is the story of a beautiful young innocent sent to London to be groomed as a bride for the wealthy widower, Mr. Bonham. But, Bonham's daughter, who has her own plans for her father's estate, shanghais Rosa into the hands of an unscrupulous woman who soon introduces the virginal waif to the most dissolute and lascivious wastrels in London. Debauchery ensues in the classic Victorian style. But, the daughter's schemes may go awry, for there is a rich Lord waiting in the wings looking for the perfect mistress and the Victorians loved a happy ending! The second classic recounts some of the amorous exploits of a physician of the era with women from all walks of life and presents a true portrait of what went on behind the moral façade of the Victorian age.
eBook Publisher: Renaissance E Books/Sizzler, 2006
eBookwise Release Date: January 2006
11 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [225 KB]
Reading time: 152-213 min.
It was a fine morning in May, and the dull, little frequented High Street of the small country town called Rutshole seemed absolutely cheerful. As if inspired by the exhilarating atmosphere.
So at least thought Mr. Bonham, a portly widower of fifty or thereabouts, as having left his carriage at the inn, he proceeded down High Street leisurely, but with the usual solemnity of his countenance, (which he considered dignified and respectable) much lightened by the cheering weather. He stopped at the door of a small shop, on which was inscribed, "Trabb, Hosier and Glover." Here he entered.
Now that capitol woman of business, the widow Trabb, was engaged in suiting a stiff-necked maid with a pair of mittens; but even if she had not been so occupied, we very much doubt if she would herself have attended to a gentleman customer. The worthy woman knew that there are other means of making a shop attractive besides the excellence and cheapness of the wares therein sold: and she had enlisted in her services a pretty girl of sixteen, whose remarkable grace and modesty had already attracted numerous young squires, young farmers, and officers from the neighboring garrison town, as real or pretended customers, to the manifest advantage of Mrs. Trabb's till.
When therefore, she saw the rich and respectable Mr. Bonham enter her shop, she summoned her aide-de-camp with "Rosa, attend to the gentleman!" and continued her attention to her customer. Now Mr. Bonham, though nearly fifty as we have said, and of a very staid and even strict outward demeanour, was by no means so elderly in his feelings and capabilities as would have been judged from outward appearances. He had been early left a widower, and the very fact of his having to keep up the said outward appearances and his ambition to have a saintly character among his neighbors and friends, had forced him to restrain his indulgences within very narrow bounds, and to be circumspect and moderate in the enjoyment thereof. So that this elf denial was of a double benefit to him; among the saints of his acquaintance he was esteemed as "one of the elect and a babe of grace" while he himself was pleasingly conscious that, thanks to his regular but very generous diet, and his habit of self control (not abstinence) as to the softer ex, he was enjoying what is called a green old age; and was when on the verge of fifty, pretty confident that his latent powers when called into action would be found quite equal to those of many a worn out young roue of five and twenty.
He was remarkably struck with Rosa's beauty, and well he might be. Long, flowing, golden hair; deep blue eyes, a sweet but by no means insipid expression of face, combined with a graceful figure, and manners very attractive even in her humble occupation; all detained Mr. Bonham in purchasing a pair of gloves, longer than he had ever been in his life before. Certainly he was very difficult to suit; and Rosa had to take the measurements of his hand more than once. At last he was suited--as far as gloves were concerned--and was about to leave the shop when a bright idea struck him. He turned back to where Mrs. Trabb was standing, that estimable woman had just got rid of her Low Church looking customer triumphantly, she had clapped two pence extra onto the price of the mits, and then after some bargaining submitted to rebate a penny. So both parties were satisfied, and Mrs. T. felt not only "at peace with all men" (that she generally was) but with all women too (which was not so frequently the case).
"Mrs. Trabb," began the respectable gentleman, "I would like to consult you about a little matter of business that may be a source of gain to a trades woman in your line; besides being conducive to the moral benefit of a tribe of benighted heathens."
"Dear me, Mr. Bonham," exclaimed the gratified hosier, "step this way--very kind of you I'm sure--a glass of cherry brandy?--do now--and sit down and rest yourself.
So saying, she ushered the artful old gentleman into her snug parlour; and producing the refreshment alluded to, awaited further disclosures.
We will not weary the reader with a full account of the proposed mercantile transaction. Suffice it to say that Mr. Bonham disclosed a case of soul-harrowing destitution among the Fukkumite Islanders recently converted to Christianity.
The interesting females had not the wherewithal to cover their bare bottoms, but used to display those well rounded features to the unhallowed gaze of the unregenerate sailors of whale ships calling at the islands. Now the missionaries considered that if any bottoms were to be displayed by their precious converts, the exhibition should be made in private to their spiritual advisors. And to that end the story, the benevolent gentlemen, by way of advancing the moral and physical comforts of the Fukkumite ladies (to say nothing of the missionaries) asked Mrs. Trabb if she would like to contract for the supply of say to begin with, one thousand pairs of frilled pantalettes.
"Really very kind of you, Mr. Bonham, to give me such a chance," said the gratified shopkeeper, "but may I ask you, sir, if the creatures, or converts, or whatever is most proper to call them, are to wear nothing else but those trousers?"
"No, I believe not," was the answer. "Why?"
"Because sir," replied the experienced widow, a woman's pants are made, to speak plainly, with two openings at the front and rear, corresponding to her natural openings; so really, though I shall be very glad to undertake the contract, I must tell you before hand, for fear of having my goods thrown back on my hands, that the garments proposed are no obstruction whatever to a man who is determined to violate a woman."
"Very proper of you to make the remark, Mrs. Trabb, very business-like and fair; but then of course the women should have opportunities for performing their natural functions conveniently; and then our self-sacrificing brethren, the missionaries, they must have facilities for their comforts."
"Oh, of course, Sir," was the response.
"Then send in your estimate, Mrs. Trabb, I'll see that you get a good chance. By the Bye, Mrs. Trabb, who is that modest looking and rather attractive young person who attended to my requirements in your shop just now?"
Aha! thought the sharp widow, that's it, eh? (Rather caught I should think.)
"That young woman sir, is a daughter of the Fieldings. You know, sir, farmers about three miles from here. Rosa her name is--a very nice girl and as good as she looks. Take another glass, sir!"
"No, thank you, Mrs. Trabb, sent in those estimates as soon as you can and good luck to you."
The very next morning he mounted his fine weight-carrying cob and riding out leisurely, as if for exercise, had no sooner got out of sight and hearing of Rutsden Lodge, as his residence was termed, and out of the ken of his sharp daughter Eliza, than he spurred his good hackney into a smart trot, which pace being occasionally varied by a canter, very soon brought him to Elm Tree Farm.
Farmer Fielding was out, which his visitor was not altogether very sorry for, as he thought it would be better in every way to begin his tactics by talking the old lady over. She received him very kindly and hospitably, though evidently puzzled to know the object of his visit. Mr. Bonham was not long in breaking ground, for he knew the farmer might return in five minutes. He recounted to the gratified mother how he had been struck by the elegant yet modest and quiet appearance of Rosa, and how he was pleased to learn from Mrs. Trabb, that she was as good as she looked; that notwithstanding the great respectability of Mrs. T. and her establishment, and the high opinion he had of her moral worth, still could not but be aware that a position behind her counter was pernicious, if not absolutely dangers, to a girl of Rosa's attractive personal qualities.
"Why my dear Madam," urged the moralist, "I am informed that the young squires and farmers will ride a couple miles out of their way to deal in Mrs. Trabb's shop; and then those dragoon officers come all the way from Baboonfield Barracks. I know that man of Moab, their Colonel, Earl Phuckum the first, gets all his clothes from London, and I'd like to know what he wants in Mrs. Trabb's in High Street."
"Perhaps dear Rosa will make a good marriage," simpered the fond and foolish mother.
"Perhaps, madam," interposed Mr. Bonham sternly, "she may learn something what ought to come after marriage but never before. How would you like to hear of her bolting off to London with one of those swells who perhaps is married already, and her returning to you in about twelve months, neglected, sick and heartbroken, with a baby in her arms? Now listen to me, Mrs. Fielding," continued Mr. Bonham, gazing attentively into the good dame's horror-stricken face, "I am not too old to have my fancies. Moreover, my daughter will soon be married and off my hands, and I have no one else to interfere with me."
With this introduction, the model gentleman proposed a scheme of his own, namely that Rosa should be placed in a first-rate school in the neighborhood of London; that all expenses, including her equipment, should be borne by him; and that in twelve or eighteen months, if Rosa had been well behaved and steady, and had improved in body and mind, as there was every reason to suppose she would, he, the speaker, would make her Mrs. Bonham, and mistress of Rutsden Lodge.
This grand proposition fairly took away the good old lady's breath, and there is no doubt her reply would have been a ready acceptance of Mr. Bonham's proposition but then there appeared old Fielding and the whole story had to be commenced over again.
He did not receive Mr. Bonham's offer as enthusiastically as his wife had done; but he owned at the same time the risk that Rosa ran in her present situation; and in plain blunt speech detailed how Susan Shufflebum had been seen behind a hayrick with her legs over young Squire Rootlepole's back.
"And I suppose, missus," continued the worthy man, "I needn't tell ye what he was a-doing to her; and Harriette Heavely went a-walking in Snugcroft woods with one of the danged soger officers, and when she got home her white petticoats was all green with damp grass, and she was so sore between her thighs that she has not been able to walk rightly since. But still Master Bonham, although your proposal would take our Rosa out of the way of danger; leastways out of a good deal, for a young good-looking lass is never to say quite out of danger; yet I don't quite like the girl brought up above her station. She'll maybe look down on her old father and mother, and maybe she'll be looked down upon and made to feel the difference by them that's born of better families."
This sensible speech of Farmer Fielding's was combated pretty sharply by the other two parties to the conversation; the old woman being anxious to see her daughter made a rich lady, and loth to miss the present chance; and Mr. Bonham continuing to urge that his being almost entirely without relations and that his daughter being about to be married, would place Rosa in a far different and much more pleasant situation than is usually the case under such circumstances. He even went on to say that although Fielding had a right to deal as he liked with regards to his own daughter, yet he considered it would be almost sinful for him to throw away such a good chance to have her well educated and married, and that too in the fear of the Lord. Half badgered to death between the pair of them--the old farmer yielded a reluctant consent, upon which Mr. Bonham and Mrs. Fielding went at once into matters of detail with regard to preparation of outfit and so on.
One thing was determined upon, that the matter might not be talked about more than was absolutely necessary; Mr. Bonham in particular to conceal his philanthropic schemes from his daughter, lest peradventure she had been addicted to wrath. And Farmer Fielding thought that the less said about Rosa, until she appeared as Mrs. Bonham the better.
We do not intend to weary our readers as to the matters of outfit, suffice it to say that Mrs. Trabb was in high glee and began to think that Mr. Bonham, what with his missionary zeal on behalf of the sweet Fukkumite savages, and his philanthropic intentions regarding Rosa's welfare was going to make her a fortune. Certainly she never had had two such orders in one twelvemonth, much less in one week. One remark of hers to Mr. Bonham is worthy of notice.
With the natural sharpness of a woman and a widow to boot, she took it for granted that Mr. B. would like to know some particulars about the undergarments she had been furnishing for his pretty protegee, and after expatiating for about an hour or so about silk stockings, cotton stockings, chemises, night-dresses, petticoats, and the Lord only knows what besides, she concluded with:
"And I quite remember your sensible remarks Mr. Bonham, about those trousers made for those converted cannibals, Miss Rosa's are much finer of course, and prettier altogether, but they are equally convenient; they quite open back and front."
This remark was made with a good deal of emphasis and meaning; but the venerable Philanthropist merely replied, without moving a muscle of his face;
"You are quite right, Mrs. Trabb, and have acted very judiciously; one never knows what may be required in case of emergency!"
It was reported to a few friends and neighbors that Rosa was offered a situation in London as a nursery governess and that as Mr. Bonham was going to town on business he had kindly offered to convey the young lady thither in his own carriage; being, as he said, altogether safer and pleasanter for a young unprotected girl than the public conveyance. This excuse passed currently enough, and if some of the envious or captious neighbors shook their heads and said Old Bonham was a sly fox, what business was it of theirs, after all?
Rosa enjoyed the ride immensely. Her guardian, as she took to calling him, was so kind and so affectionate (the fact was that he kept kissing her a great many times, and much more warmly than there was any occasion for) that she considered herself a very fortunate girl. And then he took such an interest in minor matters, he wanted to know how Mrs. Trabb had executed his orders--with regard to her wardrobe--and in his anxiety to know if everything was nice and proper, actually commenced to investigate Rosa's underclothing. He expressed his opinion that the petticoats would do; but that the outer one was hardly fine enough, but that defect could be repaired in London; his researches became more interesting when the chemise was put upon its trial.
"And now, Rosa darling," said the ancient voluptuary, "let me see if Mrs. Trabb has obeyed my orders about your trousers, I told her to have them made a certain way or you were to wear none at all."
"Oh, dear me, Mr. Bonham," exclaimed Rosa, who all this time had been dutifully holding up her clothes to facilitate her guardian's exploration, "you will make me ashamed of myself!"
"Not at all, my dear girl," was the reassuring reply, "it is my duty to see that you have everything nice and proper, and your duty to submit to the enquiry; so put your graceful right leg over my left shoulder."
Trembling and blushing, the innocent girl, fancying that it was not quite right and yet not knowing very well how to refuse, did as she was requested and made a splendid exposure of he secret parts immediately.
"Ha!" exclaimed Bonham, "I see that Mrs. Trabb has not neglected her duty; your trousers are well open in front certainly, though for the sake of seeing your thighs I would have preferred no trousers at all. But your cunt shows very nicely--golden hair, I see--not quite as much as you will have in twelve months, but a very fair show for a young girl of sixteen--and very nice lips."