The Great Social Evil

Time — Midnight. A Sketch not a Hundred Miles from the Haymarket.

Bella: "Ah, Fanny! How long have you been gay!

John Leech

Punch 33 (10 January 1857): 114

Wood engraving

Other material on Victorian prostitution.

Although predating Hardy's "The Ruined Maid" by some nine years, the cartoon admirably illustrates the poem's satiric dialogue. Note that, as the cartoon makes clear, in the Victorian period, "gay" referred to prostitution and not homosexuality.

This cartoon has previously been reproduced in the 1970 Thomas Hardy Year Book (p. 27) with H. A. T. Johnson's "Thomas Hardy and the Respectable Muse."

Scanned image by Philip V. Allingham; text by PVA and George P. Landow.

[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]