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Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure

Duet-parties of pleasure in Chelsea

First Letter - Part III


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John Cleland, Memoirs of a woman of pleasure (Fanny Hill), First edition printed for G. Fenton, in the Strand, London, 1747.


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 guardianangel 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.

View online : Our landlady, Mrs. Jones
First Letter - Part IV



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