There is no branch of social science that offers greater difficulties to the investigator than that which concerns itself with the number, the life, the fate, and the condition of fallen women. It has ever been so. Thousands of years ago King Solomon the wise said -

"Lest thou shouldst ponder the path of her life, her ways are movable, that thou canst not know them." (Proverbs v. 6.)

The great majority of them entirely elude the searches of the police, and conceal their calling under some outward garb of honest occupation. Before we proceed, therefore, to estimate the numbers in our large cities, we must explain the different classes in which they are divided.

The police reports of our great cities divide them into "public prostitutes," "waiter-girls," and " kept women," or "private mistresses." The first mentioned alone can, for obvious reasons, be known as such to the police. They are those who ply their avocation with such publicity as to become familiar to the agents of the law. Many of the mistresses dress as well, drive as elegant equipages, and behave in public as decorously as any ladies. The " waiter-girls" can only be classed as to character according to the good or bad reputation of the refreshment houses where they are employed. There are certain saloons - Captain Kennedy, Superintendent of the New York Metropolitan Police, says thirty-three in that city and Brooklyn - in which the chief business is licentiousness. They were a few years ago very abundant in St. Louis, and the wretched women in them were known locally as " beer jerkers;" but the excessively injurious effects of such establishments became so notorious that they were all shut up. Only the lowest class of depreved women are found in such dens.

The haunts of those one degree above these giris are known to the police as " houses of prostitution; and ranking above these again in the observance of decorum are the " houses of assignation." In the former, the inmates either go forth at night to seek their victims, and are known merely as " boarders ;" or they remain within, and await chance comers, and are then called " parlor boarders." The mistress of the house furnishes room and board to her inmates, and sometimes clothing, for which articles she takes care to Keep them in debt to her. Liquor of the vilest manufacture is always kept on hand at extravagant prices, and the girls are forced by threats and promises to urge its sale. Gambling is not uncommon, and " panel thieving" in carried on with great adroitness in very many of them.

All the inmates of these infamous houses bear assumed names, and it is a matter of constant observation how "movable" they are, as our translation of the Proverbs has it. They go from house to house, and from city to city, driven by an aimless restlessness. They are of all nationalities, Americans and Germans predominating, the Celtic race, that is, the Scotch, Welsh, and Irish, being in the minority, in proportion to the general population.

What is surprising, in Philadelphia, New York, and probably other northern cities, there are houses fitted up with considerable expense in which all the inmates are mixed, negro and white blood, quadroons and octoroons. They are patronized exclusively by white men.

The houses of assignation, according to the police reports of New York, are yearly on the increase, while the houses of prostitution are decreasing. In the former, the proprietors pretend to keep no boarders, but to have a number of female acquaintances, who, to eke out a scanty income or for motives of pleasure merely, sell their bodies. This story in ninety-nine cases in a hundred is notoriously false, and the Women in such houses are as often common street-walkers as anything else.

With these explanations in mind, we shall proceed to estimate the magnitude of this great evil in some of our cities, and thus show the imperative importance, in a hygienic as well as a purely moral view, of taking some measures to curb it. According to the police reports of 1869 there are in New York and Brooklyn 496 houses of prostitution and 107 houses of assignation. The whole number of women certainly known to the police as public prostitutes is 2107; but various competent authorities estimate the actual number of those who subsist in great part or entirely on the wages of sin, at the enormous number of thirty thousand.

This calculation, allowing for difference in extent and character of population, agrees closely with that made by the Midnight Mission of Philadelphia in the same year. The officers of this charity are of opinion that there are not less than twelve thousand in that city.

In Cincinnati a municipal law orders a register to be kept at police headquarters, on which the name and address of every well-ascertained public prostitute are inscribed. In 1869 the number so registered was 485; which, if the same proportion of public to private prostitution prevails as in New York, gives for the total number of fallen women seven thousand.

But Chicago has the unenviable notoriety of being the city in the United States where this degraded class is most numerous. Prof. Edmond Andrews, M. D., of that city, esti-mated that in 1867 there was one public prostitute to 230 inhabitants, or more than twice as many in proportion to the population as in New York city or Philadelphia, and more than in any of the corrupt capitals of the Old World. Paris not excepted!

It is unnecessary to carry this dreadful enumeration any further. We have said enough to display beyond question the appalling extent of this sin, and an elaborate discussion were out of place here.

We shall next proceed to describe