All these interjections breaking from me, in that wildness of expression that justly passes for eloquence in love, drew from him all the returns my fond heart could wish or require. Our caresses, our questions, our answers, for some time observed no order; all crossing, or interrupting one another in sweet confusion, whilst we exchanged hearts at our eyes, and renewed the ratifications of a love unabated by time or absence: not a breath, not a motion, not a gesture on either side, but what was strongly impressed with it. Our hands, locked in each other, repeated the most passionate squeezes, so that their fiery thrill went to the heart again.
Thus absorbed, and concentered in this unutterable delight, I had not attended to the sweet author of it being thoroughly wet, and in danger of catching cold; when, in good time, the landlady, whom the appearance of my equipage (which, bye the bye Charles knew nothing of) had gained me an interest in, for me and mine interrupted us by bringing in a decent shift of linen and clothes; which now, somewhat recovered into a calmer composure by the coming in of a third person, I pressed him to take the benefit of, with a tender con-cern and anxiety that made me tremble for his health.
The landlady leaving us again, he proceeded to shift; in the act of which, though he proceeded with all that modesty which became these first solemner instants of our re-meeting, after so long an absence, I could not refrain certain snatches of my eyes, lured by the dazzling discoveries of his naked skin, that escaped him as he changed his linen, and which I could not observe the unfaded life and complexion of without emotions of tenderness and joy, that had himself too purely for their object, to partake of a loose or mis-timed desire.
He was soon dressed in these temporary clothes, which neither fitted him, nor became the light my passion placed him in, to me at least; yet, as they were on him, they looked extremely well, in virtue of that magic charm which love put into every thing that he-touched, or had relation to him: and where, indeed, was that dress that a figure like his would not give grace to? For now, as I eyed him more in detail, I could not but observe the even favourable alteration which the time of his absence had produced in his person.
There were still the requisite lineaments, still the same vivid vermillion and bloom reigning in his face; but now the roses were more fully blown; the tan of his travels, and a beard somewhat more distinguishable, had, at the expense of no more delicacy than what he could well spare, given it an air of becoming manliness and maturity, that symmetrized nobly with that air of distinction and empire with which nature had stamped it, in a rare mixture with the sweetness of it; still nothing had he lost of that smooth plumpness of flesh, which, glowing with freshness, blooms florid to the eye, and delicious to the touch; then his shoulders were grown more square, his shape more formed, more portly, but still free and airy. In short, his figure showed riper, greater, and perfecter to the experienced eye, than in his tender youth; and now he was not much more than two and twenty.
In this interval, however, I picked out of the broken, often pleasingly interrupted account of himself, that he was, at that instant, actually on his road to London, in not a very paramount plight or condition, having been wrecked on the Irish coast for which he had prematurely embarked, and lost the little all he had brought with him from the South Seas: so that he had not till after great shifts and hardships, in the company of his fellow-traveller, the captain, got so far on his journey; that so it was (having heard of his father's death and circumstances,) he had now the world to begin again, on a new account: a situation, which he assured me, in a vein of sincerity, that flowing from his heart, penetrated mine, gave him to farther pain, than that he had not his power to make me as happy as he could wish. My fortune, you will please to observe, I had not entered upon any overture of, reserving, to feast myself with the surprise of it to him, in calmer instants. And, as to my dress, it could give him no idea of the truth, not only as it was mourning, but likewise in a style of plainness and simplicity that I had ever kept to with studied art. He pressed me indeed tenderly to satisfy his ardent curiosity, both with regard to my past and present state of life, since his being torn away from me: but I found means to elude his questions, by answers that shewing his satisfaction at no great distance, won upon him to waive his impatience, in favour of the thorough confidence he had in my not delaying it, but for respect I should in good time acquaint him with.
Charles, however, thus returned to my longing arms, tender, faithful, and in health, was already a blessing too mighty for my conception: but Charles in distress!... Charles reduced, and broken down to his naked personal merit, was such a circumstance, in favour of the sentiments I had for him, as exceeded my utmost desire; and accordingly I seemed so visibly charmed, so out of time and measure pleased at his mention of his ruined fortune, that he could account for it no way, but that the joy of seeing him again had swallowed up every other sense of concern.
In the mean time, my woman had taken, all possible care of Charles's travelling companion; and as supper was coming in, he was introduced to me, when I received him as became my regard for all of Charles's acquaintance or friends.
We four then supped together, in the style of joy, congratulation, and pleasing disorder that you may guess. For my part, though all these agitations had left me not the least stomach, but for that uncloying feast, the sight of my adored youth, I endeavoured to force it, by way of example for him, who I conjectured must want such a recruit after riding; and, indeed, he; ate like a traveller, but gazed at, and addressed me all the time like a lover.
After the cloth was taken away, and the hour of repose came on, Charles and I were, without further ceremony, in quality of man and wife, shown up together to a very handsome apartment, and, all in course, the bed, they said, the best in the inn.
And here, Decency, forgive me! if once more I violate thy laws and keeping the curtains undrawn, sacrifice thee for the last time to that confidence, without reserve, with which I engaged to recount to you the most striking circumstances of my youthful disorders.
As soon, then, as we were in the room together, left to ourselves, the sight of the bed starving the remembrance of our first joys, and the thought of my being instantly to share it with the dear possessor of my virgin heart, moved me so strongly, that it was well I leaned upon him, or I must have fainted again under the overpowering sweet alarm. Charles saw into my confusion, and forgot his own, that was scarce less, to apply himself to the removal of mine.
But now the true refining passion had regained throughout possession of me, with all its train of symptoms: a sweet sensibility, a tender timidity, love-sick yearnings tempered with diffidence and modesty, all held me in a subjection of soul, incomparably dearer to me than the liberty of heart which I had been long, too long! the mistress of, in the course of those grosser gallantries, the consciousness of which now made me sigh with a virtuous confusion and regret. No real virgin, in short, in view of the nuptial bed, could give more bashful blushes to unblemished innocence, than I did to a sense of guilt; and indeed I loved Charles too truly not to feel severely that I did not deserve him.
As I kept hesitating and disconcerted under this soft distraction, Charles, with a fond impatience, took the pains to undress me; and all I can remember amidst the nutter and discomposure of my senses, was, some flattering exclamation of joy and admiration, more specially at the feel of my breasts, now set at liberty from my stays, and which panting and rising in tumultous throbs, swelled upon his dear touch, and gave it the welcome pleasure of finding them well formed, and un-failed in firmness.
I was soon laid in bed, and scarce languished an instant for the darling partner of it, before he was undressed and got between the sheets, with his arms clasped round me, giving and taking, with gust inexpressible, a kiss of welcome, that my heart rising to my lips stamped with its warmest impression, concurring to my bliss, with that delicate and voluptuous emotion which Charles alone had the secret to excite, and which constitutes the very life, the essence of pleasure.
Mean while, two candles lighted on a side-table near us, and a joyous wood fire, threw a light into the bed, that took from one sense, of great importance to our joys, all pretext for complaining of its being shut out of its share of them; and, indeed, the sight of my idolized youth was alone, from the ardour with which I had wished for it, without other circumstance, a pleasure to die of.
But as action was now a necessity to desires so much on edge as ours, Charles, after a very short prelusive dalliance, lifting up my linen and his own, laid the broad treasures of his manly chest close to my bosom, both beating with the tenderest alarms: when now, the sense of his glowing body, in naked touch with mine, took all power over my thoughts out of my own disposal, and delivered up every faculty of the soul to the sensiblest of joys, that affecting me infinitely more with my distinction of the person, than of the sex, now brought my heart deliriously into play: my heart, which, eternally constant to Charles, had never taken any part in my original sacrifices to the calls of constitution, complaisance, or interest. But ah! what became of me, when as the powers of solid pleasure thickened upon me, I could not help feeling the stiff stake that had been adorned with the trophies of my despoiled virginity, bearing hard and inflexible against one of my thighs, which I had not yet opened, from a true principle of modesty, revived by a passion too sincere to suffer any aiming at the false merit of difficulty, or my putting on an impertinent mock coyness.
I have, I believe, somewhere before remarked, that feel of that favourite piece of manhood has, in the very nature of it, something inimitably pathetic. Nothing can be dearer to the touch, nor can affect it with a more delirious sensation. Think then! as a love thinks, what must be the consummate transport of that quickest of our senses, in their central seat too! when, after so long a deprival, it felt itself re-inflamed under the pressure of that peculiar sceptre-member, which commands us all: but especially my darling, elect from the face of the whole earth. And now, at its mightiest point of stiffness, it felt to me something so subduing so active, so solid and agreeable, that I know not what name to give its singular impression: but the sentiment of consciousness of its belonging to my supremely beloved youth, gave me so pleasing an agitation, and worked so strongly on my soul, that it sent all its sensitive spirits to that organ of bliss in me, dedicated to its reception. There, concentering to a point, like rays in a burning glass, they glowed, they burnt with the intensest heat; the springs of pleasure were, in short, wound up to such a pitch, I panted now with so exquisitely keen an appetite for the eminent enjoyment, that I was even sick with desire, and unequal to support the combination of two distinct ideas, that delightfully distracted me: for all the thought I was capable of, was that I was now in touch, at once, with the instrument of pleasure, and the great seal of love. Ideas that, mingling streams, poured such an ocean of intoxicating bliss on a weak vessel, all too narrow to contain it, that I lay overwhelmed, absorbed, lost in an abyss of joy, and dying of nothing but immoderate delight.
Charles then roused me somewhat out of this extatic distraction, with a complaint softly murmured, amidst a crowd of kisses, at the position, not so favourable to his desires, in which I received his urgent insistance for admission, where that insistance was alone so engrossing a pleasure, that it made me inconsistently suffer a much dearer one to be kept out; but how sweet to correct such a mistake! My thighs, now obedient to the intimations of love and nature, gladly disclose, and with a ready submission, resign up the soft gateway to the entrance of pleasure: I see, I feel the delicious velvet tip!... he enters me might and main, with... oh! my pen drops from here in the extasy now present to my faithful memory! Description too deserts me, and delivers over a task, above its strength of wing, to the imagination: but it must be an imagination exalted by such a flame as mine that can do justice to that sweetest, noblest of all sensations, that hailed and accompanied the stiff insinuation all the way up, till it was at the end of its penetration, sending up, through my eyes, the sparks of the love-fire that ran all over me and blazed in every vein and every pore of me; a system incarnate of joy all over.
I had now totally taken in love's true arrow from the point up to the feather, in that part, where making no new wound, the lips or the original one of nature, which had owed its first breathing to this dear instrument, clung, as if sensible of gratitude, in eager suction round it, whilst all its inwards embraced it tenderly, with a warmth of gust, a compressive energy, that gave it, in its way, the heartiest welcome in nature; every fibre there gathering tight round it, and straining ambitiously to come in for its share of the blissful touch.
As we were giving them a few moments pause to the the delectations of the senses, in dwelling with the highest relish on this intimatest point of re-union, and chewing the cud of enjoyment, the impatience natural to the pleasure soon drove us into action. Then began the driving tumult on his side, and the responsive heaves on mine, which kept me up to him; whilst, as our joys grew too great for utterance, the organs of our voices, voluptuously intermixing, became organs of the touch... how delicious!... how poignantly luscious!... And now! now I felt, to the heart of me! I felt the prodigious keen edge, with which love, presiding over this act, points the pleasure: love! that may be styled the Attic salt of enjoyment; and indeed, without it, the joy, great as it is, is still a vulgar one, whether in a king or a beggar; for it is, undoubtedly, love alone that refines, ennobles, and exalts it.
Thus, happy, then, by the heart, happy by the senses, it was beyond all power, even of thought, to form the conception of a greater delight than what I now am consummating the fruition of.
Charles, whose whole frame was convulsed with the agitation of his rapture, whilst the tenderest fires trembled in his eyes, all assured me of a perfect concord of joy, penetrated me so profoundly, touched me so vitally, took me so much out of my own possession, whilst he seemed himself so much in mine, that in a delicious enthusiasm, I imagined such a transfusion of heart and spirit, as that coalescing, and making one body and soul with him, I was he, and he me.
But all this pleasure tending, like life from its first instants, towards its own dissolution, lived too fast not to bring on upon the spur its delicious moment of mortality; for presently the approach of the tender agony discovered itself by its usual signals, that were quickly followed by my dear lover's emanation of himself, that spun out, and shot, feelingly indeed! up the ravished indraught: where the sweetly soothing balmy titillation opened all the juices of joy on my side, which extatic-ally in flow helped to allay the prurient glow, and drowned our pleasure for a while. Soon, however, to be on float again! for Charles, true to nature's laws, in one breath, expiring and ejaculating, languished not long in the dissolving trance, but recovering spirit again, soon gave me to feel that the true mettle spring! of his instrument of pleasure, were, by love, and perhaps, by a long vacation, wound up too high to be let down by a single explosion: his stiffnesss till stood my friend. Resuming then the action afresh, without dislodging, or giving me the trouble of parting from my sweet tenant, we played over again the same opera, with the same harmony and concert: our ardours, like our love, knew no remission; and all the tide serving my lover, lavish of his stores, and pleasure-milked, he over-flowed me once more from the fulness of his oval reservoirs of the genial emulsion: whilst, on my side, a convulsive grasp, in the instant of my giving down the liquid contribution, rendered me sweetly subservient at once to the increase of joy, and to its effusions: moving me so, as to make me exert all those springs of the compressive exsuction, with which the sensitive mechanism of that part thirstily draws and drains the nipple of Love; with much such an instinctive eagerness and attachment, as to compare great with less, kind nature engages infants at the breasts, by the pleasure they find in the motion of their little mouths and cheeks, to extract the milky stream prepared for their nourishment.
But still there was no end of his vigour: this double discharge had so far from extinguished his desires, for that time, that it had not even calmed them; and at his age, desires are power. He was proceeding then amazingly to push it to a third triumph, still without uncasing, if a tenderness, natural to true love, had not inspired me with self-denial enough to spare, and not over-strain him: and accordingly, entreating him to give himself and me quarter, I obtained, at length, a short suspension of arms, but not before he had exult-ingly satisfied me that he gave out standing.
The remainder of the night, with what we borrowed upon the day, we employed with unwearied fervour in celebrating thus the festival of our remeeting; and got up pretty late in the morning, gay, brisk and alert, though rest had been a stranger to us: but the pleasures of love had been to us, what the joy of victory is to an army: repose, refreshment, every thing.
The journey into the country being now entirely out of the question, and orders having been given overnight for turning the horses' heads towards London, we left the inn as soon as we had breakfasted, not without a liberal distribution of the tokens of my grateful sense of the happiness I had met with in it.
Charles and I were in my coach; the captain and my companion in a chaise hired purposely for them, to leave us the conveniency of a tete a tete.
Here, on the road, as the tumult of my senses was tolerably composed, I had command enough of head to break properly to his the course of life that the consequences of my separation from him had driven me into: which, at the same time that he tenderly deplored with me, he was the less shocked at; as, on reflecting how he had left me circumstances, he could not be entirely unprepared for it.
But when I opened the state of my fortune to him, and with that sincerity which, from me to him, was so much a nature in me, I beged of him his acceptance of it, on his own terms. I should appear to you perhaps too partial to my passion, were I to attempt the doing his delicacy justice, I shall content myself then with assuring you, that after his flatly refusing the unreserved, unconditional donation that I long persecuted him in vain to accept, it was at length, in obedience to his serious commands (for I stood out unaffectedly, till he exerted the sovereign authority which love had given him over me), that I yielded my consent to waive the remonstrance I did not fail of making strongly to him, against his degrading himself, and incurring the reflection, however unjust, of having, for respects of fortune, bartered his honour for infamy and prostitution, in making one his wife, who thought herself too much honoured in being but his mistress.
The plea of love then over-ruling all objections, for him, which he could not but read the sincerity of in a heart ever open to him, obliged me to receive his hand, by which means I was in pass, among other innumerable blessings, to bestow a legal parentage on those fine children you have seen by this happiest of matches.
Thus, at length, I got snug into port, where, in the bosom of virtue, I gathered the only uncorrupt sweets: where, looking back on the course of vice I had run, and comparing its infamous blandishments with the infinitely superior joys of innocence, I could not help pitying, even in point of taste, those who, immersed in gross sensuality, are insensible to the so delicate charms of VIRTUE, than which even PLEASURE has not a greater friend, nor VICE a greater enemy. Thus temperance makes men lords over those pleasures that intemperance enslaves them to: the one, parent of health, vigour fertility cheerfulness, and every other desirable good of life; the other, of diseases, debility, barrenness, self-loathing, with only every evil incident to human nature.
You laugh, perhaps, at this tail-piece of morality, extracted from me by the force of truth, resulting from compared experiences: you think it, no doubt, out of character; possibly too you may look on it as the paultry finesse of one who seeks to mask a devotee to vice under a rag of a veil, impudently smuggled from the shrine of Virtue: just as if one was to fancy one's self completely disguised at a masquerade, with no other change of dress than turning one's shoes into slippers; or, as if a writer should think to shield a treasonable libel, by concluding it with a formal prayer for the King. But, independent of my flattering myself that you have a juster opinion of my sense and sincerity, give me leave to represent to you, that such a supposition is even more injurious to Virtue than to me: since, consistently with candour and good nature, it san have no foundation but in the falsest of fears, that its pleasures cannot stand in comparison with those of Vice; but let truth dare to hold it up in its most alluring light: then mark, how spurious, how low of taste, how comparatively inferior its joys are to those which Virtue gives sanction to, and whose sentiments are not above making even a sauce for the senses, but a sauce of the highest relish; whilst Vices are the harpies that infect and foul the feast. The paths of Vice are sometimes strewed with roses, but then they are for ever infamous for many a thorn, for many a cankerworm: those of Virtue are strewed with roses purely, and those eternally unfading ones.
If you do me then justice, you will esteem me perfectly consistent in the incense I burn to Virtue. If I have painted Vice in all its gayest colours, if I have decked it with flowers, it has been solely in order to make the worthier, the solemner sacrifice of it to Virtue.
You know Mr. C*** O***, you know his estate, his worth, and good sense: can you, will you pronounce it ill meant, at least of him, when anxious for his son's morals, with a view to form him to virtue, and inspire him with a fixed, a rational contempt for vice, he condescended to be his master of the ceremonies, and led him by the hand through the most noted bawdy-houses in town, where he took care he should be familiarized with all those scenes of debauchery, so fit to nauseate a good taste? The experiment, you will cry, is dangerous. True, on a fool: but are fools worth so much attention.
I shall see you soon, and in the mean time think candidly of me, and believe me ever,
MADAM, Yours, etc., etc., etc. X X X.