TV Club: Harlots knows better than to answer its big questions

“Many of the post steeds of Venus have been so often hack’d, that they are broken winded, halt in their paces, and are well nigh founder’d, so as to be scarce fit for any thing but brood mares, if they are not too old. There will therefore be full room for Betsy to succeed some of the most eminent, as she is well worthy of the embraces of the first men in the kingdom.”

Harris’ Guide to Covent Garden Ladies, 1788

A harlot’s business is precarious stuff. Plenty of the women this episode are able to gain the upper hand over men with a little sex: Charlotte and her baronet, Emily Lacey and young Mr. Quigley, Margaret Wells and Mr. Lennox. But Mrs. Quigley goes to horrible lengths to keep the favor of a judge who feels no compunction to help her; Charlotte’s every move is …

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