Article: 19791001097

Title: Ribald Classic:The Fierce Machine

Ribald Classic:The Fierce Machine
HMH Publishing Co., Inc.
Ribald Classics
from Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, by John Cleland, 1749
John Cleland

from Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, by John Cleland, 1749

I, having expressed severest doubts and saying that I could not conceive of affording entrance for that fearful machine without dying in the greatest pain, Phoebe asked me if I knew Polly Philips.

I said that I did--but to what purpose did she ask? "You must know," Phoebe said, "that she is kept by a young Genoese merchant, on business in London. She receives him thrice a week in her light closet, up one pair of stairs, and tomorrow you shall see what passes between them from a secret place."

At five the next evening, Phoebe led me to a dark room where were kept some old furniture and some cases of liquor. The only light came from a crevice in the wall and, applying our eyes to this, we could with great clearness observe the scene of action.

I saw the young gentleman, standing with his back to me, and presently Polly entered. They sat down on the couch and partook of some wine and some Naples biscuits on a salver. Soon, after a kiss or two, as if there had been some signal, the young man stripped to his shirt and Polly began to draw her pins. When she had undressed to all but her shift, he gave her an encouraging kiss and stole the shift off her body.

Whereat she blushed, indeed, standing in the middle of the room stark-naked, with her black hair loose and afloat down her dazzling white neck and shoulders. The girl could not be above 18, her face regular and sweet-featured, her shape exquisite; nor could I help envying her two ripe, enchanting breasts, so firmly plumped out that they sustained themselves without any stay; then the nipples, pointing different ways, marked their pleasing separation. Beneath them lay the delicious tract of the belly, which terminated in a parting or rift scarce discernible, that modestly seemed to retire downward and seek shelter between two plump thighs while the curling hair in that place clothed it with the richest sable fur in the universe. She was a pattern of female beauty, in all the true pride and pomp of nakedness.

The young Italian gazed transported, and his shirt now bolstered out to show the condition of things beneath it. But he soon removed it. He was about two and 20, tall, well-limbed, broad-shouldered and with a complexion of the brownest; not a dusky dun color but a clear, olive gloss. Then his grand movement, which rose from a thicket of hair that spread from the root all around thighs and belly up to the navel, stood stiff and upright, of a size to frighten me, by sympathy, for the small, tender part which was the object of its fury. He had pushed Polly gently down on the couch and now, with her thighs spread to their utmost, there was discovered between them the mark of the sex, the red-centered cleft of flesh whose lips. vermilioning inward, expressed a small, rubied line in sweet miniature.

Phoebe now gave me a little jog and whispered to ask if I thought my little maidenhead much less, but I was too engrossed to give her any answer.

By this time, the young gentleman was kneeling between her thighs, displaying to us a side view of that fierce machine which threatened, I thought, no less than splitting the tender victim, who, nevertheless, lay smiling at the uplifted stroke. Guiding his weapon with his hand to the inviting slit, he drew aside the lips and lodged it (after some thrusts, which Polly seemed even to assist) halfway, but there it stuck. He drew it again and, wetting it with spittle, re-entered and sheathed it now up to the hilt, at which Polly gave a great sigh in quite another tone from that of pain. He thrust; she heaved, at first gently 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 out of themselves; their eyes darted fires. "Oh! ... Oh! I can't bear it! ... It is too much.... I die.... I am going...." Such were Polly's expressions of ecstasy.

His joys were more silent, but, at last, with some broken murmurs and sighs heart-fetched, he gave a dispatching thrust and fell motionless.

At length he arose and I could see between her thighs that recently opened wound which now glowed with a deeper red. Presently, getting up, she threw her arms around him again, seeming delighted with the trial he had put her to, judging by the fondness with which she eyed him and hung upon him.

For my part, it was a quick adieu to all my fears of what man could do unto me. They were now changed to such ardent desires, such ungovernable longings that I could have pulled by the sleeve the first man I met and offered him my bauble.

Phoebe, to whom such sights were not new, could not, however, remain unmoved at so warm a scene and, drawing me softly from the peephole for fear of being overheard, guided me as near the door as possible, all passive and obedient to her least signals.

Here there was no room either to sit up or to lie, but, making me stand with my back toward the door, she lofted up my petticoats and with her busy fingers fell to visit and explore that part of me where the heat and irritations were now so violent that I was perfectly sick and ready to die with desire. 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.

She next took hold of my hand and, having rolled up her own petticoats, forced it strivingly toward those parts where, now grown more knowing, I missed the main object of my wishes, finding not even the shadow of what I wanted but everything so flat and hollow that I would have withdrawn my hand but for fear of disobliging her. She made use of it to procure rather the shadow than the substance of a pleasure.

For my part, I now pined for more solid food and promised myself that I would not be put off much longer with this foolery from woman to woman.

Illustration by Brad Holland