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 emerg'd, 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 tost 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 thought 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 preface, 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, wrote 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 themselves, 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 of nets, a scanty subsistence, which was not much enlarg'd by my mother's keeping a little day-school for the girls in her neighbourhood. 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 stage 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 expence 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 of it 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 tender fond parents, who were both carried off by the small-pox, within a few days of each other; my father dying first, and thereby 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 Kentishman). 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 I then did not know the value of, was entirely unmark'd. 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 been down to see her friends, and who, after the stay of a few days, was to return to her place.
As I had now nobody left alive in the village who had concern 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 turn'd 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 dowlass shifts and stuff gowns, beheld Esther's scowered satin gowns, caps border'd with an inch of lace, taudry ribbons, and shoes belaced 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 townswoman 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 her manner and style, "as how several maids out of the country had made themselves and all their kin 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 entertain'd 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 of the little matters that remained to me after the debts and burial charges were accounted for, and, at my departure, put my whole fortune into my hands; which consisted of a very slender wardrobe, pack'd up in a very portable box, and eight guineas, with seventeen shillings in silver; stowed up in a spring-pouch, which was a greater treasure than ever I had yet 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 immense 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 London waggon, I pass over a very immaterial scene of leavetaking, at which I dropt 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 vigilance of my guardian Esther; who, to do her justice, took a motherly care of me, at the same time that she taxed me for her protection by making me bear all travelling charges, which I defrayed with the utmost cheerfulness, and thought myself much obliged to her into the bargain.
She took indeed great care that we were not over-rated, 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 London-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 surprize when we came to the inn, and our things were landed and deliver'd 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 preceding 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 was natural and in order, began to embrace me by 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 wish'd me good luck, and hoped I should always have the grace to keep myself honest, and not bring 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 stupefied, and most perfectly perplex'd 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 (here I fetched a deep sigh in vain!) I might provide for myself in the morning.
'Tis 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 asham'd 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 furnish'd 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 it was only my ignorance of life that had made me take it in the light I at first did.
Accordingly, the next morning I dress'd 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 wish'd-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, ready 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 having 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 were exceedingly scarce, especially as I seemed 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 uncertainty 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, wherein they met full tilt with those of a lady (for such my extreme innocence pronounc'd her) sitting in a corner of the room, dress'd in a velvet mantle (nota bene, in the midst of summer), with her bonnet off; squab-fat, red-faced, and at least fifty.
She look'd 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 curtsy down to the ground).
Upon this she acquainted me that 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 instructions; 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 jump'd 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 shrewd smiles and shrugs I could not help observing, and innocently interpreted them as marks of her 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 her door, after I had been cheer'd up and entertain'd by the way with the most plausible flams, without one syllable from which I could conclude anything but that I was, by the greatest good luck, fallen into the hands of the kindest mistress, not to say friend, that the varsal world could afford; and accordingly I enter'd her doors with most compleat confidence and exultation, promising myself that, as soon as I should 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 lessen'd by the appearance of a very handsome back parlour, 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 pierglasses, and a buffet, on which a few pieces of plates, 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 mono- syllables, such as "yes! no! to be sure!"
Presently my mistress touch'd the bell, and in came a strapping maid-servant, who had let us in. "Here, Martha," said Mrs. Brown—"I have just hir'd this young woman to look after my linen; so step up and shew 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 shew'd 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's, 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! 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, allotted me for a bed-fellow; and, to give her the more authority, she had the title of cousin conferr'd 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 instructions 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-rul'd 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 assurance 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 cloaths 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 well judged, the prospect of exchanging my country cloaths 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 call'd the girls provided for them), till she had 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 pleas'd with the views that opened to me, of an easy service under these good people; and after supper being shew'd 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, still blushing at now seeing myself naked to my shift, I hurried to get under the bedcloaths out of sight. Phoebe laugh'd 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's laid down, but she, who was never out of her way when any occasion of lewdness presented itself, turned to me, embraced and kiss'd me with great eagerness. This was new, this was odd; but imputing it to nothing but pure kindness, which, for aught I knew, it might be the London way to express in that manner, I was determin'd 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 wander'd over my whole body, with touches, squeezes, pressures, that rather warm'd and surpriz'd me with their novelty, than they either shock'd or alarm'd 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 doubt 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 emotions 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 thaw'd 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, employ'd and amus'd her hands a-while, 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 garnish'd the mount-pleasant of those parts, and promised to spread a grateful shelter over the seat of the most exquisite sensation, and which had been, till that instant, the seat of the most insensible innocence. Her fingers play'd 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 jump'd out of bed and cried for help against such strange assaults.
Instead of which, her lascivious touches had lighted up a new fire that wanton'd through all my veins, but fix'd 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!" express'd 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 stretchings, sighs, short heavings, all conspired to assure 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 fervent 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 alarm'd senses were in a tumult that robbed me of all liberty of thought; tears of pleasure gush'd from my eyes, and somewhat assuaged the fire that rag'd all over me.
Phoebe, herself, the hackney'd, thorough-bred Phoebe, to whom all modes and devices of pleasure were known and familiar, found, it seems, in this exercise of her art to break young girls, the gratification of one of 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 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 roll'd down the bed-cloaths gently, and I saw myself stretched nak'd, my shift being turned up to my neck, whilst I had no power or sense to oppose it. Even my glowing 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 well 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-cloaths 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 own sex, is often as fatal to innocence as all the seductions of the other. But to go on. When Phoebe was restor'd 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 stir'd 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.
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.
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 smil'd; presently the maid brought in the tea-equipage, and I had just huddled my cloaths 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 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 answer 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.
Imagine to yourself, Madam, how my little coquette heart flutter'd with joy at the sight of a white lute-string, flower'd with silver, scoured indeed, but passed on me for spick-and-span new, a Brussels lace cap, braided 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 surrender 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 every thing but my impatience of seeing myself dress'd. When it was over, and I view'd 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, taudry 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 unflatter'd picture.
I was tall, yet not too tall for my age, which, as I before remark'd, was barely turned of fifteen; my shape perfectly straight, thin waisted, and light and free, without owing any thing to stays; my hair was a glossy auburn, and as soft as silk, flowing down my neck in natural buckles, and did not a little set off the whiteness of a smooth skin; my face was rather too ruddy, though its features were delicate, and the shape a roundish oval, except where a pit on my chin had far from a disagreeable effect; my eyes were as black as can be imagin'd, 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 perserv'd, were small, even and white; my bosom was finely rais'd, and one might then discern rather the promise, than the actual growth, of the round, firm breasts, 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 forbade me to appeal from the decision of our sovereign judges the men, who all, that I ever knew at least, 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 should I not be ungrateful to nature, and to a form to which I owe such singular blessings of pleasure and fortune, were I to suppress, through and affectation of modesty, the mention of such valuable gifts?
Well then, dress'd 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 re- mained to me after the expences of my journey.
After some little time most agreeably 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 cloaths, which she was not asham'd 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 glewing 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 goggling eyes that stared as if he was strangled; and 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 for pleasing, and that no woman could see him with impunity: in consequence of which idea, he had lavish'd 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 inspir'd, 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 too he often saw himself baulked of, by the failure of his powers: and this always threw him into a fit of rage, which he wreak'd, as far as he durst, on the innocent objects of his fit of momentary desire.
This then was the monster to which my conscientious benefactress, who had long been his purveyor in this way, had doom'd me, and sent for me down purposely for his examination. Accordingly she made me stand up before him, turn'd me round, unpinn'd my handkerchief, remark'd 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 gait, to inflame the inventory of my charms: in short, she omitted no point of jockeyship; to which he only answer'd by gracious nods of approbation, whilst he look'd goats and monkies 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, doubtless in character, attributed to nothing more than maiden modesty, or at least the affectation of it.
However, I was soon dismiss'd, 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 confess'd, such 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 shocking hideous person which did not at all concern me, unless that my respect to all her cousinhood.
Phoebe, however, began to sift the state and pulses of my heart towards this monster, asking me how I should approve of such a fine gentleman 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 beat 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 shewed her would be easily enough obtained of me; but then she had too much experience not to discover that my particular fix'd 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 mean time agreed the terms with this liquorish old goat, which I afterwards understood were to be fifty guineas peremptory for the liberty of attempting me, and a hundred more at the compleat 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 introduc'd 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 untam'd, 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 fix'd, unknown to me, for that very evening.
At dinner, Mrs. Brown and Phoebe did nothing but run riot in praises 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's succeeding, at least very easily, with me. The glass too march'd 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 was retired to my own apartment, and the tea board was set, enters my venerable mistress, follow'd close by that satyr, who came in grinning in a way peculiar to him, and by his odious presence confirm'd 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 marks of which he still explained to be my bashfulness, and not being used to see company.
Tea over, the commoding old lady pleaded urgent business (which indeed was true) to go out, and earnestly desir'd me to entertain her cousin kindly till she came back, both for my own sake and her's; and then with a "Pray, sir, be very good, be very tender of the sweet child," she went out of the room, leaving me staring, with my mouth open, and unprepar'd, by the suddenness of her departure, to oppose it.
We were now alone; and on that idea a sudden fit of trembling seiz'd 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, oblig'd 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 endur'd all without flinching, till embolden'd 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 cross'd, 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 prepar'd for, threw myself at his feet, and begg'd 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 can not! … 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 prov'd fresh incentives, or whether he was not 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 terror; 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 liv'd 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, saying that he would not do me the honour to think of me any more … that the old bitch might look out for another cully … that he would not be fool'd so by e'er 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 skin-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 look'd on this railing as my security against his renewing his most odious caresses.
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 her's, soul and body: or rather, I sought to deceive myself with the continuation of my good opinion of her, and chose to wait the worst at her hands sooner than be turn'd out to starve in the streets, without a penny of money or a friend to apply to: these fears were my folly.
Whilst this confusion of ideas was passing in my head, and I sat pensive by the fire, with my eyes brimming with tears, my neck still bare, and my cap fall'n 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 unenjoy'd, and of course not yet indifferent to him.
After some pause, he ask'd me, with a tone of voice mightily softened, whether I would make it up with him before the old lady returned and all should be well; he would restore me 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, before he was aware, with such violence and effect as brought up the maid to know what was the matter, or whether the gentleman wanted any thing; and before he could proceed to greater extremities, she bounc'd into the room, and seeing me stretch'd on the floor, my hair all dishevell'd, 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 say.
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 unmov'd. 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 advis'd 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 return'd, they would take order for every thing to his satisfaction … that nothing would be lost by a little patience with the poor tender thing … that for her part she was … frighten'd … 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 pleating 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 any thing, 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 advantage. 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 apprehensions, so terror-struck, that I had not power to sit up, or hardly to give answers to the questions with which the curious Martha ply'd and perplex'd 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 injur'd; 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 conceiv'd against the first brutal and frightful invader of my tender innocence.
I pass'd then the time till Mrs. Brown's return 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 receiv'd 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 frighted than hurt; upon which I suppose, being herself seiz'd with sleep, and reserving her lectures and instructions till the next morning, she left me, properly speaking, to my unrest; for, after 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 waded 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, and however such an effect on my grateful disposition, that I even thought myself oblig'd to my undoers 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 mov'd 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, advanc'd 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 observ'd my temper to be perfectly tractable and conformable to their views, all the girls that compos'd 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 their 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, all, in short, contributed, in that house, to corrupt my native purity, which had taken no root in education; whilst not 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 turn'd out to starve.
I was soon pretty well recover'd, and at certain hours allow'd 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 ot 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 afford 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 destination.
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 dream'd 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 provok'd 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 warm'd and wantoned with discoveries so interesting, piqu'd a curiosity which Phoebe artfully whetted, and leading me from question to question of her own suggestion, explain'd 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 recover'd of my fever, I happen'd to be in Mrs. Brown's dark closet, where I had not been half an hour, resting upon the maid's settle-bed, before I heard a rustling in the bedchamber, 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 form any person in the closet.
I instantly crept softly, and posted myself so, that seeing every thing 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-grenadier, 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, of bring Madam into the closet!
But I had not much reason to fear either, for she was so entirely taken up with her present great concern, that she had no sense of attention to spare to any thing else.
Droll was it to see that clumsy fat figure of hers 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, disengag'd them from her stays, in scorn of whose confinement they broke loose, and swagged 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 neck-beef eater seem'd to paw them with a most uninvitable gust, 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 blush'd with nothing but brandy.
As he stood on one side, for a minute or so, unbuttoning his waist-coat and breeches, her fat, brawny thighs hung down, and the whole greasy landscape lay fairly open to my view; a wide open-mouth'd 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 engross'd them.
Her sturdy stallion had now unbutton'd, 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 star'd at with all the eyes I had: however, my senses were too much flurried, too much concenter'd in that now burning spot of mine, to observe any thing 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 ingulph'd for granted, by the directions he mov'd 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 thrill'd to the very soul of me, and made every vein of my body circulate liquid fires: the emotion grew so violent 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 all 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 breath'd 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 extasy, the melting flow, into which nature, spent with excess of pleasure, dissolves and dies away.
After which, my senses recover'd 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 receiv'd with an air of indifference and coolness, that shew'd him to me 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 sat herself down upon the same place, at the bed's foot; and the young fellow standing sideway by her, she, with the greatest effrontery imaginable, unbuttons his breeches, and removing his shirt, draws out his affair, so shrunk and diminish'd, that I could not but remember the difference, now crestfallen, or just faintly lifting its head: but our experienc'd matron very soon, by chafing 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 roots 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 finish'd 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 secrete 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 miss'd; there I began to breathe freer, 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 grasp'd in my waking dream, and not finding it, could have cry'd for vexation; every part of me glowing with stimulating fires. At length, I resorted to the only present remedy, that of vain attempts at digitation, where the smallness of the theatre did not yet afford room enough for action, and where the pain my fingers gave me, in striving for admission, tho' 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 land on the subject of my uneasiness: to which a recital of the love scene I had thus, by chance, been spectatress of, serv'd 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 inspir'd me with, I told her at the same time that one remark had perplex'd me, and that very considerably. —"Aye!" say 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 handfuls long, to that of the tender small part of me which was framed to receive it, I can not conceive its being possible to afford it entrance without dying, perhaps in the greatest pain, since you well know that even a finger thrust in there hurts me beyond bearing … As to my mistress's and yours, I can 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 promis'd 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 killing; 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 experienc'd in those affairs could not well distinguish between the maid and the woman, supposing too an absence of all artifice, and things 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 Philips. "Undoubtedly," 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 Genoese merchant, whom his uncle, who is immensely rich, and whose darling he is, sent over here with an English merchant, his friend, on a pretext 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 liking 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 her 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 accomplishment.
At five in the evening, next day, Phoebe, punctual to her promise, came to me as I sat alone in my own room, and beckon'd 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 fastening 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 tho', the door opened, and she came in; and at the noise the door made he turned about, and came to meet her, with an air of the greatest tenderness and satisfaction.
After saluting her, he led her to a couch that fronted us, where they both sat down, and the young Genoese help'd her to a glass of wine, with some Naples bisket 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 to his shirt.
As if this had been the signal agreed on for pulling off all their cloaths, 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, undress'd to all but her shift.
When he saw this, his breeches were immediately loosen'd, waist and knee bands, and slipped over his ankles, clean off; his shirt collar was unbuttoned too: then, first giving Polly an encouraging kiss, he stole, as it were, the shift off the girl, who being, I suppose, broke and familiariz'd to this humour, blush'd indeed, but less than I did at the apparition of her, now standing stark-naked, just as she came out of the hands of pure nature, with her black hair loose and a-float down her dazzling white neck and shoulders, whilst the deepen'd carnation of her cheeks went off gradually into the hue of glaz'd snow: for such were the blended tints and polish of her skin.
This girl could not be above eighteen: her face regular and sweet-featur'd, her shape exquisite; nor could I help envying her two ripe enchanting breasts, finely plump'd out in flesh, but withal so round, so firm, that they sustain'd themselves, in scorn of any stay: then their nipples, pointing different ways, mark'd their pleasing separation; beneath them lay the delicious tract of the belly, which terminated in a parting or rift scarce discernible, that modesty seem'd to retire downwards, and seek shelter between two plump fleshy thighs: the curling hair that overspread its delightful front, cloathed 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 of female beauty, in all the true price and pomp of nakedness.
The young Italian (still in his shirt) stood gazing and transported at the sight of beauties that might have fir'd a dying hermit; his eager eyes devour'd her, as she shifted attitudes at his discretion: neither were his hands excluded their share of the high feast, but wander'd, 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, one could not help observing the swell of his shirt before, that bolster'd out, and shewed the condition of things behind the curtain: but he soon remov'd 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 limb'd. His body was finely form'd and of a most vigorous make, square-shoulder'd, and broad-chested: his face was not remarkable in 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 garnish'd his chest in a style of strength and manliness. Then his grand movement, which seem'd to rise out of a thicket of curling hair that spread from the root all round 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 expos'd to my fairest view; for he had, immediately on stripping off his shirt, gently push'd her down on the couch, which stood conveniently to break her willing fall. Her thighs were spread out to their utmost extension, and discovered between them the mark of the sex, the red-center'd cleft of flesh, whose lips, vermilioning inwards, exprest a small rubid line in sweet miniature, such as Guido's touch of colouring could never attain to the life or delicacy of.
Phoebe, at this gave me a gentle jog, to prepare me for a whispered question: whether I thought my little maidenhead was much less? But my attention was too much engross'd, too much enwrapp'd with all I saw, to be able to give her any answer.
By this time the young gentleman had changed her posture from lying breadth to length-wise on the couch: but her thighs were still spread, and the mark lay fair for him, who now kneeling between them, display'd to us a side-view of that fierce erect machine of his, which threaten'd no less than splitting the tender victim, who lay smiling at the uplifted stroke, nor seem'd 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 lodg'd it (after some thrusts, which Polly seem'd 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 sheath'd 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 ot observe any order or measure; their motions were too rapid, their kisses too fierce and fervent for nature to support such fury long: both seem'd 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-fetch'd, and at length a dispatching thrust, as if he would have forced himself up her body, and then 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 finish'd 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 breadthwise 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 from undelighted with the trial he had put her to, to judge at least by the fondness with which she ey'd and hung upon him.
For my part, I will not pretend to describe what I felt all over me during this scene; but from that instant, adieu all fears of what man could do unto me; they were now changed into such ardent desires, such ungovernable longings, that I could have pull'd the first of that sex that should present himself, 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 peep-hole, for fear of being over-heard, guided me as near 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 now the heat and irritations were so violent that 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 every thing in good forwardness for recommencing the tender hostilities.
The young foreigner was sitting down, fronting us, on the couch, 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, unnumber's kisses given and taken? in which I could of ten discover their exchanging the velvet thrust, when both their mouths were double tongued, and seemed to favour the mutual insertion with the greatest gust and delight.
In the mean time, his red-headed champion, that has so lately fled the pit, quell'd and abash'd, was now recover'd to the top of his condition, perk'd and crested up between Polly's thighs, who was not wanting, on her part, to coax and deep it in good humour, stroking it, with her head down, and received even its velvet tip between the lips of not its proper mouth: whether she did this out of any particular pleasure, or 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 seem'd 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 hurt 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, straddled, 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 stak'd herself upon, up pierc'd and infix'd 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 spurr'd them up to fiercer action; then began the storm of heaves, which, form the undermost combatant, were thrusts 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 hugg'd, 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 me towards the door, and opening it as softly as she could, we both got off undiscover'd, and she 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 asham'd at what I felt.
Phoebe lay down by me, and ask'd 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 venture to come to a close engagement with him? To all which, not a word on my side; I sigh'd, and could scarce breathe. She takes hold of my hand, and having roll'd up her own petticoats, forced it half strivingly towards those parts, where, now grown more knowing, I miss'd the main object of my wishes; and finding not even the shadow of what I wanted, where every thing was so flat, 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 pin'd for more solid food, and promis'd tacitly to myself that I would not be put off much longer with this foolery from woman to woman, if 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 … tho' he was now expected in a very few 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 bed-fellow fast asleep, stole down, with no other thought than of taking a little fresh air in a small garden, which our back-parlour open'd into, and from which my confinement debarr'd me at the times company came to the house; but now sleep and silence reign'd all over it.
I open'd the parlour door, and well surpriz'd was I at seeing, by the side of a fire half-our, 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 his mistress, whilst he stay'd behind by the courtesy of the old matron, who would not disturb of 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 remain'd the punch bowl and glasses, strew's about in their usual disorder after a drunken revel.
But when I drew nearer, to view the sleeping one, heavens! what a sight! No! no term of years, no turn of fortune could ever erase the lightning-like 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 ravish'd eyes … it calls thee up, present; and I see thee now!
Figure to yourself, Madam, a fair stripling, between eighteen and nineteen, with his head reclin'd on one of the sides of the chair, his hair in disorder'd curls, irregularly shading a face on which all the roseate bloom of youth and all the manly graces conspired to fix my eyes and heart. Even the languor 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 eyelashes; over which no pencil could have described two more regular arches than those that grac'd his forehead, which was high, prefectly white and smooth. Then a pair of vermilion lips, pouting and swelling to the touch, as if a bee had freshly stung them, seem'd 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, check'd my impulses.
But on seeing his shirt-collar unbutton'd, and a 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 his 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 o'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 sprightly 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 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 seiz'd 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 natural politeness, he address'd me in a manner far from rude, tho' still on the foot of one of the house pliers, come to amuse him; and giving me the first kiss that I ever relish'd from man in my life, ask'd me it 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, oppos'd so sudden a surrender, the fear of being surpriz'd by the house was a sufficient bar to my compliance.
I told him then, in a tone set me by love itself, that for reasons I had not time to explain to him, I could not stay with him, and might not even ever see him again: with a sigh at these last words, which broke from the bottom of my heart. My conqueror, who, as he afterwards told me, had been struck with my appearance, and lik'd me as much as he could think of liking any one in my suppos'd way of life, ask'd 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 presum'd I might be under to the house. Rash, sudden, undigested, and 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 his voice there was no 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 hazard 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 person, 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, a certain smartness in the carriage and port of his head, that yet more distinguish'd him; his eyes were sprightly and full of meaning; his looks had in them something at once sweet and commanding. His complexion outbloom'd the lovely-colour'd rose, whilst its inimitable tender vivid glow clearly sav'd from the reproach of wanting life, of raw and dough-like, which is commonly made to 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, he would send, and clear any debt incurr'd 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 cloaths, lay down by her, with a mixture of joy and anxiety that may be easier conceived than express'd.
The risks of Mrs. Brown's discovering my purpose, of disappointments, misery, ruin, all vanish'd before this newkindl'd flame. The seeing, the touching, the being, if but for a night, with this idol of my fond virgin-heart, appeared to me a happiness above the purchase of my liberty or life. He might use me ill, let him! he was the master; happy, too happy, even to receive death at so dear a hand.
To this purpose were the reflections of the whole day, of which every minute seem'd to me a little eternity. How often did I visit the clock! nay, was tempted to advance the tedious hand, as if that would have advanc'd the time with it! Had those of the house made the least observations on me, they must have remark'd something extraordinary from the discomposure I could not help betraying; especially when at dinner mention was made of the charmingest youth having been there, and stay'd breakfast. "Oh! he was such a beauty! … I should have died for him! … they would pull caps for him! … " and the like fooleries, which, however, was throwing oil on a fire I was sorely put to it to smother the blaze of.
The fluctuations of my mind, the whole day, produc'd one good effect: which was, that, through mere fatigue, I slept tolerably well till five in the morning, when I got up, and having dress'd myself, waited, under the double tortures of fear and impatience, for the appointed hour. It came at last, the dear, critical, dangerous hour came; and now, supported only by the courage love lent me, I ventured, a tiptoe, down-stairs, leaving my box behind, for fear of being surpriz'd with it in going out.
I got to the street-door, the key whereof was always laid on the chair by our bed-side, in trust with Phoebe, who having not the least suspicion of my entertaining any design to go from them (nor indeed had I but the day before), made no reserve or concealment of it from me. I open'd the door with great ease; love, that embolden'd, protected me too: and now, got safe into the street, I saw my new guardian angel waiting at a coach-door, ready open. How I got to him I know not: I suppose I flew; but I was in the coach in a trice, and he by the side of me, with his arms clasp'd round me, and giving me the kiss of welcome. The coachman had his orders, and drove to them.
My eyes were instantly fill'd with tears, but tears of the most delicious delight; to find myself in the arms of that beauteous youth was a rapture that my little heart swam in. Past or future were equally out of the question with me. The present was as much as all my powers of life were sufficient to bear the transport of, without fainting. Nor were the most tender embraces, the most soothing expressions wanting on his side, to assure me of his love, and of never giving me cause to repent the bold step I had taken, in throwing myself thus entirely upon his honour and generosity. But, alas! this was no merit in me, for I was drove to it by a passion too impetuous for me to resist, and I did what I did because I could not help it.
In an instant, for time was now annihilated with me, we landed at a public house in Chelsea, hosipitably commodious for the reception of duet-parties of pleasure, where a breakfast of chocolate was prepared for us.
An old jolly stager, who kept it, and understood life perfectly well, breakfasted with us, and leering archly at me, gave us both joy, and said we were well paired, i' faith! that a great many gentlemen and ladies used his house, but he had never seen a handsomer couple … he was sure I was a fresh piece … I look'd so country, so innocent! well my spouse was a lucky man! … all which common landlord's cant not only pleas'd and sooth'd me, but help'd to divert my confusion at being with my new sovereign, whom, now the minute approach'd, I began to fear to be alone with: a timidity which true love had a greater share in than even maiden bashfulness.
I wish'd, I doted, I could have died for him; and yet, I know not how, or why, I dreaded the point which had been the object of my fiercest wishes; my pulses beat fears, amidst a flush of the warmest desires. This struggle of the passions, however, this conflict betwixt modesty and lovesick longings, made me burst again into tears; which he took, as he had done before, only for the remains of concern and emotion at the suddenness of my change of condition, in committing myself to his care; and, in consequence of that idea, did and said all that he thought would most comfort and reinspirit me.
After breakfast, Charles (the dear familiar name I must take the liberty henceforward to distinguish my Adonis by), with a smile full of meaning, took me gently by the hand, and said: "Come, my dear, I will show you a room that commands a fine prospect over some gardens"; and without waiting for an answer, in which he relieved me extremely, he led me up into a chamber, airy and light-some, where all seeing of prospects was out of the question, except that of a bed, which had all the air of having recommended the room to him.
Charles had just slipp'd the bolt of the door, and running, caught me in his arms, and lifting me from the ground, with his lips glew'd to mine, bore me, trembling, panting, dying, with soft fears and tender wishes, to the bed; where his impatience would not suffer him to undress me, more than just unpinning my handkerchief and gown, and unlacing my stays.
My bosom was now bare, and rising in the warmest throbs, presented to his sight and feeling the firm hard swell of a pair of young breasts, such as may be imagin'd of a girl not sixteen, fresh out of the country, and never before handled; but even their pride, whiteness, fashion, pleasing resistance to the touch, could not bribe his restless hands from roving; but giving them the loose, my petticoats and shift were soon taken up, and their stronger center of attraction laid open to their tender invasion. My fears, however, made me mechanically close my thighs; but the very touch of his hand insinuated between them, disclosed them and opened a way for the main attack.
In the mean time, I lay fairly exposed to the examination of his eyes and hands, quiet and unresisting; which confirm'd him the opinion he proceeded so cavalierly upon, that I was no novice in these matters, since he had taken me out of a common bawdy-house, nor had I said one thing to prepossess him of my virginity; and if I had, he would sooner have believ'd that I took him for a cully that would swallow such an improbability, than that I was still mistress of that darling treasure, that hidden mine, so eagerly sought after by the men, and which they never dig for, but to destroy.
Being now too high wound up to bear a delay, he unbutton'd, and drawing out the engine of love-assaults, drove it currently, as at a ready-made breach … Then! then! for the first time, did I feel that stiff horn-hard gristle, battering against the tender part; but imagine to yourself his surprize when he found, after several vigorous pushes which hurt me extremely, that he made not the least impression.
I complain'd but tenderly complain'd that I could not bear it … indeed he hurt me! … Still he thought no more than that being so young, the largeness of his machine (for few men could dispute size with him) made all the dificulty; and that possible I had not been enjoy'd by any so advantageously made in that part as himself: for still, that my virgin flower was yet uncrop'd, never enter'd into his head, and he would have thought it idling with time and words to have question'd me upon it.
He tries again, still no admittance, still no penetration; but he had hurt me yet more, whilst my extreme love made me bear extreme pain, almost without a groan. At length, after repeated fruitless trials, he lay down panting by me, kiss'd my falling tears, and asked me tenderly what was the meaning of so much complaining? and if I had not borne it better from others than I did from him? I answered, with a simplicity fram'd to persuade, that he was the first man that ever serv'd me so. Truth is powerful, and it is not always that we do not believe what we eagerly wish.
Charles, already dispos'd by the evidence of his senses to think my pretences to virginity not entirely apocryphal, smothers me with kisses, begs me, in the name of love, to have a little patience, and that he will be as tender of hurting me as he would be of himself.
Alas! it was enough I knew his pleasure to submit joyfully to him, whatever pain I foresaw it would cost me.
He now resumes his attempts in more form: first, he put one of the pillows under me, to give the blank of his aim a more favourable elevation, and another under my head, in ease of it; then spreading my thighs, and placing himself standing between them, made them rest upon his hips; applying then the point of his machine to the slit, into which he sought entrance: it was so small, he could scarce assure himself of its being rightly pointed. He looks, he feels, and satisfies himself: the driving forward with fury, its prodigious stiffness, thus impacted, wedgelike, breaks the union of those parts, and gain'd him just the insertion of the tip of it, lip-deep; which being sensible of, he improved his advantage, and following well his stroke, in a straight line, forcibly deepens his penetration; but put me to such intolerable pain, from the separation of the sides of that soft passage by a hard thick body, I could have scream'd out; but, as I was unwilling to alarm the house, I held in my breath, and cramm'd my petticoat, which was turn'd up over my face, into my mouth, and bit it through in the agony. At length, the tender texture of that tract giving way to such fierce tearing and rending, he pierc'd something further into me: and now, outrageous and no longer his own master, but borne headlong away by the fury and over-mettle of that member, now exerting itself with a kind of native rage, he breaks in, carries all before him, and one violent merciless lunge sent it, imbrew'd, and reeking with virgin blood, up to the very hilt in me … Then! then all my resolution deserted me: I scream'd out, and fainted away with the sharpness of the pain; and, as he told me afterwards, on his drawing out, when emission was over with him, my thighs were instantly all in a stream of blood that flow'd from the wounded torn passage.
When I recover'd my senses, I found myself undress'd, and a-bed, in the arms of the sweet relenting murderer of my virginity, who hung mourning tenderly over me, and holding in his hand a cordial, which, coming from the still dear author of so much pain, I could not refuse; my eyes, however, moisten'd with tears, and languishingly turn'd upon him, seemed to reproach him with his cruelty, and ask him if such were the rewards of love. But Charles, to whom I was now infinitely endear'd by this complete triumph over a maidenhead, where he so little expected to find one, in tenderness to that pain which he had put me to, in procuring himself the height of pleasure, smother'd his exultation, and employ'd himself with so much sweetness, so much warmth, to sooth, to caress, and comfort me in my soft complainings, which breath'd, indeed, more love than resentment, that I presently drown'd all sense of pain in the pleasure of seeing him, of thinking that I belong'd to him: he who was now the absolute disposer of my happiness, and, in one word, my fate.
The sore was, however, too tender, the wound too bleeding fresh, for Charles's good-nature to put my patience presently to another trial; but as I could not stir, or walk across the room, he order'd the dinner to be brought to the bed-side, where it could not be otherwise than my getting down the wing of a fowl, and two or three glasses of wine, since it was my ador'd youth who both serv'd, and urged them on me, with that sweet irresistible authority with which love had invested him over me.
After dinner, and as everything but the wine was taken away, Charles very impudently asks a leave, he might read the grant of in my eyes, to come to bed to me, and accordingly falls to undressing; which I could not see the progress of without strange emotions of fear and pleasure.
He is now in bed with me the first time, and in broad day; but when thrusting up his own shirt and my shift, he laid his naked glowing body to mine … oh! insupportable delight! oh! superhuman rapture! what pain could stand before a pleasure so transporting? I felt no more the smart of my wounds below; but, curling round him like the tendril of a vine, as if I fear'd any part of him should be untouch'd or unpress'd by me, I return'd his strenuous embraces and kisses with a fervour and gust only known to true love, and which mere lust could never rise to.
Yes, even at this time, when all the tyranny of the passions is fully over and my veins roll no longer but a cold tranquil stream, the remembrance of those passages that most affected me in my youth, still cheers and refreshes me. Let me proceed then. My beauteous youth was now glew'd to me in all the folds and twists that we could make our bodies meet in; when, no longer able to rein in the fierceness of refresh'd desires, he gives his steed the head and gently insinuating his thighs between mine, stopping my mouth with kisses of humid fire, makes a fresh irruption, and renewing his thrusts, pierces, tears, and forces his way up the torn tender folds that yielded him admission with a smart little less severe that when the breach was first made. I stifled, however, my cries, and bore him with the passive fortitude of a heroine; soon his thrusts, more and more furious, cheeks flush'd with a deeper scarlet, his eyes turn'd up in the fervent fit, some dying sighs, and an agonizing shudder, announced the approaches of that extatic pleasure, I was yet in too much pain to come in for my share of it.
Nor was it till after a few enjoyments had numb'd and blunted the sense of the smart, and given me to feel the titillating inspersion of balsamic sweets, drew from me the delicious return, and brought down all my passion, that I arrived at excess of pleasure through excess of pain. But, when successive engagements had broke and inur'd me, I began to enter into the true unallay'd relish of that pleasure of pleasures, when the warm gush darts through all the ravish'd inwards; what floods of bliss! what melting transports! what agonies of delight! too fierce, too mighty for nature to sustain; well has she therefore, no doubt, provided the relief of a delicious momentary dissolution, the approaches of which are intimated by a dear delirium, a sweet thrill on the point of emitting those liquid sweets, in which enjoyment itself is drown'd, when one gives the languishing stretch-out, and dies at the discharge.
How often, when the rage and tumult of my senses had subsided after the melting flow, have I, in a tender meditation ask'd myself coolly the question, if it was in nature for any of its creatures to be so happy as I was? Or, what were all fears of the consequence, put in the scale of one night's enjoyment of any thing so transcendently the taste of my eyes and heart, as that delicious, fond, matchless youth?
Thus we spent the whole afternoon till supper time in a continued circle of love delights, kissing, turtle-billing, toying, and all the rest of the feast. At length, supper was serv'd in, before which Charles had, for I do not know what reason, slipt his cloaths on; and sitting down by the bed-side, we made table and table-cloth of the bed and sheets, whilst he suffer'd nobody to attend or serve but himself. He ate with a very good appetite, and seem'd charm'd to see me eat. For my part, I was so enchanted with my fortune, so transported with the comparison of the delights I now swam in, with the insipidity of all my past scenes of life, that I thought them sufficiently cheap at even the price of my ruin, or the risk of their not lasting. The present possession was all my little head could find room for.
We lay together that night, when, after playing repeated prizes of pleasure, nature, overspent and satisfy'd, gave us up to the arms of sleep: those of my dear youth encircled me, the consciousness of which made even that sleep more delicious.
Late in the morning I wak'd first; and observing my lover slept profoundly, softly disengag'd myself from his arms, scarcely daring to breathe for fear of shortening his repose; my cap, my hair, my shift, were all in disorder from the rufflings I had undergone; and I took this opportunity to adjust and set them as well as I could: whilst, every now and then, looking at the sleeping youth with inconceivable fondness and delight, and reflecting on all the pain he had put me to, tacitly own'd that the pleasure had overpaid me for my sufferings.
It was then broad day. I was sitting up in the bed, the cloaths of which were all tossed, or rolled off, by the unquietness of our motions, from the sultry heat of the weather; nor could I refuse myself a pleasure that solicited me so irresistibly, as this fair occasion of feasting my sight with all those treasures of youthful beauty I had enjoy'd, and which lay now almost entirely naked, his shirt being truss'd up in a perfect wisp, which the warmth of the room and season made me easy about the consequence of. I hung over him enamour'd indeed! and devoured all his naked charms with only two eyes, when I could have wish'd them at least a hundred, for the fuller enjoyment of the gaze.
Oh! could I paint his figure as I see it now, still present to my transported imagination! a whole length of an allperfect, manly beauty in full view. Think of a face without a fault, glowing with all the opening bloom and vernal freshness of an age in which beauty is of either sex, and which the first down over his upper lip scarce began to distinguish.
The parting of the double ruby pout of his lips seem'd to exhale an air sweeter and purer than what it drew in: ah! what violence did it not cost me to refrain the so tempted kiss!
Then a neck exquisitely turn'd, grac'd behind and on the sides with his hair, playing freely in natural ringlets, connected his head to a body of the most perfect form, and of the most vigorous contexture, in which all the strength of manhood was conceal'd and soften'd to appearance by the delicacy of his complexion, the smoothness of his skin, and the plumpness of his flesh.
The platform of his snow-white bosom, that was laid out in a manly proportion, presented, on the vermilion summit of each pap, the idea of a rose about to blow.
Nor did his shirt hinder me from observing that symmetry of his limbs, that exactness of shape, in the fall of it towards the loins, where the waist ends and the rounding swell of the hips commences; where the skin, sleek, smooth, and dazzling white, burnishes on the stretch over firm, plump, ripe flesh, that crimp'd and ran into dimples at the least pressure, or that the touch could not rest upon, but slid over as on the surface of the most polished ivory.
His thighs, finely fashioned, and with a florid glossy roundness, gradually tapering away to the knees, seem'd pillars worthy to support that beauteous frame; at the bottom of which I could not, without some remains of terror, some tender emotions too, fix my eyes on that terrible machine, which had, not long before, with such fury broke into, torn, and almost ruin'd those soft, tender parts of mine that had not yet done smarting with the effects of its rage; but behold it now! crest fall'n, reclining its half-capt vermilion head over one of his thighs, quiet, pliant, and to all appearance incapable of the mischiefs and cruelty it had committed. Then the beautiful growth of the hair, in short and soft curls round its root, its whiteness, branch'd veins, the supple softness of the shaft, as it lay foreshort'd, roll'd and shrunk up into a squab thickness, languid, and borne up from between his thighs by its globular appendage, that wondrous treasure-bag of nature's sweets, which, rivell'd round, and purs'd up in the only wrinkles that are known to please, perfected the prospect, and all together formed the most interesting moving picture in nature, and surely infinitely superior to those nudities furnish'd by ]the painters, statuaries, or any art, which are purchas'd at immense prices; whilst the sight of them in actual life is scarce sovereignly tasted by any but the few whom nature has endowed with a fire of imagination, warmly pointed by a truth of judgment to the spring-head, the originals of beauty, of nature's unequall'd composition, above all the imitation of art, or the reach of wealth to pay their price.
But every thing must have an end. A motion made by this angelic youth, in the listlessness of going off sleep, replac'd his shirt and the bed-cloaths in a posture that shut up that treasure from longer view.
I lay down then, and carrying my hands to that part of me in which the objects just seen had begun to raise a mutiny that prevail'd over the smart of them, my fingers now open'd themselves an easy passage; but long I had not time to consider the wide difference there, between the maid and the now finish'd woman, before Charles wak'd, and turning towards me, kindly enquir'd how I had rested? and, scarce giving me time to answer, imprinted on my lips one of his burning rapture-kisses, which darted a flame to my heart, that from thence radiated to every part of me; and presently, as if he had proudly meant revenge for the survey I had smuggled of all his naked beauties, he spurns off the bedcloaths, and trussing up my shift as high as it would go took his turn to feast his eyes on all the gifts nature had bestow'd on my person; his busy hands, too, rang'd intemperately over every part of me. The delicious austerity and hardness of my yet unripe budding breasts, the whiteness and firmness of my flesh, the freshness and regularity of my features, the harmony of my limbs, all seem'd to confirm him in his satisfaction with his bargain; but when curious to explore the havoc he had made in the centre of his overfierce attack, he not only directed his hands there, but with a pillow put under, placed me favourably for his wanton purpose of inspection. Then, who can express the fire his eyes glisten'd, his hands glow'd with! whilst sighs of pleasure, and tender broken exclamations, were all the praises he could utter. By this time his machine, stiffly risen at me, gave me to see it in its highest state and bravery. He feels it himself, seems pleas'd at its condition, and, smiling loves and graces, seizes one of my hands, and carries it, with a gentle compulsion, to his pride of nature, and its richest masterpiece.
I, struggling faintly, could not help feeling what I could not grasp, a column of the whitest ivory, beautifully streak'd with blue veins, and carrying, fully uncapt, a head of the liveliest vermilion: no horn could be harder or stiffer; yet no velvet more smooth or delicious to the touch. Presently he guided my hand lower, to that part in which nature and pleasure keep their stores in concert, so aptly fasten'd and hung on to the root of their first instrument and minister, that not improperly he might be styl'd their purse-bearer too: there he made me feel distinctly, through their soft cover, the contents, a pair of roundish balls, that seem'd to play within, and elude all pressure but the tenderest, from without.
But now this visit of my soft warm hand in those so sensible parts had put every thing into such ungovernable fury that, disdaining all further preluding, and taking advantage of my commodious posture, he made the storm fall where I scarce patiently expected, and where he was sure to lay it: presently, then, I felt the stiff insertion between the yielding, divided lips of the wound, now open for life; where the narrowness no longer put me to intolerable pain, and afforded my lover no more difficulty than what heighten'd his pleasure, in the strict embrace of that tender, warm sheath, round the instrument it was so delicately adjusted to, and which, now cased home, so gorged me with pleasure that it perfectly suffocated me and took away my breath; then the killing thrusts! the unnumber'd kisses! every one of which was a joy inexpressible; and that joy lost in a crowd of yet greater blisses! But this was a disorder too violent in nature to last long: the vessels, so stirr'd and intensely heated, soon boil'd over, and for that time put out the fire; meanwhile all this dalliance and disport had so far consum'd the morning, that it became a kind of necessity to lay breakfast and dinner into one.
In our calmer intervals Charles gave the following account of himself, every word of which was true. He was the only son of a father who, having a small post in the revenue, rather over-liv'd his income, and had given this young gentleman a very slender education: no profession had he bred him up to, but design'd to provide for him in the army, by purchasing him an ensign's commission, that is to say, provided he could raise the money, or procure it by interest, either of which clauses was rather to be wish'd than hoped for by him. On no better a plan, however, had this improvident father suffer'd this youth, a youth of great promise, to run up to the age of manhood, or near it at least, in next to idleness; and had, besides, taken no sort of pains to give him even the common premonitions against the vices of the town, and the dangers of all sorts, which wait the unexperienc'd and unwary in it. He liv'd at home, and at discretion, with his father, who himself kept a mistress; and for the rest, provided Charles did not ask him for money, he was indolently kind to him: he might lie out when he pleas'd; any excuse would serve, and even his reprimands were so slight that they carried with them rather an air of connivance at the fault than any serious control or constraint. But, to supply his calls for money, Charles, whose mother was dead, had, by her side, a grandmother who doted upon him. She had a considerable annuity to live on, and very regularly parted with every shilling she could spare to this darling of hers, to the no little heart-burn of his father; who was vex'd, not that she by this means fed his son's extravagance, but that she preferr'd Charles to himself; and we shall too soon see what a fatal turn such a mercenary jealousy could operate in the breast of a father.
Charles was, however, by the means of his grandmother's lavish fondness, very sufficiently enabled to keep a mistress so easily contented as my love made me; and my good fortune, for such I must ever call it, threw me in his way, in the manner above related, just as he was on the look-out for one.
As to temper, the even sweetness of it made him seem born for domestic happiness: tender, naturally polite, and gentle-manner'd; it could never be his fault if ever jars or animosities ruffled a calm he was so qualified in every way to maintain or restore. Without those great or shining qualities that constitute a genius, or are fit to make a noise in the world, he had all those humble ones that compose the softer social merit: plain common sense, set off with every grace of modesty and good nature, made him, if not admir'd, what is much happier, universally belov'd and esteem'd. But, as nothing but the beauties of his person had at first attracted my regard and fix'd my passion, neither was I then a judge of that internal merit, which I had afterward full occasion to discover, and which perhaps, in that season of giddiness and levity, would have touch'd my heart very little, had it been lodg'd in a person less the delight of my eyes and idol of my senses. But to return to our situation.
After dinner, which we ate a-bed in a most voluptuous disorder, Charles got up, and taking a passionate leave of me for a few hours, he went to town where, concerting matters with a young sharp lawyer, they went together to my late venerable mistress's, from whence I had, but the day before, made my elopement, and with whom he was determin'd to settle accounts in a manner that should cut off all after reckonings from that quarter.
Accordingly they went; but on the way, the Templar, his friend, on thinking over Charles's information, saw reason to give their visit another turn, and, instead of offering satisfaction, to demand it.
On being let in, the girls of the house flock'd round Charles, whom they knew, and from the earliness of my escape, and their perfect ignorance of his ever having so much as seen me, not having the least suspicion of his being accessory to my flight, they were, in their way, making up to him; and as to his companion, they took him probably for a fresh cully. But the Templar soon check'd their forwardness, by enquiring for the old lady, with whom, he said, with a grave judge-like countenance, that he had some business to settle.
Madam was immediately sent down for, and the ladies being desir'd to clear the room, the lawyer ask'd her, severely, if she did know, or had not decoy'd, under pretence of hiring as a servant, a young girl, just come out of the country, called FRANCES or FANNY HILL, describing me withal as particularly as he could from Charles's description.
It is peculiar to vice to tremble at the enquiries of justice; and Mrs. Brown, whose conscience was not entirely clear upon my account, as knowing as she was of the town, as hackney's as she was in bluffing through all the dangers of her vocation, could not help being alarm'd at the question, especially when he went on to talk of a Justice of peace, Newgate, the Old Bailey, indictments for keeping a disorderly house, pillory, carting, and the whole process of that nature. She, who, it is likely, imagin'd I had lodg'd an information against her house, look'd extremely blank, and began to make a thousand protestations and excuses. However, to abridge, they brought away triumphantly my box of things, which, had she not been under an awe, she might have disputed with them; and not only that; but a clearance and discharge of any demands on the house, at the expense of no more than a bowl of arrack-punch, the treat of which, together with the choice of the house conveniences, was offer'd and not accepted. Charles all the time acted the chance-companion of the lawyer, who had brought him there, as he knew the house, and appear'd in no wise interested in the issue; but he had the collateral pleasure of hearing all that I had told him verified, so far as the bawd's fears would give her leave to enter into my history, which, if one may guess by the composition she so readily came into, were not small.
Phoebe, my kind tutoress Phoebe, was at that time gone out, perhaps in search of me, or their cook'd-up story had not, it is probable, pass'd so smoothly.
This negotiation had, however, taken up some time, which would have appear'd much longer to me, left as I was, in a strange house, if the landlady, a motherly sort of a woman, to whom Charles had liberally recommended me, had not come up and borne me company. We drank tea, and her chat help'd to pass away the time very agreeably, since he was our theme; but as the evening deepened, and the hour set for his return was elaps'd, I could not dispel the gloom of impatience and tender fears which gathered upon me, and which our timid sex are apt to feel in proportion to their love.
Long, however, I did not suffer: the sight of him over-paid me; and the soft reproach I had prepar'd for him expired before it reach'd my lips.
I was still a-bed, yet unable to use my legs otherwise than awkwardly, and Charles flew to me, catched me in his arms, rais'd and extending mine to meet his dear embrace, and gives me an account, interrupted by many a sweet parenthesis of kisses, of the success of his measures.
I could not help laughing at the fright the old woman had been put into, which my ignorance, and indeed my want of innocence, had far from prepar'd me for bespeaking. She had, it seems, apprehended that I fled for shelter to some relation I had recollected in town, on my dislike of their ways and proceeding towards me, and that this application came from thence; for, as Charles had rightly judg'd not one neighbour had, at that still hour, seen the circumstance of my escape into the coach, or, at least, notic'd him; neither had any in the house the least hint or clue of suspicion of my having spoke to him, much less of my having clapt up such a sudden bargain with a perfect stranger: thus the greatest improbability is not always what we should most mistrust.
We supped with all the gaiety of two young giddy creatures at the top of their desires; and as I had most joyfully given up to Charles the whole charge of my future happiness, I thought of nothing beyond the exquisite pleasure of possessing him.
He came to bed in due time; and this second night, the pain being pretty well over, I tasted, in full draughts, all the transports of perfect enjoyment: I swam, I bathed in bliss, till both fell fast asleep, through the natural consequences of satisfied desires, and appeas'd flames; nor did we wake but to renew'd raptures.
Thus, making the most of love and life, did we stay in this lodging in Chelsea about ten days; in which time Charles took care to give his excursions from home a favourable gloss, and to keep his footing with his fond indulgent grandmother, from whom he drew constant and sufficient supplies for the charge I was to him, and which was very trifling, in comparision with his former less regular course of pleasures.
Charles remov'd me then to a private ready furnish'd lodging in D … street, St. James's, where he paid half a guinea a week for two rooms and a closet on the second floor, which he had been some time looking out for, and was more convenient for the frequency of his visits than where he had at first plac'd me, in a house which I cannot say but I left with regret, as it was infinitely endear'd to me by the first possession of my Charles, and the circumstance of losing, there, that jewel which can never be twice lost. The landlord, however, had no reason to complain of any thing, but of a procedure in Charles too liberal not to make him regret the loss of us.
Arrived at our new lodgings, I remember I thought them extremely fine, though ordinary enough, even at that price; but, had it been a dungeon that Charles had brought me to, his presence would have made it a little Versailles.
The landlady, Mrs. Jones, waited on us to our apartment, and with great volubility of tongue explain'd to us all its conveniences—that her own maid should wait on us … that the best of quality had lodg'd at her house … that her first floor was let to a foreign secretary of an embassy, and his lady … that I looked like a very goodnatur'd lady… . At the word lady, I blush'd out of flatter'd vanity: this was too strong for a girl of my condition; for though Charles had had the precaution of dressing me in a less tawdry flaunting style than were the cloaths I escap'd to him in, and of passing me for his wife, that he had secretly married, and kept private (the old story) on account of his friends, I dare swear this appear'd extremely apocryphal to a woman who knew the town so well as she did; but that was the least of her concern. It was impossible to be less scruple-ridden than she was; and the advantage of letting her rooms being her sole object, the truth itself would have far from scandaliz'd her, or broke her bargain.
A sketch of her picture, and personal history, will dispose you to account for the part she is to act in my concerns.
She was about forty-six years old, tall, meagre, redhair'd, with one of those trivial ordinary faces you meet with everywhere, and go about unheeded and unmentioned. In her youth she had been kept by a gentleman who, dying, left her forty pounds a year during her life, in consideration of a daughter he had by her; which daughter, at the age of seven-teen, she sold, for not a very considerable sum neither, to a gentleman who was going on Envoy abroad, and took his purchase with him, where he us'd her with the utmost tenderness, and it is thought, was secretly married to her: but had constantly made a point of her not keeping up the least correspondence with a mother base enough to make a market of her own flesh and blood. However, as she had no nature, nor, indeed, any passion but that of money, this gave her no further uneasiness, than, as she thereby lost a handle of squeezing presents, or other after-advantages, out of the bargain. Indifferent then, by nature of constitution, to every other pleasure but that of increasing the lump by any means whatever, she commenc'd a kind of private procuress, for which she was not amiss fitted, by her grave decent appearance, and sometimes did a job in the match-making way; in short, there was nothing that appear'd to her under the shape of gain that she would not have undertaken. She knew most of the ways of the town, having not only herself been upon, but kept up constant intelligences in it, dealing, besides her practice in promoting a harmony between the two sexes, in private pawn-broking and other profitable secrets. She rented the house she liv'd in, and made the most of it by letting it out in lodgings; though she was worth, at least, near three or four thousand pounds, she would not allow herself even the necessaries of life, and pinn'd her subsistence entirely on what she could squeeze out of her lodgers.
When she saw such a young pair come under her roof, her immediate notions, doubtless, were how she should make the most money of us, by every means that money might be made, and which, she rightly judged, our situation and inexperience would soon beget her occasions of.
In this hopeful sanctuary, and under the clutches of this harpy, did we pitch our residence. It will not be mighty material to you, or very pleasant to me, to enter into a detail of all the petty cut-throat ways and means with which she used to fleece us; all which Charles indolently chose to bear with, rather than take the trouble of removing, the difference of expense being scarce attended to by a young gentleman who had no idea of stint, or even of economy, and a raw country girl who knew nothing of the matter.
Here, however, under the wings of my sovereignly belov'd, did I flow the most delicious hours of my life; my Charles I had, and, in him, everything my fond heart could wish or desire. He carried me to plays, operas, masquerades, and every diversion of the town; all of which pleas'd me indeed, but pleas'd me infinitely the more for his being with me, and explaining everything to me, and enjoying, perhaps, the natural impressions of surprize and admiration, which such sights, at the first, never fail to excite in a country girl, new to the delights of them; but to me, they sensibly prov'd the power and full dominion of the sole passion of my heart over me, a passion in which soul and body were concentre'd, and left me no room for any other relish of life but love.
As to the men I saw at those places, or at any other, they suffer'd so much in the comparison my eyes made of them with my all-perfect Adonis, that I had not the infidelity even of one wandering thought to reproach myself with upon his account. He was the universe to me, and all that was not him was nothing to me.
My love, in fine, was so excessive, that it arriv'd at annihilating every suggestion or kindling spark of jealousy; for, one idea only tending that way, gave me such exquisite torment that my self-love, and dread of worse than death, made me for ever renounce and defy it: nor had I, indeed, occasion; for, were I to enter here on the recital of several instances wherein Charles sacrific'd to me women of greater importance than I dare hint (which, considering his form, was no such wonder), I might, indeed, give you full proof of his unshaken constancy to me; but would not you accuse me of warming up again a feast that my vanity ought long ago to have been satisfy'd with?
In our cessations from active pleasure, Charles fram'd himself one, in instructing me, as far as his own lights reach'd, in a great many points of life that I was, in consequence of my no-education, perfectly ignorant of: nor did I suffer one word to fall in vain from the mouth of my lovely teacher: I hung on every syllable he utter'd, and receiv'd as oracles, all he said; whilst kisses were all the interruption I could not refuse myself the pleasure of admitting, from lips that breath'd more than Arabian sweetness.
I was in a little time enabled, by the progress I had made, to prove the deep regard I had paid to all that he had said to me: repeating it to him almost word for word; and to shew that I was not entirely the parrot, but that I reflected upon, that I enter'd into it, I join'd my own comments, and ask'd him questions of explanation.
My country accent, and the rusticity of my gait, manners, and deportment, began now sensibly to wear off, so quick was my observation, and so efficacious my desire of growing every day worthier of his heart.
As to money, though he brought me constantly all he receiv'd, it was with difficulty he even got me to give it room in my bureau; and what clothes I had, he could prevail on me to accept of on no other foot than that of pleasing him by the greater neatness in my dress, beyond which I had no ambition. I could have made a pleasure of the greatest toil, and worked my fingers to the bone, with joy, to have supported him: guess, then, if I could harbour any idea of being burdensome to him, and this disinterested turn in me was so unaffected, so much the dictate of my heart, that Charles could not but feel it: and if he did not love me as I did him (which was the constant and only matter of sweet contention between us), he manag'd so, at least, as to give me the satisfaction of believing it impossible for man to be more tender, more true, more faithful than he was.
Our landlady, Mrs. Jones, came frequently up to my apartment, from whence I never stirr'd on any pretext without Charles; nor was it long before she worm'd out, without much art, the secret of our having cheated the church of a ceremony, and, in course, of the terms we liv'd together upon; a circumstance which far from displeas'd her, considering the designs she had upon me, and which, alas! she will, too soon, have room to carry into execution. But in the mean time, her own experience of life let her see that any attempt, however indirect or disguis'd to divert or break, at least presently, so strong a cement of hearts as ours was, could only end in losing two lodgers, of whom she made very competent advantages, if either of us came to smoke her commission; for a commission she had from one of her customers, either to debauch, or get me away from my keeper at any rate.
But the barbarity of my fate soon sav'd her the task of disuniting us. I had now been eleven months with this life of my life, which had passed in one continu'd rapid stream of delight: but nothing so violent was ever made to last. I was about three months gone with child by him, a circumstance which would have added to his tenderness had he ever left me room to believe it could receive an addition, when the mortal, the unexpected blow of separation fell upon us. I shall gallop post over the particulars, which I shudder yet to think of, and cannot to this instant reconcile myself how, or by what means, I could out-live it.
Two life-long days had I linger'd through without hearing from him, I who breath'd, who existed but in him, and had never yet seen twenty-four hours pass without seeing or hearing from him. The third day my impatience was so strong, my alarms had been so severe, that I perfectly sicken'd with them; and being unable to support the shock longer, I sunk upon the bed and ringing for Mrs. Jones, who had far from comforted me under my anxieties, she came up. I had scarce breath and spirit enough to find words to beg of her, if she would save my life, to fall upon some means of finding out, instantly, what was become of its only prop and comfort. She pity'd me in a way that rather sharpen'd my affliction than suspended it, and went out upon this commission.
Far she had not to go: Charles's father lived but at an easy distance, in one of the streets that run into Covent Garden. There she went into a publick house, and from thence sent for a maid-servant, whose name I had given her, as the properest to inform her.
The maid readily came, and as readily, when Mrs. Jones enquir'd of her what was become of Mr. Charles, or whether he was gone out of town, acquainted her with the disposal of her master's son, which, the very day after, was no secret to the servants. Such sure measures had he taken, for the most cruel punishment of his child for having more interest with his grandmother than he had, though he made use of a pretense, plausible enough, to get rid of him in this secret and abrupt manner, for fear her fondness should have interpos'd a bar to his leaving England, and proceeding on a voyage he had concerted for him; which pretext was, that it was indispensably necessary to secure a considerable inheritance that devolv'd to him by the death of a rich merchant (his own brother) at one of the factories in the South-Seas, of which he had lately receiv'd advice, together with a copy of the will.
In consequence of which resolution to send away his son, he had, unknown to him, made the necessary preparations for fitting him out, struck a bargain with the captain of a ship, whose punctual execution of his orders he had secured, by his interest with his principal owner and patron; and, in short, concerted his measures so secretly and effectually that whilst his son thought he was going down the river for a few hours, he was stopt on board of a ship, debar'd from writing, and more strictly watch'd than a State criminal.
Thus was the idol of my soul torn from me, and forc'd on a long voyage, without taking of one friend, or receiving one line of comfort, except a dry explanation and instructions, from his father, how to proceed when he should arrive at his destin'd port, enclosing, withal, some letters of recommendation to a factor there: all these particulars I did not learn minutely till some time after.
The maid, at the same time, added that she was sure this usage of her sweet young master would be the death of his grand-mama, as indeed it prov'd true; for the old lady, on hearing it, did not survive the news a whole month; and as her fortune consisted in an annuity, out of which she had laid up no reserves, she left nothing worth mentioning to her so fatally envied darling, but absolutely refus'd to see his father before she died.
When Mrs. Jones return'd and I observ'd her looks, they seem'd so unconcern'd, and even near to pleas'd, that I half flatter'd myself she was going to set my tortur'd heart at ease by bringing me good news; but this, indeed, was a cruel delusion of hope: the barbarian, with all the coolness imaginable, stab'd me to the heart, in telling me, succinctly, that he was sent away at least on a four years' voyage (here she stretch'd maliciously), and that I could not expect, in reason, ever to see him again: and all this with such prenant circumstances that I could not help giving them credit, as in general they were, indeed, too true!
She had hardly finish'd her report before I fainted away and after several successive fits, all the while wild and senseless, I miscarried of the dear pledge of my Charles's love: but the wretched never die when it is fittest they should die, and women are hard-liv'd to a proverb.
The cruel and interested care taken to recover me sav'd an odious life: which, instead of the happiness and joys it had overflow'd in, all of a sudden presented no view before me of any thing but the depth of misery, horror, and the sharpest affliction.
Thus I lay six weeks, in the struggles of youth and constitution, against the friendly efforts of death, which I constantly invoked to my relief and deliverance, but which proving too weak for my wish, I recovered at length, tho' into a state of stupefaction and despair that threatened me with the loss of my senses, and a mad-house.
Time, however, that great comforter in ordinary, began to assuage the violence of my sufferings, and to numb my feeling of them. My health return'd to me, though I still retain'd an air of grief, dejection, and languor, which taking off the ruddiness of my country complexion, render'd it rather more delicate and affecting.
The landlady had all this while officiously provided, and taken care that I wanted for nothing: and as soon as she saw me retriev'd into a condition of answering her purpose, one day, after we had dined together, she congratulated me on my recovery, the merit of which she took entirely to herself, and all this by way of introduction to a most terrible and scurvy epilogue: "You are now," says she, "Miss Fanny, tolerably well, and you are very welcome to stay in the lodgings as long as you please; you see I have ask'd you for nothing this long time, but truly I have a call to make up a sum of money, which must be answer'd." And, with that, presents me with a bill of arrears for rent, diet, apothecary's charges, nurse, etc., sum total twenty-three pounds, seventeen and six-pence: towards discharging of which, I had not in the world (which she well knew) more than seven guineas, left by chance, of my dear Charles's common stock with me. At the same time, she desir'd me to tell her what course I would take for payment. I burst out into a flood of tears and told her my condition; adding that I would sell what few cloaths I had, and that, for the rest, I would pay her as soon as possible. But my distress, being favourable to her views, only stiffen'd her the more.
She told me, very coolly, that "she was indeed sorry for my misfortunes, but that she must do herself justice, though it would go to the very heart of her to send such a tender young creature to prison … " At the word "prison!" every drop of my blood chill'd, and my fright acted so strongly upon me, that, turning as pale and faint as a criminal at the first sight of his place of execution, I was on the point of swooning. My landlady, who wanted only to terrify me to a certain point, and not to throw me into a state of body inconsistent with her designs upon it, began to soothe me again, and told me, in a tone compos'd to more pity and gentleness, that it would be my own fault, if she was forc'd to proceed to such extremities; but she believ'd there was a friend to be found in the world who would make up matters to both our satisfactions, and that she would bring him to drink tea with us that very afternoon, when she hoped we would come to a right understanding in our affairs. To all this, not a word of answer; I sat mute, confounded, terrify'd.
Mrs. Jones however, judging rightly that it was time to strike while the impressions were so strong upon me, left me to my self and to all the terrors of an imagination, wounded to death by the idea of going to a prison, and, from a principle of self-preservation, snatching at every glimpse of redemption from it.
In this situation I sat near half an hour, swallow'd up in grief and despair, when my landlady came in, and observing a death-like dejection in my countenance and still in pursuance of her plan, put on a false pity, and bidding me be of a good heart: Things, she said, would not be so bad as I imagined if I would be but my own friend; and closed with telling me she had brought a very honourable gentleman to drink tea with me, who would give me the best advice how to get rid of all my troubles. Upon which, without waiting for a reply, she goes out, and returns with this very honourable gentleman, whose very honourable procuress she had been, on this as well as other occasions.
The gentleman, on his entering the room, made me a very civil bow, which I had scarce strength, or presence of mind enough to return a curtsy to; when the landlady, taking upon her to do all the honours of the first interview (for I had never, that I remember'd, seen the gentleman before), sets a chair for him, and another for herself. All this while not a word on either side; a stupid stare was all the face I could put on this strange visit.
The tea was made, and the landlady, unwilling, I suppose, to lose any time, observing my silence and shyness before this entire stranger: "Come, Miss Fanny," says she, in a coarse familiar style, and tone of authority, "hold up your head, child, and do not let sorrow spoil that pretty face of yours. What! sorrows are only for a time; come, be free, here is a worthy gentleman who has heard of your misfortunes and is willing to serve you; you must be better acquainted with him; do not you now stand upon your punctilio's, and this and that, but make your market while you may."
At this so delicate and eloquent harangue, the gentleman, who saw I look'd frighted and amaz'd, and indeed, incapable of answering, took her up for breaking things in so abrupt a manner, as rather to shock than incline me to an acceptance of the good he intended me; then, addressing himself to me, told me he was perfectly acquainted with my whole story and every circumstance of my distress, which he own'd was a cruel plunge for one of my youth and beauty to fall into; that he had long taken a liking to my person, for which he appeal'd to Mrs. Jones, there present, but finding me so absolutely engag'd to another, he had lost all hopes of succeeding till he had heard the sudden reverse of fortune that had happen'd to me, on which he had given particular orders to my landlady to see that I should want for nothing; and that, had he not been forc'd abroad to The Hague, on affairs he could not refuse himself to, he would himself have attended me during my sickness; that on his return, which was but the day before, he had, on learning my recovery, desir'd my landlady's good offices to introduce him to me, and was as angry, at least, as I was shock'd, at the manner in which she had conducted herself towards obtaining him that happiness; but, that to shew me how much he disown'd her procedure, and how far he was from taking any ungenerous advantage of my situation, and from exacting any security for my gratitude, he would before my face, that instant, discharge my debt entirely to my landlady and give me her receipt in full; after which I should be at liberty either to reject or grant his suit, as he was much above putting any force upon my inclinations.
Whilst he was exposing his sentiments to me, I ventur'd just to look up to him, and observed his figure, which was that of a very sightly gentleman, well made, about forty, drest in a suit of plain cloaths, with a large diamond ring on one of his fingers, the lustre of which play'd in my eyes as he wav'd his hand in talking, and rais'd my notions of his importance. In short, he might pass for what is commonly call'd a comely black man, with an air of distinction natural to his birth and condition.
To all his speeches, however, I answer'd only in tears that flow'd plentifully to my relief, and choking up my voice, excus'd me from speaking, very luckily, for I should not have known what to say.
The sight, however, mov'd him, as he afterwards told me, irresistibly, and by way of giving me some reason to be less powerfully afflicted, he drew out his purse, and calling for pen and ink, which the landlady was prepar'd for, paid her every farthing of her demand, independent of a liberal gratification which was to follow unknown to me; and taking a receipt in full, very tenderly forc'd me to secure it, by guiding my hand, which he had thrust it into, so as to make me passively put it into my pocket.
Still I continued in a state of stupidity, or melancholy despair, as my spirits could not yet recover from the violent shocks they had receiv'd; and the accommodating landlady had actually left the room, and me alone with this strange gentleman, before I observ'd it, and then I observ'd it without alarm, for I was now lifeless and indifferent to everything.
The gentleman, however, no novice in affairs of this sort, drew near me; and under the pretence of comforting me, first with his handkerchief dried my tears as they ran down my cheeks: presently he ventur'd to kiss me: on my part, neither resistance nor compliance. I sat stock-still; and now looking on myself as bought by the payment that had been transacted before me, I did not care what became of my wretched body: and, wanting life, spirits, or courage to oppose the least struggle, even that of the modesty of my sex, I suffer'd, tamely, whatever the gentleman pleased; who proceeding insensibly from freedom to freedom, insinuated his hand between my handkerchief and bosom, which he handled at discretion: finding thus no repulse, and that every thing favour'd, beyond expectation, the completion of his desires, he took me in his arms, and bore me, without life or motion, to the bed, on which laying me gently down, and having me at what advantage he pleas'd, I did not so much as know what he was about, till recovering from a trance of lifeless insensibility, I found him buried in me, whilst I lay passive and innocent of the least sensation of pleasure: a death-cold corpse could scarce have less life or sense in it. As soon as he had thus pacified a passion which had too little respected the condition I was in, he got off, and after recomposing the disorder of my cloaths, employ'd himself with the utmost tenderness to calm the transports of remorse and madness at myself with which I was seized, too late, I confess, for having suffer'd on that bed the embraces of an utter stranger. I tore my hair, wrung my hands, and beat my breast like a mad-woman. But when my new master, for in that light I then view'd him, applied himself to appease me, as my whole rage was levell'd at myself, no part of which I thought myself permitted to aim at him, I begged of him, with more submission than anger, to leave me alone that I might, at least, enjoy my affliction in quiet. This he positively refused, for fear, as he pretended, I should do myself a mischief.
Violent passions seldom last long, and those of women least of any. A dead still calm succeeded this storm, which ended in a profuse shower of tears.
Had any one, but a few instants before, told me that I should have ever known any man but Charles, I would have spit in his face; or had I been offer'd infinitely a greater sum of money than that I saw paid for me, I had spurn'd the proposal in cold blood. But our virtues and our vices depend too much on our circumstances; unexpectedly beset as I was, betray'd by a mind weakened by a long severe affliction, and stunn'd with the terrors of a jail, my defeat will appear the more excusable, since I certainly was not present at, or a party in any sense, to it. However, as the first enjoyment is decisive, and he was now over the bar, I thought I had no longer a right to refuse the caresses of one that had got that advantage over me, no matter how obtain'd; conforming myself then to this maxim, I consider'd myself as so much in his power that I endur'd his kisses and embraces without affecting struggles or anger; not that they, as yet, gave me any pleasure, or prevail'd over the aversion of my soul to give myself up to any sensation of that sort; what I suffer'd, I suffer'd out of a kind of gratitude, and as a matter of course after what had pass'd.
He was, however, so regardful as not to attempt the renewal of those extremities which had thrown me, just before, into such violent agitations; but, now secure of possession, contented himself with bringing me to temper by degrees, and waiting at the hand of time for those fruits of generosity and courtship which he since often reproach'd himself with having gather'd much too green, when, yielding to the invitations of my inability to resist him, and overborne by desires, he had wreak'd his passion on a mere lifeless, spiritless body dead to all purposes of joy, since, taking none, it ought to be suppos'd incapable of giving any. This is, however, certain; my heart never thoroughly forgave him the manner in which I had fallen to him, although, in point of interest, I had reason to be pleas'd that he found, in my person, wherewithal to keep him from leaving me as easily as he had gained me.
The evening was, in the mean time, so far advanc'd, that the maid came in to lay the cloth for supper, when I understood, with joy, that my landlady, whose sight was present poison to me, was not to be with us.
Presently a neat and elegant supper was introduc'd, and a bottle of Burgundy, with the other necessaries, were set on a dumb-waiter.
The maid quitting the room, the gentleman insisted, with a tender warmth, that I should sit up in the elbow chair by the fire, and see him eat if I could not be prevailed on to eat myself. I obey'd with a heart full of affliction, at the comparison it made between those delicious tete-a-tetes with my ever dear youth, and this forc'd situation, this new awkward scene, impos'd and obtruded on me by cruel necessity.
At supper, after a great many arguments used to comfort and reconcile me to my fate, he told me that his name was H … , brother to the Earl of L … and that having, by the suggestions of my landlady, been led to see me, he had found me perfectly to his taste and given her a commission to procure me at any rate, and that he had at length succeeded, as much to his satisfaction as he passionately wished it might be to mine; adding, withal, some flattering assurances that I should have no cause to repent my knowledge of him.
I had now got down at most half a partridge, and three or four glasses of wine, which he compelled me to drink by way of restoring nature; but whether there was anything extraordinary put into the wine, or whether there wanted no more to revive the natural warmth of my constitution and give fire to the old train, I began no longer to look with that constraint, not to say disgust, on Mr. H … , which I had hitherto done; but, withal, there was not the least grain of love mix'd with this softening of my sentiments: any other man would have been just the same to me as Mr. H … , that stood in the same circumstances and had done for me, and with me, what he had done.
There are not, on earth at least, eternal griefs; mine were, if not at an end, at least suspended: my heart, which had been so long overloaded with anguish and vexation, began to dilate and open to the least gleam of diversion or amusement. I wept a little, and my tears reliev'd me; I sigh'd, and my sighs seem'd to lighten me of a load that oppress'd me; my countenance grew, if not cheerful, at least more compos'd and free.
Mr. H … , who had watched, perhaps brought on this change, knew too well not to seize it; he thrust the table imperceptibly from between us, and bringing his chair to face me, he soon began, after preparing me by all the endearments of assurances and protestations, to lay hold of my hands, to kiss me, and once more to make free with my bosom, which, being at full liberty from the disorder of a loose dishabille, now panted and throbb'd, less with indignation than with fear and bashfulness at being used so familiarly by still a stranger. But he soon gave me greater occasion to exclaim, by stooping down and slipping his hand above my garters: thence he strove to regain the pass, which he had before found so open, and unguarded: but not he could not unlock the twist of my thighs; I gently complained, and begg'd him to let me alone; told him I was now well. However, as he saw there was more form and ceremony in my resistance than good earnest, he made his conditions for desisting from pursuing his point that I should be put instantly to bed, whilst he gave certain orders to the landlady, and that he would return in an hour, when he hoped to find me more recondil'd to his passion for me than I seem'd at present. I neither assented nor deny'd, but my air and manner of receiving this proposal gave him to see that I did not think myself enough my own mistress to refuse it.
Accordingly he went out and left me, when, a minute or two after, before I could recover myself into any composure for thinking, the maid came in with her mistress's service, and a small silver porringer of what she called a bridal posset, and desir'd me to eat it as I went to bed, which consequently I did, and felt immediately a heat, a fire run like a hue-and-cry thro' every part of my body; I burnt, I glow'd, and wanted even little of wishing for any man.
The maid, as soon as I was lain down, took the candle away, and wishing me a good night, went out of the room and shut the door after her.
She had hardly time to get down-stairs before Mr. H … open'd my room-door softly, and came in, now undress'd in his night-gown and cap, with two lighted wax candles, and bolting the door, gave me, tho' I expected him, some sort of alarm. He came a tip-toe to the bed-side, and said with a gentle whisper: "Pray, my dear, do not be startled … I will be very tender and kind to you." He then hurry'd off his cloaths, and leap'd into bed, having given me openings enough, whilst he was stripping, to observe his brawny structure, strong-made limbs, and rough shaggy breast.
The bed shook again when it receiv'd this new load. He lay on the outside, where he kept the candles burning, no doubt for the satisfaction of ev'ry sense; for as soon as he had kiss'd me, he rolled down the bed-cloaths, and seemed transported with the view of all my person at full length, which he cover'd with a profusion of kisses, sparing no part of me. Then, being on his knees between my legs, he drew up his shirt and bared all his hairy thighs, and stiff staring truncheon, red-topt and rooted into a thicket of curls, which covered his belly to the navel and gave it the air of a flesh brush; and soon I felt it joining close to mine, when he had drove the nail up to the head, and left no partition but the intermediate hair on both sides.