Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/135

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97
LIFE IN THE CAPITAL

with the gullability and the lecherous tendency of the average Elizabethan.

Certain portions of London were the special resorts. Stow graphically describes the stews in Southwark near the theatres. The suburbs in general were so notorious that, to be called a "suburban" was an insult. The suburbs were places of "sixpenny sinfulness," says Dekker, who has written so much about the seamy side of Elizabethan London life. Turnbull Street was a sort of Elizabethan Burlington Arcade, but Shoreditch, Whitefriars, and Westminster were almost equally notorious.

The Elizabethan dramatists frequently describe the dress and appearance of these women. Taylor, The Water Poet, write: "Commonly most of the shee-bauds have a peculiar privilege more than other women: for generally they are not starveling creatures, but well larded and embossed with fat, so that a baud hath her mouth three stories of chimes high, and is a well fed emblem of plenty; and though she be of but small estimation, yet is she always taken for a great woman amongst her neighbours." In fact, there seems to be in the writing of this time a recurrence to this typical picture of a fatted prostitute which reminds one of the national incarnation, to-day of some type as we see it in the comic papers. The double