Memoirs Of Fanny Hill - A New and Genuine Edition from the Original Text (London, 1749)
by John Cleland
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But what was yet more surprising, the owner of this natural curiosity, through the want of occasions in the strictness of his home breeding, and the little time he had been in town not having afforded him one; was hitherto an absolute stranger, in practice at least, to the use of all that manhood he was so nobly stocked with; and it now fell to my lot to stand his first trial of it, if I could resolve to run the risks of its disproportion to that tender part of me, which such an oversized machine was very fit to lay in ruins.

But it was now of the latest to deliberate, for, by this time, the young fellow, over heated with the present objects, and too high metled to be longer curbed in by that modesty and awe which had hitherto restrained him, ventured, under the stronger impulse, and instructive promptership of nature alone, to slip his hands, trembling with eager impetuous desires, under my petticoats; and seeing, I suppose, nothing extremely severe in my looks, to stop or dash him, he feels out, and seizes, gently, the center spot of his ardours. Oh then! the fiery touch of his lingers determines me, and my fears melting away before the glowing intolerable heat, my thighs disclose of themselves, and yield all liberty to his hand: and now, a favourable movement giving my petticoats a toss, the avenue lay too fair, too open to be missed. He is now upon me: I had placed myself with a jerk under him, as commodious and open as possible to his attempts, which were untoward enough, for his machine, meeting with no inlet, bore and battered stiffly against me in random pushes, now above, now below, now beside his point; till, burning with impatience from its irritating touches, I guided gently, with my hand, this furious fescue to where my young novice was now to be taught his first lesson of pleasure. Thus he nicked, at length, the warm and insufficient orifice; but he was made to find no breach impracticable, and mine, though so often entered, was still far from wide enough to take him easily in.

By my direction, however, the head of his unwieldy machine was so critically pointed, that, feeling him fore-right against the tender opening, a favourable motion from me met his timely thrust, by which the lips of it, strenuously dilated, gave way to his thus assisted impetuosity, so that we might both feel that he had gained a lodgment. Pursuing then his point, he soon, by violent, and, to me, most painful piercing thrusts, wedges himself at length so far in, as to be now tolerably secure of his entrance: here he stuck, and I now felt such a mixture of pleasure and pain, as there is no giving a definition of. I dreaded alike his splitting me farther up, or his withdrawing; I could not bear either to keep or part with him. The sense of pain, however, prevailing, from his prodigious size and stiffness, acting upon me in those continued rapid thrusts, with which he furiously pursued his penetration, made me cry out gently: "Oh, my dear, you hurt me!" This was enough to check the tender respectful boy even in his mid-career; and he immediately drew out the sweet cause of my complaint, whilst his eyes eloquently expressed, at once, his grief for hurting me, and his reluctance at dislodging from quarters, of which the warmth and closeness had given him a gust of pleasure, that he was now desire mad to satisfy, and yet too much a novice not to be afraid of my withholding his relief, on account of the pain he had put me to.

But I was, myself, far from being pleased with his having too much regarded my tender exclaims; for now, more fired with the object before me, as it still stood with the fiercest erection, unbonneted, and displayed its broad vermilion head, I first gave the youth a re-encouraging kiss, which he repaid me with a fervour that seemed at once to thank me, and bribe my further compliance; and soon replaced myself in a posture to receive, at all risk, the renewed invasion, which he did not delay an instant: for, being presently remounted, I once more felt the smooth hard gristle forcing an entrance, which he achieved rather easier than before. Pained, however, as I was, with his efforts of gaining a complete admission, which he was so regardful as to manage by gentle degrees, I took care not to complain. In the mean time, the soft strait passage gradually loosens, yields, and, stretched to its utmost bearing, by the stick, thick, indriven engine, sensible, at once, to the ravishing pleasure of the feel and the pain of the distension, let him in about half way, when all the most nervous activity he now exerted, to further his penetration, gained him not an inch of his purpose: for, whilst he hesitated there, the crisis of pleasure overtook him, and the close compressure of the warm surrounding flow drew from him the ecstatic gush, even before mine was ready to meet it, kept up by the pain I had endured in the course of the engagement, from the insufferable size of his weapon, though it was not as yet in above half its length.

I expected then, but without wishing it, that he would draw, but was pleasingly disappointed: for he was not to be let off so. The well breathed youth, hot-mettled, and flush with genial juices, was now fairly in for making me know my driver. As soon, then, as he had made a short pause, waking, as it were, out of the trance of pleasure (in which every sense seemed lost for a while, whilst, with his eyes shut, and short quick breathings, he had yielded down his maiden tribute), he still kept his post, yet unsated with enjoyment, and solacing in these so new delights; till his stiffness, which had scarce perceptibly remitted, being thoroughly recovered to him, who had not once unsheathed, he proceeded afresh to cleave and open to himself an entire entry into me, which was not a little made easy to him by the balsamic injection, with: which he had just plentifully moistened the whole internals of the passage. Redoubling, then, the active energy of his thrusts, favoured by the fervid appetency of my motions, the soft oiled wards can no longer stand so effectual a picklock, but yield, and open him an entrance. And now, with conspiring nature, and my industry, strong to aid him, he pierces, penetrates, and at length, winning his way inch by inch, gets entirely in, and finally, a home made thrust sheaths it up to the guard; on the information of which, from the close jointure of our bodies (insomuch that the hair on both sides perfectly interweaved and incircled together), the eyes of the transported youth sparkled with more joyous fires, and all his looks and motions acknowledged excess of pleasure, which I now began to share, for I felt him in my very vitals! I was quite sick with delight! stirred beyond bearing with its furious agitations within me, and gorged and crammed, even to a surfeit. Thus I lay gasping, panting under him, till his broken breathings, faultering accents, eyes twinkling with humid fires, lunges more furious, and an increased stiffness, gave me to hail the approaches of the second period: it came... and the sweet youth, overpowered with the ecstasy, died away in my arms, melting a flood that shot in genial warmth into the innermost recesses of my body; every conduit of which, dedicated to that pleasure, was on flow to mix with it. Thus we continued for some instants, lost, breathless, senseless of every thing, and in every part but those favourite ones of nature, in which all that we enjoyed of life and sensation was now totally concentered.

When our mutual trance was a little over, and the young fellow had withdrawn that delicious stretcher, with which he had most plentifully drowned all thoughts of revenge, in the sense of actual pleasure, the widened wounded passage refunded a stream of pearly liquids, which flowed down my thighs, mixed with streaks of blood, the marks of the ravage of that monstrous machine of his, which had now triumphed over a kind of second maidenhead. I stole, however, my handkerchief to those parts, and wiped them as dry as I could, whilst he was re-adjusting and buttoning up.

I made him sit down by me, and as he had gathered courage from such extreme intimacy, he gave me an aftercourse of pleasure, in a natural burst of tender gratitude and joy, at the new scenes of bliss I had opened to him: scenes positively new, as he had never before had the least acquaintance with that mysterious mark, the cloven stamp of female distinction, though nobody better qualified than he to penetrate into its deepest recesses, or do it nobler justice. But when, by certain motions, certain unquietness of his hands, that wandered not without design, I found he languished for satisfying a curiosity, natural enough, to view and handle those parts which attract and concenter the warmest force of imagination, charmed, as I was, to have any occasion of obliging and humouring his young desires, I suffered him to proceed as he pleased, without check or control, to the satisfaction of them.

Easily, then, reading in my eyes the full permission of myself to all his wishes, he scarce pleased himself more than me; when, having insinuated his hand under my petticoat and shift, he presently removed those bars to the sight, by slily lifting them upwards, under favour of a thousand kisses, which he thought, perhaps, necessary to divert my attention from what he was about. All my drapery being now rolled up to my waist, I threw myself into such a posture upon the couch, as gave up to him, in full view, the whole region of delight, and all the luxurious landscape around it. The transported youth devoured every thing with his eyes, and tried, with his fingers, to lay more open to his sight the secrets of that dark and delicious deep: he opens the folding lips, the softness of which, yielding entry to any thing of a hard body, close round it, and oppose the sight; and feeling further, meets with, and wonder at, a soft fleshy excrescence, which, limber and relaxed after the late enjoyment, now grew, under the touch and examination of his fiery fingers, more and more stiff and considerable, till the titillating ardours of that so sensible part made me sigh, as if he had hurt me; on which he withdrew his curious probing fingers, asking me pardon, as it were, in a kiss that rather increased the flame there.

Novelty ever makes the strongest impressions, and in pleasures, especially; no wonder then, that he was swallowed up in raptures of admiration of things so interesting by their nature, and now seen and handled for the first time. On my part, I was richly overpaid for the pleasure I gave him, in that of examining the power of those objects thus abandoned to him, naked and free to his loosest wish, over the artless, natural stripling: his eyes streaming fire, his cheeks glowing with a florid red, his fervid frequent sighs, whilst his hands convulsively squeezed, opened, pressed together again the lips and sides of that deep flesh wound, or gently twitched the over-growing moss; and all proclaimed the excess, the riot of joys, in having his wantonness thus humoured. But he did not long abuse my patience, for the objects before him had now put him by all his, and, coming out with that formidable machine of his, he lets the fury loose, and pointing it directly to the pouting-lip mouth, that bid him sweet defiance in dumb shew, squeezes in his head, and, driving with refreshed rage, breaks in, and plugs up the whole passage of that soft pleasure-conduit pipe, where he makes all shake again, and put, once more, all within me into such an uproar, as nothing could still, but a fresh inundation from the very engine of those flames, as well as from all the springs with which nature floats that reservoir of joy, when risen to its floodmark.

I was now so bruised, so battered, so spent with this overmatch, that I could hardly stir, or raise myself, but lay palpitating, till the ferment of my senses subsiding by degrees, and the hour striking at which I was obliged to dispatch my young man, I tenderly advised him of the necessity there was for parting; at which I felt so much displeasure as he could do, who seemed eagerly disposed to keep the field, and to enter on a fresh action. But the danger was too great, and after some hearty kisses of leave, and recommendations of secrecy and discretion, I forced myself to send him away, not without assurances of seeing him again, to the same purpose, as soon as possible, and thrust a guinea into his hands: not more, less, being too flush of money, a suspicion or discovery might arise from thence; having everything to fear from the dangerous indiscretion of that age in which young fellows would be too irresistible, too charming, if we had not that terrible fault to guard against.

Giddy and intoxicated as I was with such satiating draughts of pleasure, I still lay on the couch, supinely stretched out, in a delicious languor diffused over all my limbs, hugging myself for being thus revenged to my heart's content, and that in a manner so precisely alike, and on the identical spot in which I had received the supposed injury. No reflections on the consequences ever once perplexed me, nor did I make myself one single reproach for having, by this step, completely entered myself into a profession more decried than disused. I should have held it ingratitude to the pleasure I had received, to have repented of it; and since I was now over the bar, I thought, by plunging head and ears into the stream I was hurried away by, to drown all sense of shame or reflection.

Whilst I was thus making these laudable dispositions, and whispering to myself a kind of tacit vow of incontinency, enters Mr. H... The consciousness of what I had been doing deepened yet the glowing of my cheeks, flushed with the warmth of the late action, which, joined to the piquant air of my dishabile, drew from Mr. H.... a compliment on my looks, which he was proceeding to bask the sincerity of with proofs, and that with so brisk an action, as made me tremble for fear of a discovery from the condition those parts were left in from their late severe handling: the orifice dilated and inflamed, the lips swollen with their uncommon distension, the ringlets pressed down, crushed and uncurled with the over flowing moisture that had wet everything round it; in short, the different feel and state of things would hardly have passed upon one of Mr. H.....'s nicety and experience unaccounted for but by the real cause. But here the woman saved me: I pretended a violent disorder of my head, and a feverish heat, that indisposed me too much to receive his embraces. He gave in to this, and good naturedly desisted. Soon after, an old lady coming in made a third, very apropos for the confusion I was in, and Mr. H...., after bidding me take care of myself, and recommending me to my repose, left me much at ease and relieved by his absence.

In the close of the evening, I took care to have prepared for me a warm bath of aromatik and sweet herbs; in which having fully laved and solaced myself, I came out voluptuously refreshed in body and spirit.

The next morning waking pretty early, after a night's perfect rest and composure, it was not without some dread and uneasiness that I thought of what innovation that tender soft system of mine might have sustained, from the shock of a machine so sized for its destruction.

Struck with this apprehension, I scarce dared to carry my hand thither, to inform myself of the state and posture of things.

But I was soon agreeably cured of my fears.

The silky hair that covered round the borders, now smoothed and re-pruned, had resumed its wonted curl and trimness; the fleshy pouting lips that had stood the brunt of the engagement, were no longer swollen or moisture-drenched; and neither they, nor the passage into which they opened, that had suffered so great a dilation, betrayed any the least alteration, outwardly or inwardly, to the most curious research, notwithstanding the laxity that naturally follows the warm bath.

This continuation of that grateful stricture which is in us, to the men, the very jet of their pleasure, I owed, it seems, to a happy habit of body, juicy, plump and furnished, towards the texture of those parts, with a fullness of soft springy flesh, that yielding sufficiently, as it does, to almost any distension soon recovers itself so as to re-tighten that strict compression of its mantlings and folds, which form the sides of the passage, wherewith it so tenderly embraces and closely clips any foreign body introduced into it, such as my exploring finger then was.

Finding then every thing in due tone and order, I remember my fears, only to make a jest of them to myself. And now, palpably mistress of any size of man, and triumphing in my double achievement of pleasure and revenge, I abandoned myself entirely to the ideas of all the delight I had swam in. I lay stretching out, glowingly alive all over, and tossing with burning impatience for the renewal of joys that had sinned but in a sweet excess; nor did I lose my longing, for about ten in the morning, according to expectation, Will, my new humble sweetheart, came with a message from his master, Mr. H...., to know how I did. I had taken care to send my maid on an errand into the city, that I was sure would take up time enough; and, from the people of the house, I had nothing to fear, as they were plain good sort of folks, and wise enough to mind no more other people's business than they could well help.

All dispositions then made, not forgetting that of lying in bed to receive him, when he was entered the door of my bed chamber, a latch, that I governed by a wire, descended and secured it.

I could not but observe that my young minion was as much spruced out as could be expected from one in his condition: a desire of pleasing that could not be indifferent to me, since it proved that I pleased him; which, I assure you, was now a point I was not above having in view.

His hair trimly dressed, clean linen, and, above all, a hale, ruddy, wholesome country look, made him out as pretty a piece of woman's meat as you could see, and I should have thought any one much out of taste, that could not have made a hearty meal of such a morsel as nature seemed to have designed for the highest diet of pleasure.

And why should I here suppress the delight I received from this amiable creature, in remarking each artless look, each motion of pure indissembled nature, betrayed by his wanton eyes; or shewing, transparently, the glow and suffusion of blood through his fresh, clear skin, whilst even his stury rustic pressure wanted not their peculiar charm? Oh! but, say you, this was a young fellow of too low a rank of life to deserve so great a display. May be so: but was my condition, strictly considered, one jot more exalted? or, had I really been much above him, did not his capacity of giving such exquisite pleasure sufficiently raise and enoble him, to me, at least? Let who would, for me cherish, respect, and reward the painter's, the statuary's, the musician's art, in proportion to the delight taken in them: but at my age, and with my taste for pleasure, a taste strongly constitutional to me, the talent of pleasing, with which nature has endowed a handsome person, formed to me the greatest of all merits; compared to which, the vulgar prejudices in favour of titles, dignities, honours, and the like, held a very low rank indeed. Nor perhaps would the beauties of the body be so much affected to be held cheap, were they, in their nature, to be bought and delivered. But for me, whose natural philosophy all resided in the favourite center of sense, and who was ruled by its powerful instinct in taking pleasure by its right handle, I could scarce have made a choice more to my purpose.

Mr. H....'s loftier qualifications of birth, fortune and sense, laid me under a sort of subjection and constraint, that were far from making harmony in the concert of love; nor had he, perhaps, thought me worth softening that superiority to; but, with this lad, I was more on the level which love delights in.

We may say what we please, but those we can be the easiest and freest with, are ever those we like, not to say love the best.

With this stripling, all whose art of love was the action of it, I could, without check of awe or restraint, give a loose to jay, and execute every scheme of dalliance my fond fancy might put me on, in which he was, in every sense, a most exquisite companion. And now my great pleasure lay in humouring all the petulances, all the wanton frolic of a raw novice just fledged, and keen on the burning scent of his game, but unbroken to the sport: and, to carry on the figure, who could better read the wood than he, or stand fairer for the heart of the hunt?

He advanced then to my bed side, and whilst he faultered out his message, I could observe his colour rise, and his eyes lighten with joy, in seeing me in a situation as favourable to his loosest wishes, as if he had bespoke the play.

I smiled, and put out my hand towards him, which he kneeled down to (a politeness taught him by love alone, that great master of it) and greedily kissed. After exchanging a few confused questions and answers, I asked him if he would come to bed to me, for the little time I could venture to detain him. This was just asking a person, dying with hunger, to feast upon the dish on earth the most to his palate. Accordingly, without further reflection, his clothes were off in an instant; when, blushing still more at this new liberty, he got under the bed clothes I held up to receive him, and was now in bed with a woman for the first time in his life.

Here began the usual tender preliminaries, as delicious, perhaps, as the crowning act of enjoyment itself; which they often beget an impatience of, that makes pleasure destructive of itself, by hurrying on the final period, and closing that scene of bliss, in which the actors are generally too well pleased with their parts, not to wish them an eternity of duration.

When we had sufficiently graduated our advances towards the main point, by toying, kissing, clipping, feeling my breasts, now round and plump, feeling that part of me I might call a furnace mouth, from the prodigious intense heat his fiery touches had rekindled there, my young sportsman, emboldened by the very freedom he could wish, wontonly takes my hand, and carries it to that enormous machine of his, that stood with a stiffness! a hardness! an upward bend of erection! and which, together with it bottom dependence, the inestimable bulse of ladies jewels, formed a grand showout of goods indeed! Then its dimensions, mocking either grasp or span, almost renewed my terrors.

I could not conceive how, or by what means I could take, or put such a bulk out of sight. I stroked it gently, on which the mutinous rogue seemed to swell, and gather a new degree of fierceness and insolence; so that finding it grew not to be trifled with any longer, I prepared for rubbers in good earnest.

Slipping then a pillow under me, that I might give him the fairest play, I guided officiously with my hand this furious battering ram, whose ruby head, presenting nearest the resemblance of a heart, I applied to its proper mark, which lay as finely elevated as we could wish; my hips being borne up, and my thighs at their utmost extension, the gleamy warmth that shot from it, made him feel that he was at the mouth of the indraught, and driving fore right, the powerfully divided lips of that pleasure-thirsty channel received him. He hesitated a little; then, settled well in the passage, he makes his way up the straights of it, with a difficulty nothing more than pleasing, widening as he went so as to distend and smooth each soft furrow: our pleasure increasing deliciously, in proportion to our points of mutual touch increased in that so vital part of me which I had now taken him, all indriven, and completely sheathed; and which, crammed as it was, stretched splitting ripe, gave it so gratefully straight an accommodation! so strict a fold! a suction so fierce! that gave and took unutterable delight. We had now reached the closest point of union; but when he beckened to come on the fiercer, as if I had ben actuated by a fear of losing him, in the height of my fury, I twist my legs round his naked loins, the flesh of which, so firm, so springy to the touch, quivered again under the pressure; and now I had him every way encircled and begirt; and having drawn him home to me, I kept him fast there, as if I had sought to unite bodies with him at that point. This bred a pause of action, a pleasure stop, whilst that delicate glutton, my nether mouth, as full as it could hold, kept palating, with exquisite relish, the morsel that so deliciously ingorged it. But nature could not long endure a pleasure that it so highly provoked without satisfying it: pursuing then its darling end, the battery recommenced with redoubled exertion; nor lay I inactive on my side, but encountering him with all the impetuosity of motion I was mistress of, the downy cloth of our meeting mount was now of real use to break the violence of the tilt; and soon, indeed! the highwrought agitation, the sweet urgency of this to-and-fro friction, raised the titillation on me to its height; so that finding myself on the point of going, and loath to leave the tender partner of my joys behind me, I employed all the forwarding motions and arts my experience suggested to me, to promote his keeping me company to our journey's end. I not only then tightened the pleasure-girth round my restless inmate, by a secret spring of friction and compression that obeys the will in those parts, but stole my hand softly to that store bag of nature's prime sweets, which is so pleasingly attached to its conduit pipe, from which we receive them; there feeling, and most gently indeed, squeezing those tender globular reservoirs, the magic touch took instant effect, quickened, and brought on upon the spur the symptoms of that sweet agony, the melting moment of dissolution, when pleasure dies by pleasure, and the mysterious engine of it overcomes the titillation it has raised in those parts, by plying them with the stream of a warm liquid, that in itself the highest of all titillations, and which they thirstily express and draw in like the hot natured leach, which, to cool itself, tenaciously extracts all the moisture within its sphere of execution. Chiming then to me, with exquisite consent, as I melted away, his oily balsamic injection, mixing deliciously with the sluices in flow from me, sheathed and blunted all the stings of pleasure, whilst a voluptuous languor possest, and still maintained us motionless, and fast locked in one another's arms. Alas! that these delights should be no longer-lived; for now the point of pleasure, unedged by enjoyment, and all the brisk sensations flattened upon us, resigned us up to the cool cares of insipid life. Disengaging myself then from his embrace, I made him sensible of the reasons there were for his present leaving me; on which, though reluctantly, he put on his clothes, with as little expedition, however, as he could help, wantonly interrupting himself, between whiles, with kisses, touches and embraces I could not refuse myself to. Yet he happily returned to his master before he was missed; but, at taking leave, I forced him (for he had sentiments enough to refuse it) to receive money enough to buy a silver watch, that great article of subaltern finery, which he at length accepted of, as a remembrance he was carefully to preserve of my affections.

And here, Madam, I ought, perhaps, to make you an apology for this minute detail of things, that dwelt so strongly upon my memory, after so deep an impression; but, besides that this intrigue bred one great revolution in my life, which historical truth requires I should not sink from you, may I not presume that so exalted a pleasure ought not to be ungratefully forgotten, or suppressed by me, because I found it in a character in low life; where, by the by, it is oftener met with, purer, and more unsophisticated, than among the false, ridiculous refinements with which the great suffer themselves to be so grossly cheated by their pride: the great! than whom, there exist few amongst those they call the vulgar, who are more ignorant of, or who cultivate less, the art of living than they do; they, I say, who for ever mistake things the most foreign to the nature of pleasure itself; whose capital favourite object is enjoyment of beauty, wherever that rare incaluable gift is found, without distinction of birth, or station.

As love never had, so now revenge had no longer any share in my commerce in this handsome youth. The sole pleasures of enjoyment were now the link I held to him by: for though nature had done such great maters for him in his outward form, and especially in that superb piece of furniture she had so liberally enriched him with; though he was thus qualified to give the senses their richest feast, still there was something more wanting to create in me, and constitute the passion of love. Yet Will had very good qualities too: gentle, tractable, and, above all, grateful; silentious, even to a fault: he spoke, at any time, very little, but made it up emphatically with action; and, to do him justice, he never gave me the least reason to complain, either of any tendency to encroach upon me for the liberties I allowed him, or of his indiscretion in blabbing them. There is, then, a fatality in love, or have loved him I must; for he was really a treasure, a bit for the Bonne Bouche of a duchess; and, to say the truth, my liking for him was so extreme, that it was distinguishing very nicely to deny that I loved him.

My happiness, however, with him did not last long, but found an end from my own imprudent neglect. After having taken even superfluous precautions against a discovery, our success in repeated meetings emboldened me to omit the barely necessary ones. About a month after our first intercourse, one fatal morning (the season Mr. H.... rarely or never visited me in) I was in my closet, where my toilet stood, in nothing but my shift, a bed gown and under petticoat. Will was with me, and both ever too well disposed to baulk an opportunity. For my part, a whim, a wanton toy had just taken me, and I had challenged my man to execute it on the spot, who hesitated not to comply with my humour: I was set in the arm chair, my shift and petticoat up, my thighs wide spread and mounted over the arms of the chair, presenting the fairest mark to Will's drawn weapon, which he stood in act to plunge into me, when, having neglected to secure the chamber door, and that of the closet standing a-jar, Mr. H.... stole in upon us, before either of us was aware, and saw us precisely in these convicting attitudes.

I gave a great scream, and dropped my petticoat: the thunder-struck lad stood trembling and pale, waiting his sentence of death. Mr. H.... looked sometimes at one, sometimes at the other, with a mixture of indignation and scorn; and, without saying a word, spun upon his heel and went out.

As confused as I was, I heard him very distinctly turn the key, and lock the chamber door upon us, so that there was no escape but through the dining room, where he himself was walking about with distempered strides, stamping in a great chafe, and doubtless debating what he would do with us.

In the mean time, poor William was frightened out of his senses, and, as much need as I had of spirits myself, I was obliged to employ them all to keep his a little up. The misfortune I had now brought upon him, endeared him the more to me, and I could have joyfully suffered any punishment he had not shared in. I watered, plentifully, with my tears, the face of the frightened youth, who sat, not having strength to stand, as cold and as lifeless as a statue.

Presently Mr. H.... comes in to us again, and made us go before him into the dining room, trembling and dreading the issue, Mr. H.....sat down on a chair whilst we stood like criminals under examination; and, beginning with me, asked me, with an even firm tone of voice, neither soft nor severe, but cruelly indifferent, what I could say for myself, for having abused him in so unworthy a manner, with his own servant too, and how he had deserved this of me?

Without adding to the guilt of my infidelity, that of an audacious defence of it, in the old style of a common kept miss, my answer was modest, and often interrupted by my tears, in substance as follows: "That I never had a single thought of wronging him" (which was true), "till I had seen him taking the last liberties with my servant wench" (here he coloured prodigiously), "and that my resentment at that, which I was over-awed from giving vent to by complaints, or explanations with him, had driven me to a course that I did not pretend to justify; but that as to the young man, he was entirely faultless; for that, in the view of making him the instrument of my revenge, I had down right seduced him to what he had done; and therefore hoped, whatever he determined about me, he would distinguish between the guilty and the innocent; and that; for the rest, I was entirely at his mercy."

Mr. H.... on hearing what I said, hung his head a little; but instantly recovering himself, he said to me, as near as I can retain, to the following purpose:

"Madam, I owe shame to myself, and confess you have fairly turned the tables upon me. It is not with one of your cast of breeding and sentiments, that I allow you so much reason on your side, as great difference of the provocations: be it sufficient that I should enter into a discussion of the very to have changed my resolution, in consideration of what you reproach me with; and I own, too, that your clearing that rascal there, is fair and honest in you. Renew with you I cannot: the affront is too gross. I give you a week's warning to get out of these lodgings; whatever I have given you, remains to you; and as I never intend to see you more, the landlord will pay you fifty pieces on my account, with which, and every debt paid, I hope you will own I do not leave you in a worse condition than what I took you up in, or that you deserve of me. Blame yourself only that it is no better."

Then, without giving me time to reply, he addressed himself to the young fellow:

"For you, spark, I shall, for your father's sake, take care of you: the town is no place for such an easy fool as thou art; and to-morrow you shall set out, under the charge of one of my men, well recommended, in my name, to your father, not to let you return and be spoil'd here."

At these words he went out, after my vainly attempting to stop him, by throwing myself at his feet. He shook me off, though he seemed greatly moved too, and took Will away with him, who, I dare swear, thought himself very cheaply off.

I was now once more a-drift, and left upon my own hands, by a gentleman whom I certainly did not deserve. And all the letters, arts, friends, entreaties that I employed within the week of grace in my lodging, could never win on him so much as to see me again. He had irrevocably pronounced my doom, and submission to it was my only part. Soon after he married a lady of birth and fortune, to whom, I have heard he proved an irreproachable husband.

As for poor Will, he was immediately sent down to the country to his father, who was an easy farmer, where he was not four months before an inn-keepers' buxom young widow, with a very good stock, both in money and trade, fancied, and perhaps pre-acquainted with his secret excellencies, married him: and I am sure there was, at least, one good foundation for their living happily together.

Though I should have been charmed to see him before he went, such measures were taken, by Mr. H....'s orders, that it was impossible; otherwise I should certainly have endeavoured to detain him in town, and would have spared neither offers nor expense to have procured myself the satisfaction of keeping him with me. He had such powerful holds upon my inclinations as were not easily to be shaken off, or replaced; as to my heart, it was quite out of the question: glad, however, I was from my soul, that nothing worse, and as things turned out, nothing better could have happened to him.

As to Mr. H..., though views of conveniency made me, at first, exert myself to regain his affection, I was giddy and thoughtless enough to be much easier reconciled to my failure than I ought to have been; but as I never had loved him, and his leaving me gave me a sort of liberty that I had often longed for, I was soon comforted; and flattering myself, that the stock of youth and beauty I was going to trade with, could hardly fail of procuring me a maintenance, I saw myself under the necessity of trying my fortune with them, rather, with pleasure and gaiety, than with the least idea of despondency.

In the mean time, several of my acquaintances among the sisterhood, who had soon got wind of my misfortune, flocked to insult me with their malicious consolations. Most of them had long envied me the affluence and splendour I had been maintained in; and though there was scarce one of them that did not at least deserve to be in my case, and would probably, sooner or later, come to it, it was equally easy to remark, even in their affected pity, their secret pleasure at seeing me thus discarded, and their secret grief that it was no worse with me. Unaccountable malice of the human heart! and which is not confined to the class of life they were of.

But as the time approached for me to come to some resolution how to dispose of myself, and I was considering, round where to shift my quarters to, Mrs. Cole, a middle aged discreet sort of woman, who had been brought into my acquaintance by one of the misses that visited me, upon learning my situation, came to offer her cordial advice and service to me; and as I had always taken to her more than to any of my female acquaintances, I listened the easier to her proposals. And, as it happened, I could not have put myself into worse, or into better hands in all London: into worse, because keeping a house of conveniency, there were no lengths in lewdness she would not advise me to go, in compliance with her customers; no schemes, or pleasure, or even unbounded debauchery, she did not take even a delight in promoting: into a better, because nobody having had more experience of the wicked part of the town than she had, was fitter to advise and guard one against the worst dangers of our profession; and what was rare to be met with in those of her's, she contented herself with a moderate living profit upon her industry and good offices, and had nothing of their greedy rapacious turn. She was really too a gentlewoman born and bred, but through a train of accidents reduced to this course, which she pursued, partly through necessity, partly through choice, as never woman delighted more in encouraging a brisk circulation of the trade, for the sake of the trade itself, or better understood all the mysteries and refinements of it, than she did; so that she was consummately at the top of her profession, and dealt only with customers of distinction: to answer the demands of whom she kept a competent number of her daughters in constant recruit (so she called those whom their youth and personal charms recommended to her adoption and management: several of whom, by her means, and through her tuition and instructions, succeeded very well in the world).

This useful gentlewoman upon whose protection I now threw myself, having her reasons of state, respecting Mr. H...., for not appearing too much in the thing herself, sent a friend of her's, on the day appointed for my removal, to conduct me to my new lodgings at a brush-maker's in E—— street, Covent Garden, the very next door to her own house, where she had no conveniences to lodge me herself: lodgings that, by having been for several successions tenanted by ladies of pleasures, the landlord of them was familiarized to their ways; and provided the rent was paid, every thing else was as easy and commodious as one could desire.

The fifty guineas promised me by Mr. H...., at his parting with me, having been duly paid me, all my clothes and moveables chested up, which were at least of two hundred pounds value, I had them conveyed into a coach, where I soon followed them, after taking a civil leave of the landlord and his family, with whom I had never lived in a degree of familiarity enough to regret the removal; but still, the very circumstance of its being a removal, drew tears from me. I left, too, a letter of thanks for Mr. H...., from whom I concluded myself, as I really was, irretrievably separated.

My maid I had discharged the day before, not only because I had her of Mr. H...., but that I suspected her of having some how or other been the occasion of his discovering me, in revenge, perhaps, for my not having trusted her with him.

We soon got to my lodgings, which, though not so handsomely furnished, nor so showy as those I left, were to the full as convenient, and at half price, though on the first floor. My trunks were safely landed, and stowed in my apartments, where my neighbour, and now gouvernante, Mrs. Cole, was ready with my landlord to receive me, to whom she took care to set me out in the most favourable light, that of one from whom there was the clearest reason to expect the regular payment of his rent: all the cardinal virtues attributed to me, would not have had half the weight of that recommendation alone.

I was now settled in lodgings of my own, abandoned to my own conduct, and turned loose upon the town, to sink or swim, as I could manage with the current of it; and what were the consequences, together with the number of adventures which befell me in the exercise of my new profession, will compose the mater of another letter: for surely it is high time to put a period! to this.

I am,


Yours, etc., etc., etc.




If I have delayed the sequel of my history, it has been purely to allow myself a little breathing time not without some hopes, that, instead of pressing me to a continuation, you would have acquitted me of the task of pursuing a confession, in the course of which my self-esteem has so many wounds to sustain.

I imagined, indeed, that you would have been cloyed and tired with uniformity of adventures and expressions, inseparable from a subject of this sort, whose bottom, or groundwork being, in the nature of things eternally one and the same, whatever variety of forms and modes the situations are susceptible of, there is no escaping a repetition of near the same images, the same figures, the same expressions, with this further inconvenience added to the disgust it creates, that the words Joys, Ardours, Transports, Extasies and the rest of those pathetic terms so congenial to, so received in the Practice of Pleasure, flatten and lose much of their due spirit and energy by the frequency they indispensably recur with, in a narrative of which that Practice professedly composes the whole basis. I must therefore trust to the candour of your judgment, for your allowing for the disadvantage I am necessarily under in that respect; and to your imagination and sensibility, the pleasing taks of repairing it, by their supplements, where my descriptions flag or fail: the one will readily place the pictures I present before your eyes; the other give life to the colours where they are dull, or worn with too frequent handling.

What you say besides, by way of encouragement concerning the extreme difficulty of continuing so long in one strain, in a mean tempered with taste, between the revoltingness of gross, rank and vulgar expressions, and the ridicule of mincing metaphors and affected circumlocutions, is so sensible, as well as good-natured, that you greatly justify me to myself for my compliance with a curiosity that is to be satisfied so extremely at my expense.

Resuming now where I broke off in my last, I am in my way to remark to you, that it was late in the evening before I arrived at my lodgings, and Mrs. Cole, after helping me to range and secure my things, spent the whole evening with me in my apartment, where we supped together, in giving me the best advice and instruction with regard to the new stage of my profession I was now to enter upon; and passing thus from a private devotee to pleasure into a public one, to become a more general good, with all the advantages requisite to put my person out to use, either for interest or pleasure, or both. "But then," she observed, "as I was a kind of new face upon the town, that is, was an established rule and myster of trade, for me to pass for a maid and dispose of myself as such on the first good occasion, without prejudice, however, to such diversions as I might have a mind to in the interim; for that nobody could be a greater enemy than she was to the losing of time. That she would, in the mean time, do her best to find out a proper person, and would undertake to manage this nice point for me, if I would accept of her aid and advice to such good purpose, that, in the loss of a fictitious maidenhead, I should reap all the advantages of a native one."

As too great a delicacy of sentiments did not extremely belong to my character at that time, I confess, against myself, that I perhaps too readily closed with a proposal which my candor and ingenuity gave me some repugnance to: but not enough to contradict the intention of one to whom I had now thoroughly abandoned the direction of all my steps. For Mrs. Cole had, I do not know how unless by one of those unaccountable invincible sympathies that, nevertheless, from the strongest links, especially of female friendship, won and got entire possession of me. On her side, she pretended that a strict resemblance, she fancied she saw in me, to an only daughter whom she had lost at my age, was the first motive of her taking to me so affectionately as she did. It might be so: there exist a slender motives of attachment, that, gathering force from habit and liking, have proved often more solid and durable than those founded on much stronger reasons; but this I know, that though I had no other acquaintance with her, than seeing her at my lodgings, when I lived with Mr. H..., where she had made errands to sell me some millinery ware, she had by degrees insinuated herself so far into my confidence, that I threw myself blindly into her hands, and came, at length, to regard, love, and obey her implicitly; and, to do her justice, I never experienced at her hands other than a sincerity of tenderness, and care for my interest, hardly heard of in those of her profession. We parted that night, after having settled a perfect unreserved agreement; and the next morning Mrs. Cole came, and took me with her to her house for the first time.

Here, at the first sight of things, I found every thing breathe an air of decency, modesty and order.

In the outer parlour, or rather shop, sat three young women, rather demurely employed on millinery work, which was the cover of a traffic in more precious commodities; but three beautifuller creatures could hardly be seen. Two of them were extremely fair, the eldest not above nineteen; and the third, much about that age, was a piquant brunette, whose black sparking eyes, and perfect harmony of features and shape, left her nothing to envy in her fairer companions. Their dress too had the more design in it, the less it appeared to have, being in a taste of uniform correct neatness, and elegant simplicity. These were the girls that composed the small domestic flock, which my governess trained up with surprising order and management, considering the giddy wildness of young girls once got upon the loose. But then she never continued any in her house, whom, after a due noviciate, she found un-tractable, or unwilling to comply with the rules of it. Thus she had insensibly formed a little family of love, in which the members found so sensibly their account, in a rare alliance of pleasure and interest, and of a necessary outward decency, with unbounded secret liberty, that Mrs. Cole, who had picked them as much for their temper as their beauty, governed them with ease to herself and them too.

To these pupils then of hers, whom she had prepared, she presented me as a new boarder, and one that was to be immediately admitted to all the intimacies of the house; upon which these charming girls gave me all the marks of a welcome reception, and indeed of being perfectly pleased with my figure, that I could possibly expect from any of my own sex: but they had been effectually brought to sacrifice all jealousy, or competition of charms, to a common interest, and considered me a partner that was bringing no despicable stock of goods into the trade of the house. They gathered round me, viewed me on all sides; and as my admission into this joyous troop made a little holiday, the shew of work was laid aside; and Mrs. Cole giving me up, with special recommendation, to their caresses and entertainment, went about her ordinary business of the house.

The sameness of our sex, age, profession, and views, soon creased as unreserved a freedom and intimacy as if we had been for years acquainted. They took and shewed me the house, their respective apartments, which were furnished with every article of convenience and luxury; and above all, a spacious drawing-room, where a select revelling band usually met, in general parties of pleasure; the girls supping with their sparks, and acting their wanton pranks with unbounded licentiousness; whilst a defiance of awe, modesty or jealousy were their standing rules, by which, according to the principles of their society, whatever pleasure was lost on the side of sentiment, was abundantly made up to the senses in the poignancy of variety, and the charms of ease and luxury. The authors and supporters of this secret institution would, in the height of their humour, style themselves the restorers of the golden age and its simplicity of pleasures, before their innocence became so unjustly branded with the names of guilt and shame.

As soon then as the evening began, and the shew of a shop was shut, the academy opened; the mask of mock-modesty was completely taken off, and all the girls delivered over to their respective calls of pleasure or interest with their men: and none of that sex was promiscuously admitted, but only such as Mrs. Cole was previously satisfied with their character and discretion. In short, this was the safest, politest, and, at the same time, the most thorough house of accommodation in town: every thing being conducted so, that decency made no intrenchment upon the most libertine pleasures; in the practice of which, too, the choice familiars of the house had found the secret so rare and difficult, of reconciling even all the refinements of taste and delicacy, with the most gross and determinate gratifications of sensuality.

After having consumed the morning in the dear endearments and instructions of my new acquaintance, we went to dinner, when Mrs. Cole, presiding at the head of her club, gave me the first idea of her management and address, in inspiring these girls with so sensible a love and respect for her. There was no stiffness, no reserve, no airs of pique, or little jealousies, but all was unaffectedly gay, cheerful and easy.

After dinner, Mrs. Cole, seconded by the young ladies, acquainted me that there was a chapter to be held that night in form, for the ceremony of my reception into the sisterhood; and in which, with all due reserve to my maidenhead, that was to be occasionally cooked up for the first proper chapman. I was to undergo a ceremonial of initiation they were sure I should not be displeased with.

Embarked as I was, and moreover captivated with the charms of my new companions, I was too much prejudiced in favour of any proposal they could make, to as much as hesitate an assent; which, therefore, readily giving in the style of a carte blanche, I received fresh kisses of compliment from them all, in approval of my docility and good nature. Now I was "a sweet girl... I came into things with a good grace... I was not affectedly coy... I should be the pride of the house," and the like.

This point thus adjusted, the young women left Mrs. Cole to talk and concert matters with me, when she explained to me, that "I should be introduced that very evening, to four of her best friends, one of whom she had, according to the custom of the house, favoured with the preference of engaging me in the first party of pleasure;" assuring me, at the same time, "that they were all young gentlemen agreeable in their persons, and unexceptionable in every respect; that united, and holding together by the band of common pleasures, they composed the chief support of her house, and made very liberal presents to the girls that pleased and humoured them, so that they were, properly speaking, the founders and patrons of this little seraglio. Not but that she had, at proper seasons, other customers to deal with, whom she stood less upon punctilio with, than with these; for instance, it was not on one of them she could attempt to pass me for a maid; they were not only too knowing, too much town-bred to bite at such a bait, but they were such generous benefactors to her, that it would be unpardonable to think of it."

Amidst all the flutter and emotion which this promise of pleasure, for such I conceived it, stirred up in me, I preserved so much of the woman, as to feign just reluctance enough to make some merit, of sacrificing it to the influence of my patroness, whom I likewise, still in character, reminded of it perhaps being right for me to go home and dress, in favour of my first impressions.

But Mrs. Cole, in opposition to this, assured me, "that the gentlemen I should be presented to were, by their rank and taste of things, infinitely superior to the being touched with any glare of dress or ornaments, such slick women rather confound and overlay than set off their beauty with; that these veteran voluptuaries knew better than not to hold them in the highest contempt: they with whom the pure native charms alone could pass current, and who would at any time leave a sallow, washy, painted duchess on her own hands, for a ruddy, healthy firm fleshed country maid; and as for my part, that nature had done enough for me, to set me above owing the least favour to art;" concluding withal, that for the instant occasion, there was no dress like an undress.

I thought my governess too good a judge of these matters, not to be easily overruled by her: after which she went on preaching very pathetically the doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance to all those arbitrary tastes of pleasure, which are by some styled the refinements, and by others the depravations of it; between whom it was not the business of a simple girl, who was to profit by pleasing, to decide, but to conform to. Whilst I was edifying by these wholesome lessons, tea was brought in, and the young ladies, returning, joined company with us.

After a great deal of mixed chat, frolic and humour, one of them, observing that there would be a good deal of time on and before the assembly hour, proposed that each girl should entertain the company with that critical period of her personal history, in which she first exchanged the maiden state for womanhood. The proposal was approved, with only one restriction of Mrs. Cole, that she, on account of her age, and I, on account of my titular maidenhead, should be excused, at least till I had undergone the forms of the house. This obtained me a dispensation, and the promotress of this amusement was desired to begin.

Her name was Emily; a girl fair to excess, and whose limbs were, if possible, too well made, since their plump fulness was rather to the prejudice of that delicate slimness required by the nicer judges of beauty; her eyes were blue, and streamed inexpressible sweetness, and nothing could be prettier than her mouth and lips, which closed over a range of the evenest and whitest teeth. Thus she began:

"Neither my extraction, nor the most critical adventure of my life, is sublime enough to impeach me of any vanity in the advancement of the proposal you have approved of. My father and mother were, and for aught I know, are still, farmers in the country, not above forty miles from town: their barbarity to me, in favour of a son, on whom alone they vouchsafed to bestow their tenderness, had a thousand times determined me to fly their house, and throw myself on the wide world; but, at length, an accident forced me on this desperate attempt at the age of fifteen. I had broken a chinabowl, the pride and idol of both their hearts; and as an unmerciful beating was the least I had to depend on at their hands, in the silliness of these tender years, I left the house, and, at all adventures, took the road to London. How my loss was resented I do not know, for till this instant I have not heard a syllable about them. My whole stock was two broad pieces of my godmother's, a few shillings, silver shoe-buckles and a silver thimble. Thus equipped, with no more clothes than the ordinary ones I had on my back, and frightened at every foot or noise I heard behind me, I hurried on; and I dare sweare, walked a dozen miles before I stopped, through mere weariness and fatigue. At length I sat down on a style, wept bitterly, and yet was still rather under increased impressions of fear on the account of my escape; which made me dread, worse than death, the going back to my unnatural parents. Refreshed by this little repose, and relieved by my tears, I was proceeding onward, when I was overtaken by a sturdy country lad, who was going to London to see what he could do for himself there, and, like me, had given his friends the slip. He could not be above seventeen, was ruddy, well featured enough, with uncombed flaxen hair, a little flapped hat, kersey frock, yarn stockings, in short, a perfect plough boy. I saw him come whistling behind me, with a bundle tied to the end of a stick, his travelling equipage. We walked by one another for some time without speaking; at length we joined company, and agreed to keep together till we got to our journey's end; what his designs or ideas were, I know not: the innocence of mine I can solemnly protest.

"As night drew on, it became us to look out for some inn or shelter; to which perplexity another was added, and that was, what we should say for ourselves, if we were questioned. After some puzzle, the young fellow started a proposal, which I thought the finest that could be; and what was that? why, that we should pass for husband and wife: I never dreamed of consequences. We came presently, after having agreed on this notable experience, to one of those hedge accommodations for foot passengers, at the door of which stood an old crazy beldam, who seeing us trudge by, invited us to lodge there. Glad of any cover, we went in, and my fellow traveller, taking all upon him, called for what the house afforded, and we supped together as man and wife; which, considering our figures and ages, could not have passed on any one but such as any thing could pass on. But when bed-time came on, we had neither of us the courage to contradict our first account of ourselves; and what was extremely pleasant, the young lad seemed as perplexed as I was how to evade lying together, which was so natural for the state we had pretended to. Whilst we were in this quandary, the landlady takes the candles, and lights us to our apartment, through a long yard, at the end of which it stood, separate from the body of the house. Thus we suffered ourselves to be conducted, without saying a word in opposition to it; and there, in a wretched room, with a bed answerable, we were left to pass the night together, as a thing quite of course. For my part, I was so incredibly innocent, as not even to think much more harm of going into bed with the young man, than with one of our dairy wenches; nor had he, perhaps, any other notions than those of innocence, till such a fair occasion put them into his head.

"Before either of us undressed, however, he put out the candle; and the bitterness of the weather made it a kind of necessity for me to go into bed: slipping then my clothes off, I crept under the bedclothes, where I found the young stripling already nestled, and the touch of his warm flesh rather pleased than alarmed me. I was indeed too much disturbed with the novelty of my condition to be able to sleep; but then I had not the least thought of harm. But oh! how powerful are the instincts of nature! how little is there wanting to set them in action! The young man, sliding his arm under my body, drew me gently towards him, as if to keep himself and me warmer; and the heat I felt from joining our breasts, kindled another that I had hitherto never felt, and was, even then, a stranger to the nature of. Emboldened, I suppose, by my easiness, he ventured to kiss me, and I insensibly returned it; without knowing the consequence of returning it: for, on this encouragement, he slipped his hand all down from my breast to that part of me where the sense of feeling is so exquisitely critical, as I then experienced by its instant taking fire upon the touch, and glowing with a strange tickling heat: there he pleased himself and me, by feeling, till growing a little too bold with me, he hurt me, and made me complain. Then he took my hand, which he guided, not unwillingly on my side, between the twist of his closed thighs, which were extremely warm; there he lodged and pressed it, till raising it by degrees, he made me feel the proud distinction of his sex from mine. I was frightened at the novelty, and drew back my hand; yet, pressed and spurred on by sensations of a strange pleasure, I could not help asking him what that was for? He told me he would shew me if I would let him; and without waiting for my answer, which he prevented by stopping my mouth with kisses I was far from disrelishing, he got upon me, and inserting one of his thighs between mine, opened them so as to make way for himself, and fixed me to his purpose; whilst I was so much out of my usual sense, so subdued by the present power of a new one, that, between far and desire, I lay utter passive, till the piercing pain rouzed and made me cry out. But it was too late: he was too firm fixed in the saddle for me to compass flinging him, with all the struggles I could use, some of which only served to further his point, and at length an irresistible thrust murdered at once my maidenhead, and almost me. I now lay a bleeding witness of the necessity imposed on our sex, to gather the first honey off the thorns.

"But the pleasure rising as the pain subsided, I was soon reconciled to fresh trials, and before morning, nothing on earth could be dearer to me than this rifler of my virgin sweets: he was every thing to me now.

"How we agreed to join fortunes: how we came up to town together, where we lived some time, till necessity-parted us, and drove me into this course of life, to which I had been long ago bettered and torn to pieces before I came to this age, as much through my easiness, as through inclination, had it not been for my finding refuge in this house: these are all circumstances which pass the mark I proposed, so that here my narrative ends."

In the order of our sitting, it was Harriet's turn to go on. Amongst all the beauties of our sex, that I had before, or have since seen, few indeed were the forms that could dispute excellence with her's; it was not delicate, but delicacy itself incarnate, such was the symmetry of her small but exactly fashioned limbs. Her complexion, fair as it was, appeared yet more fair, from the effect of two black eyes, the brilliancy of which gave her face more vivacity than belonged to the colour of it, which was only defended from paleness, by a sweetly pleasing blush in her cheeks, that grew fainter and fainter, till at length it died away insensibly into the overbearing white. Then her miniature features joined to finish the extreme sweetness of it, which was not belied by that of a temper turned to indolence, languor, and the pleasures of love. Pressed to subscribe her contingent, she smiled, blushed a little, and thus complied with our desires:

"My father was neither better nor worse than a miller near the city of York; and both he and my mother dying whilst I was an infant, I fell under the care of a widow and childless aunt, housekeeper to my lord N..., at his seat in the county of..., where she brought me up with all imaginable tenderness. I was not seventeen, as I am not now eighteen, before I had, on account of my person purely (for fortune I had notoriously none), several advantageous proposals; but whether nature was slow in making me sensible in her favourite passion, or that I had not seen any of the other sex who had stirred up the least emotion or curiosity to be better acquainted with it, I had, till that age, preserved a perfect innocence, even of thought: whilst my fears of I did not now well know what, made me no more desirous of marrying than of dying. My aunt, good woman, favoured my timorousness, which she loooked on as childish affection, that her own experience might probably assure her would wear off in time, and gave my suitors proper answers for me.

"The family had not been down at that seat for years, so that it was neglected, and committed entirely to my aunt, and two old domestics to take care of it. Thus I had the full range of a spacious lonely house and gardens, situated at about half a mile distance from any other habitation, except, perhaps, a straggling cottage or so.

"Here, in tranquillity and innocence, I grew up without any memorable accident, till one fatal day I had, as I had often done before, left my aunt asleep, and secure for some hours, after dinner; and resorting to a kind of ancient summer house, at some distance from the house, I carried my work with me, and sat over a rivulet, which its door and window faced upon. Here I fell into a gentle breathing slumber, which stole upon my senses, as they fainted under the excessive heat of the season at that hour; a cane couch, with my work basked for a pillow, were all the conveniences of my short repose; for I was soon awaked and alarmed by a flounce, and noise of splashing in the water. I got up to see what was the matter; and what indeed should it be but the son of a neighbouring gentleman, as I afterwards found (for I had never seen him before), who had strayed that way with his gun, and heated by his sport, and the sultriness of the day, had been tempted by the freshness of the clear stream; so that presently stripping, he jumped into it on the other side, which bordered on a wood, some trees whereof, inclined down to the water, formed a pleasing shady recess, commodious to undress and leave his clothes under.

"My first emotions at the sight of this youth, naked in the water, were, with all imaginable respect to truth, those of surprise and fear; and, in course, I should immediately have run out, had not my modesty, fatally for itself, interposed the objection of the door and window being so situated, that it was scarce possible to get out, and make my way along the bank to the house, without his seeing me: which I could not bear the thought of, so much ashamed and confounded was I at having seen him. Condemned then to stay till his departure should release me, I was greatly embarrassed how to dispose of myself: I kept some time betwixt terror and modesty, even from looking through the window, which being an old fashioned casement, without any light behind me, could hardly betray any one's being there to him from within; then the door was so secure, that without violence, or my own consent, there was no opening it from without.

"But now, by my own experience, I found it too true, that objects which affright us, when we cannot get from them, draw our eyes as forcibly as those that please us. I could not long withstand that nameless impulse, which, without any desire of this novel sight, compelled me towards it; emboldened too by my certainty of being at once unseen and safe, I ventured by degrees to cast my eyes on an object so terrible and alarming to my virgin modesty as a naked man.

"But as I snatched a look, the first gleam that struck me, was in general the dewy lustre of the whitest skin imaginable, which the sun playing upon made the reflection of it perfectly beamy. His face, in the confusion I was in, I could not well distinguish the lineamints of, any farther than that there was a great deal of youth and freshness in it. The frolic and various play of all his fine polished limbs, as they appeared above the surface, in the course of his swimming or wantoning with the water, amused and insensibly delighted me; sometimes he lay motionless, on his back, waterborne, and dragging after him a fine head of hair, that, floating, swept the stream in a bush of black curls. Then the overflowing water would make a separation between his breast and glossy white belly; at the bottom of which I could not escape observing so remarkable a distinction, as a black mossy tuft, out of which appeared to emerge a round, softish, limber, white something, that played every way, with ever the least motion or whirling eddy. I cannot say but that part chiefly, by a kind of natural instinct, attracted, detained, captivated my attention: it was out of the power of all my modesty to command my eye away from it; and seeing nothing so very dreadful in its appearance, I insensibly looked away all my fears: but as fast as they gave way, new desires and strange wishes took place, and I melted as I gazed. The fire of nature, that had so long lain dormant or concealed, began to break out, and made me feel my sex for the first time. He had now changed his posture, and swam prone on his belly, striking out with his legs and arms; finer modeled than which could not have been cast, whilst his floating locks played over a neck and shoulders whose whiteness they delightfully set off. Then the luxuriant swell of flesh that rose from the small of his back, and terminates its double cope at where the thighs are set off, perfectly dazzled one with its watery glistening gloss.

"By this time I was so affected by this inward involution of sentiments, so softened by this sight, that now, betrayed into a sudden transition from extreme fears to extreme desires, I found these last so strong upon me, the heat of the weather too perhaps conspiring to exalt their rage, that nature almost fainted under them. Not that I so much as knew precisely what was wanting to me: my only thought was, that so sweet a creature, as this youth seemed to me, could only make me happy; but then, the little likelihood there was of compassing an acquaintance with him, or perhaps of ever seeing him again, dashed my desires, and turned them into torments. I was still gazing, with all the powers of my sight, on this bewitching object, when, in an instant, down he went. I had heard of such things as a cramp seizing on even the best swimmers, and occasioning their being drowned; and imagining this so sudden eclipse to be owing to it, the inconceivable fondness this unknown lad had given birth to, distracted me with the most killing terrors; insomuch, that my concern giving the wings, I flew to the door, opened it, ran down to the canal, guided thither by the madness of my fears for him, and the intense desire of being an instrument to save him, though I was ignorant how, or by what means to effect it: but was it for fears, and a passion so sudden as mine, to reason! All this took up scarce the space of a few moments. I had then just life enough to reach the green borders of the waterpiece, where wildly looking round for the young man, and missing him still, my fright and concern sunk me down in a deep swoon, which must have lasted me some time; for I did not come to myself, till I was roused out of it by a sense of pain that pierced me to the vitals, and awaked me to the the most surprising circumstance of finding myself not only in the arms of this very young gentleman I had been so solicitous to save; but taken at such an advantage in my unresisting condition, that he had actually completed his entrance into me so far, that weakened as I was by all the preceding conflicts of mind I had suffered, and struck dumb by the violence of my surprise, I had neither the power to cry out, nor the strength to disengage myself from his strenuous embraces, before, urging his point, he had forced his way and completely triumphed over my virginity, as he might now as well see by the streams of blood that followed his drawing out, as he had felt by the difficulties he had met with consummating his penetration. But the sight of the blood, and the sense of my condition, had (as he told me afterwards), since the ungovernable rage of his passion was somewhat appeased, now wrought so far on him, that at all risks, even of the worst consequences, he could not find in his heart to leave me, and make off, which he might easily have done. I still lay all discomposed in bleeding ruin, palpitating, speechless, unable to get off, and frightened, and fluttering like a poor wounded partridge, and ready to faint away again at the sense of what had befallen me. The young gentleman was by me, kneeling, kissing my hand, and with tears in his eyes, beseeching me to forgive him, and offering all the reparation in his power. It is certain that could I, at the instant of regaining my senses, have called out, or taken the bloodiest revenge, I would not be stuck at it; the violation was attended too with such aggravating circumstances, though he was ignorant of them, since it was to my concern for the preservation of his life, that I owed my ruin.

"But how quick is the shift of passions from one extreme to another! and how little are they acquainted with the human heart who dispute it! I could not see this amiable criminal, so suddenly the first object of my love, and as suddenly of my just hate, on his knees, bedewing my hands with his tears, without relenting. He was still stark-naked, but my modesty had been already too much wounded, in essentials, to be so much shocked as I should have otherwise been with appearances only; in short, my anger ebbed so fast, and the tide of love returned so strong upon me, that I felt it a point of my own happiness to forgive him. The reproaches I made him were murmured in so soft a tone, my eyes met his with such glances, expressing more languor than resentment, that he could not but presume his forgiveness was at no desperate distance; but still he would not quit his posture of submission, till I had pronounced his pardon in form; which after the most fervent entreaties, protestations, and promises, I had not the power to withhold. On which, with the utmost marks of a fear of again offending, he ventured to kiss my lips, which I neither declined nor resented: but on my mild expostulation with him upon the barbarity of his treatment, he explained the mystery of my ruin, if not entirely to the clearance, at least much to the alleviation of his guilt, in the eyes of a judge so partial in his favour as I was grown.

"It seems that the circumstance of his going down, or sinking, which in my extreme ignorance I had mistaken for something very fatal, was no other than a trick of diving, which I had not ever heard, or at least attended o, the mention of: and he was so long-breathed at it, that in the few moments in which I ran out to save him, he had not yet emerged, before I fell into the swoon, in which, as he rose, seeing me extended on the bank, his first idea was, that some young woman was upon some design of frolic or diversion with him, for he knew I could not have fallen asleep there without his having seen me before: agreebly to which notion he had ventured to approach, and finding me without sign of life, and still perplexed as he was what to think of the adventure, he took me in his arms at all hazards, and carried me into the summer-house, of which he observed the door open: there he laid me down on the couch, and tried, as he protested in good faith, by several means to bring me to myself again, till fired, as he said, beyond all bearing by the sight and touch of several parts of me, which were unguardedly exposed to him, he could no longer govern his passion; and the less, as he was not quite sure that his first idea of this swoon being a feint, was not the very truth of the case; seduced then by this flattering notion, and overcome by the present, as he styled them, super-human temptations, combined with the solitude and seeming security of the attempt, he was not enough his own master not to make it. Leaving me then just only whilst he fastened the door, he returned with redoubled eagerness to his prey: when, finding me still entranced, he ventured to place me as he pleased, whilst I felt, no more than the dead, what he was about, till the pain he put me to roused me just in time enough to be witness of a triumph I was not able to defeat, and now scarce regretted: for as he talked, the tone of his voice sounded, methought, so sweetly in my ears, the sensible nearness of so new and interesting an object to me, wrought so powerfully upon me, that, in the rising perception of things in a new and pleasing light, I lost all sense of the past injury. The young gentleman soon discerned the symptoms of a reconciliation in my softened looks, and hastening to receive the seal of it from my lips, pressed them tenderly to pass his pardon in the return of a kiss so melting fiery, that the impression of it being carried to my heart, and thence to my new discovered sphere of Venus, I was melted into a softness that could refuse him nothing. When now he managed his caresses and endearments so artfully, as to insinuate the most soothing consolations for the past pain and the most pleasing expectations of future pleasure, but whilst mere modesty kept my eyes from seeing his and rather declined them, I had a glimpse of that instrument of mischief which was now, obviously even to me, who had scarce had snatches of a comparative observation of it, resuming its capacity to renew it, and grew greatly alarming with its increase of size, as he bore it no doubt designedly, hard and stiff against one of my hands carelessly dropt; but then he employed such tender prefacing, such winning progressions, that my returning passion of desire being now so strongly prompted by the engaging circumstances of the sight and incendiary touch of his naked glowing beauties, I yield at length at the force of the present impressions, and he obtained of my tacit blushing consent all the gratifications of pleasure left in the power of my poor person to bestow, after he had cropt its richest flower, during my suspension of life, and abilities to guard it. Here, according to the rule laid down, I should stop; but I am so much in notion, that I could not if I would. I shall only add, however, that I got home without the least discovery, or suspicion of what had happened. I met my young ravisher several times after, whom I now passionately loved and who, though not of age to claim a small but independent fortune, would have married me; but as the accident that prevented it, and its consequences, which threw me on the public, contain matters too moving and serious to introduce at present, I cut short here."

Louisa, the brunette whom I mentioned at first, now took her turn to treat the company with her history. I have already hinted to you the graces of her person, than which nothing could be more exquisitely touching; I repeat touching, as a just distinction from striking, which is ever a less lasting effect, and more generally belongs to the fair complexions; but leaving that decision to every one's taste, I proceed to give you Louisa's narrative as follows:

"According to practical maxims of life, I ought to boast of my birth, since I owe it to pure love, without marriage; but this I know, it was scarce possible to inherit a stronger propensity to that cause of my being than I did. I was the rare production of the first essay of a journeyman cabinet-maker, on his master's maid: the consequence of which was a big belly, and the loss of a place. He was not in circumstances to do much for her; and yet, after all this blemish, she found means, after she had dropt her burthen, and disposed of me to a poor relation in the country, to repair it by marrying a pastry-cook here in London, in thriving business; on whom she soon, under favour of the complete ascendant he had given her over him, passed me for a child she had by her first husband. I had, on that footing, been taken home, and was not six years old when this father-in-law died, and left my mother in tolerable circumstances, and without any children by him. As to my natural father, he had betaken himself to the sea; where, when the truth of things came out, I was told that he died, not immensely rich you may think, since he was no more than a common sailor. As I grew up, under the eyes of my mother, who kept on the business, I could not but see, in her severe watchfulness, the marks of a slip, which she did not care should be hereditary; but we no more choose our passions than our features or complexions, and the bent of mine was so strong to the forbidden pleasure, that it got the better, at length, of all her care and precaution. I was scarce twelve years old, before that part which she wanted so much to keep out of harm's way, made me feel its impatience to be taken notice of, and come into play; already had it put forth the signs of forwardness in the sprout of a soft down over it, which had often fluttered, and I might also say, grown under my constant touch and visitation, so pleased was I with what I took to be a kind of title to womanhood, that state I pined to be entered of, for the pleasures I conceived were annexed to it; and now the growing importance of that part to me, and the new sensations in it, demolished at once all my girlish play-things and amusements. Nature now pointed me strongly to more solid diversions, while all the stings of desire settled so fiercely in that little centre of them, that I could not mistake the spot I wanted a playfellow in.

"I now shunned all company in which there was no hopes of coming at the object of my longings, and used to shut myself up, to indulge in solitude some tender meditation on the pleasure I strongly perceived the overture of, in feeling and examining what nature assured me must be the chosen avenue, the gates for unknown bliss to enter at, that I panted after.

"But these meditations only increased my disorder, and blew the fire that consumed me. I was yet worse when, yielding at length to the insupportable irritations of the little fairy charm that tormented me, I seized it with my fingers, teazing it to no end. Sometimes, in the furious excitations of desire, I threw myself on the bed, spread my thighs abroad, and lay as it were expecting the longed-for relief, till finding my illusion, I shut and squeezed them together again, burning and fretting. In short, this develish thing, with its impetuous girds and itching fires, led me such a life, that I could neither, night or day, be at peace with it or myself. In time, however, I thought I had gained a prodigious prize, when figuring to myself that my fingers were something of the shape of what I pined for, I worked my way in with one of them with great agitation and delight; yet not without pain too did I deflower myself as far as it could reach; proceeding with such a fury of passion, in this solitary and last shift of pleasure, as extended me at length breathless on the bed in an amorous melting trance.

"But frequency of use dulling the sensation, I soon began to perceive that this work was but a paultry shallow expedient, that went but a little way to relieve me, and rather raised more flame than its dry and insignificant titillation could rightly appease.

"Man alone, I almost instinctively knew, as well as by what I had industriously picked up at weddings and christenings, was possessed of the only remedy that could reduce this rebellious disorder; but watched and overlooked as I was, how to come at it was the point, and that, to all appearance, an invincible one; not that I did not rack my brains and invention how at once to elude my mothers vigilance, and procure myself the satisfaction of my impetuous curiosity and longings for this mighty and untasted pleasure. At length, however, a singular chance did at once the work of a long course of alertness. One day that we had dined at an acquaintance over the way, together with a gentlewoman-lodger that occupied the first floor of our house, there started an indispensable necessity for my mother's going down to Greenwich to accompany her: the party was settled, when I do not know what genius whispered me to plead a headache, which I certainly had not, against my being included in a jaunt that I had not the least relish for. The pretext, however, passed, and my mother, with much reluctance, prevailed with herself to go without me; but took particular care to see me safe home, where she consigned me into the hands of an old trusty maidservants, who served in the shop, for we had not a male creature in the house.

"As soon as she was gone, I told the maid I would go up and lie down on our lodger's bed, mine not being made, with a charge to her at the same time not to disturb me, as it was only rest I wanted. This injunction probably proved of eminent service to me. As soon as I was got into the bedchamber, I unlaced my stays, and threw myself on the outside of the bedclothes, in all the loosest undress. Here I gave myself up to the old insipid privy shifts of my self-viewing, self-touching self-enjoying, in fine, to all the means of self knowledge I could devise, in search of the pleasure that fled before me, and tantalized with that unknown something that was out of my reach; thus all only served to enflame myself, and to provoke violently my desires, whilst the one thing needful to their satisfaction was not at hand, and I could have bit my finger for representing it so ill. After then wearying and fatiguing myself with grasping shadows, whilst that most sensible part of me disdained to content itself with less than realities, the strong yearnings, the urgent struggles of nature towards the melting relief, and the extreme self-agitations I had used to come at it, had wearied and thrown me into a kind of unquiet sleep: for, if I tossed and threw about my limbs in proportion to the distraction of my dreams, as I had reason to believe I did, a bystander could not have helped seeing all for love. And one there was it seems; for waking out of my very short slumber, I found my hand locked in that of a young man, who was. kneeling at my bed-side, and begging my pardon for his boldness: but that being a son to the lady to whom, this bed-chamber, he knew, belonged, he had slipped by the servant of the shop, as he supposed, unperceived, when finding me asleep, his first ideas were to withdraw; but that he had been fixed and detained there by a power he could better account for, than resist.

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