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Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure

The coup de grâce to my virginity (Mr. Norbert and the young sailor)

Second Letter - Part IV


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


As it was an inviolable law for every gallant to keep to his partner, for the night especially, and even till he relinquished possession over to the community, in order to preserve a pleasing property, and to avoid the disgusts and indelicacy of another arrangement, the company, after a short refection of biscuits and wine, tea and chocolate, served in at now about one in the morning, broke up, and went off in pairs. Mrs. Cole had prepared my spark and me an occasion field-bed, to which we retired, and there ended the night in one continued strain of pleasure, sprightly and uncloyed enough for us not to have formed one wish for its ever knowing an end. In the morning, after a restorative breakfast in bed, he got up, and with very tender assurance of a particular regard for me, left me to the composure and refreshment of a sweet slumber; waking out of which, and getting up to dress before Mrs. Cole should come in, I found in one of my pockets a purse of guineas, which he had slipt there; and just as I was musing on a liberality I had certainly not expected, Mrs. Cole came in, to whom I immediately communicated the present, and naturally offered her whatever share she pleased: but assuring me that the gentleman had very nobly rewarded her, she would on no terms, no entreaties, no shape I could put it in, receive any part of it. Her denial, she observed, was no affectation of grimace, and proceeded to read me such admirable lessons on the economy of my person and my purse, as I became amply paid for my general attention and conformity to in the course of my acquaintance with the town. After which, changing the discourse, she fell on the pleasures of the preceding night, where I learned, without much surprise, as I began to enter on her character, that she had seen every thing that had passed, from a convenient place managed solely for that purpose, and of which she readily made me the confidante.

She had scarce finished this, when the little troop of love girls, my companions, broke in, and renewed their compliments and caresses.. I observed with pleasure, that the fatigues and exercises of the night had not usurped in the least on the life of their complexion, or the freshness of their bloom: this I found, by their confession, was owing to the management and advice of our rare directress. They went down then to figure it, as usual, in the shop; whilst I repaired to my lodging, where I employed myself till I returned to dinner at Mrs. Cole’s.

Here I staid in constant amusement, with one or other of these charming girls, till about five in the evening; when seized with a sudden drowsy fit, I was prevailed on to go up and doze it off on Harriet’s bed, who left me on it to my repose. There then I laid down in my clothes, and fell fast asleep, and had now enjoyed, by guess, about an hour’s rest, when I was pleasingly disturbed by my new and favourite gallant, who, enquiring for me, was readily directed where to find me. Coming then into my chamber, and seeing me lie alone, with my face turned from the light towards the inside of the bed, he, without more ado, just slipped off his breeches, for the greater ease and enjoyment of the naked touch; and softly turning up my petticoats and shift behind, opened the prospect of the back avenue to the genial seat of pleasure; where, as I lay at my side length, inclining rather face downward, I appeared full fair, and liable to be entered. Laying himself gently down by me, he invested me behind, and giving me to feel the warmth of his body, as he applied his thighs and belly close to me, and the endeavours of that machine, whose touch has something so exquisitely singular in it, to make its way good into me. I awaked pretty much startled at first, at seeing who it was, disposed myself to turn to him, when he gave me a kiss, and desiring me to keep my posture, just lifted up my upper thigh, and ascertaining the right opening, soon drove it up to the farthest: satisfied with which, and solacing himself with lying so close in those parts, he suspended motion, and thus steeped in pleasure, kept me lying on my side, into him, spoon-fashion, as he termed it, from the snug indent of the back part of my thighs, and all upwards, into the space of the bending between his thighs and belly; till, after some time, that restless and turbulent inmate, impatient by nature of longer quiet, urged him to action, which now prosecuting with all the usual train of toying, kissing, and the like, ended at length in the liquid proof on both sides, that we had not exhausted, or at less were quickly recruited of last night’s draughts of pleasure in us.

With this noble and agreeable youth lived I in perfect joy and constancy. He was full bent on keeping me to himself, for the honey-month at least; but his stay in London was not even so long, his father, who had a post in Ireland, taking him abruptly with him, on his repairing thither. Yet even then I was near keeping hold of his affection and person, as he had proposed, and I had consented to follow him in order to go to Ireland after him, as soon as he could be settled there; but meeting with an agreeable and advantageous match in that kingdom, he chose the wiser part, and forebore sending for me, but at the same time took care that I should receive a very magnificent present, which did not however compensate for all my deep regret on my loss of him.

This event also created a chasm in our little society, which Mrs. Cole, on the foot of her usual caution, was in no haste to fill up; but then it redoubled her attention to procure me, in the advantages of a traffic for a counterfeit maidenhead, some consolation for the sort of widowhood I had been left in; and this was a scheme she had never lost prospect of, and only waited for a proper person to bring it to bear with.

But I was, it seems, fated to be my own caterer in this, as I had been in my first trial of the market.

I had now passed near a month in the enjoyment of all the pleasures of familiarity and society with my companions, whose particular favourites (the baronet excepted, who soon after took Harriet home) had all, on the terms of community established in the house, solicited the gratification of their taste for variety in my embraces; but I had with the utmost art and address, on various pretexts, eluded their pursuit, without giving them cause to complain; and this reserve I used neither out of dislike of them, nor disgust of the thing, but my true reason was my attachment to my own, and my tenderness of invading the choice of my companions, who outwardly exempt, as they seemed, from jealousy, could not but in secret like me the better for the regard I had for, without making a merit of it to them. Thus easy, and beloved by the whole family, did I get on; when one day, that, about five in the afternoon, I stepped over to a fruit shop in Covent Garden, to pick some table fruit for myself and the young women, I met with the following adventure.

Whilst I was chaffering for the fruit I wanted, I observed myself followed by a young gentleman, whose rich dress first attracted my notice; for the rest, he had nothing remarkable in his person, except that he was pale, thin-made, and ventured himself upon legs rather of the slenderest. Easy was it to perceive, without seeming to perceive it, that it was me he wanted to be at; and keeping his eyes fixed on me, till he came to the same basket that I stood at, and cheapening, or rather giving the first price asked for the fruit, began his approaches. Now most certainly I was not at all out of figure to pass for a modest girl. I had neither the feathers, nor fumet of a taudry town-miss: a straw hat, a white gown, clean linen, and above all, a certain natural and easy air of modesty (which the appearances of never forsook me, even on those occasions that I most brouke in upon it, in practice) were all signs that gave him no opening to conjecture my condition. He spoke to me; and this address from a stranger throwing a blush into my cheeks, that still set him wider of the truth, I answered him, with an awkwardness and confusion the more apt to impose, as there really was a mixture of the genuine in them. But when proceeding, on the foot of having broken the ice, to join discourse, he went into other leading questions, I put so much innocence, simplicity, and even childishness, into my answers, that on no better foundation, liking my person as he did, I will not answer for it, he would have been sworn for my modesty. There is, in short, in the men, when once they are caught, by the eye especially, a fund of cullibility that their lordly wisdom little dreams of, and in virtue of which the most sagacious of them are seen so often our dupes. Amongst other queries he put to me, one was, whether I was married? I replied, that I was too young to think of that this many a year. To that of my age, I answered, and sunk a year upon him, passing myself for not above seventeen. As to my way of life, I told him I had served an apprenticeship to a milliner in Preston, and was come to town after a relation, that I had found, on my arrival, was dead, and now lived journey-woman to a milliner in town. That last article, indeed, was not much of the side of what I pretended to pass for; but it did pass, under favour of the growing passion I had inspired him with. After he had next got out of me, very dexterously as he thought, what I had no sort of design to make reserve of, my own, my mistress’s name, and place of abode, he loaded me with fruit, all the rarest and dearest he could pick out and sent me home, pondering on what might be the consequence of this adventure.

As soon then as I came to Mrs. Cole’s, I related to her all that passed, on which she very judiciously concluded, that if he did not come after me there was no harm done, and that, if he did, as her presage suggested to her he would, his character and his views should be well sifted, so as to know whether the game was worth the springes; that in the mean time nothing was easier than my part in it, since no more rested on me than to follow her cue and promptership throughout, till the last act.

The next morning, after an evening spent on his side, as we afterwards learnt, in perquisitions into Mrs. Cole’s character in the neighbourhood (than which nothing could be more favourable to her designs upon him), my gentleman came in his chariot to the shop, where Mrs. Cole alone had an inkling of his errand. Asking then for her, he easily made a beginning of acquaintance by bespeaking some millinery ware; when, as I sat without lifting my eyes, and pursuing the hem of a ruffle with the utmost composure and simplicity of industry, Mrs. Cole took notice, that the first impressions I made on him ran no risk of being destroyed by those of Louisa and Emily, who were then sitting at work by me. After vainly endeavouring to catch my eyes in rencounter with him (I held my head down, affecting a kind of consciousness of guilt for having, by speaking to him given him encouragement and means of following me), and after giving Mrs. Cole direction when to bring the things home herself, and the time he should expect them, he went out, taking with him some goods, that he paid for liberally, for the better grace of his introduction.

The girls all this time did not in the least smoak the mystery of this new customer; but Mrs. Cole, as soon as we were conveniently alone, insured me, in virtue of her long experience in these matters, "that for this bout my charms had not missed fire; for by his eagerness, his manner and looks, she was sure he had it: the only point now in doubt was his character and circumstances, which her knowledge of the town would soon gain her the sufficient acquaintance with, to take measure upon."

And effectively, in a few hours, her intelligence served her so well, that she learned that this conquest of mine was no other than Mr. Norbert, a gentleman originally of great fortune, which, with a constitution naturally not the best, he had vastly impaired by his over-violent pursuit of the vices of the town; in the course of which, having worn out and staled all the more common modes of debauchery, he had fallen into a taste of maiden-hunting; in which chase he had ruined a number of girls, sparing no expense to compass his ends, and generally using them well till tired, or cooled by enjoying, or springing a new face, he could with more ease disembarrass himself of the old ones, and resign them to their fate, as his sphere of achievements of that sort lay only amongst such as he could proceed with by way of bargain and sale.

Concluding from these premises, Mrs. Cole observed, that a character of this sort was ever a lawful prize; that the sin would be, not to make the best of our market of him; and that she thought such a girl as I only too good for him at any rate, and on any terms.

She went then, at the hour appointed, to his lodgings in one of our inns of court, which were furnished in a taste of grandeur that had a special eye to all the conveniences of luxury and pleasure. Here she found him in ready waiting; and after finishing her business of pretence, and a long conduit of discussions concerning her trade, which she said was very bad, the qualities of her servants, apprentices, journey-women, the discourse naturally landed at length on me, when Mrs. Cole, acting admirably the good old prating gossip, who lets every thing escape her when her tongue is set in motion, cooked him up a story so plausible of me, throwing in every now and then such strokes of art, with all the simplest air of nature, in praise of my person and temper, as finished him finely for her purpose, whilst nothing could be better counterfeited than her innocence of his. But when now fired and on edge, he proceeded to drop hints of his design and views upon me, after he had with much confusion and pains brought her to the point (she kept as long aloof from it as she thought proper) of understanding him, without now affecting to pass for a dragoness of virtue, by flying out into those violent and ever suspicious passions, she stuck with the better grace and effect to the character of a plain, good sort of woman, that knew no harm, and that getting her bread in an honest way, was made of stuff easy and flexible enough to be wrought to his ends, by his superior skill and address; but, however, she managed so artfully that three or four meetings took place, before he could obtain the least favourable hope of her assistance; without which, he had, by a number of fruitless messages, letters, and other direct trials of my disposition, convinced himself there was no coming at me, all which too raised at once my character and price with him.

Regardful, however, of not carrying these difficulties to such a length as might afford time for starting discoveries, or incidents, unfavourable to her plan, she at last pretended to be won over by mere dint of entreaties, promises, and, above all, by the dazzling sum she took care to wind him up to the specification of, when it was now even a piece of art to feign, at once, a yielding to the allurements of a great interest, as a pretext for her yielding at all, and the manner of it such as might persuade him she had never dipped her virtuous fingers in an affair of that sort.

Thus she led him through all the gradations of difficulty, and obstacles, necessary to enhance the value of the prize he aimed at; and in conclusion, he was so struck with the little beauty I was mistress of, and so eagerly bent on gaining his ends of me, that he left her no room to boast of her management in bringing him up to her mark, he drove so plump of himself into every thing tending to make him swallow the bait. Not but, in other respects, Mr. Norbert was not clear sighted enough, or that he did not perfectly know the town, and even by experience, the very branch of imposition now in practice upon him: but we had his passion our friend so much, he was so blinded and hurried on by it, that he would have thought any undeception a very ill office done to his pleasure. Thus concurring, even precipitately, to the point she wanted him at, Mrs. Cole brought him at last to hug himself on the cheap bargain he considered the purchase of my imaginary jewel was to him, at no more than three hundred guineas to myself, and a hundred to the brokers: being a slender recompense for all her pains, and all the scruples of conscience she had now sacrificed to him for this first time of her life; which sums were to be paid down on the nail, upon delivery of my person, exclusive of some no inconsiderable presents that had been made in the course of the negociation: during which I had occasionally, but sparingly been introduced into his company, at proper times and hours; in which it is incredible how little it seemed necessary to strain my natural disposition to modesty higher, in order to pass it upon him for that a very maid: all my looks and gestures ever breathing nothing but that innocence which the men so ardently require in us, for no other end than to feast themselves with the pleasure of destroying it, and which they are so grievously, with all their skill, subject to mistakes in.

When the articles of the treaty had been fully agreed on, the stipulated payments duly secured, and nothing now remained but the execution of the main point, which centered in the surrender of my person up to his free disposal and use, Mrs. Cole managed her objections, especially to his lodgings, and insinuations so nicely, that it became his own mere notion and urgent request, that this copy of a wedding should be finished at her house: "At first, indeed, she did not care, not she, to have such doings in it... she would not for a thousand pounds have any of the servants or apprentices know it... her precious good name would be gone for ever...," with the like excuses. However, on superior objections to all other expedients, whilst she took care to start none but those which were most liable to them it came round at last to the necessity of her obliging’ him in that conveniency, and of doing a little more where she had already done so much.

The night then was fixed, with all possible respect to the eagerness of his impatience, and in the mean time Mrs. Cole had omitted no instructions, nor even neglected any preparation, that might enable me to come off with honour, in regard to the appearance of my virginity, except that, favoured as I was by nature with all the narrowness of stricture in that part requisite to conduct my designs, I had no occasion to borrow those auxiliaries of art that create a momentary one, easily discovered by the test of a warm bath; and as to the usual sanguinary symptoms of defloration, which, if not always, are generally attendants on it, Mrs. Cole had made me the mistress of an invention of her own, which could hardly miss its effect, and of which more in its place.

Every thing then being disposed and fixed for Mr. Norbert’s reception, he was, at the hour of eleven at night, with all the mysteries of silence and secrecy, let in by Mrs. Cole herself, and introduced into her bedchamber, where, in an old-fashioned bed of her’s, I lay, fully undressed, and panting, if not with the fears of a real maid, at least with those perhaps greater of a dissembled one which gave me an air of confusion and bashfulness that maiden-modesty had all the honour of, and was indeed scarce distinguishable from it, even by less partial eyes than those of my lover: so let me call him, for I ever thought the term "cully" too cruel a reproach to the men, for their abused weakness for us.

As soon as Mrs. Cole, after the old gossipery, on these occasions, used to young women abandoned for the first time to the will of man, had left us alone in her room, which, by the bye was well lighted up, at his previous desire, that seemed to bode a stricter examination than he afterwards made, Mr. Norbert, still dressed, sprung towards the bed, where I got my head under the clothes, and defended them a good while before he could even get at my lips, to kiss them: so true it is, that a false virtue, on this occasion, even makes & greater rout and resistance than a true one. From thence he descended to my breasts, the feel I disputed tooth and nail with him till tired with my resistance, and thinking probable to give a better account to me, he hurried his clothes off in an instant, and came into bed.

Mean while by the glimpse I stole of him, I could easily discover a person far from promising any such doughty performances as the storming of maidenheads generally requires, and whose flimsy consumptive texture gave him more the air of an invalid that was pressed, than of a volunteer, on such hot service.

At scarce thirty he had already reduced his strength of appetite down to a wretched dependance on forced provocatives, very little seconded by the natural power of a body jaded, and racked off to the less by constant repeated over draughts of pleasure, which had done the work of sixty winters on his springs of live: leaving him at the same time all the fire and head of youth in his imagination, which served at once to torment and spur him down the precipice.

As soon as he was in bed, he threw off the bedclothes, which I suffered him to force from my hold, and I now lay as exposed as he could wish, not only to his attacks, but his visitation of the sheets; where in the various agitations of the body, through my endeavours to defend myself, he could easily assure himself there was no preparation, though, to do him justice, he seemed a less strict examinant than I had apprehended from so experienced a practitioner. My shift then he fairly tore open, finding I made too much use of it to barricade my breasts, as well as the more important avenue: yet in every thing else he proceeded with all the marks of tenderness and regard to me, whilst the art of my play was to shew none for him, I acted them all the niceties, apprehensions, and terrors, supposable for a girl perfectly innocent to feel, at so great a novelty as a naked man in bed with her for the first time. He scarce even obtained a kiss but what he ravished; I put his hand away twenty times from my breasts, where he had satisfied himself of their hardness and consistence, with passing for hitherto unhandled goods. But when grown impatient upon the main point, he now threw himself upon me, and first trying to examine me with his finger, sought to make himself further way, I complained of his usage bitterly: "I thought he would not have served a body so... I was ruined... I did not know what I had done..., I would get up, so I would...;" and at the same time kept my thighs so fast locked, that it was not for strength like his to force them open, or do any good. Finding thus my advantages, and that I had both my own and his motions at command, the deceiving him came so easy, that it was perfectly playing upon velvet. In the mean time his machine, which was one of those sizes that slip in and out without being minded, kept pretty stiffly bearing against that part, which the shutting my thighs barred access to; but finding, at length he could do no good by mere dint of bodily strength, he resorted to entreaties and arguments: to which I only answered, with a tone of shame and timidity, "that I was afraid he would kill me... Lord!..., would not be served so... I was never so used in all my born days..., I wondered he was not ashamed of himself, so I did...," with such silly infantine moods of repulse and complaint as I judged best adapted to express the character of innocence, and affright. Pretending, however, to yield at length to the vehemence of his insistence, in action and words, I sparing disclosed my thighs, so that he could just touch the cloven inlet with the tip of his instrument: but as he fatigued and toiled to get in, a twist of my body, so as to receive it obliquely, not only thwarted his admission, but giving a scream, as if he had pierced me to the heart, I shook him off me, with such violence that he could not with all his might to it, keep the saddle: vexed indeed at this he seemed, but not in the style of displeasure with me for my skittishness; on the contrary, I dare swear he held me the dearer, and hugged himself for the difficulties that even hurt his instant pleasure. Fired, however, now beyond all bearance of delay, he remounts, and begged of me to have patience, stroking and soothing me to it by all the tenderest endearments and protestations of what he would moreover do for me; at which, feigning to be somewhat softened, and abating of the anger that I had shewn at his hurting me so prodigiously, I suffered him to lay my thighs aside, and make way for a new trial; but I watched the directions and management of his point so well, that no sooner was the orifice in the least open to it, but I gave such a timely jerk as seemed to proceed not from the evasion of his entry, but from the pain his efforts at it put me to: a circumstance too that I did not fail to accompany with proper gestures, sighs and cries of complaint, of which, "that he had hurt me... he killed me... I should die...," were the most frequent interjections. But now, after repeated attempts, in which he had not made the least impression towards gaining his point, at least for that time, the pleasure rose so fast upon him, that he could not check or delay it, and in the vigour and fury which the approaches of the height of it inspired him, he made one fierce-thrust, that had almost put me by my guard, and lodged it so far that I could feel the warm inspersion just within the exterior orifice, which I had the cruelty not to let him finish there, but threw him out again, not without a most piercing loud exclamation, as if the pain had put me beyond all regard of being overheard. It was then easy to observe that he was more satisfied, more highly pleased with the supposed motives of his baulk of consummation, than he would have-been at the full attainment of it. It was on this foot that I solved to myself all the falsity I employed to procure him that blissful pleasure in it, which most certainly he would not have tasted in the truth of things. Eased, however, and relieved by one discharge, he now applied himself to sooth, encourage, and to put me into humour and patience to bear his next attempt, which he began to prepare and gather force for, from all the incentives of the touch and sight which he could think of, by examining every individual part of my whole body, which he declared his satisfaction with, in raptures of applause, kisses universally imprinted, and sparing no part of me, in all the eagerest wantonness of feeling, seeing, and toying. His vigour, however, did not return so soon, and I felt him more than once pushing at the door, but so little in a condition to break in, that I question whether he had the power to enter, had I held it ever so open; but this he then thought me too little acquainted with the nature of things, to have any regret or confusion about, and he-kept fatiguing himself and me for a long time, before he was in any state to resume his attacks with any prospect of success and then I breathed him so warmly, and kept him so at bay, that before he had made any sensible progress in point of penetration, he was deliciously sweated, and wearied out indeed: so that it was deep in the morning before he achieved his second let-go, about half way of entrance, I all the while crying and complaining of his prodigious vigour, and the immensity of what I appeared to suffer splitting up with. Tired, however, at length, with such athletic drudgery, my champion began now to give out, and to gladly embrace the refreshment of some rest. Kissing me then with much affection, and recommending me to my repose, he presently fell fast asleep, which, as soon as I had well satisfied myself of, I with much composure of body, so as not to wake him by any motion, with much ease and safety too, played of Mrs. Cole’s device for perfecting the signs of my virginity. In each of the head bed-posts, just above where the bedsteads are inserted into them, there was a small drawer, so artfully adapted to the mouldings of the timber-work, that it might have escaped even the most curious search: which drawers were easily opened or shut by the touch of a spring, and were fitted each with a shallow glass tumbler, full of a prepared fluid blood, in which lay soaked, for ready use, a sponge, that required no more than gently reaching the hand to it, taking it out and properly squeezing between the thighs, when it yelded a great deal more of the red liquid than would save a girl’s honour; after which, replacing it, and touching the spring, all possibility of discovery, or even of suspicion, was taken away; and this was not the work of the fourth part of a minute, and of which ever side one lay, the thing was equally easy and practicable, by the double care taken to have each bed-post provided alike. True it is, that had he waked and caught me in the act, it would at least have covered me with shame and confusion; but them, that he did not, was, with the precautions I took, a risk of a thousand to one in my favour.

At ease now, and out of all fear of any doubt or suspicion on his side, I addressed myself in good earnest to my repose, but could obtain none; and in about half an hour’s time my gentleman waked again, and turning towards me, I feigned a sound sleep, which he did not long respect; but girding himself again to renew the onset, he began to kiss and caress me, when now making as if I just waked, I complained of the disturbance, and of the cruel pain that this little rest had stole my senses from. Eager, however, for the pleasure, as well of consummating an entire triumph over my virginity, he said every thing that could overcome my resistance, and bribe my patience to the end, which now I was ready to listen to, from being secure of the bloody proofs I had prepared of his victorious violence, though I still thought it good policy not to let him in yet a while. I answered then only to his importunities in sighs and moans, "that I was so hurt, I could not bear it... I was sure he had done me a mischief; that he had... he was such a bad man!" At this, turning down the clothes, and viewing the field of battle by the glimmer of a dying taper, he saw plainly my thighs, shift, and sheet, all stained with what he readily took for a virgin effusion, proceeding from his last half penetration: convinced, and transported at which, nothing could equal his joy and exultation. The illusion was complete, no other conception entered his head, but that of his having been at work upon an unopened mine; which idea, upon so strong an evidence, redoubled at once his tenderness for me, and his ardour for breaking it wholly up. Kissing me then with the utmost rapture, he comforted me, and begged my pardon for the pain he had put me to: observing withal, that it was only a thing in course; but the worst was certainly past, and that with a little courage and constancy, I should get it once well over, and never after experience any thing but the greatest pleasure. By little and little I suffered myself to be prevailed on, and giving, as it were, up to the point of him, I made my thighs, insensibly spreading them, yield him liberty of access, which improving, he got a little within me, when by a well managed reception I worked the female screw so nicely, that I kept him from the easy mid-channel direction, and by dexterous wreathing and contortions, creating an artificial difficulty of entrance, made him win it inch by inch, with the most laborious struggles, I all the while sorely complaining: till at length, with might and main, winding his way in, he got it completely home, and giving my virginity, as he thought, the coup de grâce, furnished me with the cue of setting up a terrible outcry, whilst he, triumphant and like a cock clapping his wings over his down-trod mistress, pursued his pleasure: which presently rose, in virtue of this idea of a complete victory, to a pitch that made me soon sensible of his melting period; whilst I now lay acting the deep wounded, breathless, frightened, undone, no longer maid.

You would ask me, perhaps, whether all this time I enjoyed any perception of pleasure? I assure you, little or none, till just towards the latter end, a faintish sense of it came on mechanically, from so long a struggle and frequent fret in that ever sensible part; but, in the first place, I had no taste for the person I was suffering the embraces of, on a pure mercenary account; and then, I was not entirely delighted with myself for the jade’s part I was playing, whatever excuses I might plead for my being brought into it; but then this insensibility kept me so much the mistress of my mind and motions, that I could the better manage so close a counterfeit, through the whole scene of deception.

Recovered at length to a more shew of life, by his tender condolences, kisses and embraces, I upbraided him, and reproached him with my ruin, in such natural terms, as added to his satisfaction with himself, for having accomplished it; and guessing, by certain observations of mine, that it would be rather favourable to him, to spare him, when he some time after, feebly enough, came on again to the assault, I resolutely withstood any further endeavours, on a pretext that flattered his prowess, of my being so violently hurt and sore, that I could not possibly endure a fresh trial. He then graciously granted me a respite, and the next morning soon after advancing, I got rid of further importunity, till Mrs. Cole, being rung for by him, came in and was made acquainted, in terms of the utmost joy and rapture, with his triumphant certainty of my virtue, and the finishing stroke he had given it, in the course of the night: of which, he added, she would see proof enough in bloody characters, on the sheets.

You may guess how a woman of her turn of address and experience humoured the jest, and played him off with mixed exclamations of shame, danger, compassion for me, and of her being pleased that all was so well over: in which last, I believe, she was certainly sincere. And now, as the objection which she had represented as an invincible one, to me lying the first night at his lodgings (which were studiously calculated for freedom of intrigues), on the account of my maiden fears and terrors, at the thought of going to a gentleman’s chambers, and being alone with him in bed, was surmounted, she pretended to persuade me, in favour to him, that I should go there to him, whenever he pleased, and still keep up all the necessary appearances of working with her, that I might not lose, with my character, the prospect of getting a good husband, and at the same time her house would be kept safer from scandal. All this seemed so reasonable, so considerate to Mr. Norbert, that he never once perceived that she did not want him to resort to her house, lest he might in time discover certain inconsistencies with the character she had set out with to him: besides that this plan greatly flattered his own ease, and views of liberty.

Leaving me then to my much wanted rest, he got up, and Mrs. Cole, after settling with him all points relating to me, got him undiscovered out of the house. After which, as I was awake, she came in, and gave me due praises for my success. Behaving too with her usual moderation and disinterestedness, she refused any share of the sum I had thus earned, and put me into such a secure and easy way of disposing of my affairs, which now amounted to a kind of little fortune, that a child of ten years old might have kept the account and property of them safe in its hands.

I was now restored again to my former state of a kept mistress, and used punctually to wait on Mr. Norbert at his chambers whenever he sent a messenger for me, which I constantly took care to be in the way of, and managed with so much caution, that he never once penetrated the nature of my connections with Mrs. Cole; but indolently given up to ease and the town dissipations, the perpetual hurry of them hindered him from looking into his own affairs, much less to mine.

In the mean time, if I may judge from my own experience, none are better paid, or better treated, during their reign, than the mistress of those who, enervate by nature, debaucheries, or age, have the least employment for the sex: sensible that a woman must be satisfied some way, they ply her with a thousand little tender attentions, presents, caresses, confidences, and exhaust their inventions in means and devices to make up for the capital deficiency; and even towards lessening that, what arts, what modes, what refinements of pleasure have they not recourse to, to raise their languid powers, and press nature into the service of their sensuality? But here is their misfortune, that when by a course of teasing, worrying, handling, wanton postures, lascivious motions, they have at length accomplished a flashy enervate enjoyment, they at the same time light up a flame in the object of their passion, that, not having the means themselves to quench, drives her for relief into the next person’s arms, who can finish their work; and thus they become bawds to some favourite, tried and approved of, for a more vigorous and satisfactory execution; for with women, of our turn especially, however well our hearts may be disposed, there is a controlling part, or queen-seat in us, that governs itself by its own maxims of state, amongst which not one is stronger, in practice with it, than, in the matter of is dues, never to accept the will for the deed.

Mr. Norbert, who was much in this ungracious case, though he professed to like me extremely, could but seldom consummate the main-joy itself with me, without such a length and variety of preparations, as were at once wearisome and inflammatory.

Sometimes he would strip me stark naked on a carpet, by a good fire, when he would contemplate me almost by the hour, disposing me in all the figures and attitudes of body that it was susceptible of being viewed in; kissing me in every part, the most secret and critical one so far from excepted that it received most of that branch of homage. Then his touches were so exquisitely wanton, so luxuriously diffused and penetrative at times, that he had made me perfectly rage with titillating fires, when, after all, and much ado, he had gained a short-lived erection, he would perhaps melt it away in a washy sweat, or a premature abortive effusion, that provokingly mocked my eager desires: or, if carried home, how faultered and unnervous the execution! how insufficient the sprinkle of a few heat-drops to extinguish all the flames he had kindled!

One evening, I cannot help remembering, that returning home from him, with a spirit he had raised in a circle his wand had proved too weak to lay, as I turned the corner of a street, I was overtaken by a young sailor, I was then in that spruce, neat, plain dress, which I ever affected and perhaps might have, in my trip, a certain air of restlessness unknown to the composure of cooler thoughts. However, he seized me as a prize, and without farther ceremony threw his arms round my neck, and kissed me boisterously and sweetly. I looked at him with a beginning of anger and indignation at his rudeness, that softened away into other sentiments as I viewed him: for he was tall, manly carriaged, handsome of body and face, so that I ended my stare, with asking him, in a tone turned to tenderness, what he meant; at which, with the same frankness and vivacity as he had begun with me, he proposed treating me with a glass of wine. Now, certain it is, that had I been in a calmer state of blood than I was, had I not been under the dominion of unappeased irritation; but I do not know how it was, my pressing calls, his figure, the occasion, and if you will, the powerful combination of all these, with a start of curiosity to see the end of an adventure, so novel too as being treated like a common street-plyer, made me give a silent consent; in short, it was not my head that I now obeyed, I suffered myself to be towed along as it were by this man-of-war, who took me under his arm as familialry as if he had known me all his lifetime, and led me into the next convenient tavern, where we were shown into a little room on one side of the passage. Here, scarce allowing himself patient till the drawer brought in the wine called for, he fell directly on board me: when, untucking my handkerchief, and giving me a snatching buss, he laid my breasts bare at once, which he handled with that keenness of gust that abridges a ceremonial evermore tiresome than pleasing on such pressing occasions; and now, hurrying towards the main point, we found no conveniency to our purpose, two or three disabled chairs, and a rickety table, composing the whole furniture of the room. Without more ado, he plans me with my back standing against the wall, and my petticoats up; and coming out with a splitter indeed, made it shine, as he brandished it, in my eyes; and going to work with an impetuosity and eagerness, bred very likely by a long fast at seat, went to give me a taste of it. I straddled, I humoured my posture, and did my best in short to buckle to it; I took part of it in, but still things did not go to his thorough liking; changing them in a trice his system of battery, he leads me to the table and with a master-hand lays my head down on the edge of it, and, with the other canting up my petticoats and shift, bares my naked posteriors to his blind and furious guide; it forces its way between them, and I feeling pretty sensibly that it was not going by the right door, and knocking desperately at the wrong one, I told him of it:—"Pooh!" says he, "my dear, any port in a storm." Altering, however, directly his course, and lowering his point, he fixed it right, and driving it up with a delicious stiffness, made all foam again, and gave me the tout with such fire and spirit, that in the fine disposition I was in when I submitted to him and stirred up so fiercely as I was, I got the start of him, and went away into the melting swoon, and squeezing him, whilst in the convulsive grasp of it, drew from him such a plenteous bedewal, as pointed to my own effusion, perfectly floated those parts, and drowned in a deluge all my raging conflagration of desire.

When this was over, how to make my retreat was my concern; for, though I had been so extremely pleased with the difficult between this warm broadside, poured so briskly into me, and the tiresome pawing and toying to which I had owed the unappeased flames that had driven me into this step, now I was cooler, I began to apprehend the danger of contracting an acquaintance with this, however agreeable stranger; who, on his side, spoke of passing the evening with me and continuing our intimacy, with an air of determination that made me afraid of its being not so easy to get away from him as I could wish. In the mean time I carefully concealed my uneasiness, and readily pretended to consent to stay with him, telling him I should only step to my lodgings to leave a necessary direction, and then instantly return. This he very glibly swallowed, on the notion of my being one of those unhappy street-errants, who devote themselves to the pleasure of the first ruffian that will stoop to pick them up, and of course, that I would scarce bilk myself of the hire, by not returning make the most of the job. Thus he parted with me, not before, however, he had ordered in my hearing a supper, which I had the barbarity to disappoint him of my company too.

But when I got home, and told Mrs. Cole my adventure, she represented so strongly to me the nature and dangerous consequences of my folly, particularly the risks to my health, in being so openlegged and free, that I not only took resolutions never to venture so rashly again, which I inviolably preserved, but passed a good many days in continual uneasiness, lest I should have met with other reasons, besides the pleasure of that rencounter, to remember it; but these fears wronged my pretty sailor, for which I gladly make him this reparation.

I had now lived with Mr. Norbert near a quarter of a year, in which space I circulated my time very pleasantly, between my amusements at Mrs. Cole’s, and a proper attendance on that gentleman, who paid me profusely for the unlimited complaisance with which I passively humoured every caprice of pleasure, and which had won upon him so greatly, that finding, as he said, all that variety in me alone, which he had sought for in a number of women, I had made him lose his taste for inconstancy, and new faces. But what was yet at least agreeable, as well as more nattering, the love I had inspired him with, bred a deference to me, that was of great service to his health: for having by degrees, and with much pathetic representations brought him to some husbandry of it, and to insure the duration of his pleasures by moderating their use, and correcting those excesses in them he was so addicted to, and which had shattered his constitution and destroyed his powers of life in the very point for which he seemed desirous to live, he was grown more delicate, more temperate, and in course more healthy; his gratitude for which was taking a turn very favourable for my fortune, when once more the caprice of it dashed the cup from my lips. His sister, lady L..., for whom he had a great affection, desiring him to accompany her down to Bath for her health, he could not refuse her such a favour; and accordingly, though he counted on staying away from me no more than a week at farthest, he took his leave of me with an ominous heaviness of heart, and left me a sum far above the state of his fortune, and very inconsistent with the intended shortness of his journey; but it ended in the longest that can be, and is never but once taken: for, arrived at Bath, he was not there two days before he fell into a debauch of drinking with some gentlemen, that threw him into a high fever, and carried him off in four days’ time, never once out of a delirium. Had he been in his senses to make a will, perhaps he might have made favourable mention of me in it. Thus, however, I lost him; and as no condition of life is more subject to revolutions than that of a woman of pleasure, I soon recovered my cheerfulness, and now beheld myself once more struck off the list of kept mistresses, and returned into the bosom of the community, from which I had been in some manner taken.

View online : Whipping and being whipped
Second Letter - Part V



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