the censure of the company, in such awkward gestures, and uneouth behaviours, sueh peremptory sentenees, and impertinent loquaeities, that offend the eyes and ears of all that have either modesty or prudenee. Nothing shows the want of judgment more than female pride, which is doubtless, nourished by the vain conceits of their own beauty, and begets sueh a self-love grounded upon self-opinion, that they look upon their whole sex beside with envy and contempt, and, like Narcissus, daily doat on the reflection of their own imaginary exeelleneies. Cast not your eye too often upon sueh women, for they are ehangeable mistresses, implaeable wives, and ill mothers to their ehildren.

A proud woman, like an imprudent prinee, always loves him best by whom she is most flattered.

If you aim at the favours of a lofty mistress, you must highly extol her person and parts, and eoineide with her opinion in all things, though ever so opposite to reason: for flattery and humility must be the supporters of your interest.

Let pride in a fine woman antieipate your admiration; for never admire her who admires herself too much; coneeive her as a large looking-glass eracked, by which single defcet it is rendered of small value, by reason it can never be mended.

Pride in a witty woman is like a whetstone to a scythc, it only scrves to sharpen her refleetions, and makes her a most dangerous weapon for a man to meddle with.

A proud woman like a stately horse, is to be rid with a crub, and managed with the rein, or she will soon be the bane of the rider.

If you marry a haughty woman you ought to havc a good estate, for you will find a proud wife, in a low situation, will be an uneomfortable companion, and the first in adversity that shall lcnd a helping hand to your ruin.

Pride in a friend is dangerous, in a mistress chargeable, but in a wife an intolerable torment.

Many womcn have virtue enough to resist the bare attempts of familiarity; but few that can stand against the powerful eharms of gold, fine dress, eoaeh and horses, and attendance. It is grandeur influences pride, and leads ambition by the nose through the worst of viees: for there are many who are honestly poor by constraint, that would willingly eommit an cvil to be rich.

Many women have forfeited their virtuc to gratify their lust, but more to maintain their pride and lust, though it will make a woman a whore, yet it is pride makes her merecnary.

That virtue is never safe which is under the guardianship of pride; the latter will be maintained, though the former be sacrificed to maintain it.

He tnat hath a proud woman to his wife, is like an oak begirt with ivy: for he suffers himself to be embraced by that which will bring him to his ruin.

When ambition leads the van, the main body of vices follow; and wherever you see pride in the front, be sure lust marches in the rere.

Pride in a beautiful woman is like a flaw in a diamond, it lessens the value, spoils the lustre and remains incurable.

He that marries a proud wife is as unhappy as a prince who hath a rebellious nation to govern as the letter must grant every petition of the people to secure peace in his kingdom, so must the former every request of his wife, to preserve the same in his family.

Of all imperfections in a woman, pride is the most intolerable; for that is the hardest to be excused, which is never to be mended.

Pride in a wife makes the husband appear little; it often compels him to submit where he hath a right to govern.

He that hath a prudent wife, hath a guardian angel by his side; but he that hath a proud wife hath the devil at his elbow.

A proud woman is an imperious wife, an undutiful daughter, an implaeable mistress, a harsh mother, and a sauey servant.

Pride is the parent of iniquity, the inventor of viee, the seed of rebellion, and the rise of faetion.

Pride lost mankind their paradise, the world its peaee, and made a devil of an angel.




Let no man deeeive himself with the expectation of gratitude in a mereenary woman; for she who for silks or satins, or a splendid maintenanee, will submit to your pleasure, and swear constaney to her keeper, shall be the first that forsakes you in a deelining condition; and though she hath built a provision for herself out of the ruins of your fortune, yet she shall be the last person that shall lend you the least assistanee when your oeeasions shall the most require it. Therefore, look upon whatever you give to such a woman to be buried as a deep sea, from whence no returns ean be expeeted.

If you love a woman, be not deluded by her trifling presents to make ehargeable returns; for that is the aim of her poliey. Let not a point eravat, because it is her own working, give her title to the settlement out of your estate; lest whilst your mistress extols your gratitude, the world laughs at your folly

Giving presents to a woman to secure her love, is as vain as endeavouring to fill a seive with water: for you may continue giving the one, and pouring into the other, till the last trumpet sound, ere you find the one faster or the other the fuller.

The gratitude of a mercenary woman lies only in her tail; with it she dissolves all obligations, and will still be a gainer, even when the debt is paid.

Whosoever blames a woman for her ingratitude, is equally eulpable for trusting her with the power to prove so; for love with moderation keep a close heart, and a wary hand, and her ingratitude can never hurt you.

To a woman you love behave yourself boldly, and with freedom, though justly and respectfully, for a manly earriage will awe her to be grateful, when cringing fondness may occasion her to presume on your good nature.


This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.