Fanny Hill. • Masturbation. • Friend Henry. • Under street- gratings at the gunmaker’s. • A frigging match. • Sights from below. • In a back street. • A prick in petticoats. • Evacuations. • Ladies scared.

I went back to London, and resumed my preparations. Penniless, I tried to get money from my mother, but could not. I tried to feel our ugly housemaid, who threatened to tell. Just then a friend lent me Fanny Hill, how well I recollect that day, it was a sunshiny afternoon, I devoured the book and its luscious pictures, and although I never contemplated masturbation, lost all command of myself, frigged, and spent over a picture as it lay before me. I did not know how to clean the book and the table-cover.

Fascinated although annoyed with myself, I repeated the act till not a drop of sperm would come; and the skin of my prick was sore. The next day I had a splitting headache but read at intervals, and again frigged; and did this for a week, till my eyes were all but dropping into my head. In a fever and worn out; the doctor said I was growing too fast, and ordered strong nourishment; but I used to take the infernal book with me to bed, and lay reading it, twiddling my prick, and fearing to consumate, knowing the state I was in. It was indeed almost impossible to do it, and when emission came, it was accompanied by a fearful aching in my testicles.

My friend had his book back, my erotic excitement ceased, I grew stronger, felt ashamed of myself, and soon found a new excitement.

I had a friend who like me was intended for the Army, his father was a gun manufacturer. The eldest son died, and the old man saying that five thousand a year should not be lost to the family, made his other son—my friend—go into the business. He resisted, but had no alternative but to consent. Their dwelling-house was just by ours, but the old man now insisted on his son residing largely at the manufactory where he invited me to stay at times with him, which I did.

Several houses adjoining belonged to the old man, at the East-End of London, where the manufactory was. Some faced an important thoroughfare, the rest faced two other streets, and at the back, a place with out a thoroughfare, on one side of which was the manufactory and workmen’s entrance; on the other side stables. The whole property formed a large block.

The house faced the better street, the family had for forty years lived in it before they became rich, and it was replete with comfort. The old man had since lived there principally, for his love was in his business, and he had made all arrangements for his convenience. He had a private staircase leading from a sitting room into the manufactory, and could go into the warehouse, or the back street, or out of the front door of the house unnoticed. The people employed, never knew when to expect him. He was a regular Tartar, but for all that a kind-hearted man.

There now lived in the house an old servant with her sister, who had been many years in the family. One was married to a foreman in whom his master had much confidence; these three were in fact in charge of the premises, although nominally the keyes were given up to my friend whom we will call Henry. The old man wished his son to be happy, allowed friends to visit him, there was good wine, put out by the old man in small quantities from time to time, good food, good attendance, and all to make things comfortable; but the old man resolutely forbade his son to be out later than eleven o’clock, and kept him as my mother kept me, almost without money. I expect that the old servants were told to keep an eye on the doings of Henry.

The basement was used as store-room for muskets, put into wooden boxes which stood in long rows upon each other like coffins. It was a large place and originally only went under the factory, but the old gentleman gradually as he acquired the adjacent houses, let them, but retained most of the basements, so that his stores ran not only under the premises he occupied, but largely under half a dozen other houses of which he only let the shops and upper portions. On four sides this large basement had glimpses of light let into it, by gratings in the footways of the streets.

At one end and on the principal street was a row of windows, beneath what was then a first class linen-draper’s shop—first class I mean for the East-End—a large place for those days, and always full. Women used to stand by dozens at a time, looking into the shop windows which were of large plate-glass—a great novelty in those days—people waiting for omnibusses used also to stand up against the shop.

Henry and I were old school friends, I had seen and felt his cock, he mine; I had not been with him an hour before he said, “When the workmen go to dinner, I will show your more legs than your ever saw in your life.” “Girls?” said I. “Yea, I saw up above the garters of a couple of dozen yesterday in an hour.” “Could you see their cunts?” “I did not quite, but ‘nearly of one”, said he. I thought he was bragging, and was glad when twelve o’clock came.

At that hour down we went, through the basement stored with muskets; it seemed dark as we entered, but soon we saw streams of light coming through the windows at the end; they had not been cleaned for years. We rubbed the glass and looked up. Above us was a flock of women’s legs of all sizes and shapes flashing before us, thick and thin in wonderful variety. We could see them by looking up, it being bright above; but dark and dusty below, they could not by looking down see us, through the half cleaned windows; or notice round clean spots on the glass, through which two pairs of young eyes almost devoured the limbs of those who stood over them.

As our only way lay through the workshop and we did not wish it known that we were there (there was no business done there, unless arms were being stored or taken out), we went back before the workmen returned from their meals; but for several days did we go into the place, gloating over such of the women’s charms as we could discern; legs we saw by the hundreds, garters and parts of the thighs we saw by scores: quite enough to make young blood randy to madness, but the shadowy mass between the thighs we could not get a glimpse of.

“There are vaults”, said I, “if there, we could see right up, and be at the back of the women.” We tried unused keys to find one to open the door, and at length to our intense delight it unclosed. We stepped across the little open space under the gratings into the empty vaults, and there arranging to take our turns of looking up at the most likely spots, we put out our heads and took our fill at gazing. We were right under the women, who as they looked into the shop windows, jutting out their bums in stooping, tilted their petticoats exactly over our heads. If there was no carriage passing, we could at times hear what they said, but that was rarely the case.

In those days even ladies wore no drawers. Their dresses rarely came below their ankles, they wore bustles, and standing over a grating, anyone below them, saw much more, and more easily, than they can in these days of draggling dresses, and cunt swabbing breeches, which the commonest girl wears round her rump. For all that, so close to the thighs, do chemise and petticoats cling, that it was difficult to see the hairy slits, which it was our great desire to look at. Garters and thighs well above the knees, we saw by scores. Every now and then either by reason of scanty clothing, or short dresses, or by a woman’s stooping and opening her legs to look more easily low down at the window, we had a glimpse of the cunt; and great was our randiness and delight when we did. On the whole we were well rewarded. Many as the legs and thighs are, that I have since seen, I doubt whether I have seen so many pairs of legs half-way up the thighs, and all but to the split, as I saw in the times we stood under that. big linendraper’s shop window. Old and young, thin and fat, dirty and clean, ragged and neat, there was every possible variety and number of legs and their coverings. There were two states of the weather which favoured us: if muddy, women lifted their clothes up high. Having no modern squeamishness, all they cared about was to prevent them getting muddy; and then with the common classes, we got many a glimpse of the split. But a brilliant day was the best. Then the reflected light being strong, we could see higher up if the lady was in a favourable position. We could see if they had clouts round their cunts, and had some strange sights of which I will only tell one or two.

One day, quite at the end of the gratings, two women, neat, clean, plump, and of the poorer classes (for we could soon tell the poorer classes from their legs and under-clothings), stood close together. It was my five minutes. Henry was at my back. They had been standing talking, close together, not seeming to be looking at the shop, in fact they were at the spot where the shop window finished. One put her leg up against a ledge, keeping the other on the grating; it was a bright day, and I saw the dark hair of her cunt as plainly as if she were standing to show it me. The next minute she gathered up her clothes a little high, and squatted down on her heels as if to pidlle, her bum came down within four or five inches of the grating, and I saw through the bars, her cunt open just as a woman does when she pisses. I thought she was going to do so, when a plantive cry explained it all; she had a baby, and all the movements were to enable her to do something to it conveniently. At the same time her companion dropped on one knee, pulling her clothes a little up, and arranging them so as to prevent soiling them, she put the other leg out in front, and sat back on the heel of the kneeling leg. Then was another split, younger and lighter-haired, partly visible from below, but not so plainly as the dark-haired one; and they did something in that position for five minutes to the squalling child.

I lost all prudence, whispered to Henry; and together we stood looking, till they moved away. “My prick will burst”, said I. “So will mine”, said he. The next instant both our pricks were out, and looking up at the legs, stood we two young men, frigging till two jets of spunk spurted across the area. It would have been a fine sight for the women had they looked down, but women rarely did. They stood over the gratings usually with the greatest unconcern, looking at the shop windows, or only glanced below for an instant, at the dark, uninhabitated looking area.

This was the beginning of a new state of things. We got reckless; Henry had business to attend to, I none, —I ceased to think about what might be said of our being so much in the store-house; and used to go by myself, and stay there two or three hours at a time. Then I gave way to erotic excesses. My prick would stand as I went down the stairs. I used to wait prick in hand, playing with it, looking up and longing for a poke until I saw a pair of thighs plainly, then able to stand it no longer, frigged; hating myself even whilst I did it, and longing to put my spunk in the right place. I used to catch it in one hand, whilst I frigged with the other, then fling the spunk up towards the girls’ legs. It was madness; for although the feet of the women were not three feet above my head, yet the smallness of the quantity thrown (after what stuck to my fingers), and the iron bars above, seemed to make it impossible that any of it should reach its intended destination; but I think it did one day. A youngish female was stooping, and showing part of her thighs. I flung up what I had just discharged; suddenly her legs closed, she stepped quickly aside, looked down and went away. I am still under the impression that a drop of my sperm, must have hit her naked legs.

We both also grew more lascivious, having frigged before each other, we took to frigging each other. I went to my home, on going back, found he had taken other young men to see the legs. One night five of us had dinner, we smoked and drank, our talk grew baudier; we had mostly been schoolfellows, and dare say we had all seen each other’s doodles, but I cannot assert that positively. We finished by showing them to each other now, betting on their length and size, and finished up by a frigging sweep-stakes for him who spent first.

At a signal, five young men (none I am sure nineteen years old) seated on chairs in the middle of the room began frigging themselves, amidst noise and laughter. The noise soon subsided, the voices grew quiet, then ceased, and was succeeded by convulsive breathing sighs and long- drawn breaths, the legs of some writhed, and stretched out, their backsides wriggled on the chairs, one suddenly stood up. Five hands were frigging as fast as they could, the prick-knobs standing out of a bright vermillion tint looking as if they must burst away from the hands which held them. Suddenly one cried “f-fi-fir-first”, as some drops of gruelly fluid flew across the room, and the frigger sunk back in the chair. At the same instant almost the other jets spurted, and all five men were directly sitting down, some with eyes closed, others with eyes wide open, all quiet and palpitating, gently frigging, squeezing, and tittillating their pricks until pleasure had ceased.

Afterwards we were quiet, then came more grog, more allusion to the legs of women, their cunts and pleasures, more baudiness, more showing of pricks and ballocks, another sweep-stakes, another frigging match, and then we separated.

I do not think that excepting to Henry, that baudy evening ever was referred to by me.

I got up I recollect next day ashamed of myself, and felt worse, when he remarked, “What beasts we made ourselves last night.” What changes since then. Two of the five found graves in the Crimea, the third is dead also; Henry and I alone alive. He with a big family, with sons nearly as old as he was at the time of the frigging matches. I wonder if he ever thinks of them, wonder if he ever has told his wife.

I spent much time now in this leg inspection and frigging myself, till I could scarcely get semen out of me. I hated myself for it, yet went on doing it, when luckily I lost the exciting sights. Some women happened to look down and saw us. A man without a hat came several times and looked down the gratings. Henry’s father came to the manufactory, as he often did, went into the stores, asked who had opened the area-door, locked it up, had a new lock put on, and forbad anyone to go into the stores excepting to get out the guns, and so we lost our game. We never asked a question, nor made a remark on the matter; and came to the conclusion, that some one had complained to the linendraper that persons were looking up the women’s legs, and that he had written to Henry’s father on the matter. I went home used up, and in a state of indescribable disgust with myself, entirely ceased masturbation, and in a month went again to visit my friend, — he had found out another grating.

The back of the manufactory as said was in a cul-de-sac. There were but the manufactory and stables in it. The workmen entered that side. There were gratings, and coal-vaults beneath the street similar to those beneath’ the linendraper’s shop. Workmen’s wives bringing their husbands’ dinners, used to stand and sometimes sit down over the gratings, but their Iegs when seen were rarely worth the seeing; it was usually but a sight of dingy petticoats, and dirty stockings. We were however content to look up at them, for they belonged to women, but soon tired of doing so.

One night (we had never been there at night before), for some reason or the other which I don’t recollect we went down and found two women pissing down the grating, then a man and woman together, and discovered it to be the pissing-place of the gay women, in the main thoroughfare; and where if the nights were dark, couples used to come for a grope, a frig, or even for a fuck at times. The pissing often took place over a grating, we could hear, and feel, but not see.

Then we got a common dark lantern, had the top shade taken of, and a funnel, or short chimney put with a slide, so that when we pushed the slide off, the light shot up through the chimney, and throw a strong light on a circle about one foot across. With this we went down waiting till we heard some one above, then opened the light and saw what was to be seen. Sometimes we waited for hours without seeing anything, but it is astonishing what cute-loving, baudy young men will go through for the sake of seeing a woman’s privates. At other times we saw a good deal. If it were a light night, we saw nothing. No one knew we went down at those hours, the workmen had gone, and the private staircase from the dwelling house at any time let us into the factory; from the factory we could go anywhere on the premises.

When we heard feet, or a rustle of petticoats over the grating, taking up the light we sometimes saw a white bum, a split gaping like a dog with its throat cut, and a stream of water splashing from it. We never used to move, but sooner than not see it ali and as well as possible, let the stream come over us. Sometimes two women came together; sometimes we could hear to our mortification that they were pissing on the pavement close by, without coming over the grating. We could often hear their conversation. Now and then a woman shit down the grating, we used to watch the turds squeeze out with a fart or two, with great amusement. Once a man did the same, we saw prick, balls, and turd, all hanging down together, we could not help laughing, and off he shuffled as if he had been shot. He must have heard us.

There was one woman whose face we never saw, but who came and pissed over a grating so regularly every evening, and sometimes twice; that we knew her arse perfectly. We lost sight of her and used to wonder if she had found us out, for she finished one night with such a loud fart, that we laughed out, — and she must have heard us.

One night half a dozen ladies came, we knew they were ladies by their manner and conversation, which we could hear perfectly, there being no carriage traffic in the street. “Can anyone see?” said one. “No,” said another, “make haste.” We heard the usual leafy rustle, and immediately a tremendous stream was heard; then two more sat down close together. I turned on the light at all risks, there were two pretty white little bums above us, with the gaping cunts, they were of quite young girls, without a hair on them; the women then were scared I suppose, for they moved. One said, “Make haste, don’t be foolish, nobody is coming.” A rustle again, off went the slide, up went the light; what a big round bum, what a great black-haired open cunt did we see, and a stream of water as if from a fire-engine. “Oh! there is a light down there,” said one. Up went the bum, piss still straining down, down went the clothes, and all were off like lightening.

Another night we heard two pairs of feet above us, one was the heavy footstep of a man. “Don’t be foolish, he won’t know,” said a man in a very low tone. “Ohl no, — no, I dare not,” said a female voice, and the feet with a little rustling moved to another grating. Henry and I moved on also. “You shall, no one comes here, no one can see us,” said the man in a still lower tone. “Oh! I am so frightened,” said the female. A little gentle scuffling now took place, and then all seemed quiet but a slight movement of the feet. “Are they there?” whispered Henry from the vault. I nudged him to quiet, and putting the light as high up as I could, pushed aside the slide a little only.

We were well rewarded. Just above our heads were two pairs of feet, one pair wide apart; and hanging only partly at her back the garments of a female; in front the trousers of a man with the knees projecting slightly forward between the female’s legs, and higher up a bag of balls were hanging down hiding nearly the belly and channel, which the prick was taking. The distended legs between which the balls moved, enabled us however to get a glimpse of the arse-hole and of a cunt. The movement of the ballocks showed the vigor with which the man was fucking, but there must have been some inequality in height; and either he was very tall, or she very short.; for his knees and feet moved out at times into different positions. He then ceased for an instant his shoving, as if to arrange himself in a fresh and more convenient posture, and then the lunges recommenced. He must have had his hands on her naked rump, from the way her clothes hung, showing her legs up to her belly, or to where his breeches hidit, or where the clothes fell down which were over his arm.

Once I imagine, the lady’s clothes were in his way, for there was a pause, his prick came quite out, her feet moved, her legs opened wider. He did not need his fingers to find his mark again, his long, stiff, red-tipped article had slidden in the direction of her bum-hole; but no sooner had they readjusted their legs, then it moved backwards, and again it was hidden from sight in her cunt. The balls wagged more vigorously than ever, quicker, quicker; the lady’s legs seemed to shake, we heard a sort of mixed cry, like a short groan and cry together, and a female voice say, “Oh! don’t make such a noise,” then a quiver and a shiver of the legs, and all seemed quiet.

When I first had removed the slide, I did so in a small degree, fearing they might look below and see it; but if the sun had shone from below, I believe now they must have been in that state of excitement, that they would not have noticed it. To see better I opened the slide more, and gradually held the lantern higher and higher, until the chimney through which the light issued was near to the grating. I was holding it by the bottom at arms length; and naturally, so as to best see myself. Henry could not see as well, although standing close to me, and our heads nearly touching. “Hold it more this way,” said he in an excited whisper. I did not. Just then the lady said, “Oh! make haste now, I am so frightened.” Out slipped the prick, — I saw it. At that very instant, Henry pulled my hand, to get the lantern placed so as to enable him to see better. I was holding it between the very tips of my fingers, just below the feet of the copulating couple. His. jerk pulled it over, and down it went with a smash, just as the lady said, “Make haste, I am so frightened.” A huge prick as it seemed to me drew out, and flopped down, a hand grasped it, .the petticoats were falling round the legs, when the crash of the lantern came. With a loud shriek from the lady, off the couple moved, and I dare say it was many a day before she had her privates moistened up against a wall again, and over a grating.

Henry and I laughing picked up the lantern and got back to the house; I went to my bed-room in a state of indescribable randiness. I had for some time broken myself of frigging, and now resisted the desire, tried to read but could not, undressed and went to bed. My prick would stand. If it went down for a minute and my thoughts were diverted, the very instant my mind recurred to those balls wagging above my head, up it went again. I tried to piss, the piss would not run. At that time when my prick was stiff, I used to pull the prepuce back, so as to loosen it. I laid down on the bed, prick stiff. If it could have spoken, it would have said, “Frig or fuck, you shall, before I give you rest.” So I pulled the prepuce slowly back, — only once, — and as the knob came handsomely into view, out shot my spunk all over the bed-clothes.

Getting up to wipe and make things clean, I saw something on the brim of my cap which I had worn; the cap was on the table. I took it up and found a large spot of sperm which had come from the happy couple, it must have followed the withdrawal of the prick; and had my head been a little more turned up, it must have tumbled on my face. I did not mind wiping up my own sperm, but doing so to their’s seemed beastly. Yet what was the difference?

We heard one night some one squat down, and turned up the light; there were petticoats, legs and an arse, but instead of the usual slit, we saw to our astonishment a prick and balls hanging down between the legs, it was a man in woman’s clothes, and he was shitting. The sight alarmed us, we talked over it for many a day afterwards, for we did not then know that some men are fond of amusing themselves with other men.

I never saw but that one couple fucking, but we could hear groping and frigging going on close by. We heard women say, “Oh ! don’t !” Gay women, we heard say, “Here is a good place,” but they did not often select the gratings, why? I cannot tell, for they were partly in recesses in the wall which enabled people to get more hidden. The bars were wide apart, and I suppose the regulars did not like that, yet they often used the gratings for pissing down.

These sights did no occur all at once, I went home, stopped, returned, and so on; in the meanwhile not having women, I then frigged, left off, then took to it again, and so time went on. Fewer women came at last up the street, we imagined that with all our care, they had found out that people were beneath the gratings, and avoided them. The favorite place was the recess at the workmen’s door to the factory at which were two steps; we could hear but not see when a couple was there, we used then to go up into the factory and listen at the door. Generally, feeling and frigging was only going on, bargaining for money first. “Give me another shilling. Oh ! your nails hurt. What a lot of hair you have. What a big one ! Oh ! I am coming! Don’t spend over my clothes,” and so on, we heard at times.

Meanwhile there was either no servant at my home worthy of a stiff one, or those who would not take one; and I had no alternative but to frig. Money my mother again kept from me. What I got, I sent to the poor girl Martha, who then had not got rid of her big belly; gay women I had fear of; devoured by desire to get into a woman again, I even looked longingly at the wife of the foreman who took charge of the house in which Henry lived, although she was fifty. I recollect seeing her making my bed one morning, and getting a cock-stand at the sight of the woman so near a place to lay down on.