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Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure
John Cleland (1749) Country of origin: UK
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Charles, already dispos'd by the evidence of his senses to think my pretences to virginity not entirely apocryphal, smothers me with kisses, begs me, in the name of love, to have a little patience, and that he will be as tender of hurting me as he would be of himself.
Alas! it was enough I knew his pleasure to submit joyfully to him, whatever pain I foresaw it would cost me.
He now resumes his attempts in more form: first, he put one of the pillows under me, to give the blank of his aim a more favourable elevation, and another under my head, in ease of it; then spreading my thighs, and placing himself standing between them, made them rest upon his hips; applying then the point of his machine to the slit, into which he sought entrance: it was so small, he could scarce assure himself of its being rightly pointed. He looks, he feels, and satisfies himself: the driving forward with fury, its prodigious stiffness, thus impacted, wedgelike, breaks the union of those parts, and gain'd him just the insertion of the tip of it, lip-deep; which being sensible of, he improved his advantage, and following well his stroke, in a straight line, forcibly deepens his penetration; but put me to such intolerable pain, from the separation of the sides of that soft passage by a hard thick body, I could have scream'd out; but, as I was unwilling to alarm the house, I held in my breath, and cramm'd my petticoat, which was turn'd up over my face, into my mouth, and bit it through in the agony. At length, the tender texture of that tract giving way to such fierce tearing and rending, he pierc'd something further into me: and now, outrageous and no longer his own master, but borne headlong away by the fury and over-mettle of that member, now exerting itself with a kind of native rage, he breaks in, carries all before him, and one violent merciless lunge sent it, imbrew'd, and reeking with virgin blood, up to the very hilt in me ... Then! then all my resolution deserted me: I scream'd out, and fainted away with the sharpness of the pain; and, as he told me afterwards, on his drawing out, when emission was over with him, my thighs were instantly all in a stream of blood that flow'd from the wounded torn passage.
When I recover'd my senses, I found myself undress'd, and a-bed, in the arms of the sweet relenting murderer of my virginity, who hung mourning tenderly over me, and holding in his hand a cordial, which, coming from the still dear author of so much pain, I could not refuse; my eyes, however, moisten'd with tears, and languishingly turn'd upon him, seemed to reproach him with his cruelty, and ask him if such were the rewards of love. But Charles, to whom I was now infinitely endear'd by this complete triumph over a maidenhead, where he so little expected to find one, in tenderness to that pain which he had put me to, in procuring himself the height of pleasure, smother'd his exultation, and employ'd himself with so much sweetness, so much warmth, to sooth, to caress, and comfort me in my soft complainings, which breath'd, indeed, more love than resentment, that I presently drown'd all sense of pain in the pleasure of seeing him, of thinking that I belong'd to him: he who was now the absolute disposer of my happiness, and, in one word, my fate.
The sore was, however, too tender, the wound too bleeding fresh, for Charles's good-nature to put my patience presently to another trial; but as I could not stir, or walk across the room, he order'd the dinner to be brought to the bed-side, where it could not be otherwise than my getting down the wing of a fowl, and two or three glasses of wine, since it was my ador'd youth who both serv'd, and urged them on me, with that sweet irresistible authority with which love had invested him over me.
After dinner, and as everything but the wine was taken away, Charles very impudently asks a leave, he might read the grant of in my eyes, to come to bed to me, and accordingly falls to undressing; which I could not see the progress of without strange emotions of fear and pleasure.
He is now in bed with me the first time, and in broad day; but when thrusting up his own shirt and my shift, he laid his naked glowing body to mine ... oh! insupportable delight! oh! superhuman rapture! what pain could stand before a pleasure so transporting? I felt no more the smart of my wounds below; but, curling round him like the tendril of a vine, as if I fear'd any part of him should be untouch'd or unpress'd by me, I return'd his strenuous embraces and kisses with a fervour and gust only known to true love, and which mere lust could never rise to.
Yes, even at this time, when all the tyranny of the passions is fully over and my veins roll no longer but a cold tranquil stream, the remembrance of those passages that most affected me in my youth, still cheers and refreshes me. Let me proceed then. My beauteous youth was now glew'd to me in all the folds and twists that we could make our bodies meet in; when, no longer able to rein in the fierceness of refresh'd desires, he gives his steed the head and gently insinuating his thighs between mine, stopping my mouth with kisses of humid fire, makes a fresh irruption, and renewing his thrusts, pierces, tears, and forces his way up the torn tender folds that yielded him admission with a smart little less severe that when the breach was first made. I stifled, however, my cries, and bore him with the passive fortitude of a heroine; soon his thrusts, more and more furious, cheeks flush'd with a deeper scarlet, his eyes turn'd up in the fervent fit, some dying sighs, and an agonizing shudder, announced the approaches of that extatic pleasure, I was yet in too much pain to come in for my share of it.
Nor was it till after a few enjoyments had numb'd and blunted the sense of the smart, and given me to feel the titillating inspersion of balsamic sweets, drew from me the delicious return, and brought down all my passion, that I arrived at excess of pleasure through excess of pain. But, when successive engagements had broke and inur'd me, I began to enter into the true unallay'd relish of that pleasure of pleasures, when the warm gush darts through all the ravish'd inwards; what floods of bliss! what melting transports! what agonies of delight! too fierce, too mighty for nature to sustain; well has she therefore, no doubt, provided the relief of a delicious momentary dissolution, the approaches of which are intimated by a dear delirium, a sweet thrill on the point of emitting those liquid sweets, in which enjoyment itself is drown'd, when one gives the languishing stretch-out, and dies at the discharge.
How often, when the rage and tumult of my senses had subsided after the melting flow, have I, in a tender meditation ask'd myself coolly the question, if it was in nature for any of its creatures to be so happy as I was? Or, what were all fears of the consequence, put in the scale of one night's enjoyment of any thing so transcendently the taste of my eyes and heart, as that delicious, fond, matchless youth?
Thus we spent the whole afternoon till supper time in a continued circle of love delights, kissing, turtle-billing, toying, and all the rest of the feast. At length, supper was serv'd in, before which Charles had, for I do not know what reason, slipt his cloaths on; and sitting down by the bed-side, we made table and table-cloth of the bed and sheets, whilst he suffer'd nobody to attend or serve but himself. He ate with a very good appetite, and seem'd charm'd to see me eat. For my part, I was so enchanted with my fortune, so transported with the comparison of the delights I now swam in, with the insipidity of all my past scenes of life, that I thought them sufficiently cheap at even the price of my ruin, or the risk of their not lasting. The present possession was all my little head could find room for.
We lay together that night, when, after playing repeated prizes of pleasure, nature, overspent and satisfy'd, gave us up to the arms of sleep: those of my dear youth encircled me, the consciousness of which made even that sleep more delicious.
Late in the morning I wak'd first; and observing my lover slept profoundly, softly disengag'd myself from his arms, scarcely daring to breathe for fear of shortening his repose; my cap, my hair, my shift, were all in disorder from the rufflings I had undergone; and I took this opportunity to adjust and set them as well as I could: whilst, every now and then, looking at the sleeping youth with inconceivable fondness and delight, and reflecting on all the pain he had put me to, tacitly own'd that the pleasure had overpaid me for my sufferings.
It was then broad day. I was sitting up in the bed, the cloaths of which were all tossed, or rolled off, by the unquietness of our motions, from the sultry heat of the weather; nor could I refuse myself a pleasure that solicited me so irresistibly, as this fair occasion of feasting my sight with all those treasures of youthful beauty I had enjoy'd, and which lay now almost entirely naked, his shirt being truss'd up in a perfect wisp, which the warmth of the room and season made me easy about the consequence of. I hung over him enamour'd indeed! and devoured all his naked charms with only two eyes, when I could have wish'd them at least a hundred, for the fuller enjoyment of the gaze.
Oh! could I paint his figure as I see it now, still present to my transported imagination! a whole length of an allperfect, manly beauty in full view. Think of a face without a fault, glowing with all the opening bloom and vernal freshness of an age in which beauty is of either sex, and which the first down over his upper lip scarce began to distinguish.
The parting of the double ruby pout of his lips seem'd to exhale an air sweeter and purer than what it drew in: ah! what violence did it not cost me to refrain the so tempted kiss!
Then a neck exquisitely turn'd, grac'd behind and on the sides with his hair, playing freely in natural ringlets, connected his head to a body of the most perfect form, and of the most vigorous contexture, in which all the strength of manhood was conceal'd and soften'd to appearance by the delicacy of his complexion, the smoothness of his skin, and the plumpness of his flesh.
The platform of his snow-white bosom, that was laid out in a manly proportion, presented, on the vermilion summit of each pap, the idea of a rose about to blow.
Nor did his shirt hinder me from observing that symmetry of his limbs, that exactness of shape, in the fall of it towards the loins, where the waist ends and the rounding swell of the hips commences; where the skin, sleek, smooth, and dazzling white, burnishes on the stretch over firm, plump, ripe flesh, that crimp'd and ran into dimples at the least pressure, or that the touch could not rest upon, but slid over as on the surface of the most polished ivory.
His thighs, finely fashioned, and with a florid glossy roundness, gradually tapering away to the knees, seem'd pillars worthy to support that beauteous frame; at the bottom of which I could not, without some remains of terror, some tender emotions too, fix my eyes on that terrible machine, which had, not long before, with such fury broke into, torn, and almost ruin'd those soft, tender parts of mine that had not yet done smarting with the effects of its rage; but behold it now! crest fall'n, reclining its half-capt vermilion head over one of his thighs, quiet, pliant, and to all appearance incapable of the mischiefs and cruelty it had committed. Then the beautiful growth of the hair, in short and soft curls round its root, its whiteness, branch'd veins, the supple softness of the shaft, as it lay foreshort'd, roll'd and shrunk up into a squab thickness, languid, and borne up from between his thighs by its globular appendage, that wondrous treasure-bag of nature's sweets, which, rivell'd round, and purs'd up in the only wrinkles that are known to please, perfected the prospect, and all together formed the most interesting moving picture in nature, and surely infinitely superior to those nudities furnish'd by ]the painters, statuaries, or any art, which are purchas'd at immense prices; whilst the sight of them in actual life is scarce sovereignly tasted by any but the few whom nature has endowed with a fire of imagination, warmly pointed by a truth of judgment to the spring-head, the originals of beauty, of nature's unequall'd composition, above all the imitation of art, or the reach of wealth to pay their price.
But every thing must have an end. A motion made by this angelic youth, in the listlessness of going off sleep, replac'd his shirt and the bed-cloaths in a posture that shut up that treasure from longer view.
I lay down then, and carrying my hands to that part of me in which the objects just seen had begun to raise a mutiny that prevail'd over the smart of them, my fingers now open'd themselves an easy passage; but long I had not time to consider the wide difference there, between the maid and the now finish'd woman, before Charles wak'd, and turning towards me, kindly enquir'd how I had rested? and, scarce giving me time to answer, imprinted on my lips one of his burning rapture-kisses, which darted a flame to my heart, that from thence radiated to every part of me; and presently, as if he had proudly meant revenge for the survey I had smuggled of all his naked beauties, he spurns off the bedcloaths, and trussing up my shift as high as it would go took his turn to feast his eyes on all the gifts nature had bestow'd on my person; his busy hands, too, rang'd intemperately over every part of me. The delicious austerity and hardness of my yet unripe budding breasts, the whiteness and firmness of my flesh, the freshness and regularity of my features, the harmony of my limbs, all seem'd to confirm him in his satisfaction with his bargain; but when curious to explore the havoc he had made in the centre of his overfierce attack, he not only directed his hands there, but with a pillow put under, placed me favourably for his wanton purpose of inspection. Then, who can express the fire his eyes glisten'd, his hands glow'd with! whilst sighs of pleasure, and tender broken exclamations, were all the praises he could utter. By this time his machine, stiffly risen at me, gave me to see it in its highest state and bravery. He feels it himself, seems pleas'd at its condition, and, smiling loves and graces, seizes one of my hands, and carries it, with a gentle compulsion, to his pride of nature, and its richest masterpiece.
I, struggling faintly, could not help feeling what I could not grasp, a column of the whitest ivory, beautifully streak'd with blue veins, and carrying, fully uncapt, a head of the liveliest vermilion: no horn could be harder or stiffer; yet no velvet more smooth or delicious to the touch. Presently he guided my hand lower, to that part in which nature and pleasure keep their stores in concert, so aptly fasten'd and hung on to the root of their first instrument and minister, that not improperly he might be styl'd their purse-bearer too: there he made me feel distinctly, through their soft cover, the contents, a pair of roundish balls, that seem'd to play within, and elude all pressure but the tenderest, from without.
But now this visit of my soft warm hand in those so sensible parts had put every thing into such ungovernable fury that, disdaining all further preluding, and taking advantage of my commodious posture, he made the storm fall where I scarce patiently expected, and where he was sure to lay it: presently, then, I felt the stiff insertion between the yielding, divided lips of the wound, now open for life; where the narrowness no longer put me to intolerable pain, and afforded my lover no more difficulty than what heighten'd his pleasure, in the strict embrace of that tender, warm sheath, round the instrument it was so delicately adjusted to, and which, now cased home, so gorged me with pleasure that it perfectly suffocated me and took away my breath; then the killing thrusts! the unnumber'd kisses! every one of which was a joy inexpressible; and that joy lost in a crowd of yet greater blisses! But this was a disorder too violent in nature to last long: the vessels, so stirr'd and intensely heated, soon boil'd over, and for that time put out the fire; meanwhile all this dalliance and disport had so far consum'd the morning, that it became a kind of necessity to lay breakfast and dinner into one.
In our calmer intervals Charles gave the following account of himself, every word of which was true. He was the only son of a father who, having a small post in the revenue, rather over-liv'd his income, and had given this young gentleman a very slender education: no profession had he bred him up to, but design'd to provide for him in the army, by purchasing him an ensign's commission, that is to say, provided he could raise the money, or procure it by interest, either of which clauses was rather to be wish'd than hoped for by him. On no better a plan, however, had this improvident father suffer'd this youth, a youth of great promise, to run up to the age of manhood, or near it at least, in next to idleness; and had, besides, taken no sort of pains to give him even the common premonitions against the vices of the town, and the dangers of all sorts, which wait the unexperienc'd and unwary in it. He liv'd at home, and at discretion, with his father, who himself kept a mistress; and for the rest, provided Charles did not ask him for money, he was indolently kind to him: he might lie out when he pleas'd; any excuse would serve, and even his reprimands were so slight that they carried with them rather an air of connivance at the fault than any serious control or constraint. But, to supply his calls for money, Charles, whose mother was dead, had, by her side, a grandmother who doted upon him. She had a considerable annuity to live on, and very regularly parted with every shilling she could spare to this darling of hers, to the no little heart-burn of his father; who was vex'd, not that she by this means fed his son's extravagance, but that she preferr'd Charles to himself; and we shall too soon see what a fatal turn such a mercenary jealousy could operate in the breast of a father.
Charles was, however, by the means of his grandmother's lavish fondness, very sufficiently enabled to keep a mistress so easily contented as my love made me; and my good fortune, for such I must ever call it, threw me in his way, in the manner above related, just as he was on the look-out for one.
As to temper, the even sweetness of it made him seem born for domestic happiness: tender, naturally polite, and gentle-manner'd; it could never be his fault if ever jars or animosities ruffled a calm he was so qualified in every way to maintain or restore. Without those great or shining qualities that constitute a genius, or are fit to make a noise in the world, he had all those humble ones that compose the softer social merit: plain common sense, set off with every grace of modesty and good nature, made him, if not admir'd, what is much happier, universally belov'd and esteem'd. But, as nothing but the beauties of his person had at first attracted my regard and fix'd my passion, neither was I then a judge of that internal merit, which I had afterward full occasion to discover, and which perhaps, in that season of giddiness and levity, would have touch'd my heart very little, had it been lodg'd in a person less the delight of my eyes and idol of my senses. But to return to our situation.
After dinner, which we ate a-bed in a most voluptuous disorder, Charles got up, and taking a passionate leave of me for a few hours, he went to town where, concerting matters with a young sharp lawyer, they went together to my late venerable mistress's, from whence I had, but the day before, made my elopement, and with whom he was determin'd to settle accounts in a manner that should cut off all after reckonings from that quarter.
Accordingly they went; but on the way, the Templar, his friend, on thinking over Charles's information, saw reason to give their visit another turn, and, instead of offering satisfaction, to demand it.
On being let in, the girls of the house flock'd round Charles, whom they knew, and from the earliness of my escape, and their perfect ignorance of his ever having so much as seen me, not having the least suspicion of his being accessory to my flight, they were, in their way, making up to him; and as to his companion, they took him probably for a fresh cully. But the Templar soon check'd their forwardness, by enquiring for the old lady, with whom, he said, with a grave judge-like countenance, that he had some business to settle.
Madam was immediately sent down for, and the ladies being desir'd to clear the room, the lawyer ask'd her, severely, if she did know, or had not decoy'd, under pretence of hiring as a servant, a young girl, just come out of the country, called FRANCES or FANNY HILL, describing me withal as particularly as he could from Charles's description.
It is peculiar to vice to tremble at the enquiries of justice; and Mrs. Brown, whose conscience was not entirely clear upon my account, as knowing as she was of the town, as hackney's as she was in bluffing through all the dangers of her vocation, could not help being alarm'd at the question, especially when he went on to talk of a Justice of peace, Newgate, the Old Bailey, indictments for keeping a disorderly house, pillory, carting, and the whole process of that nature. She, who, it is likely, imagin'd I had lodg'd an information against her house, look'd extremely blank, and began to make a thousand protestations and excuses. However, to abridge, they brought away triumphantly my box of things, which, had she not been under an awe, she might have disputed with them; and not only that; but a clearance and discharge of any demands on the house, at the expense of no more than a bowl of arrack-punch, the treat of which, together with the choice of the house conveniences, was offer'd and not accepted. Charles all the time acted the chance-companion of the lawyer, who had brought him there, as he knew the house, and appear'd in no wise interested in the issue; but he had the collateral pleasure of hearing all that I had told him verified, so far as the bawd's fears would give her leave to enter into my history, which, if one may guess by the composition she so readily came into, were not small.
Phoebe, my kind tutoress Phoebe, was at that time gone out, perhaps in search of me, or their cook'd-up story had not, it is probable, pass'd so smoothly.
This negotiation had, however, taken up some time, which would have appear'd much longer to me, left as I was, in a strange house, if the landlady, a motherly sort of a woman, to whom Charles had liberally recommended me, had not come up and borne me company. We drank tea, and her chat help'd to pass away the time very agreeably, since he was our theme; but as the evening deepened, and the hour set for his return was elaps'd, I could not dispel the gloom of impatience and tender fears which gathered upon me, and which our timid sex are apt to feel in proportion to their love.
Long, however, I did not suffer: the sight of him over-paid me; and the soft reproach I had prepar'd for him expired before it reach'd my lips.
I was still a-bed, yet unable to use my legs otherwise than awkwardly, and Charles flew to me, catched me in his arms, rais'd and extending mine to meet his dear embrace, and gives me an account, interrupted by many a sweet parenthesis of kisses, of the success of his measures.
I could not help laughing at the fright the old woman had been put into, which my ignorance, and indeed my want of innocence, had far from prepar'd me for bespeaking. She had, it seems, apprehended that I fled for shelter to some relation I had recollected in town, on my dislike of their ways and proceeding towards me, and that this application came from thence; for, as Charles had rightly judg'd not one neighbour had, at that still hour, seen the circumstance of my escape into the coach, or, at least, notic'd him; neither had any in the house the least hint or clue of suspicion of my having spoke to him, much less of my having clapt up such a sudden bargain with a perfect stranger: thus the greatest improbability is not always what we should most mistrust.
We supped with all the gaiety of two young giddy creatures at the top of their desires; and as I had most joyfully given up to Charles the whole charge of my future happiness, I thought of nothing beyond the exquisite pleasure of possessing him.
He came to bed in due time; and this second night, the pain being pretty well over, I tasted, in full draughts, all the transports of perfect enjoyment: I swam, I bathed in bliss, till both fell fast asleep, through the natural consequences of satisfied desires, and appeas'd flames; nor did we wake but to renew'd raptures.
Thus, making the most of love and life, did we stay in this lodging in Chelsea about ten days; in which time Charles took care to give his excursions from home a favourable gloss, and to keep his footing with his fond indulgent grandmother, from whom he drew constant and sufficient supplies for the charge I was to him, and which was very trifling, in comparision with his former less regular course of pleasures.
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.