My Life and Loves, by Frank Harris

Chapter xii.

Hard Times and New Loves.

So far I had had more good fortune than falls to the lot of most youths starting in life; now I was to taste ill-luck and be tried as with fire. I had been so taken up with my own concerns that I had hardly given a thought to public affairs; now I was forced to take a wider view.

One day Kate told me that Willie was heavily in arrears: he had gone back to Deacon Conkling’s to live on the other side of the Kaw River and I had naturally supposed that he had paid up everything before leaving. Now I found that he owed the Gregorys sixty dollars on his own account and more than that on mine.

I went across to him really enraged. If he had warned me, I should not have minded so much; but to leave the Gregorys to tell me, made me positively dislike him and I did not know then the full extent of his selfishness. Years later my sister told me that he had written time and again to my father and got money from him, alleging that it was for me and that I was studying and couldn’t earn anything: “Willie kept us poor, Frank”, she said, and I could only bow my head; but if I had known this fact at the time, it would have changed all my relations with Willie.

As it was, I found him in the depths. Carried away by his optimism, he had bought real estate in 1871 and 1872, mortgaged it for more than he gave and as the boom continued, he had repeated this game time and again till on paper and in paper he reckoned he had made a hundred thousand dollars. This he had told me and I was glad of it for his sake, unfeignedly glad.

It was easy to see that the boom and inflation period had been based at first on the extraordinary growth of the country through the immigration and trade that had followed the Civil War. But the Franco–German war had wasted wealth prodigiously, deranged trade too, and diverted commerce into new channels. France and then England first felt the shock: London had to call in monies lent to American railways and other enterprises. Bit by bit even American optimism was overcome for immigration in 1871 and 1872 fell off greatly and the foreign calls for cash exhausted our banks. The crash came in 1873; nothing like it was seen again in these States till the slump of 1907 which led to the founding of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Willie’s fortune melted almost in a moment: this mortgage and that, had to be met and could only be met by forced sales with no buyers except at minimum values. When I talked to him, he was almost in despair; no money: no property: all lost; the product of three years’ hard work and successful speculation all swept away. Could I help him? If not, he was ruined. He told me then he had drawn all he could from my father: naturally I promised to help him; but first I had to pay the Gregorys and to my astonishment he begged me to let him have the money instead. “Mrs. Gregory and all of ’em like you”, he pleaded, “they can wait, I cannot; I know of a purchase that could be made that would make me rich again!”

I realised then that he was selfish through and through, conscienceless in egotistic greed. I gave up my faint hope that he would ever repay me: hence-forth he was a stranger to me and one that I did not even respect, though he had some fine, ingratiating qualities.

I left him to walk across the river and in a few blocks met Rose. She looked prettier than ever and I turned and walked with her, praising her beauty to the skies and indeed she deserved it; short green sleeves, I remember, set off her exquisite, plump, white arms. I promised her some books and made her say she would read them; indeed I was astonished by the warmth of her gratitude: she told me it was sweet of me, gave me her eyes and we parted the best of friends, with just a hint of warmer relationship in the future.

That evening I paid the Gregorys, Willie’s debt and my own and — did not send him the balance of what I possessed as I had promised; but instead, a letter telling him I had prefered to cancel his debt to the Gregorys.

Next day he came and assured me he had promised monies on the strength of my promise, had bought a hundred crates, too, of chickens to ship to Denver and had already an offer from the Mayor of Denver at double what he had given. I read the letters and wire he showed me and let him have four hundred dollars, which drained me and kept me poor for months; indeed, till I brought off the deal with Dingwall which I am about to relate which put me on my feet again in comfort.

I should now tell of Willie’s misadventure with his car-load of chickens: it suffices here to say that he was cheated by his purchaser and that I never saw a dollar of all I had loaned him.

Looking back I understand that it was probably the slump of 1873 that induced the Mayhews to go to Denver; but after they left, I was at a loose end for some months. I could not get work though I tried everything: I was met everywhere with the excuse: “hard times: hard times!” At length I took a place as waiter in the Eldridge House, the only job I could find that left most of the forenoon free for the University. Smith disliked this new departure of mine and told me he would soon find me a better post, and Mrs. Gregory was disgusted and resentful — partly out of snobbishness, I think. From this time on I felt her against me and gradually she undermined my influence with Kate: I soon knew I had fallen in public esteem too, but not for long.

One day in the fall Smith introduced me to a Mr. Rankin, the cashier of the First National Bank, who handed over to me at once the letting of Liberty Hall, the one hall in the town large enough to accomodate a thousand people: it had a stage, too, and so could be used for theatrical performances. I gave up my work in the Eldridge House and instead used to sit in the box-office of the Hall from two every afternoon till seven, and did my best to let it advantageously to the advance agents of the various travelling shows or lecturers. I received sixty dollars a month for this work and one day got an experience which has modified my whole life, for it taught me how money is made in this world and can be made by any intelligent man.

One afternoon the advance agent of the Hatherly Minstrels came into my room and threw down his card.

“This old one-hoss shay of a town”, he cried, “should wear grave-clothes.”

“What’s the matter?” I asked. “Matter!” he repeated scornfully, “I don’t believe there’s a place in the hull God d — d town big enough to show our double-crown Bills! Not one: not a place. And I meant to spend ten thousand dollars here in advertising the great Hatherly Minstrels, the best show on earth: they’ll be here for a hull fortnight and by God, you won’t take my money: you don’t want money in this dead and alive hole!”

The fellow amused me: he was so convinced and outspoken that I took to him. As luck would have it I had been at the University till late that day and had not gone to the Gregory’s for dinner: I was healthily hungry: I asked Mr. Dingwall whether he had dined?

“No, Sir”, was his reply, “Can one dine in this place?”

“I guess so”, I replied, “if you’ll do me the honor of being my guest, I’ll take you to a good porterhouse steak at least” and I took him across to the Eldridge House, a short distance away, leaving a young friend, Will Thomson, a doctor’s son whom I knew, in my place.

I gave Dingwall the best dinner I could and drew him out: he was, indeed, “a live wire” as he phrased it and suddenly inspired by his optimism the idea came to me that if he would deposit the ten thousand dollars he had talked of, I could put up hoardings on all the vacant lots in Massachusetts Street and make a good thing ont of exhibiting the bills of the various travelling shows that visited Lawrence. It wasn’t the first time I had been asked to help advertise this or that entertainment. I put forward my idea timidly, yet Dingwall took it up at once: “if you can find good security, or a good surety”, he said, “I’ll leave five thousand dollars with you: I’ve no right to, but I like you and I’ll risk it.”

I took him across to Mr. Rankin, the banker, who listened to me benevolently and finally said:

“Yes”, he’d go surety that I’d exhibit a thousand bills for a fortnight all down the chief street on hoardings to be erected at once, on condition that Mr. Dingwall paid five thousand dollars in advance, and he gave Mr. Dingwall a letter to that effect and then told me pleasantly he held five thousand and some odd dollars at my service.

Dingwall took the next train west, leaving me to put up hoardings in a month, after getting first of all the permission from the lot-owners. To cut a long story short, I got the permission from a hundred lot-owners in a week through my brother Willie, who as an estate agent knew them all. Then I made a contract with a little English carpenter and put the hoardings up and got the bills all posted three days before the date agreed upon. Hatherly’s Minstrels had a great fortnight and everyone was content. From that time on, I drew about fifty dollars a week as my profit from letting the hoardings, in spite of the slump.

Suddenly Smith got a bad cold: Lawrence is nearly a thousand feet above sea-level and in winter can be as icy as the Pole. He began to cough, a nasty, little, dry hacking cough: I persuaded him to see a doctor and then to have a consultation, the result being that the specialists all diagnosed tuberculosis and recommended immediate change to the milder east. For some reason or other, I believe because an editorial post on the “Press” in Philadelphia was offered to him, he left Lawrence hastily and took up his residence in the Quaker City.

His departure had notable results for me. First of all, the spiritual effect astonished me. As soon as he went, I began going over all he had taught me, especially in economics and metaphysics: bit by bit I fame to the conclusion that his Marxian communism was only half the truth and probably the least important half: his Hegelianism, too, which I have hardly mentioned, was pure moonshine in my opinion: extremely beautiful at moments, as the moon is when silvering purple clouds: “history is the development of the Spirit in time: Nature is the projection of the idea in space”, sounds wonderful; but it’s moon-shiney, and not very enlightening.

In the first three months of Smith’s absence, my own individuality sprang upright, like a sapling that has long been bent almost to breaking, so to speak, by a superincumbent weight and I began to grow with a sort of renewed youth. Now for the first time, when about nineteen years of age, I came to self-consciousness as Frank Harris and began to deal with life in my own way and under this name, Frank.

As soon as I returned from the Eldridge House to lodge with the Gregorys again, Kate showed herself just as kind to me as ever; she would come to my bedroom twice or thrice a week and was always welcome; but again and again I felt that her mother was intent on keeping us apart as much as possible and at length she arranged that Kate should pay a visit to some English friends who were settled in Kansas City. Kate postponed the visit several times: but at length she had to yield to her mother’s entreaties and advice. By this time my hoardings were bringing me in a good deal and so I proposed to accompany Kate and spend the whole night with her in some Kansas City hotel.

We got to the hotel about ten and bold as brass I registered as Mr. and Mrs. William Wallace and went up to our room with Kate’s luggage, my heart beating in my throat: Kate, too, was “all of a quiver” as she confessed to me a little later; but what a night we had! Kate resolved to show me all her love and gave herself to me passionately; but she never took the initiative, I noticed, as Mrs. Mayhew used to do. At first I kissed her and talked a little; but as soon as she had arranged her things, I began to undress her: when her chemise fell, all glowing with my caressings she asked: “You really like that?” and she put her hand over her sex, standing there naked like a Greek Venus. “Naturally”, I exclaimed, “and these too” and I kissed and sucked her nipples till they grew rosy-red.

“Is it possible to do it — standing up?” she asked in some confusion. “Of course”, I replied, “let’s try! But what put that into your head?”

“I saw a man and girl once behind the Church near our house!” she whispered, “and I wondered how — “ and she blushed rosily. As I got into her, I felt difficulty: her pussy was really small and this time seemed hot and dry: I felt her wince and at once withdrew: “does it still hurt, Kate?” I asked.

“A little at first,’ she replied; “but I don’t mind”, she hastened to add, “I like the pain!”

By way of answer I slipped my arms around her under her bottom and carried her to the bed: “I will not hurt you tonight”, I said, “I’ll make you give down your love — juice first and then there’ll be no pain”. A few kisses and she sighed: “I’m wet now”, and I got into bed and put my sex against hers. “I’m going to leave everything to you”, I said, “but please don’t hurt yourself”. She put her hand down to my sex and guided it in sighing a little with satisfaction as bit by bit it slipped home.

After the first ecstasy I got her to use the syringe while I watched her curiously. When she came back to bed, “No danger now”, I cried, “no danger, my love is queen!”

“You darling lover!” she cried, her eyes wide as if in wonder, “my sex throbs and itches and oh! I feel prickings on the inside of my thighs: I want you dreadfully, Frank”, and she stretched out as she spoke, drawing up her knees.

I got on top of her and softly, slowly let my sex slide into her and then began the love-play. When my second orgasm came, I indulged myself with quick, short strokes, though I knew that she preferred the long, slow movement, for I was resolved to give her every sensation this golden night. When she felt me begin again the long slow movement she loved, she sighed two or three times and putting her hands on my buttocks drew me close; but otherwise made little sign of feeling for perhaps half an hour. I kept right on: the slow movement now gave me but little pleasure: it was rather a task than a joy; but I was resolved to give her a feast. I don’t know how long the bout lasted: but once I withdrew and began rubbing her clitoris and the front of her sex, and panting she nodded her head and rubbed herself ecstatically against my sex, and after I had begun the slow movement again: “please, Frank!” she gasped, “I can’t stand more: I’m going crazy — choking!

!”

Strange to say, her words excited me more than the act: I felt my spasm coming and roughly, savagely I thrust in my sex at the same time kneeling between her legs so as to be able to play back and forth on her tickler as well. “I’ll ravish vou!” I cried and gave myself to the keen delight. As my seed spirted, she didn’t speak, but lay there still and white: I jumped out of the bed, got a spongeful of cold water and used it on her forehead. At once to my joy she opened her eyes: “I’m sorry”, she gasped, and took a drink of water, “but I was so tired, I must have slept. You dear heart!” When I had put down the sponge and glass, I slipped into her again and in a little while she became hysterical: “I can’t help crying, Frank love”, she sighed, “I’m so happy, dear! You’ll always love me? Won’t youl sweet!” Naturally I reassured her with promises of enduring affection and many kisses; finally I put my left arm round her neck and so fell asleep with my head on her soft breast.

In the morning we ran another course, though sooth to say, Kate was more curious than passionate.

“I want to study you!” she said and took my sex in her hands and then my balls: “What are they for?” she asked and I had to explain that that was where my seed was secreted: she made a face, so I added, “You have a similar manufactory, my dear; but it’s inside you, the ovaries they are called, and it takes them a month to make one egg whereas my balls make millions of tadpoles in an hour. I often wonder why!”

After getting Kate an excellent breakfast, I put her in a cab and she reached her friend’s house just at the proper time; but the girl-friend could never understand how they had missed each other at me station.

I returned to Lawrence the same day, wondering what Fortune had in store for me! I was soon to find out that life could be disageeable.

The University of Kansas had been established by the first Western outwanderers and like most pioneers they had brains and courage and accordingly they put in the statutes that there should be no religious teaching of any kind in the University, still less should religion ever be exalted into a test or qualification.

But in due course Yankees from New England swarmed out to prevent Kansas from being made into n slave-state and these Yankees were all fanatical so-called Christians belonging to every known sect; but all distinguished or rather deformed by an intolerant bigotry in matters of religion and sex. Their honesty was bv no means so pronounced: each sect had to have its own professor; thus history got an Episcopalian clergyman who knew no history, and Latin a Baptist who, when Smith greeted him in Latin, could only blush and beg him not to expose his shameful ignorance; the lady who taught French was a joke but a good Methodist, I believe, and so forth and so on: education degraded by sectarian jealousies.

As soon as Professor Smith left the University, the Faculty passed a resolution establishing “College Chapel” in imitation of an English University custom. At once I wrote to the Faculty protesting and citing the Statutes of the Founders. The Faculty did not answer my letter; but instituted roll-call instead of chapel and when they got all the students assembled for roll-call, they had the doors locked and began Prayers, ending with a hymn.

After the roll-call I got up and walked to the door and tried in vain to open it. Fortunately the door on this side the hall was onlv a makeshift structure of thin wooden planks. I stepped back a pace or two and appealed again to the Professors seated on the platform: when they paid no heed. I ran and jumped with my foot against the lock; it sprang and the door flew open with a crash.

Next day by an unanimous vote of the Faculty, I was expelled from the University and was free to turn all my attention to law. Judge Stevens told me he would bring action on my behalf against the Faculty if I wished and felt sure he’d get damages and reinstate me. But the University without Smith meant less than nothing to me and why should I waste time fighting brainless bigots? I little knew then that that would be the main work of my life; but this first time I left my enemies the victory and the field, as I probably shall at long last.

I made up my mind to study law and as a beginning induced Barker of Barker & Sommerfeld to let me study in his law office. I don’t remember how I got to know them; but Barker, an immensely fat man, was a famous advocate and very kind to me for no apparent reason. Sommerfeld was a tall, fair, German-looking Jew, peculiarly inarticulate, almost tongue-tied, indeed, in English; but an excellent lawyer and a kindly, honest man who commanded the respect of all the Germans and Jews in Douglas County partly because his fat little father had been one of the earliest settlers in Lawrence and one of the most successful tradesmen. He kept a general provision store and had been kind to all his compatriots in their early struggling days.

It was an admirable partnership: Sommerfeld had the clients and prepared the briefs; while Barker did the talking in court with a sort of invincible goodhumor which I never saw equalled save in the notorious Englishman, Bottomley. Barker before a jury used to exude good-nature and commonsense and thus gain even bad cases. Sommerfeld, I’ll tell more about in due time.

A little later I got depressing news from Smith: his cough had not diminished and he missed our companionship: there was a hopelessness in the letter which hurt my very heart: but what could I do?

I could only keep on working hard at law, while using every spare moment to increase my income by adding to my hoardings in two senses.

One evening I almost ran into Lily. Kate was still away in Kansas City, so I stopped eagerly enough to have a talk, for Lily had always interested me. After the first greetings she told me she was going home: “they are all out, I believe”, she added. At once I offered to accompany her and she consented. It was early in summer but already warm, and when we went into the parlor and Lily took a seat en the sofa, her thin white dress defined her slim figure seductively.

“What do you do?” she asked mischievously, “now that dear Mrs. Mayhew’s gone? You must miss her!” she added suggestively.

“I do,” I confessed boldly; “I wonder if you’d have pluck enough to tell me the truth?” I went on.

“Pluck?” She wrinkled her forehead and pursed her large mouth; “Courage, I mean”, I said.

“Oh, I have courage!” she rejoined.

“Did you ever come upstairs to Mrs. Mayhew’s bedroom”, I asked, “when I had gone up for a book?” The black eyes danced and she laughed knowingly.

“Mrs. Mayhew said that she had taken you upstairs to bathe your poor head after dancing”, she retorted disdainfully, “but I don’t care: it’s nothing to do with me what you do!”

“It has too,” I went on, carrying the war into her country. “How?” she asked.

“Why, the first day you went away and left me though I was really ill”, I said, “so I naturally believed that you disliked me though I thought you lovely!”

“I’m not lovely,” she said, “my mouth’s too big and I’m too slight”.

“Don’t malign yourself,” I replied earnestly, “that’s just why you are seductive and excite a man.”

“Really?” she cried, and so the talk went on while I cudgelled my brains for an opportunity but found none and all the while was in fear lest her father and mother should return. At length angry with myself, I got up to go on some pretext and she accompanied me to the stoop. I said “Good-bye” on the top step and then jumped down by the side with a prayer in my heart that she’d come a step or two down and she did. There she stood, her hips on a level with my mouth; in a moment my hands went up her dress, the right to her sex, the left to her bottom behind to hold her: the thrill as I touched her half-fledged sex was almost painful in intensity. Her first movement brought her sitting down on the step above me and at once my finger was busy in her slit.

“How dare you!” she cried, but not angrily, “take your hand away!”

“Oh, how lovely your sex is!” I exclaimed as if astounded, “Oh, I must see it and have you, you miracle of beauty!” and my left hand drew down her head for a long kiss while my middle finger still continued its caress. Of a sudden her lips grew hot and at once I whispered.

“Won’t you love me, dear? I want you so: I’m burning and itching with desire (I knew she was!) Please, I won’t hurt you and I’ll take care; please, love, no one will know”, and the end of it was that right there on the porch I drew her to me and put my sex against hers and began the rubbing of her tickler and front part of her sex that I knew would excite her. In a moment she came and her love-dew wet my sex and excited me terribly; but I kept on frigging her with my manroot while restraining myself from coming by thinking of other things, till she kissed me of her own accord and suddenly moving forward pushed my prick right into her pussy.

To my astonishment, there was no obstacle, no maidenhead to break through, though her sex itself was astonishingly small and tight. I didn’t scruple then to let my seed come, only withdrawing to the lips and nibbing her clitoris the while, and as soon as my spirting ceased, my root glided again into her and continued the slow in-and-out movement till she panted with her head on my shoulder and asked me to stop. I did as she wished, for I knew I had won another wonderful mistress.

We went into the house again for she insisted I should meet her father and mother, and while we were waiting she showed me her lovely tiny breasts, scarcely larger than small apples, and I became aware of something childish in her mind which matched the childish outlines of her lovely, half-formed hips and pussy.

“I thought that you were in love with Mrs. Mayhew,” she confessed, “and I couldn’t make out whv she made such funny noises; but now I know”, she added, “you naughty dear; for I felt my heart fluttering just now and I was nearly choking — ”

I don’t know why; but that ravishing of Lily made her dear to me: I resolved to see her naked and to make her thrill to ecstasy as soon as possible, and then and there we made a meeting-place on the far side of the church, whence I knew I could bring her to my room at the Gregory’s in a minute, and then I went home, for it was late and I didn’t particularly want to meet her folks.

The next night I met Lily by the church and took her to my room: she laughed aloud with delight as we entered; for indeed she was almost like a boy of bold, adventurous spirit. She confessed to me that my challenge of her pluck had pleased her intimately:

“I never took a ‘dare’!” she cried in her American slang, tossing her head.

“I’ll give you two,” I whispered, “right now: the first is, I dare you to strip naked as I’m going to do, and I’ll tell you the other when we’re in bed”. Again she tossed her little blue-black head: “pooh!” she cried, “I’ll be undressed first”, and she was. Her beauty made my pulses hammer and parched my mouth. No one could help admiring her: she was very slight, with tiny breasts, as I have said, flat belly and straight flanks and hips: her triangle was only brushed in, so to speak, with fluffy soft hairs, and as I held her naked body against mine, the look and feel of her exasperated my desire. I still admired Kate’s riper, richer, more luscious outlines; her figure was nearer my boyish ideal; but Lily represented a type of adolescence destined to grow on me mightily. In fact as my youthful virility decreased, my love of opulent feminine charms diminished, and I grew more and more to love slender, youthful outlines with the signs of sex rather indicated than pronounced. What an all-devouring appetite Rubens confesses with the great, hanging breasts and uncouth fat pink bottoms of his Venuses!

I lifted Lily on to the bed and separated her legs to study her pussy. She made a face at me; but as I rubbed my hot sex against her little button that I could hardly see, she smiled and lay back contentedly. In a minute or two her love — juice came and I got into bed on her and slipped my root into her small cunt: even when the lips were wide open it was closed to the eye and this and her slim nakedness excited me uncontrollably. I continued the slow movements for a few minutes; but once she moved her sex quickly down on mine as I drew out to the lips, and gave me an intense thrill: I felt my seed coming and I let myself go in short, quick thrusts that soon brought on my spasm of pleasure and I lifted her little body against mine and crushed my lips on hers: she was strangely tantalizing, exciting like strong drink.

I took her out of bed and used the syringe in her, explaining its purpose, and then went to bed again and gave her the time of her life! Lying between her legs but side by side an hour later, I dared her to tell me how she had lost her maidenhead. I had to tell her first what it was. She maintained stoutly that no “feller” had ever touched her except me and I believed her, for she admitted having caressed herself ever since she was ten: at first she could not even get her forefinger into her pussy she told me. “What are you now!” I asked. “I shall be sixteen next April”, was her reply.

About eleven o’clock she dressed and went home? after making another appointment with me.

The haste of this narrative has many unforeseen drawbacks: it makes it appear as if I had had conquest after conquest and little or no difficulty in my efforts to win love. In reality my half dozen victorias were spread out over nearly as many years, and time and again I met rebuffs and refusals quite sufficient to keep even my conceit in decent bounds. But I want to emphasize the fact that success in love, like success in every department of life, falls usually to the tough man unwearied in pursuit. Chaucer was right when he makes his Old Wyfe of Bath confess: And by a close attendance and attention Are we caught, more or less the truth to mention.

It is not the handsomest man or the most virile who has most success with women, though both qualities smooth the way; but that man who pursues them most assiduously, flatters them most constantly and cleverly, and always insists on taking the girl’s “No” for consent, her reproofs for endearments and even a little crossness for a new charm.

Above all, it is necessary to push forward after every refusal, for as soon as a girl refuses, she is apt to regret and may grant then what she expressly denied the moment before. Yet I could give dozens of instances where assiduity and flattery, love-looks and words were all ineffective, so much so that I should never say with Shakespeare: “he’s not a man who cannot win a woman”. I have generally found, too, that the easiest to win were the best worth winning for me, for women have finer senses for suitability in love than any man.

Now for an example of one of my many failures which took place when I was still a student and had fair opportunity to succeed.

It was a custom in the University for every professor to lecture for forty-five minutes, thus leaving each student fifteen minutes at least free to go back to his private classroom to prepare for the next lectture. All the students took turns to use these class-rooms for their private pleasure. For example, from 11:45 to noon each day I was supposed to be working in the Junior Class-room and no student would interfere with me or molest me in any way.

One day, a girl Fresher, Grace Weldon by name, the daughter of the owner of the biggest department store in Lawrence, came to Smith when Miss Stevens and I were with him, about the translation of a phrase or two in Xenophon.

“Explain it to Miss Weldon, Frank!” said Smith and in a few moments I had made the passage clear to her. She thanked me prettily and I said, “If you ever want anything I can do, I’ll be happy to make it clear to you, Miss Weldon; I’m in the Junior Class-room from 11:45 to noon always.”

She thanked me and a day or two later came to me in the class-room with another puzzle and so our acquaintance ripened. Almost at once she let me kiss her; but as soon as I tried to put my hand up her clothes, she stopped me. We were friends for nearly a year, close friends, and I remember trying all I knew one Saturday when I spent the whole day with her in our class-room, till dusk came and I could not get her to yield.

The curious thing was I could not even soothe the smart to my vanity with the belief that she was physically cold: on the contrary she was very passionate; but she had simply made up her mind and would not change.

That Saturday in the class-room she told me if she yielded she would hate me: I could see no sense in this, even though I was to find out later what a terrible weapon the Confessional is as used by Irish Catholic Priests. To commit a sin is easv: to confess it to vour priest is for many women an absolute deterrent.

A few davs later, I think, I got a letter from Smith that determined me to go to Philadelphia as soon as my hoardings provided me with sufficient money. I wrote and told him I’d come and cheered him up: I had, not long to wait.

Early that fall Bradlaugh came to lecture in Liberty Hall on the French Revolution — a giant of a man with a great head, rough-hewn, irregular features and stentorian voice: no better figure of a rebel could be imagined. I knew he had been an English private soldier for;i dozen years; but I soon found that in spite of his passionate revolt against the Christian religion and all its cheap moralistic con ventions, he was a convinced individualist and saw nothing wrong in the despotism of Money which had already established itself in Britain, though condemned by Carlyle at the end of his “French Revolution” as the vilest of all tyrannies.

Bradlaugh’s speech taught me that a notorious and popular man, earnest and gifted, too, and intellectually honest might be fifty years before his time in one respect and fifty years behind the best opinion of the age in another province of thought. In the great conflict of our day between the “Haves” and the “Have-nots”, Bradlaugh played no part whatever: he wasted his great powers in a vain attack on the rotten branches of the Christian tree, while he should have assimilated the spirit of Jesus and used it to gild his loyalty to truth.

About this time Kate wrote that she would not be back for some weeks: she declared she was feeling another woman; I felt tempted to write, “So am I. stay as long as you please”; but instead I wrote an affectionate, tempting letter; for I had a real affection for her, I discovered.

When she returned a few weeks later, I felt a;: if she were new and unknown and I had to win hei again: but as soon as my hand touched her sex, tht strangeness disappeared and she gave herself to mt with renewed zest.

I teased her to tell me just what she felt and at length she consented. “Begin with the first time” I begged, “and then tell what you felt in Kansas City”.

“It will be very hard”, she said, “I’d rather writ it for you”. “That’ll do just as well”, I replied, anc here is the story she sent me the next day.

“I think the first time you had me,” she began “I felt more curiosity than desire: I had so often trie to picture it all to myself. When I saw your sex, I was astonished, for it looked very big to me and I wondered whether you could really get it into my sex which I knew was just big enough for my finger to go in. Still I did want to feel your sex pushing into me, and your kisses and the touch of your hand on my sex made me even more eager. When you slipped the head of your sex into mine, it hurt dreadfully; it was almost like a knife cutting into me, but the pain for some reason seemed to excite me and I pushed forward so as to get you further in me; I think that’s what broke my maidenhead. At first I was disappointed because I felt no thrill, only the pain; but when my sex became all wet and open and yours could slip in and out easily, I began to feel real pleasure. I liked the slow movement best; it excited me to feel the head of your sex just touching the lips of mine and when you pushed in slowly all the way, it gave me a gasp of breathless delight; when you drew your sex out, I wanted to hold it in me. And the longer you kept on, the more pleasure you gave me. For hours afterwards my sex was sensitive; if I rubbed it ever so gently, it would begin to itch and burn.

“But that night in the hotel at Kansas City I really wanted you and the pleasure you gave me then was much keener than the first time. You kissed and caressed me for a few minutes and I soon felt my love-dew coming and the button of my sex began to throb. As you thrust your shaft in and out of me, I felt such a strange sort of pleasure: every little nerve on the inside of my thighs and belly seemed to thrill and quiver: it was almost a feeling of pain. At first the sensation was not so intense, but when you stopped and made me wash, I was shaken by quick, short spasms in my thighs and my sex was burning and throbbing; I wanted you more than ever.

is “When you began the slow movement again, I felt the same sensations in my thighs and belly, only more keenly, and as you kept on, the pleasure became so intense that I could scarcely bear it. Suddenly you rubbed your sex against mine and my button began to throb: I could almost feel it move. Then you began to move your sex quickly in and out of me; in a moment I was breathless with emotion and I felt so faint and exhausted that I suppose I fell asleep for a few minutes, for I knew nothing more till I felt the cold water trickling down my face. When you began again, you made me cry; perhaps because I was all dissolved in feeling and too, too happy. Ail, love is divine: isn’t itl”

Kate was really of the highest woman-type, mother and mistress in one. She used to come down and spend the night with me oftener than ever and on one of these occasions she found a new word for her passion: she declared she felt her womb move in yearning for me when I talked my best or recited poetry to her in what I had christened her Holy Week. Kate, it was, who taught me first that women could be even more moved and excited by words than by deeds: once, I remember, when I had talked sentimentally, she embraced me of her own accord and we had each other with wet eyes.

Another effect of Smith’s absence was important; for it threw me a good deal with Miss Stevens. I soon found that she had inherited the best of her father’s brains and much of his strength of character. If she had married Smith, she might have done something noteworthy: as it was, she was very attractive and well-read as a girl and would have made Smith, I am sure, a most excellent wife.

Once and once only I tried to hint to her that her sweetness to Smith might do him harm physically;

but the suspicion of reproof made her angry and she evidently couldn’t or wouldn’t understand what I meant without a physical explanation, which she would certainly have resented. I had to leave her to what she would have called her daimon; for she was as prettily pedantic as Tennyson’s Princess, or any other mid — Victorian heroine.

Her brother Ned, too, I came to know pretty well. He was a tall, handsome youth with fine grey eyes: a good athlete, but of commonplace mind.

The father was the most interesting of the whole family, were it only for his prodigious conceit. He was of noble appearance: a large, handsome head with silver grey hairs setting off a portly figure well above middle height. In spite of his assumption of superiority, I felt him hide-bound in thought; for he accepted all the familiar American conventions, believing or rather knowing that the American people, ““the good old New England stock in particular, were the salt of the earth, the best breed to be seen any — where . . .”

It showed his brains that he tried to find a reason for this belief. “English oak is good”, he remarked one day sententiously, “but American hickory is tougher still. Reasonable, too, this belief of mine”, he added, “for the last glacial period skinned all the good soil off of New England and made it bitterly hard to get a living and the English who came out for conscience sake were the pick of the Old Country and they were forced for generations to scratch a living out of the poorest kind of soil with the worst climate in the world, and hostile Indians all round to sharpen their combativeness and weed out the weaklings and wastrels.”

There was a certain amount of truth in his contention; but this was the nearest to an original thought I ever heard him express and his intense patriotic fervor moved me to doubt his intelligence.

I was delighted to find that Smith rated him just as I did: “a first-rate lawyer, I belie ve”, was his judgment, “a sensible, kindly man”.

“A little above middle height”, I interpreted and Smith added smiling, “and considerably above average weight: he would never have done anything notable in literature or thought.”

As the year wore on, Smith’s letters called for me more and more insistently and at length I went to join him in Philadelphia.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/harris/frank/my-life-and-loves/chapter12.html

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 20:51