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Adventures and amours of a barmaid

Adventures and amours of a barmaid

Anonymous

 

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A series of facts

Polly D*** is the daughter of an inkeeper in a market town in the county of W*****. From the earliest infancy she was not less remarkable for the vivacity of her temper, than the beauty of her person. Mr. D***, her father, contemplated with the greatest delight the growing charms of his youthful daughter; which, with a proper education, he thought when her person arrived at maturity, would be a most captivating ornament for the decoration of his bar.

Accordingly, at the age of twelve, Miss Polly was sent to a boarding school a short distance from her native home for the purpose of learning a few fashionable embellishments. After staying at this seminary a competent time, the lovely girl was returned to the longing eyes of her fond father, replete with every accomplishment that is in the power of those elegant receptacles of female education to bestow.

For a few months after the arrival of our heroine at her native place, her father gratified every wish of her heart; but he soon began to perceive, with inexpressible regret, the taste his fair daughter had imbibed for dress, and every other extravagance which young ladies, who have had the benefit of a boarding-school education, generally learn. He then lamented with the greatest concern the sums which he had lavished in the vain hope of making his beloved child a perfect mistress of the business of keeping an inn. Polly had an utter contempt for everything that was low and vulgar; therefore, the uncouth admiration of the country squires could not but be disgusting to her.

During the time of our heroine’s being bar-mistress or barmaid, if the reader pleases, a company of strolling players arrived in the town, in order to exhibit their talents for the amusement of the country folks. Miss Polly was greatly pleased at this, for she had been once or twice indulged with a play whilst at school, and had, we must confess, a taste for theatrical performances. The King’s Head being the principal inn in the town, it cannot be supposed but the merry sons of Thalia made it a house of constant resort; nor is it surprising that, in their frequent visits, the greatest notice should be taken of the all captivating Polly. Indeed, the manager, who was a very polite man, soon made himself intimate with her; and all the hours that he appropriated to the drowning of care were spent in the company of our heroine. She had been long a stranger to adulation, and it is not to be wondered at if the insinuating eloquence of the leader of the sock and buskin tribe had not great influence over the heart of this lively and beautiful girl. In short, he prevailed upon her when the company was about to quit the town to accompany him.

Our heroine, no less delighted with the thought of “wielding the dagger,” as of exhibiting her person on the stage before a country audience, the manager had not much difficulty in gaining her consent, especially upon promising that her first appearance should be in the character of Desdemona.

Mr. D***, being now quite tired of his daughter’s extravagance, and she of the business of retailing, did not give himself any sort of trouble on her being supposed to have gone off with the player folks; but, on the contrary, to use his own words, “was very glad she had taken herself off.”

However, the personal charms of our heroine, which were universally allowed to be inexpressibly beautiful, attracted the merited admiration of every lover of female excellence, her manifest deficiency in every part she undertook could not escape observation; indeed the manager well knew this, but it was the desire of enjoying the person of the fair Polly that prompted him to decoy the unsuspecting maid from her father’s house. He had tried every art in vain to obtain his wish; and when he was fairly convinced the port was impregnable, he sincerely began to hate the poor girl as much as he had formerly loved her.

Our heroine could not but perceive this, which, together with the thoughts of owing a considerable sum to her landlady for board and lodging, and for which she had been more than once solicited, gave her some unpleasant moments, which even the natural liveliness of her temper could not at all times dissipate.

As she sat one morning ruminating upon these ideas, a note was brought to her in the following words: “Colonel H***’s compliments to Miss D*** , would be exceedingly happy if she will grant him an hour’s conversation this evening, after the play is over.” Our heroine, seeing a servant in a genteel livery waiting for an answer, imagined this billet could come from no person of mean circumstances; and as she was now really destitute of money, and her landlady become very troublesome, began to think that it would be the best way to recruit herself by disposing of that commodity which had been so much wished for by more than one, but no price, in her own estimation, offered any way equal to the value of the purchase. With these thoughts in her head she returned for answer that she should be happy to see the colonel at the time appointed.

During the whole time of that evening’s performance our heroine’s eyes were cast round the whole theatre in hopes of seeing her admirer. Her lovely bosom heaved with thoughts of a different kind from what she ever before experienced, but yet could not fix upon any particular person in the house to whom she might ascribe the note sent her in the morning.

Her curiosity was wound up to the highest pitch; in short, she never spent so disagreeable an evening.

At last the time came. The fair one hurried home, threw off her theatrical dress, and attired herself in the most engaging dishabille. Her lovely blue eyes languishing with desire, and her snowy bosom half exposed to view, could not, she thought, fail of captivating any beholder; her thoughts were of the most pleasing kind. Anticipating the arrival of a charming, youthful lover, she studied to set herself off to the best advantage.

At length the wished-for hour arrived; a knock at the door was heard; she ran herself to open it, when, lo! How great her disappointment, instead of an amorous, impatient, lovely youth ready to spring into her arms – the fond idea she had cherished – she beheld coming into the room a decrepid old man, who, as soon as he was seated, began to open his business in the following manner: “Your condescension, madam, in permitting me the honour of this visit, has made me infinitely happy!”

Our heroine was not sufficiently recovered from her astonishment to make him any answer. The antiquated lover pursued his discourse: “From the first moment I saw you, loveliest of women, I found I passionately loved.” It would tire the reader to repeat the conversation that ensued.

The colonel said that he knew of her situation, and very gallantly offered to extract her, on the simple condition of residing at H*** Hall, where she should be her own mistress; and, to avoid the insinuations of a malicious world, should pass for the housekeeper’s niece; at the same time frankly confessing, “he was not able to pay his devoirs properly at the altar of Venus, therefore he hoped the lovely maid would have no objection to his proposal”; accompanying his solicitations with a pretty weighty purse. This last argument had more effect on the mind of our heroine than anything the colonel had hitherto said.

After revolving in her mind the difference between a starving actress and living in a house, though with a debilitated old lover, and under the character of his mistress, of the two evils she determined to choose the last; and, therefore, consented to his urgent entreaties, and it was agreed that the colonel’s coach should receive her the following day.

We will pass over in silence the consternation of the dramatic heroes and heroines when they heard of the departure of their lovely and beautiful companion, whom we now behold an inmate of H*** Hall; in which situation she was mightly contented for a short time. It might be here thought necessary to inform the reader why the colonel, who so readily confessed to our fair one that it was not for the sake of sacrificing at the altar of love that he wished to persuade her to go to H*** Hall, it was more on this account – the colonel was ambitious that the world should think he was not so debilitated as was generally supposed, and that it should be said he had one of the finest girls in the kingdom then in keeping.

We will now return to our heroine, who, in a few months after her arrival at H*** Hall, began to wish for a change in situation. She had heard much praise of London, and imagined, with a great deal of truth, that her lovely person would not long remain in that gay metropolis unnoticed. Being naturally of a warm constitution, Miss Polly, in reality, sighed to taste of those joys of which she has yet only an idea, and was firmly resolved that it should not be long before she parted with that, which, in her present situation, was a torment to her, though in general reckoned a blessing and a virtue.

The colonel had not been at all niggardly to his lovely mistress, but what he had bestowed upon her was chiefly for the decoration of her lovely person. The purse, the first present he had made her, was now almost exhausted. This made our heroine determine that at the first opportunity every possible means should be taken to fill it again, or to get another, and then to set out for London.

One night when the cloth was taken away after supper, the colonel and Polly being tete-a-tete, she thought it a proper time to begin her manoeuvres, as she well knew her old lover had that day received a great quantity of that valuable desideratum, some of which she hoped to obtain.

“My dear Sir, you seem a little fatigued; your tenants were so troublesome to you this morning!”

“Indeed, my love, I am; but I have not forgotten you. That parcel on the table is yours, my charming girl; so are these stockings; do, my dear, permit me to draw a pair on those charming limbs. Come, put your pretty foot upon my knee.”

Polly did as she was directed. The colonel placed the candle on the floor, that his optics might be more capable of seeing his way; he could not help placing his withered hand above her knee. The touch was ecstatic – the stocking was forgotten – his pulse beat quick, and his whole frame shook; and while his rude hand advanced Polly grasped the purse, which the colonel in his agitation had left upon the table.

“Put it in your pocket, angelic woman!” were now the only words the trembling colonel could articulate.

As Polly removed her foot from the colonel’s knee, one of her snowy breasts came in contact with his face. “Oh, heaven!”

He said no more, and absolutely fainted. Polly was frightened, but her fears were soon dissipated when she saw her lover open his eyes.

“My charmer, I feel new vigour; suffer me to come to your chamber tonight.”

At a reasonable time the impatient lover approached to what he hoped would be the chamber of bliss. Polly was a most irresistible figure, shrouded only in her chemise. The colonel had used the most stimulating provocatives, and it must be confessed that he had acquired a greater share of vigour than he had possessed for many years before, and was, with a little assistance, able to wage war with a willing victim; but our heroine was fully determined that her virginity should not be sacrificed at this time; having determined very shortly to bestow it on some more worthy votary of the Cyprian goddess.

As a merchant worth one hundred thousand pounds sometimes loses the whole in an hour, through the fickleness of one deity; so, by the precipitancy of another, did our old hero in one moment find himself robbed of all that store of manhood which had been accumulating for years back. Polly played off an evolution which answered her purpose, and which appeared as a perfect accident. The particulars our invariable modesty prevents us giving. Often since, however, has this charming girl, when her spirits were enlivened with the juice of the exhilarating bowl, related to her enraptured lovers the particulars of this entertaining scene. The liveliness of description and the warmth of colouring were expressed in such an animated style that her astonished auditors for the time believed the lovely narrator to be moved by the spirit.

Our heroine had now, by the recent bounty of the colonel, sufficient to defray her expenses to town, as well as something to subsist on whilst there. She therefore determined to engage a place in the stage coach, which passed by H*** Hall every day. This being done, and having conveyed as many of her clothes as she conveniently could to a cottage bordering on the high road, she fixed a time for her departure. We will not relate the means taken to get away from H*** Hall unobserved, or the consternation that ensued there when it was discovered that the housekeeper’s niece had eloped; but must hasten to our heroine, who is now with a gay young barrister, the only other passenger in the coach, on the direct road to the great metropolis.

It cannot be supposed that this limb of the law could coolly observe the exquisite loveliness of his companion; he soon entered into conversation with her, and if he before admired the beauties of her person, he was now not less charmed with the brilliancy of her wit. Finding she was not averse to love, he plied her with the kind of language which a man that is long acquainted with the world knows how to use with success. Our heroine was quite captivated with him, and as night grew on, suffered him to take a few liberties, which might have alarmed the delicacy of a more modest woman, but Miss Polly thought no harm in granting. The natural warmth of our heroine’s constitution could not long resist the ecstatic dalliance which ensued without discovering those palpitations which to the feelings of a lover and a seducer are so delightful. Her watchful companion soon perceived that the wished-for moment had arrived, and without any further ceremony daringly advanced to the centre of earthly joy. Modesty, or rather mock-modesty, gently resisted.

It is well-known that in love resistance, instead of allaying, inflames the passions to a greater degree. This was the case with our successful pleader, for his presumption, had no sooner thrown his fellow-traveller wholly in his power than a large stone in the road upset his most devout intentions, and had he been on horseback, it might have been said that he was fairly tossed out of the saddle.

This sad discomfiture – attended with other little incidents, which we must omit describing, induced the barrister to make a speech on the inconveniences of stage coaches, in the conclusion of which he moved that the trial should be put off till their arrival in London.

London was not speedily reached in those days, and singularly fortunate were the individuals who could gain the metropolis without some little adventure. It was not the lucky fate of our heroine to miss a little affair which served at least to break the monotony of the journey. Soon after the incident related in our last chapter a party of gypsies were encountered, who encamped by the road side, presented a most picturesque appearance. Over sparkling fires pots were hung, and anyone near enough could sniff the fragrant flavour which rose from them, none the less grateful to the olfactory organ because the chickens which were cooking were stolen.

“Of all things in the world,” said Polly, “I have dearly longed to spend a night in a gypsy camp.”

“Don’t talk of spending,” said her companion; “it brings to my mind too keenly my disappointment. But it is a strange whim of yours, and stranger still that I have for years entertained the same notion. It shall be done! Gypsies are strange people, there may be some fun to be had with them. I don’t know about stopping the night. We will at least make their acquaintance.”

It has already been stated that our fair heroine and the barrister were the only occupants of the coach, no other passengers then could be inconvenienced by delay. A present to the coachman and post-boy soon overcame their scruples; their ready wit could easily invent some lie to account for the delay to their masters, and so the matter was quickly arranged; the coach was stopped, and young Capias (for so our barrister was called) and Polly approached the gypsies.

For a moment the natural timidity of her sex made Polly shrink from the swarthy figures they were approaching, the next moment she was reassured, for a young girl, with eyes black as night, hair dark and glossy as a raven’s wing, and a scarlet shawl showing off her lithe figure, approached her.

“Tell your fortune, fair lady?” said she. “Can the gorjio lady stop to have her fortune read; the gypsy girl will tell truly what the stars foretell.”

“You have just hit it, my girl,” said Capias; “tell the lady her fortune. Show us into one of your tents, and as bright a guinea as ever carried King George’s head shall be yours.”

Thrusting aside the curtain of a tent, Mildred, the darkeyed girl, led them into the interior. A great fire smouldered in the centre, the air of the tent was warmed and even perfumed by its smoke. A bed of heath and soft moss was in one corner of the tent, and being spread over with a rich scarlet shawl, it looked a couch which a gipsey queen would not disdain to employ as the scene of a sacrifice to Priapus.

Needless to repeat the pretty phrases which Mildred poured into Polly’s willing ears. How she promised her all sorts of good things in the future, and then, with a meaning look at Capias, slipped out of the tent, so taking care that Polly should have a good thing in the present.

Before many minutes had elapsed the coy lady was spread upon the heath couch, and Capias was duly “entering an appearance” in a court in which he had not practised before; but which, as there was no “bar” to his “pleading,” he contrived to make a very sensible impression. His few “motions” were rewarded with a verdict of approval; his “attachment” was pronounced a valid one, and soft caresses, murmured thanks, and close endearments rewarded him for his successful issue into the “court of love.”

It did not take long to remove from their flushed cheeks and disordered dress the evidence of the encounter, and Polly and Capias issued into the open air to meet Mildred and reward her for her considerate attention.

The sounds of singing and revelry from a large tent well lit next attracted our lawyer’s attention, and thereto he went.

Around a large fire was seated a group which might well have employed the brush of Murillo or Rembrandt. The luscious leer on the faces of the men and women showed how keenly they were enjoying a highly spiced song of one of the company; and the right hand of most of the men, being hid in the folds of the drapery of the women, gave evidence of a desire to practically realize some of the stanzas.

A bold-looking, bronze-faced youth was singing, and the following verses give a fair example of his song:

Oh merry it is when the moon is high

To chase the red, red, dear;

And merry it is when no keeper’s nigh

To trap and to snare without fear.

But better I ween is a night with my queen,

To lie in the arms of my love;

And to spend my sighs on those breasts I prize,

For a joy all others above.

Then here’s to the thing that each woman doth wear,

Though we cover it up with our hand;

Its forest is hair, but still I swear,

’Tis better than acres of land.

I’ve sipped red wine from a golden cup,

I’ve handled the guineas bright,

But a sweeter draught from my Chloe I’ll sup,

Her eyes give a brighter light.

Fd sooner taste the nectar sweet,

That flows from her ripe red------

Than I’d put to my lip the beaker’s tip,

Though with Burgundy filled to the brim.

Then while I’ve a soul I’ll go for that hole,

It gives me the greatest joy;

My pulses beat with a fevered heat

Whilst I my jock employ.

And when I’m dead lay under my head

A tuft of her fragrant hair,

In the silent land it will make me stand

As if my love were there.

Then shout and sing for that glorious thing,

That each one loves so well;

Keep me out of my meat, then heaven’s no treat,

I’d rather have Chloe in hell.

Capias listened, so did Polly, with mixed feelings to this very irreverent song, but the night was wearing on, and they had some thought of the long journey before them.

Mildred approached Capias with a smile, and said – “The gorjio gentleman will not stop long in the gypsy’s tent. Only let the gentleman be generous, and Mildred will show him and the lady a rare sight.”

Capias was generous, and Mildred quietly led the way to a tent some little distance off.

“Step lightly,” said she. “There are two of our people; they have eaten bread and salt to-day – they are now man and wife. Would you like to see the joys of their wedding night?”

Of course an affirmative answer was soon given, and Capias and Polly were led to a hole in the canvas wall, and witnessed the following curious scene.

At first only the dim outlines of two figures could be discerned in the interior of the tent.

“Wait a moment,” Mildred whispered to Polly. “Gypsies always have a good light; no one would have his bride in the dark on his wedding night.”

The peepers kept very still, and presently Mildred whispered again – “Zach is going to light up; you’ll see him look Miriam all over before he really has her for better or worse, as your marriage service says.”

The obscure figures now released themselves from a long embrace, the female giving an audible sigh, which seemed to give expression both to her amorous desires and timidity as to what was coming. Striking a match the swarthy bridegroom lighted up three candles, stuck in a common tin triangle suspended from the centre of the tent, which was a rather large one, set apart for the use of various members of the tribe on such special occasions.

“Now strip thee, lass, and gie us a sight of thy juicy koont afore I fook thee!” said Zach, imperatively. “Thou’s now all mine or now’t, as I find thee.”

Setting her a good example, he threw off jacket, vest, and breeks till he stood a dingy-looking Hercules in shirt and stockings, the former of which seemed anything but a clean wedding garment, looking a fair match in its unwashed tints to his olive-coloured skin. She, too, was too dark for it to be seen if her blushes betrayed the shock to her modesty which the sight of his tremendous yard, the big purple head of which jutted out beneath that dingy shirt.

“Tak’t in thee hond gal, and feel how randy ’tis!” he said, lifting up her smock the moment she stepped out of her skirts, and the pair could then be seen standing side by side in the full light of the candles, their lips glued together in a sucking kiss, whilst each one’s hands were busy caressing the other’s privates. She was a fine plump young woman of about eighteen, with a mass of black hair falling loose over her shoulders, but her lovely eyes were hidden by the closing lids, as if afraid to look in his face, or see her fate in any way.

 

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