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Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure

Whipping and being whipped

Second Letter - Part V


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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.


Mrs. Cole still continued her friendship, and offered me her assistance and advice towards another choice; but I was now in ease and affluence enough to look about me at leisure; and as to any constitutional calls of pleasure, their pressure, or sensibility, was greatly lessened by a consciousness of the east with which they were to be satisfied at Mrs. Cole’s house, where Louisa and Emily still continued in the old way; and my great favourite Harriet used often to come and see me, and entertain me, with her head and heart full of the happiness she enjoyed with her dear baronet, whom she loved with a tenderness and constancy, even though he was her keeper, and what is yet more, had made her independent, by a handsome provision for her and hers. I was then in this vacancy from any regular employ of my person in my way of business, when one day, Mrs. Cole, in the course of the constant confidence we lived in, acquainted me that there was one Mr. Barville, who used her house, just come to town, whom she was not a little perplexed about providing a suitable companion for; which was indeed a point of difficulty, as he was under the tyranny of a cruel taste: that of an ardent desire, not only of being unmercifully whipped himself, but of whipping others, in such sort, that though he paid extravagantly those who had the courage and complaisance to submit to his humour, there were few, delicate as he was in the choice of his subjects, who would exchange turns with him so terribly at the expense of their skin. But, what yet increased the oddity of this strange fancy was the gentleman being young; whereas it generally attacks, it seems, such as are, through age, obliged to have recourse to this experiment, for quickening the circulation of their sluggish juices, and determining a conflux of the spirits of pleasure towards those flagging shrivelly parts, that rise to life only by virtue of those titillating ardours created by the discipline of their opposites, with which they have so surprising a consent.

This Mrs. Cole could not well acquaint me with, in any expectation of my offering for service: for, sufficiently easy as I was in my circumstances, it must have been the temptation of an immense interest indeed, that could have induced me to embrace such a job, neither had I ever expressed, nor indeed, felt the least impulse or curiosity to know more of a taste, that promised so much more pain than pleasure to those that stood in no need of such violent goads: what then should move me to subscribe myself voluntarily to a party of pain, foreknowing it such? Why, to tell the plain truth, it was a sudden caprice, a gust of fancy for trying a new experiment, mixed with the vanity of approving my personal courage to Mrs. Cole, that determined me, at all risks, to propose myself to her and relieve her from any farther lookout. Accordingly, I at once pleased and surprised her, with a frank and unreserved tender of my person to her and her friend’s absolute disposal on this occasion.

My good temporal mother was, however, so kind as to use all the arguments she could imagine to dissuade me: but, as I found they only turned on a motive of tenderness to me, I persisted in my resolution, and thereby acquitted my offer of any suspicion of its not having been sincerely made, or out of compliment only. Acquiescing then thankfully in it, Mrs. Cole assured me "that bating the pain I should be put to, she had no scruple to engage me to this party, which she assured me I should be liberally paid for, and which, the secrecy of the transaction preserved safe from the ridicule that otherwise vulgarly attended it; that for her part, she considered pleasure, of one sort or other, as the universal port of destination, and every wind that blew thither a good one, provided it blew nobody any harm; that she rather compassionated, than blamed those unhappy persons, who are under a subjection they cannot shake off, to those arbitrary tastes that rule their appetites of pleasures with an unaccountable control: tastes too, as infinitely diversified, as superior to, and independent of all reasoning as the different relishes or palates of mankind in their viands, some delicate stomach nauseating plain meats, and finding no savour but in highseasoned, luxurious dishes, whilst others again pique themselves upon detesting them."

I stood now in no need of this preamble of encouragement, or justification: my word was given, and I was determined to fulfill my engagements. Accordingly the night was set, and I had all the necessary previous instructions how to act and conduct myself. The dining room was duly prepared and lighted up, and the young; gentleman posted there in waiting, for my introduction to him.

I was then, by Mrs. Cole, brought in, and presented to him, in a loose dishabille fitted, by her direction, to the exercise I was to go through, all in the finest linen and a thorough white uniform: gown, petticoat, stocking, and satin slippers, like a victim led to sacrifice; whilst my dark auburn hair, falling in drop-curls over my neck, created a pleasing distinction of colour from the rest of my dress.

As soon as Mr. Barville saw me, he got up, with a visible air of pleasure and surprise, and saluting me, asked Mrs. Cole, if so fine and delicate a creature would voluntarily submit to such sufferings and rigours, as were the subject of his assignation. She answered him properly, and now, reading in his eyes that she could not too soon leave us together, she went out, after recommending to him to use moderation with so tender a novice.

But whilst she was employing his attention, mine had been taken up with examining the figure and person of this unhappy young gentleman, who was thus unaccountably condemned to have his pleasure lashed into him, as boys have their learning.

He was exceedingly fair, and, smooth complexioned, and appeared to me no more than twenty at most, though he was three years older than what my conjectures gave him; but then he owed this favourable mistake to a habit of fatness, which spread through a short, squab stature; and a round, plump, fresh coloured face gave him greatly the look of a Bacchus, had not an air of austerity, not to say sternness, very unsuitable even to his shape of face, dashed that character of joy, necessary to complete the resemblance. His dress was extremely neat, but plain, and far inferior to the ample fortune he was in full possession of; this too was a taste in him, and not avarice.

As soon as Mrs. Cole was gone, he seated me near him, when now his face changed upon me, into an expression of the most pleasing sweetness and good humour, the most remarkable for its sudden shift from the other extreme, which I found afterwards, when I knew more of his character, was owing to a habitual state of conflict with, and dislike of himself, for being enslaved to so peculiar a lust, by the fatality of a constitutional ascendant, that rendered him incapable of receiving any pleasure, till he submitted to these extraordinary means of procuring it at the hands of pain, whilst the constancy of this repining consciousness stamped at length that cast of sourness and severity on his features: which was, in fact, very foreign to the natural sweetness of his temper.

After a competent preparation by apologies, and encouragement to go through my part with spirit and constancy, he stood up near the fire, whilst I went to fetch the instruments of discipline out of a closet hard by: these were several rods, made each of two or three strong twigs of birch tied together, which he took, handled, and viewed with as much pleasure, as I did with a kind of shuddering presage.

Next we took from the side of the room a long broad bench, made easy to lie at length on by a soft cushion in a callico-cover; and everything being now ready, he took his coat and waistcoat off; and at his motion and desire, I unbuttoned his breeches, and rolling up his shirt rather above his waist, tucked it on securely there; when directing naturally my eyes to that humoursone master-movement, in whose favaur all these dispositions were making, it seemed almost shrunk into his body, scarce showing its tip above the sprout of hairy curls that clothed those parts, as you may have-seen a wren peeping its head out of the grass.

Stooping them to untie his garters, he gave them to me for the use of tying him down to the legs of the bench: a circumstance no farther necessary than, as I suppose, it made part of the humour of the thing, since he prescribed it to himself, amongst the rest of the ceremonial.

I led him then to the bench, and according to my cue, played at forcing him to lie down: which, after-some little show of reluctance, for form-sake, he submitted to; he was straightway extended flat upon his: belly, on the bench, with a pillow under his face; and as he thus tamely lay, I tied him slightly hand and feet, to the legs of it; which done, his shirt remaining-trussed up over the small of his back, I drew his breeches quite down to his knees; and now he lay, in all the fairest, broadest display of that part of the back-view; in which a pair of chubby, smooth-cheeked and passing white posteriors rose cushioning upwards from two stout, fleshful thighs, and ending their cleft, or separation by an union at the small of the back, presented a bold mark, that swelled, as it were, to meet the scourge.

Seizing now one of the rods, I stood over him, and according to his direction, gave him in one breath, ten lashes with much good-will, and the utmost nerve and vigour of arm that I could put to them, so as to make those fleshy orbs quiver again under them; whilst he himself seemed no more concerned, or to mind them, than a lobster would a flea-bite. In the mean time, I view intently the effect of them, which to me at last appeared surprisingly cruel: every lash had skimmed the surface of those white cliffs, which they deeply reddened, and lapping round the side of the furthermost from me, cut specially, into the dimple of it, such livid weals, as the blood either spun out from, or stood in large drops on; and, from some of the cuts, I picked out even the splinters of the rod that had stuck in the skin. Nor was this raw work to be wondered at, considering the greenness of the twigs and the severity of the infliction, whilst the whole surface of the skin was so smooth-stretched over the hard and firm pulp of flesh that filled it, as to yield no play, or elusive swagging under the stroke: which thereby took place the more plump, and cut into the quick.

I was however already so moved at the piteous sight, that I from my heart repented the undertaking, and would willing had given over, thinking he had full enough; but, he encouraging and beseeching me earnestly to proceed, I gave him ten more lashes; and then resting, surveyed the increase of bloody appearances. And at length, steeled to the height, by his stoutness in suffering, I continued the discipline, by intervals, till I observed him wreathing and twisting his body, in a way that I could plainly perceive was not the effect of pain, but of some new and powerful sensation: curious to dive into the meaning of which, in one of my pauses of intermission, I approached, as he still kept working, and grinding his belly against the cushion under him: and first stroking the untouched and unhurt side of the flesh-mount next me, then softly insinuating my hand under his thigh, felt the posture things were in forwards, which was indeed surprising: for that machine of him, which I had, by its appearance, taken for an impalpable, or at least a very diminutive subject, was now, in virtue of all that smart and havoc of his skin behind, grown not only to a prodigious stiffness of erection, but to a size that frighted even me: a non-pareil thickness indeed! the head of it alone filled the utmost capacity of my grasp. And when, as he heaved and wriggled to and fro, in the agitation of his strange pleasure, it came into view, it had something of the air of a round fillet of veal, and like its owner, squab, and short in proportion to its breadth; but when he felt my hand there, he begged I would go on briskly with my jerking, or he should never arrive at the last stage of pleasure.

Resuming then the rode and the exercise of it, I had fairly worn out three bundles, when, after an increase of struggles and motion, and a deep sigh or two, I saw him lie still and motionless; and now he desired me to desist, which I instantly did; and proceeding to untie him, I could not but be amazed at his passive fortitude, on viewing the skin of his butchered, mangled posteriors, late so white, smooth and polished, now all one side of them a confused cut-work of weals, livid flesh, gashes and gore, insomuch that when he stood up, he could scarce walk; in short, he was in sweet-briars.

Then I plainly perceived, on the cushion, the marks of a plenteous effusion, and already had his sluggard member run up to its old nestling-place, and enforced itself again, as if ashamed to shew its head; which nothing, it seems, could raise but stripes inflicted on its opposite neighbours, who were thus constantly obliged to suffer for his caprice.

My gentleman had now put on his clothes and recomposed himself, when giving me a kiss, and placing me by him, he sat himself down as gingerly as possible, with one side off the cushion, which was too sore for him to bear resting any part of his weight on.

Here he thanked me for the extreme pleasure I had procured him, and seeing, perhaps, some marks in my countenance of terror and apprehension of retaliation on my own skin, for what I had been the instrument of his suffering in his, he assured me, "he was ready to give up to me any engagement I might deem myself under to stand him, as he had done me, but that if I proceeding in my consent to it, he would consider the difference of my sex, its greater delicacy and incapacity to undergo pain." Reheartened at which, and piqued in honour, as I thought, not to flinch so near the trial, especially as I well knew Mrs. Cole was an eye-witness, from her stand of espial, to the whole of our transaction, I was now less afraid of my skin, than of his not furnishing me with an opportunity of signalizing my resolution.

Consonant to this disposition was my answer, but my courage was still more in my head, than in my heart; and as cowards rush into danger they fear, in order to be the sooner rid of the pain of that sensation, I was entirely pleased with his hastening matters into execution.

He had then little to do, but to unloose the strings of my petticoats, and lift them, together with my shift, navel-high, where he just tucked them up loosely, and might be slipt up higher at pleasure. Then viewing me round with great seeming delight, he laid me at length on my face upon the bench, and when I expected he would tie me, as I had done him, and held out my hands, not without fear and a little trembling, he told me, "he would by no means terrify me unnecessarily with such a confinement; for that though he meant to put my constancy to a trial, the standing it was to be completely voluntary on my side, and therefore I might be at full liberty to get up whenever I found the pain too much for me." You cannot imagine how much I thought myself bound, by being thus allowed to remain loose, and how much spirit this confidence in me gave me, so that I was even from my heart careless how much my flesh might suffer in honour of it.

All my back parts, naked half way up, were now fully at his mercy: and first, he stood at a convenient distance, delighting himself with a gloating survey of the attitude I lay in, and of all the secret stores I thus exposed to him in fair display. Then, springing eagerly towards me, he covered all those naked parts with a fond profusion of kisses; and now, taking hold of the rod, rather wantoned with me, in gentle inflictions on those tender trembling masses of my flesh behind, than in any way hurt them, till by degrees, he began to tingle them with smarter lashes, so as to provoke a red colour into them, which I knew, as well by the flagrant glow I felt there, as by his telling me, they now emulated the native roses of my other cheeks. When he had thus amused himself with admiring, and toying with them, he went on to strike harder, and more hard, so that I needed all my patience not to cry out, or complain at least. At last, he twigged me so smartly as to fetch blood in more than one lash: at sight of which he flung down the rod, flew to me, kissed away the starting drops, and sucking the wounds eased a good deal of my pain. But now raising me on my knees, and making me kneel with them straddling wide, that tender part of me, naturally the province of pleasure, not of pain, came in for its share of suffering: for now, eyeing it wistfully, he directed the rod so that the sharp ends of the twigs lighted there, so sensibly, that I could not help wincing, and writhing my limbs with smart; so that my contortions of body must necessarily throw it into infinite variety of postures and points of view, fit to feast the luxury of the eye. But still I bore every thing without crying out: when presently giving me another pause, he rushed, as it were, on that part whose lips, and round about, had felt this cruelty, and by way of reparation, glued his own to them; then he opened, shut, squeezed them, plucked softly the overgrowing moss, and all this in a style of wild passionate rapture and enthusiasm, that expressed excess of pleasure; till betaking himself to the rod again, encouraged by my passiveness, and infuriated with this strange taste of delight, he made my poor posteriors pay for the ungovernableness of it; for now showing them no quarter, the traitor cut me so, that I wanted but little of fainting away, when he gave over. And yet I did not utter one groan, or angry expostulation; but in my heart I resolved nothing so seriously, as never to expose myself again to the like severities.

You may guess then in what a curious pickle those soft flesh-cushions of mine were, all so red, raw, and in fine, terribly clawed off; but so far from feeling any pleasure in it, that the recent smart made me pout a little, and not with the greatest air of satisfaction receive the compliments, and after-caresses of the author of my pain.

As soon as my clothes were huddled on in a little decency, a supper was brought in by the discreet Mrs. Cole herself, which might have piqued the sensuality of a cardinal, accompanied with a choice of the richest wines: all which she set before us, and went out again, without having, by a word or even by a smile, given us the least interruption or confusion, in those moments of secrecy, that we were not yet ripe to the admission of a third too.

I sat down then, still scarce in charity with my butcher, for such I could not help considering him, and was moreover not a little piqued at the gay, satisfied air of his countenance, which I thought myself insulted by. But when the now necessary refreshment to me of a glass of wine, and a little eating (all the time observing a profound silence) had somewhat cheered and restored me to spirits, and as the smart began to go off, my good humour returned accordingly: which alteration not escaping him, he said and did every thing that could confirm me in, and indeed exalt it.

But scarce was supper well over, before a change so incredible was wrought in me, such violent, yet pleasingly irksome sensations took possession of me that I scarce knew how to contain myself; the smart of the lashes was now converted into such a prickly heat, such fiery tinglings, as made me sigh, squeeze my thighs together, shift and wriggle about my seat, with a furious restlessness; whilst these itching ardours, thus excited in those parts on which the storm of discipline had principally fallen, detached legions of burning, subtile, stimulating spirits, to their opposite spot and centre of assemblage, where their titillation raged so furiously, that I was even stinging made with them. No wonder then that in such a taking, and devoured by flames that licked up all modesty and reserve, my eyes, now charged brimful of the most intense desire, fired on my companion very intelligible signal of distress: my companion, I say, who grew in them every instant more amiable, and more necessary to my urgent wishes and hopes of immediate ease.

Mr. Barville, no stranger, by experience, to these situations, soon knew the pass I was brought to soon perceived my extreme disorder; in favour of which, removing the table out of the way, he began a prelude that flattered me with instant relief, to which I was not, however, so near as I imagined: for as he was unbuttoned to me, and tried to provoke and rouse to action his unactive torpid machine, he blushingly owned that no good was to be expected from it, unless I took it in hand to re-excite its languid loitering powers, by just refreshing the smart of the yet recent blood-raw cuts, seeing it could, no more than a boy’s top, keep up without lashing. Sensible then that I should work as much for my own profit as his, I hurried my compliance with his desire, and abridging the ceremonial, whilst he leaned his head against the back of a chair, I had scarce gently made him feel the lash, before I saw the object of my wishes give signs of life, and presently, as it were with a magic touch, is started up into a noble size and distinction indeed. Hastening then to give me the benefit of it, he threw me down on the bench; but such was the refreshed soreness of those parts behind, on my leaning so hard on them, as became me to compass the admission of that stupendous head of his machine, that I could not possibly bear it. I got up then, and tried, by leaning forwards, and turning the crupper on my assailant, to let him at the back avenue: but here it was likewise impossible to stand his bearing so fiercely against me, in his agitations and endeavours to enter that way, whilst his belly battered directly against the recent sore. What should we do now? both intolerably heated: both in a fury; but pleasure is ever inventive for its own ends: he strips me in a trice stark naked, and placing a broad settee-cushion on the carpet before the fire, oversets me gently, topsy turvy, on it; and handling me only at the waist, whilst you may be sure I favoured all my dispositions, brought my legs round his neck; so that my head was kept from the floor only by my hands and the velvet cushion, which was now bespread with my flowing hair: thus I stood on my head and hands, supported by him in such manner, that whilst my thighs clung round him, so as to expose to his sight all my back figure, including the theatre of his bloody pleasure, the centre of my fore pair fairly bearded the ob-jest of its rage, that now stood in fine condition to give me satisfaction for the injuries of its neighbours. But as this posture was certainly not the easiest, and our imaginations, wound up to the height, could suffer no delay, he first, with the utmost eagerness and effort, just lip-lodged that broad acorn-fashioned head of his instrument; and still befriended by the fury with which he had made that impression, he soon stuffed in the rest; when now, with a pursuit of thrusts, fiercely urged, he absolutely overpowered and absorbed all sense of pain and uneasiness, whether from my wounds behind, my most untoward posture, or the oversize of his stretcher, in an infinitely predominant delight; when now all my whole spirits of life and sensation rushing, impetuously to the cock-pit, where the prize of pleasure was hotly in dispute and clustering to a point there, I soon received the dear relief of nature from these over-violent strains and provocations of it; harmonizing with which, my gallant spouted into me such a potent overflow of the balsamic injection, as softened and unedged all those irritating stings of a new species of titillation, which I had been so intolerably maddened with, and restored the ferment of my senses to some degree of composure.

I had now achieved this rare adventure ultimately much more to my satisfaction than I had bespoken the nature of it to turn out; nor was it much lessened, you may think, by spark’s lavish praises of my constancy and complaisance, which he gave weight to by a present that greatly surpassed my utmost expectation, besides his gratification to Mrs. Cole.

I was not, however, at any time re-enticed to renew with him, or resort again to the violent expedient of lashing nature into more haste than good speed: which, by the way, I conceive acts somewhat in the manner of a dose of Spanish flies; with more pain perhaps, but less danger; and might be necessary to him, but was nothing less so than to me, whose appetite wanted the bridle more than the spur.

Mrs. Cole, to whom this adventurous exploit had more and more endeared me, looked on me now as a girl after her own heart, afraid of nothing, and, on a good account, hardly enough to fight all the weapons of pleasure through. Attentive then, in consequence of these favourable conceptions, to promote either my profit or pleasure, she had special regard for the first, in a new gallant of a very singular turn, that she procured for and introduced to me.

This was a grave staid, solemn, elderly gentleman, whose peculiar humour was a delight in combing fine tresses of hair; and as I was perfectly headed to his taste, he used to come constantly at my toilet hours, when I let down my hair as loose as nature, and abandoned it to him to do what he pleased with it; and accordingly he would keep me an hour or more in play with it, drawing the comb through it, winding the curls round his fingers, even kissing it as he smoothed it; and all this led to no other use of my person, or any other liberties whatever, any more than if a distinction of sexes had not existed.

Another peculiarity of taste he had, which was to present me with a dozen pairs of the whitest kid gloves at a time: these he would divert himself with drawing on me, and then biting off their finger ends; all which fooleries of a silly appetite, the old gentleman paid more liberally for, than most others did for more essential favours. This lasted till a violent cough, seizing and laying him up, delivered me from this most innocent and insipid trifler, for I never heard more of him after his first retreat.

View online : Emily in the habit of a shepherd and the criminal scene
Second Letter - Part VI



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