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Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure

Our landlady, Mrs. Jones

First Letter - Part IV


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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.

Charles remov’d me then to a private ready furnish’d lodging in D… street, St. James’s, where he paid half a guinea a week for two rooms and a closet on the second floor, which he had been some time looking out for, and was more convenient for the frequency of his visits than where he had at first plac’d me, in a house which I cannot say but I left with regret, as it was infinitely endear’d to me by the first possession of my Charles, and the circumstance of losing, there, that jewel which can never be twice lost. The landlord, however, had no reason to complain of any thing, but of a procedure in Charles too liberal not to make him regret the loss of us.

Arrived at our new lodgings, I remember I thought them extremely fine, though ordinary enough, even at that price; but, had it been a dungeon that Charles had brought me to, his presence would have made it a little Versailles.

The landlady, Mrs. Jones, waited on us to our apartment, and with great volubility of tongue explain’d to us all its conveniences—that her own maid should wait on us … that the best of quality had lodg’d at her house … that her first floor was let to a foreign secretary of an embassy, and his lady … that I looked like a very goodnatur’d lady … At the word lady, I blush’d out of flatter’d vanity: this was too strong for a girl of my condition; for though Charles had had the precaution of dressing me in a less tawdry flaunting style than were the cloaths I escap’d to him in, and of passing me for his wife, that he had secretly married, and kept private (the old story) on account of his friends, I dare swear this appear’d extremely apocryphal to a woman who knew the town so well as she did; but that was the least of her concern. It was impossible to be less scruple-ridden than she was; and the advantage of letting her rooms being her sole object, the truth itself would have far from scandaliz’d her, or broke her bargain.

A sketch of her picture, and personal history, will dispose you to account for the part she is to act in my concerns.

She was about forty-six years old, tall, meagre, redhair’d, with one of those trivial ordinary faces you meet with everywhere, and go about unheeded and unmentioned. In her youth she had been kept by a gentleman who, dying, left her forty pounds a year during her life, in consideration of a daughter he had by her; which daughter, at the age of seven-teen, she sold, for not a very considerable sum neither, to a gentleman who was going on Envoy abroad, and took his purchase with him, where he us’d her with the utmost tenderness, and it is thought, was secretly married to her: but had constantly made a point of her not keeping up the least correspondence with a mother base enough to make a market of her own flesh and blood. However, as she had no nature, nor, indeed, any passion but that of money, this gave her no further uneasiness, than, as she thereby lost a handle of squeezing presents, or other after-advantages, out of the bargain. Indifferent then, by nature of constitution, to every other pleasure but that of increasing the lump by any means whatever, she commenc’d a kind of private procuress, for which she was not amiss fitted, by her grave decent appearance, and sometimes did a job in the match-making way; in short, there was nothing that appear’d to her under the shape of gain that she would not have undertaken. She knew most of the ways of the town, having not only herself been upon, but kept up constant intelligences in it, dealing, besides her practice in promoting a harmony between the two sexes, in private pawn-broking and other profitable secrets. She rented the house she liv’d in, and made the most of it by letting it out in lodgings; though she was worth, at least, near three or four thousand pounds, she would not allow herself even the necessaries of life, and pinn’d her subsistence entirely on what she could squeeze out of her lodgers.

When she saw such a young pair come under her roof, her immediate notions, doubtless, were how she should make the most money of us, by every means that money might be made, and which, she rightly judged, our situation and inexperience would soon beget her occasions of.

In this hopeful sanctuary, and under the clutches of this harpy, did we pitch our residence. It will not be mighty material to you, or very pleasant to me, to enter into a detail of all the petty cut-throat ways and means with which she used to fleece us; all which Charles indolently chose to bear with, rather than take the trouble of removing, the difference of expense being scarce attended to by a young gentleman who had no idea of stint, or even of economy, and a raw country girl who knew nothing of the matter.

Here, however, under the wings of my sovereignly belov’d, did I flow the most delicious hours of my life; my Charles I had, and, in him, everything my fond heart could wish or desire. He carried me to plays, operas, masquerades, and every diversion of the town; all of which pleas’d me indeed, but pleas’d me infinitely the more for his being with me, and explaining everything to me, and enjoying, perhaps, the natural impressions of surprize and admiration, which such sights, at the first, never fail to excite in a country girl, new to the delights of them; but to me, they sensibly prov’d the power and full dominion of the sole passion of my heart over me, a passion in which soul and body were concentre’d, and left me no room for any other relish of life but love.

As to the men I saw at those places, or at any other, they suffer’d so much in the comparison my eyes made of them with my all-perfect Adonis, that I had not the infidelity even of one wandering thought to reproach myself with upon his account. He was the universe to me, and all that was not him was nothing to me.

My love, in fine, was so excessive, that it arriv’d at annihilating every suggestion or kindling spark of jealousy; for, one idea only tending that way, gave me such exquisite torment that my self-love, and dread of worse than death, made me for ever renounce and defy it: nor had I, indeed, occasion; for, were I to enter here on the recital of several instances wherein Charles sacrific’d to me women of greater importance than I dare hint (which, considering his form, was no such wonder), I might, indeed, give you full proof of his unshaken constancy to me; but would not you accuse me of warming up again a feast that my vanity ought long ago to have been satisfy’d with?

In our cessations from active pleasure, Charles fram’d himself one, in instructing me, as far as his own lights reach’d, in a great many points of life that I was, in consequence of my no-education, perfectly ignorant of: nor did I suffer one word to fall in vain from the mouth of my lovely teacher: I hung on every syllable he utter’d, and receiv’d as oracles, all he said; whilst kisses were all the interruption I could not refuse myself the pleasure of admitting, from lips that breath’d more than Arabian sweetness.

I was in a little time enabled, by the progress I had made, to prove the deep regard I had paid to all that he had said to me: repeating it to him almost word for word; and to shew that I was not entirely the parrot, but that I reflected upon, that I enter’d into it, I join’d my own comments, and ask’d him questions of explanation.

My country accent, and the rusticity of my gait, manners, and deportment, began now sensibly to wear off, so quick was my observation, and so efficacious my desire of growing every day worthier of his heart.

As to money, though he brought me constantly all he receiv’d, it was with difficulty he even got me to give it room in my bureau; and what clothes I had, he could prevail on me to accept of on no other foot than that of pleasing him by the greater neatness in my dress, beyond which I had no ambition. I could have made a pleasure of the greatest toil, and worked my fingers to the bone, with joy, to have supported him: guess, then, if I could harbour any idea of being burdensome to him, and this disinterested turn in me was so unaffected, so much the dictate of my heart, that Charles could not but feel it: and if he did not love me as I did him (which was the constant and only matter of sweet contention between us), he manag’d so, at least, as to give me the satisfaction of believing it impossible for man to be more tender, more true, more faithful than he was.

Our landlady, Mrs. Jones, came frequently up to my apartment, from whence I never stirr’d on any pretext without Charles; nor was it long before she worm’d out, without much art, the secret of our having cheated the church of a ceremony, and, in course, of the terms we liv’d together upon; a circumstance which far from displeas’d her, considering the designs she had upon me, and which, alas! she will, too soon, have room to carry into execution. But in the mean time, her own experience of life let her see that any attempt, however indirect or disguis’d to divert or break, at least presently, so strong a cement of hearts as ours was, could only end in losing two lodgers, of whom she made very competent advantages, if either of us came to smoke her commission; for a commission she had from one of her customers, either to debauch, or get me away from my keeper at any rate.

But the barbarity of my fate soon sav’d her the task of disuniting us. I had now been eleven months with this life of my life, which had passed in one continu’d rapid stream of delight: but nothing so violent was ever made to last. I was about three months gone with child by him, a circumstance which would have added to his tenderness had he ever left me room to believe it could receive an addition, when the mortal, the unexpected blow of separation fell upon us. I shall gallop post over the particulars, which I shudder yet to think of, and cannot to this instant reconcile myself how, or by what means, I could out-live it.

Two life-long days had I linger’d through without hearing from him, I who breath’d, who existed but in him, and had never yet seen twenty-four hours pass without seeing or hearing from him. The third day my impatience was so strong, my alarms had been so severe, that I perfectly sicken’d with them; and being unable to support the shock longer, I sunk upon the bed and ringing for Mrs. Jones, who had far from comforted me under my anxieties, she came up. I had scarce breath and spirit enough to find words to beg of her, if she would save my life, to fall upon some means of finding out, instantly, what was become of its only prop and comfort. She pity’d me in a way that rather sharpen’d my affliction than suspended it, and went out upon this commission.

Far she had not to go: Charles’s father lived but at an easy distance, in one of the streets that run into Covent Garden. There she went into a publick house, and from thence sent for a maid-servant, whose name I had given her, as the properest to inform her.

The maid readily came, and as readily, when Mrs. Jones enquir’d of her what was become of Mr. Charles, or whether he was gone out of town, acquainted her with the disposal of her master’s son, which, the very day after, was no secret to the servants. Such sure measures had he taken, for the most cruel punishment of his child for having more interest with his grandmother than he had, though he made use of a pretense, plausible enough, to get rid of him in this secret and abrupt manner, for fear her fondness should have interpos’d a bar to his leaving England, and proceeding on a voyage he had concerted for him; which pretext was, that it was indispensably necessary to secure a considerable inheritance that devolv’d to him by the death of a rich merchant (his own brother) at one of the factories in the South-Seas, of which he had lately receiv’d advice, together with a copy of the will.

In consequence of which resolution to send away his son, he had, unknown to him, made the necessary preparations for fitting him out, struck a bargain with the captain of a ship, whose punctual execution of his orders he had secured, by his interest with his principal owner and patron; and, in short, concerted his measures so secretly and effectually that whilst his son thought he was going down the river for a few hours, he was stopt on board of a ship, debar’d from writing, and more strictly watch’d than a State criminal.

Thus was the idol of my soul torn from me, and forc’d on a long voyage, without taking of one friend, or receiving one line of comfort, except a dry explanation and instructions, from his father, how to proceed when he should arrive at his destin’d port, enclosing, withal, some letters of recommendation to a factor there: all these particulars I did not learn minutely till some time after.

The maid, at the same time, added that she was sure this usage of her sweet young master would be the death of his grand-mama, as indeed it prov’d true; for the old lady, on hearing it, did not survive the news a whole month; and as her fortune consisted in an annuity, out of which she had laid up no reserves, she left nothing worth mentioning to her so fatally envied darling, but absolutely refus’d to see his father before she died.

When Mrs. Jones return’d and I observ’d her looks, they seem’d so unconcern’d, and even near to pleas’d, that I half flatter’d myself she was going to set my tortur’d heart at ease by bringing me good news; but this, indeed, was a cruel delusion of hope: the barbarian, with all the coolness imaginable, stab’d me to the heart, in telling me, succinctly, that he was sent away at least on a four years’ voyage (here she stretch’d maliciously), and that I could not expect, in reason, ever to see him again: and all this with such prenant circumstances that I could not help giving them credit, as in general they were, indeed, too true!

She had hardly finish’d her report before I fainted away and after several successive fits, all the while wild and senseless, I miscarried of the dear pledge of my Charles’s love: but the wretched never die when it is fittest they should die, and women are hard-liv’d to a proverb.

The cruel and interested care taken to recover me sav’d an odious life: which, instead of the happiness and joys it had overflow’d in, all of a sudden presented no view before me of any thing but the depth of misery, horror, and the sharpest affliction.

Thus I lay six weeks, in the struggles of youth and constitution, against the friendly efforts of death, which I constantly invoked to my relief and deliverance, but which proving too weak for my wish, I recovered at length, tho’ into a state of stupefaction and despair that threatened me with the loss of my senses, and a mad-house.

Time, however, that great comforter in ordinary, began to assuage the violence of my sufferings, and to numb my feeling of them. My health return’d to me, though I still retain’d an air of grief, dejection, and languor, which taking off the ruddiness of my country complexion, render’d it rather more delicate and affecting.
The landlady had all this while officiously provided, and taken care that I wanted for nothing: and as soon as she saw me retriev’d into a condition of answering her purpose, one day, after we had dined together, she congratulated me on my recovery, the merit of which she took entirely to herself, and all this by way of introduction to a most terrible and scurvy epilogue: "You are now," says she, "Miss Fanny, tolerably well, and you are very welcome to stay in the lodgings as long as you please; you see I have ask’d you for nothing this long time, but truly I have a call to make up a sum of money, which must be answer’d." And, with that, presents me with a bill of arrears for rent, diet, apothecary’s charges, nurse, etc., sum total twenty-three pounds, seventeen and six-pence: towards discharging of which, I had not in the world (which she well knew) more than seven guineas, left by chance, of my dear Charles’s common stock with me. At the same time, she desir’d me to tell her what course I would take for payment. I burst out into a flood of tears and told her my condition; adding that I would sell what few cloaths I had, and that, for the rest, I would pay her as soon as possible. But my distress, being favourable to her views, only stiffen’d her the more.
She told me, very coolly, that "she was indeed sorry for my misfortunes, but that she must do herself justice, though it would go to the very heart of her to send such a tender young creature to prison …" At the word "prison!" every drop of my blood chill’d, and my fright acted so strongly upon me, that, turning as pale and faint as a criminal at the first sight of his place of execution, I was on the point of swooning. My landlady, who wanted only to terrify me to a certain point, and not to throw me into a state of body inconsistent with her designs upon it, began to soothe me again, and told me, in a tone compos’d to more pity and gentleness, that it would be my own fault, if she was forc’d to proceed to such extremities; but she believ’d there was a friend to be found in the world who would make up matters to both our satisfactions, and that she would bring him to drink tea with us that very afternoon, when she hoped we would come to a right understanding in our affairs. To all this, not a word of answer; I sat mute, confounded, terrify’d. Mrs. Jones however, judging rightly that it was time to strike while the impressions were so strong upon me, left me to my self and to all the terrors of an imagination, wounded to death by the idea of going to a prison, and, from a principle of self-preservation, snatching at every glimpse of redemption from it.

In this situation I sat near half an hour, swallow’d up in grief and despair, when my landlady came in, and observing a death-like dejection in my countenance and still in pursuance of her plan, put on a false pity, and bidding me be of a good heart: Things, she said, would not be so bad as I imagined if I would be but my own friend; and closed with telling me she had brought a very honourable gentleman to drink tea with me, who would give me the best advice how to get rid of all my troubles. Upon which, without waiting for a reply, she goes out, and returns with this very honourable gentleman, whose very honourable procuress she had been, on this as well as other occasions.

The gentleman, on his entering the room, made me a very civil bow, which I had scarce strength, or presence of mind enough to return a curtsy to; when the landlady, taking upon her to do all the honours of the first interview (for I had never, that I remember’d, seen the gentleman before), sets a chair for him, and another for herself. All this while not a word on either side; a stupid stare was all the face I could put on this strange visit.

The tea was made, and the landlady, unwilling, I suppose, to lose any time, observing my silence and shyness before this entire stranger: "Come, Miss Fanny," says she, in a coarse familiar style, and tone of authority, "hold up your head, child, and do not let sorrow spoil that pretty face of yours. What! sorrows are only for a time; come, be free, here is a worthy gentleman who has heard of your misfortunes and is willing to serve you; you must be better acquainted with him; do not you now stand upon your punctilio’s, and this and that, but make your market while you may."

At this so delicate and eloquent harangue, the gentleman, who saw I look’d frighted and amaz’d, and indeed, incapable of answering, took her up for breaking things in so abrupt a manner, as rather to shock than incline me to an acceptance of the good he intended me; then, addressing himself to me, told me he was perfectly acquainted with my whole story and every circumstance of my distress, which he own’d was a cruel plunge for one of my youth and beauty to fall into; that he had long taken a liking to my person, for which he appeal’d to Mrs. Jones, there present, but finding me so absolutely engag’d to another, he had lost all hopes of succeeding till he had heard the sudden reverse of fortune that had happen’d to me, on which he had given particular orders to my landlady to see that I should want for nothing; and that, had he not been forc’d abroad to The Hague, on affairs he could not refuse himself to, he would himself have attended me during my sickness; that on his return, which was but the day before, he had, on learning my recovery, desir’d my landlady’s good offices to introduce him to me, and was as angry, at least, as I was shock’d, at the manner in which she had conducted herself towards obtaining him that happiness; but, that to shew me how much he disown’d her procedure, and how far he was from taking any ungenerous advantage of my situation, and from exacting any security for my gratitude, he would before my face, that instant, discharge my debt entirely to my landlady and give me her receipt in full; after which I should be at liberty either to reject or grant his suit, as he was much above putting any force upon my inclinations.

Whilst he was exposing his sentiments to me, I ventur’d just to look up to him, and observed his figure, which was that of a very sightly gentleman, well made, about forty, drest in a suit of plain cloaths, with a large diamond ring on one of his fingers, the lustre of which play’d in my eyes as he wav’d his hand in talking, and rais’d my notions of his importance. In short, he might pass for what is commonly call’d a comely black man, with an air of distinction natural to his birth and condition.

To all his speeches, however, I answer’d only in tears that flow’d plentifully to my relief, and choking up my voice, excus’d me from speaking, very luckily, for I should not have known what to say.

The sight, however, mov’d him, as he afterwards told me, irresistibly, and by way of giving me some reason to be less powerfully afflicted, he drew out his purse, and calling for pen and ink, which the landlady was prepar’d for, paid her every farthing of her demand, independent of a liberal gratification which was to follow unknown to me; and taking a receipt in full, very tenderly forc’d me to secure it, by guiding my hand, which he had thrust it into, so as to make me passively put it into my pocket.

Still I continued in a state of stupidity, or melancholy despair, as my spirits could not yet recover from the violent shocks they had receiv’d; and the accommodating landlady had actually left the room, and me alone with this strange gentleman, before I observ’d it, and then I observ’d it without alarm, for I was now lifeless and indifferent to everything.

The gentleman, however, no novice in affairs of this sort, drew near me; and under the pretence of comforting me, first with his handkerchief dried my tears as they ran down my cheeks: presently he ventur’d to kiss me: on my part, neither resistance nor compliance. I sat stock-still; and now looking on myself as bought by the payment that had been transacted before me, I did not care what became of my wretched body: and, wanting life, spirits, or courage to oppose the least struggle, even that of the modesty of my sex, I suffer’d, tamely, whatever the gentleman pleased; who proceeding insensibly from freedom to freedom, insinuated his hand between my handkerchief and bosom, which he handled at discretion: finding thus no repulse, and that every thing favour’d, beyond expectation, the completion of his desires, he took me in his arms, and bore me, without life or motion, to the bed, on which laying me gently down, and having me at what advantage he pleas’d, I did not so much as know what he was about, till recovering from a trance of lifeless insensibility, I found him buried in me, whilst I lay passive and innocent of the least sensation of pleasure: a death-cold corpse could scarce have less life or sense in it. As soon as he had thus pacified a passion which had too little respected the condition I was in, he got off, and after recomposing the disorder of my cloaths, employ’d himself with the utmost tenderness to calm the transports of remorse and madness at myself with which I was seized, too late, I confess, for having suffer’d on that bed the embraces of an utter stranger. I tore my hair, wrung my hands, and beat my breast like a mad-woman. But when my new master, for in that light I then view’d him, applied himself to appease me, as my whole rage was levell’d at myself, no part of which I thought myself permitted to aim at him, I begged of him, with more submission than anger, to leave me alone that I might, at least, enjoy my affliction in quiet. This he positively refused, for fear, as he pretended, I should do myself a mischief.

Violent passions seldom last long, and those of women least of any. A dead still calm succeeded this storm, which ended in a profuse shower of tears.

Had any one, but a few instants before, told me that I should have ever known any man but Charles, I would have spit in his face; or had I been offer’d infinitely a greater sum of money than that I saw paid for me, I had spurn’d the proposal in cold blood. But our virtues and our vices depend too much on our circumstances; unexpectedly beset as I was, betray’d by a mind weakened by a long severe affliction, and stunn’d with the terrors of a jail, my defeat will appear the more excusable, since I certainly was not present at, or a party in any sense, to it. However, as the first enjoyment is decisive, and he was now over the bar, I thought I had no longer a right to refuse the caresses of one that had got that advantage over me, no matter how obtain’d; conforming myself then to this maxim, I consider’d myself as so much in his power that I endur’d his kisses and embraces without affecting struggles or anger; not that they, as yet, gave me any pleasure, or prevail’d over the aversion of my soul to give myself up to any sensation of that sort; what I suffer’d, I suffer’d out of a kind of gratitude, and as a matter of course after what had pass’d.

He was, however, so regardful as not to attempt the renewal of those extremities which had thrown me, just before, into such violent agitations; but, now secure of possession, contented himself with bringing me to temper by degrees, and waiting at the hand of time for those fruits of generosity and courtship which he since often reproach’d himself with having gather’d much too green, when, yielding to the invitations of my inability to resist him, and overborne by desires, he had wreak’d his passion on a mere lifeless, spiritless body dead to all purposes of joy, since, taking none, it ought to be suppos’d incapable of giving any. This is, however, certain; my heart never thoroughly forgave him the manner in which I had fallen to him, although, in point of interest, I had reason to be pleas’d that he found, in my person, wherewithal to keep him from leaving me as easily as he had gained me.

The evening was, in the mean time, so far advanc’d, that the maid came in to lay the cloth for supper, when I understood, with joy, that my landlady, whose sight was present poison to me, was not to be with us.

Presently a neat and elegant supper was introduc’d, and a bottle of Burgundy, with the other necessaries, were set on a dumb-waiter.

The maid quitting the room, the gentleman insisted, with a tender warmth, that I should sit up in the elbow chair by the fire, and see him eat if I could not be prevailed on to eat myself. I obey’d with a heart full of affliction, at the comparison it made between those delicious tete-a-tetes with my ever dear youth, and this forc’d situation, this new awkward scene, impos’d and obtruded on me by cruel necessity.

At supper, after a great many arguments used to comfort and reconcile me to my fate, he told me that his name was H…, brother to the Earl of L… and that having, by the suggestions of my landlady, been led to see me, he had found me perfectly to his taste and given her a commission to procure me at any rate, and that he had at length succeeded, as much to his satisfaction as he passionately wished it might be to mine; adding, withal, some flattering assurances that I should have no cause to repent my knowledge of him.

I had now got down at most half a partridge, and three or four glasses of wine, which he compelled me to drink by way of restoring nature; but whether there was anything extraordinary put into the wine, or whether there wanted no more to revive the natural warmth of my constitution and give fire to the old train, I began no longer to look with that constraint, not to say disgust, on Mr. H…, which I had hitherto done; but, withal, there was not the least grain of love mix’d with this softening of my sentiments: any other man would have been just the same to me as Mr. H…, that stood in the same circumstances and had done for me, and with me, what he had done.

There are not, on earth at least, eternal griefs; mine were, if not at an end, at least suspended: my heart, which had been so long overloaded with anguish and vexation, began to dilate and open to the least gleam of diversion or amusement. I wept a little, and my tears reliev’d me; I sigh’d, and my sighs seem’d to lighten me of a load that oppress’d me; my countenance grew, if not cheerful, at least more compos’d and free.

Mr. H…, who had watched, perhaps brought on this change, knew too well not to seize it; he thrust the table imperceptibly from between us, and bringing his chair to face me, he soon began, after preparing me by all the endearments of assurances and protestations, to lay hold of my hands, to kiss me, and once more to make free with my bosom, which, being at full liberty from the disorder of a loose dishabille, now panted and throbb’d, less with indignation than with fear and bashfulness at being used so familiarly by still a stranger. But he soon gave me greater occasion to exclaim, by stooping down and slipping his hand above my garters: thence he strove to regain the pass, which he had before found so open, and unguarded: but not he could not unlock the twist of my thighs; I gently complained, and begg’d him to let me alone; told him I was now well. However, as he saw there was more form and ceremony in my resistance than good earnest, he made his conditions for desisting from pursuing his point that I should be put instantly to bed, whilst he gave certain orders to the landlady, and that he would return in an hour, when he hoped to find me more recondil’d to his passion for me than I seem’d at present. I neither assented nor deny’d, but my air and manner of receiving this proposal gave him to see that I did not think myself enough my own mistress to refuse it.

Accordingly he went out and left me, when, a minute or two after, before I could recover myself into any composure for thinking, the maid came in with her mistress’s service, and a small silver porringer of what she called a bridal posset, and desir’d me to eat it as I went to bed, which consequently I did, and felt immediately a heat, a fire run like a hue-and-cry thro’ every part of my body; I burnt, I glow’d, and wanted even little of wishing for any man.

The maid, as soon as I was lain down, took the candle away, and wishing me a good night, went out of the room and shut the door after her.

She had hardly time to get down-stairs before Mr. H… open’d my room-door softly, and came in, now undress’d in his night-gown and cap, with two lighted wax candles, and bolting the door, gave me, tho’ I expected him, some sort of alarm. He came a tip-toe to the bed-side, and said with a gentle whisper: "Pray, my dear, do not be startled… I will be very tender and kind to you." He then hurry’d off his cloaths, and leap’d into bed, having given me openings enough, whilst he was stripping, to observe his brawny structure, strong-made limbs, and rough shaggy breast.

The bed shook again when it receiv’d this new load. He lay on the outside, where he kept the candles burning, no doubt for the satisfaction of ev’ry sense; for as soon as he had kiss’d me, he rolled down the bed-cloaths, and seemed transported with the view of all my person at full length, which he cover’d with a profusion of kisses, sparing no part of me. Then, being on his knees between my legs, he drew up his shirt and bared all his hairy thighs, and stiff staring truncheon, red-topt and rooted into a thicket of curls, which covered his belly to the navel and gave it the air of a flesh brush; and soon I felt it joining close to mine, when he had drove the nail up to the head, and left no partition but the intermediate hair on both sides.

I had it now, I felt it now, and, beginning to drive, he soon gave nature such a powerful summons down to her favourite quarters, that she could no longer refuse repairing thither; all my animal spirits then rush’d mechanically to that center of attraction, and presently, inly warmed, and stirr’d as I was beyond bearing, I lost all restraint, and yielding to the force of the emotion, gave down, as mere woman, those effusions of pleasure, which, in the strictness of still faithful love, I could have wished to have held up.
Yet oh! what an immense difference did I feel between this impression of a pleasure merely animal, and struck out of the collision of the sexes by a passive bodily effect, from that sweet fury, that rage of active delight which crowns the enjoyments of a mutual love-passion, where two hearts, tenderly and truly united, club to exalt the joy, and give it a spirit and soul that bids defiance to that end which mere momentary desires generally terminate in, when they die of a surfeit of satisfaction!

Mr. H…, whom no distinctions of that sort seemed to disturb, scarce gave himself or me breathing time from the last encounter, but, as if he had task’d himself to prove that the appearances of his vigour were not signs hung out in vain, in a few minutes he was in a condition for renewing the onset; to which, preluding with a storm of kisses, he drove the same course as before, with unabated fervour; and thus, in repeated engagements, kept me constantly in exercise till dawn of morning; in all which time he made me fully sensible of the virtues of his firm texture of limbs, his square shoulders, broad chest, compact hard muscles, in short a system of namliness that might pass for no bad image of our ancient sturdy barons, when they wielded the battle-ax: whose race is now so thoroughly refin’d and frittered away into the more delicate and modern-built frame of our pap-nerv’d softlings, who are as pale, as pretty, and almost as masculine as their sisters.

Mr. H…, content, however, with having the day break upon his triumphs, delivered me up to the refreshment of a rest we both wanted, and we soon dropped into a profound sleep.

Tho’ he was some time awake before me, yet did he not offer to disturb a repose he had given me so much occasion for; but on my first stirring, which was not till past ten o’clock, I was oblig’d to endure one more trial of his manhood.

About eleven, in came Mrs. Jones, with two basins of the richest soup, which her experience in these matters had mov’d her to prepare. I pass over the fulsome compliments, the cant of the decent procuress, with which she saluted us both; but tho’ my blood rose at the sight of her, I supprest my emotions, and gave all my concern to reflections on what would be the consequence of this new engagement.

But Mr. H…, who penetrated my uneasiness, did not long suffer me to languish under it. He acquainted me that, having taken a solid sincere affection to me, he would begin by giving me one leading mark of it by removing me out of a house which must, for many reasons, be irksome and disagreeable to me, into convenient lodgings, where he would take all imaginable care of me; and desiring me not to have any explanations with my landlady, or be impatient till he returned, he dress’d and went out, having left me a purse with two and twenty guineas in it, being all he had about him, as he expresst it, to keep my pocket till further supplies.

As soon as he was gone, I felt the usual consequence of the first launch into vice (for my love-attachment to Charles never appear’d to me in that light). I was instantly borne away down the stream, without making back to the shore. My dreadful necessities, my gratitude, and above all, to say the plain truth, the dissipation and diversion I began to find, in this new acquaintance, from the black corroding thoughts my heart had been a prey to ever since the absence of my dear Charles, concurr’d to stun all contrary reflections. If I now thought of my first, my only charmer, it was still with the tenderness and regret of the fondest love, embitter’d with the consciousness that I was no longer worthy of him. I could have begg’d my bread with him all over the world, but wretch that I was, I had neither the virtue nor courage requisite not to outlive my separation from him!

Yet, had not my heart been thus pre-ingaged, Mr. H… might probably have been the sole master of it; but the place was full, and the force of conjunctures alone had made him the possessor of my person; the charms of which had, by the bye, been his sole object and passion, and were, of course, no foundation for a love either very delicate or very durable.

He did not return till six in the evening to take me away to my new lodgings; and my moveables being soon pack’d, and convey’d into a hackney-coach, it cost me but little regret to take my leave of a landlady whom I thought I had so much reason not to be overpleas’d with; and as for her part, she made no other difference to my staying or going, but what that of the profit created.

We soon got to the house appointed for me, which was that of a plain tradesman who, on the score of interest, was entirely at Mr. H…’s devotion, and who let him the first floor, very genteelly furnish’d, for two guineas a week, of which I was instated mistress, with a maid to attend me.

He stayed with me that evening, and we had a supper from a neighbouring tavern, after which, and a gay glass or two, the maid put me to bed. Mr. H… soon follow’d, and notwithstanding the fatigues of the preceding night, I found no quarter nor remission from him: he piqued himself, as he told me, on doing the honours of my new apartment.

The morning being pretty well advanc’d, we got to breakfast; and the ice now broke, my heart, no longer engross’d by love, began to take ease, and to please itself with such trifles as Mr. H…’s liberal liking led him to make his court to the usual vanity of our sex. Silks, laces, ear-rings, pearl-necklace, gold watch, in short, all the trinkets and articles of dress were lavishly heap’d upon me; the sense of which, if it did not create returns of love, forc’d a kind of grateful fondness something like love; a distinction it would be spoiling the pleasure of nine tenths of the keepers in the town to make, and is, I suppose, the very good reason why so few of them ever do make it.

View online : I was now establish’d the kept mistress in form
First Letter - Part V

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