dimecres, 29 de juliol de 2015

These oracles they from Apollo heard, And brought from Pytho home the perfect word: The heaven-appointed kings, who love the land, Shall foremost in the nation's council stand; The elders next to them; the commons last; Let a straight Rhetra among all be passed." Although Lycurgus had, in this manner, used all the qualifications possible in the constitution of his commonwealth, yet those who succeeded him found the oligarchical element still too strong and dominant, and to check its high temper and its violence, put, as Plato says, a bit in its mouth, which was the power of the ephori, established an hundred and thirty years after the death of Lycurgus. Elatus and his colleagues were the first who had this dignity conferred upon them in the reign of King Theopompus, who, when his queen upbraided him one day that he would leave the regal power to his children less than he had received it from his ancestors, said in answer, "No, greater; for it will last longer." For, indeed, their prerogative being thus reduced within reasonable bounds, the Spartan kings were at once freed from all further jealousies and consequent danger, and never experienced the calamities of their neighbours at Messene and Argos, who, by maintaining their prerogative too strictly for want of yielding a little to the populace, lost it all. Indeed, whosoever shall look at the sedition and misgovernment which befell these bordering nations to whom they were as near related in blood as situation, will find in them the best reason to admire the wisdom and foresight of Lycurgus. For these three states, in their first rise, were equal, or, if there were any odds, they lay on the side of the Messenians and Argives, who, in the first allotment, were thought to have been luckier than the Spartans; yet was their happiness of but small continuance, partly the tyrannical temper of their kings and partly the ungovernableness of the people quickly bringing upon them such disorders, and so complete an overthrow of all existing institutions, as clearly to show how truly divine a blessing the Spartans had had in that wise lawgiver who gave their government its happy balance and temper. But of this I shall say more in its due place. After the creation of the thirty senators, his next task, and, indeed, the most hazardous he ever undertook, was the making a new division of their lands. For there was an extreme inequality amongst them, and their state was overloaded with a multitude of indigent and necessitous persons, while its whole wealth had centred upon a very few. To the end, therefore, that he might expel from the state arrogance and envy, luxury and crime, and those yet more inveterate diseases of want and superfluity, he obtained of them to renounce their properties, and to consent to a new division of the land, and that they should live all together on an equal footing; merit to be their only road to eminence, and the disgrace of evil, and credit of worthy acts, their one measure of difference between man and man. Upon their consent to these proposals, proceeding at once to put them into execution, he divided the country of Laconia in general into thirty thousand equal shares, and the part attached to the city of Sparta into nine thousand; these he distributed among the Spartans, as he did the others to the country citizens. Some authors say that he made but six thousand lots for the citizens of Sparta, and that King Polydorus added three thousand more. Others say that Polydorus doubled the number Lycurgus had made, which, according to them, was but four thousand five hundred. A lot was so much as to yield, one year with another, about seventy bushels of grain for the master of the family, and twelve for his wife, with a suitable proportion of oil and wine. And this he thought sufficient to keep their bodies in good health and strength; superfluities they were better without. It is reported, that, as he returned from a journey shortly after the division of the lands, in harvest time, the ground being newly reaped, seeing the stacks all standing equal and alike, he smiled, and said to those about him, "Methinks all Laconia looks like one family estate just divided among a number of brothers." Not contented with this, he resolved to make a division of their movables too, that there might be no odious distinction or inequality left amongst them; but finding that it would be very dangerous to go about it openly, he took another course, and defeated their avarice by the following stratagem: he commanded that all gold and silver coin should be called in, and that only a sort of money made of iron should be current, a great weight and quantity of which was very little worth; so that to lay up twenty or thirty pounds there was required a pretty large closet, and, to remove it, nothing less than a yoke of oxen. With the diffusion of this money, at once a number of vices were banished from Lacedaemon; for who would rob another of such a coin? Who would unjustly detain or take by force, or accept as a bribe, a thing which it was not easy to hide, nor a credit to have, nor indeed of any use to cut in pieces? For when it was just red hot, they quenched it in vinegar, and by that means spoilt it, and made it almost incapable of being worked. In the next place, he declared an outlawry of all needless and superfluous arts; but here he might almost have spared his proclamation; for they of themselves would have gone after the gold and silver, the money which remained being not so proper payment for curious work; for, being of iron, it was scarcely portable, neither, if they should take the means to export it, would it pass amongst the other Greeks, who ridiculed it. So there was now no more means of purchasing foreign goods and small wares; merchants sent no shiploads into Laconian ports; no rhetoric-master, no itinerate fortune-teller, no harlot-monger, or gold or silversmith, engraver, or jeweller, set foot in a country which had no money; so that luxury, deprived little by little of that which fed and fomented it, wasted to nothing and died away of itself. For the rich had no advantage here over the poor, as their wealth and abundance had no road to come abroad by but were shut up at home doing nothing. And in this way they became excellent artists in common, necessary things; bedsteads, chairs, and tables, and such like staple utensils in a family, were admirably well made there; their cup, particularly, was very much in fashion, and eagerly bought up by soldiers, as Critias reports; for its colour was such as to prevent water, drunk upon necessity and disagreeable to look at, from being noticed; and the shape of it was such that the mud stuck to the sides, so that only the purer part came to the drinker's mouth. For this also, they had to thank their lawgiver, who, by relieving the artisans of the trouble of making useless things, set them to show their skill in giving, beauty to those of daily and indispensable use. The third and most masterly stroke of this great lawgiver, by which he struck a yet more effectual blow against luxury and the desire of riches, was the ordinance he made, that they should all eat in common, of the same bread and same meat, and of kinds that were specified, and should not spend their lives at home, laid on costly couches at splendid tables, delivering themselves up into the hands of their tradesmen and cooks, to fatten them in corners, like greedy brutes, and to ruin not their minds only but their very bodies which, enfeebled by indulgence and excess, would stand in need of long sleep, warm bathing, freedom from work, and, in a word, of as much care and attendance as if they were continually sick. It was certainly an extraordinary thing to have brought about such a result as this, but a greater yet to have taken away from wealth, as Theophrastus observes, not merely the property of being coveted, but its very nature of being wealth. For the rich, being obliged to go to the same table with the poor, could not make use of or enjoy their abundance, nor so much as please their vanity by looking at or displaying it. So that the common proverb, that Plutus, the god of riches, is blind, was nowhere in all the world literally verified but in Sparta. There, indeed, he was not only blind, but like a picture, without either life or motion. Nor were they allowed to take food at home first, and then attend the public tables, for every one had an eye upon those who did not eat and drink like the rest, and reproached them with being dainty and effeminate. This last ordinance in particular exasperated the wealthier men. They collected in a body against Lycurgus, and from ill words came to throwing stones, so that at length he was forced to run out of the market-place, and make to sanctuary to save his life; by good-hap he outran all, excepting one Alcander, a young man otherwise not ill accomplished, but hasty and violent, who came up so close to him, that when he turned to see who was so near him, he struck him upon the face with his stick, and put out one of his eyes. Lycurgus, so far from being daunted and discouraged by this accident, stopped short and showed his disfigured face and eye beat out to his countrymen; they, dismayed and ashamed at the sight, delivered Alcander into his hands to be punished, and escorted him home, with expressions of great concern for his ill-usage. Lycurgus, having thanked them for their care of his person, dismissed them all, excepting only Alcander; and, taking him with him into his house, neither did nor said anything severely to him, but, dismissing those whose place it was, bade Alcander to wait upon him at table. The young man, who was of an ingenuous temper, without murmuring did as he was commanded; and being thus admitted to live with Lycurgus, he had an opportunity to observe in him, besides his gentleness and calmness of temper, an extraordinary sobriety and an indefatigable industry, and so, from an enemy, became one of his most zealous admirers, and told his friends and relations that Lycurgus was not that morose and ill-natured man they had formerly taken him for, but the one mild and gentle character of the world. And thus did Lycurgus, for chastisement of his fault, make of a wild and passionate young man one of the discreetest citizens of Sparta. In memory of this accident, Lycurgus built a temple to Minerva, surnamed Optiletis; optilus being the Doric of these parts for ophthalmus, the eye. Some authors, however, of whom Dioscorides is one (who wrote a treatise on the commonwealth of Sparta), say that he was wounded, indeed, but did not lose his eye with the blow; but that he built the temple in gratitude for the cure. Be this as it will, certain it is, that, after this misadventure, the Lacedaemonians made it a rule never to carry so much as a staff into their public assemblies. But to return to their public repast;- these had several names in Greek; the Cretans called them andria, because the men only came to them. The Lacedaemonians called them phiditia, that is, by changing l into d, the same as philitia, love feasts, because that, by eating and drinking together, they had opportunity of making friends. Or perhaps from phido, parsimony, because they were so many schools of sobriety; or perhaps the first letter is an addition, and the word at first was editia, from edode, eating. They met by companies of fifteen, more or less, and each of them stood bound to bring in monthly a bushel of meal, eight gallons of wine, five pounds of cheese, two pounds and a half of figs, and a very small sum of money to buy flesh or fish with. Besides this, when any of them made sacrifice to the gods, they always sent a dole to the common hall; and, likewise, when any of them had been a hunting, he sent thither a part of the venison he had killed; for these two occasions were the only excuses allowed for supping at home. The custom of eating together was observed strictly for a great while afterwards; insomuch that King Agis himself, after having vanquished the Athenians, sending for his commons at his return home, because he desired to eat privately with his queen, was refused them by the polemarchs; which refusal when he resented so much as to omit next day the sacrifice due for a war happily ended, they made him pay a fine. They used to send their children to these tables as to schools of temperance; here they were instructed in state affairs by listening to experienced statesmen; here they learned to converse with pleasantry, to make jests without scurrility and take them without ill humour. In this point of good breeding, the Lacedaemonians excelled particularly, but if any man were uneasy under it, upon the least hint given, there was no more to be said to him. It was customary also for the eldest man in the company to say to each of them, as they came in, "Through this" (pointing to the door), "no words go out." When any one had a desire to be admitted into any of these little societies, he was to go through the following probation: each man in the company took a little ball of soft bread, which they were to throw into a deep basin, which a waiter carried round upon his head; those that liked the person to be chosen dropped their ball into the basin without altering its figure, and those who disliked him pressed it betwixt their fingers, and made it flat; and this signified as much as a negative voice. And if there were but one of these flattened pieces in the basin, the suitor was rejected, so desirous were they that all the members of the company should be agreeable to each other. The basin was called caddichus, and the rejected candidate had a name thence derived. Their most famous dish was the black broth, which was so much valued that the elderly men fed only upon that, leaving what flesh there was to the younger. They say that a certain king of Pontus, having heard much of this black broth of theirs, sent for a Lacedaemonian cook on purpose to make him some, but had no sooner tasted it than he found it extremely bad, which the cook observing, told him, "Sir, to make this broth relish, you should have bathed yourself first in the river Eurotas." After drinking moderately, every man went to his home without lights, for the use of them was, on all occasions, forbid to the end that they might accustom themselves to march boldly in the dark. Such was the common fashion of their meals. Lycurgus would never reduce his laws into writing; nay there is a Rhetra expressly to forbid it. For he thought that the most material points, and such as most directly tended to the public welfare, being imprinted on the hearts of their youth by a good discipline, would be sure to remain, and would find a stronger security, than any compulsion would be in the principles of action formed in them by their best lawgiver, education. And as for things of lesser importance, as pecuniary contracts, and such like, the forms of which have to be changed as occasion requires, he thought it the best way to prescribe no positive rule or inviolable usage in such cases, willing that their manner and form should be altered according to the circumstances of time, and determinations of men of sound judgment. Every end and object of law and enactment it was his design education should effect. One, then, of the Rhetras was, that their laws should not be written; another is particularly levelled against luxury and expensiveness, for by it was ordained that the ceilings of their houses should only be wrought by the axe, and their gates and doors smoothed only by the saw. Epaminondas's famous dictum about his own table, that "Treason and a dinner like this do not keep company together," may be said to have been anticipated by Lycurgus. Luxury and a house of this kind could not well be companions. For a man might have a less than ordinary share of sense that would furnish such plain and common rooms with silver-footed couches and purple coverlets and gold and silver plate. Doubtless he had good reason to think that they would proportion their beds to their houses, and their coverlets to their houses, and their coverlets to their beds, and the rest of their goods and furniture to these. It is reported that king Leotychides, the first of that name, was so little used to the sight of any other kind of work, that, being entertained at Corinth in a stately room, he was much surprised to see the timber and ceiling so finely carved and panelled, and asked his host whether the trees grew so in his country. A third ordinance of Rhetra was, that they should not make war often, or long, with the same enemy, lest that they should train and instruct them in war, by habituating them to defend themselves. And this is what Agesilaus was much blamed for, a long time after; it being thought, that, by his continual incursions into Boeotia, he made the Thebans a match for the Lacedaemonians; and therefore Antalcidas, seeing him wounded one day, said to him, that he was very well paid for taking such pains to make the Thebans good soldiers, whether they would or no. These laws were called the Rhetras, to intimate that they were divine sanctions and revelations. In order to the good education of their youth (which, as I said before, he thought the most important and noblest work of a lawgiver), he went so far back as to take into consideration their very conception and birth, by regulating their marriages. For Aristotle is wrong in saying, that, after he had tried all ways to reduce the women to more modesty and sobriety, he was at last forced to leave them as they were, because that in the absence of their husbands, who spent the best part of their lives in the wars, their wives, whom they were obliged to leave absolute mistresses at home, took great liberties and assumed the superiority; and were treated with overmuch respect and called by the title of lady or queen. The truth is, he took in their case, also, all the care that was possible; he ordered the maidens to exercise themselves with wrestling, running, throwing, the quoit, and casting the dart, to the end that the fruit they conceived might, in strong and healthy bodies, take firmer root and find better growth, and withal that they, with this greater vigour, might be the more able to undergo the pains of child-bearing. And to the end he might take away their overgreat tenderness and fear of exposure to the air, and all acquired womanishness, he ordered that the young women should go naked in the processions, as well as the young men, and dance, too, in that condition, at certain solemn feasts, singing certain songs, whilst the young men stood around, seeing and hearing them. On these occasions they now and then made, by jests, a befitting reflection upon those who had misbehaved themselves in the wars; and again sang encomiums upon those who had done any gallant action, and by these means inspired the younger sort with an emulation of their glory. Those that were thus commended went away proud, elated, and gratified with their honour among the maidens; and those who were rallied were as sensibly touched with it as if they had been formally reprimanded; and so much the more, because the kings and the elders, as well as the rest of the city, saw and heard all that passed. Nor was there anything shameful in this nakedness of the young women; modesty attended them, and all wantonness was excluded. It taught them simplicity and a care for good health, and gave them some taste of higher feelings, admitted as they thus were to the field of noble action and glory. Hence it was natural for them to think and speak as Gorgo, for example, the wife of Leonidas, is said to have done, when some foreign lady, as it would seem, told her that the women of Lacedaemon were the only women in the world who could rule men; "With good reason," she said, "for we are the only women who bring forth men." These public processions of the maidens, and their appearing naked in their exercises and dancings, were incitements to marriage, operating upon the young with the rigour and certainty, as Plato says, of love, if not of mathematics. But besides all this, to promote it yet more effectually, those who continued bachelors were in a degree disfranchised by law; for they were excluded from the sight those public processions in which the young men and maidens danced naked, and, in winter-time, the officers compelled them to march naked themselves round the marketplace, singing as they went a certain song to their own disgrace, that they justly suffered this punishment for disobeying the laws. Moreover, they were denied that respect and observance which the younger men paid their elders; and no man, for example, found fault with what was said to Dercyllidas, though so eminent a commander; upon whose approach one day, a young man, instead of rising, retained his seat, remarking, "No child of yours will make room for me." In their marriages, the husband carried off his bride by a sort of force; nor were their brides ever small and of tender years, but in their full bloom and ripeness. After this, she who superintended the wedding comes and clips the hair of the bride close round her head, dresses her up in man's clothes, and leaves her upon a mattress in the dark; afterwards comes the bridegroom, in his everyday clothes, sober and composed, as having supped at the common table, and, entering privately into the room where the bride lies, unties her virgin zone, and takes her to himself; and, after staying some time together, he returns composedly to his own apartment, to sleep as usual with the other young men. And so he continues to do, spending his days, and, indeed, his nights, with them, visiting his bride in fear and shame, and with circumspection, when he thought he should not be observed she, also, on her part, using her wit to help and find favourable opportunities for their meeting, when company was out of the way. In this manner they lived a long time, insomuch that they sometimes had children by their wives before ever they saw their faces by daylight. Their interviews, being thus difficult and rare, served not only for continual exercise of their self-control, but brought them together with their bodies healthy and vigorous, and their affections fresh and lively, unsated and undulled by easy access and long continuance with each other; while their partings were always early enough to leave behind unextinguished in each of them some remaining fire of longing and mutual delight. After guarding marriage with this modesty and reserve, he was equally careful to banish empty and womanish jealousy. For this object, excluding all licentious disorders, he made it, nevertheless, honourable for men to give the use of their wives to those whom they should think fit, that so they might have children by them; ridiculing those in whose opinion such favours are so unfit for participation as to fight and shed blood and go to war about it. Lycurgus allowed a man who was advanced in years and had a young wife to recommend some virtuous and approved young man, that she might have a child by him, who might inherit the good qualities of the father, and be a son to himself. On the other side, an honest man who had love for a married woman upon account of her modesty and the well-favouredness of her children, might, without formality, beg her company of her husband, that he might raise, as it were, from this plot of good ground, worthy and well-allied children for himself. And indeed, Lycurgus was of a persuasion that children were not so much the property of their parents as of the whole commonwealth, and, therefore, would not have his citizens begot by the first-comers, but by the best men that could be found; the laws of other nations seemed to him very absurd and inconsistent, where people would be so solicitous for their dogs and horses as to exert interest and to pay money to procure fine breeding, and yet kept their wives shut up, to be made mothers only by themselves, who might be foolish, infirm, or diseased; as if it were not apparent that children of a bad breed would prove their bad qualities first upon those who kept and were rearing them, and well-born children, in like manner, their good qualities. These regulations, founded on natural and social grounds, were certainly so far from that scandalous liberty which was afterwards charged upon their women, that they knew not what adultery meant. It is told, for instance, of Geradas, a very ancient Spartan, that, being asked by a stranger what punishment their law had appointed for adulterers, he answered, "There are no adulterers in our country." "But," replied the stranger, "suppose there were?" "Then," answered he, "the offender would have to give the plaintiff a bull with a neck so long as that he might drink from the top of Taygetus of the Eurotas river below it." The man, surprised at this, said, "Why, 'tis impossible to find such a bull." Geradas smilingly replied, "'Tis as possible as to find an adulterer in Sparta." So much I had to say of their marriages. Nor was it in the power of the father to dispose of the child as he thought fit; he was obliged to carry it before certain triers at a place called Lesche; these were some of the elders of the tribe to which the child belonged; their business it was carefully to view the infant, and, if they found it stout and well made, they gave order for its rearing, and allotted to it one of the nine thousand shares of land above mentioned for its maintenance, but, if they found it puny and ill-shaped, ordered it to be taken to what was called the Apothetae, a sort of chasm under Taygetus; as thinking it neither for the good of the child itself, nor for the public interest, that it should be brought up, if it did not, from the very outset, appear made to be healthy and vigorous. Upon the same account, the women did not bathe the new-born children with water, as is the custom in all other countries, but with wine, to prove the temper and complexion of their bodies; from a notion they had that epileptic and weakly children faint and waste away upon their being thus bathed while, on the contrary, those of a strong and vigorous habit acquire firmness and get a temper by it, like steel. There was much care and art, too, used by the nurses; they had no swaddling bands; the children grew up free and unconstrained in limb and form, and not dainty and fanciful about their food; not afraid in the dark, or of being left alone; and without peevishness, or ill-humour, or crying. Upon this account Spartan nurses were often bought up, or hired by people of other countries; and it is recorded that she who suckled Alcibiades was a Spartan; who, however, if fortunate in his nurse, was not so in his preceptor; his guardian, Pericles, as Plato tells us, chose a servant for that office called Zopyrus, no better than any common slave.

Lycurgus was of another mind; he would not have masters bought out of the market for his young Spartans, nor such as should sell their pains; nor was it lawful, indeed, for the father himself to breed up the children after his own fancy; but as soon as they were seven years old they were to be enrolled in certain companies and classes, where they all lived under the same order and discipline, doing their exercises and taking their play together. Of these, he who showed the most conduct and courage was made captain; they had their eyes always upon him, obeyed his orders, and underwent patiently whatsoever punishment he inflicted; so that the whole course of their education was one continued exercise of a ready and perfect obedience. The old men, too, were spectators of their performances, and often raised quarrels and disputes among them, to have a good opportunity of finding out their different characters, and of seeing which would be valiant, which a coward, when they should come to more dangerous encounters. Reading and writing they gave them, just enough to serve their turn; their chief care was to make them good subjects, and to teach them to endure pain and conquer in battle. To this end, as they grew in years, their discipline was proportionately increased; their heads were close-clipped, they were accustomed to go barefoot, and for the most part to play naked.

After they were twelve years old, they were no longer allowed to wear any undergarments, they had one coat to serve them a year; their bodies were hard and dry, with but little acquaintance of baths and unguents; these human indulgences they were allowed only on some few particular days in the year. They lodged together in little bands upon beds made of the rushes which grew by the banks of the river Eurotas, which they were to break off with their hands without a knife; if it were winter, they mingled some thistle-down with their rushes, which it was thought had the property of giving warmth. By the time they were come to this age there was not any of the more hopeful boys who had not a lover to bear him company. The old men, too, had an eye upon them, coming often to the grounds to hear and see them contend either in wit or strength with one another, and this as seriously and with as much concern as if they were their fathers, their tutors, or their magistrates; so that there scarcely was any time or place without some one present to put them in mind of their duty, and punish them if they had neglected it.

Besides all this, there was always one of the best and honestest men in the city appointed to undertake the charge and governance of them; he again arranged them into their several bands, and set over each of them for their captain the most temperate and boldest of those they called Irens, who were usually twenty years old, two years out of the boys; and the oldest of the boys, again, were Mell-Irens, as much as to say, who would shortly be men. This young man, therefore, was their captain when they fought and their master at home, using them for the offices of his house; sending the eldest of them to fetch wood, and the weaker and less able to gather salads and herbs, and these they must either go without or steal; which they did by creeping into the gardens, or conveying themselves cunningly and closely into the eating-houses; if they were taken in the fact, they were whipped without mercy, for thieving so ill and awkwardly. They stole, too, all other meat they could lay their hands on, looking out and watching all opportunities, when people were asleep or more careless than usual. If they were caught, they were not only punished with whipping, but hunger, too, being reduced to their ordinary allowance, which was but very slender, and so contrived on purpose, that they might set about to help themselves, and be forced to exercise their energy and address. This was the principal design of their hard fare; there was another not inconsiderable, that they might grow taller; for the vital spirits, not being overburdened and oppressed by too great a quantity of nourishment, which necessarily discharges itself into thickness and breadth, do, by their natural lightness, rise; and the body, giving and yielding because it is pliant, grows in height. The same thing seems, also, to conduce to beauty of shape; a dry and lean habit is a better subject for nature's configuration, which the gross and over-fed are too heavy to submit to properly. Just as we find that women who take physic whilst they are with child, bear leaner and smaller but better-shaped and prettier children; the material they come of having been more pliable and easily moulded. The reason, however, I leave others to determine.

To return from whence we have digressed. So seriously did the Lacedaemonian children go about their stealing, that a youth, having stolen a young fox and hid it under his coat, suffered it to tear out his very bowels with its teeth and claws and died upon the place, rather than let it be seen. What is practised to this very day in Lacedaemon is enough to gain credit to this story, for I myself have seen several of the youths endure whipping to death at the foot of the altar of Diana surnamed Orthia.

The Iren, or under-master, used to stay a little with them after supper, and one of them he bade to sing a song, to another he put a question which required an advised and deliberate answer; for example, Who was the best man in the city? What he thought of such an action of such a man? They used them thus early to pass a right judgment upon persons and things, and to inform themselves of the abilities or defects of their countrymen. If they had not an answer ready to the question, Who was a good or who an ill-reputed citizen, they were looked upon as of a dull and careless disposition, and to have little or no sense of virtue and honour; besides this, they were to give a good reason for what they said, and in as few words and as comprehensive as might be; he that failed of this, or answered not to the purpose, had his thumb bit by the master. Sometimes the Iren did this in the presence of the old men and magistrates, that they might see whether he punished them justly and in due measure or not, and when he did amiss, they would not reprove him before the boys, but, when they were gone, he was called to an account and underwent correction, if he had run far into either of the extremes of indulgence or severity.

Their lovers and favourers, too, had a share in the young boy's honour or disgrace; and there goes a story that one of them was fined by the magistrate, because the lad whom he loved cried out effeminately as he was fighting. And though this sort of love was so approved among them, that the most virtuous matrons would make professions of it to young girls, yet rivalry did not exist, and if several men's fancies met in one person, it was rather the beginning of an intimate friendship, whilst they all jointly conspired to render the object of their effection as accomplished as possible.

They taught them, also, to speak with a natural and graceful raillery, and to comprehend much matter of thought in few words. For Lycurgus, who ordered, as we saw, that a great piece of money should be but of an inconsiderable value, on the contrary would allow no discourse to be current which did not contain in few words a great deal of useful and curious sense; children in Sparta, by a habit of long silence, came to give just and sententious answers; for, indeed, as loose and incontinent livers are seldom fathers of many children, so loose and incontinent talkers seldom originate many sensible words. King Agis, when some Athenian laughed at their short swords, and said that the jugglers on the stage swallowed them with ease, answered him, "We find them long enough to reach our enemies with;" and as their swords were short and sharp, so, it seems to me, were their sayings. They reach the point and arrest the attention of the hearers better than any. Lycurgus himself seems to have been short and sententious, if we may trust the anecdotes of him; as appears by his answer to one who by all means would set up a democracy in Lacedaemon. "Begin, friend," said he, "and set it up in your family." Another asked him why he allowed of such mean and trivial sacrifices to the gods. He replied, "That we may always have something to offer to them." Being asked what sort of martial exercises or combats he approved of, he answered, "All sorts, except that in which you stretch out your hands." Similar answers, addressed to his countrymen by letter, are ascribed to him; as, being consulted how they might best oppose an invasion of their enemies, he returned this answer, "By continuing poor, and not coveting each man to be greater than his fellow." Being consulted again whether it were requisite to enclose the city with a wall, he sent them word, "The city is well fortified which hath a wall of men instead of brick." But whether these letters are counterfeit or not is not easy to determine.

Of their dislike to talkativeness, the following apophthegms are evidence. King Leonidas said to one who held him in discourse upon some useful matter, but not in due time and place, "Much to the purpose, Sir, elsewhere." King Charilaus, the nephew of Lycurgus, being asked why his uncle had made so few laws, answered, "Men of few words require but few laws." When one, named Hecataeus the sophist, because that, being invited to the public table, he had not spoken one word all supper-time, Archidamidas answered in his vindication, "He who knows how to speak, knows also when."

The sharp and yet not ungraceful retorts which I mentioned may be instanced as follows. Demaratus, being asked in a troublesome manner by an importunate fellow, Who was the best man in Lacedaemon? answered at last, "He, Sir, that is the least like you." Some, in company where Agis was, much extolled the Eleans for their just and honourable management of the Olympic games; "Indeed," said Agis, "they are highly to be commended if they can do justice one day in five years." Theopompus answered a stranger who talked much of his affection to the Lacedaemonians, and said that his countrymen called him Philolacon (a lover of the Lacedaemonians), that it had been more for his honour if they had called him Philopolites (a lover of his own countrymen). And Plistoanax, the son of Pausanias, when an orator of Athens said the Lacedaemonians had no learning, told him, "You say true, Sir; we alone of all the Greeks have learned none of your bad qualities." One asked Archidamidas what number there might be of the Spartans, he answered: "Enough, Sir, to keep out wicked men."

We may see their character, too, in their very jests. For they did not throw them out at random, but the very wit of them was grounded upon something or other worth thinking about. For instance, one, being asked to go hear a man who exactly counterfeited the voice of a nightingale, answered, "Sir, I have heard the nightingale itself." Another, having read the following inscription upon a tomb-

"Seeking to quench a cruel tyranny,
They, at Selinus, did in battle die," said, it served them right; for instead of trying to quench the tyranny, they should have let it burn out. A lad, being offered some game-cocks that would die upon the spot, said that he cared not for cocks that would die, but for such that would live and kill others. Another, seeing people easing themselves on seats, said, "God forbid I should sit where I could not get up to salute my elders." In short, their answers were so sententious and pertinent, that one said well that intellectual much more truly than athletic exercise was the Spartan characteristic.

Nor was their instruction in music and verse less carefully attended to than their habits of grace and good-breeding in conversation. And their very songs had a life and spirit in them that inflamed and possessed men's minds with an enthusiasm and ardour for action; the style of them was plain and without affectation; the subject always serious and moral; most usually, it was in praise of such men as had died in defence of their country, or in derision of those that had been cowards; the former they declared happy and glorified; the life of the latter they described as most miserable and abject. There were also vaunts of what they would do, and boasts of what they had done, varying with the various ages, as, for example, they had three choirs in their solemn festivals, the first of the old men, the second of the young men, and the last of the children; the old men began thus:-

"We once were young, and brave, and strong;" the young men answered them, singing:-

"And we're so now, come on and try;" the children came last and said:-

"But we'll be strongest by and by."

Indeed, if we will take the pains to consider their compositions, some of which were still extant in our days, and the airs on the flute to which they marched when going to battle, we shall find that Terpander and Pindar had reason to say that musing and valour were allied. The first says of Lacedaemon-

"The spear and song in her do meet,
And justice walks about her street; And Pindar-

"Councils of wise elders here,
And the young men's conquering spear,
And dance, and song, and joy appear; both describing the Spartans as no less musical than warlike; in the words of one of their own poets-

"With the iron stern and sharp,
Comes the playing on the harp." For, indeed, before they engaged in battle, the king first did sacrifice to the Muses, in all likelihood to put them in mind of the manner of their education, and of the judgment that would be passed upon their actions, and thereby to animate them to the performance of exploits that should deserve a record. At such times, too, the Lacedaemonians abated a little the severity of their manners in favour of their young men, suffering them to curl and adorn their hair, and to have costly arms and fine clothes; and were well pleased to see them, like proud horses, neighing and pressing to the course. And, therefore, as soon as they came to be well-grown, they took a great deal of care of their hair, to have it parted and trimmed, especially against a day of battle, pursuant to a saying recorded of their lawgiver, that a large head of hair added beauty to a good face, and terror to an ugly one.

When they were in the field, their exercises were generally more moderate, their fare not so hard, nor so strict a hand held over them by their officers, so that they were the only people in the world to whom war gave repose. When their army was drawn up in battle array, and the enemy near, the king sacrificed a goat, commanded the soldiers to set their garlands upon their heads, and the pipers to play the tune of the hymn to Castor, and himself began the paean of advance. It was at once a magnificent and a terrible sight to see them march on to the tune of their flutes, without any disorder in their ranks, any discomposure in their minds, or change in their countenances, calmly and cheerfully moving with the music to the deadly fight. Men, in this temper, were not likely to be possessed with fear or any transport of fury, but with the deliberate valour of hope and assurance, as if some divinity were attending and conducting them. The king had always about his person some one who had been crowned in the Olympic games; and upon this account a Lacedaemonian is said to have refused a considerable present, which was offered to him upon condition that he would not come into the lists; and when he had with much to-do thrown his antagonist, some of the spectators saying to him, "And now, Sir Lacedaemonian, what are you the better for your victory?" he answered, smiling, "I shall fight next the king." After they had routed an enemy, they pursued him till they were well assured of the victory, and then they sounded a retreat, thinking it base and unworthy of a Grecian people to cut men in pieces, who had given up and abandoned all resistance. This manner of dealing with their enemies did not only show magnanimity, but was politic too; for, knowing that they killed only those who made resistance, and gave quarter to the rest, men generally thought it their best way to consult their safety by flight.

Hippius the sophist says that Lycurgus himself was a great soldier and an experienced commander. Philostephanus attributes to him the first division of the cavalry into troops of fifties in a square body; but Demetrius the Phalerian says quite the contrary, and that he made all his laws in a continued peace. And, indeed, the Olympic holy truce, or cessation of arms, that was procured by his means and management, inclines me to think him a kind-natured man, and one that loved quietness and peace. Notwithstanding all this, Hermippus tells us that he had no hand in the ordinance, that Iphitus made it, and Lycurgus came only as a spectator, and that by mere accident too. Being there, he heard as it were a man's voice behind him, blaming and wondering at him that he did not encourage his countrymen to resort to the assembly, and, turning about and seeing no man, concluded that it was a voice from heaven, and upon this immediately went to Iphitus and assisted him in ordering the ceremonies of that feast, which, by his means, were better established, and with more repute than before.

To return to the Lacedaemonians. Their discipline continued still after they were full-grown men. No one was allowed to live after his own fancy; but the city was a sort of camp, in which every man had his share of provisions and business set out, and looked upon himself not so much born to serve his own ends as the interest of his country. Therefore if they were commanded nothing else, they went to see the boys perform their exercises, to teach them something useful or to learn it themselves of those who knew better. And indeed one of the greatest and highest blessings Lycurgus procured his people was the abundance of leisure which proceeded from his forbidding to them the exercise of any mean and mechanical trade. Of the money-making that depends on troublesome going about and seeing people and doing business, they had no need at all in a state where wealth obtained no honour or respect. The Helots tilled their ground for them, and paid them yearly in kind the appointed quantity, without any trouble of theirs. To this purpose there goes a story of a Lacedaemonian who, happening to be at Athens when the courts were sitting, was told of a citizen that had been fined for living an idle life, and was being escorted home in much distress of mind by his condoling friends; the Lacedaemonian was much surprised at it and desired his friend to show him the man who was condemned for living like a freeman. So much beneath them did they esteem the frivolous devotion of time and attention to the mechanical arts and to moneymaking.

It need not be said that upon the prohibition of gold and silver, all lawsuits immediately ceased, for there was now neither avarice nor poverty amongst them, but equality, where every one's wants were supplied, and independence, because those wants were so small. All their time, except when they were in the field, was taken up by the choral dances and the festivals, in hunting, and in attendance on the exercise-grounds and the places of public conversation. Those who were under thirty years of age were not allowed to go into the market-place, but had the necessaries of their family supplied by the care of their relations and lovers; nor was it for the credit of elderly men to be seen too often in the market-place; it was esteemed more suitable for them to frequent the exercise-grounds and places of conversation, where they spent their leisure rationally in conversation, not on money-making and marketprices, but for the most part in passing judgment on some action worth considering; extolling the good, and censuring those who were otherwise, and that in a light and sportive manner, conveying, without too much gravity, lessons of advice and improvement. Nor was Lycurgus himself unduly austere; it was he who dedicated, says Sosibius, the little statue of Laughter. Mirth, introduced seasonably at their suppers and places of common entertainment, was to serve as a sort of sweetmeat to accompany their strict and hard life. To conclude, he bred up his citizens in such a way that they neither would nor could live by themselves; they were to make themselves one with the public good, and, clustering like bees around their commander, be by their zeal and public spirit carried all but out of themselves, and devoted wholly to their country. What their sentiments were will better appear by a few of their sayings. Paedaretus, not being admitted into the list of the three hundred, returned home with a joyful face, well pleased to find that there were in Sparta three hundred better men than himself. And Polycratidas, being sent with some others ambassador to the lieutenants of the king of Persia, being asked by them whether they came in a private or in a public character, answered, "In a public, if we succeed; if not, in a private character." Argileonis, asking some who came from Amphipolis if her son Brasidas died courageously and as became a Spartan, on their beginning to praise him to a high degree, and saying there was not such another left in Sparta, answered, "Do not say so; Brasidas was a good and brave man, but there are in Sparta many better than he."

The senate, as I said before, consisted of those who were Lycurgus's chief aiders and assistants in his plans. The vacancies he ordered to be supplied out of the best and most deserving men past sixty years old, and we need not wonder if there was much striving for it; for what more glorious competition could there be amongst men, than one in which it was not contested who was swiftest among the swift or strongest of the strong, but who of many wise and good was wisest and best, and fittest to be intrusted for ever after, as the reward of his merits, with the supreme authority of the commonwealth, and with power over the lives, franchises, and highest interests of all his countrymen? The manner of their election was as follows: The people being called together, some selected persons were locked up in a room near the place of election, so contrived that they could neither see nor be seen, but could only hear the noise of the assembly without; for they decided this, as most other affairs of moment, by the shouts of the people. This done, the competitors were not brought in and presented all together, but one after another by lot, and passed in order through the assembly without speaking a word. Those who were locked up had writing-tables with them, in which they recorded and marked each shout by its loudness, without knowing in favour of which candidate each of them was made, but merely that they came first, second, third, and so forth. He who was found to have the most and loudest acclamations was declared senator duly elected. Upon this he had a garland set upon his head, and went in procession to all the temples to give thanks to the gods; a great number of young men followed him with applauses, and women, also, singing verses in his honour, and extolling the virtue and happiness of his life. As he went round the city in this manner, each of his relations and friends set a table before him, saying "The city honours you with this banquet;" but he, instead of accepting, passed round to the common table where he formerly used to eat, and was served as before, excepting that now he had a second allowance, which he took and put by. By the time supper was ended, the women who were of kin to him had come about the door; and he, beckoning to her whom he most esteemed, presented to her the portion he had saved, saying, that it had been a mark of esteem to him, and was so now to her; upon which she was triumphantly waited upon home by the women.

Touching burials, Lycurgus made very wise regulations; for, first of all, to cut off all superstition, he allowed them to bury their dead within the city, and even round about their temples, to the end that their youth might be accustomed to such spectacles, and not be afraid to see a dead body, or imagine that to touch a corpse or to tread upon a grave would defile a man. In the next place, he commanded them to put nothing into the ground with them, except, if they pleased, a few olive leaves, and the scarlet cloth that they were wrapped in. He would not suffer the names to be inscribed, except only of men who fell in the wars, or women who died in a sacred office. The time, too, appointed for mourning, was very short, eleven days; on the twelfth, they were to do sacrifice to Ceres, and leave it off; so that we may see, that as he cut off all superfluity, so in things necessary there was nothing so small and trivial which did not express some homage of virtue or scorn of vice. He filled Lacedaemon all through with proofs and examples of good conduct; with the constant sight of which from their youth up the people would hardly fail to be gradually formed and advanced in virtue.

And this was the reason why he forbade them to travel abroad, and go about acquainting themselves with foreign rules of morality, the habits of ill-educated people, and different views of government. Withal he banished from Lacedaemon all strangers who would not give a very good reason for their coming thither; not because he was afraid lest they should inform themselves of and imitate his manner of government (as Thucydides says), or learn anything to their good; but rather lest they should introduce something contrary to good manners. With strange people, strange words must be admitted; these novelties produce novelties in thought; and on these follow views and feelings whose discordant character destroys the harmony of the state. He was as careful to save his city from the infection of foreign bad habits, as men usually are to prevent the introduction of a pestilence.

Hitherto I, for my part, see no sign of injustice or want of equity in the laws of Lycurgus, though some who admit them to be well contrived to make good soldiers, pronounce them defective in point of justice. The Cryptia, perhaps (if it were one of Lycurgus's ordinances, as Aristotle says it was), gave both him and Plato, too, this opinion alike of the lawgiver and his government. By this ordinance, the magistrates despatched privately some of the ablest of the young men into the country, from time to time, armed only with their daggers, and taking a little necessary provision with them; in the daytime, they hid themselves in out-of-the-way places, and there lay close, but in the night issued out into the highways, and killed all the Helots they could light upon; sometimes they set upon them by day, as they were at work in the fields, and murdered them. As, also, Thucydides, in his history of the Peloponnesian war, tells us, that a good number of them, after being singled out for their bravery by the Spartans, garlanded, as enfranchised persons, and led about to all the temples in token of honours, shortly after disappeared all of a sudden, being about the number of two thousand; and no man either then or since could give an account how they came by their deaths. And Aristotle, in particular, adds, that the ephori, so soon as they were entered into their office, used to declare war against them, that they might be massacred without a breach of religion. It is confessed, on all hands, that the Spartans dealt with them very hardly; for it was a common thing to force them to drink to excess, and to lead them in that condition into their public halls, that the children might see what a sight a drunken man is; they made them to dance low dances, and sing ridiculous songs, forbidding them expressly to meddle with any of a better kind. And accordingly, when the Thebans made their invasion into Laconia, and took a great number of the Helots, they could by no means persuade them to sing the verses of Terpander, Alcman, or Spendon, "For," said they, "the masters do not like it." So that it was truly observed by one, that in Sparta he who was free was most so, and he that was a slave there, the greatest slave in the world. For my part, I am of opinion that these outrages and cruelties began to be exercised in Sparta at a later time, especially after the great earthquake, when the Helots made a general insurrection, and, joining with the Messenians, laid the country waste, and brought the greatest danger upon the city. For I cannot persuade myself to ascribe to Lycurgus so wicked and barbarous a course, judging of him from the gentleness of his disposition and justice upon all other occasions; to which the oracle also testified.

When he perceived that his more important institutions had taken root in the minds of his countrymen, that custom had rendered them familiar and easy, that his commonwealth was now grown up and able to go alone, then, as Plato somewhere tells us, the Maker of the world, when first he saw it existing and beginning its motion, felt joy, even so Lycurgus, viewing with joy and satisfaction the greatness and beauty of his political structure, now fairly at work and in motion, conceived the thought to make it immortal too, and, as far as human forecast could reach to deliver it down unchangeable to posterity. He called an extraordinary assembly of all the people, and told them that he now thought everything reasonably well established, both for the happiness and the virtue of the state; but that there was one thing still behind, of the greatest importance, which he thought not fit to impart until he had consulted the oracle; in the meantime, his desire was that they would observe the laws without any the least alteration until his return, and then he would do as the god should direct him. They all consented readily, and bade him hasten his journey; but, before he departed, he administered an oath to the two kings, the senate, and the whole commons, to abide by and maintain the established form of polity until Lycurgus should be come back. This done, he set out for Delphi, and, having sacrificed to Apollo, asked him whether the laws he had established were good, and sufficient for a people's happiness and virtue. The oracle answered that the laws were excellent, and that the people, while it observed them, should live in the height of renown. Lycurgus took the oracle in writing, and sent it over to Sparta; and, having sacrificed the second time to Apollo, and taken leave of his friends and his son, he resolved that the Spartans should not be released from the oath they had taken, and that he would, of his own act, close his life where he was. He was now about that age in which life was still tolerable, and yet might be quitted without regret. Everything, moreover, about him was in a sufficiently prosperous condition. He therefore made an end of himself by a total abstinence from food, thinking it a statesman's duty to make his very death, if possible, an act of service to the state, and even in the end of his life to give some example of virtue and effect some useful purpose. He would, on the one hand, crown and consummate his own happiness by a death suitable to so honourable a life, and on the other hand, would secure to his countrymen the enjoyment of the advantages he had spent his life in obtaining for them, since they had solemnly sworn the maintenance of his institutions until his return. Nor was he deceived in his expectations, for the city of Lacedaemon continued the chief city of all Greece for the space of five hundred years, in strict observance of Lycurgus's laws; in all which time there was no manner of alteration made, during the reign of fourteen kings down to the time of Agis, the son of Archidamus. For the new creation of the ephori, though thought to be in favour of the people, was so far from diminishing, that it very much heightened, the aristocratical character of the government.

In the time of Agis, gold and silver first flowed into Sparta, and with them all those mischiefs which attend the immoderate desire of riches. Lysander promoted this disorder; for by bringing in rich spoils from the wars, although himself incorrupt, he yet by this means filled his country with avarice and luxury, and subverted the laws and ordinances of Lycurgus; so long as which were in force, the aspect presented by Sparta was rather that of a rule of life followed by one wise and temperate man, than of the political government of a nation. And as the poets feign of Hercules, that, with his lion's skin 
(legendary, lived legendary, 9th century B.C.E.)

By Plutarch

Written 75 A.C.E.

Translated by John Dryden

There is so much uncertainty in the accounts which historians have left us of Lycurgus, the lawgiver of Sparta, that scarcely anything is asserted by one of them which is not called into question or contradicted by the rest. Their sentiments are quite different as to the family he came of, the voyages he undertook, the place and manner of his death, but most of all when they speak of the laws he made and the commonwealth which he founded. They cannot, by any means, be brought to an agreement as to the very age in which he lived; for some of them say that he flourished in the time of Iphitus, and that they two jointly contrived the ordinance for the cessation of arms during the solemnity of the Olympic games. Of this opinion was Aristotle; and for confirmation of it, he alleges an inscription upon one of the copper quoits used in those sports, upon which the name of Lycurgus continued uneffaced to his time. But Eratosthenes and Apollodorus and other chronologers, computing the time by the successions of the Spartan kings, pretend to demonstrate that he was much more ancient than the institution of the Olympic games. Timaeus conjectures that there were two of this name, and in diverse times, but that the one of them being much more famous than the other, men gave to him the glory of the exploits of both; the elder of the two, according to him, was not long after Homer; and some are so particular as to say that he had seen him. But that he was of great antiquity may be gathered from a passage in Xenophon, where he makes him contemporary with the Heraclidae. By descent, indeed, the very last kings of Sparta were Heraclidae too; but he seems in that place to speak of the first and more immediate successors of Hercules. But notwithstanding this confusion and obscurity, we shall endeavour to compose the history of his life, adhering to those statements which are least contradicted, and depending upon those authors who are most worthy of credit.

The poet Simonides will have it that Lycurgus was the son of Prytanis, and not of Eunomus; but in this opinion he is singular, for all the rest deduce the genealogy of them both as follows:-

/ \
Polydectes by his first wife. Lycurgus by Dionassa his second. Dieuchidas says he was the sixth from Patrocles and the eleventh from Hercules. Be this as it will, Sous certainly was the most renowned of all his ancestors, under whose conduct the Spartans made slaves of the Helots, and added to their dominions, by conquest, a good part of Arcadia. There goes a story of this king Sous, that, being besieged by the Clitorians in a dry and stony place so that he could come at no water, he was at last constrained to agree with them upon these terms, that he would restore to them all his conquests, provided that himself and all his men should drink of the nearest spring. After the usual oaths and ratifications, he called his soldiers together, and offered to him that would forbear drinking his kingdom for a reward; and when not a man of them was able to forbear, in short, when they had all drunk their fill, at last comes King Sous himself to the spring, and, having sprinkled his face only, without swallowing one drop, marches off in the face of his enemies, refusing to yield up his conquests, because himself and all his men had not, according to the articles, drunk of their water.

Although he was justly had in admiration on this account, yet his family was not surnamed from him, but from his son Eurypon (of whom they were called Eurypontids); the reason of which was that Eurypon relaxed the rigour of the monarchy, seeking favour and popularity with the many. They, after this first step, grew bolder; and the succeeding kings partly incurred hatred with their people by trying to use force, or, for popularity's sake and through weakness, gave way; and anarchy and confusion long prevailed in Sparta, causing, moreover, the death of the father of Lycurgus. For as he was endeavouring to quell a riot, he was stabbed with a butcher's knife, and left the title of king to his eldest son, Polydectes.

He, too, dying soon after, the right of succession (as every one thought) rested in Lycurgus; and reign he did, until it was found that the queen, his sister-in-law, was with child; upon which he immediately declared that the kingdom belonged to her issue, provided it were male, and that he himself exercised the regal jurisdiction only as his guardian; the Spartan name for which office is prodicus. Soon after, an overture was made to him by the queen, that she would herself in some way destroy the infant, upon condition that he would marry her when he came to the crown. Abhorring the woman's wickedness, he nevertheless did not reject her proposal, but, making show of closing with her, despatched the messenger with thanks and expressions of joy, but dissuaded her earnestly from procuring herself to miscarry, which would impair her health, if not endanger her life; he himself, he said, would see to it, that the child, as soon as born, should be taken out of the way. By such artifices having drawn on the woman to the time of her lying-in, as soon as he heard that she was in labour, he sent persons to be by and observe all that passed, with orders that if it were a girl they should deliver it to the women, but if a boy, should bring it to him wheresoever he were, and whatsoever doing. It fell out that when he was at supper with the principal magistrates the queen was brought to bed of a boy, who was soon after presented to him as he was at the table; he, taking him into his arms, said to those about him, "Men of Sparta, here is a king born unto us;" this said, he laid him down in the king's place, and named him Charilaus, that is, the joy of the people; because that all were transported with joy and with wonder at his noble and just spirit. His reign had lasted only eight months, but he was honoured on other accounts by the citizens, and there were more who obeyed him because of his eminent virtues, than because he was regent to the king and had the royal power in his hands. Some, however, envied and sought to impede his growing influence while he was still young; chiefly the kindred and friends of the queen-mother, who pretended to have been dealt with injuriously. Her brother Leonidas, in a warm debate which fell out betwixt him and Lycurgus, went so far as to tell him to his face that he was well assured that ere long he should see him king; suggesting suspicions and preparing the way for an accusation of him, as though he had made away with his nephew, if the child should chance to fail, though by a natural death. Words of the like import were designedly cast abroad by the queen-mother and her adherents.

Troubled at this, and not knowing what it might come to, he thought it his wisest course to avoid their envy by a voluntary exile, and to travel from place to place until his nephew came to marriageable years, and, by having a son, had secured the succession; setting sail, therefore, with this resolution, he first arrived at Crete, where, having considered their several forms of government, and got an acquaintance with the principal men among them, some of their laws he very much approved of, and resolved to make use of them in his own country; a good part he rejected as useless. Among the persons there the most renowned for their learning and their wisdom in state matters was one Thales, whom Lycurgus, by importunities and assurances of friendship, persuaded to go over to Lacedaemon; where, though by his outward appearance and his own profession he seemed to be no other than a lyric poet, in reality he performed the part of one of the ablest lawgivers in the world. The very songs which he composed were exhortations to obedience and concord, and the very measure and cadence of the verse, conveying impressions of order and tranquillity, had so great an influence on the minds of the listeners, that they were insensibly softened and civilized, insomuch that they renounced their private feuds and animosities, and were reunited in a common admiration of virtue. So that it may truly be said that Thales prepared the way for the discipline introduced by Lycurgus.

From Crete he sailed to Asia, with design, as is said, to examine the difference betwixt the manners and rules of life of the Cretans, which were very sober and temperate, and those of the Ionians, a people of sumptuous and delicate habits, and so to form a judgment; just as physicians do by comparing healthy and diseased bodies. Here he had the first sight of Homer's works, in the hands, we may suppose, of the posterity of Creophylus; and, having observed that the few loose expressions and actions of ill example which are to be found in his poems were much outweighed by serious lessons of state and rules of morality, he set himself eagerly to transcribe and digest them into order, as thinking they would be of good use in his own country. They had, indeed, already obtained some slight repute among the Greeks, and scattered portions, as chance conveyed them, were in the hands of individuals; but Lycurgus first made them really known.

The Egyptians say that he took a voyage into Egypt, and that, being much taken with their way of separating the soldiery from the rest of the nation, he transferred it from them to Sparta, a removal from contact with those employed in low and mechanical occupations giving high refinement and beauty to the state. Some Greek writers also record this. But as for his voyages into Spain, Africa and the Indies, and his conferences there with the Gymnosophists, the whole relation, as far as I can find, rests on the single credit of the Spartan Aristocrates, the son of Hipparchus.

Lycurgus was much missed at Sparta, and often sent for, "for kings indeed we have," they said, "who wear the marks and assume the titles of royalty, but as for the qualities of their minds, they have nothing by which they are to be distinguished from their subjects; adding, that in him alone was the true foundation of sovereignty to be seen, a nature made to rule, and a genius to gain obedience. Nor were the kings themselves averse to see him back, for they looked upon his presence as a bulwark against the insolence of the people.

Things being in this posture at his return, he applied himself, without loss of time, to a thorough reformation, and resolved to change the whole face of the commonwealth; for what could a few particular laws and a partial alteration avail? He must act as wise physicians do, in the case of one who labours under a complication of diseases, by force of medicines reduce and exhaust him, change his whole temperament, and then set him upon a totally new regimen of diet. Having thus projected things, away he goes to Delphi to consult Apollo there; which having done, and offered his sacrifice, he returned with that renowned oracle, in which he is called beloved of God, and rather God than man; that his prayers were heard, that his laws should be the best, and the commonwealth which observed them the most famous in the world. Encouraged by these things he set himself to bring over to his side the leading men of Sparta, exhorting them to give him a helping hand in his great undertaking; he broke it first to his particular friends, and then by degrees, gained others, and animated them all to put his design in execution. When things were ripe for action, he gave orders to thirty of the principal men of Sparta to be ready armed at the market-place by break of day, to the end that he might strike a terror into the opposite party. Hermippus hath set down the names of twenty of the most eminent of them; but the name of him whom Lycurgus most confided in, and who was of most use to him, both in making his laws and putting them in execution was Arthmiadas. Things growing to a tumult, King Charilaus, apprehending that it was a conspiracy against his person, took sanctuary in the temple of Minerva of the Brazen House; but, being soon after undeceived, and having taken an oath of them that they had no designs against him, he quitted his refuge, and himself also entered into the confederacy with them; of so gentle and flexible a disposition he was, to which Archelaus, his brother-king, alluded, when, hearing him extolled for his goodness, he said, "Who can say he is anything but good? he is so even to the bad."

Amongst the many changes and alterations which Lycurgus made, the first and of greatest importance was the establishment of the senate, which having a power equal to the king's in matters of great consequence, and, as Plato expresses it, allaying and qualifying the fiery genius of the royal office, gave steadiness and safety to the commonwealth. For the state, which before had no firm basis to stand upon, but leaned one while towards an absolute monarchy, when the kings had the upper hand, and another while towards a pure democracy, when the people had the better, found in this establishment of the senate a central weight, like ballast in a ship, which always kept things in a just equilibrium; the twenty-eight always adhering to the kings so far as to resist democracy, and on the other hand, supporting the people against the establishment of absolute monarchy. As for the determinate number of twenty-eight, Aristotle states, that it so fell out because two of the original associates, for want of courage, fell off from the enterprise; but Sphaerus assures us that there were but twenty-eight of the confederates at first; perhaps there is some mystery in the number, which consists of seven multiplied by four, and is the first of perfect numbers after six, being, as that is, equal to all its parts. For my part, I believe Lycurgus fixed upon the number of twenty-eight, that, the two kings being reckoned amongst them, they might be thirty in all. So eagerly set was he upon this establishment, that he took the trouble to obtain an oracle about it from Delphi, the Rhetra, which runs thus: "After that you have built a temple to Jupiter Helianius, and to Minerva Hellania, and after that you have phyle'd the people into phyles, and obe'd them into obes, you shall establish a council of thirty elders, the leaders included, and shall, from time to time, apellazein the people betwixt Babyca and Cnacion, there propound and put to the vote. The commons have the final voice and decision." By phyles and obes are meant the divisions of the people; by the leaders, the two kings; apellazein, referring to the Pythian Apollo, signifies to assemble; Babyca and Cnacion they now call Oenus; Aristotle says Cnacion is a river, and Babyca a bridge. Betwixt this Babyca and Cnacion, their assemblies were held, for they had no council-house or building to meet in. Lycurgus was of opinion that ornaments were so far from advantaging them in their counsels, that they were rather an hindrance, by diverting their attention from the business before them to statues and pictures, and roofs curiously fretted, the usual embellishments of such places amongst the other Greeks. The people then being thus assembled in the open air, it was not allowed to any one of their order to give his advice, but only either to ratify or reject what should be propounded to them by the king or senate. But because it fell out afterwards that the people, by adding or omitting words, distorted and perverted the sense of propositions, Kings Polydorus and Theopompus inserted into the Rhetra, or grand covenant, the following clause: "That if the people decide crookedly it should be lawful for the elders and leaders to dissolve;" that is to say, refuse ratification, and dismiss the people as depravers and perverters of their counsel. It passed among the people, by their management, as being equally authentic with the rest of the Rhetra, as appears by these verses of Tyrtaeus,-

dilluns, 27 de juliol de 2015

Truth! stark, naked truth, is the word; and I will not so much as take the pains to bestow the strip of a gauze wrapper on it, but paint situations such as they actually rose to me in nature, careless of violating those laws of decency that were never made for such unreserved intimacies as ours; and you have too much sense, too much knowledge of the originals, to sniff prudishly and out of character at the pictures of them. The greatest men, those of the first and most leading taste, will not scruple adorning their private closets with nudities, though, in compliance with vulgar prejudices, they may not think them decent decorations of the staircase, or salon. This, and enough, premised, I go souse into my personal history. My maiden name was Frances Hill. I was born at a small village near Liverpool, in Lancashire, of parents extremely poor, and, I piously believe, extremely honest. My father, who had received a maim on his limbs, that disabled him from following the more laborious branches of country drudgery, got, by making nets, a scanty subsistence, which was not much enlarged by my mother's keeping a little day-school for the girls in her neighborhood. They had had several children; but none lived to any age except myself, who had received from nature a constitution perfectly healthy. My education, till past fourteen, was no better than very vulgar: reading, or rather spelling, an illegible scrawl, and a little ordinary plain work, composed the whole system of it; and then all my foundation in virtue was no other than a total ignorance of vice, and the shy timidity general to our sex, in the tender age of life, when objects alarm or frighten more by their novelty than anything else. But then, this is a fear too often cured at the expense of innocence, when Miss, by degrees, begins no longer to look on a man as a creature of prey that will eat her. My poor mother had divided her time so entirely between her scholars and her little domestic cares, that she had spared very little to my instruction, having, from her own innocence from all ill, no hint or thought of guarding me against any. I was now entering on my fifteenth year, when the worst of ills befell me in the loss of my fond, tender parents, who were both carried off by the small-pox, within a few days of each other; my father dying first, and thereby by hastening the death of my mother: so that I was now left an unhappy friendless orphan (for my father's coming to settle there, was accidental, he being originally a Kentisrman). That cruel distemper which had proved so fatal to them, had indeed seized me, but with such mild and favourable symptoms, that I was presently out of danger, and what then I did not know the value of, was entirely unmarked I skip over here an account of the natural grief and affliction which I felt on this melancholy occasion. A little time, and the giddiness of that age, dissipated too soon my reflections on that irreparable loss; but nothing contributed more to reconcile me to it, than the notions that were immediately put into my head, of going to London, and looking out for a service, in which I was promised all assistance and advice from one Esther Davis, a young woman that had beer down to see her friends, and who, after the stay of a few days, was returned to her place. As I had now nobody left alive in the village, who had concerned enough about what should become of me, to start any objections to this scheme, and the woman who took care of me after my parents' death, rather encouraged me to pursue it, I soon came to a resolution of making this launch into the wide world, by repairing to London, in order to seek my fortune, a phrase which, by the bye, has ruined more adventurers of both sexes, from the country, than ever it made or advanced. Nor did Esther Davis a little comfort and inspirit me to venture with her, by piquing my childish curiosity with the fine sights that were to be seen in London: the Tombs, the Lions, the King, the Royal Family, the fine Plays and Operas, and, in short, all the diversions which fell within her sphere of life to come at; the detail of all which perfectly turned the little head of me. Nor can I remember, without laughing, the innocent admiration, not without a spice of envy, with which we poor girls, whose church-going clothes did not rise above dowlas shifts and stuff gowns, beplaced with silver: all which we imagined grew in London, and entered for a great deal into my determination of trying to come in for my share of them. The idea however of having the company of a towns-woman with her, was the trivial, and all the motives that engaged Esther to take charge of me during my journey to town, where she told me, after the manner and style, "as how several maids out of the country had made themselves and all their kind for ever: that by preserving their virtue, some had taken so with their masters, that they had married them, and kept them coaches, and lived vastly grand and happy; and some, may-hap, came to be Duchesses; luck was all, and why not I, as well as another?"; with other almanacs to this purpose, which set me a tip-toe to begin this promising journey, and to leave a place which, though my native one, contained no relations that I had reason to regret, and was grown insupportable to me, from the change of the tenderest usage into a cold air of charity, with which I was entertained, even at the only friend's house that I had the least expectation of care and protection from. She was, however, so just to me, as to manage the turning into money the little matters that remained to me after the debts and burial charges were allowed for, and, at my departure, put my whole fortune into my hands; which consisted of a very slender wardrobe, packed up in a very portable box, and eight guineas, with seventeen shillings in silver, stowed in a spring-pouch, which was a greater treasure than I ever had seen together, and which I could not conceive there was a possibility of running out; and indeed, I was so entirely taken up with the joy of seeing myself mistress of such an immence sum, that I gave very little attention to a world of good advice which was given me with it. Places, then, being taken for Esther and me in the Chester waggon, I pass over a very immaterial scene of leave-taking, at which I droped a few tears betwixt grief and joy; and, for the same reasons of insignificance, skip over all that happened to me on the road, such as the waggoner's looking liquorish on me, the schemes laid for me by some of the passengers, which were defeated by the valiance of my guardian Esther; who, to do her justice, took a motherly care of me, at the same time that she taxed me for the protection by making me bear all travelling charges, which I defrayed with the unmost cheerfulness, and thought myself much obliged to her into the bargain. She took indeed great care that we were not overrated, or imposed on, as well as of managing as frugally as possible; expensiveness was not her vice. It was pretty late in a summer evening when we reached the town, in our slow conveyance, though drawn by six at length. As we passed through the greatest streets that led to our inn, the noise, of the coaches, the hurry, the crowds of foot passengers, in short, the new scenery of the shops and houses, at once pleased and amazed me. But guess at my mortification and surprise when we came to the inn, and our things were landed and delivered to us, when my fellow traveller and protectress, Esther Davis, who had used me with the utmost tenderness during the journey, and prepared me by no preceedings signs for the stunning blow I was to receive, when I say, my only dependence and friend, in this strange place, all of a sudden assumed a strange and cool air towards me, as if she dreaded my becoming a burden to her. Instead, then, of proffering me the continuance of her assistance and good offices, which I relied upon, and never more wanted, she thought herself, it seems, abundantly acquitted of her engagements to me, by having brought me safe to my journey's end, and seeing nothing in her procedure towards me but what natural and in order, began to embrace me by the way of taking leave, whilst I was so confounded, so struck, that I had not spirit or sense enough so much as to mention my hopes or expectations from her experience, and knowledge of the place she had brought me to. Whilst I stood thus stupid and mute, which she doubtless attributed to nothing more than a concern at parting, this idea procured me perhaps a slight alleviation of it, in the following harangue: "That now we were got safe to London, and that she was obliged to go to her place, she advised me by all means to get into one as soon as possible; that I need not fear getting one; there were more places than parish-churches; that she advised me to go to an intelligence office; that if she heard of any thing stirring, she would find me out and let me know; that in the meantime, I should take a private lodging, and acquaint her where to send to me; that she wished me good luck, and hoped I should always have the grace to keep myself honest, and not bringing a disgrace on my parentage." With this; she took her leave of me, and left me, as it were, on my own hands, full as lightly as I had been put into hers. Left thus alone, absolutely destitute and friendless I began then to feel most bitterly the severity of this separation, the scene of which had passed in a little room in the inn; and no sooner was her back turned, but the affliction I felt at my helpless strange circumstances, burst out into a flood of tears, which infinitely relieved the oppression of my heart; though I still remained stupified, and most perfectly perplexed how to dispose of myself. One of the waiters coming in, added yet more to my uncertainty, by asking me, in a short way, if I called for anything? to which I replied innocently: "No." But I wished him to tell me where I might get a lodging for that night. He said he would go and speak to his mistress, who accordingly came, and told me drily, without entering in the least into the distress she saw me in, that I might have a bed for a shilling, and that, as she supposed I had some friends in town (there I fetched a deep sigh in vain!), I might provide for myself in the morning. It is incredible what trifling consolations the human mind will seize in its greatest afflictions. The assurance of nothing more than a bed to lie on that night, calmed my agonies; and being ashamed to acquaint the mistress of the inn that I had no friends to apply to in town, I proposed to myself to proceed, the very next morning, to an intelligence office, to which I was furnished with written directions on the back of a ballad, Esther had given me. There I counted on getting information of any place that such a country girl as I might be fit for, and where I could get into any sort of being, before my little stock should be consumed; and as to a character, Esther had often repeated to me, that I might depend on her managing me one; nor, however affected I was at her leaving me thus, did I entirely cease to rely on her, as I began to think, good-naturedly, that her procedure was all in course, and that is was only my ignorance of life that had made me take it in the light I at first did. Accordingly, the next morning I dressed myself as clean and as neat as my rustic wardrobe would permit me; and having left my box, with special recommendation, with the landlady, I ventured out by myself, and without any more difficulty than can be supposed of a young country girl, barely fifteen, and to whom every sign or shop was a gazing trap, I got to the wished for intelligence office. It was kept by an elderly woman, who sat at the receipt of custom, with a book before her in great form and order, and several scrolls made out, of directions for places. I made up then to this important personage, without lifting up my eyes or observing any of the people round me, who were attending there on the same errand as myself, and dropping her curtsies nine deep, just made a shift to stammer out my business to her. Madam heard me out, with all the gravity and brow of a petty minister of State, and seeing at one glance over my figure what I was, made me no answer, but to ask me the preliminary shilling, on receipt of which she told me places for women too slight built for hard work: but that she would look over her book, and see what was to be done for me, desiring me to stay a little, till she had dispatched some other customers. On this I drew back a little, most heartily mortified at a declaration which carried with it a killing uncertainly, that my circumstances could not well endure. Presently, assuming more courage, and seeking some diversion from my uneasy thoughts, I ventured to lift up my head a little, and sent my eyes on a course round the room, where they met full tilt with those of a lady (for such my extreme innocence pronounced her) sitting in a corner of the room, dressed in a velvet mantle (in the midst of summer), with her bonnet off; squat, fat, red-faced, and at least fifty. She looked as if she would devour me with her eyes, staring at me from head to foot, without the least regard to the confusion and blushes her eyeing me so fixedly put me to, and which were to her, no doubt, the strongest recommendation and marks of my being fit for her purpose. After a little time, in which my air, person and whole figure had undergone a strict examination, which I had, on my part, tried to render favourable to me, by primming, drawing up my neck, and setting my best looks, she advanced and spoke to me with the greatest demureness: "Sweet-heart, do you want a place? "Yes, and please you," (with a curtsey down to the ground). Upon this she acquainted me she was actually come to the office herself, to look out for a servant; that she believed I might do, with a little of her instruction; that she could take my very looks for a sufficient character; that London was a very wicked, vile, place; that she hoped I would be tractable, and keep out of bad company; in short, she said all to me that an old experienced practitioner in town could think of, and which was much more than was necessary to take in an artless inexperienced country maid, who was even afraid of becoming a wanderer about the streets, and therefore gladly jumped at the first offer of a shelter, especially from so grave and matron-like a lady, for such my flattering fancy assured me this new mistress of mine was, I being actually hired under the nose of the good woman that kept the office, whose shrewed smiles and shrugs I could not help observing, and innocently interpreted them as marks of being pleased at my getting into place so soon: but, as I afterwards came to know, these Beldams understood one another very well, and this was a market where Mrs. Brown, my mistress, frequently attended, on the watch for any fresh goods that might offer there, for the use of her customers, and her own profit. Madam was, however, so well pleased with her bargain that fearing I presume, lest better advice or some accident might occasion my slipping through her fingers, she would officiously take me in a coach to my inn, where, calling herself for my box, it was, I being present, delivered without the least scruple or explanation as to where I was going. This being over, she bid the coachman drive to a shop in St. Paul's Churchyard, where she bought a pair of gloves, which she gave me, and thence renewed her directions to the coachman to drive to her house in ——— street, who accordingly landed us at the door, after I had been cheered up and entertained by the way with the most plausible flams, without one syllable from which I could conclude anything but that I was, by the greatest luck, fallen into the hands of kindest mistress, not to say friend, that the vast world could afford; and accordingly I entered her doors with most complete confidence and exultation, promising, myself that, as soon as I could be a little settled, I would acquaint Esther Davis with my rare good fortune. You may be sure the good opinion of my place was not lessened by the appearance of a very handsome back parlor, into which I was led and which seemed to me magnificently furnished, who had never seen better rooms than the ordinary ones in inns upon the road. There were two gilt pier-glasses, and a buffet, on which a few pieces of plate, set out to the most shew, dazzled, and altogether persuaded me that I must be got into a very reputable family. Here my mistress first began her part, with telling me that I must have good spirits, and learn to be free with her; that she had not taken me to be a common servant, to do domestic drudgery, but to be a kind of companion to her; and that if I would be a good girl, she would do more than twenty mothers for me; to all which I answered only by the profoundest and the awkwardest curtsies, and a few monosyllables, such as "'yes! no! to be sure!" Presently my mistress touched the bell, and in came a strapping maid-servant, who had let us in. "Here, Martha," said Mrs. Brown, "I have just hired this young woman to look after my linen; so step up and show her her chamber; and I charge you to use her with as much respect as you would myself, for I have taken a prodigious liking to her, and I do not know what I shall do for her." Martha, who was an arch-jade, and, being used to this decoy, had her cue perfect, made me a kind of half curtsy, and asked me to walk up with her; and accordingly showed me a neat room, two pair of stairs backwards, in which there was a handsome bed, where Martha told me I was to lie with a young gentlewoman, a cousin of my mistress, who she was sure would be vastly good to me. Then she ran out into such affected encomiums on her good mistress! her sweet mistress! and how happy I was to light upon her! and that I could not have bespoke a better; with other the like gross stuff, such as would itself have started suspicions in any but such an unpractised simpleton, who was perfectly new to life, and who took every word she said in the very sense she laid out for me to take it; but she readily saw what a penetration she had to deal with, and measured me very rightly in her manner of whistling to me, so as to make me pleased with my cage, and blind to the wires. In the midst of these false explanations of the nature of my future service, we were rung for down again, and I was reintroduced into the same parlour, where there was a table laid with three covers; and my mistress had now got with her one of her favourite girls, a notable manager of her house, and whose business it was to prepare and break such young fillies as I was to the mounting block; and she was accordingly, in that view, alloted me for a bed-fellow, and, to give her the more authority, she had the title of cousin conferred on her by the venerable president of this college. Here I underwent a second survey, which ended in the full approbation of Mrs. Phoebe Ayres, the name of my tutoress elect, to whose care and instruction I was affectionately recommended. Dinner was now set on table, and in pursuance of treating me as a companion, Mrs. Brown, with a tone to cut off all dispute, soon over-ruled my most humble and most confused protestations against sitting down with her Ladyship, which my very short breeding just suggested to me could not be right, or in the order of things. At table, the conversation was chiefly kept up by the two madams and carried on in double meaning expressions, interrupted every now and then by kind assurances to me, all tending to confirm and fix my satisfaction with my present condition: augment it they could not, so very a novice was I then. It was here agreed that I should keep myself up and out of sight for a few days, till such clothes could be procured for me as were fit for the character I was to appear in, of my mistress's companion, observing withal, that on the first impressions of my figure much might depend; and, as they rightly judged, the prospect of exchanging my country clothes for London finery, made the clause of confinement digest perfectly well with me. But the truth was, Mrs. Brown did not care that I should be seen or talked to by any, either of her customers, or her Does (as they called the girls provided for them), till she secured a good market for my maidenhead, which I had at least all the appearances of having brought into her Ladyship's service. To slip over minutes of no importance to the main of my story, I pass the interval to bed time, in which I was more and more pleased with the views that opened to me, of an easy service under these good people; and after supper being shewed up to bed, Miss Phoebe, who observed a kind of reluctance in me to strip and go to bed, in my shift, before her, now the maid was withdrawn, came up to me, and beginning with unpinning my handkerchief and gown, soon encouraged me to go on with undressing myself; and, blushing at now seeing myself naked to my shift, I hurried to get under the bed-clothes out of sight. Phoebe laughed and was not long before she placed herself by my side. She was about five and twenty, by her most suspicious account, in which, according to all appearances, she must have sunk at least ten good years; allowance, too, being made for the havoc which a long course of hackneyship and hot waters must have made of her constitution, and which had already brought on, upon the spur, that stale stage in which those of her profession are reduced to think of showing company, instead of seeing it.

My breasts, if it is not too bold a figure to call so two hard, firm, rising hillocks, that just began to shew themselves, or signify anything to the touch, employed and amused her hands awhile, till, slipping down lower, over a smooth track, she could just feel the soft silky down that had but a few months before put forth and garnished the mount-pleasant of those parts, and promised to spread a grateful shelter over the sweet seat of the most exquisite sensation, and which had been, till that instant, the seat of the most insensible innocence. Her fingers played and strove to twine in the young tendrils of that moss, which nature has contrived at once for use and ornament.
But, not contented with these outer posts, she now attempts the main spot, and began to twitch, to insinuate, and at length to force an introduction of a finger into the quick itself, in such a manner, that had she not proceeded by insensible gradations that inflamed me beyond the power of modesty to oppose its resistance to their progress, I should have jumped out of bed and cried for help against such strange assaults.
Instead of which, her lascivious touches had lighted up a new fire that wantoned through all my veins, but fixed with violence in that center appointed them by nature, where the first strange hands were now busied in feeling, squeezing, compressing the lips, then opening them again, with a finger between, till an "Oh!" expressed her hurting me, where the narrowness of the unbroken passage refused it entrance to any depth.
In the meantime, the extension of my limbs, languid stretching, sighs, short heavings, all conspired to as-ure that experienced wanton that I was more pleased than offended at her proceedings, which she seasoned with repeated kisses and exclamations, such as "Oh! what a charming creature thou art! What a happy man will he be that first makes a woman of you! Oh! that I were a man for your sake!" with the like broken expressions, interrupted by kisses as fierce and salacious as ever I received from the other sex.
For my part, I was transported, confused, and out of myself; feelings so new were too much for me. My heated and alarmed senses were in a tumult that robbed me of all liberty of thought; tears of pleasure gushed from my eyes, and somewhat assuaged the fire that raged all over me.
Phoebe, herself, the hackneyed, thorough-bred Phoebe, to whom all modes and devices of pleasure were known and familiar, found, it seems, in this exercise her those arbitrary tastes, for which there is no accounting. Not that she hated men, or did not even prefer them to her own sex; but when she met with such occasions as this was, a satiety of enjoyments in the common road, perhaps, too a great secret bias, inclined her to make the most of pleasure, wherever she could find it, without distinction of sexes. In this view, now well assured that she had, by her touches, sufficiently inflamed me for her purpose, she rolled down the bed clothes gently, and I saw myself stretched naked, my shift being turned up to my neck, whilst I had no power or sense to oppose it. Even my growing blushes expressed more desire than modesty, whilst the candle, left (to be sure not undesignedly) burning, threw a full light on my whole body.
"No!" says Phoebe, "you must not, my sweet girl, think to hide all these treasures from me. My sight must be feasted as my touch. I must devour with my eyes this springing bosom. Suffer me to kiss it. I have not seen it enough. Let me kiss it once more. What firm, smooth, white flesh is here! How delicately shaped! Then this delicious down! Oh! let me view the small, dear, tender cleft! This is too much, I cannot bear it! I must! I must!" Here she took my hand, and in a transport carried it where you will easily guess. But what a difference in the state of the same thing! A spreading thicket of bushy curls marked the full grown, complete woman. Then the cavity to which she guided my hand easily received it; and as soon as she felt it within her, she moved herself to and fro, with so rapid a friction, that I presently withdrew it, wet and clammy, when instantly Phoebe grew more composed, after two or three sighs, and heart-fetched Oh's! and giving me a kiss that seemed to exhale her soul through her lips, she replaced the bed-clothes over us. What pleasure she had found I will not say; but this I know, that the first sparks of kindling nature, the first ideas of pollution, were caught by me that night; and that the acquaintance and communication with the bad of our sex, is often as fatal to innocence as all the seductions of the other. But to go on. When Phoebe was restored to that calm, which I was far from the enjoyment of myself, she artfully sounded me on all the points necessary to govern the designs of my virtuous mistress on me, and by my answers, drawn from pure undissembled nature, she had no reason but to promise herself all imaginable success, so far as it depended on my ignorance, easiness and warmth of constitution.
After a sufficient length of dialogue, my bedfellow left me to my rest, and I fell asleep, through pure weariness, from the violent emotions I had been led into, when nature which had been too warmly stirred and fermented to subside without allaying by some means or other relieved me by one of those luscious dreams, the transports of which are scarce inferior to those of waking real action.
In the morning I awoke about ten, perfectly gay and refreshed. Phoebe was up before me, and asked me in the kindest manner how I did, how I had rested, and if I was ready for breakfast? carefully, at the same time, avoiding to increase the confusion she saw I was in, at looking her in the face, by any hint of the night's bed scene. I told her if she pleased I would get up, and begin any work she would be pleased to set me about. She smiled; presently the maid brought in the tea equipage, and I just huddled my clothes on, when in waddled my mistress. I expected no less than to be told of, if not chid for, my late rising, when I was most agreeably disappointed by her compliments on my pure and fresh looks. I was "a bud of beauty" (this was her style), "and how vastly all the fine men would admire me!" to all which my answers did not, I can assure you, wrong my breeding; they were as simple and silly as they could wish, and, no doubt, flattered them infinitely more than had they proved me enlightened by education and a knowledge of the world.
We breakfasted, and the tea things were scarce removed, when in were brought two bundles of linen and wearing apparel: in short, all the necessaries for rigging me out, as they termed it, completely.
Imagine to yourself, Madam, how my little coquet heart fluttered with joy at the sight of a white lutestring, flowered with silver, scoured indeed, but passed on me for spick and span new, a Brussels lace cap, braited shoes, and the rest in proportion, all second-hand finery, and procured instantly for the occasion, by the diligence and industry of the good Mrs. Brown, who had already a chapman for me in the house, before whom my charms were to pass in review; for he had not only, in course, insisted on a previous sight of the premises, but also on immediate surrendering to him, in case of his agreeing for me; concluding very wisely, that such a place as I was in, was of the hottest to trust the keeping of such a perishable commodity in, as a maidenhead.
The care of dressing and tricking me out for the market, was then left to Phoebe, who acquitted herself, if not well, at least perfectly to the satisfaction of everything but my impatience of seeing myself dressed. When it was over, and I viewed myself in the glass, I was no doubt, too natural, too artless, to hide my childish joy at the change: a change, in the real truth, for much the worse, since I must have much better become the neat easy simplicity of my rustic dress than the awkward, untoward, tawdry finery that I could not conceal my strangeness to.
Phoebe's compliments, however, in which her own share in dressing me was not forgot, did not a little confirm me in the first notions I had ever entertained concerning my person; which, be it said without vanity, was then tolerable to justify a taste for me, and of which it may not be out of place here to sketch you an unflattered picture.
I was tall, yet not too tall for my age, which, as I before remarked, was barely turned of fifteen; my shape perfectly straight, thin waisted, and light and free without owing anything to stays; my hair was a glossy auburn, and as soft as silk, flowing down my neck in natural curls, and did not a little to set off the whiteness of a smooth skin; my face was rather too ruddy, though its features were delicate, and the shape was a roundish oval, except where a pit on my chin had far from a disagreeable effect; my eyes were as black as can be imagined, and rather languishing than sparkling, except on certain occasions, when I have been told they struck fire fast enough; my teeth, which I ever carefully preserved, were small, even and white; my bosom was finely raised, and one might then discern rather the promise than the actual growth of the round, firm breast, that in a little time made that promise good. In short, all the points of beauty that are most universally in request, I had, or at least my vanity forbid me to appeal from the decision of our sovereign judges the men, who all, that I ever knew at last, gave it thus highly in my favour; and I met with, even in my own sex, some that were above denying me that justice, whilst others praised me yet more unsuspectedly, by endeavouring to detract from me, in points of person and figure that I obviously excelled in. This is, I own, too strong of self praise; but I should be ungrateful to nature, and to a form to which I owe such singular blessings of pleasure and fortune, were I to suppress, through an affectation of modesty, the mention of such valuable gifts.
Well then, dressed I was, and little did it then enter into my head that all this gay attire was no more than decking the victim out for sacrifice, whilst I innocently attributed all to mere friendship and kindness in the sweet good Mrs. Brown; who, I was forgetting to mention, had, under pretence of keeping my money safe, got from me, without the least hesitation, the driblet (so I now call it) which remained to me after the expenses of my journey.
After some little time most agreebly spent before the glass, in scarce self-admiration, since my new dress had by much the greatest share in it, I was sent for down to the parlour, where the old lady saluted me, and wished me joy of my new clothes, which she was not ashamed to say, fitted me as if I had worn nothing but the finest all my life-time; but what was it she could not see me silly enough to swallow? At the same time, she presented me to another cousin of her own creation, an elderly gentleman, who got up, at my entry into the room, and on my dropping a curtsy to him, saluted me, and seemed a little affronted that I had only presented my cheek to him: a mistake, which, if one, he immediately corrected, by gluing his lips to mine, with an ardour which his figure had not at all disposed me to thank him for: his figure, I say, than which nothing could be more shocking or detestable: for ugly and disagreeable were terms too gentle to convey a just idea of it.
Imagine to yourself, a man rather past threescore, short and ill-made, with a yellow cadaverous hue, great goggle eyes, that stared as if he was strangled; an out-mouth from two more properly tusks than teeth, livid lips, and breath like a Jake's: then he had a peculiar ghastliness in his grin, that made him perfectly frightful, if not dangerous to women with child; yet, made as he was thus in mock of man, he was so blind to his own staring deformities, as to think himself born to please, and that no woman could see him with impunity: in consequence of which idea, he had lavished great sums on such wretches as could gain upon themselves to pretend love to his person, whilst to those who had not art or patience to dissemble the horror it inspired, he behaved even brutally. Impotence, more than necessity, made him seek in variety, the provocative that was wanting to raise him to the pitch of enjoyment, which he too often saw himself baulked of, by the failure of his powers: and this always threw him into a fit of rage, which he wreaked, as far as he durst, on the innocent objects of his fit of momentary desire.
This then was the master to which my conscientious benefactress, who had long been his purveyor in this way, had doomed me, and sent for me down purposely for his examination. Accordingly she made me stand up before him, turned me round, unpinned my handkerchief, remarked to him the rise and fall, the turn and whiteness of a bosom just beginning to fill; then made me walk, and took even a handle from the rusticity of my charms: in short, she omitted no point of jockeyship; to which he only answered by gracious nods of approbation, whilst he looked goats and monkeys at me: for I sometimes stole a corner glance at him, and encountering his fiery, eager stare, looked another way from pure horror and affright, which he, characteristically, attributed to nothing more than maiden modesty, or at least the affectation of it.
However, I was soon dismissed, and reconducted to my room by Phoebe, who stuck close to me, not leaving me alone, and at leisure to make such reflections as might naturally rise to any one, not an idiot, on such a scene as I had just gone through; but to my shame be it confessed, that just was my invincible stupidity, or rather portentous innocence, that I did not yet open my eyes to Mrs. Brown's designs, and saw nothing in this titular cousin of hers but a shockingly hideous person, which did not at all concern me, unless that my gratitude for my benefactress made me extend my respect to all her cousinhood.
Phoebe, however, began to sift the state and pulses of my heart toward this monster, asking me how I should approve of such a fine gentelman for a husband. (Fine gentleman, I suppose she called him, from his being daubed with lace.) I answered her very naturally, that I had no thoughts of a husband, but that if I was to choose one, it should be among my own degree, sure! so much had my aversion to that wretch's hideous figure indisposed me to all "fine gentlemen," and confounded my ideas, as if those of that rank had been necessarily cast in the same mould that he was. But Phoebe was not to be put off so, but went on with her endeavours to melt and soften me for the purposes of my reception into that hospitable house: and whilst she talked of the sex in general, she had no reason to despair of a compliance, which more than one reason showed her would be easily enough obtained of me; but then she had too much experience not to discover that my particular fixed aversion to that frightful cousin would be a block not so readily to be removed, as suited the consummation of their bargain, and sale of me.
Mother Brown had in the meantime agreed the terms with this loquorice old goat, which I afterwards understood were to be fifty guineas peremptory, for the liberty of attempting me, and a hundred more at the complete gratification of his desires, in the triumph over my virginity: and as for me, I was to be left entirely at the discretion of his liking and generosity. This unrighteous contract being thus settled, he was so eager to be put in possession, that he insisted on being introduced to drink tea with me that afternoon, when we were to be left alone; nor would he hearken to the procuress's remonstrances, that I was not sufficiently prepared, and ripened for such an attack; that I was too green and untamed, having been scarce twenty-four hours in the house: it is the character of lust to be impatient, and his vanity arming him against any supposition of other than the common resistance of a maid on those occasions, made him reject all proposals of a delay, and my dreadful trial was thus fixed, unknown to me, for that very evening.
At dinner, Mrs. Brown and Phoebe did nothing but run riot in praise of this wonderful cousin, and how happy that woman would be that he would favour with his addresses; in short my two gossips exhausted all their rhetoric to persuade me to accept them: "that the gentleman was violently smitten with me at first sight; that he would make my fortune if I would be a good girl and not stand in my own light; that I should trust his honour; that I should be made for ever, and have a chariot to go abroad in," with all such stuff as was fit to turn the head of such a silly ignorant girl as I then was: but luckily here my aversion had taken already such deep root in me, my heart was so strongly defended from him by my senses, that wanting the art to mask my sentiments, I gave them no hopes of their employer succeeding, at least very easily, with me. The glass too marched pretty quick, with a view, I suppose, to make a friend of the warmth of my constitution, in the minutes of the imminent attack.
Thus they kept me pretty long at table, and about six in the evening, after I had retired to my apartment, and the tea board was set, enters my venerable mistress, followed close by that satyr, who came in grinning in a way peculiar to him, and by his odious presence, confirmed me in all the sentiments of detestation which his first appearance had given birth to.
He sat down fronting me, and all tea time kept ogling me in a manner that gave me the utmost pain and confusion, all the mark of which he still explained to be my bashfulness, and not being used to see company.
Tea over, the commoding old lady pleady urgent business (which indeed was true) to go out, and earnestly desired me to entertain her cousin kindly till she came back, both for my own sake and her; and then, with a "Pray, sir, be very good, be very tender to the sweet child," she went out of the room, leaving me staring, with my mouth open, and unprepared by the suddenness of her departure, to oppose it.
We were now alone; and on that idea a sudden fit of trembling seized me. I was so afraid, without a precise notion of why, and what I had to fear, that I sat on the settee, by the fire side, motionless and petrified, without life or spirit, not knowing how to look or how to stir.
But long I was not suffered to remain in this state of stupefaction: the monster squatted down by me on the settee, and without farther ceremony or preamble, flings his arms about my neck, and drawing me pretty forcibly towards him, obliged me to receive, in spite of my struggles to disengage from him, his pestilential kisses, which quite overcame me. Finding me then next to senseless, and unresisting, he tears off my neck handkerchief, and laid all open there, to his eyes and hands: still I endured all without flinching, till emboldened by my sufferance and silence, for I had not the power to speak or cry out, he attempted to lay me down on the settee, and I felt his hand on the lower part of my naked thighs, which were crossed, and which he endeavoured to unlock. Oh then! I was roused out of my passive endurance, and springing from him with an activity he was not prepared for, threw myself at his feet, and begged him, in the most moving tone, not to be rude, and that he would not hurt me. "Hurt you, my dear?" says the brute, "I intend you no harm. Has not the old lady told you that I love you? that I shall do handsomely by you?"
"She has indeed, sir," said I, "but I cannot love you, indeed I cannot! pray let me alone! yes! I will love you dearly if you will let me alone and go away." But I was talking to the wind, for whether my tears, my attitude, or the disorder of my dress proved fresh incentives, or whether he was now under the dominion of desires he could not bridle, but snorting and foaming with lust and rage, he renews his attack, seizes me, and again attempts to extend and fix me on the settee: in which he succeeded so far as to lay me along, and even to toss my petticoats over my head, and lay my thighs bare, which I obstinately kept close, nor could he, though he attempted with his knee to force them open, effect it so as to stand fair for being master of the main avenue; he was unbuttoned, both waistcoat and breeches, yet I only felt the weight of his body upon me, whilst I lay struggling with indignation, and dying with terrors; but he stopped all of a sudden, and got off, panting, blowing, cursing, and repeating "old and ugly!" for so I had very naturally called him in the heat of my defence.
The brute had, it seems, as I afterwards understood, brought on, by his eagerness and struggle, the ultimate period of his hot fit of lust, which his power was too short-lived to carry him through the full execution of; of which my thighs and linen received the effusion.
When it was over he bid me, with a tone of displeasure, get up: "that he would not do me the honour to think of me any more; that the old b——h might look out for another cully; that he would not be fooled so by ever a country mock modesty in England; that he supposed I had left my maidenhead with some hobnail in the country, and was come to dispose of my skim-milk in town" with a volley of the like abuse; which I listened to with more pleasure than ever fond woman did to protestations of love from her darling minion: for, incapable as I was of receiving any addition to my perfect hatred and aversion to him, I looked on this railing, as my security against his renewing his most odious caress.
Yet, plain as Mrs. Brown's views were now come out, I had not the heart, or spirit to open my eyes to them: still I could not part with my dependence on that beldam, so much did I think myself hers, soul and body: or rather, I sought to deceive myself with the continuation of my good opinion of her, and choose to wait the worst at her hands, sooner than be turned out to starve in the streets, without a penny of money or a friend to apply to these fears were my folly.
While this confusion of ideas was passing in my head, and I sat pensively by the fire, with my eyes brimming with tears, my neck still bare, and my cap fallen off in the struggle, so that my hair was in the disorder you may guess, the villain's lust began, I suppose, to be again in flow, at the sight of all that bloom of youth which presented itself to his view, a bloom yet unenjoyed, and of course not yet indifferent to him.
After some pause, he asked me with a tone of voice mightily softer, whether I would make it up with him before the old lady returned, and all should be well; he would restore me to his affections, at the same time offering to kiss me and feel my breasts. But now my extreme aversion, my fears, my indignation, all acting upon me, gave me a spirit not natural to me, so that breaking loose from him, I ran to the bell and rang it, with such violence and effect as to bring up the maid to know what was the matter, or whether the gentleman wanted anything; and before he could proceed to greater extremities, she bounced into the room, and seeing me stretched on the floor, my hair all dishevelled, my nose gushing out blood, which did not a little tragedize the scene, and my odious persecutor still intent of pushing his brutal point, unmoved by all my cries and distress, she was herself confounded and did not know what to do.
As much, however, as Martha might be prepared and hardened to transactions of this sort, all womanhood must have been out of her heart could she have seen this unmoved. Besides that, on the face of things, she imagined that matters had gone greater lengths than they really had, and that the courtesy of the house had been actually consummated on me, and flung: me into the condition I was in: in this notion she instantly took my part, and advised the gentleman to go down and leave me to recover myself, and "that all would be soon over with me; that when Mrs. Brown and Phoebe, who were gone out, were returned, they would take order for everything to his satisfaction; that nothing would be lost by a little patience with the poor tender thing; that for her part she was frightened; she could not tell what to say to such doings; but that she would stay by me till my mistress came home." As the wench said all this in a resolute tone, and the monster himself began to perceive that things would not mend by his staying, he took his hat and went out of the room murmuring and pitting his brows like an old ape, so that I was delivered from the horrors of his detestable presence.
As soon as he was gone, Martha very tenderly offered me her assistance in anything, and would have got me some hartshorn drops and put me to bed; which last I, at first, positively refused, in the fear that the monster might return and take me at that disadvantage. However, with much persuasion and assurances that I should not be molested that night she prevailed on me to lie down; and indeed I was so weakened by my struggles, so dejected by my fearful apprehension, so terror-struck, that I had not power to sit up, or hardly to give answers to the questions with which the curious Martha plied and perplexed me.
Such too, and so cruel was my fate, that I dreaded the sight of Mrs. Brown, as if I had been the criminal, and she the person injured; a mistake which you will not think so strange, on distinguishing that neither virtue nor principles had the least share in the defence I had made, but only the particular aversion I had conceived against this first brutal and frightful invader of my tender innocence.
I passed then the time till Mrs. Brown came home, under all the agitations of fear and despair that may easily be guessed.
About eleven at night my two ladies came home, and having received rather a favourable account from Martha, who had run down to let them in, for Mr. Crofts (that was the name of my brute) was gone out of the house, after waiting till he had tired his patience for Mrs. Brown's return, they came thundering up stairs, and seeing me pale, my face bloody, and all the marks of the most thorough dejection, they employed themselves more to comfort and re-inspirit me than in making me the reproaches I was weak enough to fear, I who had so many juster and stronger to retort upon them.
Mrs. Brown withdrawn, Phoebe came presently to bed to me, and what with the answers she drew from me, what with her own method of palpably satisfying herself, she soon discovered that I had been more frightened than hurt; upon which I suppose, being herself seized with sleep, and reserving her lectures and instructions till the next morning, she left me, properly speaking, to my unrest; for, later tossing and turning the greatest part of the night, and tormenting myself with the falsest notions and apprehensions of things, I fell, through mere fatigue into a kind of delirious doze, out of which I waked late in the morning, in a violent fever: a circumstance which was extremely critical to reprieve me, at least for a time, from the attacks of a wretch, infinitely more terrible to me than death itself.
The interested care that was taken of me during my illness, in order to restore me to a condition of making good the bawd's engagements, or of enduring further trials, had, however, such an effect on my grateful disposition that I even thought myself obliged to my un-doers for their attention to promote my recovery; and, above all, for the keeping out of my sight of that brutal ravisher, the author of my disorder, on their finding I was too strongly moved at the bare mention of his name.
Youth is soon raised, and a few days were sufficient to conquer the fury of my fever: but, what contributed most to my perfect recovery and to my reconciliation with life, was the timely news that Mr. Crofts, who was a merchant of considerable dealings, was arrested at the King's suit, for nearly forty thousand pounds, on account of his driving a certain contraband trade, and that his affairs were so desperate, that even were it in his inclination, it would not be in his power to renew his designs upon me: for he was instantly thrown into a prison, which it was not likely he would get out of in haste.
Mrs. Brown, who had touched his fifty guineas, advanced to so little purpose, and lost all hopes of the remaining hundred, began to look upon my treatment of him with a more favourable eye; and as they had observed my temper to be perfectly tractable and conformable to their views, all the girls that composed her flock were suffered to visit me, and had their cue to dispose me, by their conversation, to a perfect resignation of myself to Mrs. Brown's direction.
Accordingly they were let in upon me, and all that frolic and thoughtless gaiety in which those giddy creatures consume either leisure, made me envy a condition of which I only saw the fair side; insomuch, that the being one of them became even my ambition: a disposition which they all carefully cultivated; and I wanted now nothing but to restore my health, that I might be able to undergo the ceremony of the initiation.
Conversation, example, in short all, contributed, in that house, to corrupt my native parity, which had taken no root in education; whilst now the inflammable principal of pleasure, so easily fired at my age, made strange work within me, and all the modesty I was brought up in the habit, not the instruction of, began to melt away like dew before the sun's heat; not to mention that I made a vice of necessity, from the constant fears I had of being turned out to starve.
I was soon pretty well recovered, and at certain hours allowed to range all over the house, but cautiously kept from seeing any company till the arrival of Lord B——, from Bath, to whom Mrs. Brown, in respect to his experienced generosity on such occasions, proposed to offer the perusal of that trinket of mine, which bears so great an imaginary value; and his lordship being expected in town in less than a fortnight, Mrs. Brown judged I would be entirely renewed in beauty and freshness by that time, and afforded her the chance of a better bargain than she had driven with Mr. Crofts.
In the meantime, I was so thoroughly, as they call it, brought over, so tame to their whistle, that, had my cage door been set open, I had no idea that I ought to fly anywhere, sooner than stay where I was; nor had I the least sense of regretting my condition, but waited very quietly for whatever Mrs. Brown should order concerning me; who on her side, by herself and her agents, took more than the necessary precautions to lull and lay asleep all just reflections on my destiny.
Preachments of morality over the left shoulder; a life of joy painted in the gayest colours; caresses, promises, indulgent treatment; nothing, in short, was wanting to domesticate me entirely and to prevent my going out anywhere to get better advice. Alas! I dreamed of no such thing.
Hitherto I had been indebted only to the girls of the house for the corruption of my innocence: their luscious talk, in which modesty was far from respected, their description of their engagements with men, had given me a tolerable insight into the nature and mysteries of their profession, at the same time that they highly provoked an itch of florid warm-spirited blood through every vein: but above all, my bed fellow Phoebe, whose pupil I more immediately was, exerted her talents in giving me the first tinctures of pleasure: whilst nature, now warmed and wantoned with discoveries so interesting, piqued a curiosity which Phoebe artfully whetted, and leading me from question to question of her own suggestion, explained to me all the mysteries of Venus. But I could not long remain in such a house as that, without being an eye-witness of more than I could conceive from her descriptions.
One day, about twelve at noon, being thoroughly recovered of my fever, I happened to be in Mrs. Brown's dark closet, where I had not been half an hour, resting upon the maid's bed, before I heard a rustling in the bed-chamber, separated from the closet only by two sash doors, before the glasses of which were drawn two yellow damask curtains, but not so close as to exclude the full view of the room from any person in the closet.
I instantly crept softly and posted myself so, that seeing everything minutely, I could not myself be seen; and who should come in but the venerable mother Abbess herself! handed in by a tall, brawny young Horse-grenadiers, moulded in the Hercules style: in fine, the choice of the most experienced dame, in those affairs, in all London.
Oh! how still and hush did I keep at my stand, lest any noise should baulk my curiosity, or bring Madam into the closet!
But I had not much reason to fear either, for she was entirely taken up with her present great concern, that she had no sense of attention to spare to anything else.
Droll was it to see that clumsy fat figure of her's flop down on the foot of the bed, opposite to the closet door so that I had a full front view of all her charms.
Her paramour sat down by her: he seemed to be a man of very few words, and a great stomach; for proceeding instantly to essentials, he gave her some hearty smacks, and thrusting his hands into her breasts, disengaged them from her stays, in scorn of whose confinement they broke loose, and sagged down, navel-low at least. A more enormous pair did my eyes never behold, nor of a worse colour, flagging, soft, and most lovingly contiguous: yet such as they were, this great beef-eater seemed to paw them with a most unenviable lust, seeking in vain to confine or cover one of them with a hand scarce less than a shoulder of mutton. After toying with them thus some time, as if they had been worth it, he laid her down pretty briskly, and canting up her petticoats, made barely a mask of them to her broad red face, that blushed with nothing but brandy.
As he stood on one side, unbuttoning his waistcoat and breeches, her fat brawny thighs hung down, and the whole greasy landscape lay fairly open to my view; a wide open mouthed gap, overshaded with a grizzly bush, seemed held out like a beggar's wallet for its provision.
But I soon had my eyes called off by a more striking object that entirely engrossed them.
Her sturdy stallion had now unbuttoned, and produced naked, stiff and erect, that wonderful machine, which I had never seen before, and which, for the interest my own seat of pleasure began to take furiously in it, I stared at with all the eyes I had: however, my senses were too much flurried, too much concentered in that now burning spot of mine, to observe anything more than in general the make and turn of that instrument; from which the instinct of nature, yet more than all I had heard of it, now strongly informed me, I was to expect that supreme pleasure which she had placed in the meeting of those parts so admirably fitted for each other.
Long, however, the young spark did not remain before giving it two or three shakes, by way of brandishing it, he threw himself upon her, and his back being now towards me, I could only take his being ingulphed for granted, by the directions he moved in, and the impossibility of missing so staring a mark; and now the bed shook, the curtains rattled so that I could scarce hear the sighs and murmurs, the heaves and pantings that accompanied the action, from the beginning to the end; the sound and sight of which thrilled to the very soul of me, and made every vein of my body circulate liquid fires: the emotion grew so viol-lent that it almost intercepted my respiration.
Prepared then, and disposed as I was by the discourse of my companions, and Phoebe's minute detail of everything, no wonder that such a sight gave the last dying blow to my native innocence.
Whilst they were in the heat of the action, guided by nature only, I stole my hand up my petticoats, and with fingers on fire, seized and yet more inflamed that center of all my senses: my heart palpitated, as if it would force its way through my bosom: I breathed with pain; I twisted my thighs, squeezed and compressed the lips of that virgin slit, and following mechanically the example of Phoebe's manual operation on it, as far as I could find admission, brought on at last the critical ecstasy, the melting flow, into which nature, spent with excess of pleasure, dissolves and dies away.
After which, my senses recovered coolness enough to observe the rest of the transaction between this happy pair.
The young fellow had just dismounted, when the old lady immediately sprung up, with all the vigour of youth, derived, no doubt, from her late refreshment; and making him sit down, began in her turn to kiss him, to pat and pinch his cheeks, and play with his hair: all which he received with an air of indifference and coolness that showed him to be much altered from what he was when he first went on to the breach.
My pious governess, however, not being above calling in auxiliaries, unlocks a little case of cordials that stood near the bed, and made him pledge her in a very plentiful dram: after which, and a little amorous parley, Madam set herself down upon the same place, at the bed's foot; and the young fellow standing sidewise by her, she, with the greatest effrontery imaginable, unbuttons his breeches, and removing his shirt, draws out his affair, so shrunk and diminished, that I could not but remember the difference, now crest-fallen, or just faintly lifting its head: but our experience matron very soon, by chaffing it with her hands, brought it to swell to that size and erection I had before seen it up to.
I admired then, upon a fresh account, and with a nicer survey, the texture of that capital part of man: the flaming red head as it stood uncapt, the whiteness of the shaft, and the shrub growth of curling hair that embrowned the foots of it, the roundish bag that dangled down from it, all exacted my eager attention, and renewed my flame. But, as the main affair was now at the point the industrious dame had laboured to bring it to, she was not in the humour to put off the payment of her pains, but laying herself down, drew him gently upon her, and thus they finished, in the same manner as before, the old last act.
This over, they both went out lovingly together, the old lady having first made him a present, as near as I could observe, of three or four pieces; he being not only her particular favourite on account of his performances, but a retainer to the house; from whose sight she had taken great care hitherto to secret me, lest he might not have had patience to wait for my lord's arrival, but have insisted on being his taster, which the old lady was under too much subjection to him to dare dispute with him; for every girl of the house fell to him in course, and the old lady only now and then got her turn, in consideration of the maintenance he had, and which he could scarce be accused of not earning from her.
As soon as I heard them go down-stairs, I stole up softly to my own room, out of which I had luckily not been missed; there I began to breathe more free, and to give a loose to those warm emotions which the sight of such an encounter had raised in me, I laid me down on the bed, stretched myself out, joining and ardently wishing, and requiring any means to divert or allay the rekindled rage and tumult of my desires, which all pointed strongly to their pole: man. I felt about the bed as if I sought for something that I grasped in my waking dream, and not finding it, could have cried for vexation; every part of me plowing with simulated fires. At length, I resorted to the only present remedy, that of vain attempts at digitation, where the small-ness of the theatre did not yet afford room enough for action, and where the pain my fingers gave me, in striving for admission, though they procured me a slight satisfaction for the present, started an apprehension which I could not be easy till I had communicated to Phoebe and received her explanations upon it.
The opportunity, however, did not offer till next morning, for Phoebe did not come to bed till long after I was gone to sleep. As soon then as we were both awake, it was but in course to bring our ly-a-bed chat to hand, on the subject of my uneasiness: to which a recital of the love scene I had thus, by chance, been spectatress of, served for a preface.
Phoebe could not hear it to the end without more than one interruption by peals of laughter, and my ingenuous way of relating matters did not a little heighten the joke to her.
But, on her sounding me how the sight had affected me, without mincing or hiding the pleasurable emotions it had inspired me with, I told her at the same time that one remark had perplexed me, and that very considerably. "Aye!" says she, "what was that?" "Why," replied I, "having very curiously and attentively compared the size of that enormous machine, which did not appear, at least to my fearful imagination, less than my wrist, and at least three of my hand-fuls long, to that of the tender small part of me which was framed to receive it, I could not conceive its being possible to afford it entrance without dying, perhaps in the greatest pain, since she well knew that even a finger thrust in there hurt me beyond bearing. As to my mistress's and yours, I can very plainly distinguish the different dimensions of them from mine, palpable to the touch, and visible to the eye; so that, in short, great as the promised pleasure may be, I am afraid of the pain of the experiment."
Phoebe at this redoubled her laugh, and whilst I expected a very serious solution of my doubts and apprehensions in this matter, only told me that "she never heard of a mortal wound being given in those parts, by that terrible weapon, and that some she knew younger, and as delicately made as myself, had outlived the operation; that she believed, at the worst, I should take a great deal of liking; that true it was, there was a great diversity of sizes in those parts, owing to nature, child-bearing, frequent over-stretching with unmerciful machines, but that at a certain age and habit of body, even the most experienced in those affairs could not well distinguish between the maid and the woman, supposing too an absence of all artifice, in their natural situation: but that since chance had thrown in my way one sight of that sort, she would procure me another, that should feast my eyes more delicately, and go a great way in the cure of my fears from that imaginary disproportion".
On this she asked me if I knew Polly Phillips? "Undoubterly," says I, "the fair girl which was so tender of me when I was sick, and has been, as you told me, but two months in the house." "The same," says Phoebe. "You must know then, she is kept by a young Genoes merchant, whom his uncle, who is immensely rich, and whose darling he is, on a pretex of settling some accounts, but in reality to humour his inclinations for travelling, and seeing the world. He met casually with this Polly once in company, and taking a likning to her, makes it worth her while to keep entirely to him. He comes to her here twice or thrice a week, and she receives him in the light closet up one pair of stairs, where he enjoys her in a taste, I suppose, peculiar to the heat, or perhaps the caprices of his own country, I say no more, but to-morrow being his day, you shall see what passes between them, from a place only known to your mistress and myself."
You may be sure, in the ply I was now taking, I had no objection to the proposal, and was rather a tip-toe for its accomplishments.
At five in the evening next day, Phoebe, punctual to her promise, came to me as I sat alone in my own room, and beckoned me to follow her.
We went down the back stairs very softly, and opening the door of a dark closet, where there was some old furniture kept, and some cases of liquor, she drew me in after her, and fastened the door upon us, we had no light but what came through a long crevice in the partition between ours and the light closet, where the scene of action lay; so that sitting on those low cases, we could, with the greatest ease, as well as clearness, see all objects (ourselves unseen), only by applying our eyes close to the crevice, where the moulding of a panel had warped, or started a little on the other side.
The young gentleman was the first person I saw, with his back directly towards me, looking at a print. Polly was not yet come: in less than a minute though, the door opened, and she came in; and at the noise the door made he turned about, and come to meet her, with an air of the greatest tenderness and satisfaction.
After saluting her, he led her to a coach that fronted us, where they both sat down, and the young Genoes helped her to a glass of wine, with some Naples biscuits on a salver.
Presently, when they had exchanged a few kisses, and questions in broken English on one side, he began to unbutton, and, in fine, stript unto his shirt.
As if this had been the signal agreed on for pulling off all their clothes, a scheme which the heat of the season perfectly favoured, Polly began to draw her pins, and as she had no stays to unlace, she was in a trice, with her gallant's officious assistance, undressed to all but her shift.
When he saw this, his breeches were immediately loosened, waist and knee bands, and slipped over his ankles, clean off; his shirt collar was unbottoned too: then, first giving Polly an encouraging kiss, he stole, as it were, the shift off the girl, who being, I suppose, broke and familiarized to this humour, blushed indeed, but less than I did at the apparition of her, now standing stark naked, just as she came ont of the hands of pure nature, with her black hair loose and a-float down her dazzling white neck and shoulders, whilst the deepened carnation of her cheeks went off gradually into the hue of glazed snow: for such were the blended tints polish of her skin.
This girl could not be above eighteen: her face regular and sweet featured, her shape exquisite; nor could I help envying her two ripe enchanting breasts, finely plumped out in flesh, but withal so round, so firm, that they sustained themselves, in scorn of any stay: then their nipples, pointing different ways, marked their pleasing separation; beneath them lay the delicious tract of the belly, which terminated in a parting of rift scarce discerning, that modesty seemed to retire downward, and seek shelter between two plump fleshy thighs: the curling hair that overspread its delightful front, clothed it with the richest sable fur in the universe: in short, she was evidently a subject for the painters to court her, sitting to them for a pattern female beauty, in all the true pride and pomp of nakedness.
The young Italian (still in his shirt) stood gazing and transported at the sight of beauties that might have fired a dying hermit; his eager eyes devoured her, as she shifted attitudes at his discretion: neither were his hands excluded their share of the high feast, but wandered, on the hunt of pleasure, over every part and inch of her body, so qualified to afford the most exquisite sense of it.
In the mean time time, one could not help observing the swell of his shirt before, that bolstered out, and pointed out the condition of things behind the curtain: but he soon removed it, by slipping his shirt over his head; and now, as to nakedness, they had nothing to reproach one another.
The young gentleman, by Phoebe's guess, was about two and twenty; tall and well limbed. His body was finely formed, and of a most vigorous make, square shouldered, and broad chested: his face was not remarkable any way, but for a nose inclining to the Roman, eyes large, black, and sparkling, and a ruddiness in his cheeks that was the more a grace; for his complexion was of the brownest, not of that dusky dun colour which excludes, the idea of freshness, but of that clear, olive gloss, which glowing with life, dazzles perhaps less than fairness, and yet pleases more, when it pleases at all. His hair being too short to tie fell no lower than his neck, in short easy curls; and he had a few sprigs about his paps, that garnished his chest in a style of strength and manliness. Then his grand movement, which seemed to rise out of a thicket of curling hair, that spread from the root all over his thighs and belly up to the navel, stood stiff and upright, but of a size to frighten me, by sympathy for the small tender part which was the object of its fury, and which now lay exposed to my fairest view; for he had, immediately on stoppings off his shirt, gently pushed her down on the couch, which stood conveniently to break her willing fall. Her thighs were spread out to their utmost extention, and discovered between them the mark of the sex, the red-centered cleft of flesh, whose lips vermillioning inwards, expressed a small ruby line in sweet miniature, such as Guide's touch or colouring: could never attain to the life or delicacy of.
Phoebe, at this, gave me a gentle jog, to prepare me for a whisper question: "Whether I thought my little maiden-head was much less?" But my attention was too much engrossed, too much inwrapped with all I saw, to be able to give her any answer.
By this time the young gentelman had changed her posture from lying breadth to length-wise on the coach: but her thighs were still spread, and the mark lay fair for him, who now kneeling between them, displayed to us a side view of that fierce erect machine of his, which threatened no less than splitting the tender victim, who lay smiling at the uplifted stroke, nor seemed to decline it. He looked upon his weapon himself with some pleasure, and guiding it with his hand to the inviting; slit, drew aside the lips, and lodged it (after some thrusts, which Polly seemed even to assist) about half way; but there it stuck, I suppose from its growing thickness: he draws it again, and just wetting it with spittle, re-enters, and with ease sheathed it now up to the hilt, at which Polly gave a deep sigh, which was quite another tone than one of pain; he thrusts, she heaves, at first gently, and in a regular cadence; but presently the transport began to be too violent to observe any order or measure; their motions were too rapid, their kisses too fierce' and fervent for nature to support such fury long: both seemed to me out of themselves: their eyes darted fires: "Oh! oh! I can't bear it. It is too much. I die. I am going," were Polly's expressions of extasy: his joys were more silent: but soon broken murmurs, sighs heart-fetched, and at length a dispatching thrust, as if he would have forced himself up her body, and then the motionless languor of all his limbs, all shewed that the die-away moment was come upon him; which she gave signs of joining with by, the wild throwing of her hands about, closing her eyes, and giving a deep sob, in which she seemed to expire in an agony of bliss.
When he had finished his stroke, and got from off her, she lay still without the least motion, breathless, as it should seem, with pleasure. He replaced her again breadth-wise on the couch, unable to sit up, with her thighs open, between which I could observe a kind of white liquid, like froth, hanging about the outward lips of that recently opened wound, which now glowed with a deeper red. Presently she gets up, and throwing her arms round him, seemed far undelighted with the trial he had put her to, to judge, at least by the fondness with which she eyed, and hung upon him.
For my part, I will not pretend to describe what I felt over me during this scene; but from that instant, adieu all fears of what man can do unto me! they were now changed into such ardent desires, such ungovernable longings, that I could have by the sleeve, and offered him the bauble, which I now imagined the loss of would be a gain I could not too soon procure myself.
Phoebe, who had more experience, and to whom such sights were not so new, could not however, be unmoved at so warm a scene; and drawing me away softly from the peeping hole, for fear of being overheard, guided me as the door as possible, all passive and obedient to her least signals.
Here was no room either to sit or lie, but making me stand with my back towards the door, she lifted up my petticoats, and with her busy fingers fell to visit and explore that part of me, where I was perfectly sick and ready to die with desire; that the bare touch of her finger, in that critical place, had the effect of a fire to a train, and her hand instantly made her sensible to what a pitch I was wound up, and melted by the sight she had thus procured me. Satisfied then with her success, in allaying a heat that would have made me impatient of seeing the continuation of the transactions between our amourous couple, she brought me again to the crevice, so favourable to our curiosity.
We had certainly been but a few instants away from it, and yet on our return we saw everything in good forwardness for recommencing the tender hostilities.
The young foreigner was sitting down, fronting us, on the coach, with Polly upon one knee, who had her arms round his neck, whilst the extreme whiteness of her skin was not undelightfully contrasted by the smooth glossy brown of her lover's.
But who could count the fierce, unnumbered kisses given and taken? In which I could often discover their mouths were double tongued, and seemed to favour the mutual insertion with the greatest gust and delight.
In the meantime, his red-headed champion, that had so lately fled the pit, quelled and abashed, was now recovered to the top of his condition, perked and crested up between Polly's thighs, who was not wanting, on her part, to coax and keep it in good humour, stroking it, with her head down, and receiving even its velvet tip between the lips of not its proper mouth: whether it was to render it more glib and easy of entrance, I could not tell; but it had such an effect, that the young gentleman seemed by his eyes, that sparkled with more excited lustre, and his inflamed countenance, to receive increase of pleasure. He got up, and taking Polly in his arms, embraced her, and said something too softly for me to hear, leading her withal to the foot of the couch, and taking delight to slap her thighs and posteriors with that stiff sinew of his, which hit them with a spring that he gave it with his hand, and made them resound again, but her about as much as he meant to hurt her, for she seemed to have as frolic a taste as himself.
But guess my surprise, when I saw the lazy young rogue lie down on his back, and gently pull down Polly upon him, who giving way to his humour, stradled, and with her hands conducted her blind favourite to the right place; and following her impulse, ran directly upon the flaming point of this weapon of pleasure, which she staked herself upon, up pierced, and infixed to the extremest hair breadth of it: thus she sat on him a few instants, enjoying and relishing her situation, whilst he toyed with her provoking breasts. Sometimes she would stoop to meet his kiss: but presently the sting of pleasure spurred them up to fiercer action; then began the storm of heaves, which, from the undermost combatant, were thrust at the same time, he crossing his hands over her, and drawing her home to him with a sweet violence: the inverted strokes of anvil over hammer soon brought on the critical period, in which all the signs of a close conspiring extasy informed us of the point they were at.
For me, I could bear to see no more; I was so overcome, so inflamed at the second part of the same play, that, mad to an intolerable degree, I hugged, I clasped Phoebe, as if she had wherewithal to relieve me. Pleased however with, and pitying the taking she could feel me in, she drew towards the door, and opening it softly as she could, we both got off undiscovered, and reconducted me to my own room, where, unable to keep my legs, in the agitation I was in, I instantly threw myself down on the bed, where I lay transported, though ashamed at what I felt.
Phoebe lay down by me, and asked me archly, "if, now that I had seen the enemy, and fully considered him, I was still afraid of him? or did I think I could come to a close engagement with him?" To all which, not a word on my side; I sighed, and could scarcely breathe. She takes hold of my hand, and having rolled up her own petticoats, forced it half strivingly, towards those parts, where, now grown more knowing, I missed the main object of my wishes; and finding not even the shadow of what I wanted, where every thing was so fiat, or so hollow, in the vexation I was in at it. I should have withdrawn my hand, but for fear of disobliging her. Abandoning it then entirely to her management, she made use of it as she thought proper, to procure herself rather the shadow than the substance of any pleasure. For my part, I now pined for more solid food, and promised tacitly to myself that I would not be put off much longer with this foolery of woman to woman, of Mrs. Brown did not soon provide me with the essential specific. In short, I had all the air of not being able to wait the arrival of my lord B——, though he was now expected in a very fews days: nor did I wait for him, for love itself took charge of the disposal of me, in spite of interest, or gross lust.
It was now two days after the closet scene, that I got up about six in the morning, and leaving my bedfellow fast asleep, stole down, with no other thought than of taking a little fresh air in a small garden, which our back parlour opened into, and from which my confinement debarred me, at the times company came to my house; but now sleep and silence reigned all over it.
I opened the parlour door, and well surprised was I at seeing, by the side of a fire half-out, a young gentleman in the old lady's elbow chair, with his legs laid upon another, fast asleep, and left there by his thoughtless companions, who had drank him down, and then went off with every one but his mistress, whilst he stayed behind by the courtesy of the old matron, who would not disturb or turn him out in that condition at one in the morning; and beds, it is more than probable there were none to spare. On the table still remained the punch bowl and glasses, stewed about in their usual disorder after a drunken revel.
But when I drew nearer, to view the sleeping estray, heavens! what a sight! No! term of years, no turn of fortune could ever eraze the lightninglike impression his form made on me. Yes! dearest object of my earliest passion, I command for ever the remembrance of thy first appearance to my ravished eyes, it calls thee up, present; and I see thee now.
Figure to yourself, Madam, fair stripling between eighteen and nineteen, with his head reclined on one of the sides of the chair, his hair disordered curls, irregularly shading a face, on which all the roseate bloom of youth and all the manly graces conspired to fix my eye sand heart; even the languour and paleness of his face, in which the momentary triumph of the lily over the rose was owing to the excesses of the night, gave an inexpressible sweetness to the finest features imaginable: his eyes, closed in sleep, displayed the meeting edges of their lids beautifully bordered with long eye-lashes; over which no pencil could have described two more regular arches than those that graced his forehead, which was high, perfectly white and smooth; then a pair of vermilion lips, pouting and swelling to the touch, as if a bee had freshly stung them, seemed to challenge me to get the gloves off this lovely sleeper, had not the modesty and respect, which in both sexes are inseparable from a true passion, checked my impulses.
But on seeing his shirt collar unbottoned, and bosom whiter than a drift of snow, the pleasure of considering it could not bribe me to lengthen it, at the hazard of a health that began to be my life's concern. Love, that made me timid, taught me to be tender too: with a trembling hand I took hold of one of his, and waking him as gently as possible, he started, and looking, at first a little wildly, said with a voice that sent its harmonious sound to my heart: "Pray, child, what-a-clock is it?" I told him, and added that he might catch cold if he slept longer with his breast open in the cool of the morning air. On this he thanked me with a sweetness perfectly agreeing with that of his features and eyes; the last now broad open, and eagerly surveying me, carried the surightly fires they sparkled with directly to my heart.
It seems, that having drank too freely before he came upon the rake with some of his young companions, he had put himself out of a condition to go through all the weapons with them, and crown the night with a getting a mistress; so that seeing me in a loose undress, he did not doubt but I was one of the misses of the house, sent in to repair his loss of time; but though he seized that notion, and a very obvious one it was, without hesitation, yet, whether my figure made a more than ordinary impression on him, or whether it was his natural politeness, he addressed me in a manner far from rude, though still on the foot of one of the house pliers come to amuse him; and giving me the first kiss that I ever relished from man in my life, asked me if I could favour him with my company, assuring me that he would make it worth my while: but had not even new-born love, that true refiner of lust, opposed so sudden a surrender, the fear of being surprised by the house was a sufficient bar to my compliance.
I told him then, in a tone set by love itself, that for reasons I had not time to explain to him. I could not stay with him, and might even ever see him again, with a sigh at these words, which broke from the bottom of my heart. My conqueror, who, as he afterwards told me, had been struck with my appearance, and liked me as much as he could think of liking any one in my supposed way of life, asked me briskly at once, if I would be kept by him, and that he would take a lodging for me directly, and relieve me from any engagements he presumed I might be under to the house.
Rash, sudden, undigested, even dangerous as this offer might be from a perfect stranger, and that stranger a giddy boy, the prodigious love I was struck with for him, had put a charm into every objection: I not resisting, and blinded me to every objection; I could, at that instant, have died for him: think if I could resist an invitation to live with him! Thus my heart, beating strong to the proposal, dictated my answer, after scarce a minute's pause, that I would accept of his offer, and make my escape to him in what way he pleased, and that I would be entirely at his disposal, let it be good or bad. I have often since wondered that so great an easiness did not disgust him, or make me too cheap in his eyes, but my fate had so appointed it, that in his fears of the hazzard of the town, he had been some time looking out for a girl to take into keeping, and my person happening to hit his fancy, it was by one of those miracles reserved to love, that we struck the bargain in the instant, which we sealed by an exchange of kisses, that the hopes of a more uninterrupted enjoyment engaged him to content himself with.
Never, however, did dear youth carry in his head more wherewith to justify the turning of a girl's head, and making her set all consequences at defiance, for the sake of following a gallant.
For, besides all the perfections of manly beauty which were assembled in his form, he had an air of neatness and gentility, certain smartness in the carriage and port of his head, that yet more distinguished him; his eyes were sprightly and full of meaning; his looks had in them something at once sweet and commanding; his complexion out-bloomed the lovely coloured rose, whilst its inimitable tender vivid glow clearly saved it from the reproach of wanting life, of raw and dough-like, which is commonly made of those so extremely fair as he was.
Our little plan was, that I should get out about seven the next morning (which I could readily promise, as I knew where to get the key of the street door) and he would wait at the end of the street with a coach to convey me safe off; after which, we would send, and clear any debt incurred by my stay at Mrs. Brown's, who, he only judged, in gross, might not care to part with one, he thought, so fit to draw custom to the house.
I then just hinted to him not to mention in the house his having seen such a person as me, for reasons I would explain to him more at leisure. And then, for fear of miscarrying, by being seen together, I tore myself from him with a bleeding heart, and stole up softly to my room, where I found Phoebe still fast asleep, and hurrying off my few clothes, lay down by her, with a mixture of joy and anxiety, that may be easier conceived than expressed.
The risks of Mrs. Brown's discovering my purpose, of disappointments, misery, ruin, all vanished before this new-kindled flame. The seeing, the touching, the being, if but for a night, with this idol of my fond virgin heart, appeared to me a happiness above the purchase of my liberty or life. He might use me ill, let him: he was the master, happy, too happy, even to receive death at so dear a hand.
To this purpose were the reflections of the whole day, of which every minute seemed to me a little eternity. How often did I visit the clock! nay, was tempted to advance the tedious hand, as if that would have advanced the time with it! Had those of the house had the least observations on me, they must have remarked something extraordinary from the discomposure I could not help betraying; especially when at dinner mention was made of the charmingest youth having been there, and stayed breakfast. "Oh! he was such a beauty!... I should have died for him!... they would pull caps for him!..." and the like fooleries; which, however, was throwing oil on a fire I was sorely put to it to smother the blaze of.
The fluctuations of my mind, the whole day, produced one good effect: which was, that, through mere fatigue, I slept tolerably well till five in the morning, when I got up, and having dressed myself, waited, under the double tortures of fear and impatience, for the appointed hour. It came at last, the dear, critical, dangerous hour came; and now, supported only by the courage love lent me, I ventured, a tip-toe, down stairs, leaving my box behind, for fear of being surprized with it in going out.
I got to the street door, the key whereof was always laid on the chair by our bed side, in trust with Phoebe, who having not the least suspicion of my entertaining any design to go from them (nor, indeed, had I, but the day before), made no reserve or concealment of it from me. I opened the door with great ease; love, that emboldened, protected me too: and now, got safe into the street, I saw my new guardian angel waiting at a coach door, ready open. How I got to him I know not: I suppose I flew; but I was in the coach in a trice, and he by the side of me, with his arms clasped round me, and giving me the kiss of welcome. The coachman had his orders, and drove to them.
My eyes were instantly filled with tears, but tears of the most delicious delight; to find myself in the arms of that beauteous youth, was a rapture that my little hear swam in; past or future were equally out of the question with me; the present was as much as all my powers of life were sufficient to bear the transport of, without fainting. Nor were the most tender embraces, the most soothing expressions wanting on his side, to assure me of his love, and of never giving me cause to repent the bold step I had taken, in throwing myself thus entirely upon his honour and generosity. But, alas! this was no merit in me, for I was drove to it by a passion too impetuous for me to resist, and, I did what I did, because I could not help it.
In an instant, for time was now annihilated with me, we were landed at a public house in Chelsea, hospitably commodious for the reception of duet parties of pleasure, where a breakfast of chocolate was prepared for us.
An old jolly stager, who kept it, and understood life perfectly well, breakfasted with us, and leering archly at me, gave us both joy, and said, "we were well paired, i' faith! that a great many gentlemen and ladies used his house, but he had never seen a handsomer couple... he was sure I was a fresh piece... I looked so country, so innocent! well my spouse was a lucky man!..." all which, common landlord's cant, not only pleased and soothed me, but helped to diver my confusion at being with my new sovereign, whom, the minute approached, I began to fear to be alone with: a timidity which true love had a greater share in than even maiden bashful-ness.
I wished, I doated, I could have died for him; and yet, I know not how, or why I dreaded the point which had been the object of my fiercest wishes; my pulses beat fears, amidst a flush of the warmest desires. This struggle of the passions, however, this conflict betwixt modesty and lovesick longings, made me burst again into tears; which he took, as he had done before, only for the remains of concern and emotion at the suddenness of my change of condition, in committing myself to his care; and, in consequence of that idea, did and said all that he thought would most comfort and re-inspirit me.
After breakfast, Charles (the dear familiar name I must take the liberty henceforward to distinguish my Adonis by), with a smile full of meaning, took me gently by the hand, and said: "Come, my dear, I will show you a room that commands a fine prospect over some gardens"; and without waiting for an answer, in which he relieved me extremely, he led me up into a chamber, airy and lightsome, where all seeing of prospects was out of the question, except that of a bed, which had all the air of recommending the room to him.
Charles had just slipped the bolt of the door, and running, caught me in his arms, and lifting me from the ground, with his lips glued to mine, bore me trembling, panting, dying with soft fears and tender wishes, to the bed; where his impatience would not suffer him to undress me, more than just unpinning my handkerchief and gowns, and unlacing my stays.
My bosom was now bare, and rising in the warmest throbs, presented to his sight and feeling the firm hard swell of a pair of young breast, such as may be imagined of a girl not sixteen, fresh out of the country, and never before handled: but even their pride, whiteness, fashion, pleasing resistance to the touch, could not bribe his restless hands from roving; but, giving them the loose, my petticoats and shift were soon taken up, and their stronger center of attraction laid open to their tender invasion. My fears, however, made me mechanically close my thighs; but the very touch of his hand insinuated between them, disclosed them and opened a way for the main attack.
In the mean time, I lay fairly exposed to the examination of his eyes and hands, quiet and unresisting; which confirmed him the opinion he proceeded so cavalierly upon, that I was no novice in these matters, since he had taken me out of a common bawdy house, nor had I said one thing to prepossess him of my virginity; and if I had, he would sooner have believed that I took him for a cully that would swallow such an improbability, than that I was still mistress of that darling treasure, that hidden mine, so eagerly sought after by the men, and which they never dig for, but to destroy.
Being now too high wound up to bear a delay, he unbuttoned, and drawing out the engine of love assaults, drove it currently, as at a ready made breach... Then! then! for the first time, did I feel that stiff horn-hard gristle, battering against the tender part; but imagine to yourself his surprise, when he found, after several vigorous pushes, which hurt me extremely, that he made not the least impression.
I complained, but tenderly complained: "I could not bear it... indeed he hurt me!..." Still he thought no more, than that being so young, the largeness of his machine (for few men could dispute size with him) made all the difficulty; and that possibly I had not been enjoyed by any so advantageously made in that part as himself: for still, that my virgin flower was yet un-cropped, never entered into his head, and he would have thought it idling with time and words, to have questioned me upon it.
He tried again, still no admittance, still no penetration; but he had hurt me yet more, while my extreme love made me bear extreme pain, almost without a groan. At length, after repeated fruitless trials, he lay down panting by me, kissed my falling tears, and asked me tenderly "what was the meaning of so much complaining? and if I had not borne it better from other than I did from him?" I answered, with a simplicity framed to persuade, that he was the first mam that ever served me so. Truth is powerful, and it is not always that we do not believe what we eagerly wish.
Charles, already disposed by the evidence, of his senses to think my pretences to virginity not entirely apocryphal, smothers me with kisses, begs me, in the-name of love, to have a little patience, and that he wilt be as tender of hurting me as he would be of himself..
Alas! it was enough I knew his pleasure to submit joyfully to him, whatever pain I foresaw it would cost, me.
He now resumes his attempts in more form: first, he put one of the pillows under me, to give the blank of his aim a more favourable elevation, and another Under my head, in ease of it; then spreading my thighs, and placing himself standing betwen them, made them rest upon his; applying then the point of his machine to the slit, into which he sought entrance, it was so small, he could scarce assure himself of its being rightly pointed. He looks, he feels, and satisfies himself: there driving on with fury, its prodigious stiffness, thus impacted, wedgelike, breaks the union of those parts, and gained him just the insertion of the tip of it, lip deep; which being sensible of, he improved his advantage, and following well his stroke, in a straight line, forcibly deepens his penetration; but put me to such intolerable pain, from the separation of the sides of that soft passage by a hard thick body, I could have screamed out; but, as I was unwilling to alarm the house, I held in my breath, and crammed my petticoat, which was; turned up over my face, into my mouth, and bit it through in the agony. At length, the tender texture of that tract giving way to such fierce tearing and rending, he pierced something further into me: and now, outrageous and no longer his own master, but borne headlong away by the fury and over-mettle of that member, now exerting itself with a kind of native rage, he breaks in, carries all before him, and one violent merciless lunge, sent it, imbrued, and reeking with virgin blood, up to the very hilt in me... Then! then all my resolution deserted me: I screamed out, and fainted away with the sharpness of the pain; and, as he told me afterwards, on his drawing out, when emission was over with him, my thighs were instantly all in a stream of blood, that flowed from the wounded torn passage.