Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure
by John Cleland, 1749
About eleven at night my two ladies came home, and
having receiv'd rather a favourable account from Martha, who had run down to let
them in, for Mr. Crofts (that was the name of my brute) was gone out of the
house, after waiting till he had tired his patience for Mrs. Brown's return,
they came thundering up-stairs, and seeing me pale, my face bloody, and all the
marks of the most thorough dejection, they employed themselves more to comfort
and re-inspirit me, than in making me the reproaches I was weak enough to fear,
I who had so many juster and stronger to retort upon them.
Mrs. Brown withdrawn, Phoebe came presently to bed to
me, and what with the answers she drew from me, what with her own method of
palpably satisfying herself, she soon discovered that I had been more frighted
than hurt; upon which I suppose, being herself seiz'd with sleep, and reserving
her lectures and instructions till the next morning, she left me, properly
speaking, to my unrest; for, after tossing and turning the greatest part of the
night, and tormenting myself with the falsest notions and apprehensions of
things, I fell, through mere fatigue, into a kind of delirious doze, out of
which I waded late in the morning, in a violent fever: a circumstance which was
extremely critical to reprieve me, at least for a time, from the attacks of a
wretch infinitely more terrible to me than death itself.
The interested care that was taken of me during my
illness, in order to restore me to a condition of making good the bawd's
engagements, or of enduring further trials, and however such an effect on my
grateful disposition, that I even thought myself oblig'd to my undoers for their
attention to promote my recovery; and, above all, for the keeping out of my
sight of that brutal ravisher, the author of my disorder, on their finding I was
too strongly mov'd at the bare mention of his name.
Youth is soon raised, and a few days were sufficient to
conquer the fury of my fever: but, what contributed most to my perfect recovery
and to my reconciliation with life, was the timely news that Mr. Crofts, who was
a merchant of considerable dealings, was arrested at the King's suit, for nearly
forty thousand pounds, on account of his driving a certain contraband trade, and
that his affairs were so desperate that even were it in his inclination, it
would not be in his power to renew his designs upon me: for he was instantly
thrown into a prison, which it was not likely he would get out of in haste.
Mrs. Brown, who had touched his fifty guineas, advanc'd
to so little purpose, and lost all hopes of the remaining hundred, began to look
upon my treatment of him with a more favourable eye; and as they had observ'd my
temper to be perfectly tractable and conformable to their views, all the girls
that compos'd her flock were suffered to visit me, and had their cue to dispose
me, by their conversation, to a perfect resignation of myself to Mrs. Brown's
Accordingly they were let in upon me, and all that
frolic and thoughtless gaiety in which those giddy creatures consume their
leisure made me envy a condition of which I only saw the fair side; insomuch,
that the being one of them became even my ambitionP a disposition which they all
carefully cultivated; and I wanted now nothing but to restore my health, that I
might be able to undergo the ceremony of the initiation.
Conversation, example, all, in short, contributed, in
that house, to corrupt my native purity, which had taken no root in education;
whilst not the inflammable principal of pleasure, so easily fired at my age,
made strange work within me, and all the modesty I was brought up in the habit,
not the instruction of, began to melt away like dew before the sun's heat; not
to mention that I made a vice of necessity, from the constant fears I had of
being turn'd out to starve.
I was soon pretty well recover'd, and at certain hours
allow'd to range all over the house, but cautiously kept from seeing any company
till the arrival of Lord B . . ., from Bath, to whom Mrs. Brown, in respect to
his experienced generosity on such occasions, proposed to offer the perusal ot
that trinket of mine, which bears so great an imaginary value; and his lordship
being expected in town in less than a fortnight, Mrs. Brown judged I would be
entirely renewed in beauty and freshness by that time, and afford her the chance
of a better bargain than she had driven with Mr. Crofts.
In the meantime, I was so thoroughly, as they call it,
brought over, so tame to their whistle, that, had my cage door been set open, I
had no idea that I ought to fly anywhere, sooner than stay where I was; nor had
I the least sense of regretting my condition, but waited very quietly for
whatever Mrs. Brown should order concerning me; who on her side, by herself and
her agents, took more than the necessary precautions to lull and lay asleep all
just reflections on my destination.
Preachments of morality over the left shoulder; a life
of joy painted in the gayest colours; caresses, promises, indulgent treatment:
nothing, in short, was wanting to domesticate me entirely and to prevent my
going out anywhere to get better advice. Alas! I dream'd of no such thing.
Hitherto I had been indebted only to the girls of the
house for the corruption of my innocence: their luscious talk, in which modesty
was far from respected, their description of their engagements with men, had
given me a tolerable insight into the nature and mysteries of their profession,
at the same time that they highly provok'd an itch of florid warm-spirited blood
through every vein: but above all, my bed-fellow Phoebe, whose pupil I more
immediately was, exerted her talents in giving me the first tinctures of
pleasure: whilst nature, now warm'd and wantoned with discoveries so interesting,
piqu'd a curiosity which Phoebe artfully whetted, and leading me from question
to question of her own suggestion, explain'd to me all the mysteries of Venus.
But I could not long remain in such a house as that, without being an
eye-witness of more than I could conceive from her descriptions.
One day, about twelve at noon, being thoroughly
recover'd of my fever, I happen'd to be in Mrs. Brown's dark closet, where I had
not been half an hour, resting upon the maid's settle-bed, before I heard a
rustling in the bedchamber, separated from the closet only by two sash-doors,
before the glasses of which were drawn two yellow damask curtains, but not so
close as to exclude the full view of the room form any person in the closet.
I instantly crept softly, and posted myself so, that
seeing every thing minutely, I could not myself be seen; and who should come in
but the venerable mother Abbess herself! handed in by a tall, brawny young
Horse-grenadier, moulded in the Hercules style: in fine, the choice of the most
experienced dame, in those affairs, in all London.
Oh! how still and hush did I keep at my stand, lest any
noise should baulk my curiosity, of bring Madam into the closet!
But I had not much reason to fear either, for she was so
entirely taken up with her present great concern, that she had no sense of
attention to spare to any thing else.
Droll was it to see that clumsy fat figure of hers flop
down on the foot of the bed, opposite to the closet-door, so that I had a full
front-view of all her charms.
Her paramour sat down by her: he seemed to be a man of
very few words, and a great stomach; for proceeding instantly to essentials, he
gave her some hearty smacks, and thrusting his hands into her breasts,
disengag'd them from her stays, in scorn of whose confinement they broke loose,
and swagged down, navel-low at least. A more enormous pair did my eyes never
behold, nor of a worse colour, flagging-soft, and most lovingly contiguous: yet
such as they were, this neck-beef eater seem'd to paw them with a most
uninvitable gust, seeking in vain to confine or cover one of them with a hand
scarce less than a shoulder of mutton. After toying with them thus some time, as
if they had been worth it, he laid her down pretty briskly, and canting up her
petticoats, made barely a mask of them to her broad red face, that blush'd with
nothing but brandy.
As he stood on one side, for a minute or so, unbuttoning
his waist-coat and breeches, her fat, brawny thighs hung down, and the whole
greasy landscape lay fairly open to my view; a wide open-mouth'd gap, overshaded
with a grizzly bush, seemed held out like a beggar's wallet for its provision.
But I soon had my eyes called off by a more striking
object, that entirely engross'd them.
Her sturdy stallion had now unbutton'd, and produced
naked, stiff, and erect, that wonderful machine, which I had never seen before,
and which, for the interest my own seat of pleasure began to take furiously in
it, I star'd at with all the eyes I had: however, my senses were too much
flurried, too much concenter'd in that now burning spot of mine, to observe any
thing more than in general the make and turn of that instrument, from which the
instinct of nature, yet more than all I had heard of it, now strongly informed
me I was to expect that supreme pleasure which she had placed in the meeting of
those parts so admirably fitted for each other.
Long, however, the young spark did not remain before
giving it two or three shakes, by way of brandishing it; he threw himself upon
her, and his back being now towards me, I could only take his being ingulph'd
for granted, by the directions he mov'd in, and the impossibility of missing so
staring a mark; and now the bed shook, the curtains rattled so, that I could
scarce hear the sighs and murmurs, the heaves and pantings that accompanied the
action, from the beginning to the end; the sound and sight of which thrill'd to
the very soul of me, and made every vein of my body circulate liquid fires: the
emotion grew so violent that it almost intercepted my respiration.
Prepared then, and disposed as I was by the discourse of
my companions, and Phoebe's minute detail of everything, no wonder that such a
sight gave the last dying blow to my native innocence.
Whilst they were in the heat of the action, guided by
nature only, I stole my hand up my petticoats, and with fingers all on fire,
seized, and yet more inflamed that center of all my senses: my heart palpitated,
as if it would force its way through my bosom; I breath'd with pain; I twisted
my thighs, squeezed, and compressed the lips of that virgin slit, and following
mechanically the example of Phoebe's manual operation on it, as far as I could
find admission, brought on at last the critical extasy, the melting flow, into
which nature, spent with excess of pleasure, dissolves and dies away.
After which, my senses recover'd coolness enough to
observe the rest of the transaction between this happy pair.
The young fellow had just dismounted, when the old lady
immediately sprung up, with all the vigour of youth, derived, no doubt, from her
late refreshment; and making him sit down, began in her turn to kiss him, to pat
and pinch his cheeks, and play with his hair: all which he receiv'd with an air
of indifference and coolness, that shew'd him to me much altered from what he
was when he first went on to the breach.
My pious governess, however, not being above calling in
auxiliaries, unlocks a little case of cordials that stood near the bed, and made
him pledge her in a very plentiful dram: after which, and a little amorous
parley, Madam sat herself down upon the same place, at the bed's foot; and the
young fellow standing sideway by her, she, with the greatest effrontery
imaginable, unbuttons his breeches, and removing his shirt, draws out his affair,
so shrunk and diminish'd, that I could not but remember the difference, now
crestfallen, or just faintly lifting its head: but our experienc'd matron very
soon, by chafing it with her hands, brought it to swell to that size and
erection I had before seen it up to.
I admired then, upon a fresh account, and with a nicer
survey, the texture of that capital part of man: the flaming red head as it
stood uncapt, the whiteness of the shaft, and the shrub growth of curling hair
that embrowned the roots of it, the roundish bag that dangled down from it, all
exacted my eager attention, and renewed my flame. But, as the main affair was
now at the point the industrious dame had laboured to bring it to, she was not
in the humour to put off the payment of her pains, but laying herself down, drew
him gently upon her, and thus they finish'd in the same manner as before, the
old last act.
This over, they both went out lovingly together, the old
lady having first made him a present, as near as I could observe, of three or
four pieces; he being not only her particular favourite on account of his
performances, but a retainer to the house; from whose sight she had taken great
care hitherto to secrete me, lest he might not have had patience to wait for my
lord's arrival, but have insisted on being his taster, which the old lady was
under too much subjection to him to dare dispute with him; for every girl of the
house fell to him in course, and the old lady only now and then got her turn, in
consideration of the maintenance he had, and which he could scarce be accused of
not earning from her.
As soon as I heard them go down-stairs, I stole up
softly to my own room, out of which I had luckily not been miss'd; there I began
to breathe freer, and to give a loose to those warm emotions which the sight of
such an encounter had raised in me. I laid me down on the bed, stretched myself
out, joining and ardently wishing, and requiring any means to divert or allay
the rekindled rage and tumult of my desires, which all pointed strongly to their
pole: man. I felt about the bed as if I sought for something that I grasp'd in
my waking dream, and not finding it, could have cry'd for vexation; every part
of me glowing with stimulating fires. At length, I resorted to the only present
remedy, that of vain attempts at digitation, where the smallness of the theatre
did not yet afford room enough for action, and where the pain my fingers gave
me, in striving for admission, tho' they procured me a slight satisfaction for
the present, started an apprehension, which I could not be easy till I had
communicated to Phoebe, and received her explanations upon it.
The opportunity, however, did not offer till next
morning, for Phoebe did not come to bed till long after I was gone to sleep. As
soon then as we were both awake, it was but in course to bring our ly-a-bed chat
to land on the subject of my uneasiness: to which a recital of the love scene I
had thus, by chance, been spectatress of, serv'd for a preface.
Phoebe could not hear it to the end without more than
one interruption by peals of laughter, and my ingenuous way of relating matters
did not a little heighten the joke to her.
But, on her sounding me how the sight had affected me,
without mincing or hiding the pleasurable emotions it had inspir'd me with, I
told her at the same time that one remark had perplex'd me, and that very
considerably. ---"Aye!" say she, "what was that?" --- "Why,"
replied I, "having very curiously and attentively compared the size of that
enormous machine, which did not appear, at least to my fearful imagination, less
than my wrist, and at least three of my handfuls long, to that of the tender
small part of me which was framed to receive it, I can not conceive its being
possible to afford it entrance without dying, perhaps in the greatest pain,
since you well know that even a finger thrust in there hurts me beyond bearing .
. . As to my mistress's and yours, I can plainly distinguish the different
dimensions of them from mine, palpable to the touch, and visible to the eye; so
that, in short, great as the promis'd pleasure may be, I am afraid of the pain
of the experiment."
Phoebe at this redoubled her laugh, and whilst I
expected a very serious solution of my doubts and apprehensions in this matter,
only told me that she never heard of a mortal wound being given in those parts
by that terrible weapon, and that some she knew younger, and as delicately made
as myself, had outlived the operation; that she believed, at the worst, I should
take a great deal of killing; that true it was, there was a great diversity of
sizes in those parts, owing to nature, child-bearing, frequent over-stretching
with unmerciful machines, but that at a certain age and habit of body, even the
most experienc'd in those affairs could not well distinguish between the maid
and the woman, supposing too an absence of all artifice, and things in their
natural situation: but that since chance had thrown in my way one sight of that
sort, she would procure me another, that should feast my eyes more delicately,
and go a great way in the cure of my fears from that imaginary disproportion.
On this she asked me if I knew Polly Philips. "Undoubtedly,"
says I, "the fair girl which was so tender of me when I was sick, and has
been, as you told me, but two months in the house.": "The same,"
says Phoebe. "You must know then, she is kept by a young Genoese merchant,
whom his uncle, who is immensely rich, and whose darling he is, sent over here
with an English merchant, his friend, on a pretext of settling some accounts,
but in reality to humour his inclinations for travelling, and seeing the world.
He met casually with this Polly once in company, and taking a liking to her,
makes it worth her while to keep entirely to him. He comes to her here twice or
thrice a week, and she receives him in her light closet up one pair of stairs,
where he enjoys her in a taste, I suppose, peculiar to the heat, or perhaps the
caprices of his own country. I say no more, but to-morrow being his day, you
shall see what passes between them, from a place only known to your mistress and
You may be sure, in the ply I was now taking, I had no
objection to the proposal, and was rather a tip-toe for its accomplishment.
At five in the evening, next day, Phoebe, punctual to
her promise, came to me as I sat alone in my own room, and beckon'd me to follow
We went down the back-stairs very softly, and opening
the door of a dark closet, where there was some old furniture kept, and some
cases of liquor, she drew me in after her, and fastening the door upon us, we
had no light but what came through a long crevice in the partition between ours
and the light closet, where the scene of action lay; so that sitting on those
low cases, we could, with the greatest ease, as well as clearness, see all
objects (ourselves unseen), only by applying our eyes close to the crevice,
where the moulding of a panel had warped, or started a little on the other side.
The young gentleman was the first person I saw, with his
back directly towards me, looking at a print. Polly was not yet come: in less
than a minute tho', the door opened, and she came in; and at the noise the door
made he turned about, and came to meet her, with an air of the greatest
tenderness and satisfaction.
After saluting her, he led her to a couch that fronted
us, where they both sat down, and the young Genoese help'd her to a glass of
wine, with some Naples bisket on a salver.
Presently, when they had exchanged a few kisses, and
questions in broken English on one side, he began to unbutton, and, in fine,
stript to his shirt.
As if this had been the signal agreed on for pulling off
all their cloaths, a scheme which the heat of the season perfectly favoured,
Polly began to draw her pins, and as she had no stays to unlace, she was in a
trice, with her gallant's officious assistance, undress'd to all but her shift.
When he saw this, his breeches were immediately loosen'd,
waist and knee bands, and slipped over his ankles, clean off; his shirt collar
was unbuttoned too: then, first giving Polly an encouraging kiss, he stole, as
it were, the shift off the girl, who being, I suppose, broke and familiariz'd to
this humour, blush'd indeed, but less than I did at the apparition of her, now
standing stark-naked, just as she came out of the hands of pure nature, with her
black hair loose and a-float down her dazzling white neck and shoulders, whilst
the deepen'd carnation of her cheeks went off gradually into the hue of glaz'd
snow: for such were the blended tints and polish of her skin.
This girl could not be above eighteen: her face regular
and sweet-featur'd, her shape exquisite; nor could I help envying her two ripe
enchanting breasts, finely plump'd out in flesh, but withal so round, so firm,
that they sustain'd themselves, in scorn of any stay: then their nipples,
pointing different ways, mark'd their pleasing separation; beneath them lay the
delicious tract of the belly, which terminated in a parting or rift scarce
discernible, that modesty seem'd to retire downwards, and seek shelter between
two plump fleshy thighs: the curling hair that overspread its delightful front,
cloathed it with the richest sable fur in the universe: in short, she was
evidently a subject for the painters to court her sitting to them for a pattern
of female beauty, in all the true price and pomp of nakedness.
The young Italian (still in his shirt) stood gazing and
transported at the sight of beauties that might have fir'd a dying hermit; his
eager eyes devour'd her, as she shifted attitudes at his discretion: neither
were his hands excluded their share of the high feast, but wander'd, on the hunt
of pleasure, over every part and inch of her body, so qualified to afford the
most exquisite sense of it.
In the mean time, one could not help observing the swell
of his shirt before, that bolster'd out, and shewed the condition of things
behind the curtain: but he soon remov'd it, by slipping his shirt over his head;
and now, as to nakedness, they had nothing to reproach one another.
The young gentleman, by Phoebe's guess, was about two
and twenty; tall and well limb'd. His body was finely form'd and of a most
vigorous make, square-shoulder'd, and broad-chested: his face was not remarkable
in any way, but for a nose inclining to the Roman, eyes large, black, and
sparkling, and a ruddiness in his cheeks that was the more a grace, for his
complexion was of the brownest, not of that dusky dun colour which excludes the
idea of freshness, but of that clear, olive gloss which, glowing with life,
dazzles perhaps less than fairness, and yet pleases more, when it pleases at all.
His hair, being too short to tie, fell no lower than his neck, in short easy
curls; and he had a few sprigs about his paps, that garnish'd his chest in a
style of strength and manliness. Then his grand movement, which seem'd to rise
out of a thicket of curling hair that spread from the root all round thighs and
belly up to the navel, stood stiff and upright, but of a size to frighten me, by
sympathy, for the small tender part which was the object of its fury, and which
now lay expos'd to my fairest view; for he had, immediately on stripping off his
shirt, gently push'd her down on the couch, which stood conveniently to break
her willing fall. Her thighs were spread out to their utmost extension, and
discovered between them the mark of the sex, the red-center'd cleft of flesh,
whose lips, vermilioning inwards, exprest a small rubid line in sweet miniature,
such as Guido's touch of colouring could never attain to the life or delicacy
Phoebe, at this gave me a gentle jog, to prepare me for
a whispered question: whether I thought my little maidenhead was much less? But
my attention was too much engross'd, too much enwrapp'd with all I saw, to be
able to give her any answer.
By this time the young gentleman had changed her posture
from lying breadth to length-wise on the couch: but her thighs were still spread,
and the mark lay fair for him, who now kneeling between them, display'd to us a
side-view of that fierce erect machine of his, which threaten'd no less than
splitting the tender victim, who lay smiling at the uplifted stroke, nor seem'd
to decline it. He looked upon his weapon himself with some pleasure, and guiding
it with his hand to the inviting slit, drew aside the lips, and lodg'd it (after
some thrusts, which Polly seem'd even to assist) about half way; but there it
stuck, I suppose from its growing thickness: he draws it again, and just wetting
it with spittle, re-enters, and with ease sheath'd it now up to the hilt, at
which Polly gave a deep sigh, which was quite another tone than one of pain; he
thrusts, she heaves, at first gently, and in a regular cadence; but presently
the transport began to be too violent ot observe any order or measure; their
motions were too rapid, their kisses too fierce and fervent for nature to
support such fury long: both seem'd to me out of themselves: their eyes darted
fires: "Oh! . . . oh! . . . I can't bear it . . . It is too much . . . I
die . . . I am going . . ." were Polly's expressions of extasy: his joys
were more silent; but soon broken murmurs, sighs heart-fetch'd, and at length a
dispatching thrust, as if he would have forced himself up her body, and then
motionless languor of all his limbs, all shewed that the die-away moment was
come upon him; which she gave signs of joining with, by the wild throwing of her
hands about, closing her eyes, and giving a deep sob, in which she seemed to
expire in an agony of bliss.
When he had finish'd his stroke, and got from off her,
she lay still without the least motion, breathless, as it should seem, with
pleasure. He replaced her again breadthwise on the couch, unable to sit up, with
her thighs open, between which I could observe a kind of white liquid, like
froth, hanging about the outward lips of that recently opened wound, which now
glowed with a deeper red. Presently she gets up, and throwing her arms round him,
seemed far from undelighted with the trial he had put her to, to judge at least
by the fondness with which she ey'd and hung upon him.
For my part, I will not pretend to describe what I felt
all over me during this scene; but from that instant, adieu all fears of what
man could do unto me; they were now changed into such ardent desires, such
ungovernable longings, that I could have pull'd the first of that sex that
should present himself, by the sleeve, and offered him the bauble, which I now
imagined the loss of would be a gain I could not too soon procure myself.
Phoebe, who had more experience, and to whom such sights
were not so new, could not however be unmoved at so warm a scene; and drawing me
away softly from the peep-hole, for fear of being over-heard, guided me as near
the door as possible, all passive and obedient to her least signals.
Here was no room either to sit or lie, but making me
stand with my back towards the door, she lifted up my petticoats, and with her
busy fingers fell to visit and explore that part of me where now the heat and
irritations were so violent that I was perfectly sick and ready to die with
desire; that the bare touch of her finger, in that critical place, had the
effect of a fire to a train, and her hand instantly made her sensible to what a
pitch I was wound up, and melted by the sight she had thus procured me.
Satisfied then with her success in allaying a heat that would have made me
impatient of seeing the continuation of the transactions between our amourous
couple, she brought me again to the crevice so favourable to our curiosity.
We had certainly been but a few instants away from it,
and yet on our return we saw every thing in good forwardness for recommencing
the tender hostilities.
The young foreigner was sitting down, fronting us, on
the couch, with Polly upon one knee, who had her arms round his neck, whilst the
extreme whiteness of her skin was not undelightfully contrasted by the smooth
glossy brown of her lover's.
But who could count the fierce, unnumber's kisses given
and taken? in which I could of ten discover their exchanging the velvet thrust,
when both their mouths were double tongued, and seemed to favour the mutual
insertion with the greatest gust and delight.
In the mean time, his red-headed champion, that has so
lately fled the pit, quell'd and abash'd, was now recover'd to the top of his
condition, perk'd and crested up between Polly's thighs, who was not wanting, on
her part, to coax and deep it in good humour, stroking it, with her head down,
and received even its velvet tip between the lips of not its proper mouth:
whether she did this out of any particular pleasure, or whether it was to render
it more glib and easy of entrance, I could not tell; but it had such an effect,
that the young gentleman seem'd by his eyes, that sparkled with more excited
lustre, and his inflamed countenance, to receive increase of pleasure. He got up,
and taking Polly in his arms, embraced her, and said something too softly for me
to hear, leading her withal to the foot of the couch, and taking delight to slap
her thighs and posteriors with that stiff sinew of his, which hit them with a
spring that he gave it with his hand, and made them resound again, but hurt her
about as much as he meant to hurt her, for she seemed to have as frolic a taste
But guess my surprise, when I saw the lazy young rogue
lie down on his back, and gently pull down Polly upon him, who giving way to his
humour, straddled, and with her hands conducted her blind favourite to the right
place; and following her impulse, ran directly upon the flaming point of this
weapon of pleasure, which she stak'd herself upon, up pierc'd and infix'd to the
extremest hair-breadth of it: thus she sat on him a few instants, enjoying and
relishing her situation, whilst he toyed with her provoking breasts. Sometimes
she would stoop to meet his kiss: but presently the sting of pleasure spurr'd
them up to fiercer action; then began the storm of heaves, which, form the
undermost combatant, were thrusts at the same time, he crossing his hands over
her, and drawing her home to him with a sweet violence: the inverted strokes of
anvil over hammer soon brought on the critical period, in which all the signs of
a close conspiring extasy informed us of the point they were at.
For me, I could bear to see no more; I was so overcome,
so inflamed at the second part of the same play, that, mad to an intolerable
degree, I hugg'd, I clasped Phoebe, as if she had wherewithal to relieve me.
Pleased however with, and pitying the taking she could feel me in, she drew me
towards the door, and opening it as softly as she could, we both got off
undiscover'd, and she reconducted me to my own room, where, unable to keep my
legs, in the agitation I was in, I instantly threw myself down on the bed, where
I lay transported, though asham'd at what I felt.
Phoebe lay down by me, and ask'd me archly if, now that
I had seen the enemy, and fully considered him, I was still afraid of him? or
did I think I could venture to come to a close engagement with him? To all which,
not a word on my side; I sigh'd, and could scarce breathe. She takes hold of my
hand, and having roll'd up her own petticoats, forced it half strivingly towards
those parts, where, now grown more knowing, I miss'd the main object of my
wishes; and finding not even the shadow of what I wanted, where every thing was
so flat, or so hollow, in the vexation I was in at it, I should have withdrawn
my hand but for fear of disobliging her. Abandoning it then entirely to her
management, she made use of it as she thought proper, to procure herself rather
the shadow than the substance of any pleasure. For my part, I now pin'd for more
solid food, and promis'd tacitly to myself that I would not be put off much
longer with this foolery from woman to woman, if Mrs. Brown did not soon provide
me with the essential specific. In short, I had all the air of not being able to
wait the arrival of my lord B . . . tho' he was now expected in a very few days:
nor did I wait for him, for love itself took charge of the disposal of me, in
spite of interest, or gross lust.
It was now two days after the closet-scene, that I got
up about six in the morning, and leaving my bed-fellow fast asleep, stole down,
with no other thought than of taking a little fresh air in a small garden, which
our back-parlour open'd into, and from which my confinement debarr'd me at the
times company came to the house; but now sleep and silence reign'd all over it.
I open'd the parlour door, and well surpriz'd was I at
seeing, by the side of a fire half-our, a young gentleman in the old lady's
elbow chair, with his legs laid upon another, fast asleep, and left there by his
thoughtless companions, who had drank him down, and then went off with every one
his mistress, whilst he stay'd behind by the courtesy of the old matron, who
would not disturb of turn him out in that condition, at one in the morning; and
beds, it is more than probable, there were none to spare. On the table still
remain'd the punch bowl and glasses, strew's about in their usual disorder after
a drunken revel.
But when I drew nearer, to view the sleeping one,
heavens! what a sight! No! no term of years, no turn of fortune could ever erase
the lightning-like impression his form made on me . . . Yes! dearest object of
my earliest passion, I command for ever the remembrance of thy first appearance
to my ravish'd eyes . . . it calls thee up, present; and I see thee now!
Figure to yourself, Madam, a fair stripling, between
eighteen and nineteen, with his head reclin'd on one of the sides of the chair,
his hair in disorder'd curls, irregularly shading a face on which all the
roseate bloom of youth and all the manly graces conspired to fix my eyes and
heart. Even the languor and paleness of his face, in which the momentary triumph
of the lily over the rose was owing to the excesses of the night, gave an
inexpressible sweetness to the finest features imaginable: his eyes, closed in
sleep, displayed the meeting edges of their lids beautifully bordered with long
eyelashes; over which no pencil could have described two more regular arches
than those that grac'd his forehead, which was high, prefectly white and smooth.
Then a pair of vermilion lips, pouting and swelling to the touch, as if a bee
had freshly stung them, seem'd to challenge me to get the gloves off this lovely
sleeper, had not the modesty and respect, which in both sexes are inseparable
from a true passion, check'd my impulses.
But on seeing his shirt-collar unbutton'd, and a bosom
whiter than a drift of snow, the pleasure of considering it could not bribe me
to lengthen it, at the hazard of a health that began to be my life's concern.
Love, that made me timid, taught me to be tender too. With a trembling hand I
took hold of one of his, and waking his as gently as possible, he started, and
looking, at first a little wildly, said with a voice that sent its harmonious
sound to my heart: "Pray, child, what o'clock is it?" I told him, and
added that he might catch cold if he slept longer with his breast open in the
cool of the morning air. On this he thanked me with a sweetness perfectly
agreeing with that of his features and eyes; the last now broad open, and
eagerly surveying me, carried the sprightly fires they sparkled with directly to
my heart. It seems that having drank too freely before he came upon the rake
with some of his young companions, he had put himself out of a condition to go
through all the weapons with them, and crown the night with getting a mistress;
so that seeing me in a loose undress, he did not doubt but I was one of the
misses of the house, sent in to repair his loss of time; but though he seiz'd
that notion, and a very obvious one it was, without hesitation, yet, whether my
figure made a more than ordinary impression on him, or whether it was natural
politeness, he address'd me in a manner far from rude, tho' still on the foot of
one of the house pliers, come to amuse him; and giving me the first kiss that I
ever relish'd from man in my life, ask'd me it I could favour him with my
company, assuring me that he would make it worth my while: but had not even
new-born love, that true refiner of lust, oppos'd so sudden a surrender, the
fear of being surpriz'd by the house was a sufficient bar to my compliance.
I told him then, in a tone set me by love itself, that
for reasons I had not time to explain to him, I could not stay with him, and
might not even ever see him again: with a sigh at these last words, which broke
from the bottom of my heart. My conqueror, who, as he afterwards told me, had
been struck with my appearance, and lik'd me as much as he could think of liking
any one in my suppos'd way of life, ask'd me briskly at once if I would be kept
by him, and that he would take a lodging for me directly, and relieve me from
any engagements he presum'd I might be under to the house. Rash, sudden,
undigested, and even dangerous as this offer might be from a perfect stranger,
and that stranger a giddy boy, the prodigious love I was struck with for him had
put a charm into his voice there was no resisting, and blinded me to every
objection; I could, at that instant, have died for him: think if I could resist
an invitation to live with him! Thus my heart, beating strong to the proposal,
dictated my answer, after scarce a minute's pause, that I would accept of his
offer, and make my escape to him in what way he pleased, and that I would be
entirely at his disposal, let it be good or bad. I have often since wondered
that so great an easiness did not disgust him, or make me too cheap in his eyes,
but my fate had so appointed it, that in his fears of the hazard of the town, he
had been some time looking out for a girl to take into keeping, and my person
happening to hit his fancy, it was by one of those miracles reserved to love
that we struck the bargain in the instant, which we sealed by an exchange of
kisses, that the hopes of a more uninterrupted enjoyment engaged him to content
Never, however, did dear youth carry in his person, more
wherewith to justify the turning of a girl's head, and making her set all
consequences at defiance for the sake of following a gallant.
For, besides all the perfections of manly beauty which
were assembled in his form, he had an air of neatness and gentility, a certain
smartness in the carriage and port of his head, that yet more distinguish'd him;
his eyes were sprightly and full of meaning; his looks had in them something at
once sweet and commanding. His complexion outbloom'd the lovely-colour'd rose,
whilst its inimitable tender vivid glow clearly sav'd from the reproach of
wanting life, of raw and dough-like, which is commonly made to those so
extremely fair as he was.
Our little plan was that I should get out about seven
the next morning (which I could readily promise, as I knew where to get the key
of the street-door), and he would wait at the end of the street with a coach to
convey me safe off; after which, he would send, and clear any debt incurr'd by
my stay at Mrs. Brown's, who, he only judged, in gross, might not care to part
with one he thought so fit to draw custom to the house.
I then just hinted to him not to mention in the house
his having seen such a person as me, for reasons I would explain to him more at
leisure. And then, for fear of miscarrying, by being seen together, I tore
myself from him with a bleeding heart, and stole up softly to my room, where I
found Phoebe still fast asleep, and hurrying off my few cloaths, lay down by her,
with a mixture of joy and anxiety that may be easier conceived than express'd.
The risks of Mrs. Brown's discovering my purpose, of
disappointments, misery, ruin, all vanish'd before this newkindl'd flame. The
seeing, the touching, the being, if but for a night, with this idol of my fond
virgin-heart, appeared to me a happiness above the purchase of my liberty or
life. He might use me ill, let him! he was the master; happy, too happy, even to
receive death at so dear a hand.
To this purpose were the reflections of the whole day,
of which every minute seem'd to me a little eternity. How often did I visit the
clock! nay, was tempted to advance the tedious hand, as if that would have
advanc'd the time with it! Had those of the house made the least observations on
me, they must have remark'd something extraordinary from the discomposure I
could not help betraying; especially when at dinner mention was made of the
charmingest youth having been there, and stay'd breakfast. "Oh! he was such
a beauty! . . . I should have died for him! . . . they would pull caps for him!
. . ." and the like fooleries, which, however, was throwing oil on a fire I
was sorely put to it to smother the blaze of.
The fluctuations of my mind, the whole day, produc'd one
good effect: which was, that, through mere fatigue, I slept tolerably well till
five in the morning, when I got up, and having dress'd myself, waited, under the
double tortures of fear and impatience, for the appointed hour. It came at last,
the dear, critical, dangerous hour came; and now, supported only by the courage
love lent me, I ventured, a tiptoe, down-stairs, leaving my box behind, for fear
of being surpriz'd with it in going out.
I got to the street-door, the key whereof was always
laid on the chair by our bed-side, in trust with Phoebe, who having not the
least suspicion of my entertaining any design to go from them (nor indeed had I
but the day before), made no reserve or concealment of it from me. I open'd the
door with great ease; love, that embolden'd, protected me too: and now, got safe
into the street, I saw my new guardianangel waiting at a coach-door, ready open.
How I got to him I know not: I suppose I flew; but I was in the coach in a trice,
and he by the side of me, with his arms clasp'd round me, and giving me the kiss
of welcome. The coachman had his orders, and drove to them.
My eyes were instantly fill'd with tears, but tears of
the most delicious delight; to find myself in the arms of that beauteous youth
was a rapture that my little heart swam in. Past or future were equally out of
the question with me. The present was as much as all my powers of life were
sufficient to bear the transport of, without fainting. Nor were the most tender
embraces, the most soothing expressions wanting on his side, to assure me of his
love, and of never giving me cause to repent the bold step I had taken, in
throwing myself thus entirely upon his honour and generosity. But, alas! this
was no merit in me, for I was drove to it by a passion too impetuous for me to
resist, and I did what I did because I could not help it.
In an instant, for time was now annihilated with me, we
landed at a public house in Chelsea, hosipitably commodious for the reception of
duet-parties of pleasure, where a breakfast of chocolate was prepared for us.
An old jolly stager, who kept it, and understood life
perfectly well, breakfasted with us, and leering archly at me, gave us both joy,
and said we were well paired, i' faith! that a great many gentlemen and ladies
used his house, but he had never seen a handsomer couple . . . he was sure I was
a fresh piece . . . I look'd so country, so innocent! well my spouse was a lucky
man! . . . all which common landlord's cant not only pleas'd and sooth'd me, but
help'd to divert my confusion at being with my new sovereign, whom, now the
minute approach'd, I began to fear to be alone with: a timidity which true love
had a greater share in than even maiden bashfulness.
I wish'd, I doted, I could have died for him; and yet, I
know not how, or why, I dreaded the point which had been the object of my
fiercest wishes; my pulses beat fears, amidst a flush of the warmest desires.
This struggle of the passions, however, this conflict betwixt modesty and
lovesick longings, made me burst again into tears; which he took, as he had done
before, only for the remains of concern and emotion at the suddenness of my
change of condition, in committing myself to his care; and, in consequence of
that idea, did and said all that he thought would most comfort and reinspirit
me. After breakfast, Charles (the dear familiar name I must take the liberty
henceforward to distinguish my Adonis by), with a smile full of meaning, took me
gently by the hand, and said: "Come, my dear, I will show you a room that
commands a fine prospect over some gardens"; and without waiting for an
answer, in which he relieved me extremely, he led me up into a chamber, airy and
light-some, where all seeing of prospects was out of the question, except that
of a bed, which had all the air of having recommended the room to him.
Charles had just slipp'd the bolt of the door, and
running, caught me in his arms, and lifting me from the ground, with his lips
glew'd to mine, bore me, trembling, panting, dying, with soft fears and tender
wishes, to the bed; where his impatience would not suffer him to undress me,
more than just unpinning my handkerchief and gown, and unlacing my stays.
My bosom was now bare, and rising in the warmest throbs,
presented to his sight and feeling the firm hard swell of a pair of young
breasts, such as may be imagin'd of a girl not sixteen, fresh out of the
country, and never before handled; but even their pride, whiteness, fashion,
pleasing resistance to the touch, could not bribe his restless hands from roving;
but giving them the loose, my petticoats and shift were soon taken up, and their
stronger center of attraction laid open to their tender invasion. My fears,
however, made me mechanically close my thighs; but the very touch of his hand
insinuated between them, disclosed them and opened a way for the main attack.
In the mean time, I lay fairly exposed to the
examination of his eyes and hands, quiet and unresisting; which confirm'd him
the opinion he proceeded so cavalierly upon, that I was no novice in these
matters, since he had taken me out of a common bawdy-house, nor had I said one
thing to prepossess him of my virginity; and if I had, he would sooner have
believ'd that I took him for a cully that would swallow such an improbability,
than that I was still mistress of that darling treasure, that hidden mine, so
eagerly sought after by the men, and which they never dig for, but to destroy.
Being now too high wound up to bear a delay, he
unbutton'd, and drawing out the engine of love-assaults, drove it currently, as
at a ready-made breach . . . Then! then! for the first time, did I feel that
stiff horn-hard gristle, battering against the tender part; but imagine to
yourself his surprize when he found, after several vigorous pushes which hurt me
extremely, that he made not the least impression.
I complain'd but tenderly complain'd that I could not
bear it . . . indeed he hurt me! . . . Still he thought no more than that being
so young, the largeness of his machine (for few men could dispute size with him)
made all the dificulty; and that possible I had not been enjoy'd by any so
advantageously made in that part as himself: for still, that my virgin flower
was yet uncrop'd, never enter'd into his head, and he would have thought it
idling with time and words to have question'd me upon it.
He tries again, still no admittance, still no
penetration; but he had hurt me yet more, whilst my extreme love made me bear
extreme pain, almost without a groan. At length, after repeated fruitless trials,
he lay down panting by me, kiss'd my falling tears, and asked me tenderly what
was the meaning of so much complaining? And if I had not borne it better from
others than I did from him? I answered, with a simplicity fram'd to persuade,
that he was the first man that ever serv'd me so. Truth is powerful, and it is
not always that we do not believe what we eagerly wish.
Part One / Part Two / Part
Three / Part Four / Part