Louisa herself did not long outstay this adventure at Mrs. Cole's (to whom, by-the-bye, we took care not to boast of our exploit, till all fear o_onsequences were clearly over): for an occasion presenting itself of provin_er passion for a young fellow, at the expense of her discretion, proceedin_ll in character, she pack'd up her toilet at half a day's warning and wen_ith him abroad, since which I entirely lost sight of her, and it never fel_n my way to hear what became of her.
But a few days after she had left us, two very pretty young gentlemen, wh_ere Mrs. Cole's especial favourites, and free of her academy, easily obtain'_er consent for Emily's and my acceptance of a party of pleasure at a littl_ut agreeable house belonging to one of them, situated not far up the rive_hames, on the Surry side.
Everything being settled, and it being a fine summer- day, but rather of th_armest, we set out after dinner, and got to our rendez-vous about four in th_fternoon; where, landing at the foot of a neat, joyous pavillion, Emily and _ere handed into it by our squires, and there drank tea with a cheerfulnes_nd gaiety that the beauty of the prospect, the serenity of the weather, an_he tender politeness of our sprightly gallants naturally led us into.
After tea, and taking a turn in the garden, my particu- lar, who was th_aster of the house, and had in no sense schem'd this party of pleasure for _ry one, propos'd to us, with that frankness which his familiarity at Mrs.
Cole's entitled him to, as the weather was excessively hot, to bathe together, under a commodious shelter that he had prepared expressly for that purpose, i_ creek of the river, with which a side-door of the pavilion immediatel_ommunicated, and where we might be sure of having our diversion out, saf_rom interruption, and with the utmost privacy.
Emily, who never refus'd anything, and I, who ever delighted in bathing, an_ad no exception to the person who propos'd it, or to those pleasures it wa_asy to guess it implied, took care, on this occasion, not to wrong ou_raining at Mrs. Cole's, and agreed to it with as good a grace as we could.
Upon which, without loss of time, we return'd instantly to the pavilion, on_oor of which open'd into a tent, pitch'd before it, that with its marquise, formed a pleasing defense against the sun, or the weather, and was besides a_rivate as we could wish. The lining of it, imbossed cloth, represented a wil_orest-foliage, from the top down to the sides, which, in the same stuff, wer_igur'd with fluted pilasters, with their spaces between fill'd with flower- vases, the whole having a gay effect upon the eye, wherever you turn'd it.
Then it reached sufficiently into the water, yet con- tain'd convenien_enches round it, on the dry ground, either to keep our cloaths, or … , or … , in short, for more uses than resting upon. There was a side-table too, loade_ith sweetmeats, jellies, and other eatables, and bottles of wine an_ordials, by way of occasional relief from any raw- ness, or chill of th_ater, or from any faintness from what- ever cause; and in fact, my gallant, who understood chere entiere perfectly, and who, for taste (even if you woul_ot approve this specimen of it) might have been comptroller of pleasures to _oman emperor, had left no requisite towards convenience or luxury unprovided.
As soon as we had look'd round this inviting spot, and every preliminary o_rivacy was duly settled, strip was the word: when the young gentlemen soo_ispatch'd the undressing each his partner and reduced us to the nake_onfession of all those secrets of person which dress generally hides, an_hich the discovery of was, naturally speaking, not to our disadvantage. Ou_ands, indeed, mechanically carried towards the most interesting part of us, screened, at first, all from the tufted cliff downwards, till we took the_way at their desire, and employed them in doing them the same office, o_elping off with their cloaths; in the process of which, there pass'd all th_ittle wantonnesses and frolicks that you may easily imagine.
As for my spark, he was presently undressed, all to his shirt, the fore-lappe_f which as he lean'd languishingly on me, he smilingly pointed to me t_bserve, as it bellied out, or rose and fell, according to the unruly start_f the mo- tion behind it; but it was soon fix'd, for now taking off hi_hirt, and naked as a Cupid, he shew'd it me at so upright a stand, a_repar'd me indeed for his application to me for instant ease; but, tho' th_ight of its fine size was fit enough to fire me, the cooling air, as I stoo_n this state of nature, joined to the desire I had of bathing first, en- abled me to put him off, and tranquillize him, with the re- mark that a littl_uspense would only set a keener edge on the pleasure. Leading then the way, and shewing our friends an example of continency, which they were giving sign_f losing respect to, we went hand in hand into the stream, till it took us u_o our neck, where the no more than grateful coolness of the water gave m_enses a delicious refreshment from the sultriness of the season, and mad_ore alive, more happy in myself, and, in course, more alert, and open t_oluptuous impressions.
Here I lav'd and wanton'd with the water, or sportively play'd with m_ompanion, leaving Emily to deal with hers at discretion. Mine, at length, no_ontent with making me take the plunge over head and ears, kept splashing me, and provok- ing me with all the little playful tricks he could devise, an_hich I strove not to remain in his debt for. We gave, in short, a loose t_irth; and now, nothing would serve him but giving his hands the regale o_oing over every part of me, neck, breast, belly, thighs, and all the e_etera, so dear to the imagination, under the pretext of washing and rubbin_hem; as we both stood in the water, no higher now than the pit of ou_tomachs, and which did not hinder him from feeling, and toying with that lea_hat distinguishes our sex, and it so wonderfully water-tight: for hi_ingers, in vain dilating and opening it, only let more flame than water int_t, be it said without a figure. At the same time he made me feel his ow_ngine, which was so well wound up, as to stand even the working in water, an_e accordingly threw one arm round my neck, and was endeavouring to get th_etter of that harsher construction bred by the surrounding fluid; and had i_ffect won his way so far as to make me sensible of the pleasing stretch o_hose nether-lips, from the in-driving machine; when, independent of my no_iking that aukward mode of enjoyment, I could not help interrupt- ing him, i_rder to become joint spectators of a plan of joy, in hot operation betwee_mily and her partner; who impatient of the fooleries and dalliance of th_ath, had led his nymph to one of the benches on the green bank, where he wa_ery cordially proceeding to teach her the difference be- twixt jest an_arnest.
There, setting her on his knee, and gliding one hand over the surface of tha_mooth polish'd snow-white skin of hers, which now doubly shone with a dew- bright lustre, and presented to the touch something like what one woul_magine of animated ivory, especially in those ruby-nippled globes, which th_ouch is so fond of and delights to make love to, with the other he wa_usciously exploring the sweet secret of nature, in order to make room for _tately piece of machinery, that stood uprear'd, between her thighs, as sh_ontinued sitting on his lap, and pressed hard for instant admission, whic_he tender Emily, in a fit of humour deliciously protracted, af- fecting t_ecline, and elude the very pleasure she sigh'd for, but in a style o_aywardness so prettily put on, and managed, as to render it ten times mor_oignant; then her eyes, all amidst the softest dying languishment, express'_t once a mock denial and extreme desire, whilst her sweetness was zested wit_ coyness so pleasingly provoking, her moods of keeping him off were s_ttractive, that they redoubled the impetuous rage with which he cover'd he_ith kisses: and the kisses that, whilst she seemed to shy from or scuffl_or, the cunning wanton contrived such sly returns of, as were doubtless th_weeter for the gust she gave them, of being stolen ravished.
Thus Emily, who knew no art but that which nature itself, in favour of he_rincipal end, pleasure, had inspir'd her with, the art of yielding, coy'd i_ndeed, but coy'd it to the purpose; for with all her straining, he_restling, and striving to break from the clasp of his arms, she was so fa_iser yet than to mean it, that in her struggles, it was visible she aim'd a_othing more than multiplying points of touch with him, and drawing yet close_he folds that held them every where entwined, like two tendrils of a vin_nter- curling together: so that the same effect, as when Louisa strove i_ood earnest to disengage from the idiot, was now produced by differen_otives.
Mean while, their emersion out of the cold water had caused a general glow, _ender suffusion of heighten'd carnation over their bodies; both equally whit_nd smooth- skinned; so that as their limbs were thus amorously inter- woven, in sweet confusion, it was scarce possible to distin- guish who the_espectively belonged to, but for the brawnier, bolder muscles of the stronge_ex.
In a little time, however, the champion was fairly in with her, and had tie_t all points the true lover's knot; when now, adieu all the littl_efinements of a finessed re- luctance; adieu the friendly feint! She wa_resently driven forcibly out of the power of using any art; and indeed, wha_rt must not give way, when nature, corresponding with her assailant, invade_n the heart of her capital and carried by storm, lay at the mercy of th_roud conqueror who had made his entry triumphantly and completely? Soon, however, to be- come a tributary: for the engagement growing hotter an_otter, at close quarters, she presently brought him to the pass of payin_own the dear debt to nature; which she had no sooner collected in, but, lik_ duellist who has laid his antagonist at his feet, when he has himsel_eceived a mortal wound, Emily had scarce time to plume herself upon her vic- tory, but, shot with the same discharge, she, in a loud ex- piring sigh, i_he closure of her eyes, the stretch-out of her limbs, and a remission of he_hole frame, gave manifest signs that all was as it should be. ? For my part, who had not with the calmest patience stood in the water all this time, t_iew this warm action, I lean'd tenderly on my gallant, and at the close o_t, seemed'd to ask him with my eyes what he thought of it; but he, more eage_o satisfy me by his actions than by words or looks, as we shoal'd the wate_owards the shore, shewed me the staff of love so intensely set up, that ha_ot even charity beginning at home in this case, urged me to our mutua_elief, it would have been cruel indeed to have suffered the youth to burs_ith straining, when the remedy was so obvious and so near at hand.
Accordingly we took to a bench, whilst Emily and her spark, who belonged i_eems to the sea, stood at the side- board, drinking to our good voyage: for, as the last observ'd, we were well under weigh, with a fair wind up channel, and full-freighted; nor indeed were we long before we finished our trip t_ythera, and unloaded in the old haven; but, as the circumstances did no_dmit of much variation, I shall spare you the description.
At the same time, allow me to place you here an excuse I am conscious of owin_ou, for having, perhaps, too much affected the figurative style; thoug_urely, it can pass no- where more allowably than in a subject which is s_roperly the province of poetry, nay, is poetry itself, pregnant with ever_lower of imagination and loving metaphors, even were not the natura_xpressions, for respects of fashion and sound, necessarily forbid it.
Resuming now my history, you may please to know that what with a competen_umber of repetitions, all in the same strain (and, by-the-bye, we have _ertain natural sense that those repetitions are very much to the taste), wha_ith a circle of pleasures delicately varied, there was not a moment lost t_oy all the time we staid there, till late in the night we were re-escorte_ome by our squires, who delivered us safe to Mrs. Cole, with generous thank_or our company.
This too was Emily's last adventure in our way: for scarce a week after, sh_as, by an accident too trivial to detail to you the particulars, found out b_er parents, who were in good circumstances, and who had been punish'd fo_heir partiality to their son, in the loss of him, occasion'd by _ircumstance of their over-indulgence to his appetite; upon which the so lon_ngross'd stream of fondness, running violently in favour of this lost an_nhumanly abandon'd child whom if they had not neglected enquiry about, the_ight long before have recovered. They were now so overjoyed at the re- trieval of her, that, I presume, it made them much less strict in examinin_he bottom of things: for they seem'd very glad to take for granted, in th_ump, everything that the grave and decent Mrs. Cole was pleased to pass upo_hem; and soon afterwards sent her, from the country, a handsome acknowledge- ment.
But it was not so easy to replace to our community the loss of so sweet _ember of it: for, not to mention her beauty, she was one of those mild, pliant characters that if one does not entirely esteem, one can scarce hel_oving, which is not such a bad compensation neither. Owing all her weaknes_o good-nature, and an indolent facility that kept her too much at the merc_f first impressions, she had just sense enough to know that she wante_eading-strings, and thought herself so much obliged to any who would take th_ains to think for her, and guide her, that with a very little management, sh_as capable of being made a most agreeable, nay, a most virtuous wife: fo_ice, it is probable, had never been her choice, or her fate, if it had no_een for occasion, or example, or had she not depended less upon herself tha_pon her circumstances. This presumption her conduct after- wards verified: for presently meeting with a match that was ready cut and dry for her, with _eighbour's son of her own rank, and a young man of sense and order, who too_er as the widow of one lost at sea (for so it seems one of her gallants, whose name she had made free with, really was), she naturally struck into al_he duties of their domestic life with as much constancy and regularity, as i_he had never swerv'd from a state of undebauch'd innocence from her youth.
These desertions had, however, now so far thinned Mrs. Cole's brood that sh_as left with only me like a hen with one chicken; but tho' she was earnestl_ntreated and encou- rag'd to recruit her corps, her growing infirmities, and, above all, the tortures of a stubborn hip-gout, which she found would yield t_o remedy, determin'd her to bread up her business and retire with a decen_ittance into the country, where I promis'd myself nothing so sure, as m_oing down to live with her as soon as I had seen a little more of life an_mprov'd my small matters into a competency that would create in me a_ndependence on the world: for I was, now, thanks to Mrs. Cole, wise enough t_eep that essential in view.
Thus was I then to lose my faithful preceptress, as did the Philosophers o_he town the White Crow of her profession. For besides that she neve_ansacked her customers, whose taste too she ever studiously consulted, besides that she never racked her pupils with unconscionable extortions, no_ver put their hard earnings, as she call'd them, under the contribution o_oundage. She was a severe enemy to the seduction for innocence, and confin'_er acquisitions solely to those unfortunate young women, who, having lost it, were but the juster objects of compassion: among these, indeed, she pick'd bu_uch as suited her views and taking them under her protection, rescu'd the_rom the danger of the publick sinks of ruin and misery, to place, or do fo_hem, well or ill, in the manner you have seen. Having then settled he_ffairs, she set out on her journey, after taking the most tender leave of me, and at the end of some excellent instruc- tions, recommending me to myself, with an anxiety perfectly maternal. In short, she affected me so much, that _as not presently reconcil'd to myself for suffering her at any rate to g_ithout me; but fate had, it seems, otherwise dispos'd of me.
I had, on my separation from Mrs. Cole, taken a pleasant convenient house a_arybone, but easy to rent and manage from its smallness, which I furnish'_eatly and modestly. There, with a reserve of eight hundred pounds, the frui_f my defer- ence to Mrs. Cole's counsels, exclusive of cloaths, some jewels, some plate, I saw myself in purse for a long time, to wait without impatienc_or what the chapter of accidents might produce in my favour.
Here, under the new character of a young gentle-woman whose husband was gon_o sea, I had mark'd me out such lines of life and conduct, as leaving me at _ompetent liberty to pursue my views either out of pleasure or fortune, bounded me nevertheless strictly within the rules od decency and discre- tion: a disposition in which you cannot escape observing a true pupil of Mrs. Cole.
? I was scarce, however, well warm in my new abode, when going out one mornin_retty early to enjoy the freshness of it, in the pleasing outlet of th_ields, accompanied only by a maid, whom I had newly hired, as we wer_arelessly walking among the trees we were alarmed with the noise of a violen_oughing: turning our heads towards which, we distinguish'd a plain well- dressed elderly gentleman, who, attack'd with a sudden fit, was so muc_vercome as to be forc'd to give way to it and sit down at the foot of a tree, where he seemed suffocating with the severity of it, being perfectly black i_he face: not less mov'd than frighten'd with which, I flew on the instant t_is relief, and using the rote of practice I had observ'd on the lik_ccasion, I loosened his cravat and clapped him on the back; but whether t_ny purpose, or whether the cough had had its course, I know not, but the fi_mmediately went off; and now recover'd to his speech and legs, he returned m_hanks with as much emphasis as if I had sav'd his life. This naturall_ngaging a conversation, he acquainted me where he lived, which was at _onsiderable distance from where I met with him, and where he had stray'_nsensibly on the same intention of a morning walk.
He was, as I afterwards learn'd in the course of the intimacy which thi_ittle accident gave birth to, an old bachelor, turn'd of sixty, but of _resh vigorous complexion, insomuch that he scarce marked five and forty, having never rack'd his constitution by permitting his desires to overtax hi_bility.
As to his birth and condition, his parents, honest and fail'd mechanicks, had, by the best traces he could get of them, left him an infant orphan on th_arish; so that it was from a charity-school, that, by honesty and industry, he made his way into a merchant's counting-house; from whence, being sent to _ouse in CADIZ, he there, by his talents and acti- vity, acquired a fortune, but an immense one, with which he returned to his native country; where h_ould not, however, so much as fish out one single relation out of th_bscurity he was born in. Taking then a taste for retirement, and pleas'd t_njoy life, like a mistress in the dark, he flowed his days in all the ease o_pulence, without the least parade of it; and, rather studying the concealmen_han the shew of a fortune, looked down on a world he perfectly knew; himself, to his wish, unknown and unmarked by.
But, as I propose to devote a letter entirely to the pleasure of retracing t_ou all the particulars of my ac- quaintance with this ever, to me, memorabl_riend, I shall, in this, transiently touch on no more than may serve, a_ortar to cement, to form the connection of my history, and to obviate you_urprize that one of my high blood and relish of life should count a gallan_f threescore such a catch.
Referring then to a more explicit narrative, to explain by what progression_ur acquaintance, certainly innocent at first, insensibly changed nature, an_an into unplatonic lengths, as might well be expected from one of m_ondition of life, and above all, from that principle of electricity tha_carce ever fails of producing fire when the sexes meet. I shall only he_cquaint you, that as age had not subdued his tenderness for our sex, neithe_ad it robbed him of the power of pleasing, since whatever he wanted in th_ewitching charms of youth, he aton'd for, or supplemented with the ad- vantages of experience, the sweetness of his manners, and above all, hi_lattering address in touching the heart, by an application to th_nderstanding. From him it was I first learn'd, to any purpose, and no_ithout infinite pleasure, that I had such a portion of me worth bestowin_ome regard on; from him I received my first essential encouragement, an_nstructions how to put it in that train of cultivation, which I have sinc_ushed to the little degree of improvement you see it at; he it was, who firs_aught me to be sensible that the pleasures of the mind were superior to thos_f the body; at the same time, that they were so far from obnoxious to, o_ncompatible with each other, that, besides the sweetness in the variety an_ransition, the one serv'd to exalt and per- fect the taste of the other to _egree that the senses alone can never arrive at.
Himself a rational pleasurist, as being much too wise to be asham'd of th_leasures of humanity, loved me indeed, but loved me with dignity; in a mea_qually remov'd from the sourness, of forwardness, by which age i_npleasingly char- acteriz'd, and from that childish silly dotage that s_ften disgraces it, and which he himself used to turn into ridicule, an_ompare to an old goat affecting the frisk of a young kid.
In short, everything that is generally unamiable in his season of life was, i_im, repair'd by so many advantages, that he existed a proof, manifest a_east to me, that it is not out of the power of age to please, if it lays ou_o please, and if, making just allowances, those in that class do not forge_hat it must cost them more pains and attention than what youth, the natura_pring-time of joy, stands in need of: as fruits out of season requir_roportionably more skill and cultivation, to force them.
With this gentleman then, who took me home soon after our acquaintanc_ommenc'd, I lived near eight months; in which time, my constant complaisanc_nd docility, my atten- tion to deserve his confidence and love, and _onduct, in general, devoid of the least art and founded on my sincere regar_nd esteem for him, won and attach'd him so firmly to me, that, after havin_enerously trusted me with a genteel, independent settlement, proceeding t_eap marks of affection on me, he appointed me, by an authentick will, hi_ole heiress and executrix: a disposition which he did not outlive two months, being taken from me by a violent cold that he contracted as he unadvisedly ra_o the window on an alarm of fire, at some streets distance, and stood ther_aked-breast- ed, and exposed to the fatal impressions of a damp night-air.
After acquitting myself of my duty towards my deceas'd benefactor, and payin_im a tribute of unfeign'd sorrow, which a little time chang'd into a mos_ender, grateful memory of him that I shall ever retain, I grew somewhat com- forted by the prospect that now open'd to me, if not of hap- piness at leas_f affluence and independence.
I saw myself then in the full bloom and pride of youth (for I was not ye_ineteen) actually at the head of so large a fortune, as it would have bee_ven the height of impudence in me to have raised my wishes, much more m_opes, to; and that this unexpected elevation did not turn my head, I ow'd t_he pains my benefactor had taken to form and prepare me for it, as I ow'd hi_pinion of my management of the vast possessions he left me, to what he ha_bserv'd of the pru- dential economy I had learned under Mrs. Cole, of whic_he reserve he saw I had made was a proof and encouragement to him.
But, alas! how easily is the enjoyment of the greatest sweets in life, i_resent possession, poisoned by the regret of an absent one! but my regret wa_ mighty and just one, since it had my only truly beloved Charles for it_bject.
Given him up I had, indeed, compleatly, having never once heard from him sinc_ur separation; which, as I found after- wards, had been my misfortune, an_ot his neglect, for he wrote me several letters which had all miscarried; bu_or- gotten him I never had. Amidst all my personal infidelities, not one ha_ade a pin's point impression on a heart impene- trable to the true love- passion, but for him.
As soon, however, as I was mistress of this unexpected fortune, I felt mor_han ever how dear he was to me, from its insufficiency to make me happy, whilst he was not to share it with me. My earliest care, consequently, was t_ndeavour at getting some account of him; but all my re- searches produc'd m_o more light than that his father had been dead for some time, not so well a_ven with the world; and that Charles had reached his port of destination i_he South-Seas, where, finding the estate he was sent to recover dwindled to _rifle, by the loss of two ships in which the bulk of his uncle's fortune lay, he was come away with the small remainder, and might, perhaps, according t_he best advice, in a few months return to England, from whence he had, at th_ime of this my inquiry, been absent two years and seven months. A littl_ternity in love!
You cannot conceive with what joy I embraced the hopes thus given me of seein_he delight of my heart again. But, as the term of months was assigned it, i_rder to divert and amuse my impatience for his return, after settling m_ffairs with much ease and security, I set out on a journey for Lancashire, with an equipage suitable to my fortune, and with a design purely to revisi_y place of nativity, for which I could not help retaining a great tenderness; and might naturally not be sorry to shew myself there, to the advantage I wa_ow in pass to do, after the report Esther Davis had spread of my bein_pirited away to the plantations; for on no other supposition could sh_ccount for the suppression of myself to her, since her leaving me so abruptl_t the inn. Another favourite intention I had, to look out for my rela- tions, though I had none besides distant ones, and prove a benefactress to them. The_rs. Cole's place of retirement lying in my way, was not amongst the least o_he pleasures I had proposed to myself in this expedition.
I had taken nobody with me but a discreet decent woman, to figure it as m_ompanion, besides my servants, and was scarce got into an inn, about twent_iles from London, where I was to sup and pass the night, when such a storm o_ind and rain sprang up as made me congratulate myself on having got unde_helter before it began.
This had continu'd a good half hour, when bethinking me of some directions t_e given to the coachman, I sent for him, and not caring that his shoes shoul_oil the very clean parlour, in which the cloth was laid, I stept into th_all- kitchen, where he was, and where, whilst I was talking to him, _lantingly observ'd two horsemen driven in by the weather, and both wringin_et; one of whom was asking if they could not be assisted with a change, whil_heir clothes were dried. But, heavens! who can express what I felt at th_ound of a voice, ever present to my heart, and that is now rebounded at! o_hen pointing my eyes towards the person it came from, they confirm'd it_nformation, in spite of so long an absence, and of a dress one would hav_magin'd studied for a disguise: a horseman's great coat, with a stand-u_ape, and his hat flapp'd … but what could escape the piercing alertness of _ense surely guided by love? A transport then like mine was above al_onsideration, or schemes of surprize; and I, that instant, with the rapidit_f the emotions that I felt the spur of, shot into his arms, crying out, as _hrew mine round his neck: "My life! … my soul! … my Charles! … " and withou_urther power of speech, swoon'd away, under the pressing agitations of jo_nd surprize.
Recover'd out of my entrancement, I found myself in my charmer's arms, but i_he parlour, surrounded by a crowd which this event had gather'd round us, an_hich immediately, on a signal from the discreet landlady, who currently too_im for my husband, clear'd the room, and desirably left us alone to th_aptures of this reunion; my joy at which had like to have prov'd, at th_xpense of my life, power superior to that of grief at our fatal separation.
The first object then, that my eyes open'd on, was their supreme idol, and m_upreme wish Charles, on one knee, hold- ing me fast by the hand and gazing o_e with a transport of fondness. Observing my recovery, he attempted to speak, and give vent to his patience of hearing my voice again, to satisfy him onc_ore that it was me; but the mightiness and suddenness of the surprize, continuing to stun him, choked his utterance: he could only stammer out a fe_roken, half formed, faltering accents, which my ears greedily drinking in, spelt, and put together, so as to make out their sense; "After so long! … s_ruel … an absence! … my dearest Fanny! … can it? … can it be you? … "
stifling me at the same time with kisses, that, stopping my mouth, at onc_revented the answer that he panted for, and increas'd the delicious disorde_n which all my senses were rapturously lost. Amidst however, this crowd o_deas, and all blissful ones, there obtruded only one cruel doubt, tha_oison'd nearly all the transcendent happiness: and what was it, but my drea_f its being too excessive to be real? I trembled now with the fear of it_eing no more than a dream, and of my waking out of it into the horrors o_ind- ing it one. Under this fond apprehension, imagining I could not make to_uch of the present prodigious joy, before it should vanish and leave me i_he desert again, nor verify its reality too strongly, I clung to him, _lasp'd him, as if to hinder him from escaping me again: "Where have you been?
… how could you … could you leave me? … Say you are still mine … that yo_till love me … and thus! thus!" (kissing him as if I would consolidate lip_ith him!) "I forgive you … forgive my hard fortune in favour of thi_estoration."
All these interjections breaking from me, in that wild- ness of expressio_hat justly passes for eloquence in love, drew from him all the returns m_ond heart could wish or require. Our caresses, our questions, our answers, for some time observ'd no order; all crossing, or interrupting one another i_weet confusion, whilst we exchang'd hearts at our eyes, and renew'd th_atifications of a love unbated by time or absence: not a breath, not _otion, not a gesture on either side, but what was strongly impressed with it.
Our hands, lock'd in each other, repeated the most passionate squeezes, s_hat their fiery thrill went to the heart again.
Thus absorbed, and concentre'd in this unutterable de- light, I had no_ttended to the sweet author of it, being thoroughly wet, and in danger o_atching cold; when, in good time, the landlady, whom the appearance of m_quipage (which, by-the-bye, Charles knew nothing of) had gain'd me a_nterest in, for me and mine, interrupted us by bringing in a decent shift o_inen and cloaths, which now, somewhat recover'd into a calmer composure b_he coming in of a third person, I prest him to take the benefit of, with _ender concern and anxiety that made me tremble for his health.
The landlady leaving us again, he proceeded to shift; in the act of which, tho' he proceeded with all that modesty which became these first solemne_nstants of our re-meeting after so long an absence, I could not contai_ertain snatches of my eyes, lured by the dazzling discoveries of his nake_kin, that escaped him as he chang'd his linen, and which I could not observ_he unfaded life and complexion of without emotions of tenderness and joy, that had himself too purely for their object to partake of a loose or mistim'_esire.
He was soon drest in these temporary cloaths, which neither fitted him no_ecame the light my passion plac'd him in, to me at least; yet, as they wer_n him, they look'd extremely well, in virtue of that magic charm which lov_ut into everything that he touch'd, or had relation to him: and where, indeed, was that dress that a figure like this would not give grace to? Fo_ow, as I ey'd him more in detail, I could not but observe the even favourabl_lteration which the time of his absence had produced in his person.
There were still the requisite lineaments, still the same vivid vermilion an_loom reigning in his face: but now the roses were more fully blown; the ta_f his travels, and a beard somewhat more distinguishable, had, at the expens_f no more delicacy than what he could well spare, given it an air of becomin_anliness and maturity, that symmetriz'd nobly with that air of distinctio_nd empire with which nature had stamp'd it, in a rare mixture with th_weetness of it; still nothing had he lost of that smooth plumpness of flesh, which, glowing with freshness, blooms florid to the eye, and delicious to th_ouch; then his shoulders were grown more square, his shape more form'd, mor_ortly, but still free and airy. In short, his figure show'd riper, greater, and perfecter to the experienced eye than in his tender youth; and now he wa_ot much more than two and twenty.
In this interval, however, I pick'd out of the broken, often pleasingl_nterrupted account of himself, that he was, at that instant, actually on hi_oad to London, in not a very paramount plight or condition, having bee_reck'd on the Irish coast for which he had prematurely embark'd, and lost th_ittle all he had brought with him from the South Seas; so that he had no_ill after great shifts and hard- ships, in the company of his fellow- traveller, the captain, got so far on his journey; that so it was (havin_eard of his father's death and circumstances) he had now the world to begi_gain, on a new account: a situation which he assur'd me, in a vein o_incerity that, flowing from his heart, penetrated mine, gave him to farthe_ain, than that he had it not in his power to make me as happy as he coul_ish. My fortune, you will please to observe, I had not enter'd upon an_verture of, reserving to feast myself with the surprize of it to him, i_almer instants. And, as to my dress, it could give him no idea of the truth, not only as it was mourning, but likewise in a style of plainness an_implicity that I had ever kept to with studied art. He press'd me indee_enderly to satisfy his ardent curiosity, both with regard to my past an_resent state of life since his being torn away from me: but I had the addres_o elude his questions by answers that, shewing his satisfaction at no grea_istance, won upon him to waive his impatience, in favour of the thoroug_onfidence he had in my not delaying it, but for respects I should in goo_ime acquaint him with.
Charles, however, thus returned to my longing arms, tender, faithful, and i_ealth, was already a blessing too mighty for my conception: but Charles i_istress! … Charles reduc'd, and broken down to his naked personal merit, wa_uch a circumstance, in favour of the sentiments I had for him, as exceeded m_tmost desires; and accordingly I seemed so visibly charm'd, so out of tim_nd measure pleas'd at his mention of his ruin'd fortune, that he coul_ccount for it no way, but that the joy of seeing him again had swal- low'd u_very other sense, or concern.
In the mean time, my woman had taken all possible care of Charles's travellin_ompanion; and as supper was coming in, he was introduc'd to me, when _eceiv'd him as became my regard for all of Charles's acquaintance or friends.
We four then supp'd together, in the style of joy, con- gratulation, an_leasing disorder that you may guess. For my part, though all these agitation_ad left me not the least stomach but for that uncloying feast, the sight o_y ador'd youth, I endeavour'd to force it, by way of example for him, who _onjectur'd must want such a recruit after riding; and, indeed, he ate like _raveller, but gaz'd at, and addressed me all the time like a lover.
After the cloth was taken away, and the hour of repose came on, Charles and _ere, without further ceremony, in quality of man and wife, shewn up togethe_o a very handsome apartment, and, all in course, the bed, they said, the bes_n the inn.
And here, Decency, forgive me! if once more I violate thy laws and keeping th_urtains undrawn, sacrifice thee for the last time to that confidence, withou_eserve, with which I engaged to recount to you the most strikin_ircumstances of my youthful disorders.
As soon, then, as we were in the room together, left to ourselves, the sigh_f the bed starting the remembrance of our first joys, and the thought of m_eing instantly to share it with the dear possessor of my virgin heart, mov'_e so strongly, that it was well I lean'd upon him, or I must have fainte_gain under the overpowering sweet alarm. Charles saw into my confusion, an_orgot his own, that was scarce less, to apply himself to the removal of mine.
But now the true refining passion had regain'd thorough possession of me, wit_ll its train of symptoms: a sweet sensibility, a tender timidity, love-sic_earnings temper'd with diffidence and modesty, all held me in a subjection o_oul, incomparably dearer to me than the liberty of heart which I had bee_ong, too long! the mistress of, in the course of those grosser gallantries, the consciousness of which now made me sigh with a virtuous confusion an_egret. No real virgin, in view of the nuptial bed, could give more bashfu_lushes to unblemish'd innocence than I did to a sense of guilt; and indeed _ov'd Charles too truly not to feel severely that I did not deserve him.
As I kept hesitating and disconcerted under this soft distraction, Charles, with a fond impatience, took the pains to undress me; and all I can remembe_midst the flutter and discomposure of my senses was some flatterin_xclamations of joy and admiration, more specially at the feel of my breasts, now set at liberty form my stays, and which panting and ris- ing in tumultuou_hrobs, swell'd upon his dear touch, and gave it the welcome pleasure o_inding them well form'd, and unfail'd in firmness.
I was soon laid in bed, and scarce languish'd an instant for the darlin_artner of it, before he was undress'd and got between the sheets, with hi_rms clasp'd round me, giv- ing and taking, with gust inexpressible, a kiss o_elcome, that my heart rising to my lips stamp'd with its warmest impression, concurring to by bliss, with that delicate and voluptuous emotion whic_harles alone had the secret to excite, and which constitutes the very life, the essence of pleasure.
Meanwhile, two candles lighted on a side-table near us, and a joyous wood- fire, threw a light into the bed that took from one sense, of great importanc_o our joys, all pretext for complaining of its being shut out of its share o_hem; and indeed, the sight of my idolized youth was alone, from the ardou_ith which I had wished for it, without other cir- cumstance, a pleasure t_ie of.
But as action was now a necessity to desires so much on edge as ours, Charles, after a very short prelusive dalliance, lifting up my linen and his own, lai_he broad treasures of his manly chest close to my bosom, both beating wit_he tenderest alarms: when now, the sense of his glowing body, in naked touc_ith mine, took all power over my thoughts out of my own disposal, an_eliver'd up every faculty of the soul to the sensiblest of joys, tha_ffecting me infinitely more with my distinction of the person than of th_ex, now brought my conscious heart deliciously into play: my heart, whic_ternally constant to Charles, had never taken any part in my occasiona_acrifices to the calls of constitution, complaisance, or interest. But ah!
what became of me, when as the powers of solid pleasure thickened upon me, _ould not help feeling the stiff stake that had been adorn'd with the trophie_f my despoil'd virginity, bearing hard and inflexible against one of m_highs, which I had not yet opened, from a true principle of modesty, reviv'_y a pas- sion too sincere to suffer any aiming at the false merit o_ifficulty, or my putting on an impertinent mock coyness.
I have, I believe, somewhere before remark'd, that the feel of that favourit_iece of manhood has, in the very na- ture of it, something inimitabl_athetic. Nothing can be dearer to the touch, nor can affect it with a mor_elicious sensation. Think then! as a love thinks, what must be the consummat_ransport of that quickest of our senses, in their central seat too! when, after so long a deprival, it felt itself re-inflam'd under the pressure o_hat peculiar scep- ter-member which commands us all: but especially m_arling, elect from the face of the whole earth. And now, at its mighties_oint of stiffness, it felt to me something so subduing, so active, so soli_nd agreeable, that I know not what name to give its singular impression: bu_he sentiment of consciousness of its belonging to my supremely beloved youth, gave me so pleasing an agitation, and work'd so strongly on my soul, that i_ent all its sensitive spirits to that organ of bliss in me, dedicated to it_eception. There, concentreing to a point, like rays in a burning glass, the_low'd, they burnt with the intensest heat; the springs of pleasure were, i_hort, wound up to such a pitch, I panted now, with so exquisitely keen a_ppetite for the emi- nent enjoyment that I was even sick with desire, an_nequal to support the combination of two distinct ideas, that de- lightfull_istracted me: for all the thought I was capable of, was that I was now i_ouch, at once, with the instrument of pleasure, and the great-seal of love.
Ideas that, ming- ling streams, pour'd such an ocean of intoxicating bliss o_ weak vessel, all too narrow to contain it, that I lay over- whelm'd, absorbed, lost in an abyss of joy, and dying of nothing but immoderat_elight.
Charles then rous'd me somewhat out of this extatic dis- traction with _omplaint softly murmured, amidst a crowd of kisses, at the position, not s_avourable to his desires, in which I receiv'd his urgent insistance fo_dmission, where that insistance was alone so engrossing a pleasure that i_ade me inconsistently suffer a much dearer one to be kept out; but how swee_o correct such a mistake! My thighs, now obedient ot the intimations of lov_nd nature, gladly dis- close, and with a ready submission, resign up the sof_ate- way to the entrance of pleasure: I see, I feel the delicious velvet tip!
… he enters me might and main, with … oh! my pen drops from me here in th_xtasy now present to my faithful memory! Description too deserts me, an_elivers over a task, above its strength of wing, to the imagination: but i_ust be an imagination exalted by such a flame as mine that can do justice t_hat sweetest, noblest of all sensa- tions, that hailed and accompany'd th_tiff insinuation all the way up, till it was at the end of its penetration, send- ing up, through my eyes, the sparks of the love-fire that ran all ove_e and blaz'd in every vein and every pore of me: a system incarnate of jo_ll over.
I had now totally taken in love's true arrow from the point up to the feather, in that part, where making now new wound, the lips of the original one o_ature, which had owed its first breathing to this dear instrument, clung, a_f sensible of gratitude, in eager suction round it, whilst all its inward_mbrac'd it tenderly with a warmth of gust, a compressive energy, that gav_t, in its way, the hearti- est welcome in nature; every fibre there gatherin_ight round it, and straining ambitiously to come in for its share of th_lissful touch.
As we were giving them a few moments of pause to the delectation of th_enses, in dwelling with the highest relish on this intimatest point of re- union, and chewing the cud of enjoyment, the impatience natural to th_leasure soon drove us into action. Then began the driving tumult on his side, and the responsive heaves on mine, which kept me up to him; whilst, as ou_oys grew too great for utterance, the organs of our voices, voluptuousl_ntermixing, became organs of the touch … and oh, that touch! how delicious! … how poignantly luscious! … And now! now I felt to the heart of me! I felt th_rodigious keen edge with which love, presiding over this act, points th_leasure: love! that may be styled the Attic salt of enjoyment; and indeed, without it, the joy, great as it is, is still a vulgar one, whether in a kin_r a beggar; for it is, undoubtedly, love alone that refines, ennobles an_xalts it.
Thus happy, then, by the heart, happy by the senses, it was beyond all power, even of thought, to form the conception of a greater delight than what I wa_ow consummating the fruition of.
Charles, whose whole frame was convulsed with the agita- tion of his rapture, whilst the tenderest fires trembled in his eyes, all assured me of a prefec_oncord of joy, pene- trated me so profoundly, touch'd me so vitally, took m_o much out of my own possession, whilst he seem'd himself so much in mine, that in a delicious enthusiasm, I imagin'd such a transfusion of heart an_pirit, as that coalescing, and making one body and soul with him, I was he, and he, me.
But all this pleasure tending, like life from its first instants, towards it_wn dissolution, liv'd too fast not to bring on upon the spur its deliciou_oment of mortality; for presently the approach of the tender agony discover'_tself by its usual signals, that were quickly follow'd by my dear love'_manation of himself that spun our, and shot, feel- ingly indeed! up th_avish'd in-draught: where the sweetly soothing balmy titillation opened al_he juices of joy on my side, which extatically in flow, help'd to allay th_rurient glow, and drown'd our pleasure for a while. Soon, however, to be o_loat again! For Charles, true to nature's laws, in one breath expiring an_jaculating, languish'd not long in the dissolving trance, but recoverin_pirit again, soon gave me to feel that the true-mettle springs of hi_nstrument of pleasure were, by love, and perhaps by a long vacation, wound u_oo high to be let down by a single explosion: his stiff- ness still stood m_riend. Resuming then the action afresh, without dislodging, or giving me th_rouble of parting from my sweet tenant, we play'd over again the same opera, with the same delightful harmony and concert: our ardours, like our love, kne_o remission; and, all as the tide serv'd my lover, lavish of his stores, an_leasure milked, over-flowed me once more from the fulness of his ova_eservoirs of the genial emulsion: whilst, on my side, a convulsive grasp, i_he instant of my giving down the liquid contribution, ren- der'd me sweetl_ubservient at once to the increase of his joy, and of its effusions: movin_e so, as to make me exert all those springs of the compressive exsuction wit_hich the sensitive mechanism of that part thirstily draws and drains th_ipple of Love; with much such an instinctive eagerness and attachment as, t_ompare great with less, kind nature engages infants at the breast by th_leasure they find in the motion of their little mouths and cheeks, to extrac_he milky stream prepar'd for their nourishment.
But still there was no end of his vigour: this double discharge had so fa_rom extinguish'd his desires, for that time, that it had not even calm'_hem; and at his age, de- sires are power. He was proceeding then amazingly t_ush it to a third triumph, still without uncasing, if a tenderness, natura_o true love, had not inspir'd me with self-denial enough to spare, and no_verstrain him: and accordingly, entreating him to give himself and m_uarter, I obtain'd, at length, a short suspension of arms, but not before h_ad exultingly satisfy'd me that he gave out standing.
The remainder of the night, with what we borrow'd upon the day, we employ'_ith unweary'd fervour in celebrating thus the festival of our re-meeting; an_ot up pretty late in the morning, gay, brisk and alert, though rest had bee_ stranger to us: but the pleasures of love had been to us, what the joy o_ictory is to an army; repose, refreshment, everything.
The journey into the country being now entirely out of the question, an_rders having been given over-night for turning the horses' heads toward_ondon, we left the inn as soon as we had breakfasted, not without a libera_istribu- tion of the tokens of my grateful sense of the happiness I had me_ith in it.
Charles and I were in my coach; the captain and my com- panion in a chais_ir'd purposely for them, to leave us the conveniency of a tete-a-tete.
Here, on the road, as the tumult of my senses was toler- ably compos'd, I ha_ommand enough to head to break properly to him the course of life that th_onsequence of my separa- tion from him had driven me into: which, at the sam_ime that he tenderly deplor'd with me, he was the less shocked at; as, o_eflecting how he had left me circumstanc'd, he could not be entirel_nprepar'd for it.
But when I opened the state of my fortune to him, and with that sincerit_hich, from me to him, was so much a nature in me, I begg'd of him hi_cceptance of it, on his own terms. I should appear to you perhaps too partia_o my passion, were I to attempt the doing his delicacy justice. I shal_ontent myself then with assuring you, that after his flatly refusing th_nreserv'd, unconditional donation that I long persecuted him in vain t_ccept, it was at length, in obedience to his serious commands (for I stoo_ut unaffectedly, till he exerted the sovereign authority which love had give_im over me), that I yielded my consent to waive the remonstrance I did no_ail of making strongly to him, against his degrading himself, and incurrin_he reflection, however unjust, of having, for respects of for- tune, barter'_is honour for infamy and prostitution, in making one his wife, who though_erself too much honour'd in being but his mistress.
The plea of love then over-ruling all objections, Charles, entirely won wit_he merit of my sentiments for him, which he could not but read the sincerit_f in a heart ever open to him, oblig'd me to receive his hand, by which mean_ was in pass, among other innumerable blessings, to bestow a legal parentag_n those fine children you have seen by this happiest of matches.
Thus at length, I got snug into port, where, in the bosom of virtue, _ather'd the only uncorrupt sweets: where, looking back on the course of vic_ had run, and comparing its infamous blandishments with the infinitel_uperior joys of innocence, I could not help pitying, even in point of taste, those who, immers'd in gross sensuality, are insen- sible to the so delicat_harms of VIRTUE, than which even PLEASURE has not a greater friend, nor tha_ICE a greater enemy. Thus temperance makes men lords over those pleasure_hat intemperance enslaves them to: the one, parent of health, vigour, fertility, cheerfulness, and every other desirable good of life; the other, o_iseases, debility, barrenness, self-loathing, with only every evil inciden_o human nature.
You laugh, perhaps, at this tail-piece of morality, ex- tracted from me by th_orce of truth, resulting from com- par'd experiences: you think it, no doubt, out of place, out of character; possibly too you may look on it as the paltr_inesse of one who seeks to mask a devotee to Vice under a rag of a veil, impudently smuggled from the shrine of Virtue: just as if one was to fanc_ne's self compleatly disguised at a masquerade, with no other change of dres_han turning one's shoes into slippers; or, as if a writer should think t_hield a treasonable libel, by concluding it with a formal prayer for th_ing. But, independent of my flattering my- self that you have a juste_pinion of my sense and sincerity, give me leave to represent to you, tha_uch a supposition is even more injurious to Virtue than to me: since, consistently with candour and good-nature, it can have no foundation but i_he falsest of fears, that its pleasures cannot stand in comparison with thos_f Vice; but let truth dare to hold it up in its most alluring light: the_ark, how spurious, how low of taste, how comparatively inferior its joys ar_o those which Virtue gives sanction to, and whose sentiments are not abov_aking even a sauce for the senses, but a sauce of the highest relish; whils_ices are the harpies that infect and foul the feast. The paths of Vice ar_ometimes strew'd with roses, but then they are for ever infamous for many _horn, for many a canker-worm: those of Virtue are strew'd with roses purely, and those eternally unfading ones.
If you do me then justice, you will esteem me perfectly consistent in th_ncense I burn to Virtue. If I have painted Vice in all its gayest colours, i_ have deck'd it with flow- ers, it has been solely in order to make th_orthier, the solemner sacrifice of it, to Virtue.
You know Mr. C*** O***, you know his estate, his worth, and good sense: ca_ou, will you pronounce it ill meant, at least of him, when anxious for hi_on's morals, with a view to form him to virtue, and inspire him with a fix'd, a rational contempt for vice, he condescended to be his master of th_eremonies, and led him by the hand thro' the most noted bawdy-houses in town, where he took care he should be familiarized with all those scenes o_ebauchery, so fit to nauseate a good taste? The experiment, you will cry, i_angerous. True, on a fool: but are fools worth so much attention?
I shall see you soon, and in the mean time think candidly of me, and believ_e ever, MADAM,