Mrs. Cole still continued her friendship, and offered me her assistance and advice towards another choice; but I was now in ease and affluence enough to look about me at leisure; and as to any constitutional calls of pleasure, their pressure, or sensibility, was greatly lessened by a consciousness of the east with which they were to be satisfied at Mrs. Cole's house, where Louisa and Emily still continued in the old way; and my great favourite Harriet used often to come and see me, and entertain me, with her head and heart full of the happiness she enjoyed with her dear baronet, whom she loved with a tenderness and constancy, even though he was her keeper, and what is yet more, had made her independent, by a handsome provision for her and hers. I was then in this vacancy from any regular employ of my person in my way of business, when one day, Mrs. Cole, in the course of the constant confidence we lived in, acquainted me that there was one Mr. Barville, who used her house, just come to town, whom she was not a little perplexed about providing a suitable companion for; which was indeed a point of difficulty, as he was under the tyranny of a cruel taste: that of an ardent desire, not only of being unmercifully whipped himself, but of whipping others, in such sort, that though he paid extravagantly those who had the courage and complaisance to submit to his humour, there were few, delicate as he was in the choice of his subjects, who would exchange turns with him so terribly at the expense of their skin. But, what yet increased the oddity of this strange fancy was the gentleman being young; whereas it generally attacks, it seems, such as are, through age, obliged to have recourse to this experiment, for quickening the circulation of their sluggish juices, and determining a conflux of the spirits of pleasure towards those flagging shrivelly parts, that rise to life only by virtue of those titillating ardours created by the discipline of their opposites, with which they have so surprising a consent.
This Mrs. Cole could not well acquaint me with, in any expectation of my offering for service: for, sufficiently easy as I was in my circumstances, it must have been the temptation of an immense interest indeed, that could have induced me to embrace such a job, neither had I ever expressed, nor indeed, felt the least impulse or curiosity to know more of a taste, that promised so much more pain than pleasure to those that stood in no need of such violent goads: what then should move me to subscribe myself voluntarily to a party of pain, foreknowing it such? Why, to tell the plain truth, it was a sudden caprice, a gust of fancy for trying a new experiment, mixed with the vanity of approving my personal courage to Mrs. Cole, that determined me, at all risks, to propose myself to her and relieve her from any farther lookout. Accordingly, I at once pleased and surprised her, with a frank and unreserved tender of my person to her and her friend's absolute disposal on this occasion.
My good temporal mother was, however, so kind as to use all the arguments she could imagine to dissuade me: but, as I found they only turned on a motive of tenderness to me, I persisted in my resolution, and thereby acquitted my offer of any suspicion of its not having been sincerely made, or out of compliment only. Acquiescing then thankfully in it, Mrs. Cole assured me "that bating the pain I should be put to, she had no scruple to engage me to this party, which she assured me I should be liberally paid for, and which, the secrecy of the transaction preserved safe from the ridicule that otherwise vulgarly attended it; that for her part, she considered pleasure, of one sort or other, as the universal port of destination, and every wind that blew thither a good one, provided it blew nobody any harm; that she rather compassionated, than blamed those unhappy persons, who are under a subjection they cannot shake off, to those arbitrary tastes that rule their appetites of pleasures with an unaccountable control: tastes too, as infinitely diversified, as superior to, and independent of all reasoning as the different relishes or palates of mankind in their viands, some delicate stomach nauseating plain meats, and finding no savour but in highseasoned, luxurious dishes, whilst others again pique themselves upon detesting them."
I stood now in no need of this preamble of encouragement, or justification: my word was given, and I was determined to fulfill my engagements. Accordingly the night was set, and I had all the necessary previous instructions how to act and conduct myself. The dining room was duly prepared and lighted up, and the young; gentleman posted there in waiting, for my introduction to him.
I was then, by Mrs. Cole, brought in, and presented to him, in a loose dishabille fitted, by her direction, to the exercise I was to go through, all in the finest linen and a thorough white uniform: gown, petticoat, stocking, and satin slippers, like a victim led to sacrifice; whilst my dark auburn hair, falling in drop-curls over my neck, created a pleasing distinction of colour from the rest of my dress.
As soon as Mr. Barville saw me, he got up, with a visible air of pleasure and surprise, and saluting me, asked Mrs. Cole, if so fine and delicate a creature would voluntarily submit to such sufferings and rigours, as were the subject of his assignation. She answered him properly, and now, reading in his eyes that she could not too soon leave us together, she went out, after recommending to him to use moderation with so tender a novice.
But whilst she was employing his attention, mine had been taken up with examining the figure and person of this unhappy young gentleman, who was thus unaccountably condemned to have his pleasure lashed into him, as boys have their learning.
He was exceedingly fair, and, smooth complexioned, and appeared to me no more than twenty at most, though he was three years older than what my conjectures gave him; but then he owed this favourable mistake to a habit of fatness, which spread through a short, squab stature; and a round, plump, fresh coloured face gave him greatly the look of a Bacchus, had not an air of austerity, not to say sternness, very unsuitable even to his shape of face, dashed that character of joy, necessary to complete the resemblance. His dress was extremely neat, but plain, and far inferior to the ample fortune he was in full possession of; this too was a taste in him, and not avarice.
As soon as Mrs. Cole was gone, he seated me near him, when now his face changed upon me, into an expression of the most pleasing sweetness and good humour, the most remarkable for its sudden shift from the other extreme, which I found afterwards, when I knew more of his character, was owing to a habitual state of conflict with, and dislike of himself, for being enslaved to so peculiar a lust, by the fatality of a constitutional ascendant, that rendered him incapable of receiving any pleasure, till he submitted to these extraordinary means of procuring it at the hands of pain, whilst the constancy of this repining consciousness stamped at length that cast of sourness and severity on his features: which was, in fact, very foreign to the natural sweetness of his temper.
After a competent preparation by apologies, and encouragement to go through my part with spirit and constancy, he stood up near the fire, whilst I went to fetch the instruments of discipline out of a closet hard by: these were several rods, made each of two or three strong twigs of birch tied together, which he took, handled, and viewed with as much pleasure, as I did with a kind of shuddering presage.
Next we took from the side of the room a long broad bench, made easy to lie at length on by a soft cushion in a callico-cover; and everything being now ready, he took his coat and waistcoat off; and at his motion and desire, I unbuttoned his breeches, and rolling up his shirt rather above his waist, tucked it on securely there; when directing naturally my eyes to that humoursone master-movement, in whose favaur all these dispositions were making, it seemed almost shrunk into his body, scarce showing its tip above the sprout of hairy curls that clothed those parts, as you may have-seen a wren peeping its head out of the grass.
Stooping them to untie his garters, he gave them to me for the use of tying him down to the legs of the bench: a circumstance no farther necessary than, as I suppose, it made part of the humour of the thing, since he prescribed it to himself, amongst the rest of the ceremonial.
I led him then to the bench, and according to my cue, played at forcing him to lie down: which, after-some little show of reluctance, for form-sake, he submitted to; he was straightway extended flat upon his: belly, on the bench, with a pillow under his face; and as he thus tamely lay, I tied him slightly hand and feet, to the legs of it; which done, his shirt remaining-trussed up over the small of his back, I drew his breeches quite down to his knees; and now he lay, in all the fairest, broadest display of that part of the back-view; in which a pair of chubby, smooth-cheeked and passing white posteriors rose cushioning upwards from two stout, fleshful thighs, and ending their cleft, or separation by an union at the small of the back, presented a bold mark, that swelled, as it were, to meet the scourge.
Seizing now one of the rods, I stood over him, and according to his direction, gave him in one breath, ten lashes with much good-will, and the utmost nerve and vigour of arm that I could put to them, so as to make those fleshy orbs quiver again under them; whilst he himself seemed no more concerned, or to mind them, than a lobster would a flea-bite. In the mean time, I view intently the effect of them, which to me at last appeared surprisingly cruel: every lash had skimmed the surface of those white cliffs, which they deeply reddened, and lapping round the side of the furthermost from me, cut specially, into the dimple of it, such livid weals, as the blood either spun out from, or stood in large drops on; and, from some of the cuts, I picked out even the splinters of the rod that had stuck in the skin. Nor was this raw work to be wondered at, considering the greenness of the twigs and the severity of the infliction, whilst the whole surface of the skin was so smooth-stretched over the hard and firm pulp of flesh that filled it, as to yield no play, or elusive swagging under the stroke: which thereby took place the more plump, and cut into the quick.
I was however already so moved at the piteous sight, that I from my heart repented the undertaking, and would willing had given over, thinking he had full enough; but, he encouraging and beseeching me earnestly to proceed, I gave him ten more lashes; and then resting, surveyed the increase of bloody appearances. And at length, steeled to the height, by his stoutness in suffering, I continued the discipline, by intervals, till I observed him wreathing and twisting his body, in a way that I could plainly perceive was not the effect of pain, but of some new and powerful sensation: curious to dive into the meaning of which, in one of my pauses of intermission, I approached, as he still kept working, and grinding his belly against the cushion under him: and first stroking the untouched and unhurt side of the flesh-mount next me, then softly insinuating my hand under his thigh, felt the posture things were in forwards, which was indeed surprising: for that machine of him, which I had, by its appearance, taken for an impalpable, or at least a very diminutive subject, was now, in virtue of all that smart and havoc of his skin behind, grown not only to a prodigious stiffness of erection, but to a size that frighted even me: a non-pareil thickness indeed! the head of it alone filled the utmost capacity of my grasp. And when, as he heaved and wriggled to and fro, in the agitation of his strange pleasure, it came into view, it had something of the air of a round fillet of veal, and like its owner, squab, and short in proportion to its breadth; but when he felt my hand there, he begged I would go on briskly with my jerking, or he should never arrive at the last stage of pleasure.
Resuming then the rode and the exercise of it, I had fairly worn out three bundles, when, after an increase of struggles and motion, and a deep sigh or two, I saw him lie still and motionless; and now he desired me to desist, which I instantly did; and proceeding to untie him, I could not but be amazed at his passive fortitude, on viewing the skin of his butchered, mangled posteriors, late so white, smooth and polished, now all one side of them a confused cut-work of weals, livid flesh, gashes and gore, insomuch that when he stood up, he could scarce walk; in short, he was in sweet-briars.
Then I plainly perceived, on the cushion, the marks of a plenteous effusion, and already had his sluggard member run up to its old nestling-place, and enforced itself again, as if ashamed to shew its head; which nothing, it seems, could raise but stripes inflicted on its opposite neighbours, who were thus constantly obliged to suffer for his caprice.
My gentleman had now put on his clothes and recomposed himself, when giving me a kiss, and placing me by him, he sat himself down as gingerly as possible, with one side off the cushion, which was too sore for him to bear resting any part of his weight on.
Here he thanked me for the extreme pleasure I had procured him, and seeing, perhaps, some marks in my countenance of terror and apprehension of retaliation on my own skin, for what I had been the instrument of his suffering in his, he assured me, "he was ready to give up to me any engagement I might deem myself under to stand him, as he had done me, but that if I proceeding in my consent to it, he would consider the difference of my sex, its greater delicacy and incapacity to undergo pain." Reheartened at which, and piqued in honour, as I thought, not to flinch so near the trial, especially as I well knew Mrs. Cole was an eye-witness, from her stand of espial, to the whole of our transaction, I was now less afraid of my skin, than of his not furnishing me with an opportunity of signalizing my resolution.
Consonant to this disposition was my answer, but my courage was still more in my head, than in my heart; and as cowards rush into danger they fear, in order to be the sooner rid of the pain of that sensation, I was entirely pleased with his hastening matters into execution.
He had then little to do, but to unloose the strings of my petticoats, and lift them, together with my shift, navel-high, where he just tucked them up loosely, and might be slipt up higher at pleasure. Then viewing me round with great seeming delight, he laid me at length on my face upon the bench, and when I expected he would tie me, as I had done him, and held out my hands, not without fear and a little trembling, he told me, "he would by no means terrify me unnecessarily with such a confinement; for that though he meant to put my constancy to a trial, the standing it was to be completely voluntary on my side, and therefore I might be at full liberty to get up whenever I found the pain too much for me." You cannot imagine how much I thought myself bound, by being thus allowed to remain loose, and how much spirit this confidence in me gave me, so that I was even from my heart careless how much my flesh might suffer in honour of it.
All my back parts, naked half way up, were now fully at his mercy: and first, he stood at a convenient distance, delighting himself with a gloating survey of the attitude I lay in, and of all the secret stores I thus exposed to him in fair display. Then, springing eagerly towards me, he covered all those naked parts with a fond profusion of kisses; and now, taking hold of the rod, rather wantoned with me, in gentle inflictions on those tender trembling masses of my flesh behind, than in any way hurt them, till by degrees, he began to tingle them with smarter lashes, so as to provoke a red colour into them, which I knew, as well by the flagrant glow I felt there, as by his telling me, they now emulated the native roses of my other cheeks. When he had thus amused himself with admiring, and toying with them, he went on to strike harder, and more hard, so that I needed all my patience not to cry out, or complain at least. At last, he twigged me so smartly as to fetch blood in more than one lash: at sight of which he flung down the rod, flew to me, kissed away the starting drops, and sucking the wounds eased a good deal of my pain. But now raising me on my knees, and making me kneel with them straddling wide, that tender part of me, naturally the province of pleasure, not of pain, came in for its share of suffering: for now, eyeing it wistfully, he directed the rod so that the sharp ends of the twigs lighted there, so sensibly, that I could not help wincing, and writhing my limbs with smart; so that my contortions of body must necessarily throw it into infinite variety of postures and points of view, fit to feast the luxury of the eye. But still I bore every thing without crying out: when presently giving me another pause, he rushed, as it were, on that part whose lips, and round about, had felt this cruelty, and by way of reparation, glued his own to them; then he opened, shut, squeezed them, plucked softly the overgrowing moss, and all this in a style of wild passionate rapture and enthusiasm, that expressed excess of pleasure; till betaking himself to the rod again, encouraged by my passiveness, and infuriated with this strange taste of delight, he made my poor posteriors pay for the ungovernableness of it; for now showing them no quarter, the traitor cut me so, that I wanted but little of fainting away, when he gave over. And yet I did not utter one groan, or angry expostulation; but in my heart I resolved nothing so seriously, as never to expose myself again to the like severities.
You may guess then in what a curious pickle those soft flesh-cushions of mine were, all so red, raw, and in fine, terribly clawed off; but so far from feeling any pleasure in it, that the recent smart made me pout a little, and not with the greatest air of satisfaction receive the compliments, and after-caresses of the author of my pain.
As soon as my clothes were huddled on in a little decency, a supper was brought in by the discreet Mrs. Cole herself, which might have piqued the sensuality of a cardinal, accompanied with a choice of the richest wines: all which she set before us, and went out again, without having, by a word or even by a smile, given us the least interruption or confusion, in those moments of secrecy, that we were not yet ripe to the admission of a third too.
I sat down then, still scarce in charity with my butcher, for such I could not help considering him, and was moreover not a little piqued at the gay, satisfied air of his countenance, which I thought myself insulted by. But when the now necessary refreshment to me of a glass of wine, and a little eating (all the time observing a profound silence) had somewhat cheered and restored me to spirits, and as the smart began to go off, my good humour returned accordingly: which alteration not escaping him, he said and did every thing that could confirm me in, and indeed exalt it.
But scarce was supper well over, before a change so incredible was wrought in me, such violent, yet pleasingly irksome sensations took possession of me that I scarce knew how to contain myself; the smart of the lashes was now converted into such a prickly heat, such fiery tinglings, as made me sigh, squeeze my thighs together, shift and wriggle about my seat, with a furious restlessness; whilst these itching ardours, thus excited in those parts on which the storm of discipline had principally fallen, detached legions of burning, subtile, stimulating spirits, to their opposite spot and centre of assemblage, where their titillation raged so furiously, that I was even stinging made with them. No wonder then that in such a taking, and devoured by flames that licked up all modesty and reserve, my eyes, now charged brimful of the most intense desire, fired on my companion very intelligible signal of distress: my companion, I say, who grew in them every instant more amiable, and more necessary to my urgent wishes and hopes of immediate ease.
Mr. Barville, no stranger, by experience, to these situations, soon knew the pass I was brought to soon perceived my extreme disorder; in favour of which, removing the table out of the way, he began a prelude that flattered me with instant relief, to which I was not, however, so near as I imagined: for as he was unbuttoned to me, and tried to provoke and rouse to action his unactive torpid machine, he blushingly owned that no good was to be expected from it, unless I took it in hand to re-excite its languid loitering powers, by just refreshing the smart of the yet recent blood-raw cuts, seeing it could, no more than a boy's top, keep up without lashing. Sensible then that I should work as much for my own profit as his, I hurried my compliance with his desire, and abridging the ceremonial, whilst he leaned his head against the back of a chair, I had scarce gently made him feel the lash, before I saw the object of my wishes give signs of life, and presently, as it were with a magic touch, is started up into a noble size and distinction indeed. Hastening then to give me the benefit of it, he threw me down on the bench; but such was the refreshed soreness of those parts behind, on my leaning so hard on them, as became me to compass the admission of that stupendous head of his machine, that I could not possibly bear it. I got up then, and tried, by leaning forwards, and turning the crupper on my assailant, to let him at the back avenue: but here it was likewise impossible to stand his bearing so fiercely against me, in his agitations and endeavours to enter that way, whilst his belly battered directly against the recent sore. What should we do now? both intolerably heated: both in a fury; but pleasure is ever inventive for its own ends: he strips me in a trice stark naked, and placing a broad settee-cushion on the carpet before the fire, oversets me gently, topsy turvy, on it; and handling me only at the waist, whilst you may be sure I favoured all my dispositions, brought my legs round his neck; so that my head was kept from the floor only by my hands and the velvet cushion, which was now bespread with my flowing hair: thus I stood on my head and hands, supported by him in such manner, that whilst my thighs clung round him, so as to expose to his sight all my back figure, including the theatre of his bloody pleasure, the centre of my fore pair fairly bearded the ob-jest of its rage, that now stood in fine condition to give me satisfaction for the injuries of its neighbours. But as this posture was certainly not the easiest, and our imaginations, wound up to the height, could suffer no delay, he first, with the utmost eagerness and effort, just lip-lodged that broad acorn-fashioned head of his instrument; and still befriended by the fury with which he had made that impression, he soon stuffed in the rest; when now, with a pursuit of thrusts, fiercely urged, he absolutely overpowered and absorbed all sense of pain and uneasiness, whether from my wounds behind, my most untoward posture, or the oversize of his stretcher, in an infinitely predominant delight; when now all my whole spirits of life and sensation rushing, impetuously to the cock-pit, where the prize of pleasure was hotly in dispute and clustering to a point there, I soon received the dear relief of nature from these over-violent strains and provocations of it; harmonizing with which, my gallant spouted into me such a potent overflow of the balsamic injection, as softened and unedged all those irritating stings of a new species of titillation, which I had been so intolerably maddened with, and restored the ferment of my senses to some degree of composure.
I had now achieved this rare adventure ultimately much more to my satisfaction than I had bespoken the nature of it to turn out; nor was it much lessened, you may think, by spark's lavish praises of my constancy and complaisance, which he gave weight to by a present that greatly surpassed my utmost expectation, besides his gratification to Mrs. Cole.
I was not, however, at any time re-enticed to renew with him, or resort again to the violent expedient of lashing nature into more haste than good speed: which, by the way, I conceive acts somewhat in the manner of a dose of Spanish flies; with more pain perhaps, but less danger; and might be necessary to him, but was nothing less so than to me, whose appetite wanted the bridle more than the spur.
Mrs. Cole, to whom this adventurous exploit had more and more endeared me, looked on me now as a girl after her own heart, afraid of nothing, and, on a good account, hardly enough to fight all the weapons of pleasure through. Attentive then, in consequence of these favourable conceptions, to promote either my profit or pleasure, she had special regard for the first, in a new gallant of a very singular turn, that she procured for and introduced to me.
This was a grave staid, solemn, elderly gentleman, whose peculiar humour was a delight in combing fine tresses of hair; and as I was perfectly headed to his taste, he used to come constantly at my toilet hours, when I let down my hair as loose as nature, and abandoned it to him to do what he pleased with it; and accordingly he would keep me an hour or more in play with it, drawing the comb through it, winding the curls round his fingers, even kissing it as he smoothed it; and all this led to no other use of my person, or any other liberties whatever, any more than if a distinction of sexes had not existed.
Another peculiarity of taste he had, which was to present me with a dozen pairs of the whitest kid gloves at a time: these he would divert himself with drawing on me, and then biting off their finger ends; all which fooleries of a silly appetite, the old gentleman paid more liberally for, than most others did for more essential favours. This lasted till a violent cough, seizing and laying him up, delivered me from this most innocent and insipid trifler, for I never heard more of him after his first retreat.
You may be sure a by-jod of this sort interfered with no other pursuit, or plan of life; which I led, in truth, with a modesty and reserve that was less the work of virtue than of exhausted novelty, a glut of pleasure, and easy circumstances, that made me indifferent to any engagements in which pleasure and profit were not eminently united; and such I could, with the less impatience, wait for at the hands of time and fortune, as I was satisfied I could never mend my pennyworths, having evidently been served at the top of the market, and even been pampered with dainties: besides that, in the sacrifice of a few momentary impulses, I found a secret satisfaction in respecting myself, as well as preserving the life and freshness of my complexion. Louisa and Emily did not carry indeed their reserve so high as I did; but still they were far from cheap or abandoned, though two of their adventures seemed to contradict this general character, which, for their singularity, I shall give you in course, beginning first with Emily's:
Louisa and she went one night to a ball, the first in the habit of a shepherdess, Emily in that of a shepherd: I saw them in their dresses before they went, and nothing in nature could represent a prettier boy than this last did, being so fair and well limbed. They had kept together for some time, when Louisa, meeting an old acquaintance of hers, very cordially gives her companion the slip, and leaves her under the protection of her boy's habit, which was not much, and of her discretion, which was, it seems, still less. Emily, finding herself deserted, sauntered thoughtless about a while, and, as much for coolness and air as any thing else, at length pulled off her mask and went to the sideboard; where, eyed and marked out by a gentleman in a very handsome domino, she was accosted by, and fell into chat with him. The domino, after a little discourse, in which Emily doubtless distinguished her good nature and easiness more than her wit, began to make violent love to her, and drawing her insensibly to some benches at the lower end of the masquerade room, got her to sit by him, where he squeezed her hands, pinched her cheeks, praised and played with her fine hair, admired her complexion, and all in a style of courtship dashed with a certain oddity, that not comprehending the mystery of, poor Emily attributed to his falling in with the humour of her disguise; and being naturally not the cruellest of her profession, began to incline to a parley on those essentials. But here was the stress of the joke: he took her really for what she appeared to be, a smock-faced boy; and she, forgetting her dress, and of course ranging quite wide of his ideas, took all those address to be paid to herself as a woman, which she precisely owed to his not thinking her one. However, this double error was pushed to such a height on both sides, that Emily, who saw nothing in him but a gentleman of distinction by those points of dress to which his disguise did not extend, warmed too by the wine he had plyed her with, and the caresses he had lavished upon her, suffered herself to be persuaded to go to a bagnio with him; and thus, losing sight of Mrs. Cole's cautions, with a blind confidence, put herself into his hands, to be carried wherever he pleased. For his part, equally blinded by his wishes, whilst here gregious simplicity favoured his deception more than the most exquisite art could have done, he supposed, no doubt, that he had lighted on some soft simpleton, fit for his; purpose, or some kept minion broken to his hand, who understood him perfectly well, and entered into his designs. But, be that as it would, he led her to a coach, went into it with her, and brought her to a very handsome apartment, with a bed in it; but whether it was a bagnio or not, she could not tell, having spoken to nobody but himself. But when they were alone together, and her inamorato began to proceed to those extremities which instantly discover the sex, she remarked, that no description could paint up to the life, the mixture of pique, confusion and disappointment, that appeared in his countenance, joined to the mournful exclamation: "By heavens, a woman!" This at once opened her eyes, which had been shut in downright stupidity. However, as if he had meant to retrieve that escape, he still continued to toy with and fondle her, but with so staring an alteration from extreme warmth into a chill and forced civility, that even Emily herself could not but take notice of it, and now began to wish she had paid more regard to Mrs. Cole's premonitions against ever engaging with a stranger. And now an excess of timidity succeeded to an excess of confidence, and she thought herself so much at his mercy and discretion, that she stood passive throughout the whole progress of his prelude: for now, whether the impressions of so great a beauty had even made him forgive her sex, or whether her appearance or figure in that dress still humoured his first illusion, he recovered by degrees a good part of his first warmth, and keeping Emily with her breeches still unbuttoned, stript them down to her knees, and gently impelling her to lean down, with her face against the bed-side, placed her so, that the double way, between the double rising behind, presented the choice fair to him, and he was so fairly set on a mis-direction, as to give the girl no small alarms for fear of losing a maidenhead she had not dreamt of. However, her complaints, and a resistance, gentle, but firm, checked and brought him to himself again; so that turning his steed's head, he drove him at length in the right road, in which his imagination having probably made the most of those resemblances that flattered his taste, he got, with much ado, to his journey's end: after which, he led her out himself, and walking with her two or three streets length, got her a chair, when making her a present not any thing inferior to what she could have expected, he left her, well recommended to the chairmen, who, on her directions, brought her home.
This she related to Mrs. Cole and me the same morning, not without the visible remains of the fear and confusion she had been in, still stamped on her countenance. Mrs. Cole's remark was, that her indiscretion proceeding from a constitutional facility, there were little hopes of any thing curing her of it, but repeated severe experience. Mine was, that I could not conceive how it was possible for mankind to run into a taste, not only universally odious, but absurd, and impossible to gratify; since, according to the notions and experience I had of things, it was not in nature to force such immense disproportions. Mrs. Cole only smiled at my ignorance, and said nothing towards my undeception, which was not affected but by ocular demonstration, some months after, which a most singular accident furnished me, and which I will here set down, that I may not return again to so disagreeable a subject.
I had, on a visit intended to Harriet, who had taken lodgings at Hampton-court, hired a chariot to go out thither, Mrs. Cole having, promised to accompany me; but some indispensable business intervening, to detain her, I was obliged to set out alone; and scarce had I got a third of my way, before the axle-tree broke down, and I was well off to get out, safe and unhurt, into a public-house, of a tolerable handsome appearance, on the road. Here the people told me that the stage would come by in a couple of hours at farthest, upon; which, determining to wait for it, sooner than lose the jaunt I had got so far forward on, I was carried into a very clean decent room, up one pair of stairs, which I took possession of for the time I had to stay, in right of calling for sufficient to do the house justice.
Here, whilst I was amusing myself with looking out of the window, a single horse-chaise stopt at the door, out of which lightly leaped two young' gentlemen, for so they seemed, who came in only as it were to bait and refresh a little, for they gave their horse to be held! in readiness against they came out. And presently I heard the door of the next room, where they were let in, and called about them briskly; and as soon as they were served, I could just hear that they shut and fastened the door on the inside.
A spirit of curiosity, far from sudden, since I do not know when I was without it, prompted me, without any particular suspicion, or other drift or view, to see what they were, and examine their persons and behaviour. The partition of our rooms was one of those moveable ones that, when taken down, served occasionally to lay them into one, for the conveniency of as larger company; and now, my nicest search could not shew me the shadow of a peep-hole, a circumstance which probably had not escaped the review of the parties on the other side, whom much it stood upon not to be deceived in it; but at length I observed a paper patch of the same colour as the wainscot, which I took to conceal some flaw; but then it was so high, that I was obliged to stand upon a chair to reach it, which I did as soft as possible, and, with a point of a bodkin, soon pierced it, and opened myself espial room sufficient. And now, applying my eye close, I commanded the room perfectly, and could see my two young sparks romping and pulling one another about, entirely, to my imagination, in frolic and innocent play.
The eldes might be, on my nearest guess, towards nineteen, a tall comely young man, in a white fustian frock, with a green velvet cape, and cut bob-wig.
The youngest could not be above seventeen, fair, ruddy, completely well made, and to say the truth, a sweet pretty stripling: he was too, I fancy, a country lad, by his dress, which was a green plush frock, and breeches of the same, white waistcoat and stockings, a jockey cap, with his fellowish hair, long and loose, in natural curls.
But after a look of circumspection, which I saw the eldest cast every way round the room, probably in too much hurry and heat not to overlook the very small opening I was posted at, especially at the height it was, whilst my eye close to it kept the light from shining through and betraying it, he said something to his companion that presently changed the face of things.
For now the elder began to embrace, to press and kiss the younger, to put his hands into his bosom, and give him such manifest signs of an amorous intention, as made me conclude the other to be a girl in disguise: a mistake that nature kept me in countenance for, for she had certainly made one, when she gave him the made stamp.
In the rashness then of their age, and bent as they were to accomplish their project of preposterous pleasure, at the risk of the very worst of consequences, where a discovery was nothing less than improbable, they now proceeded to such lengths as soon satisfied me what they were.
For presently the eldest unbuttoned the other's breeches, and removing the linen barrier, brought out to view a white shaft, middle sized, and scarce fledged, when after handling and playing with it a little, with other dalliance, all received by the boy without other opposition than certain wayward coyness, ten times-more alluring than repulsive, he got him so turned round, with his face from him, to a chair that stood hard by; when knowing, I suppose, his office, the Ganymede now obsequiously leaned his head against the back of it, and projecting his body, made a fair mark, still covered with his shirt. As he thus stood in a side view to me, but fronting his companion, who, presently unmasking his battery, produced an engine that certainly deserved to be put to a better use, and very fit to confirm me in my disbelief of the possibility of things; being pushed to odious extremities, which I had built on the disproportion of parts; but this disbelief I was now cured of, as by my consent all young men should likewise be, that their innocence may not be betrayed into such snares, for want of knowing the extent of their danger: for nothing is more certain than that ignorance of advice is by no means a guard against it.
Slipping, then, aside the young lad's shirt, and tucking it up under his clothes behind, he shewed to the open air those globular fleshy eminences that compose the Mount Peasants of Rome, and which now, with all the narrow vale that intersects them, stood displayed and exposed to his attack; nor could I without a shudder behold the dispositions he made for it. First, then, moistening well with spittle his instrument, obviously to make it glib, he pointed, he introduced it, as I could plainly discern, not only from its direction and my losing sight of it, but by the writhing, twisting and soft murmured complaints of the young sufferer; but at length, the first straits of entrance being pretty well go through, every thing seemed to move and go pretty currently on, as on a carpet road, without much rub or resistance; and now, passing one hand round his minions' hips, he got hold of his red-topped ivory toy, that stood perfectly stiff, and shewed, that if he was like his mother behind, he was like his father before; this he diverted himself with, whilst, with the other he wantoned with his hair, and leaning forward over his back, drew his face, from which the boy shook the loose curls that fell over it, in the posture he stood him in, and brought him towards his, so as to receive a long breathed kiss; after which, renewing his driving, and thus continuing to harass his rear, the height of the fist came on with its usual symptoms, and dismissed the action.
The criminal scene they acted, I had the patience to see to an end, purely that I might gather more facts and certainty against them in my design to do their deserts instant justice; and accordingly, when they had re-adjusted themselves; and were preparing to go out, burning as I was with rage and indignation, I jumped down from the chair, in order to raise the house upon them, but with such an unlucky impetuosity, that some nail or ruggedness in the floor caught my foot, and flung me on my face with such violence, that I fell senseless on the ground, and lay there some time before any one came to my relief: so that they, alarmed, I suppose, by the noise of my fall, had more than the necessary time to make a safe retreat. This they effected, as I learnt, with a precipitation nobody could account for, until, when come to myself, and composed enough to speak, I acquainted those of the house with the whole transaction I had been evidence to.
When I came home again, and told Mrs. Cole this adventure, she very sensibly observed to me, that "there was no doubt of the due vengeance one time or other overtaking these miscreants, however they might escape for the present; and that, had I been the temporal instrument of it, I should have been put to a great deal more trouble and confusion than I imagined; that, as to the thing itself, the less said of it was the better; but that though she might be suspected of partiality, from its being the common cause of womankind, out of whose mouths this practice tended to take something more than bread, yet she protested against any mixture of passion, with a declaration extorted from her by pure regard to truth; which was, that whatever effect this infamous passion had in other ages and other countries, it seemed a peculiar blessing on our air and climate, that there was a plaguespot visibly imprinted on all that are tainted with it, in this nation at least, for that among numbers of that stamp whom she had known, or at least were universally under the scandalous suspicion of it, she would not name an exception hardly to one of them, whose character was not, in all other respects, the most worthless and despicable that could be; stript of all the manly virtues of their own sex, and filled up with only the worst vices and follies of ours; that, in fine, they were scarce less execrable than ridiculous in their monstrous inconsistence, of loathing and contemning women, and at the same time apeing all their manners, airs, lisps, scuttle, and, in general, all their little modes of affectation, which become them at least better, than they do these unsexed, male misses."
But here, washing my hands of them, I re-plunge into the stream of my history, which I may very properly ingraft a terrible sally of Louisa's, since I had some share in it myself, and have besides engaged myself to relate it, in point of countenance to poor Emily. It will add, too, one more example to thousands, in confirmation of the maxim, that women get once out of compass, there are no lengths of licentiousness, that they are not capable of running.
One morning then, that both Mrs. Cole and Emily were gone out for the day, and only Louisa and I (not to mention the house-maid) were left in charge of the house, whilst we were loitering away the time, in looking through the shop windows, the son of a poor woman, who earned very hard bread indeed by mending of stockings, in a stall in the neighbourhood, offered us some nosegays, ranged round a small basket; by selling of which the poor boy eked out his mother's maintenance of them both: nor was he fit for any other way of livelihood, since he was not only a perfect changeling, or idiot, but stammered so that there was no understanding even those sounds his half-dozen animals ideas, at most, prompted him to utter.
The boys and servants in the neighbourhood had given him the nick-name of good-natured Dick, from the soft simpleton's doing every thing he was bid at the first word, and from his naturally having no turn to mischief; then, by the way, he was perfectly well made, stout, clean-limbed, tall of his age, as strong as a horse, and, withal, pretty featured; so that he was not, absolutely, such a figure to be snuffled at neither, if your nicety could, in favour of such essentials, have dispensed with a face unwashed, hair tangled for want of combing, and so ragged a pliht, that he might have disputed points of shew with any heathen philosopher of them all.
This boy we had often seen, and bought his flowers, out of pure compassion, and nothing more; but just at this time as he stood presenting us his basket, a sudden whim, a start of wayward fancy, seized Louisa; and, without consulting me, she calls him in, and beginning to examine his nosegays, culls out two, one for herself, another for me, and pulling out half a crown, very currently gives it him to change, as if she had really expected he could have changed it: but the boy, scratching his head, made his signs explain his inability in place of words, which he could not, with all his struggles, articulate.
Louisa, at this, says: "Well, my lad, come up stairs with me, and I will give you your due," winking at the same time to me, and beckoning me to accompany her, which I did, securing first the street-door, that by this means, together with the shop, became wholly the care of the faithful house-maid.
As we went up, Louisa whispered me "that she had conceived a strange longing to be satisfied, whether the general rule held good with regard to this changeling, and how far nature had made him amends, in her best bodily gifts, for her denial of the sublimer intellectual ones; begin, at the same time, my assistance in procuring her this satisfaction." A want of complaisance was never my vice, and I was so far from opposing this extravagant frolic, that now, bit with the same maggot, and my curiosity conspiring with hers, I entered plump into it, on my own account.
Consequently, soon as we came into Louisa's bed-chamber, whilst she was amusing him with picking out his nosegays, I undertook the lead, and began the attack. As it was not then very material to keep much measures with a mere natural, I made presently free with him, though at my first motion of meddling, his surprise and confusion made him receive my advances but awkwardly: nay, insomuch that he bashfully shied, and shied back a little; till encouraging him with my eyes, plucking him playfully by the hair, sleeking his cheeks, and forwarding my point by a number of little wantonnesses, I soon turned him familiar, and gave nature her sweetest alarm: so that aroused, and beginning to feel himself, we could, amidst all the innocent laugh and grin I had provoked him into, perceive the fire lighting in his eyes, and, diffusing over his cheeks, blend its glow with that of his blushes. The emotion in short of animal pleasure glared distinctly in the simpleton's countenance; yet struck with the novelty of the scene, he did not know which way to look or move; but tame, passive, simpering, with his mouth half open, in stupid rapture, stood and tractably suffered me to do what I pleased with him. His basket was dropt out of his hands, which Louisa took care of.
I had now, through more than one rent, discovered and felt his thighs, the skin of which seemed the smoother and fairer for the coarseness, and even the dirt of his dress, as the teeth of negroes seem the whiter for the surrounded black; and poor indeed of habit, poor of understanding, he was, however, abundantly rich in personal treasures, such as flesh, firm, plump, and replete with the juices of youth, and robust well-knit limbs. My fingers too had now got within reach of the true, the genuine sensitive plant, which, instead of shrinking from the touch, joys to meet it, and swells and vegetates under it: mine pleasingly informed me that matters were so ripe for the discovery we meditated, that they were too mighty for the confinement they were ready to break. A waistband that I unskewered, and a rag of a shirt that I removed, and which could not have covered a quarter of it, revealed the whole of the idiot's standard of distinction, erect, in full pride and display: but such a one! it was positively of so tremendous a size, that prepared as we were to see something extraordinary, it still, out of measure, surpassed our expectation, and astonished even me, who had not been used to trade in trifles. In fine, it might have answered very well the making a skew of; its enormous head seemed, in hue and size, not unlike a common sheep's heart; then you might have trolled dice securely along the broad back of the body of it; the length of it too was prodigious; then the rich appendage of the treasure-bag beneath, large in proportion, gathered and crisped up round in shallow furrows, helped to fill the eye, and complete the proof of his being a natural, not quite in vain; since it was full manifest that he inherited, and largely too, the prerogative of majesty which distinguishes that otherwise most unfortunate condition, and gave rise to the vulgar saying "That a fool's bauble is a lady's playfellow." Not wholly without reason: for, generally speaking, it is in love as it is in war, where the longest weapon carries it. Nature, in short, had done so much for him in those parts, that she perhaps held herself acquitted in doing so little for his head.
For my part, who had sincerely no intention to push the joke further than simply satisfying my curiosity with the sight of it alone, I was content, in spite of the temptation that stared me in the face, with having raised a May-pole for another to hang a garland on: for, by this time, easily reading Louisa's desires in her wishful eyes, I acted the commodious part, and made her, who sought no better sport, significant terms of encouragement to go through stitch with her adventure; intimating too that I would stay and see fair play: in which, indeed, I had in view to humour a new born curiosity, to observe what appearances active nature would put on in a natural, in the course of this her darling operation.
Louisa, whose appetite was up, and who, like the industrious bee, was, it seems, not above gathering the sweet of so rare a flower, though she found it planted on a dunghill, was but too readily disposed to take the benefit of my cession. Urged then strongly by her own desires, and emboldened by me, she presently determined to risk a trial of parts with the idiot, who was by this time nobly inflamed for her purpose, by all the irritation we had used to put the principles of pleasure effectually into motion, and to wind up the springs of its organ to their supreme pitch; and it stood accordingly stiff and straining, ready to burst with the blood and spirits that swelled it... to a bulk! No! I shall never forget it.
Louisa then, taking and holding the fine handle that so invitingly offered itself, led the ductile youth, by that mastertool of his, as she stept backward towards the bed; which he joyfully gave way to, under the incitations of instinct, and palpably delivered up to the goad of desire.
Stopped then by the bed, she took the fall she loved, and leaned to the most, gently backward upon it, still holding fast what she held, and taking care to give her clothes a convenient toss up, so that her thighs duly disclosed, and elevated, laid open all the outward prospect of the treasury of love: the rose-lipt overture presenting the cockpit so fair, that it was not in nature even for a natural to miss it. Nor did he: for Louisa, fully bent on grappling with it, and impatient of dalliance or delay, directed faithfully the point of the battering-piece, and bounded up with a rage of so varocious appetite, to meet and favour the thrust of insertion, that the fierce activity on both sides effected it with such pain of distention, that Louisa cried out violently, that she was hurt beyond bearing, that she was killed. But it was too late: the storm was up, and force was on her to give way to it; for now the man-machine, strongly worked upon by the sensual passion, felt so manfully his advantages and superiority, felt withal the sting of pleasure so intolerable, that maddening with it, his joys began to assume a character of furiousness, which made me tremble for the too tender Louisa. He seemed, at this juncture, greater than himself; his countenance, before so void of meaning, or expression, now grew big with the importance of the act he was upon. In short, it was not now that he was to be played the fool with. But, what is pleasant enough, I myself was awed into a sort of respect for him, by the comely terrors his motions dressed him in: his eyes shooting sparks of fire; his face glowing with ardours that gave another life to it; his teeth churning; his whole frame agitated with a raging ungovernable impetuosity: all sensibly betraying the formidable fierceness with which the genial instinct acted upon him. Butting then and goring all before him, and mad and wild like an ower-driven steer, he ploughs up the tender furrow all insensible to Louisa's complaints; nothing can stop, nothing can keep out a fury like his: with which, having once got its head in, its blind rage soon made way for the rest, piercing, rending, and breaking open all obstruction. The torn, split, wounded girl cries, struggles, invokes me to her rescue, and endeavours to get from under the young savage, or shake him off, but alas! in vain: her breath, might as soon have strength to have quelled his rough assault, or put him out of his course. And indeed, all her efforts and struggles were managed with such disorder, that they served rather to entangle, and fold her the faster in the twine of his boisterous arms; so that she was tied to the stake, and obliged to fight the match out, if she died for it. For his part, instinct-ridden as he was, the expressions of his animal passion, partaking something of ferocity, were rather worrying than kisses, intermixed with ravenous love-bites on her cheeks and necks, the prints of which did not wear out for some days after.
Poor Louisa, however, bore up at length better than could have been expected: and though she suffered, and greatly too, yet, ever true to the good old cause, she suffered with pleasure and enjoyed her pain. And soon now, by dint of an enraged enforcement, the brute-machine, driven like a whirlwind, made all smoke again, and wedging its way up, to the utmost extremity, left her, in point of penetration, nothing to fear or to desire: and now,
"Gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth," (Shakespeare.)
Louisa lay, pleased to the heart, pleased to her utmost capacity of being so, with every fibre in those parts, stretched almost to breaking, on a rack of joy, whilst the instrument of all this over-fullness searched her senses with its sweet excess, till the pleasure gained upon her so, its point stung her so home, that catching at length the rage from her furious driver and sharing the riot of his wild rapture, she went wholly out of her mind into that favourite part of her body, the whole intenseness of which was so fervously filled, and employed: there alone she existed, all lost in those delirious transports, those extasies of the senses, which her winking eyes, the brightened vermilion of her lips and cheeks, and sighs of pleasure deeply fetched, so pathetically expressed. In short, she was now as mere a machine as much wrought on, and had her motions as little at her own command, as the natural himself, who, thus broke in upon her, made her feel with a vengeance his tempestuous mettle he battered with; their active loins quivered again with the violence of their conflict, till the surge of pleasure, foaming and raging to a height, drew down the pearly shower that was, to allay this hurricane. The purely sensitive idiot then first shed those tears of joy that attend its last moments, not without an agony of delight, and even almost a roar of rapture, as the gush escaped him; so sensibly too for Louisa, that she kept him faithful company, going off, in consent, with the old symptoms: a delicious delirium, a tremendous convulsive shudder, and the critical dying: Oh! And now, on his getting off she lay pleasure-drenched, and regorging its essential sweets; but quite spent, and gasping for breath, without other sensation of life than in those exquisite vibrations that trembled still on the strings of delight; which had been too intensively touched, and which nature had so ravishingly stirred with, for the senses to be quickly at peace from.
As for the changeling, whose curious engine had been thus successfully played off, his shift of countenance and gesture had even something droll, or rather tragi-comic in it: there was now an air of sad repining foolishness, superadded to his natural one of no meaning and idiotism, as he stood with his label of manhood, now lank, unstiffened, becalmed, and flapping against his thighs, down which it reached half way, terrible even in its fall, whilst under the dejection of spirit and flesh, which naturally followed his eyes, by turns, cast down towards his struck standard, or piteously lifted to Louisa, seemed to require at her hands what he had so sensibly parted from to her, and now ruefully missed. But the vigour of nature, soon returning, dissipated the blast of faintness which the common law of enjoyment had subjected him to; and now his basket re-became his main concern, which I looked for, and brought him, whilst Louisa restored his dress to its usual condition, and afterwards pleased him perhaps more by taking all his flowers off his hands, and paying him, at his rate, for them, than if she had embarrassed him by a present, that he would have been puzzled to account for, and might have put others on tracing the motives of.
Whether she ever returned to the attack I know not, and, to say truth, I believe not. She had had her freak out, and had pretty plentifully drowned her curiosity in a glut of pleasure, which, as it happened, had no other consequence than that the lad, who retained only a confused memory of the transaction, would, when he saw her, forget her in favour of the next woman, tempted, on the report of his parts, to take him in. Louisa herself did not long outstay this adventure at Mrs. Cole's (to whom, by the bye, we took care not to boast of our exploit, till all fear of consequences were clearly over): for an occasion presenting itself of proving her passion for a young fellow, at the expense of her discretion, proceeding all in character, she packed up her toilet, at half a day's warning, and went with him abroad, since which I entirely lost sight of her, and it never fell in my way to hear what became of her.
But a few days after she had left us, two very occasion, not to wrong our training at Mrs. Cole's, especially favourites, and free of her academy, easily obtained her consent for Emily's and my acceptance of a party of pleasure, at a little but agreeable house, belonging to one of them situated not far up the river Thames, on the Surrey side.
Every thing being settled, and it being a fine summer day, but rather of the warmest, we set out after dinner, and got to our rendezvous about four in the afternoon; where, landing at the foot of a neat, joyous pavilion, Emily and I were handed into it by our esquires, and there drank tea with a cheerfulness and gaiety, that the beauty of the prospect, the serenity of the weather, and the tender politeness of our sprightly gallants, naturally led us into.
After tea, and taking a turn in the garden, my particular, who was the master of the house, and had in no sense schemed this party of pleasure for a dry one, proposed to us, with that frankness which his familiarity at Mrs. Cole's entitled him to, as the weather was excessively hot, to bathe together, under a commodious shelter that he had prepared expressly for that purpose, in a creek of the river, with which a side-door of the pavilion immediately communicated, and where we might be sure of having our diversion out, safe from interruption, and with the utmost privacy.
Emily, who never refused anything, and I, who ever delighted in bathing, and had no exception to the person who proposed it, or to those pleasure it was easy to guess it implied, took care, on this occasion, not to wrong our training at Mrs. Cole's, and agreed to it with as good a grace as we could. Upon which, without loss of time, we returned instantly to the pavilion, one door of which opened into a tent, pitched before it, that with its marquise, formed a pleasing defense again the sun, or the weather, and was besides as private as we could wish. The lining of it, embossed cloth, represented a wild forest foliage, from the top, down to the sides, which, in the same stuff, were figured with fluted pilasters, with their spaces between filled with flower vases, the whole having a pay effect croon the eye, wherever you turned it.
Then it reached sufficiently into the water, yet contained convenient benches round it, on the dry ground, either to keep our clothes, or..., or..., in short for more uses than resting upon. There was a side-table too, loaded with sweetmeats, jellies, and other eatables, and bottles of wine and cordials, by way of occasional relief from any rawness, or chill of the water, or from any faintness from whatever cause; and in fact, my gallant, who understood chere entiere perfectly, and who, for taste (even if you would not approve this specimen of it) might have been comptroller of pleasures to a Roman emperor, had left no requisite towards convenience or luxury unprovided.
As soon as we had looked round this inviting spot, and every preliminary of privacy was duly settled, strip was the word: when the young gentlemen soon dispatched the undressing each his partner and reduced us to the naked confession of all those secrets of person which dress generally hides, and which the discovery of was, naturally speaking, not to our disadvantage. Our hands, indeed, mechanically carried towards the most interesting part of us, screened, at first, all from the tufted cliff downwards, till we took them away at their desire, and employed them in doing them the same office, of helping off with their clothes; in the process of which, there passed all the little wantonnesses and frolics that you may easily imagine.
As for my spark, he was presently undressed, all to his shirt, the fore-lappet of which as he leaned languishingly on me, he smilingly pointed to me to observe, as it bellied out, or rose and fell, according to the unruly starts of the motion behind it; but it was soon fixed, for now taking off his shirt, and naked as a Cupid, he shewed it me at so upright a stand, as prepared me indeed for his application to me for instant ease; but, though the sight of its fine size was fit enough to fire me, the cooling air, as I stood in this state of nature, joined to the desire I had of bathing-first, enabled me to put him off, and tranquillize him, with the remark, that a little suspense would only set a keener edge on the pleasure. Leading them the way, and shewing our friends an example of continency, which they were giving signs of losing respect to, we went hand in hand into the stream, till it took us up to our necks, where the no more than grateful coolness of the wafer gave my senses a delicious refreshment from the sultriness of the season, and made more alive, more happy in myself, and, in course, more alert, and open to voluptuous impressions.
Here I laved and wantoned with the water, or sportively played with my companion, leaving Emily to deal with hers at discretion. Mine, at length, not content with making me take the plunge over head and ears, kept splashing me, and provoking me with all the little playful tricks he could devise, and which I strove not to remain in his debt for. We gave, in short, a loose to mirth; and now, nothing would serve him but giving his hand the regale of going over every part of me, neck, breast, belly, thighs, and all the et caetera, so dear to the imagination, under the pretext of washing and rubbing them; as we both stood in the water, no higher now than the pit of our stomachs, and which did not hinder him from feeling, and toying with that leak that distinguishes our sex, and it so wonderfully water-tight: for his fingers, in vain dilating and opening it, only let more flame than water into it, be it said without a figure. At the same time he made me feel his own engine, which was so well wound up, as to stand even the working in water, and he accordingly threw one arm round my neck, and was endeavouring to get the better of that harsher construction bred by the surrounding fluid; and had in effect one hiway so far as to make me sensible of the pleasing stretch of those nether lips, from the in-driving machine; when, independent of my not liking that awkward mode of enjoyment, I could not help interrupting him, in order to become joint spectators of a plan of joy, in hot operation between Emily and her partner; who impatient of the fooleries and dalliance of the bath, had led his nymph to one of the benches on the green bank, where he was very cordially proceeding to teach her the difference betwixt jest and earnest.
There, setting her on his knee, and gliding one hand over the surface of that smooth polished snow-white skin of hers, which now doubly shone with a dew-bright lustre, and presented to the touch something like what one would imagine of animated ivory, especially in those ruby-nippled globes, which the touch is so fond of and delights to make love to, with the other h was lusciously exploring the sweet secret of nature, in order to make room for a stately piece of machinery, that stood up-reared, between her thighs, as she continued siting on his lap, and pressed hard for instant intromission, which the tender Emily, in a fit of humour deliciously protracted, affected to decline, and elude the very pleasure she sighed for, but in a style of waywardness, so prettily put on, and managed, as to render it ten times more poignant; then her eyes, all amidst the softest dying languishment, expressed, ait once a mock denial and extreme desire, whilst her sweetness was zested with a coyness so pleasingly provoking, her moods of keeping him off were so attractive, that they redoubled the impetuous rage with, which, he covered her with kisses: and kisses that, whilst she seemed to shy from or scuffle for, the cunning wanton contrived such sly returns, of, as were, doubtless the sweeter for the gust she gave them, of being stolen ravished.
Thus Emily, who knew no art but that which nature itself, in favour of her principal end, pleasure, had inspired her with, the art of yielding, coyed it indeed, but coyed it to the purpose; for with all her straining, her wrestling, and striving to break from the clasp of his arms, she was so far wiser yet than to mean it, that in her struggles, it was visible she aimed at nothing more than multiplying points of touch with him, and drawing yet closer the folds that held them every where entwined, like two tendrils of a vine intercurling: together: so that the same effect, as when Louisa strove in good earnest to disengage from the idiot, was-now produced by different motives.
Mean while, their emersion out of the cold water had caused a general glow, a tender suffusion of heightened carnation over their bodies; both equally white and smoothskinned; so that as their limbs were-thus amorously interwoven, in sweet confusion, it was scarce possible to distinguish who they respectively belonged to, but for the brawnier, bolder muscles of the stronger sex.
In a little time, however, the champion was fairly in with her, and had tied at all points the true lover's knot; when now, adieu all the little refinements of a finessed reluctance; adieu the friendly feint! She was presently driven forcibly out of the power of using any art; and indeed, what art must not give way, when nature, corresponding with her assailant, invaded in the heart of her capital and carried by storm, lay at the mercy of the proud conqueror, who had made his entry triumphantly and completely? Soon, however, to become a tributary: for the engagement growing hotter and hotter, at close quarters, she presently brought him to the pass of paying down the dear debt to nature; which she had no sooner collected in, but, like a duellist who has laid his antagonist at his feet, when he has himself received a mortal wound, Emily had scarce time to plume herself upon her victory, but, shot with the same discharge, she, in a loud expiring sigh, in the closure of her eyes, the stretch-out of her limbs, and a remission of her whole frame, gave manifest signs that all was as it should be.
For my part, who had not with the calmest patience stood in the water all this time, to view this warm action, I leaned tenderly on my gallant, and at the close of it, seemed to ask him with my eyes, what he thought of it; but he, more eager to satisfy me by his actions than by words or looks, as we shoaled the water towards the shore, showed me the staff of love so intensely set up, that had not even charity, beginning at home in this case, urged me to our mutual relief, it would have been cruel indeed to have suffered the youth to burst with straining, when the remedy was so obvious and so near at hand.
Accordingly we took a bench, whilst Emily and her spark, who belonged it seems to the sea, stood at the side-board, drinking to our good voyage: for, as the last observed, we were well under weigh, with a fair wind up channel, and full-freighted; nor indeed were we long before we finished our trip to Cythera, and unloaded in the old haven; but, as the circumstances-did not admit of much variation, I shall spare you the description.
At the same time, allow me to place you here an excuse I am conscious of owing you, for having, perhaps, too much affected the figurative style; though surely, it can pass nowhere more allowable than in a subject which is so properly the province of poetry, nay, is poetry itself, pregnant with every flower of imagination and loving metaphors, even were not the natural expressions, for respects of fashion and sound, necessarily forbidden.
Resuming now my history, you may please to know, that what with a competent number of repetitions, all in the same strain (and, by the bye, we have a certain natural sense that those repetitions are very much to the taste), what with a circle of pleasures delicately varied, there was not a moment lost to joy all the time we staid there, till late in the night we were re-escorted home by our esquires, who delivered us safe to Mrs. Cole, with generous thanks for our company.
This too was Emily's last adventure in our way: for scarce a week after, she was, by an accident too trivial to detail to you the particulars, found out by her parents, who were in good circumstances, and who had been punished for their partiality to their son, in the loss of him, occasioned by a circumstance of their over indulgence to his appetite; upon which the so long engrossed stream of fondness, running violently in favour of this lost and inhumanly abandoned child whom if they had not neglected enquiry about, they might long before have recovered, they were now so over-joyed at the retrieval of her, that, I presume, it made them much less strict in examining the bottom of things: for they seemed very glad to take for granted, in the lump, every thing that the grave and decent Mrs. Cole was pleased to pass upon them; and soon afterwards sent her, from the country, handsome acknowledgment.
But it was not so easy to replace to our community the loss of so sweet a member of it: for, not to mention her beauty, she was one of those mild, pliant characters, that if one does not entirely esteem, one can scarce help loving, which is not such a bad compensation neither. Owing all her weaknesses to good nature, and an indolent facility that kept her too much at the mercy of first impressions, she had just sense enough to know that she wanted leading strings, and thought herself so much obliged to any who would take the pains to think for her, and guide her, that with a very little management, she was capable of being made a most agreeable, nay a most virtuous wife: for vice, it is probable, had never been her choice, or her fate, if it had not been for occasion, or example, or had she not depended less upon herself than upon her circumstances. This presumption her conduct afterwards verified: for presently meeting with a match, that was ready cut and dry for her, with a neighbour's son of her own rank, and a young man of sense and order, who took as the widow of one lost at sea (for so it seems one of her gallants, whose name she had made free with, really was), she naturally struck into all the duties of her domestic life, with as much simplicity of affection, with as much constancy and regularity, as if she had never swerved from a state of undebauched innocence from her youth.
These desertions had, however, now so far thinned Mrs. Cole's cluck that she was left with only me, like a hen with one chicken; but though she was earnestly entreated and encouraged to recruit her crops, her growing infirmities, and, above all, the tortures, of a stubborn hip gout, which she found would yield to no remedy, determined her to break up her business, and retire with a decent pittance into the country, where I promised myself, nothing so sure, as my going down to live with her, as soon as I had seen a little more of life, and improved my small matters into a competency that would create in me an independence on the world: for I was now, thanks to Mrs. Cole, wise enough to keep that essential in view.
Thus was I then to lose my faithful preceptress, as did the philosophers of the town the white crow of her profession. For besides that she never ransacked her customers, whose tastes too she ever studiously consulted, she never racked her pupils with unconscionable extortions, nor ever put their hard earnings, as she called them, under the contribution of poundage. She was a severe enemy to the seduction for innocence, and confined her acquisitions solely to those unfortunate young women, who, having lost it, were but the juster objects of compassion: among these, indeed, she picked out such as suited her views and taking them under her protection, rescued them from the danger of the public sinks of ruin and misery, to place, or for them, well or ill, in the manner you have seen. Having then settled her affairs, she set out on her journey, after taking the most tender leave of me, and at the end of some excellent instructions, recommending me to myself, with an anxiety perfectly maternal. In short, she affected me so much, that I was not presently reconciled to myself for suffering her at any rate to go without me; but fate had, it seems, otherwise disposed of me.
I had, on my separation from Mrs. Cole, taken a pleasant convenient house at Marylebone, but easy to rent and manage from its smallness, which I furnished neatly and modestly. There, with a reserve of eight hundred pounds, the fruit of my deference to Mrs. Cole's counsels, exclusive of clothes, some jewels, and some plate, I saw myself in purse for a long time, to wait without impatience for what the chapter of accidents might produce in my favour.
Here, under the new character of a young gentlewoman whose husband was gone to sea, I had marked me out such lines of life and conduct, as leaving me a competent liberty to pursue my views either out of pleasure or fortune, bounded me nevertheless strictly within the rules of decency and discretion: a disposition, in which you cannot escape observing a true pupil of Mrs. Cole.
I was scarce, however, well warm in my new abode, when going out one morning pretty early to enjoy the freshness of it, in the pleasing outlet of the fields, accompanied only by a maid, whom I had newly hired, as we were carelessly walking among the trees, we were alarmed with the noise of a violent coughing: turning our heads towards which, we distinguished a plain well dressed elderly gentleman, who, attacked with a sudden fit, was so much overcome, as to be forced to give way to it and sit down at the foot of a tree, where he seemed suffocating with the severity of it, being perfectly black in the face; not less moved than frightened with which, I flew on the instant to his relief, and using the rote of practice I had observed on the like occasion, I loosened his cravat and clapped him on the back; but whether to any purpose, or whether the cough had had its course, I know not, but the fit immediately went off; and now recovered to his speech and legs, he returned me thanks with as much emphasis as if I had saved his life. This naturally engaging a conversation, he acquainted me where he lived, which was at a considerable distance from where I met him, and where he had strayed insensibly on the same intention of a morning walk.
He was, as I afterwards learned in the course of the intimacy which this little accident gave birth to, an old bachelor, turned of sixty, but of a fresh vigorous complexion, insomuch that he scarce marked five and forty, having never racked his constitution by permitting his desires to over-tax his ability.
As to his birth and conditions, his parents, honest and failed mechanics, had, by the best traces he could get of them, left him an infant orphan on the parish; so that it was from a charity-school, that, by honesty and industry, he made his way into a merchant's counting house, from whence, being sent to a house in Cadiz, he there, by his talents and activity, acquired not only a fortune, but an immense one, with which he returned to his native country; where he could not, however, fish out so much as one single relation out of the obscurity he was born in. Taking then a taste for refinement, and pleased to enjoy life, like a mistress in the dark, he flowed his days in all the ease of opulence, without the least parade of it; and, rather studying the concealment than the shew of a fortune, looked down on a world he perfectly knew himself, to his wish, unknown and unmarked by.
But, as I propose to devote a letter entirely to the pleasure of retracing to you all the particulars of my acquaintance with this ever, to me, memorable friend, I shall, in this, transiently touch on no more than may serve, as mortar, to cement, or form the connection of my history, and to obviate your surprise that one of my blood and relish of life, should count a gallant of three score such a catch.
Referring then to a more explicit narrative, to explain by what progressions our acquaintance, certainly innocent at first, insensibly changed nature, and run into unplatonic length, as might well be expected from one of my condition of life, and above all, from that principle of electricity that scarce ever fails of producing fire when the sexes meet. I shall only here acquaint you, that as age had not subdued his tenderness for our sex, neither had it robbed him of the power of pleasing, since whatever he wanted in the bewitching charms of youth, he atoned for, or supplemented with the advantages of experience, the sweetness of his manners, and above all, his flattering address in touching the heart, by an application to the understanding. From him it was I first learned, to any purpose, and not without infinite pleasure, that I had such a portion of me worth bestowing some regard on; from him I received my first essential encouragement, and instructions how to put it in that train of cultivation, which I have since pushed to the little degree of improvement you see it at; he it was, who first taught me to be sensible that the pleasures of the mind were superior to those of the body; at the same time, that they were so far from obnoxious to, or, incompatible with each other, that, besides the sweetness in the variety and transition, the one served to exalt and perfect the taste of the other, to a degree that the senses alone can never arrive at.
Himself a rational pleasurist; as being much too wise to be ashamed of the pleasures of humanity, loved me indeed, but loved me with dignity; in a mean equally removed from the sourness, of forwardness, by which age is unpleasingly characterized, and from that childish silly dotage that so often disgraces it, and which he himself used to turn into ridicule, and compare to an old goat affecting the frisk of a young kid.
In short, every thing that is generally unamiable in his season of life, was, in him, repaired by so many advantages, that he existed a proof, manifest at least to me, that it is not out of the power of age to please, if it lays out to please, and if, making just allowance, those in that class do not forget, that if must cost them more pains and attention, than what youth, the natural spring-time of joy, stands in need of: as fruits out of season require proportionally more skill and cultivation, to force them.
With this gentleman, who took me home soon after our acquaintance commenced, I lived near eight months in which time, my constant complaisance and docility, my attention to deserve his confidence and love, and a conduct, in general, devoid of the least art and founded on my sincere regard and esteem for him, won and attached him so firmly to me, that, after having generously trusted me with a genteel, independent settlement, proceeding to heap marks of affection on me, he appointed me, by an authentic will, his sole heiress and executrix: a disposition which he did not outlive two months, being taken from me by a violent cold that he contracted, as he unadvisedly ran to the window, on an alarm of fire at some streets distant, and stood there naked-breasted, and exposed to the fatal impressions of a damp night air.
After acquitting myself of the duty towards my deceased benefactor, and paying him a tribute of un-feigned sorrow, which a little time changed into a most tender, graceful memory of him, which I shall ever retain, I grew somewhat comforted by the prospect that now opened to me, if not of happiness, at least of affluence and independence.
I saw myself then in the full bloom and pride of youth (for I was not yet nineteen), actually at the head of so large a fortune, as it would have been even the height of impudence in me to have raised my wishes, much more my hopes to; and that this unexpected elevation did not turn my head, I owed to the pains my benefactor had taken to form and prepare me for it, as I owed his opinion of my management of the vast possessions he left me, to what he had observed of the prudential economy I had learned under Mrs. Cole, the reserve of which he saw I had made, was a proof and encouragement to him.
But, alas! how easily in the enjoyment of the greatest sweets in life, in present possession, poisoned by the regret of an absent one! But my regret was a mighty and just one, since it had my only truly beloved Charles for its object.
Given him up I had, indeed, completely, having never once heard from him since our separation; which, as I found afterwards, had been my misfortune, and not his neglect, for he wrote me several letters which had all miscarried; but forgotten him I never had. And amidst all my personal infidelities, not one had made a pin's point impression on a heart impenetrable to the true love passion, but for him.
As soon, however, as I was mistress of this unexpected fortune, I felt more than ever how dear he was to me, from its insufficiency to make me happy, whilst he was not to share it with me. My earliest care, consequently, was to endeavour at getting some account of him; but all my researches produced me no more light, than that his father had been dead for some time, not so well as even with the world; and that Charles had reached his port of destination in the South Seas, where, finding the estate he was sent to recover, dwindled to a trifle, by the loss of two ships in which the bulk of his uncle's fortune lay, he was come away with the small remainder, and might, perhaps, according to the best advice, in a few months return to England, from whence he had, at the time of this my inquiry, been absent two years and seven months. A little eternity in love!
You cannot conceive with what joy I embraced the hopes thus given me of seeing the delight of my heart again. But, as the term of months was assigned it, in order to divert and amuse my impatience for his return, after settling my affairs with much ease and security, I set out on a journey for Lancashire, with an equipage suitable to my fortune, and with a design purely to revisit my place of nativity, for which I could not help retaining a great tenderness; and might naturally not be sorry to shew myself there, to the advantage I was now in pass to do, after the report Esther Davis had spread of my being spirited away to the plantations; for on no other supposition could she account for the suppression of myself to her, since her leaving me so abruptly at the inn. Another favourite intention I had, to look out for my relations, though I had none but distant ones, and prove a benefactress to them. Then Mrs. Cole's place of retirement lying in my way, was not amongst the least of the pleasures I had proposed to myself in this expedition.
I had taken nobody with me but a discreet decent woman, to figure it as my companion, besides my servants; and was scarce got into an inn, about twenty miles from London, where I was to sup and pass the night, when such a storm of wind and rain come on, as made me congratulate myself on having got under shelter before it began.
This had continued a good half an hour, when bethinking me of some directions to be given to the coachman, I sent for him, not caring that his shoes should soil the very clean parlour, in which the cloth was laid, I stept into the hall kitchen, where he was, and where, whilst I was talking to him, I slantingly observed two horsemen driven in by the weather, and both wringing wet; one of whom was asking if they could not be assisted with a change, while their clothes were dried. But, heavens! who can express what I felt at the sound of a voice, ever present to my heart, and that it now rebounded at! or when pointing my eyes towards the person it came from, they confirmed its information, in spite of so long an absence, and of a dress one would have studied for a disguise: a horseman's great coat, with a stamp-up cape, and his hat flapped... but what could escape the alertness of a sense truly guided by love? A transport then like mine was above all consideration, or schemes of surprise; and I, that instant, with the rapidity of the emotions that I felt the spur of, shot into his arms, crying out, as I threw mine round his neck: "My life!... my soul!... my Charles!.." and without further power of speech, swooned away, under the pressing agitation of joy and surprise.
Recovered out of my entrancement, I found myself in my charmer's arms, but in the parlour, surrounded by a crowd which this event had gathered round us, and which immediately, on a signal from the discreet landlady, who currently took him for my husband, cleared the room, and desirably left us alone to the raptures of this reunion; my joy at which had like to have proved, at the expense of my life, its power superior to that of grief at our fatal separation.
The first object then, that my eyes opened on, was their supreme idol, and my supreme wish, Charles, on one knee, holding me fast by the hand and gazing on me with a transport of fondness. Observing my recovery, he attempted to speak, and give vent to his patience of hearing my voice again, to satisfy him once more that it was I; but the mightiness and suddenness Of the surprise continuing to stun him, choked his utterance: he could only stammer out a few broken, half-formed, filtering accents, which my ears greedily drinking in, spelt, and put together, so as to make out their sense: "After so long!... so cruel an absence!... my dearest Fanny!... can it?... can it be you?..." stifling me at the time with kisses, that, stopping my opening mouth, at once prevented the answer that he panted for, and increased the delicious disorder in which all my senses were rapturously lost. However, amidst this crowd of ideas, and all blissful ones, there obtruded only one cruel doubt that poisoned nearly all the transcendant happiness: and what was it, but my dread of its being too excessive to be real? I trembled now with my fear of its being no more than a dream, and of waking out of it into the horrors of finding it one. Under this fond apprehension, imagining I could not make too much of the present prodigious joy, before it would vanish and leave me in the desert again, nor verify its reality too strongly, I clung to him, I clasped him, as if to hinder him from escaping me again: "Where have you been?... how could you... could you leave me?... Say you are still mine... that you still love me... and thus! thus!" (kissing him as if I would consolidated lips with him) "I forgive you... forgive my hard fortune in favour of this restoration."