MEMOIRS OF FANNY HILL
By John Cleland
A new and genuine edition from the original text (London, 1749).
PARIS - ISIDORE LISEUX
Of this Edition, privately printed, there are 350 numbered copies, of which this is number 111.
LETTER THE FIRST
I sit down to give you an undeniable proof of my considering your desires as indispensable orders. Ungracious then as the task may be, I shall recall to view those scandalous stages of my life, out of which I emerged, at length, to the enjoyment of every blessing in the power of love, health and fortune to bestow; whilst yet in the flower of youth, and not too late to employ the leisure afforded me by great ease and affluence, to cultivate an understanding, naturally not a despicable one, and which had, even amidst the whirl of loose pleasures I had been tossed in, exerted more observation on the characters and manners of the world than what is common to those of my unhappy profession, who, looking on all though or reflection as their capital enemy, keep it at as great a distance as they can, or destroy it without mercy.
Hating, as I mortally do, all long unnecessary prefaces, I shall give you good quarter in this, and use no farther apology, than to prepare you for seeing the loose part of my life, written with the same liberty that I led it.
Truth! stark, naked truth, is the word; and I will not so much as take the pains to bestow the strip of a gauze wrapper on it, but paint situations such as they actually rose to me in nature, careless of violating those laws of decency that were never made for such unreserved intimacies as ours; and you have too much sense, too much knowledge of the originals, to sniff prudishly and out of character at the pictures of them. The greatest men, those of the first and most leading taste, will not scruple adorning their private closets with nudities, though, in compliance with vulgar prejudices, they may not think them decent decorations of the staircase, or salon.
This, and enough, premised, I go souse into my personal history. My maiden name was Frances Hill. I was born at a small village near Liverpool, in Lancashire, of parents extremely poor, and, I piously believe, extremely honest.
My father, who had received a maim on his limbs, that disabled him from following the more laborious branches of country drudgery, got, by making nets, a scanty subsistence, which was not much enlarged by my mother's keeping a little day-school for the girls in her neighborhood. They had had several children; but none lived to any age except myself, who had received from nature a constitution perfectly healthy.
My education, till past fourteen, was no better than very vulgar: reading, or rather spelling, an illegible scrawl, and a little ordinary plain work, composed the whole system of it; and then all my foundation in virtue was no other than a total ignorance of vice, and the shy timidity general to our sex, in the tender age of life, when objects alarm or frighten more by their novelty than anything else. But then, this is a fear too often cured at the expense of innocence, when Miss, by degrees, begins no longer to look on a man as a creature of prey that will eat her.
My poor mother had divided her time so entirely between her scholars and her little domestic cares, that she had spared very little to my instruction, having, from her own innocence from all ill, no hint or thought of guarding me against any.
I was now entering on my fifteenth year, when the worst of ills befell me in the loss of my fond, tender parents, who were both carried off by the small-pox, within a few days of each other; my father dying first, and thereby by hastening the death of my mother: so that I was now left an unhappy friendless orphan (for my father's coming to settle there, was accidental, he being originally a Kentisrman). That cruel distemper which had proved so fatal to them, had indeed seized me, but with such mild and favourable symptoms, that I was presently out of danger, and what then I did not know the value of, was entirely unmarked I skip over here an account of the natural grief and affliction which I felt on this melancholy occasion. A little time, and the giddiness of that age, dissipated too soon my reflections on that irreparable loss; but nothing contributed more to reconcile me to it, than the notions that were immediately put into my head, of going to London, and looking out for a service, in which I was promised all assistance and advice from one Esther Davis, a young woman that had beer down to see her friends, and who, after the stay of a few days, was returned to her place.
As I had now nobody left alive in the village, who had concerned enough about what should become of me, to start any objections to this scheme, and the woman who took care of me after my parents' death, rather encouraged me to pursue it, I soon came to a resolution of making this launch into the wide world, by repairing to London, in order to seek my fortune, a phrase which, by the bye, has ruined more adventurers of both sexes, from the country, than ever it made or advanced.
Nor did Esther Davis a little comfort and inspirit me to venture with her, by piquing my childish curiosity with the fine sights that were to be seen in London: the Tombs, the Lions, the King, the Royal Family, the fine Plays and Operas, and, in short, all the diversions which fell within her sphere of life to come at; the detail of all which perfectly turned the little head of me.
Nor can I remember, without laughing, the innocent admiration, not without a spice of envy, with which we poor girls, whose church-going clothes did not rise above dowlas shifts and stuff gowns, beplaced with silver: all which we imagined grew in London, and entered for a great deal into my determination of trying to come in for my share of them.
The idea however of having the company of a towns-woman with her, was the trivial, and all the motives that engaged Esther to take charge of me during my journey to town, where she told me, after the manner and style, "as how several maids out of the country had made themselves and all their kind for ever: that by preserving their virtue, some had taken so with their masters, that they had married them, and kept them coaches, and lived vastly grand and happy; and some, may-hap, came to be Duchesses; luck was all, and why not I, as well as another?"; with other almanacs to this purpose, which set me a tip-toe to begin this promising journey, and to leave a place which, though my native one, contained no relations that I had reason to regret, and was grown insupportable to me, from the change of the tenderest usage into a cold air of charity, with which I was entertained, even at the only friend's house that I had the least expectation of care and protection from. She was, however, so just to me, as to manage the turning into money the little matters that remained to me after the debts and burial charges were allowed for, and, at my departure, put my whole fortune into my hands; which consisted of a very slender wardrobe, packed up in a very portable box, and eight guineas, with seventeen shillings in silver, stowed in a spring-pouch, which was a greater treasure than I ever had seen together, and which I could not conceive there was a possibility of running out; and indeed, I was so entirely taken up with the joy of seeing myself mistress of such an immence sum, that I gave very little attention to a world of good advice which was given me with it.
Places, then, being taken for Esther and me in the Chester waggon, I pass over a very immaterial scene of leave-taking, at which I droped a few tears betwixt grief and joy; and, for the same reasons of insignificance, skip over all that happened to me on the road, such as the waggoner's looking liquorish on me, the schemes laid for me by some of the passengers, which were defeated by the valiance of my guardian Esther; who, to do her justice, took a motherly care of me, at the same time that she taxed me for the protection by making me bear all travelling charges, which I defrayed with the unmost cheerfulness, and thought myself much obliged to her into the bargain.
She took indeed great care that we were not overrated, or imposed on, as well as of managing as frugally as possible; expensiveness was not her vice.
It was pretty late in a summer evening when we reached the town, in our slow conveyance, though drawn by six at length. As we passed through the greatest streets that led to our inn, the noise, of the coaches, the hurry, the crowds of foot passengers, in short, the new scenery of the shops and houses, at once pleased and amazed me.
But guess at my mortification and surprise when we came to the inn, and our things were landed and delivered to us, when my fellow traveller and protectress, Esther Davis, who had used me with the utmost tenderness during the journey, and prepared me by no preceedings signs for the stunning blow I was to receive, when I say, my only dependence and friend, in this strange place, all of a sudden assumed a strange and cool air towards me, as if she dreaded my becoming a burden to her.
Instead, then, of proffering me the continuance of her assistance and good offices, which I relied upon, and never more wanted, she thought herself, it seems, abundantly acquitted of her engagements to me, by having brought me safe to my journey's end, and seeing nothing in her procedure towards me but what natural and in order, began to embrace me by the way of taking leave, whilst I was so confounded, so struck, that I had not spirit or sense enough so much as to mention my hopes or expectations from her experience, and knowledge of the place she had brought me to.
Whilst I stood thus stupid and mute, which she doubtless attributed to nothing more than a concern at parting, this idea procured me perhaps a slight alleviation of it, in the following harangue: "That now we were got safe to London, and that she was obliged to go to her place, she advised me by all means to get into one as soon as possible; that I need not fear getting one; there were more places than parish-churches; that she advised me to go to an intelligence office; that if she heard of any thing stirring, she would find me out and let me know; that in the meantime, I should take a private lodging, and acquaint her where to send to me; that she wished me good luck, and hoped I should always have the grace to keep myself honest, and not bringing a disgrace on my parentage." With this; she took her leave of me, and left me, as it were, on my own hands, full as lightly as I had been put into hers.
Left thus alone, absolutely destitute and friendless I began then to feel most bitterly the severity of this separation, the scene of which had passed in a little room in the inn; and no sooner was her back turned, but the affliction I felt at my helpless strange circumstances, burst out into a flood of tears, which infinitely relieved the oppression of my heart; though I still remained stupified, and most perfectly perplexed how to dispose of myself.
One of the waiters coming in, added yet more to my uncertainty, by asking me, in a short way, if I called for anything? to which I replied innocently: "No." But I wished him to tell me where I might get a lodging for that night. He said he would go and speak to his mistress, who accordingly came, and told me drily, without entering in the least into the distress she saw me in, that I might have a bed for a shilling, and that, as she supposed I had some friends in town (there I fetched a deep sigh in vain!), I might provide for myself in the morning.
It is incredible what trifling consolations the human mind will seize in its greatest afflictions. The assurance of nothing more than a bed to lie on that night, calmed my agonies; and being ashamed to acquaint the mistress of the inn that I had no friends to apply to in town, I proposed to myself to proceed, the very next morning, to an intelligence office, to which I was furnished with written directions on the back of a ballad, Esther had given me. There I counted on getting information of any place that such a country girl as I might be fit for, and where I could get into any sort of being, before my little stock should be consumed; and as to a character, Esther had often repeated to me, that I might depend on her managing me one; nor, however affected I was at her leaving me thus, did I entirely cease to rely on her, as I began to think, good-naturedly, that her procedure was all in course, and that is was only my ignorance of life that had made me take it in the light I at first did.
Accordingly, the next morning I dressed myself as clean and as neat as my rustic wardrobe would permit me; and having left my box, with special recommendation, with the landlady, I ventured out by myself, and without any more difficulty than can be supposed of a young country girl, barely fifteen, and to whom every sign or shop was a gazing trap, I got to the wished for intelligence office.
It was kept by an elderly woman, who sat at the receipt of custom, with a book before her in great form and order, and several scrolls made out, of directions for places.
I made up then to this important personage, without lifting up my eyes or observing any of the people round me, who were attending there on the same errand as myself, and dropping her curtsies nine deep, just made a shift to stammer out my business to her.
Madam heard me out, with all the gravity and brow of a petty minister of State, and seeing at one glance over my figure what I was, made me no answer, but to ask me the preliminary shilling, on receipt of which she told me places for women too slight built for hard work: but that she would look over her book, and see what was to be done for me, desiring me to stay a little, till she had dispatched some other customers.
On this I drew back a little, most heartily mortified at a declaration which carried with it a killing uncertainly, that my circumstances could not well endure.
Presently, assuming more courage, and seeking some diversion from my uneasy thoughts, I ventured to lift up my head a little, and sent my eyes on a course round the room, where they met full tilt with those of a lady (for such my extreme innocence pronounced her) sitting in a corner of the room, dressed in a velvet mantle (in the midst of summer), with her bonnet off; squat, fat, red-faced, and at least fifty.
She looked as if she would devour me with her eyes, staring at me from head to foot, without the least regard to the confusion and blushes her eyeing me so fixedly put me to, and which were to her, no doubt, the strongest recommendation and marks of my being fit for her purpose. After a little time, in which my air, person and whole figure had undergone a strict examination, which I had, on my part, tried to render favourable to me, by primming, drawing up my neck, and setting my best looks, she advanced and spoke to me with the greatest demureness:
"Sweet-heart, do you want a place?
"Yes, and please you," (with a curtsey down to the ground).
Upon this she acquainted me she was actually come to the office herself, to look out for a servant; that she believed I might do, with a little of her instruction; that she could take my very looks for a sufficient character; that London was a very wicked, vile, place; that she hoped I would be tractable, and keep out of bad company; in short, she said all to me that an old experienced practitioner in town could think of, and which was much more than was necessary to take in an artless inexperienced country maid, who was even afraid of becoming a wanderer about the streets, and therefore gladly jumped at the first offer of a shelter, especially from so grave and matron-like a lady, for such my flattering fancy assured me this new mistress of mine was, I being actually hired under the nose of the good woman that kept the office, whose shrewed smiles and shrugs I could not help observing, and innocently interpreted them as marks of being pleased at my getting into place so soon: but, as I afterwards came to know, these Beldams understood one another very well, and this was a market where Mrs. Brown, my mistress, frequently attended, on the watch for any fresh goods that might offer there, for the use of her customers, and her own profit.
Madam was, however, so well pleased with her bargain that fearing I presume, lest better advice or some accident might occasion my slipping through her fingers, she would officiously take me in a coach to my inn, where, calling herself for my box, it was, I being present, delivered without the least scruple or explanation as to where I was going.
This being over, she bid the coachman drive to a shop in St. Paul's Churchyard, where she bought a pair of gloves, which she gave me, and thence renewed her directions to the coachman to drive to her house in ——— street, who accordingly landed us at the door, after I had been cheered up and entertained by the way with the most plausible flams, without one syllable from which I could conclude anything but that I was, by the greatest luck, fallen into the hands of kindest mistress, not to say friend, that the vast world could afford; and accordingly I entered her doors with most complete confidence and exultation, promising, myself that, as soon as I could be a little settled, I would acquaint Esther Davis with my rare good fortune.
You may be sure the good opinion of my place was not lessened by the appearance of a very handsome back parlor, into which I was led and which seemed to me magnificently furnished, who had never seen better rooms than the ordinary ones in inns upon the road. There were two gilt pier-glasses, and a buffet, on which a few pieces of plate, set out to the most shew, dazzled, and altogether persuaded me that I must be got into a very reputable family.
Here my mistress first began her part, with telling me that I must have good spirits, and learn to be free with her; that she had not taken me to be a common servant, to do domestic drudgery, but to be a kind of companion to her; and that if I would be a good girl, she would do more than twenty mothers for me; to all which I answered only by the profoundest and the awkwardest curtsies, and a few monosyllables, such as "'yes! no! to be sure!"
Presently my mistress touched the bell, and in came a strapping maid-servant, who had let us in. "Here, Martha," said Mrs. Brown, "I have just hired this young woman to look after my linen; so step up and show her her chamber; and I charge you to use her with as much respect as you would myself, for I have taken a prodigious liking to her, and I do not know what I shall do for her."
Martha, who was an arch-jade, and, being used to this decoy, had her cue perfect, made me a kind of half curtsy, and asked me to walk up with her; and accordingly showed me a neat room, two pair of stairs backwards, in which there was a handsome bed, where Martha told me I was to lie with a young gentlewoman, a cousin of my mistress, who she was sure would be vastly good to me. Then she ran out into such affected encomiums on her good mistress! her sweet mistress! and how happy I was to light upon her! and that I could not have bespoke a better; with other the like gross stuff, such as would itself have started suspicions in any but such an unpractised simpleton, who was perfectly new to life, and who took every word she said in the very sense she laid out for me to take it; but she readily saw what a penetration she had to deal with, and measured me very rightly in her manner of whistling to me, so as to make me pleased with my cage, and blind to the wires.
In the midst of these false explanations of the nature of my future service, we were rung for down again, and I was reintroduced into the same parlour, where there was a table laid with three covers; and my mistress had now got with her one of her favourite girls, a notable manager of her house, and whose business it was to prepare and break such young fillies as I was to the mounting block; and she was accordingly, in that view, alloted me for a bed-fellow, and, to give her the more authority, she had the title of cousin conferred on her by the venerable president of this college.
Here I underwent a second survey, which ended in the full approbation of Mrs. Phoebe Ayres, the name of my tutoress elect, to whose care and instruction I was affectionately recommended.
Dinner was now set on table, and in pursuance of treating me as a companion, Mrs. Brown, with a tone to cut off all dispute, soon over-ruled my most humble and most confused protestations against sitting down with her Ladyship, which my very short breeding just suggested to me could not be right, or in the order of things.
At table, the conversation was chiefly kept up by the two madams and carried on in double meaning expressions, interrupted every now and then by kind assurances to me, all tending to confirm and fix my satisfaction with my present condition: augment it they could not, so very a novice was I then.
It was here agreed that I should keep myself up and out of sight for a few days, till such clothes could be procured for me as were fit for the character I was to appear in, of my mistress's companion, observing withal, that on the first impressions of my figure much might depend; and, as they rightly judged, the prospect of exchanging my country clothes for London finery, made the clause of confinement digest perfectly well with me. But the truth was, Mrs. Brown did not care that I should be seen or talked to by any, either of her customers, or her Does (as they called the girls provided for them), till she secured a good market for my maidenhead, which I had at least all the appearances of having brought into her Ladyship's service.
To slip over minutes of no importance to the main of my story, I pass the interval to bed time, in which I was more and more pleased with the views that opened to me, of an easy service under these good people; and after supper being shewed up to bed, Miss Phoebe, who observed a kind of reluctance in me to strip and go to bed, in my shift, before her, now the maid was withdrawn, came up to me, and beginning with unpinning my handkerchief and gown, soon encouraged me to go on with undressing myself; and, blushing at now seeing myself naked to my shift, I hurried to get under the bed-clothes out of sight.
Phoebe laughed and was not long before she placed herself by my side. She was about five and twenty, by her most suspicious account, in which, according to all appearances, she must have sunk at least ten good years; allowance, too, being made for the havoc which a long course of hackneyship and hot waters must have made of her constitution, and which had already brought on, upon the spur, that stale stage in which those of her profession are reduced to think of showing company, instead of seeing it.
No sooner then was this precious substitute of my mistress laid down, but she, who was never out of her way when any occasion of lewdness presented itself, turned to me, embraced and kissed me with great eagerness. This was new, this was odd; but imputing it to nothing but pure kindness, which, for ought I knew, it might be the London way to express in that manner, I was determined not to be behind-hand with her, and returned her the kiss and embrace, with all the fervour that perfect innocence knew.
Encouraged by this, her hands became extremely free, and wandered over my whole body, with touches, squeezes, pressures, that rather warmed and surprised me with their novelty, than they either shocked or alarmed me.
The flattering praises she intermingled with these invasions, contributed also not a little to bribe my passiveness; and, knowing no ill, I feared none, especially from one who had prevented all doubts of her womanhood, by conducting my hands to a pair of breasts that hung loosely down, in a size and volume that full sufficiently distinguished her sex, to me at least, who had never made any other comparison.
I lay then all tame and passive as she could wish, whilst her freedom raised no other emotion but those of a strange, and, till then, unfelt pleasure. Every part of me was open and exposed to the licentious courses of her hands, which, like a lambent fire, ran over my whole body, and thawed all coldness as they went.
My breasts, if it is not too bold a figure to call so two hard, firm, rising hillocks, that just began to shew themselves, or signify anything to the touch, employed and amused her hands awhile, till, slipping down lower, over a smooth track, she could just feel the soft silky down that had but a few months before put forth and garnished the mount-pleasant of those parts, and promised to spread a grateful shelter over the sweet seat of the most exquisite sensation, and which had been, till that instant, the seat of the most insensible innocence. Her fingers played and strove to twine in the young tendrils of that moss, which nature has contrived at once for use and ornament.
But, not contented with these outer posts, she now attempts the main spot, and began to twitch, to insinuate, and at length to force an introduction of a finger into the quick itself, in such a manner, that had she not proceeded by insensible gradations that inflamed me beyond the power of modesty to oppose its resistance to their progress, I should have jumped out of bed and cried for help against such strange assaults.
Instead of which, her lascivious touches had lighted up a new fire that wantoned through all my veins, but fixed with violence in that center appointed them by nature, where the first strange hands were now busied in feeling, squeezing, compressing the lips, then opening them again, with a finger between, till an "Oh!" expressed her hurting me, where the narrowness of the unbroken passage refused it entrance to any depth.
In the meantime, the extension of my limbs, languid stretching, sighs, short heavings, all conspired to as-ure that experienced wanton that I was more pleased than offended at her proceedings, which she seasoned with repeated kisses and exclamations, such as "Oh! what a charming creature thou art! What a happy man will he be that first makes a woman of you! Oh! that I were a man for your sake!" with the like broken expressions, interrupted by kisses as fierce and salacious as ever I received from the other sex.
For my part, I was transported, confused, and out of myself; feelings so new were too much for me. My heated and alarmed senses were in a tumult that robbed me of all liberty of thought; tears of pleasure gushed from my eyes, and somewhat assuaged the fire that raged all over me.
Phoebe, herself, the hackneyed, thorough-bred Phoebe, to whom all modes and devices of pleasure were known and familiar, found, it seems, in this exercise her those arbitrary tastes, for which there is no accounting. Not that she hated men, or did not even prefer them to her own sex; but when she met with such occasions as this was, a satiety of enjoyments in the common road, perhaps, too a great secret bias, inclined her to make the most of pleasure, wherever she could find it, without distinction of sexes. In this view, now well assured that she had, by her touches, sufficiently inflamed me for her purpose, she rolled down the bed clothes gently, and I saw myself stretched naked, my shift being turned up to my neck, whilst I had no power or sense to oppose it. Even my growing blushes expressed more desire than modesty, whilst the candle, left (to be sure not undesignedly) burning, threw a full light on my whole body.
"No!" says Phoebe, "you must not, my sweet girl, think to hide all these treasures from me. My sight must be feasted as my touch. I must devour with my eyes this springing bosom. Suffer me to kiss it. I have not seen it enough. Let me kiss it once more. What firm, smooth, white flesh is here! How delicately shaped! Then this delicious down! Oh! let me view the small, dear, tender cleft! This is too much, I cannot bear it! I must! I must!" Here she took my hand, and in a transport carried it where you will easily guess. But what a difference in the state of the same thing! A spreading thicket of bushy curls marked the full grown, complete woman. Then the cavity to which she guided my hand easily received it; and as soon as she felt it within her, she moved herself to and fro, with so rapid a friction, that I presently withdrew it, wet and clammy, when instantly Phoebe grew more composed, after two or three sighs, and heart-fetched Oh's! and giving me a kiss that seemed to exhale her soul through her lips, she replaced the bed-clothes over us. What pleasure she had found I will not say; but this I know, that the first sparks of kindling nature, the first ideas of pollution, were caught by me that night; and that the acquaintance and communication with the bad of our sex, is often as fatal to innocence as all the seductions of the other. But to go on. When Phoebe was restored to that calm, which I was far from the enjoyment of myself, she artfully sounded me on all the points necessary to govern the designs of my virtuous mistress on me, and by my answers, drawn from pure undissembled nature, she had no reason but to promise herself all imaginable success, so far as it depended on my ignorance, easiness and warmth of constitution.
After a sufficient length of dialogue, my bedfellow left me to my rest, and I fell asleep, through pure weariness, from the violent emotions I had been led into, when nature which had been too warmly stirred and fermented to subside without allaying by some means or other relieved me by one of those luscious dreams, the transports of which are scarce inferior to those of waking real action.
In the morning I awoke about ten, perfectly gay and refreshed. Phoebe was up before me, and asked me in the kindest manner how I did, how I had rested, and if I was ready for breakfast? carefully, at the same time, avoiding to increase the confusion she saw I was in, at looking her in the face, by any hint of the night's bed scene. I told her if she pleased I would get up, and begin any work she would be pleased to set me about. She smiled; presently the maid brought in the tea equipage, and I just huddled my clothes on, when in waddled my mistress. I expected no less than to be told of, if not chid for, my late rising, when I was most agreeably disappointed by her compliments on my pure and fresh looks. I was "a bud of beauty" (this was her style), "and how vastly all the fine men would admire me!" to all which my answers did not, I can assure you, wrong my breeding; they were as simple and silly as they could wish, and, no doubt, flattered them infinitely more than had they proved me enlightened by education and a knowledge of the world.
We breakfasted, and the tea things were scarce removed, when in were brought two bundles of linen and wearing apparel: in short, all the necessaries for rigging me out, as they termed it, completely.
Imagine to yourself, Madam, how my little coquet heart fluttered with joy at the sight of a white lutestring, flowered with silver, scoured indeed, but passed on me for spick and span new, a Brussels lace cap, braited shoes, and the rest in proportion, all second-hand finery, and procured instantly for the occasion, by the diligence and industry of the good Mrs. Brown, who had already a chapman for me in the house, before whom my charms were to pass in review; for he had not only, in course, insisted on a previous sight of the premises, but also on immediate surrendering to him, in case of his agreeing for me; concluding very wisely, that such a place as I was in, was of the hottest to trust the keeping of such a perishable commodity in, as a maidenhead.
The care of dressing and tricking me out for the market, was then left to Phoebe, who acquitted herself, if not well, at least perfectly to the satisfaction of everything but my impatience of seeing myself dressed. When it was over, and I viewed myself in the glass, I was no doubt, too natural, too artless, to hide my childish joy at the change: a change, in the real truth, for much the worse, since I must have much better become the neat easy simplicity of my rustic dress than the awkward, untoward, tawdry finery that I could not conceal my strangeness to.
Phoebe's compliments, however, in which her own share in dressing me was not forgot, did not a little confirm me in the first notions I had ever entertained concerning my person; which, be it said without vanity, was then tolerable to justify a taste for me, and of which it may not be out of place here to sketch you an unflattered picture.
I was tall, yet not too tall for my age, which, as I before remarked, was barely turned of fifteen; my shape perfectly straight, thin waisted, and light and free without owing anything to stays; my hair was a glossy auburn, and as soft as silk, flowing down my neck in natural curls, and did not a little to set off the whiteness of a smooth skin; my face was rather too ruddy, though its features were delicate, and the shape was a roundish oval, except where a pit on my chin had far from a disagreeable effect; my eyes were as black as can be imagined, and rather languishing than sparkling, except on certain occasions, when I have been told they struck fire fast enough; my teeth, which I ever carefully preserved, were small, even and white; my bosom was finely raised, and one might then discern rather the promise than the actual growth of the round, firm breast, that in a little time made that promise good. In short, all the points of beauty that are most universally in request, I had, or at least my vanity forbid me to appeal from the decision of our sovereign judges the men, who all, that I ever knew at last, gave it thus highly in my favour; and I met with, even in my own sex, some that were above denying me that justice, whilst others praised me yet more unsuspectedly, by endeavouring to detract from me, in points of person and figure that I obviously excelled in. This is, I own, too strong of self praise; but I should be ungrateful to nature, and to a form to which I owe such singular blessings of pleasure and fortune, were I to suppress, through an affectation of modesty, the mention of such valuable gifts.
Well then, dressed I was, and little did it then enter into my head that all this gay attire was no more than decking the victim out for sacrifice, whilst I innocently attributed all to mere friendship and kindness in the sweet good Mrs. Brown; who, I was forgetting to mention, had, under pretence of keeping my money safe, got from me, without the least hesitation, the driblet (so I now call it) which remained to me after the expenses of my journey.
After some little time most agreebly spent before the glass, in scarce self-admiration, since my new dress had by much the greatest share in it, I was sent for down to the parlour, where the old lady saluted me, and wished me joy of my new clothes, which she was not ashamed to say, fitted me as if I had worn nothing but the finest all my life-time; but what was it she could not see me silly enough to swallow? At the same time, she presented me to another cousin of her own creation, an elderly gentleman, who got up, at my entry into the room, and on my dropping a curtsy to him, saluted me, and seemed a little affronted that I had only presented my cheek to him: a mistake, which, if one, he immediately corrected, by gluing his lips to mine, with an ardour which his figure had not at all disposed me to thank him for: his figure, I say, than which nothing could be more shocking or detestable: for ugly and disagreeable were terms too gentle to convey a just idea of it.
Imagine to yourself, a man rather past threescore, short and ill-made, with a yellow cadaverous hue, great goggle eyes, that stared as if he was strangled; an out-mouth from two more properly tusks than teeth, livid lips, and breath like a Jake's: then he had a peculiar ghastliness in his grin, that made him perfectly frightful, if not dangerous to women with child; yet, made as he was thus in mock of man, he was so blind to his own staring deformities, as to think himself born to please, and that no woman could see him with impunity: in consequence of which idea, he had lavished great sums on such wretches as could gain upon themselves to pretend love to his person, whilst to those who had not art or patience to dissemble the horror it inspired, he behaved even brutally. Impotence, more than necessity, made him seek in variety, the provocative that was wanting to raise him to the pitch of enjoyment, which he too often saw himself baulked of, by the failure of his powers: and this always threw him into a fit of rage, which he wreaked, as far as he durst, on the innocent objects of his fit of momentary desire.
This then was the master to which my conscientious benefactress, who had long been his purveyor in this way, had doomed me, and sent for me down purposely for his examination. Accordingly she made me stand up before him, turned me round, unpinned my handkerchief, remarked to him the rise and fall, the turn and whiteness of a bosom just beginning to fill; then made me walk, and took even a handle from the rusticity of my charms: in short, she omitted no point of jockeyship; to which he only answered by gracious nods of approbation, whilst he looked goats and monkeys at me: for I sometimes stole a corner glance at him, and encountering his fiery, eager stare, looked another way from pure horror and affright, which he, characteristically, attributed to nothing more than maiden modesty, or at least the affectation of it.
However, I was soon dismissed, and reconducted to my room by Phoebe, who stuck close to me, not leaving me alone, and at leisure to make such reflections as might naturally rise to any one, not an idiot, on such a scene as I had just gone through; but to my shame be it confessed, that just was my invincible stupidity, or rather portentous innocence, that I did not yet open my eyes to Mrs. Brown's designs, and saw nothing in this titular cousin of hers but a shockingly hideous person, which did not at all concern me, unless that my gratitude for my benefactress made me extend my respect to all her cousinhood.
Phoebe, however, began to sift the state and pulses of my heart toward this monster, asking me how I should approve of such a fine gentelman for a husband. (Fine gentleman, I suppose she called him, from his being daubed with lace.) I answered her very naturally, that I had no thoughts of a husband, but that if I was to choose one, it should be among my own degree, sure! so much had my aversion to that wretch's hideous figure indisposed me to all "fine gentlemen," and confounded my ideas, as if those of that rank had been necessarily cast in the same mould that he was. But Phoebe was not to be put off so, but went on with her endeavours to melt and soften me for the purposes of my reception into that hospitable house: and whilst she talked of the sex in general, she had no reason to despair of a compliance, which more than one reason showed her would be easily enough obtained of me; but then she had too much experience not to discover that my particular fixed aversion to that frightful cousin would be a block not so readily to be removed, as suited the consummation of their bargain, and sale of me.
Mother Brown had in the meantime agreed the terms with this loquorice old goat, which I afterwards understood were to be fifty guineas peremptory, for the liberty of attempting me, and a hundred more at the complete gratification of his desires, in the triumph over my virginity: and as for me, I was to be left entirely at the discretion of his liking and generosity. This unrighteous contract being thus settled, he was so eager to be put in possession, that he insisted on being introduced to drink tea with me that afternoon, when we were to be left alone; nor would he hearken to the procuress's remonstrances, that I was not sufficiently prepared, and ripened for such an attack; that I was too green and untamed, having been scarce twenty-four hours in the house: it is the character of lust to be impatient, and his vanity arming him against any supposition of other than the common resistance of a maid on those occasions, made him reject all proposals of a delay, and my dreadful trial was thus fixed, unknown to me, for that very evening.
At dinner, Mrs. Brown and Phoebe did nothing but run riot in praise of this wonderful cousin, and how happy that woman would be that he would favour with his addresses; in short my two gossips exhausted all their rhetoric to persuade me to accept them: "that the gentleman was violently smitten with me at first sight; that he would make my fortune if I would be a good girl and not stand in my own light; that I should trust his honour; that I should be made for ever, and have a chariot to go abroad in," with all such stuff as was fit to turn the head of such a silly ignorant girl as I then was: but luckily here my aversion had taken already such deep root in me, my heart was so strongly defended from him by my senses, that wanting the art to mask my sentiments, I gave them no hopes of their employer succeeding, at least very easily, with me. The glass too marched pretty quick, with a view, I suppose, to make a friend of the warmth of my constitution, in the minutes of the imminent attack.
Thus they kept me pretty long at table, and about six in the evening, after I had retired to my apartment, and the tea board was set, enters my venerable mistress, followed close by that satyr, who came in grinning in a way peculiar to him, and by his odious presence, confirmed me in all the sentiments of detestation which his first appearance had given birth to.
He sat down fronting me, and all tea time kept ogling me in a manner that gave me the utmost pain and confusion, all the mark of which he still explained to be my bashfulness, and not being used to see company.
Tea over, the commoding old lady pleady urgent business (which indeed was true) to go out, and earnestly desired me to entertain her cousin kindly till she came back, both for my own sake and her; and then, with a "Pray, sir, be very good, be very tender to the sweet child," she went out of the room, leaving me staring, with my mouth open, and unprepared by the suddenness of her departure, to oppose it.
We were now alone; and on that idea a sudden fit of trembling seized me. I was so afraid, without a precise notion of why, and what I had to fear, that I sat on the settee, by the fire side, motionless and petrified, without life or spirit, not knowing how to look or how to stir.
But long I was not suffered to remain in this state of stupefaction: the monster squatted down by me on the settee, and without farther ceremony or preamble, flings his arms about my neck, and drawing me pretty forcibly towards him, obliged me to receive, in spite of my struggles to disengage from him, his pestilential kisses, which quite overcame me. Finding me then next to senseless, and unresisting, he tears off my neck handkerchief, and laid all open there, to his eyes and hands: still I endured all without flinching, till emboldened by my sufferance and silence, for I had not the power to speak or cry out, he attempted to lay me down on the settee, and I felt his hand on the lower part of my naked thighs, which were crossed, and which he endeavoured to unlock. Oh then! I was roused out of my passive endurance, and springing from him with an activity he was not prepared for, threw myself at his feet, and begged him, in the most moving tone, not to be rude, and that he would not hurt me. "Hurt you, my dear?" says the brute, "I intend you no harm. Has not the old lady told you that I love you? that I shall do handsomely by you?"
"She has indeed, sir," said I, "but I cannot love you, indeed I cannot! pray let me alone! yes! I will love you dearly if you will let me alone and go away." But I was talking to the wind, for whether my tears, my attitude, or the disorder of my dress proved fresh incentives, or whether he was now under the dominion of desires he could not bridle, but snorting and foaming with lust and rage, he renews his attack, seizes me, and again attempts to extend and fix me on the settee: in which he succeeded so far as to lay me along, and even to toss my petticoats over my head, and lay my thighs bare, which I obstinately kept close, nor could he, though he attempted with his knee to force them open, effect it so as to stand fair for being master of the main avenue; he was unbuttoned, both waistcoat and breeches, yet I only felt the weight of his body upon me, whilst I lay struggling with indignation, and dying with terrors; but he stopped all of a sudden, and got off, panting, blowing, cursing, and repeating "old and ugly!" for so I had very naturally called him in the heat of my defence.
The brute had, it seems, as I afterwards understood, brought on, by his eagerness and struggle, the ultimate period of his hot fit of lust, which his power was too short-lived to carry him through the full execution of; of which my thighs and linen received the effusion.
When it was over he bid me, with a tone of displeasure, get up: "that he would not do me the honour to think of me any more; that the old b——h might look out for another cully; that he would not be fooled so by ever a country mock modesty in England; that he supposed I had left my maidenhead with some hobnail in the country, and was come to dispose of my skim-milk in town" with a volley of the like abuse; which I listened to with more pleasure than ever fond woman did to protestations of love from her darling minion: for, incapable as I was of receiving any addition to my perfect hatred and aversion to him, I looked on this railing, as my security against his renewing his most odious caress.
Yet, plain as Mrs. Brown's views were now come out, I had not the heart, or spirit to open my eyes to them: still I could not part with my dependence on that beldam, so much did I think myself hers, soul and body: or rather, I sought to deceive myself with the continuation of my good opinion of her, and choose to wait the worst at her hands, sooner than be turned out to starve in the streets, without a penny of money or a friend to apply to these fears were my folly.
While this confusion of ideas was passing in my head, and I sat pensively by the fire, with my eyes brimming with tears, my neck still bare, and my cap fallen off in the struggle, so that my hair was in the disorder you may guess, the villain's lust began, I suppose, to be again in flow, at the sight of all that bloom of youth which presented itself to his view, a bloom yet unenjoyed, and of course not yet indifferent to him.
After some pause, he asked me with a tone of voice mightily softer, whether I would make it up with him before the old lady returned, and all should be well; he would restore me to his affections, at the same time offering to kiss me and feel my breasts. But now my extreme aversion, my fears, my indignation, all acting upon me, gave me a spirit not natural to me, so that breaking loose from him, I ran to the bell and rang it, with such violence and effect as to bring up the maid to know what was the matter, or whether the gentleman wanted anything; and before he could proceed to greater extremities, she bounced into the room, and seeing me stretched on the floor, my hair all dishevelled, my nose gushing out blood, which did not a little tragedize the scene, and my odious persecutor still intent of pushing his brutal point, unmoved by all my cries and distress, she was herself confounded and did not know what to do.
As much, however, as Martha might be prepared and hardened to transactions of this sort, all womanhood must have been out of her heart could she have seen this unmoved. Besides that, on the face of things, she imagined that matters had gone greater lengths than they really had, and that the courtesy of the house had been actually consummated on me, and flung: me into the condition I was in: in this notion she instantly took my part, and advised the gentleman to go down and leave me to recover myself, and "that all would be soon over with me; that when Mrs. Brown and Phoebe, who were gone out, were returned, they would take order for everything to his satisfaction; that nothing would be lost by a little patience with the poor tender thing; that for her part she was frightened; she could not tell what to say to such doings; but that she would stay by me till my mistress came home." As the wench said all this in a resolute tone, and the monster himself began to perceive that things would not mend by his staying, he took his hat and went out of the room murmuring and pitting his brows like an old ape, so that I was delivered from the horrors of his detestable presence.
As soon as he was gone, Martha very tenderly offered me her assistance in anything, and would have got me some hartshorn drops and put me to bed; which last I, at first, positively refused, in the fear that the monster might return and take me at that disadvantage. However, with much persuasion and assurances that I should not be molested that night she prevailed on me to lie down; and indeed I was so weakened by my struggles, so dejected by my fearful apprehension, so terror-struck, that I had not power to sit up, or hardly to give answers to the questions with which the curious Martha plied and perplexed me.
Such too, and so cruel was my fate, that I dreaded the sight of Mrs. Brown, as if I had been the criminal, and she the person injured; a mistake which you will not think so strange, on distinguishing that neither virtue nor principles had the least share in the defence I had made, but only the particular aversion I had conceived against this first brutal and frightful invader of my tender innocence.
I passed then the time till Mrs. Brown came home, under all the agitations of fear and despair that may easily be guessed.
About eleven at night my two ladies came home, and having received rather a favourable account from Martha, who had run down to let them in, for Mr. Crofts (that was the name of my brute) was gone out of the house, after waiting till he had tired his patience for Mrs. Brown's return, they came thundering up stairs, and seeing me pale, my face bloody, and all the marks of the most thorough dejection, they employed themselves more to comfort and re-inspirit me than in making me the reproaches I was weak enough to fear, I who had so many juster and stronger to retort upon them.
Mrs. Brown withdrawn, Phoebe came presently to bed to me, and what with the answers she drew from me, what with her own method of palpably satisfying herself, she soon discovered that I had been more frightened than hurt; upon which I suppose, being herself seized with sleep, and reserving her lectures and instructions till the next morning, she left me, properly speaking, to my unrest; for, later tossing and turning the greatest part of the night, and tormenting myself with the falsest notions and apprehensions of things, I fell, through mere fatigue into a kind of delirious doze, out of which I waked late in the morning, in a violent fever: a circumstance which was extremely critical to reprieve me, at least for a time, from the attacks of a wretch, infinitely more terrible to me than death itself.
The interested care that was taken of me during my illness, in order to restore me to a condition of making good the bawd's engagements, or of enduring further trials, had, however, such an effect on my grateful disposition that I even thought myself obliged to my un-doers for their attention to promote my recovery; and, above all, for the keeping out of my sight of that brutal ravisher, the author of my disorder, on their finding I was too strongly moved at the bare mention of his name.
Youth is soon raised, and a few days were sufficient to conquer the fury of my fever: but, what contributed most to my perfect recovery and to my reconciliation with life, was the timely news that Mr. Crofts, who was a merchant of considerable dealings, was arrested at the King's suit, for nearly forty thousand pounds, on account of his driving a certain contraband trade, and that his affairs were so desperate, that even were it in his inclination, it would not be in his power to renew his designs upon me: for he was instantly thrown into a prison, which it was not likely he would get out of in haste.
Mrs. Brown, who had touched his fifty guineas, advanced to so little purpose, and lost all hopes of the remaining hundred, began to look upon my treatment of him with a more favourable eye; and as they had observed my temper to be perfectly tractable and conformable to their views, all the girls that composed her flock were suffered to visit me, and had their cue to dispose me, by their conversation, to a perfect resignation of myself to Mrs. Brown's direction.
Accordingly they were let in upon me, and all that frolic and thoughtless gaiety in which those giddy creatures consume either leisure, made me envy a condition of which I only saw the fair side; insomuch, that the being one of them became even my ambition: a disposition which they all carefully cultivated; and I wanted now nothing but to restore my health, that I might be able to undergo the ceremony of the initiation.
Conversation, example, in short all, contributed, in that house, to corrupt my native parity, which had taken no root in education; whilst now the inflammable principal of pleasure, so easily fired at my age, made strange work within me, and all the modesty I was brought up in the habit, not the instruction of, began to melt away like dew before the sun's heat; not to mention that I made a vice of necessity, from the constant fears I had of being turned out to starve.
I was soon pretty well recovered, and at certain hours allowed to range all over the house, but cautiously kept from seeing any company till the arrival of Lord B——, from Bath, to whom Mrs. Brown, in respect to his experienced generosity on such occasions, proposed to offer the perusal of that trinket of mine, which bears so great an imaginary value; and his lordship being expected in town in less than a fortnight, Mrs. Brown judged I would be entirely renewed in beauty and freshness by that time, and afforded her the chance of a better bargain than she had driven with Mr. Crofts.
In the meantime, I was so thoroughly, as they call it, brought over, so tame to their whistle, that, had my cage door been set open, I had no idea that I ought to fly anywhere, sooner than stay where I was; nor had I the least sense of regretting my condition, but waited very quietly for whatever Mrs. Brown should order concerning me; who on her side, by herself and her agents, took more than the necessary precautions to lull and lay asleep all just reflections on my destiny.
Preachments of morality over the left shoulder; a life of joy painted in the gayest colours; caresses, promises, indulgent treatment; nothing, in short, was wanting to domesticate me entirely and to prevent my going out anywhere to get better advice. Alas! I dreamed of no such thing.
Hitherto I had been indebted only to the girls of the house for the corruption of my innocence: their luscious talk, in which modesty was far from respected, their description of their engagements with men, had given me a tolerable insight into the nature and mysteries of their profession, at the same time that they highly provoked an itch of florid warm-spirited blood through every vein: but above all, my bed fellow Phoebe, whose pupil I more immediately was, exerted her talents in giving me the first tinctures of pleasure: whilst nature, now warmed and wantoned with discoveries so interesting, piqued a curiosity which Phoebe artfully whetted, and leading me from question to question of her own suggestion, explained to me all the mysteries of Venus. But I could not long remain in such a house as that, without being an eye-witness of more than I could conceive from her descriptions.
One day, about twelve at noon, being thoroughly recovered of my fever, I happened to be in Mrs. Brown's dark closet, where I had not been half an hour, resting upon the maid's bed, before I heard a rustling in the bed-chamber, separated from the closet only by two sash doors, before the glasses of which were drawn two yellow damask curtains, but not so close as to exclude the full view of the room from any person in the closet.
I instantly crept softly and posted myself so, that seeing everything minutely, I could not myself be seen; and who should come in but the venerable mother Abbess herself! handed in by a tall, brawny young Horse-grenadiers, moulded in the Hercules style: in fine, the choice of the most experienced dame, in those affairs, in all London.
Oh! how still and hush did I keep at my stand, lest any noise should baulk my curiosity, or bring Madam into the closet!
But I had not much reason to fear either, for she was entirely taken up with her present great concern, that she had no sense of attention to spare to anything else.
Droll was it to see that clumsy fat figure of her's flop down on the foot of the bed, opposite to the closet door so that I had a full front view of all her charms.
Her paramour sat down by her: he seemed to be a man of very few words, and a great stomach; for proceeding instantly to essentials, he gave her some hearty smacks, and thrusting his hands into her breasts, disengaged them from her stays, in scorn of whose confinement they broke loose, and sagged down, navel-low at least. A more enormous pair did my eyes never behold, nor of a worse colour, flagging, soft, and most lovingly contiguous: yet such as they were, this great beef-eater seemed to paw them with a most unenviable lust, seeking in vain to confine or cover one of them with a hand scarce less than a shoulder of mutton. After toying with them thus some time, as if they had been worth it, he laid her down pretty briskly, and canting up her petticoats, made barely a mask of them to her broad red face, that blushed with nothing but brandy.
As he stood on one side, unbuttoning his waistcoat and breeches, her fat brawny thighs hung down, and the whole greasy landscape lay fairly open to my view; a wide open mouthed gap, overshaded with a grizzly bush, seemed held out like a beggar's wallet for its provision.
But I soon had my eyes called off by a more striking object that entirely engrossed them.
Her sturdy stallion had now unbuttoned, and produced naked, stiff and erect, that wonderful machine, which I had never seen before, and which, for the interest my own seat of pleasure began to take furiously in it, I stared at with all the eyes I had: however, my senses were too much flurried, too much concentered in that now burning spot of mine, to observe anything more than in general the make and turn of that instrument; from which the instinct of nature, yet more than all I had heard of it, now strongly informed me, I was to expect that supreme pleasure which she had placed in the meeting of those parts so admirably fitted for each other.
Long, however, the young spark did not remain before giving it two or three shakes, by way of brandishing it, he threw himself upon her, and his back being now towards me, I could only take his being ingulphed for granted, by the directions he moved in, and the impossibility of missing so staring a mark; and now the bed shook, the curtains rattled so that I could scarce hear the sighs and murmurs, the heaves and pantings that accompanied the action, from the beginning to the end; the sound and sight of which thrilled to the very soul of me, and made every vein of my body circulate liquid fires: the emotion grew so viol-lent that it almost intercepted my respiration.
Prepared then, and disposed as I was by the discourse of my companions, and Phoebe's minute detail of everything, no wonder that such a sight gave the last dying blow to my native innocence.
Whilst they were in the heat of the action, guided by nature only, I stole my hand up my petticoats, and with fingers on fire, seized and yet more inflamed that center of all my senses: my heart palpitated, as if it would force its way through my bosom: I breathed with pain; I twisted my thighs, squeezed and compressed the lips of that virgin slit, and following mechanically the example of Phoebe's manual operation on it, as far as I could find admission, brought on at last the critical ecstasy, the melting flow, into which nature, spent with excess of pleasure, dissolves and dies away.
After which, my senses recovered coolness enough to observe the rest of the transaction between this happy pair.
The young fellow had just dismounted, when the old lady immediately sprung up, with all the vigour of youth, derived, no doubt, from her late refreshment; and making him sit down, began in her turn to kiss him, to pat and pinch his cheeks, and play with his hair: all which he received with an air of indifference and coolness that showed him to be much altered from what he was when he first went on to the breach.
My pious governess, however, not being above calling in auxiliaries, unlocks a little case of cordials that stood near the bed, and made him pledge her in a very plentiful dram: after which, and a little amorous parley, Madam set herself down upon the same place, at the bed's foot; and the young fellow standing sidewise by her, she, with the greatest effrontery imaginable, unbuttons his breeches, and removing his shirt, draws out his affair, so shrunk and diminished, that I could not but remember the difference, now crest-fallen, or just faintly lifting its head: but our experience matron very soon, by chaffing it with her hands, brought it to swell to that size and erection I had before seen it up to.
I admired then, upon a fresh account, and with a nicer survey, the texture of that capital part of man: the flaming red head as it stood uncapt, the whiteness of the shaft, and the shrub growth of curling hair that embrowned the foots of it, the roundish bag that dangled down from it, all exacted my eager attention, and renewed my flame. But, as the main affair was now at the point the industrious dame had laboured to bring it to, she was not in the humour to put off the payment of her pains, but laying herself down, drew him gently upon her, and thus they finished, in the same manner as before, the old last act.
This over, they both went out lovingly together, the old lady having first made him a present, as near as I could observe, of three or four pieces; he being not only her particular favourite on account of his performances, but a retainer to the house; from whose sight she had taken great care hitherto to secret me, lest he might not have had patience to wait for my lord's arrival, but have insisted on being his taster, which the old lady was under too much subjection to him to dare dispute with him; for every girl of the house fell to him in course, and the old lady only now and then got her turn, in consideration of the maintenance he had, and which he could scarce be accused of not earning from her.
As soon as I heard them go down-stairs, I stole up softly to my own room, out of which I had luckily not been missed; there I began to breathe more free, and to give a loose to those warm emotions which the sight of such an encounter had raised in me, I laid me down on the bed, stretched myself out, joining and ardently wishing, and requiring any means to divert or allay the rekindled rage and tumult of my desires, which all pointed strongly to their pole: man. I felt about the bed as if I sought for something that I grasped in my waking dream, and not finding it, could have cried for vexation; every part of me plowing with simulated fires. At length, I resorted to the only present remedy, that of vain attempts at digitation, where the small-ness of the theatre did not yet afford room enough for action, and where the pain my fingers gave me, in striving for admission, though they procured me a slight satisfaction for the present, started an apprehension which I could not be easy till I had communicated to Phoebe and received her explanations upon it.
The opportunity, however, did not offer till next morning, for Phoebe did not come to bed till long after I was gone to sleep. As soon then as we were both awake, it was but in course to bring our ly-a-bed chat to hand, on the subject of my uneasiness: to which a recital of the love scene I had thus, by chance, been spectatress of, served for a preface.
Phoebe could not hear it to the end without more than one interruption by peals of laughter, and my ingenuous way of relating matters did not a little heighten the joke to her.
But, on her sounding me how the sight had affected me, without mincing or hiding the pleasurable emotions it had inspired me with, I told her at the same time that one remark had perplexed me, and that very considerably. "Aye!" says she, "what was that?" "Why," replied I, "having very curiously and attentively compared the size of that enormous machine, which did not appear, at least to my fearful imagination, less than my wrist, and at least three of my hand-fuls long, to that of the tender small part of me which was framed to receive it, I could not conceive its being possible to afford it entrance without dying, perhaps in the greatest pain, since she well knew that even a finger thrust in there hurt me beyond bearing. As to my mistress's and yours, I can very plainly distinguish the different dimensions of them from mine, palpable to the touch, and visible to the eye; so that, in short, great as the promised pleasure may be, I am afraid of the pain of the experiment."
Phoebe at this redoubled her laugh, and whilst I expected a very serious solution of my doubts and apprehensions in this matter, only told me that "she never heard of a mortal wound being given in those parts, by that terrible weapon, and that some she knew younger, and as delicately made as myself, had outlived the operation; that she believed, at the worst, I should take a great deal of liking; that true it was, there was a great diversity of sizes in those parts, owing to nature, child-bearing, frequent over-stretching with unmerciful machines, but that at a certain age and habit of body, even the most experienced in those affairs could not well distinguish between the maid and the woman, supposing too an absence of all artifice, in their natural situation: but that since chance had thrown in my way one sight of that sort, she would procure me another, that should feast my eyes more delicately, and go a great way in the cure of my fears from that imaginary disproportion".
On this she asked me if I knew Polly Phillips? "Undoubterly," says I, "the fair girl which was so tender of me when I was sick, and has been, as you told me, but two months in the house." "The same," says Phoebe. "You must know then, she is kept by a young Genoes merchant, whom his uncle, who is immensely rich, and whose darling he is, on a pretex of settling some accounts, but in reality to humour his inclinations for travelling, and seeing the world. He met casually with this Polly once in company, and taking a likning to her, makes it worth her while to keep entirely to him. He comes to her here twice or thrice a week, and she receives him in the light closet up one pair of stairs, where he enjoys her in a taste, I suppose, peculiar to the heat, or perhaps the caprices of his own country, I say no more, but to-morrow being his day, you shall see what passes between them, from a place only known to your mistress and myself."
You may be sure, in the ply I was now taking, I had no objection to the proposal, and was rather a tip-toe for its accomplishments.
At five in the evening next day, Phoebe, punctual to her promise, came to me as I sat alone in my own room, and beckoned me to follow her.
We went down the back stairs very softly, and opening the door of a dark closet, where there was some old furniture kept, and some cases of liquor, she drew me in after her, and fastened the door upon us, we had no light but what came through a long crevice in the partition between ours and the light closet, where the scene of action lay; so that sitting on those low cases, we could, with the greatest ease, as well as clearness, see all objects (ourselves unseen), only by applying our eyes close to the crevice, where the moulding of a panel had warped, or started a little on the other side.
The young gentleman was the first person I saw, with his back directly towards me, looking at a print. Polly was not yet come: in less than a minute though, the door opened, and she came in; and at the noise the door made he turned about, and come to meet her, with an air of the greatest tenderness and satisfaction.
After saluting her, he led her to a coach that fronted us, where they both sat down, and the young Genoes helped her to a glass of wine, with some Naples biscuits on a salver.
Presently, when they had exchanged a few kisses, and questions in broken English on one side, he began to unbutton, and, in fine, stript unto his shirt.
As if this had been the signal agreed on for pulling off all their clothes, a scheme which the heat of the season perfectly favoured, Polly began to draw her pins, and as she had no stays to unlace, she was in a trice, with her gallant's officious assistance, undressed to all but her shift.
When he saw this, his breeches were immediately loosened, waist and knee bands, and slipped over his ankles, clean off; his shirt collar was unbottoned too: then, first giving Polly an encouraging kiss, he stole, as it were, the shift off the girl, who being, I suppose, broke and familiarized to this humour, blushed indeed, but less than I did at the apparition of her, now standing stark naked, just as she came ont of the hands of pure nature, with her black hair loose and a-float down her dazzling white neck and shoulders, whilst the deepened carnation of her cheeks went off gradually into the hue of glazed snow: for such were the blended tints polish of her skin.
This girl could not be above eighteen: her face regular and sweet featured, her shape exquisite; nor could I help envying her two ripe enchanting breasts, finely plumped out in flesh, but withal so round, so firm, that they sustained themselves, in scorn of any stay: then their nipples, pointing different ways, marked their pleasing separation; beneath them lay the delicious tract of the belly, which terminated in a parting of rift scarce discerning, that modesty seemed to retire downward, and seek shelter between two plump fleshy thighs: the curling hair that overspread its delightful front, clothed it with the richest sable fur in the universe: in short, she was evidently a subject for the painters to court her, sitting to them for a pattern female beauty, in all the true pride and pomp of nakedness.
The young Italian (still in his shirt) stood gazing and transported at the sight of beauties that might have fired a dying hermit; his eager eyes devoured her, as she shifted attitudes at his discretion: neither were his hands excluded their share of the high feast, but wandered, on the hunt of pleasure, over every part and inch of her body, so qualified to afford the most exquisite sense of it.
In the mean time time, one could not help observing the swell of his shirt before, that bolstered out, and pointed out the condition of things behind the curtain: but he soon removed it, by slipping his shirt over his head; and now, as to nakedness, they had nothing to reproach one another.
The young gentleman, by Phoebe's guess, was about two and twenty; tall and well limbed. His body was finely formed, and of a most vigorous make, square shouldered, and broad chested: his face was not remarkable any way, but for a nose inclining to the Roman, eyes large, black, and sparkling, and a ruddiness in his cheeks that was the more a grace; for his complexion was of the brownest, not of that dusky dun colour which excludes, the idea of freshness, but of that clear, olive gloss, which glowing with life, dazzles perhaps less than fairness, and yet pleases more, when it pleases at all. His hair being too short to tie fell no lower than his neck, in short easy curls; and he had a few sprigs about his paps, that garnished his chest in a style of strength and manliness. Then his grand movement, which seemed to rise out of a thicket of curling hair, that spread from the root all over his thighs and belly up to the navel, stood stiff and upright, but of a size to frighten me, by sympathy for the small tender part which was the object of its fury, and which now lay exposed to my fairest view; for he had, immediately on stoppings off his shirt, gently pushed her down on the couch, which stood conveniently to break her willing fall. Her thighs were spread out to their utmost extention, and discovered between them the mark of the sex, the red-centered cleft of flesh, whose lips vermillioning inwards, expressed a small ruby line in sweet miniature, such as Guide's touch or colouring: could never attain to the life or delicacy of.
Phoebe, at this, gave me a gentle jog, to prepare me for a whisper question: "Whether I thought my little maiden-head was much less?" But my attention was too much engrossed, too much inwrapped with all I saw, to be able to give her any answer.
By this time the young gentelman had changed her posture from lying breadth to length-wise on the coach: but her thighs were still spread, and the mark lay fair for him, who now kneeling between them, displayed to us a side view of that fierce erect machine of his, which threatened no less than splitting the tender victim, who lay smiling at the uplifted stroke, nor seemed to decline it. He looked upon his weapon himself with some pleasure, and guiding it with his hand to the inviting; slit, drew aside the lips, and lodged it (after some thrusts, which Polly seemed even to assist) about half way; but there it stuck, I suppose from its growing thickness: he draws it again, and just wetting it with spittle, re-enters, and with ease sheathed it now up to the hilt, at which Polly gave a deep sigh, which was quite another tone than one of pain; he thrusts, she heaves, at first gently, and in a regular cadence; but presently the transport began to be too violent to observe any order or measure; their motions were too rapid, their kisses too fierce' and fervent for nature to support such fury long: both seemed to me out of themselves: their eyes darted fires: "Oh! oh! I can't bear it. It is too much. I die. I am going," were Polly's expressions of extasy: his joys were more silent: but soon broken murmurs, sighs heart-fetched, and at length a dispatching thrust, as if he would have forced himself up her body, and then the motionless languor of all his limbs, all shewed that the die-away moment was come upon him; which she gave signs of joining with by, the wild throwing of her hands about, closing her eyes, and giving a deep sob, in which she seemed to expire in an agony of bliss.
When he had finished his stroke, and got from off her, she lay still without the least motion, breathless, as it should seem, with pleasure. He replaced her again breadth-wise on the couch, unable to sit up, with her thighs open, between which I could observe a kind of white liquid, like froth, hanging about the outward lips of that recently opened wound, which now glowed with a deeper red. Presently she gets up, and throwing her arms round him, seemed far undelighted with the trial he had put her to, to judge, at least by the fondness with which she eyed, and hung upon him.
For my part, I will not pretend to describe what I felt over me during this scene; but from that instant, adieu all fears of what man can do unto me! they were now changed into such ardent desires, such ungovernable longings, that I could have by the sleeve, and offered him the bauble, which I now imagined the loss of would be a gain I could not too soon procure myself.
Phoebe, who had more experience, and to whom such sights were not so new, could not however, be unmoved at so warm a scene; and drawing me away softly from the peeping hole, for fear of being overheard, guided me as the door as possible, all passive and obedient to her least signals.
Here was no room either to sit or lie, but making me stand with my back towards the door, she lifted up my petticoats, and with her busy fingers fell to visit and explore that part of me, where I was perfectly sick and ready to die with desire; that the bare touch of her finger, in that critical place, had the effect of a fire to a train, and her hand instantly made her sensible to what a pitch I was wound up, and melted by the sight she had thus procured me. Satisfied then with her success, in allaying a heat that would have made me impatient of seeing the continuation of the transactions between our amourous couple, she brought me again to the crevice, so favourable to our curiosity.
We had certainly been but a few instants away from it, and yet on our return we saw everything in good forwardness for recommencing the tender hostilities.
The young foreigner was sitting down, fronting us, on the coach, with Polly upon one knee, who had her arms round his neck, whilst the extreme whiteness of her skin was not undelightfully contrasted by the smooth glossy brown of her lover's.
But who could count the fierce, unnumbered kisses given and taken? In which I could often discover their mouths were double tongued, and seemed to favour the mutual insertion with the greatest gust and delight.
In the meantime, his red-headed champion, that had so lately fled the pit, quelled and abashed, was now recovered to the top of his condition, perked and crested up between Polly's thighs, who was not wanting, on her part, to coax and keep it in good humour, stroking it, with her head down, and receiving even its velvet tip between the lips of not its proper mouth: whether it was to render it more glib and easy of entrance, I could not tell; but it had such an effect, that the young gentleman seemed by his eyes, that sparkled with more excited lustre, and his inflamed countenance, to receive increase of pleasure. He got up, and taking Polly in his arms, embraced her, and said something too softly for me to hear, leading her withal to the foot of the couch, and taking delight to slap her thighs and posteriors with that stiff sinew of his, which hit them with a spring that he gave it with his hand, and made them resound again, but her about as much as he meant to hurt her, for she seemed to have as frolic a taste as himself.
But guess my surprise, when I saw the lazy young rogue lie down on his back, and gently pull down Polly upon him, who giving way to his humour, stradled, and with her hands conducted her blind favourite to the right place; and following her impulse, ran directly upon the flaming point of this weapon of pleasure, which she staked herself upon, up pierced, and infixed to the extremest hair breadth of it: thus she sat on him a few instants, enjoying and relishing her situation, whilst he toyed with her provoking breasts. Sometimes she would stoop to meet his kiss: but presently the sting of pleasure spurred them up to fiercer action; then began the storm of heaves, which, from the undermost combatant, were thrust at the same time, he crossing his hands over her, and drawing her home to him with a sweet violence: the inverted strokes of anvil over hammer soon brought on the critical period, in which all the signs of a close conspiring extasy informed us of the point they were at.
For me, I could bear to see no more; I was so overcome, so inflamed at the second part of the same play, that, mad to an intolerable degree, I hugged, I clasped Phoebe, as if she had wherewithal to relieve me. Pleased however with, and pitying the taking she could feel me in, she drew towards the door, and opening it softly as she could, we both got off undiscovered, and reconducted me to my own room, where, unable to keep my legs, in the agitation I was in, I instantly threw myself down on the bed, where I lay transported, though ashamed at what I felt.
Phoebe lay down by me, and asked me archly, "if, now that I had seen the enemy, and fully considered him, I was still afraid of him? or did I think I could come to a close engagement with him?" To all which, not a word on my side; I sighed, and could scarcely breathe. She takes hold of my hand, and having rolled up her own petticoats, forced it half strivingly, towards those parts, where, now grown more knowing, I missed the main object of my wishes; and finding not even the shadow of what I wanted, where every thing was so fiat, or so hollow, in the vexation I was in at it. I should have withdrawn my hand, but for fear of disobliging her. Abandoning it then entirely to her management, she made use of it as she thought proper, to procure herself rather the shadow than the substance of any pleasure. For my part, I now pined for more solid food, and promised tacitly to myself that I would not be put off much longer with this foolery of woman to woman, of Mrs. Brown did not soon provide me with the essential specific. In short, I had all the air of not being able to wait the arrival of my lord B——, though he was now expected in a very fews days: nor did I wait for him, for love itself took charge of the disposal of me, in spite of interest, or gross lust.
It was now two days after the closet scene, that I got up about six in the morning, and leaving my bedfellow fast asleep, stole down, with no other thought than of taking a little fresh air in a small garden, which our back parlour opened into, and from which my confinement debarred me, at the times company came to my house; but now sleep and silence reigned all over it.
I opened the parlour door, and well surprised was I at seeing, by the side of a fire half-out, a young gentleman in the old lady's elbow chair, with his legs laid upon another, fast asleep, and left there by his thoughtless companions, who had drank him down, and then went off with every one but his mistress, whilst he stayed behind by the courtesy of the old matron, who would not disturb or turn him out in that condition at one in the morning; and beds, it is more than probable there were none to spare. On the table still remained the punch bowl and glasses, stewed about in their usual disorder after a drunken revel.
But when I drew nearer, to view the sleeping estray, heavens! what a sight! No! term of years, no turn of fortune could ever eraze the lightninglike impression his form made on me. Yes! dearest object of my earliest passion, I command for ever the remembrance of thy first appearance to my ravished eyes, it calls thee up, present; and I see thee now.
Figure to yourself, Madam, fair stripling between eighteen and nineteen, with his head reclined on one of the sides of the chair, his hair disordered curls, irregularly shading a face, on which all the roseate bloom of youth and all the manly graces conspired to fix my eye sand heart; even the languour and paleness of his face, in which the momentary triumph of the lily over the rose was owing to the excesses of the night, gave an inexpressible sweetness to the finest features imaginable: his eyes, closed in sleep, displayed the meeting edges of their lids beautifully bordered with long eye-lashes; over which no pencil could have described two more regular arches than those that graced his forehead, which was high, perfectly white and smooth; then a pair of vermilion lips, pouting and swelling to the touch, as if a bee had freshly stung them, seemed to challenge me to get the gloves off this lovely sleeper, had not the modesty and respect, which in both sexes are inseparable from a true passion, checked my impulses.
But on seeing his shirt collar unbottoned, and bosom whiter than a drift of snow, the pleasure of considering it could not bribe me to lengthen it, at the hazard of a health that began to be my life's concern. Love, that made me timid, taught me to be tender too: with a trembling hand I took hold of one of his, and waking him as gently as possible, he started, and looking, at first a little wildly, said with a voice that sent its harmonious sound to my heart: "Pray, child, what-a-clock is it?" I told him, and added that he might catch cold if he slept longer with his breast open in the cool of the morning air. On this he thanked me with a sweetness perfectly agreeing with that of his features and eyes; the last now broad open, and eagerly surveying me, carried the surightly fires they sparkled with directly to my heart.
It seems, that having drank too freely before he came upon the rake with some of his young companions, he had put himself out of a condition to go through all the weapons with them, and crown the night with a getting a mistress; so that seeing me in a loose undress, he did not doubt but I was one of the misses of the house, sent in to repair his loss of time; but though he seized that notion, and a very obvious one it was, without hesitation, yet, whether my figure made a more than ordinary impression on him, or whether it was his natural politeness, he addressed me in a manner far from rude, though still on the foot of one of the house pliers come to amuse him; and giving me the first kiss that I ever relished from man in my life, asked me if I could favour him with my company, assuring me that he would make it worth my while: but had not even new-born love, that true refiner of lust, opposed so sudden a surrender, the fear of being surprised by the house was a sufficient bar to my compliance.
I told him then, in a tone set by love itself, that for reasons I had not time to explain to him. I could not stay with him, and might even ever see him again, with a sigh at these words, which broke from the bottom of my heart. My conqueror, who, as he afterwards told me, had been struck with my appearance, and liked me as much as he could think of liking any one in my supposed way of life, asked me briskly at once, if I would be kept by him, and that he would take a lodging for me directly, and relieve me from any engagements he presumed I might be under to the house.
Rash, sudden, undigested, even dangerous as this offer might be from a perfect stranger, and that stranger a giddy boy, the prodigious love I was struck with for him, had put a charm into every objection: I not resisting, and blinded me to every objection; I could, at that instant, have died for him: think if I could resist an invitation to live with him! Thus my heart, beating strong to the proposal, dictated my answer, after scarce a minute's pause, that I would accept of his offer, and make my escape to him in what way he pleased, and that I would be entirely at his disposal, let it be good or bad. I have often since wondered that so great an easiness did not disgust him, or make me too cheap in his eyes, but my fate had so appointed it, that in his fears of the hazzard of the town, he had been some time looking out for a girl to take into keeping, and my person happening to hit his fancy, it was by one of those miracles reserved to love, that we struck the bargain in the instant, which we sealed by an exchange of kisses, that the hopes of a more uninterrupted enjoyment engaged him to content himself with.
Never, however, did dear youth carry in his head more wherewith to justify the turning of a girl's head, and making her set all consequences at defiance, for the sake of following a gallant.
For, besides all the perfections of manly beauty which were assembled in his form, he had an air of neatness and gentility, certain smartness in the carriage and port of his head, that yet more distinguished him; his eyes were sprightly and full of meaning; his looks had in them something at once sweet and commanding; his complexion out-bloomed the lovely coloured rose, whilst its inimitable tender vivid glow clearly saved it from the reproach of wanting life, of raw and dough-like, which is commonly made of those so extremely fair as he was.
Our little plan was, that I should get out about seven the next morning (which I could readily promise, as I knew where to get the key of the street door) and he would wait at the end of the street with a coach to convey me safe off; after which, we would send, and clear any debt incurred by my stay at Mrs. Brown's, who, he only judged, in gross, might not care to part with one, he thought, so fit to draw custom to the house.
I then just hinted to him not to mention in the house his having seen such a person as me, for reasons I would explain to him more at leisure. And then, for fear of miscarrying, by being seen together, I tore myself from him with a bleeding heart, and stole up softly to my room, where I found Phoebe still fast asleep, and hurrying off my few clothes, lay down by her, with a mixture of joy and anxiety, that may be easier conceived than expressed.