This section is from the book "The Transmission Of Life. Counsels On The Nature And Hygiene Of The Masculine Function", by George H. Napheys. Also available from Amazon: The Transmission of Life.
In speaking of the effects of the social evil on women, we have been repeating common-places which every reader knew or suspected. But there remains an exhibit of its consequences to be made, which is often lost sight of, or imperfectly apprehended; we mean its effect on the men who support it.
This is, if anything, even more deplorable than on the woman. The words of the wise king are every whit as true now as they ever were, and we would that ministers of the gospel had the nerve to choose them oftener as a text: -
"The lips of a strange woman drop as a honey-comb, and her mouth is smoother than oil;
" But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword;
" Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold on hell;
" Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house;
" Lest thou give thine honor unto others, and thy years unto the cruel;
"Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth, and thy labors be in the house of a stranger;
"And thou mourn at the last when thy flesh and the body are consumed." (Proverbs v.)
" Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him :
" Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant;
" But he knoweth not that the dead are there ; and that her guests are in the depths of hell." (Proverbs, ix.)
And who are the guests ? The gambler, the thief, the policy dealer, the ruffian; and with these, the college student, the bank clerk, the member of the fashionable club; aye, and also the father of the family, the husband of a pure wife, the head of the firm, the member of church ; all these, every night, in all our great cities. Can any of these think to escape the contamination ? Vain chimera. It is as certain as death. If nothing else remains, the moral stain is in-delible. As the poet Burns most truly says :-
"It hardens a' within, And petrifies the feelings."
But often there are physical consequences more immediately troublesome than this. The prevalence of contagious disease among these women is shocking. It is safe to say that one in three or four is suffering under some communicable form of them. "And how fearfully," exclaims the Rev. Dr. Muhlenburg in his sermon on the Midnight Mission, "is the wrath of God seen in these physical consequences 1 The most loathsome sight which the diseased human body, in man or woman exhibits, the most horridly disgusting, are the living corpses in which victims of lust are putrefying to their graves." We have already said enough on this point, and we pass to another.
Besides being morally degrading, and physically dangerous, illicit indulgence is pecuniarily ruinous. These women accustom themselves and their dupes to reckless expenditure, and of course they sink together into poverty. Nor let the shrewd and cautious business man think himself safe. It is notorious that a large class of these women are kept by their para-mours exclusively for the purpose of levying black mail. The middle aged, respectable married man is allured by 6ome decoy, his name is learned from his clothing or by the panel thief from his pocket book, he is tracked to his home or place of business, his history and family connections are hunted up, and with these facts at his command the unscrupulous pair have their victim in a net which he dares not break, and they bleed him to their heart's content. No one not intimately acquainted with the vices of our great cities can have any idea of how many men of the "highest respectability" are daily suffering the torments of the damned from the threats and extortions of such villains.
Let this public exposition be a warning to those who are tempted by the woman in the attire of a harlot and subtle of heart who says :-
" Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning; let us solace ourselves with loves.
"For the good man is not at home, he is gone a long journey.
" He hath taken a bag of money with him and will come home at the day appointed."
If he yields, he will soon discover that the snares are spread as they ever were for those void of understanding.