It gives me pleasure to relate to my dear readers in the following scribble a most instructive tale, wherein an heroine is shewn in an unusual scene of life, whom no temptations of sufferings could subdue. It is an edifying little piece, much wanted in the world, which is but too much debauched by a pernicious culture. This story comes to me through a correspondence I maintain with a former rake, Mr.Hutchenson, now reformed and living as a proper gentleman husband.
This letter, herein reproduced, I received from Mr. Hutchenson, and it relates his wondrous transformation---
Dear Mr.Richardson---I write these days as an honourable gentleman, one for whom nothing is of greater importance than to live by those moral principles given to us by God Almighty. Alas, I was not always this honourable creature who is now writing to ye. I compose my passion in this letter so that ye may know how I came to abjure the libertine way of life, and replaced it with that of the gentleman, and of how the majestic virtue of one noble lady, a paragon to her sex, enabled me to make this transformation.
I do not intend to particularize here any stories of my former debauched ways (tho' I desire not to hide or ameliorate any of my former sins); let it suffice ye to know that in my youth I did allow myself free indulgence of the passions, especially to the fair sex, for I was quite the confounded libertine, I warrant ye. I would now like to relate the story of how my moral reclamation came about, through the guidance of the most excellent woman on earth.
My proper story starts about five years ago, when I overheard certain rumors that had been spreading among the rakish crowd that I had fallen into, with whom I had in the past taken many draughts of rhenish, and enjoyed a good many hearty wenches together---rumors that concerned the arrival of a new whore to the local bawdy house. She was spoken of by the people as being a fine looking wench, one whose virgin knot was still intact. But it actually mattered little to me or my friends, whether we would be her first ravisher or not---for everyone was content merely to have a morsel cut off the spit.
The rumor also made mention of the lady's particularly sharp tongue. It was remarked that the pert baggage was very fond of catechizing to the men who came to see her in her bedchamber, and that all the men thereafter would leave forswearing their libertine ways. For it was claimed that through her preaching, she was able to guide the heart of every rogue, pimp, buffoon, atheist, lecher, debauchee, and sodomite, who came to her---thus she directed their hearts, away from sin and corruption, and converted them towards virtue and honor. No male visitor, it was rumored, could leave her chambers without forsaking the road of rutting for ever; keeping her maidenhead in the meanwhile, naturally, untouched. The lady's reputation piqued me, and upset my pride, quite a great deal. "How dare she, the little preacher," I thought, "the presumption of hers! I daresay that I can out-tongue the wench, and reconcile the sauce-box to her new profession." Thus one evening I ventured to visit the bawdy house and make her an introduction.
When I had arrived, I endeavoured to make the proper arrangements with the Procuress of the bawdy house, Mistress Tinselpop, informing her of my hearty intention to sample her newest goods. She said she would be kind to oblige me, but first she desired me to know that the succulent wench was yet a little raw in her entertainment, and that it would behoove me at first to be tender with the delicate creature, but to grow more determined thereafter---for the young sapling required proper adjusting, said Tinselpop, so as to be made more malleable. Caveat emptor, finished the good Mistress Procuress, with an horrid grimace I thanked her kindly for her prudent counsel, paid her most generously, and pinched her large backside as final token of my appreciation.
Thereby I was given permission to enter the lady's bedchamber. I glimpsed the slattern sitting by the window, looking outside, with book in hand. "Greetings, pretty one," I said, "ye have been highly praised by thine Mistress."
"What Mistress, sir?" she turned to me and asked.
"Why, thine Mistress who sets seeds and roots of shame and iniquity under this roof," I replied.
"I know of no such Mistress who has any authority over me, or of any person I would allow to plant such corruption in mine soul."
"Surely, ye do not intend" I said, "to keep thine innocence whilst living in this bawdy house? where you are proclaimed to be a creature of sale."
"Good heavens, you know this to be a bawdy house, and will come into it?” She stirred like a wild kitten. “You would willingly come here to attempt a young maiden's virtue, and so ruin her for ever after?"
"Ah, fie upon thine wiseacrings," I rapt out. "Why do you attempt to rise above thine station? And know ye not that your shilly-shallying has brought down the prices in all the brothels in the city. If the Mistress Procuress can not make enough money to pay the house bills, she will be forced to shutter her business. And then where will all the gentlemen go to in the evenings? Would you have us stay home with our wives and children instead?"
"Forsooth, I would have ye do that. Good heavens, I would have ye empty old receptacles, serve an internship to the common lumberjack, watch television, popular films, read news-papers in the evenings---anything is better than coming here. Think upon it, sir, what wickeder profession exists than that of the prostitute? For what reason, think you, is it believed by the people, that prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, if not that it were also the wickedest? And surrounded as I am by baseness on all sides, does it follow that I myself should run towards the fire? I would also have ye understand, for thine own benefit, that prostitution is a grave sin indeed, the punishment for which, depend upon it, may be the pox, syphilis, as well as the French and the Italian diseases; while much graver punishments await ye in the after-life."
She told me that her name was Theodosia; that she was actually born to a noble family, but upon her mother's untimely death, her father had re-married with a woman of wicked heart. Her step-mother became extremely jealous of her husband's fondness for his pretty daughter, who so reminded him of his departed wife. Her step-mother arranged it so that, while she was walking on the beach one day, Theodosia would be seized by pirates, and forcibly brought to this vile place.
"Ads-bobbers!" I said, after she finished speaking.
But before I could ask her about the pirates, Theodosia's eloquence came over me quite suddenly, for she impressed me so greatly, and her story so moved me to tears, that I could not help but to feel respect and admiration for her. I was in awe of her honesty, her bravery, and her consistency. How such a precious jewel as she, how such a paragon of virtue may be found among this hotbed of iniquity, this can only be the result of an unlucky fortune. The strumpet fortune indeed. Theodosia's powerful words had touched my heart, for never before have I seen a lady of such fine beauty and noble soul.
Thereupon I designed a scheme to help her escape from the bawdy house; the details of which I will not trouble you with; suffice it to say, that upon this occasion, Theodosia did reform my rakish heart, and I vowed to bring her out of that brothel-house. I also resolved to leave the road of rutting forever, to change my roguish company of friends in the city, for more sober companions.---And upon that occasion, finally, I resolved to respect all creatures of the fair sex, not excluding maidservants (be they my maidservants or those of another man), and to cease conquering them all for my sport.
What is there more to say, but to let you know what became of Theodosia? Well, Mr. Richardson, I married her. I write ye now as a happily married man. By Gad, it turns out that a converted rake can, after all, make a good husband, Mr.Richardson, which you never did believe. Mrs. Theodosia Hutchenson and I are expecting our first child next month. Please post this letter on your blog, so that your readers may learn from my story, and so that they may come to worship Mrs. Theodosia as an ornament to her sex and to human nature. Until then I remain
Your humble servant,