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I lay then all tame and passive as she could wish, whilst her freedom raised no other emotions but those of a strange, and, till then, unfelt pleasure. What a happy man will he be that first makes a woman of you! For my part, I was transported, confused, and out of myself; feelings so new were too much for me. 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 secret bias, inclined her to make the most of pleasure, wherever she could find it, without distinction of sexes.

Even my glowing blushes expressed more desire than modesty, whilst the candle, left to be sure not undesignedly burning, threw a full light on my whole body. My sight must be feasted as well as my touch. Suffer me to kiss it. I have not seen it enough. Let me kiss it once more. What firm, smooth, white flesh is here! Then this delicious down! This is too much, I cannot bear it! But what a difference in the state of the same thing!

A spreading thicket of bushy curls marked the full-grown, complete woman. 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 own sex, is often as fatal to innocence as all the seductions of the other. But to go on. We breakfasted, and the tea things were scarce removed, when in were brought two bundles of linen and wearing apparel: In the morning I awoke about ten, perfectly gay and refreshed.

I told her if she pleased I would get up, and begin any work she would be pleased to set me about. I expected no less than to be told of, if not chid for, my late rising, when I was agreeably disappointed by her compliments on my pure and fresh looks.


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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 surrender 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.

In short, all the points of beauty that are most universally in request, I had, or at least my vanity forbade me to appeal from the decision of our sovereign judges the men, who all, that I ever knew at least, 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.

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This is, I own, too strong of self praise; but should I not be ungrateful to nature, and to a form to which I owe such singular blessings of pleasure and fortune, were I to suppress, through and affectation of modesty, the mention of such valuable gifts? 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 expences of my journey. 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 glewing 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: Impotence, more than necessity, made him seek in variety the provocative that was wanting to raise him to the pitch of enjoyment, which too he often saw himself baulked of, by the failure of his powers: Phoebe, however, began to sift the state and pulses of my heart towards this monster, asking me how I should approve of such a fine gentleman for a husband?

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! But Phoebe was not to be beat off so, but went on with her endeavours to melt and soften me for the purposes of my reception into that hospitable house: Mother Brown had in the mean time agreed the terms with this liquorish old goat, which I afterwards understood were to be fifty guineas peremptory for the liberty of attempting me, and a hundred more at the compleat gratification of his desires, in the triumph over my virginity: Brown and Phoebe did nothing but run riot in praises 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: 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 marks of which he still explained to be my bashfulness, and not being used to see company.

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: Finding me then next to senseless, and unresisting, he tears off my neck handkerchief, and laid all open there to his eyes and hands: I will love you dearly if you will let me alone, and go away.

When it was over he bid me, with a tone of displeasure, get up, saying that he would not do me the honour to think of me any more. Yet, plain as Mrs. 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: As soon as he was gone, Martha very tenderly offered me her assistance in any thing, 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 advantage.

Such too, and so cruel was my fate, that I dreaded the sight of Mrs. Crofts that was the name of my brute was gone out of the house, after waiting till he had tired his patience for Mrs. Youth is soon raised, and a few days were sufficient to conquer the fury of my fever: Accordingly they were let in upon me, and all that frolic and thoughtless gaiety in which those giddy creatures consume their 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.

Brown, in respect to his experienced generosity on such occasions, proposed to offer the perusal ot 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 afford her the chance of a better bargain than she had driven with Mr.

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 destination. Preachments of morality over the left shoulder; a life of joy painted in the gayest colours; caresses, promises, indulgent treatment: Hitherto I had been indebted only to the girls of the house for the corruption of my innocence: 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.

I instantly crept softly, and posted myself so, that seeing every thing minutely, I could not myself be seen; and who should come in but the venerable mother Abbess herself! But I had not much reason to fear either, for she was so entirely taken up with her present great concern, that she had no sense of attention to spare to any thing else.


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Droll was it to see that clumsy fat figure of hers 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: A more enormous pair did my eyes never behold, nor of a worse colour, flagging-soft, and most lovingly contiguous: Whilst they were in the heat of the action, guided by nature only, I stole my hand up my petticoats, and with fingers all on fire, seized, and yet more inflamed that center of all my senses: 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: 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: I admired then, upon a fresh account, and with a nicer survey, the texture of that capital part of man: 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: 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 land on the subject of my uneasiness: 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. On this she asked me if I knew Polly Philips. He met casually with this Polly once in company, and taking a liking 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 her 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 accomplishment. 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 fastening 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.

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The young gentleman was the first person I saw, with his back directly towards me, looking at a print. Polly was not yet come: Presently, when they had exchanged a few kisses, and questions in broken English on one side, he began to unbutton, and, in fine, stript to his shirt. This girl could not be above eighteen: Phoebe, at this gave me a gentle jog, to prepare me for a whispered question: By this time the young gentleman had changed her posture from lying breadth to length-wise on the couch: It is too much. He replaced her again breadthwise 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.

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 peep-hole, for fear of being over-heard, guided me as near 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 now the heat and irritations were so violent that 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 every thing in good forwardness for recommencing the tender hostilities. 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 hurt her about as much as he meant to hurt her, for she seemed to have as frolic a taste as himself.

Sometimes she would stoop to meet his kiss: 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. Brown did not soon provide me with the essential specific. But when I drew nearer, to view the sleeping one, heavens! Even the languor 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: Love, that made me timid, taught me to be tender too.

With a trembling hand I took hold of one of his, and waking his 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: 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 sprightly fires they sparkled with directly to my heart. I told him then, in a tone set me by love itself, that for reasons I had not time to explain to him, I could not stay with him, and might not even ever see him again: Rash, sudden, undigested, and 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 his voice there was no resisting, and blinded me to every objection; I could, at that instant, have died for him: 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 hazard 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.

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. The risks of Mrs. 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!

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How often did I visit the clock! I should have died for him! 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. How I got to him I know not: The coachman had his orders, and drove to them. 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. In an instant, for time was now annihilated with me, we 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. 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: 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. He tries again, still no admittance, still no penetration; but he had hurt me yet more, whilst my extreme love made me bear extreme pain, almost without a groan. Truth is powerful, and it is not always that we do not believe what we eagerly wish.

He now resumes his attempts in more form: He looks, he feels, and satisfies himself: After dinner, and as everything but the wine was taken away, Charles very impudently asks a leave, he might read the grant of in my eyes, to come to bed to me, and accordingly falls to undressing; which I could not see the progress of without strange emotions of fear and pleasure.

He is now in bed with me the first time, and in broad day; but when thrusting up his own shirt and my shift, he laid his naked glowing body to mine. Yes, even at this time, when all the tyranny of the passions is fully over and my veins roll no longer but a cold tranquil stream, the remembrance of those passages that most affected me in my youth, still cheers and refreshes me. Let me proceed then. Thus we spent the whole afternoon till supper time in a continued circle of love delights, kissing, turtle-billing, toying, and all the rest of the feast.

For my part, I was so enchanted with my fortune, so transported with the comparison of the delights I now swam in, with the insipidity of all my past scenes of life, that I thought them sufficiently cheap at even the price of my ruin, or the risk of their not lasting. The present possession was all my little head could find room for. It was then broad day. Think of a face without a fault, glowing with all the opening bloom and vernal freshness of an age in which beauty is of either sex, and which the first down over his upper lip scarce began to distinguish. The platform of his snow-white bosom, that was laid out in a manly proportion, presented, on the vermilion summit of each pap, the idea of a rose about to blow.

But every thing must have an end. By this time his machine, stiffly risen at me, gave me to see it in its highest state and bravery. But now this visit of my soft warm hand in those so sensible parts had put every thing into such ungovernable fury that, disdaining all further preluding, and taking advantage of my commodious posture, he made the storm fall where I scarce patiently expected, and where he was sure to lay it: But this was a disorder too violent in nature to last long: In our calmer intervals Charles gave the following account of himself, every word of which was true.

But, to supply his calls for money, Charles, whose mother was dead, had, by her side, a grandmother who doted upon him. As to temper, the even sweetness of it made him seem born for domestic happiness: Without those great or shining qualities that constitute a genius, or are fit to make a noise in the world, he had all those humble ones that compose the softer social merit: But to return to our situation.

It is peculiar to vice to tremble at the enquiries of justice; and Mrs. Long, however, I did not suffer: We supped with all the gaiety of two young giddy creatures at the top of their desires; and as I had most joyfully given up to Charles the whole charge of my future happiness, I thought of nothing beyond the exquisite pleasure of possessing him. He came to bed in due time; and this second night, the pain being pretty well over, I tasted, in full draughts, all the transports of perfect enjoyment: Thus, making the most of love and life, did we stay in this lodging in Chelsea about ten days; in which time Charles took care to give his excursions from home a favourable gloss, and to keep his footing with his fond indulgent grandmother, from whom he drew constant and sufficient supplies for the charge I was to him, and which was very trifling, in comparision with his former less regular course of pleasures.

The landlord, however, had no reason to complain of any thing, but of a procedure in Charles too liberal not to make him regret the loss of us. Arrived at our new lodgings, I remember I thought them extremely fine, though ordinary enough, even at that price; but, had it been a dungeon that Charles had brought me to, his presence would have made it a little Versailles.

A sketch of her picture, and personal history, will dispose you to account for the part she is to act in my concerns. However, as she had no nature, nor, indeed, any passion but that of money, this gave her no further uneasiness, than, as she thereby lost a handle of squeezing presents, or other after-advantages, out of the bargain. She knew most of the ways of the town, having not only herself been upon, but kept up constant intelligences in it, dealing, besides her practice in promoting a harmony between the two sexes, in private pawn-broking and other profitable secrets.

When she saw such a young pair come under her roof, her immediate notions, doubtless, were how she should make the most money of us, by every means that money might be made, and which, she rightly judged, our situation and inexperience would soon beget her occasions of. In this hopeful sanctuary, and under the clutches of this harpy, did we pitch our residence.

It will not be mighty material to you, or very pleasant to me, to enter into a detail of all the petty cut-throat ways and means with which she used to fleece us; all which Charles indolently chose to bear with, rather than take the trouble of removing, the difference of expense being scarce attended to by a young gentleman who had no idea of stint, or even of economy, and a raw country girl who knew nothing of the matter.

He was the universe to me, and all that was not him was nothing to me. I was in a little time enabled, by the progress I had made, to prove the deep regard I had paid to all that he had said to me: My country accent, and the rusticity of my gait, manners, and deportment, began now sensibly to wear off, so quick was my observation, and so efficacious my desire of growing every day worthier of his heart. I could have made a pleasure of the greatest toil, and worked my fingers to the bone, with joy, to have supported him: I was about three months gone with child by him, a circumstance which would have added to his tenderness had he ever left me room to believe it could receive an addition, when the mortal, the unexpected blow of separation fell upon us.

I shall gallop post over the particulars, which I shudder yet to think of, and cannot to this instant reconcile myself how, or by what means, I could out-live it. Jones, who had far from comforted me under my anxieties, she came up. I had scarce breath and spirit enough to find words to beg of her, if she would save my life, to fall upon some means of finding out, instantly, what was become of its only prop and comfort. Far she had not to go: There she went into a publick house, and from thence sent for a maid-servant, whose name I had given her, as the properest to inform her.

The maid readily came, and as readily, when Mrs. Time, however, that great comforter in ordinary, began to assuage the violence of my sufferings, and to numb my feeling of them. The landlady had all this while officiously provided, and taken care that I wanted for nothing: I burst out into a flood of tears and told her my condition; adding that I would sell what few cloaths I had, and that, for the rest, I would pay her as soon as possible.

Jones however, judging rightly that it was time to strike while the impressions were so strong upon me, left me to my self and to all the terrors of an imagination, wounded to death by the idea of going to a prison, and, from a principle of self-preservation, snatching at every glimpse of redemption from it. Things, she said, would not be so bad as I imagined if I would be but my own friend; and closed with telling me she had brought a very honourable gentleman to drink tea with me, who would give me the best advice how to get rid of all my troubles. Upon which, without waiting for a reply, she goes out, and returns with this very honourable gentleman, whose very honourable procuress she had been, on this as well as other occasions.

All this while not a word on either side; a stupid stare was all the face I could put on this strange visit. The tea was made, and the landlady, unwilling, I suppose, to lose any time, observing my silence and shyness before this entire stranger: The gentleman, however, no novice in affairs of this sort, drew near me; and under the pretence of comforting me, first with his handkerchief dried my tears as they ran down my cheeks: I sat stock-still; and now looking on myself as bought by the payment that had been transacted before me, I did not care what became of my wretched body: I tore my hair, wrung my hands, and beat my breast like a mad-woman.

This he positively refused, for fear, as he pretended, I should do myself a mischief. Violent passions seldom last long, and those of women least of any. A dead still calm succeeded this storm, which ended in a profuse shower of tears. The maid quitting the room, the gentleman insisted, with a tender warmth, that I should sit up in the elbow chair by the fire, and see him eat if I could not be prevailed on to eat myself. At supper, after a great many arguments used to comfort and reconcile me to my fate, he told me that his name was H— — brother to the Earl of L—— and that having, by the suggestions of my landlady, been led to see me, he had found me perfectly to his taste and given her a commission to procure me at any rate, and that he had at length succeeded, as much to his satisfaction as he passionately wished it might be to mine; adding, withal, some flattering assurances that I should have no cause to repent my knowledge of him.

I had now got down at most half a partridge, and three or four glasses of wine, which he compelled me to drink by way of restoring nature; but whether there was anything extraordinary put into the wine, or whether there wanted no more to revive the natural warmth of my constitution and give fire to the old train, I began no longer to look with that constraint, not to say disgust, on Mr. H—— that stood in the same circumstances and had done for me, and with me, what he had done. There are not, on earth at least, eternal griefs; mine were, if not at an end, at least suspended: But he soon gave me greater occasion to exclaim, by stooping down and slipping his hand above my garters: The maid, as soon as I was lain down, took the candle away, and wishing me a good night, went out of the room and shut the door after her.

She had hardly time to get down-stairs before Mr. He came a tip-toe to the bed-side, and said with a gentle whisper: I will be very tender and kind to you. Then, being on his knees between my legs, he drew up his shirt and bared all his hairy thighs, and stiff staring truncheon, red-topt and rooted into a thicket of curls, which covered his belly to the navel and gave it the air of a flesh brush; and soon I felt it joining close to mine, when he had drove the nail up to the head, and left no partition but the intermediate hair on both sides.

H—— content, however, with having the day break upon his triumphs, delivered me up to the refreshment of a rest we both wanted, and we soon dropped into a profound sleep. About eleven, in came Mrs. H—— who penetrated my uneasiness, did not long suffer me to languish under it. I was instantly borne away down the stream, without making back to the shore. Yet, had not my heart been thus pre-ingaged, Mr.

H—— might probably have been the sole master of it; but the place was full, and the force of conjunctures alone had made him the possessor of my person; the charms of which had, by the bye, been his sole object and passion, and were, of course, no foundation for a love either very delicate or very durable.

We soon got to the house appointed for me, which was that of a plain tradesman who, on the score of interest, was entirely at Mr. He stayed with me that evening, and we had a supper from a neighbouring tavern, after which, and a gay glass or two, the maid put me to bed. I stept up-stairs into my own bed-chamber, with no other thought than of pulling off my hat, etc. The first sight that struck me was Mr. H—— pulling and hauling this coarse country strammel towards a couch that stood in a corner of the dining room; to which the girl made only a sort of awkward hoydening resistance, crying out so loud, that I, who listened at the door, could scarce hear her: I am not for your turn.

You cannot, sure, demean yourself with such a poor body as I. Sir, my mistress may come home. I must not indeed. I will cry out. But that was not the case, my pride alone was hurt, my heart not, and I could easier win upon myself to see how far he would go, till I had no uncertainty upon my conscience. After enjoying a brief period of stability, she sees Mr H— have a sexual encounter with her own maid, and goes on to seduce Will the young footman of Mr H— as an act of revenge. She is discovered by Mr H— as she is having a sexual encounter with Will.

After being abandoned by Mr H—, Fanny becomes a prostitute for wealthy and discerning clients in a pleasure-house run by Mrs Cole. This marks the end of the first letter. The second letter begins with a rumination on the tedium of writing about sex and the difficulty of driving a middle course between vulgar language and "mincing metaphors and affected circumlocutions". Fanny then describes her adventures in the house of Mrs Cole, which include a public orgy, an elaborately orchestrated bogus sale of her "virginity" to a rich dupe called Mr Norbert, and a sado-masochistic session with a man involving mutual flagellation with birch-rods.

These are interspersed with narratives which do not involve Fanny directly; for instance, three other girls in the house Emily, Louisa and Harriett describe their own losses of virginity, and the nyphomaniac Louisa seduces the immensely endowed but imbecilic "good-natured Dick". Literary critic Felicity A. Nussbaum describes the girls in Mrs Cole's brothel as "'a little troop of love' who provide compliments, caresses, and congratulation to their fellow whores' erotic achievements". This was removed from several later editions According to literary critic Thomas Holmes, Fanny and Mrs Cole see the homosexual act thusly: This phase of Fanny's life brings about her intellectual development, and leaves her wealthy when her lover dies of a sudden cold.

Soon after, she has a chance encounter with Charles, who has returned as a poor man to England after being shipwrecked. Fanny offers her fortune to Charles unconditionally, but he insists on marrying her. The prose includes long sentences with many subordinate clauses. Its morality is conventional for the time, in that it denounces sodomy, frowns upon vice and approves of only heterosexual unions based upon mutual love.

There are numerous scholars who claim that Fanny's name refers to a woman's vagina. However, others dispute this interpretation, positing that 18th century dictionaries do not define "fanny" in this way. Louisa brings the boy in anyway, as Dick's functioning physical state supersedes his poor mental one. This scene also leads into an issue within the text of rape for both Dick and Louisa and how the possible label of rape is removed by resistance transitioning into pleasure.

Her sexual development contains three life stages: Fanny sees the phallus as both an object of terror and of delight. McCracken relates her changing view of the phallus to Burke's theory of the sublime and beautiful. Patricia Spacks, a scholar, discusses how Fanny has been previously deprived by her rural environment of what she can understand as real experience, and how she welcomes the whores' efforts to educate her.

Even though these feelings may have been replaced or forgotten, she still reflects on her past: Andrea Haslanger argues in her dissertation how the use of first-person narrative in the 18th-century "undermines, rather than secures, the individual" in classic epistolary novels like Roxanna, Evelina, Frankenstein, and specifically Fanny Hill.

Haslanger claims that "the paradox of pornographic narration is that it mobilizes certain aspects of the first person the description of intimate details while eradicating others the expression of disagreement or resistance " With sexual acts being viewed heavily as taboo within 18th-century England, Fanny Hill strayed far away from the norm in comparison to other works of its time. A large portion of books that focused on the idea of sex were written in the form of conduct novels: One example of this can be seen in Samuel Richardson's conduct novel Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded , in which the character of Pamela is able to resist sexual temptation, thus maintaining her virtue and being rewarded in the end with a prosperous life.

However, Fanny Hill was widely considered to be the first work of its time to focus on the idea of sexual deviance being an act of pleasure, rather than something that was simply shameful. This can be seen through Fanny's character partaking in acts that would normally be viewed as deplorable by society's standards, but then is never punished for them. In fact, Fanny is ultimately able to achieve her own happy ending when she is able to find Charles again, marrying him and living in a life of wealth.

This can be viewed in sharp contrast to a work like Pamela, where sexual acts are heavily avoided for the sake of maintaining virtue. Meanwhile, within Fanny Hill , normally deplorable acts can be conducted with little to no consequence. Because of the book's notoriety and public domain status , numerous adaptations have been produced. Some of them are:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. This article needs additional citations for verification. The fact that this is a book written by a grown man from the perspective of a year-old girl sometimes intrudes with ickiness, but one tries to get past it. Guys have written porn from the points of view of the ladies they wish they were nailing since - well, since this, as far as I know - and one has to suspend one's definition of the age of consent when one reads anything from Pamela to Tolstoy.

And Cleland was only in his 20s when he wrote this, which makes it again, allowing also for the era at least slightly less creepy than if he was It still throws me out of the narrative such as it is occasionally - particularly when he falls into one of the tropes that dudes writing porn have submitted to since see above: I have, startling as it might seem, talked to upwards of several women, and they've assured me that neither of the above things are even a tiny bit accurate for any man other than me.

I'll give you a slightly spoiler-y taste. See if you think you can handle the following two things: Soon, however, to be on float again! There's a half-hearted sermon that closes the book; it reads, in part, "If I have painted Vice in all its gayest colours For what it's worth, this is a peculiarly feminist book. In sharp contrast to most books of its time, Fanny Hill presents a picture of a woman who enjoys sex and goes about getting it with no shame whatsoever.

There are no nasty repercussions; things turn out quite well for her. Jane Smiley claims that shame was an obsession in the salacious 18th century; well, then, this book stands, possibly alone, above it. Good for Fanny Hill. View all 21 comments. I'm talking about an erotic novel here, so maybe don't read my review if you tend to get offended by open and frank discussion about sexual acts. Just warning you in advance: Okay, firstly, this is porn. Not a great literary achievement, not something that will sit snug in your mind with the Austen and Bronte classics It got quite a reputation for being the first pornography to appear in novel form, and it also got a reputation because it was banned for multiple centuries an I'm talking about an erotic novel here, so maybe don't read my review if you tend to get offended by open and frank discussion about sexual acts.

It got quite a reputation for being the first pornography to appear in novel form, and it also got a reputation because it was banned for multiple centuries and resulted in a prison sentence for the author. Being published in , I can't say I'm surprised. In fact, the much more surprising thing is that books like Lady Chatterley's Lover and Delta of Venus caused such a controversy when Cleland's work had already beaten them to it two hundred years beforehand.

The story is a rather disturbing even by today's standards tale about a fifteen year old girl who engages in sex with both men and women, participates in mutual masturbation, almost gets raped, falls into prostitution, takes part in orgies, whips a man for his sexual pleasure, and witnesses two men having anal sex only to report them to the local villagers.


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  • During this time, Fanny also manages to fall in love several times and - to give credit where it's due - does experience quite a bit of growth as a woman and as a human being. The plot, though, is completely ridiculous, moves too fast, and ends up feeling sloppy and careless. Fanny runs from lover to lover in what feels like a bunch of short stories about sexual encounters than a full novel about a woman's sexual exploration.

    It must be pointed out that Cleland's portrayal of female sexuality and the ability for women to have sex for pleasure, not just to make babies or appease their husbands, seems incredibly before it's time. However, Fanny Hill is not a particularly strong character and her circumstances are often a result of where others put her, not where she takes herself. When it comes to this kind of book, I always try and look it at from two angles and see if it delivers on either: I don't believe it delivers on the first beyond introducing the eighteenth century to the exploration of female sexuality.

    As for the second, well, I guess there's something for everyone stuck in here somewhere.

    Especially if you get hot when female genitalia is described as "clammy" and a guy's penis is described in this way: Then this is the book for you! View all 29 comments. Still, le petit mort or being "embalm'd by an injection" being exemplified by the most exquisite and tender prose imaginable, is surely a cause for celebration, yeah. It is appetizing in anecdotal terms, as well as in its lushly long sentences. She is eager, adventurous. Sure, all things nasty men want their women to be.

    It soon becomes clear that the mercenary aspect of the whole enterprise is what ultimately attracts and inspires Fanny and remember, she has NO other choice, outlet, life. This is what brings her pleasure. And the part of men finding themselves through the sexual acts-- that is something that brings her pleasure as well. This is candid, verging on poetic, storytelling. Her life is sad, but there is a zero ugliness factor in this novel to declare it an essential one.

    It's a genuine template for future erotica. View all 7 comments. Oct 14, Jessica rated it really liked it Recommends it for: They should make me Education Secretary. I'd make Fanny Hill required reading in freshman English classes across the country, thus instantly solving our country's illiteracy problem and instilling an abiding love of literature in our nation's young citizens.

    I miss my copy of this book! I'd never heard of it before when I found it in a box on the sidewalk in Park Slope a few years ago, and had no idea what a lovely filthy treasure I had just unearthed I hope Lindsey enjoyed my edition of this They should make me Education Secretary. View all 8 comments. If I could go back in time and track Cleland down for a nice chat, I'd smack him in the face with a clipboard and watch him like a hawk till he'd read through the list clipped there in its entirety.

    Better yet, I'd take a woman and a man back with me, both of them less concerned with feminism issues to an unholy extent than I, and let the conversings about the genders commence. Maybe then, perhaps, I'd figure this author out. An abridged version of the following.

    If you've seen my review If I could go back in time and track Cleland down for a nice chat, I'd smack him in the face with a clipboard and watch him like a hawk till he'd read through the list clipped there in its entirety. If you've seen my review of Delta of Venus , you know I take erotica seriously. That whole spiel about increasing respect and social justice and all that jazz? Still relevant, sadly so when considering this piece appeared in That's years ago, 18th century stuff alongside the likes of Voltaire and Swift and we're still mucking around in slut shaming.

    This is a classic written by a dead white male two and a half centuries ago, and it's chock full of feminism! Second wave feminism at that! While it may have done the job more than years ago, these days people like their porn with a little more Now that I think about it, a great deal of today's Fifty Shades of Grey readers don't actually mind if the biology's a little off so long as there's plenty of writhing and fingering and whipping, which this work has in full. The only difference really is Cleland's constant hitting home the fact that, while women have different equipment, they have the same need for pleasure and more importantly respectful pleasure, whomever the companion they happen to be with.

    Now that's something that could put modern readers off. Men know not in general how much they destroy of their own pleasure when they break through the respect and tenderness due to our sex, and even to those of it who live only by pleasing them. Less problematic and more absurd were the multiple male orgasms business: Also, the synonyms for penis. I'm not even going to go into that.

    If you want a list, the book's been around for a while. Spoilers abound and may even be carefully categorized. Besides all that, not only does Fanny Hill like sex so long as her partner's not an asshole, she likes educating herself! No wonder the unabridged version's been taken to trial as recently as , as god forbid a woman reconcile body and mind so ardently.

    While I'm at it, have some more breakdowns of female stereotypes: Silks, laces, earrings, pearl necklace, gold watch, in short, all the trinkets and articles of dress were lavishly heap'd upon me; the sense of which, if it did not create turns of love, forc'd a kind of grateful fondness, something like love; a distinction it would be spoiling the pleasure of nine tenths of the keepers in the town to make, and is, I suppose, the very good reason why so few of them ever do make it. View all 19 comments. Apr 07, Duane rated it really liked it Shelves: By 18th century standards it was literary smut.

    Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure

    Even by today's standards it is bawdy. Fellow GR reviewer Jessica called it "lovely filthy filth". It has survived the centuries though and still finds itself in print and apparently still being read by hundreds of Goodreads members. Having become an orphan at 16, Fanny is taken to London by a "benefactress" who abandons her as soon as she arrives. The girl was immediately spotted and picked up by a madam, who immediately began to put a price on virginity.

    A delightful friend and a few sessions of voyeurism will suffice to instruct her. Fanny falls in love with her first lover, also reciprocal love. But the father of the latter takes her away from the country: Fanny then has no other resources than to prostitute again. The aut Having become an orphan at 16, Fanny is taken to London by a "benefactress" who abandons her as soon as she arrives.

    The author seems rather fascinated by virginity, and as Fanny can only lose her once, the caliber of the gentlemen will grow, to give the illusion every time. Likewise, the other women whom the young girl meets will not fail to tell her their story of their first time. The narrative is sometimes moralistic: The writing is quite successful, neither vulgar nor precious. However, one has the impression that the author has not managed to disentangle himself from the morality of his time. Jun 22, Jan-Maat added it Shelves: A strikingly repetitive book - certainly not a novel, with a curious jolly hockey sticks air to it.

    Structured as the memoirs of an innocent young girl, written in letters to a lady, from the countryside who is tricked into a life of prostitution of the decorous type in respectable brothels not the wandering about Covent Garden type. It has a good deal of admiring descriptions of penises follows and the noun vermilion is frequently used to describe the vulvas seen during the course of her work. This is not a work in the realist tradition, clients apparently pay up, prostitutes don't get beaten up, pregnancy and disease aren't worries.

    Nor is there any character development unless that is a euphemism for the loss of virginity, or anything much you could call a plot. It is the work of a man imagining himself as a prostitute - a situation which he finds thoroughly enjoyable in a jolly kind of way, with the particular bonus of being able to see lots of big penises. The meat of the book - a very loose collection of disconnected episodes - is extra-textual, and that is imagining Cleland's sexuality.

    At the beginning of the first part of the book Ms Hill is broken into the work of being a prostitute, at the beginning of the second part her self and some other young women I believe that child prostitution flourished for obvious reasons in 18th century London, not that you would ever suspect it from this book since they are young, but not that young set up their own brothel and take turns relating how they lost their virginity. At the end of either the first or the second part - it's really not important which - Ms Hill settles down with a handsome, wealthy young man who has a very large penis.

    In-between are various encounters with clients who almost invariably have large penises. One would have to be particularly generous to regard this as constituting a plot. It's self indulgent I suppose self-evidently, it is a work of pornography after all , but it's repetitive nature makes the book eventually boring and comes to limit the extent to which it even could be used as a one hand read.

    There is a very limited range of sexual acts described and the most interesting moment is the narrator's shock when a man and a woman actually undress, as most of the sex described involves only loosening clothing and opening it at strategic points. This book left me with the impression that 18th century sex was less interesting than I might have otherwise imagined. Certainly less interesting than suggested by the Edinburgh club whose members had to contribute clippings of their mistresses' pubic hair to make a ceremonial wig.

    No wonder people drank so much. There is a saying — Curiosity killed the cat. It seems I was wrong and all that prudeness we know about is due to 19th century, mainly Victorian period. So, for one of most banished books in history as Wikipedia informs us Fanny Hill is not even very revo There is a saying — Curiosity killed the cat. So, for one of most banished books in history as Wikipedia informs us Fanny Hill is not even very revolutionary. However, with all the fuss around it, the main question one might ask is about Fanny Hill literary traits.

    In the same study, David Lodge says: What usually prevents it from doing so is that it is unrealistic rather than nonrealistic: A curiosity, a useful document in the history of porn there must be a history of porn, surely?