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Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure
John Cleland (1749) Country of origin: UK
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And why should I here suppress the delight I received from this amiable creature, in remarking each artless look, each motion of pure undissembled nature, betrayed by his wanton eyes; or shewing, transparently, the glow and suffusion of blood through his fresh, clear skin, whilst even his sturdy rustic pressures wanted not their peculiar charm? Oh! but, say you, this was a young fellow of too low a rank of life to deserve so great a display. May be so: but was my condition, strictly consider'd one jot more exalted? or, had I really been much above him, did not his capacity of giving such exquisite pleasure sufficiently raise and ennoble him, to me, at least? Let who would, for me, cherish, respect, and reward the painter's, the statuary's, the musician's arts, in proportion to delight taken in them: but at my age, and with my taste for pleasure, a taste strongly constitutional to me, the talent of pleasing, with which nature has endowed a handsome person, form'd to me the greatest of all merits; compared to which, the vulgar prejudices in favour of titles, dignities, honours, and the like, held a very low rank indeed. Nor perhaps would the beauties of the body be so much affected to be held cheap, were they, in their nature, to be bought and delivered. But for me, whose natural philosophy all resided in the favourite center of sense, and who was rul'd by its powerful instinct in taking pleasure by its right handle, I could scarce have made a choice more to my purpose.
Mr. H ... 's loftier qualifications of birth, fortune and sense laid me under a sort of subjection and constraint that were far from making harmony in the concert of love, nor had he, perhaps, thought me worth softening that superiority to; but, with this lad, I was more on that level which love delights in.
We may say what we please, but those we can be the easiest and freest with are ever those we like, not to say love, the best.
With this stripling, all whose art of love was the action of it, I could, without check of awe or restraint, give a loose to joy, and execute every scheme of dalliance my fond fancy might put me on, in which he was, in every sense, a most exquisite companion. And now my great pleasure lay in humouring all the petulances, all the wanton frolic of a raw novice just fleshed, and keen on the burning scent of his game, but unbroken to the sport: and, to carry on the figure, who could better TREAD THE WOOD than he, or stand fairer for the HEART OF THE HUNT?
He advanc'd then to my bed-side, and whilst he faltered out his message, I could observe his colour rise, and his eyes lighten with joy, in seeing me in a situation as favourable to his loosest wishes as if he had bespoke the play.
I smiled, and put out my hand towards him, which he kneeled down to (a politeness taught him by love alone, that great master of it) and greedily kiss'd. After exchanging a few confused questions and answers, I ask'd him if he would come to bed to me, for the little time I could venture to detain him. This was just asking a person, dying with hunger, to feast upon the dish on earth the most to his palate. Accordingly, without further reflection, his cloaths were off in an instant; when, blushing still more at his new liberty, he got under the bed-cloaths I held up to receive him, and was now in bed with a woman for the first time in his life.
Here began the usual tender preliminaries, as delicious, perhaps, as the crowning act of enjoyment itself; which they often beget an impatience of, that makes pleasure destructive of itself, by hurrying on the final period, and closing that scene of bliss, in which the actors are generally too well pleas'd with their parts not to wish them an eternity of duration.
When we had sufficiently graduated our advances towards the main point, by toying, kissing, clipping, feeling my breasts, now round and plump, feeling that part of me I might call a furnace-mouth, from the prodigious intense heat his fiery touches had rekindled there, my young sportsman, embolden'd by every freedom he could wish, wantonly takes my hand, and carries it to that enormous machine of his, that stood with a stiffness! a hardness! an upward bent of erection! and which, together with its bottom dependence, the inestimable bulge of lady's jewels, formed a grand show out of goods indeed! Then its dimensions, mocking either grasp or span, almost renew'd my terrors.
I could not conceive how, or by what means I could take, or put such a bulk out of sight. I stroked it gently, on which the mutinous rogue seemed to swell, and gather a new degree of fierceness and insolence; so that finding it grew not to be trifled with any longer, I prepar'd for rubbers in good earnest.
Slipping then a pillow under me, that I might give him the fairest play, I guided officiously with my hand this furious battering ram, whose ruby head, presenting nearest the resemblance of a heart, I applied to its proper mark, which lay as finely elevated as we could wish; my hips being borne up, and my thighs at their utmost extension, the gleamy warmth that shot from it made him feel that he was at the mouth of the indraught, and driving foreright, the powerfully divided lips of that pleasure-thirsty channel receiv'd him. He hesitated a little; then, settled well in the passage, he makes his way up the straits of it, with a difficulty nothing more than pleasing, widening as he went, so as to distend and smooth each soft furrow: our pleasure increasing deliciously, in proportion as our points of mutual touch increas'd in that so vital part of me in which I had now taken him, all indriven, and completely sheathed; and which, crammed as it was, stretched, splitting ripe, gave it so gratefully strait an accommodation! so strict a fold! a suction so fierce! that gave and took unutterable delight. We had now reach'd the closest point of union; but when he backened to come on the fiercer, as if I had been actuated by a fear of losing him, in the height of my fury I twisted my legs round his naked loins, the flesh of which, so firm, so springy to the touch, quiver'd again under the pressure; and now I had him every way encircled and begirt; and having drawn him home to me, I kept him fast there, as if I had sought to unite bodies with him at that point. This bred a pause of action, a pleasure stop, whilst that delicate glutton, my nethermouth, as full as it could hold, kept palating, with exquisite relish, the morsel that so deliciously ingorged it. But nature could not long endure a pleasure that so highly provoked without satisfying it: pursuing then its darling end, the battery recommenc'd with redoubled exertion; nor lay I inactive on my side, but encountering him with all the impetuosity of motion but encountering him with all the impetuosity of motion I was mistress of. The downy cloth of our meeting mounts was now of real use to break the violence of the tilt; and soon, too soon indeed! the highwrought agitation, the sweet urgency of this to-and-fro friction, raised the titillation on me to its height; so that finding myself on the point of going, and loath to leave the tender partner of my joys behind me, I employed all the forwarding motions and arts my experience suggested to me, to promote his keeping me company to our journey's end. I not only then tighten'd the pleasure-girth round my restless inmate by a secret spring of friction and compression that obeys the will in those parts, but stole my hand softly to that store bag of nature's prime sweets, which is so pleasingly attach'd to its conduit pipe, from which we receive them; there feeling, and most gently indeed, squeezing those tender globular reservoirs; the magic touch took instant effect, quicken'd, and brought on upon the spur the symptoms of that sweet agony, the melting moment of dissolution, when pleasure dies by pleasure, and the mysterious engine of it overcomes the titillation it has rais'd in those parts, by plying them with the stream of a warm liquid that is itself the highest of all titillations, and which they thirstily express and draw in like the hotnatured leach, which to cool itself, tenaciously attracts all the moisture within its sphere of exsuction. Chiming then to me, with exquisite consent, as I melted away, his oily balsamic injection, mixing deliciously with the sluices in flow from me, sheath'd and blunted all the stings of pleasure, it flung us into an extasy that extended us fainting, breathless, entranced. Thus we lay, whilst a voluptuous languor possest, and still maintain'd us motionless and fast locked in one another's arms. Alas! that these delights should be no longer-lived! for now the point of pleasure, unedged by enjoyment, and all the brisk sensations flatten'd upon us, resigned us up to the cool cares of insipid life. Disengaging myself then from his embrace, I made him sensible of the reasons there were for his present leaving me; on which, though reluctantly, he put on his cloaths with as little expedition, however, as he could help, wantonly interrupting himself, between whiles, with kisses, touches and embraces I could not refuse myself to. Yet he happily return'd to his master before he was missed; but, at taking leave, I forc'd him (for he had sentiments enough to refuse it) to receive money enough to buy a silver watch, that great article of subaltern finery, which he at length accepted of, as a remembrance he was carefully to preserve of my affections.
And here, Madam, I ought, perhaps, to make you an apology for this minute detail of things, that dwelt so strongly upon my memory, after so deep an impression: but, besides that this intrigue bred one great revolution in my life, which historical truth requires I should not sink from you, may I not presume that so exalted a pleasure ought not to be ungratefully forgotten, or suppress'd by me, because I found it in a character in low life; where, by the bye, it is oftener met with, purer, and more unsophisticate, that among the false, ridiculous refinements with which the great suffer themselves to be so grossly cheated by their pride: the great! than whom there exist few amongst those they call the vulgar, who are more ignorant of, or who cultivate less, the art of living than they do; they, I say, who for ever mistake things the most foreign of the nature of pleasure itself; whose capital favourite object is enjoyment of beauty, wherever that rare invaluable gift is found, without distinction of birth, or station.
As love never had, so now revenge had no longer any share in my commerce with this handsome youth. The sole pleasures of enjoyment were now the link I held to him by: for though nature had done such great matters for him in his outward form, and especially in that superb piece of furniture she had so liberally enrich'd him with; though he was thus qualify'd to give the senses their richest feast, still there was something more wanting to create in me, and constitute the passion of love. Yet Will had very good qualities too; gentle, tractable, and, above all, grateful; close, and secret, even to a fault: he spoke, at any time, very little, but made it up emphatically with action; and, to do him justice, he never gave me the least reason to complain, either of any tendency to encroach upon me for the liberties I allow'd him, or of his indiscretion in blabbing them. There is, then, a fatality in love, or have loved him I must; for he was really a treasure, a bit for the BONNE BOUCHE of a duchess; and, to say the truth, my liking for him was so extreme, that it was distinguishing very nicely to deny that I loved him.
My happiness, however, with him did not last long, but found an end from my own imprudent neglect. After having taken even superfluous precautions against a discovery, our success in repeated meetings embolden'd me to omit the barely necessary ones. About a month after our first intercourse, one fatal morning (the season Mr. H ... rarely or never visited me in) I was in my closet, where my toilet stood, in nothing but my shift, a bed gown and under-petticoat. Will was with me, and both ever too well disposed to baulk an opportunity. For my part, a warm whim, a wanton toy had just taken me, and I had challeng'd my man to execute it on the spot, who hesitated not to comply with my humour: I was set in the arm-chair, my shift and petticoat up, my thighs wide spread and mounted over the arms of the chair, presenting the fairest mark to Will's drawn weapon, which he stood in act to plunge into me; when, having neglected to secure the chamber door, and that of the closet standing a-jar, Mr. H ... stole in upon us before either of us was aware, and saw us precisely in these convicting attitudes.
I gave a great scream, and drop'd my petticoat: the thunder-struck lad stood trembling and pale, waiting his sentence of death. Mr. H ... looked sometimes at one, sometimes at the other, with a mixture of indignation and scorn; and, without saying a word, turn'd upon his heel and went out.
As confused as I was, I heard him very distinctly turn the key, and lock the chamber-door upon us, so that there was no escape but through the dining-room, where he himself was walking about with distempered strides, stamping in a great chafe, and doubtless debating what he would do with us.
In the mean time, poor William was frightened out of his senses, and, as much need as I had of spirits to support myself, I was obliged to employ them all to keep his a little up. The misfortune I had now brought upon him, endear'd him the more to me, and I could have joyfully suffered any punishment he had not shared in. I water'd, plentifully, with my tears, the face of the frightened youth, who sat, not having strength to stand, as cold and as lifeless as a statue.
Presently Mr. H ... comes in to us again, and made us go before him into the dining-room, trembling and dreading the issue. Mr. H ... sat down on a chair whilst we stood like criminals under examination; and beginning with me, ask'd me, with an even firm tone of voice, neither soft nor severe, but cruelly indifferent, what I could say for myself, for having abused him in so unworthy a manner, with his own servant too, and how he had deserv'd this of me?
Without adding to the guilt of my infidelity that of an audacious defence of it, in the old style of a common kept Miss, my answer was modest, and often interrupted by my tears, in substance as follows: that I never had a single thought of wronging him (which was true), till I had seen him taking the last liberties with my servant-wench (here he colour'd prodigiously), and that my resentment at that, which I was over-awed from giving vent to by complaints, or explanations with him, had driven me to a course that I did not pretend to justify; but that as to the young man, he was entirely faultless; for that, in the view of making him the instrument of my revenge, I had down-right seduced him to what he had done; and therefore hoped, whatever he determined about me, he would distinguish between the guilty and the innocent; and that, for the rest, I was entirely at his mercy.
Mr. H ... , on hearing what I said, hung his head a little; but instantly recovering himself, he said to me, as near as I can retain, to the following purpose:
"Madam, I owe shame to myself, and confess you have fairly turn'd the tables upon me. It is not with one of your cast of breeding and sentiments that I should enter into a discussion of the very great difference of the provocations: be it sufficient that I allow you so much reason on your side, as to have changed my resolutions, in consideration of what you reproach me with; and I own, too, that your clearing that rascal there, is fair and honest in you. Renew with you I cannot: the affront is too gross. I give you a week's warning to go out of these lodgings; whatever I have given you, remains to you; and as I never intend to see you more, the landlord will pay you fifty pieces on my account, with which, and every debt paid, I hope you will own I do not leave you in a worse condition than what I took you up in, or than you deserve of me. Blame yourself only that it is no better."
Then, without giving me time to reply, he address'd himself to the young fellow:
"For you, spark, I shall, for your father's sake, take care of you: the town is no place for such an easy fool as thou art; and to-morrow you shall set out, under the charge of one of my men, well recommended, in my name, to your father, not to let you return and be spoil'd here."
At these words he went out, after my vainly attempting to stop him by throwing myself at his feet. He shook me off, though he seemed greatly mov'd too, and took Will away with him, who, I dare swear, thought himself very cheaply off.
I was now once more a-drift, and left upon my own hands, by a gentleman whom I certainly did not deserve. And all the letters, arts, friends' entreaties that I employed within the week of grace in my lodging, could never win on him so much as to see me again. He had irrevocably pornounc'd my doom, and submission to it was my only part. Soon after he married a lady of birth and fortune, to whom, I have heard, he prov'd an irreproachable husband.
As for poor Will, he was immediately sent down to the country to his father, who was an easy farmer, where he was not four months before and inn-keeper's buxom young widow, with a very good stock, both in money and trade, fancy'd, and perhaps pre-acquainted with his secret excellencies, marry'd him: and I am sure there was, at least, one good foundation for their living happily together.
Though I should have been charm'd to see him before he went, such measures were taken, by Mr. H ... 's orders, that it was impossible; otherwise I should certainly have endeavour'd to detain him in town, and would have spared neither offers nor expence to have procured myself the satisfaction of keeping him with me. He had such powerful holds upon my inclinations as were not easily to be shaken off, or replaced; as to my heart, it was quite out of the question: glad, however, I was from my soul, that nothing worse, and as things turn'd out, probably nothing better could have happened to him.
As to Mr. H ... , though views of conveniency made me, at first, exert myself to regain his affection, I was giddy and thoughtless enough to be much easier reconcil'd to my failure than I ought to have been; but as I never had lov'd him, and his leaving me gave me a sort of liberty that I had often long'd for, I was soon comforted; and flattering myself that the stock of youth and beauty I was going into trade with could hardly fail of procuring me a maintenance, I saw myself under a necessity of trying my fortune with them, rather, with pleasure and gaiety, than with the least idea of despondency.
In the mean time, several of my acquaintances among the sisterhood, who had soon got wind of my misfortune, flocked to insult me with their malicious consolations. Most of them had long envied me the affluence and splendour I had been maintain'd in; and though there was scarce one of them that did not at least deserve to be in my case, and would probably, sooner or later, come to it, it was equally easy to remark, even in their affected pity, their secret pleasure at seeing me thus disgrac'd and discarded, and their secret grief that it was no worse with me. Unaccountable malice of the human heart! and which is not confin'd to the class of life they were of.
But as the time approached for me to come to some resolution how to dispose of myself, and I was considering round where to shift my quarters to, Mrs. Cole, a middleaged discreet sort of woman, who had been brought into my acquaintance by one ot the Misses that visited me, upon learning my situation, came to offer her cordial advice and service to me; and as I had always taken to her more than to any of my female acquaintances, I listened the easier to her proposals. And, as it happened, I could not have put myself into worse, or into better hands in all London: into worse, because keeping a house of conveniency, there were no lengths in lewdness she would not advise me to go, in compliance with her customers; no schemes of pleasure, or even unbounded debauchery, she did not take even a delight in promoting: into a better, because nobody having had more experience of the wicked part of the town than she had, was fitter to advise and guard one against the worst dangers of our profession; and what was rare to be met with in those of her's, she contented herself with a moderate living profit upon her industry and good offices, and had nothing of their greedy rapacious turn. She was really too a gentlewoman born and bred, but through a train of accidents reduc'd to this course, which she pursued, partly through necessity, partly through choice, as never woman delighted more in encouraging a brisk circulation of trade for the sake of the trade itself, or better understood all the mysteries and refinements of it, than she did; so that she was consummately at the top of her profession, and dealt only with customers of distinction: to answer the demands of whom she kept a competent number of her daughters in constant recruit (so she call'd those whom by her means, and through her tuition and instructions, succeeded very well in the world).
This useful gentlewoman upon whose protection I now threw myself, having her reasons of state, respecting Mr. H ... , for not appearing too much in the thing herself, sent a friend of her's, on the day appointed for my removal, to conduct me to my new lodgings at a brushmaker's in R*** street, Covent Garden, the very next door to her own house, where she had no conveniences to lodge me herself: lodgings that, by having been for several successions tenanted by ladies of pleasure, the landlord of them was familiarized to their ways; and provided the rent was duly paid, every thing else was as easy and commodious as one could desire.
The fifty guineas promis'd me by Mr. H ... , at his parting with me, having been duly paid me, all my cloaths and moveables chested up, which were at least of two hundred pound's value, I had them convey'd into a coach, where I soon followed them, after taking a civil leave of the landlord and his family, with whom I had never liv'd in a degree of familiarity enough to regret the removal; but still, the very circumstance of its being a removal drew tears from me. I left, too, a letter of thanks for Mr. H ... , from whom I concluded myself, as I really was, irretrievably separated.
My maid I had discharged the day before, not only because I had her of Mr. H ... , but that I suspected her of having some how or other been the occasion of his discovering me, in revenge, perhaps, for my not having trusted her with him.
We soon got to my lodgings, which, though not so handsomely furnish'd nor so showy as those I left, were to the full as convenient, and at half price, though on the first floor. My trunks were safely landed, and stow'd in my apartments, where my neighbour, and now gouvernante, Mrs. Cole, was ready with my landlord to receive me, to whom she took care to set me out in the most favourable light, that of one from whom there was the clearest reason to expect the regular payment of his rent: all the cardinal virtues attributed to me would not have had half the weight of that recommendation alone.
I was now settled in lodgings of my own, abandon'd to my own conduct, and turned loose upon the town, to sink or swim, as I could manage with the current of it; and what were the consequences, together with the number of adventures which befell me in the exercise of my new profession, will compose the matter of another letter: for surely it is high time to put a period to this.
I am, MADAM Yours, etc., etc., etc.
THE END OF THE FIRST LETTER