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The New Epicurean

The Delights of Sex: Intro

Erotic novel (1865)


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Edward Sellon, The New Epicurean or The Delights of Sex, Facetiously and Philosophically Considered, in Graphic Letters Addressed to Young Ladies of Quality, London, 1740 [1865].

Gentle Reader

Before transcribing my correspondence with my fair friends, it is necessary to describe the scene of the amours alluded to in the letters, and also to say a few words regarding the chief actor, myself.

I am a man who, having passed the Rubicon of youth, has arrived at that age when the passions require a more stimulating diet than is to be found in the arms of every painted courtesan.

That I might the better carry out my philosophical design of pleasure without riot and refined voluptuous enjoyment without alloy, and with safety, I became the purchaser of a suburban villa situated in extensive grounds, embosomed in lofty trees, and surrounded with high walls. This villa I altered to suit my taste and had it so contrived that all the windows faced towards the road, except the French ones, which opened on the lawn from a charming room, to which I had ingress from the grounds at the back and which was quite cut off from the rest of the house. To render these grounds more private, high walls extended like wings from either side of the house and joined the outer walls. I thus secured an area of some five acres of woodland which was not overlooked from any quarter, and where everything that took place would be a secret unknown to the servants in the villa.

The grounds I had laid out in the true English style, with umbrageous walks, alcoves, grottoes, fountains, and every adjunct that could add to their rustic beauty. In the open space, facing the secret apartment before alluded to, was spread out a fine lawn, embossed with beds of the choicest flowers, and in the centre, from a bouquet of maiden’s blush roses, appeared a statue of Venus; in white marble at the end of every shady valley was a terminal figure of the god of gardens in his various forms: either bearded like the antique head of the Indian Bacchus; soft and feminine, as we see the lovely Antinous; or Hermaphroditic—the form of a lovely girl with puerile attributes. In the fountains swam gold and silver fish, whilst rare crystals and spars glittered amidst mother o’ pearl at the bottom of the basins.

The gardeners who kept this happy valley in order were only admitted on Mondays and Tuesdays, which days were devoted by me entirely to study, the remaining four being sacred to Venus and love.

This garden had three massive doors in its walls, each fitted with a small lock made for the purpose, and all opened with a gold key which never left my watch guard.

Such were the external arrangements of my Caproe. Now, a few words on the internal economy of my private salle d’amour and I have done.

This apartment, which was large and lofty, was in its fittings and furniture entirely Louis−Quinze, that is to say, in the latest French mode; the walls were panelled and painted in pale French grey, white and gold, and were rendered less formal by being hung with exquisite paintings by Watteau. Cabinets of buhl and marqueterie lined the sides, each filled with erotic works by the best authors, illustrated with exquisite and exciting prints and charmingly bound. The couches and chairs were of ormolu, covered en suite with grey satin, and stuffed with down. The legs of the tables were also gilt, the tops were slabs of marble, which, when not in use for the delicious collations (which were from time to time served up through a trap door in the floor), were covered with rich tapestries. The window curtains were of grey silk and Venetian blinds, painted a pale rose colour, cast a voluptuous shade over the room.

The chimney−piece was of marble, large, lofty, and covered with sculpture in relief, representing beautiful naked children of both sexes in every wanton attitude, entwined with grapes and flowers, carved by the hand of a master. The sides and hearth of this elegant fireplace were encrusted with porcelain tiles of rare beauty, representing the Triumph of Venus, and silver dogs were placed on either side to support the wood, according to the style in vogue in the middle of the last century.

To complete the coup d’oeil, my embroidered suit of garnet velvet, plumed hat, and diamond hiked sword were carelessly flung upon a chair, while the cabinets and sideboards were covered with costly snuff boxes and china. Such were some of the striking features of this delightful chamber. As for the rest of the house, it was furnished like any other respectable domicile of our times.

My establishment consisted of a discreet old housekeeper, who was well paid and not too sharply looked after in the little matters of perquisites and peculations, a bouncing blooming cook and a sprightly trim housemaid, who were kept in good humour by an occasional half−guinea, a holiday, and a chuck under the chin. Beyond these innocent liberties they were not molested. As for the gardeners, they lived out of the house, and being as well paid for their two days’ work as if they worked all the week, it followed that they knew their own interests too well to manifest any undue or indiscreet curiosity as to what passed in the grounds when their services were not required.

Having thus given a sketch of the premises, I proceed at once with the letters, only expressing a hope that you, most courteous reader, will quietly lay down the book if it is too strong for your stomach instead of falling foul of

Your humble servant

View online : The Delights of Sex (chapter 1): To Lesbia

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