If I have delay'd the sequel of my history, it has been purely to allow mysel_ little breathing time not without some hopes that, instead of pressing me t_ continuation, you would have acquitted me of the task of pursuing a con- fession, in the course of which my self-esteem has so many wounds to sustain.
I imagined, indeed, that you would have been cloy'd and tired with uniformit_f adventures and expressions, insep- arable from a subject of this sort, whose bottom, or ground- work being, in the nature of things, eternally on_nd the same, whatever variety of forms and modes the situations ar_usceptible of, there is no escaping a repetition of near the same images, th_ame figures, the same expressions, with this further inconvenience added t_he disgust it cre- ates, that the words JOYS, ARDOURS, TRANSPORTS, EXTASIES, and the rest of those pathetic terms so congenial to, so received in th_RACTICE OF PLEASURE, flatten and lose much of their due spirit and energy b_he frequency they indis- pensably recur with, in a narrative of which tha_RACTICE professedly composes the whole basis. I must therefore trust to th_andour of your judgement, for your allowing for the disadvantage I a_ecessarily under in that respect, and to your imagination and sensibility, the pleasing task of repairing it by their supplements, where my description_lag or fail: the one will readily place the pictures I present before you_yes; the other give life to the colours where they are dull, or worn with to_requent handling.
What you say besides, by way of encouragement, con- cerning the extrem_ifficulty of continuing so long in one strain, in a mean temper'd with taste, between the revolt- ingness of gross, rank and vulgar expressions, and th_idi- cule of mincing metaphors and affected circumlocutions, is so sensible, as well as good-natur'd, that you greatly justify me to myself for m_ompliance with a curiosity that is to be satisfied so extremely at m_xpense.
Resuming now where I broke off in my last, I am in my way to remark to yo_hat it was late in the evening before I arriv'd at my new lodgings, and Mrs.
Cole, after helping me to range and secure my things, spent the whole evenin_ith me in my apartment, where we supped together, in giving me the bes_dvice and instruction with regard to this new stage of my profession I wa_ow to enter upon; and passing thus from a private devotee to pleasure into _ublic one, to become a more general good, with all the advantages re- quisit_o put my person out to use, either for interest or pleasure, or both. Bu_hen, she observ'd, as I was a kind of new face upon the town, that it was a_stablished rule, and part of trade, for me to pass for a maid, and dispose o_yself as such on the first good occasion, without prejudice, however, to suc_iversions as I might have a mind to in the interim; for that nobody could b_ greater enemy than she was to the losing of time. That she would, in th_ean time, do her best to find out a proper person, and would undertake t_anage this nice point for me, if I would accept of her aid and advice to suc_ood purpose that, in the loss of a fictitious maidenhead, I should reap al_he advantages of a native one.
Though such a delicacy of sentiments did not extremely belong to my characte_t that time, I confess, against my- self, that I perhaps too readily close_ith a proposal which my candor and ingenuity gave me some repugnance to: bu_ot enough to contradict the intention of one to whom I had now thoroughl_bandoned the direction of all my steps. For Mrs. Cole had, I do not know ho_nless by one of those unaccount- able invincible sympathies that, nevertheless, form the strongest links, especially of female friendship, wo_nd got entire possession of me. On her side, she pretended that a stric_esemblance she fancied she saw in me to an only daughter whom she had lost a_y age, was the first motive of her taking to me so affectionately as she did.
It might be so: there exist as slender motives of attachment that, gatherin_orce from habit and liking, have proved often more solid and durable tha_hose founded on much stronger reasons; but this I know, that tho' I had n_ther acquaintance with her than seeing her at my lodgings when I lived wit_r. H … , where she had made errands to sell me some millinery ware, she ha_y degrees insinuated her- self so far into my confidence that I threw mysel_lindly into her hands, and came, at length, to regard, love, and obey he_mplicitly; and, to do her justice, I never experi- enc'd at her hands othe_han a sincerity of tenderness, and care for my interest, hardly heard of i_hose of her pro- fession. We parted that night, after having settled a per- fect unreserv'd agreement; and the next morning Mrs. Cole came, and took m_ith her to her house for the first time.
Here, at the first sight of things, I found everything breath'd an air o_ecency, modesty and order.
In the outer parlour, or rather shop, sat three young women, very demurel_mploy'd on millinery work, which was the cover of a traffic in more preciou_ommodities; but three beautifuller creatures could hardly be seen. Two o_hem were extremely fair, the eldest not above nineteen; and the third, muc_bout that age, was a piquant brunette, whose black sparkling eyes, an_erfect harmony of features and shape, left her nothing to envy in her faire_ompanions. Their dress too had the more design in it, the less it ap- peare_o have, being in a taste of uniform correct neatness, and elegant simplicity.
These were the girls that compos'd the small domestick flock, which m_overness train'd up with surprising order and management, considering th_iddy wild- ness of young girls once got upon the loose. But then she neve_ontinued any in her house, whom, after a due novitiate, she foun_ntractable, or unwilling to comply with the rules of it. Thus had sh_nsensibly formed a little family of love, in which the members found s_ensibly their account, in a rare alliance of pleasure with interest, and of _ecessary outward decency with unbounded secret liberty, that Mrs. Cole, wh_ad pick'd them as much for their temper as their beauty, govern'd them wit_ase to herself and them too.
To these pupils then of hers, whom she had prepar'd, she presented me as a ne_oarder, and one that was to be immediately admitted to all the intimacies o_he house; upon which these charming girls gave me all the marks of a welcom_eception, and indeed of being perfectly pleased with my figure, that I coul_ossibly expect from any of my own sex: but they had been effectually brough_o sacrifice all jeal- ousy, or competition of charms, to a common interest, and consider'd me a partner that was bringing no despicable stock of good_nto the trade of the house. They gathered round me, view'd me on all sides; and as my admission into this joyous troop made a little holiday, the shew o_ork was laid aside; and Mrs. Cole giving me up, with special recom- mendation, to their caresses and entertainment, went about her ordinar_usiness of the house.
The sameness of our sex, age, profession, and views soon created as unreserv'_ freedom and intimacy as if we had been for years acquainted. They took an_hew'd me the house, their respective apartments, which were furnished wit_very article of conveniency and luxury; and above all, a spacious drawing- room, where a select revelling band usu- ally met, in general parties o_leasure; the girls supping with their sparks, and acting their wanton prank_ith un- bounded licentiousness; whilst a defiance of awe, modesty or jealous_ere their standing rules, by which, according to the principles of thei_ociety, whatever pleasure was lost on the side of sentiment was abundantl_ade up to the senses in the poignancy of variety, and the charms of ease an_uxury. The authors and supporters of this secret in- stitution would, in th_eight of their humours style them- selves the restorers of the golden age an_ts simplicity of pleasures, before their innocence became so injustly brande_ith the names of guilt and shame.
As soon then as the evening began, and the shew of a shop was shut, th_cademy open'd; the mask of mock-modesty was completely taken off, and all th_irls deliver'd over to their respective calls of pleasure or interest wit_heir men; and none of that sex was promiscuously admitted, but only such a_rs. Cole was previously satisfied with their character and discretion. I_hort, this was the safest, politest, and, at the same time, the most thoroug_ouse of accommodation in town: every thing being conducted so that decenc_ade no intrenchment upon the most libertine pleasures, in the practice o_hich too, the choice familiars of the house had found the secret so rare an_ifficult, of reconciling even all the refinements of taste and delicacy wit_he most gross and determinate gratifications of senu- ality.
After having consum'd the morning in the endearments and instructions of m_ew acquaintance, we went to dinner, when Mrs. Cole, presiding at the head o_er club, gave me the first idea of her management and address, in inspirin_hese girls with so sensible a love and respect for her. There was n_tiffness, no reserve, no airs of pique, or little jealousies, but all wa_naffectedly gay, cheerful and easy.
After dinner, Mrs. Cole, seconded by the young ladies, acquainted me tha_here was a chapter to be held that night in form, for the ceremony of m_eception into the sister- hood; and in which, with all due reserve to m_aidenhead, that was to be occasionally cook'd up for the first prope_hapman, I was to undergo a ceremonial of initiation they were sure I shoul_ot be displeased with.
Embark'd as I was, and moreover captivated with the charms of my ne_ompanions, I was too much prejudic'd in favour of any proposal they coul_ake, to much as hesitate an assent; which, therefore, readily giving in th_tyle of a carte blanche, I receiv'd fresh kisses of compliment from them all, in approval of my docility and good nature. Now I was "a sweet girl … " I cam_nto things with a "good grace … " I was not "affectedly coy … " I should be
"the pride of the house … " and the like.
This point thus adjusted, the young women left Mrs. Cole to talk and concer_atters with me: she explained to me that I should be introduc'd, that ver_vening, to four of her best friends, one of whom she had, according to th_ustom of the house, favoured with the preference of engag- ing me in th_irst party of pleasure; assuring me, at the same time, that they were al_oung gentlemen agreeable in their persons, and unexceptionable in ever_espect; that united, and holding together by the band of common pleasures, they composed the chief support of her house, and made very liberal present_o the girls that pleas'd and humour'd them, so that they were, properl_peaking, the founders and patrons of this little seraglio. Not but that sh_ad, at proper seasons, other customers to deal with, whom she stood less upo_unctilio with than with these; for instance, it was not on one of them sh_ould attempt to pass me for a maid; they were not only too knowing, too muc_own-bred to bite at such a bait, but they were such generous bene- factors t_er that it would be unpardonable to think of it.
Amidst all the flutter and emotion which this promise of pleasure, for such _onceiv'd it, stirr'd up in me, I preserved so much of the woman as to feig_ust reluctance enough to make some merit of sacrificing it to the influenc_f my patroness, whom I likewise, still in character, re- minded of it perhap_eing right for me to go home and dress, in favour of my first impressions.
But Mrs. Cole, in opposition to this, assured me that the gentlemen I shoul_e presented to were, by their rank and taste of things, infinitely superio_o the being touched with any glare of dress or ornaments, such as silly wome_ather confound and overlay than set off their beauty with; that these vetera_oluptuaries knew better than not to hold them in the highest contempt: the_ith whom the pure native charms alone could pass current, and who would a_ny time leave a sallow, washy, painted duchess on her own hands, for a ruddy, healthy, firm-flesh'd country maid; and as for my part, that nature had don_nough for me, to set me above owing the least favour to art; concludin_ithal, that for the instant occasion, there was no dress like an undress.
I thought my governess too good a judge of these matters not to be easil_ver-ruled by her: after which she went on preaching very pathetically th_octrine of passive obedience and not-resistance to all those arbitrary taste_f pleasure, which are by some styl'd the refinements, and by others th_epravations of it; between whom it was not the business of a simple girl, wh_as to profit by pleasing, to decide, but to conform to. Whilst I was edifyin_y these wholesome lessons, tea was brought in, and the young ladies, returning, joined company with us.
After a great deal of mix'd chat, frolic and humour, one of them, observin_hat there would be a good deal of time on hand before the assembly-hour, proposed that each girl should entertain the company with that critical perio_f her personal history in which she first exchanged the maiden state fo_omanhood. The proposal was approv'd, with only one restriction of Mrs. Cole, that she, on account of her age, and I, on account of my titular maidenhead, should be excused, at least till I had undergone the forms of the house. Thi_btain'd me a dispensation, and the promotress of this amusement was desire_o begin.
Her name was Emily; a girl fair to excess, and whose limbs were, if possible, too well made, since their plump fullness was rather to the prejudice of tha_elicate slimness requir'd by the nicer judges of beauty; her eyes were blue, and streamed inexpressible sweetness, and nothing could be prettier than he_outh and lips, which clos'd over a range of the evenest and whitest teeth.
Thus she began:
"Neither my extraction, nor the most critical adventure of my life, is sublim_nough to impeach me of any vanity in the advancement of the proposal you hav_pprov'd of. My father and mother were, and for aught I know, are still, farmers in the country, not above forty miles from town: their barbarity t_e, in favour of a son, on whom only they vouchsafed to bestow thei_enderness, had a thousand times determined me to fly their house, and thro_yself on the wide world; but, at length, an accident forc'd me on thi_esperate attempt at the age of fifteen. I had broken a china bowl, the prid_nd idol of both their hearts; and as an unmerciful beating was the least _ad to depend on at their hands, in the silliness of those tender years I lef_he house, and, at all adventures, took the road to London. How my loss wa_esented I do not know, for till this instant I have not heard a syllabl_bout them. My whole stock was too broad pieces of my grandmother's, a fe_hillings, silver shoe-buckles and a silver thimble. Thus equipp'd, with n_ore cloaths than the ordinary ones I had on my back, and frighten'd at ever_oot or noise I heard behind me, I hurried on; and I dare swear, walked _ozen miles before I stopped, through mere weariness and fatigue. At length _at down on a stile, wept bitterly, and yet was still rather under increase_mpressions of fear on the account of my escape; which made dread, worse tha_eath, the going back to face my unnatural parents. Refresh'd by this littl_epose, and relieved by my tears, I was proceeding onward, when I wa_vertaken by a sturdy country lad who was going to London to see what he coul_o for himself there, and, like me, had given his friends the slip. He coul_ot be above seventeen, was ruddy, well featur'd enough, with uncombed flaxe_air, a little flapp'd hat, kersey frock, yarn stock- ings, in short, _erfect plough-boy. I saw him come whist- ling behind me, with a bundle tie_o the end of a stick, his travelling equipage. We walk'd by one another fo_ome time without speaking; at length we join'd company, and agreed to kee_ogether till we got to our journey's end. What his designs or ideas were, _now not: the innocence of mine I can solemnly protest.
"As night drew on, it became us to look out for some inn or shelter; to whic_erplexity another was added, and that was, what we should say for ourselves, if we were question'd. After some puzzle, the young fellow started a proposal, which I thought the finest that could be; and what was that? why, that w_hould pass for husband and wife: I never once dream'd of consequences. W_ame presently, after having agreed on this notable expedient, to one of thos_edge-accommodations for foot passengers, at the door do which stood an ol_razy beldam, who seeing us trudge by, invited us to lodge there. Glad of an_over, we went in, and my fellow traveller, taking all upon him, call'd fo_hat the house afforded, and we supped together as man and wife; which, considering our figures and ages, could not have passed on any one but such a_ny thing could pass on. But when bedtime came on, we had neither of us th_ourage to contradict out first account of ourselves; and what was ex- tremel_leasant, the young lad seem'd as perplex'd as I was, how to evade lyin_ogether, which was so natural for the state we had pretenced to. Whilst w_ere in this quandary, the landlady takes the candle and lights us to ou_partment, through a long yard, at the end of which it stood, separate fro_he body of the house. Thus we suffer'd ourselves to be conducted, withou_aying a word in opposition to it; and there, in a wretched room, with a be_nswerable, we were left to pass the night together, as a thing quite o_ourse. For my part, I was so incredibly innocent as not even then to thin_uch more harm of going to bed with the young man than with one of our dairy- wenches; nor had he, perhaps, any other notions than those of innocence, til_uch a fair occasion put them into his head.
"Before either of us undressed, however, he put out the candle; and th_itterness of the weather made it a kind of necessity for me to go into bed: slipping then my cloaths off, I crept under the bed-cloaths, where I found th_oung stripling already nestled, and the touch of his warm flesh rathe_leas'd than alarm'd me. I was indeed too much dis- turbed with the novelty o_y condition to be able to sleep; but then I had not the least thought o_arm. But, oh! how powerful are the instincts of nature! how little is ther_anting to set them in action! The young man, sliding his arm under my body, drew me gently towards him, as if to keep himself and me warmer; and the hea_ felt from joining our breasts, kindled another that I had hitherto neve_elt, and was, even then, a stranger to the nature of. Emboldened, I suppose, by my easiness, he ventur'd to kiss me, and I insen- sibly returned it, without knowing the consequence of return- ing it; for, on this encouragement, he slipped his hand all down from my breast to that part of me where the sens_f feeling is so exquisitely critical, as I then experienc'd by its instan_aking fire upon the touch, and glowing with a strange tickling heat: there h_leas'd himself and me, by feeling, till, growing a little too bold, he hur_e, and made me complain. Then he took my hand, which he guided, no_nwillingly on my side, between the twist of his closed thighs, which wer_xtremely warm; there he lodged and pressed it, till raising it by degrees, h_ade me feel the proud distinction of his sex from mine. I was frighten'd a_he novelty, and drew back my hand; yet, pressed and spurred on by sensation_f a strange pleasure, I could not help asking him what that was for? He tol_e he would show me if I would let him; and, without waiting for my answer, which he prevented by stopping my mouth with kisses I was far fro_isrelishing, he got upon me, and inserting one of his thighs between mine, opened them so as to make way for himself, and fixed me to his purpose; whils_ was so much out of my usual sense, so subdu'd by the present power of a ne_ne, that, between fear and desire, I lay utterly passive, till the piercin_ain rous'd and made me cry out. But it was too late: he was too firm fix'd i_he saddle for me to compass flinging him, with all the strug- gles I coul_se, some of which only served to further his point, and at length a_rresistible thrust murdered at once my maidenhead, and almost me. I now lay _leeding witness of the necessity impos'd on our sex, to gather the firs_oney off the thorns.
"But the pleasure rising as the pain subsided, I was soon reconciled to fres_rials, and before morning, nothing on earth could be dearer to me than thi_ifler of my virgin sweets: he was every thing to me now. How we agreed t_oin fortunes; how we came up to town together, where we lived some time, til_ecessity parted us, and drove me into this course of life, in which I ha_een long ago battered and torn to pieces before I came to this age, as muc_hrough my easiness, as through my inclination, had it not been for my findin_efuge in this house: these are all circumstances which pass the mark _roposed, so that here my narrative ends."
In the order of our sitting, it was Harriet's turn to go on. Amongst all th_eauties of our sex that I had be- fore or have since seen, few indeed wer_he forms that could dispute excellence with her's; it was not delicate, bu_elicacy itself incarnate, such was the symmetry of her small but exactl_ashion'd limbs. Her complexion, fair as it was, appeared yet more fair fro_he effect of two black eyes, the brilliancy of which gave her face mor_ivacity than belonged to the colour of it, which was only defended fro_aleness by a sweetly pleasing blush in her cheeks, that grew fainter an_ainter, till at length it died away insensibly into the overbearing white.
Then her miniature features join'd to finish the extreme sweetness of it, which was not belied by that of temper turned to indolence, languor, and th_leasures of love. Press'd to subscribe her contingent, she smiled, blushed _ittle, and thus complied with our desires:
"My father was neither better nor worse than a miller near the city of York; and both he and my mother dying whilst I was an infant, I fell under the car_f a widow and childless aunt, housekeeper to my lord N … , at his seat in th_ounty of … , where she brought me up with all imaginable tenderness. I wa_ot seventeen, as I am not now eighteen, before I had, on account of my perso_urely (for fortune I had notoriously none), several advan- tageous proposals; but whether nature was slow in making me sensible in her favourite passion, o_hat I had not seen any of the other sex who had stirr'd up the least emotio_r curiosity to be better acquainted with it, I had, till that age, preserv'_ perfect innocence, even of thought: whilst my fears of I did not well kno_hat, made me no more desirous of marrying than of dying. My aunt, good woman, favoured my timorousness, which she look'd on as childish affection, that he_wn experience might probably assure her would wear off in time, and gave m_uitors proper answers for me.
"The family had not been down at that seat for years, so that it wa_eglected, and committed entirely to my aunt, and two old domestics to tak_are of it. Thus I had the full range of a spacious lonely house and gardens, situate at about half a mile distance form any other habitation, except, perhaps, a straggling cottage or so.
"Here, in tranquillity and innocence, I grew up with- out any memorabl_ccident, till one fatal day I had, as I had often done before, left my aun_ast asleep, and secure for some hours, after dinner; and resorting to a kin_f ancient summer-house, at some distance from the house, I carried my wor_ith me, and sat over a rivulet, which its door and window fac'd upon. Here _ell into a gentle breathing slumber, which stole upon my senses, as the_ainted under the excessive heat of the season at that hour; a cane couch, with my work-basket for a pillow, were all the conveniencies of my shor_epose; for I was soon awaked and alarmed by a flounce, and the noise o_plashing in the water. I got up to see what was the matter; and what indee_hould it be but the son of a neighbouring gentleman, as I afterwards found (for I had never seen him before), who had strayed that way with his gun, an_eated by his sport, and the sultriness of the day, had been tempted by th_reshness of the clear stream; so that presently stripping, he jump'd into i_n the other side, which bordered on a wood, some trees whereof, inclined dow_o the water, form'd a pleasing shady recess, commodious to undress and leav_is clothes under.
"My first emotions at the sight of this youth, naked in the water, were, wit_ll imaginable respect to truth, those of surprise and fear; and, in course, _hould immediately have run out, had not my modesty, fatally for itself, inter- posed the objection of the door and window being so situated that i_as scarce possible to get out, and make my way along the bank to the house, without his seeing me: which I could not bear the thought of, so much ashame_nd con- founded was I at having seen him. Condemn'd then to stay till hi_eparture should release me, I was greatly embar- rassed how to dispose o_yself: I kept some time betwixt terror and modesty, even from looking throug_he window, which being an old-fashinon'd casement, without any light behin_e, could hardly betray any one's being there to him from within; then th_oor was so secure, that without violence, or my own consent, there was n_pening it from without.
"But now, by my own experience, I found it too true that objects whic_ffright us, when we cannot get from them, draw out eyes as forcibly as thos_hat please us. I could not long withstand that nameless impulse, which, without any desire of this novel sight, compelled me to- wards it; embolden'_oo by my certainty of being at once unseen and safe, I ventur'd by degrees t_ast my eyes on an object so terrible and alarming to my virgin modesty as _aked man. But as I snatched a look, the first gleam that struck me was i_eneral the dewy lustre of the whitest skin imaginable, which the sun playin_pon made the reflection of it perfectly beamy. His face, in the confusion _as in, I could not well distinguish the lineaments of, any farther than tha_here was a great deal of youth and freshness in it. The frolic and variou_lay of all his polish'd limbs, as they appeared above the surface, in th_ourse of his swimming or wantoning with the water, amus'd and insensibl_elighted me: sometimes he lay motionless, on his back, waterborne, an_ragging after him a fine head of hair, that, floating, swept the stream in _ush of black curls. Then the over-flowing water would make a separatio_etween his breast and glossy white belly; at the bottom of which I could no_scape observing so remarkable a distinction as a black mossy tuft, out o_hich appeared to emerge a round, softish, limber, white something, tha_layed every way, with ever the least motion or whirling eddy. I cannot sa_ut that part chiefly, by a kind of natural instinct, attracted, detain'd, captivated my attention: it was out of the power of all my modesty to comman_y eye away from it; and seeing nothing so very dreadful in its appearance, _nsensibly lock'd away all my fears: but as fast as they gave way, new desire_nd strange wishes took place, and I melted as I gazed. The fire of nature, that had so long lain dormant or conceal'd, began to break out, and made m_eel my sex the first time. He had now changed his pos- ture, and swam pron_n his belly, striking out with his legs and arms, finer modell'd than whic_ould not have been cast, whilst his floating locks played over a neck an_houlders whose whiteness they delightfully set off. Then the luxuriant swel_f flesh that rose form the small of his back, and terminated its double cop_t where the thighs are sent off, perfectly dazzled one with its water_listening gloss.
"By this time I was so affected by this inward involu- tion of sentiments, s_often'd by this sight, that now, betrayed into a sudden transition fro_xtreme fears to ex- treme desires, I found these last so strong upon me, th_eat of the weather too perhaps conspiring to exalt their rage, that natur_lmost fainted under them. Not that I so much as knew precisely what wa_anting to me: my only thought was that so sweet a creature as this yout_eemed to me could only make me happy; but then, the little like- lihood ther_as of compassing an acquaintance with him, or perhaps of ever seeing hi_gain, dash'd my desires, and turn'd them into torments. I was still gazing, with all the powers of my sight, on this bewitching object, when, in a_nstant, down he went. I had heard of such things as a cramp seizing on eve_he best swimmers, and occasioning their being drowned; and imagining this s_udden eclipse to be owing to it, the inconceivable fondness this unknown la_ad given birth to distracted me with the most killing terrors; insomuch, tha_y concern giving the wings, I flew to the door, open'd it, ran down to th_anal, guided thither by the madness of my fears for him, and the intens_esire of being an instrument to save him, though I was ignorant how, or b_hat means to effect it: but was it for fears, and a passion so sudden a_ine, to reason? All this took up scarce the space of a few moments. I ha_hen just life enough to reach the green borders of the waterpiece, wher_ildly looking round for the young man, and missing him still, my fright an_oncern sunk me down in a deep swoon, which must have lasted me some time; fo_ did not come to myself till I was rous'd out of it by a sense of pain tha_ierced me to the vitals, and awaked me to the most surprising circumstance o_inding myself not only in the arms of this very same young gentleman I ha_een so solicitous to save, but taken at such an advantage in my unresistin_ondition that he had actually completed his entrance into me so far, tha_eakened as I was by all the preceding conflicts of mind I had suffer'd, an_truck dumb by the violence of my surprise, I had neither the power to cry ou_or the strength to disengage myself from his stren- uous embraces, before, urging his point, he had forced his way and completely triumphed over m_irginity, as he might now as well see by the streams of blood that follow'_is drawing out, as he had felt by the difficulties he had met wit_onsummating his penetration. But the sight of the blood, and the sense of m_ondition, had (as he told me afterwards), since the ungovernable rage of hi_assion was somewhat appeas'd, now wrought so far on him that at all risks, even of the worst consequences, he could not find in his heart to leave me, and make off, which he might easily have done. I still lay all descompos'd i_leeding ruin, palpitating, speechless, unable to get off, and frightened, an_luttering like a poor wounded partridge, and ready to faint away again at th_ense of what had befallen me. The young gentleman was by me, kneeling, kissing my hand, and with tears in his eyes beseeching me to forgive him, an_ffering all the reparation in his power. It is certain that could I, at th_nstant of regaining my senses, have called out, or taken the bloodies_evenge, I would not have stuck at it: the violation was attended too wit_uch aggra- vating circumstances, though he was ignorant of them, since it wa_o my concern for the preservation of his life that I owed my ruin.
"But how quick is the shift of passions from one extreme to another! and ho_ittle are they acquainted with the human heart who dispute it! I could no_ee this amiable criminal, so suddenly the first object of my love, and a_uddenly of my just hate, on his knees, bedewing my hand with his tears, without relenting. He was still stark-naked, but my modesty had been alread_oo much wounded, in essentials, to be so much shocked as I should hav_therwise been with appearances only; in short, my anger ebbed so fast, an_he tide of love return'd so strong upon me, that I felt it a point of my ow_appiness to forgive him. The reproaches I made him were murmur'd in so soft _one, my eyes met his with such glances, expressing more languor tha_esentment, that he could not but presume his forgiveness was at no desperat_istance; but still he would not quit his posture of submission, till I ha_ronounced his pardon in form; which after the most fervent entreaties, protestations, and promises, I had not the power to withhold. On which, wit_he utmost marks of a fear of again offending, he ventured to kiss my lips, which I neither declined nor resented; but on my mild expostula- tions wit_im upon the barbarity of his treatment, he explain'd the mystery of my ruin, if not entirely to the clearance, at least much to the alleviation of hi_uilt, in the eyes of a judge so partial in his favour as I was grown.
"Its seems that the circumstance of his going down, or sinking, which in m_xtreme ignorance I had mistaken for something very fatal, was no other than _rick of diving which I had not ever heard, or at least attended to, th_ention of: and he was so long-breath'd at it, that in the few moments i_hich I ran out to save him, he had not yet emerged, before I fell into th_woon, in which, as he rose, seeing me extended on the bank, his first ide_as that some young woman was upon some design of frolic or diversion wit_im, for he knew I could not have fallen a-sleep there with- out his havin_een me before: agreeably to which notion he had ventured to approach, an_inding me without sign of life, and still perplex'd as he was what to thin_f the adventure, he took me in his arms at all hazards, and carried me int_he summer-house, of which he observed the door open: there he laid me down o_he couch, and tried, as he protested in good faith, by several means to brin_e to myself again, till fired, as he said, beyond all bearing by the sigh_nd touch of several parts of me which were unguardedly exposed to him, h_ould no longer govern his passion; and the less, as he was not quite sur_hat his first idea of this swoon being a feint was not the very truth of th_ase: seduced then by this flattering notion, and overcome by the present, a_e styled them, superhuman temptations, combined with the solitude and seemin_ecurity of the attempt, he was not enough his own master not to make it.
Leaving me then just only whilst he fastened the door, he returned wit_edoubled eagerness to his prey: when, finding me still entranced, he venture_o place me as he pleased, whilst I felt, no more than the dead, what he wa_bout, till the pain he put me to roused me just in time enough to be witnes_f a triumph I was not able to defeat, and now scarce regretted: for as h_alked, the tone of his voice sounded, methought, so sweetly in my ears, th_ensible nearness of so new and interesting an object to me wrought s_owerfully upon me, that, in the rising perception of things in a new an_leasing light, I lost all sense of the past injury. The young gentleman soo_iscern'd the symptoms of a reconciliation in my softened looks, and hastenin_o receive the seal of it from my lips, press'd them tenderly to pass hi_ardon in the return of a kiss so melting fiery, that the impression of i_eing car- ried to my heart, and thence to my new-discover'd sphere of Venus, I was melted into a softness that could refuse him nothing. When now h_anaged his caresses and endearments so artfully as to insinuate the mos_oothing consolations for the past pain and the most pleasing expectations o_uture pleasure, but whilst mere modesty kept my eyes from seeing his an_ather declined them, I had a glimpse of that instrument of the mischief whic_as now, obviously even to me, who had scarce had snatches of a comparativ_bservation of it, resuming its capacity to renew it, and grew greatl_larming with its increase of size, as he bore it no doubt designedly, har_nd stiff against one of my hands carelessly dropt; but then he employ'd suc_ender prefacing, such winning progressions, that my returning passion o_esire being now so strongly prompted by the engaging circumstances of th_ight and incendiary touch of his naked glowing beauties, I yielded at lengt_t the force of the present impressions, and he obtained of my tacit blushin_onsent all the gratifications of pleasure left in the power of my poor perso_o bestow, after he had cropt its richest flower, during my suspension of lif_nd abilities to guard it.
"Here, according to the rule laid down, I should stop; but I am so much i_otion, that I could not if I would. I shall only add, however, that I go_ome without the least discovery, or suspicion of what had happened. I met m_oung ravisher several times after, whom I now passionately lov'd and who, tho' not of age to claim a small but indepen- dent fortune, would have marrie_e; but as the accidents that prevented it, and their consequences which thre_e on the publick, contain matters too moving and serious to in- troduce a_resent, I cut short here."
Louisa, the brunette whom I mentioned at first, now took her turn to treat th_ompany with her history. I have already hinted to you the graces of he_erson, than which nothing could be more exquisitely touching; I repeat touch- ing, as a just distinction from striking, which is ever a less lasting effect, and more generally belongs to the fair complexions: but leaving that decisio_o every one's taste, I proceed to give you Louisa's narrative as follows:
"According to practical maxims of life, I ought to boast of my birth, since _we it to pure love, without marriage; but this I know, it was scarce possibl_o inherit a stronger propensity to that cause of my being than I did. I wa_he rare production of the first essay of a journeyman cabinet-maker on hi_aster's maid: the consequence of which was a big belly, and the loss of _lace. He was not in circumstances to do much for her; and yet, after all thi_lemish, she found means, after she had dropt her burthen and disposed of m_o a poor relation's in the country, to repair it by marrying a pastry-coo_ere in London, in thriving business; on whom she soon, under favour of th_omplete ascendant he had given her over him, passed me for a child she had b_er first husband. I had, on that foot- ing, been taken home, and was not si_ears old when this step-father died and left my mother in tolerable circum- stances, and without any children by him. As to my natural father, he ha_etaken himself to the sea; where, when the truth of things came out, I wa_old that he died, not immensely rich you may think, since he was no more tha_ common sailor. As I grew up, under the eyes of my mother, who kept on th_usiness, I could not but see, in her severe watchfulness, the marks of a sli_hich she did not care should be hereditary, but we no more choose our pas- sions than our features or complexion, and the bent of mine was so strong t_he forbidden pleasure, that it got the better, at length, of all her care an_recaution. I was scarce twelve years old before that part which she wanted s_uch to keep out of harm's way made me feel its impatience to be taken notic_f, and come into play: al- ready had it put forth the signs of forwardness i_he sprout of a soft down over it, which had often flatter'd, and I might als_ay, grown under my constant touch and visitation, so pleas'd was I with wha_ took to be a kind of title to womanhood, that state I pin'd to be entr'd of, for the pleasures I conceiv'd were annexed to it; and now the growin_mportance of that part to me, and the new sen- sations in it, demolish'd a_nce all my girlish playthings and amusements. Nature now pointed me strongl_o more solid diversions, while all the stings of desire settled so fiercel_n that little centre of them, that I could not mistake the spot I wanted _layfellow in.
"I now shunn'd all company in which there was no hopes of coming at the objec_f my longings, and used to shut myself up, to indulge in solitude some tende_editation on the pleasures I strongly perceiv'd the overture of, in feel- in_nd examining what nature assur'd me must be the chosen avenue, the gates fo_nknown bliss to enter at, that I panted after.
"But these meditations only increas'd my disorder, and blew the fire tha_onsumed me. I was yet worse when, yield- ing at length to the insupportabl_rritations of the little fairy charm that tormented me, I seiz'd it with m_ingers, teasing it to no end. Sometimes, in the furious excitations o_esire, I threw myself on the bed, spread my thighs abroad, and lay as it wer_xpecting the longed-for relief, till finding my illusion, I shut and squeez'_hem together again, burning and fretting. In short, this dev'lish thing, wit_ts impetuous girds and itching fires, led me such a life that I could neithe_ight nor day be at peace with it or myself. In time, however, I thought I ha_ained a pro- digious prize, when figuring to myself that my fingers wer_omething of the shape of what I pined for, I worked my way in for one of the_ith great agitation and delight; yet not without pain too did I deflowe_yself as far as it could reach; proceeding with such a fury of passion, i_his solitary and last shift of pleasure, as extended me at length breathles_n the bed in an amorous melting trance.
"But frequency of use dulling the sensation, I soon began to perceive tha_his work was but a paltry shallow expedient that went but a little way t_elieve me, and rather rais'd more flame than its dry and insignifican_itillation could rightly appease.
"Man alone, I almost instinctively knew, as well as by what I ha_ndustriously picked up at weddings and christen- ings, was possess'd of th_nly remedy that could reduce this rebellious disorder; but watch'd an_verlook'd as I was, how to come at it was the point, and that, to al_ppearance, an invincible one; not that I did not rack my brains and inven- tion how at once to elude my mother's vigilance, and procure myself th_atisfaction of my impetuous curiosity and long- ings for this mighty an_ntasted pleasure. At length, how- ever, a singular chance did at once th_ork of a long course of alertness. One day that we had dined at a_cquaintance's over the way, together with a gentlewoman-lodger that occu- pied the first floor of our house, there started an indis- pensable necessit_or my mother's going down to Greenwich to accompany her: the party wa_ettled, when I do not know what genius whispered me to plead a headache, which I cer- tainly had not, against my being included in a jaunt that I ha_ot the least relish for. The pretext however passed, and my mother, with muc_eluctance, prevailed with herself to go without me; but took particular car_o see me safe home, where she consign'd me into the hands of an old trust_aid-servant, who served in the shop, for we had not a male creature in th_ouse.
"As soon as she was gone, I told the maid I would go up and lie down on ou_odger's bed, mine not being made, with a charge to her at the same time no_o disturb me, as it was only rest I wanted. This injunction probably prov'_f eminent service to me. As soon as I was got into the bed- chamber, _nlaced my stays, and threw myself on the outside of the bed-cloaths, in al_he loosest undress. Here I gave myself up to the old insipid privy shifts o_y self-viewing, self-touching, self-enjoying, in fine, to all the means o_elf-knowledge I could devise, in search of the pleasure that fled before me, and tantalized with that unknown something that was out of my reach; thus al_nly serv'd to enflame myself, and to provoke violently my desires, whilst th_ne thing needful to their satisfaction was not at hand, and I could have bi_y fingers, for representing it so ill. After then wearying and fatiguin_yself with grasping shadows, whilst that most sensible part of me disdain'_o content itself with less than realities, the strong yearnings, the urgen_truggles of nature towards the melting relief, and the extreme self- agitations I had used to come at it, had wearied and thrown me into a kind o_nquiet sleep: for, if I tossed and threw about my limbs in proportion to th_is- traction of my dreams, as I had reason to believe I did, a bystande_ould not have help'd seeing all for love. And one there was it seems; fo_aking out of my very short slumber, I found my hand lock'd in that of a youn_an, who was kneeling at my bed-side, and begging my pardon for his boldness: but that being a son to the lady to whom this bed- chamber, he knew, belonged, he had slipp'd by the servant of the shop, as he supposed, unperceiv'd, whe_inding me asleep, his first ideas were to withdraw; but that he had bee_ix'd and detain'd there by a power he could better account for than resist.
"What shall I say? my emotions of fear and surprize were instantly subdued b_hose of the pleasure I bespoke in great presence of mind from the turn thi_dventure might take. He seem'd to me no other than a pitying angel, dropt ou_f the clouds: for he was young and perfectly handsome, which was more tha_ven I had asked for; man, in general, being all that my utmost desires ha_ointed at. I thought then I could not put too much encouragement into my eye_nd voice; I regretted no leading advances; no matter for his after-opinion o_y forwardness, so it might bring him to the point of answering my pressin_emands of present case; it was not now with his thoughts, but his actions, that my business immediately lay. I rais'd then my head, and told him, in _oft tone that tended to prescribe the same key to him, that his mamma wa_one out and would not return till late at night: which I thought no bad hint; but as it prov'd, I had nothing of a novice to deal with. The impressions _ad made on him from the discoveries I had betrayed of my person in th_isordered motions of it, during his view of me asleep, had, as he afterward_old me, so fix'd and charm- ingly prepar'd him, that, had I known hi_ispositions, I had more to hope from his violence than to fear from hi_espect; and even less than the extreme tenderness which I threw into my voic_nd eyes, would have served to encourage him to make the most of th_pportunity. Finding then that his kisses, imprinted on my hand, were taken a_amely as he could wish, he rose to my lips; and glewing his to them, made m_o faint with over-coming joy and pleasure that I fell back, and he with me, in course, on the bed, upon which I had, by insensibly shifting from the sid_o near the middle, invitingly made room for him. He is now lain down by me, and the minutes being too precious to consume in untimely ceremony, o_alliance, my youth proceeds immediately to those extremities, which all m_ooks, flushing and palpi- tations had assured him he might attempt withou_he fear of repulse: those rogues, the men, read us admirably on thes_ccasions. I lay then at length panting for the imminent attack, with wishe_ar beyond my fears, and for which it was scarce possible for a girl, barel_hirteen, but all and well grown, to have better dispositions. He threw up m_etticoat and shift, whilst my thighs were, by an instinct of nature, unfolde_o their best; and my desires had so thoroughly destroy'd all modesty in me, that even their being now naked and all laid open to him, was part of th_relude that pleasure deepen'd my blushes at, more than shame. But when hi_and, and touches, naturally attracted to their centre, made me feel all thei_antonness and warmth in, and round it, oh! how immensely different a sense o_hings did I perceive there, than when under my own insipid handling! And no_is waistcoat was unbuttoned, and the confinement of the breeches burs_hrough, when out started to view the amazing, pleasing object of all m_ishes, all my dreams, all my love, the king member indeed! I gaz'd at, _evoured it, at length and breadth, with my eyes intently directed to it, til_is getting upon me, and placing it between my thighs, took from me th_njoyment of its sight, to give me a far more grateful one in its touch, i_hat part where its touch is so exquisitely affecting. Applying it then to th_inute opening, for such at that age it certainly was, I met with too muc_ood will, I felt with too great a rapture of pleasure the first insertion o_t, to heed much the pain that followed: I thought nothing too dear to pay fo_his the richest treat of the senses; so that, split up, torn, bleeding, mangled, I was still supe- riorly pleas'd, and hugg'd the author of all thi_elicious ruin. But when, soon after, he made his second attack, sore as ever_hing was, the smart was soon put away by the sove- reign cordial; all my sof_omplainings were silenc'd, and the pain melting fast away into pleasure. _bandon'd myself over to all its transports, and gave it the full possessio_f my whole body and soul; for now all thought was at an end with me; I live_ut in what I felt only. And who could describe those feelings, thos_gitations, yet exalted by the charm of their novelty and surprize? when tha_art of me which had so long hunger'd for the dear morsel that now s_elightfully crammed it, forc'd all my vital sensations to fix their hom_here, during the stay of my beloved guest; who too soon paid me for hi_earty welcome in a dissolvent, richer far than that I have heard of som_ueen treating her paramour with, in liquify'd pearl, and ravishingly pour'_nto me, where, now myself too much melted to give it a dry reception, _ail'd it with the warmest confluence on my side, amidst all those extati_aptures, not unfamiliar I presume to this good company! Thus, however, _rrived at the very top of all my wishes, by an accident unexpected indeed, but not so wonderful; for this young gentleman was just arriv'd in town fro_ollege, and came familiarly to his mother at her apartment, where he had onc_efore been, though by mere chance. I had not seen him: so that we knew on_nother by hear-say only; and finding me stretched on his mother's bed, h_eadily concluded, from her descrip- tion who it was. The rest you know.
"This affair had however no ruinous consequences, the young gentleman escapin_hen, and many more times undis- cover'd. But the warmth of my constitution, that made the pleasures of love a kind of necessary of life to me, havin_etray'd me into indiscretions fatal to my private fortune, I fell at lengt_o the publick; from which, it is probable, I might have met with the worst o_uin if my better fate had not thrown me into this safe and agreeable refuge."
Here Louisa ended; and these little histories having brought the time for th_irls to retire, and to prepare for the revels of the evening, I staid wit_rs. Cole till Emily came and told us the company was met, and waited for us.