In the last section of my memoirs, I related in some detail how I at last gained my long-sought revenge on haughty Marion, the sister of my beloved Alice.
Yet to my great delight, this revenge turned out to be an unexpected bounty from the Goddess Venus herself, for not only did Marion succumb to my artful wiles and avow herself truly conquered by demanding virility, but also she brought at our very next meeting her saucy red-haired maid Kay, who she claimed was in dire need of a chastisement for impertinence. And with my aid, the charming Marion entered with full gusto and a wealth of sensual imagination into the fray, thereby providing me not only with a delightful accomplice who, once having been my bitterest enemy, had now become my passionate and secret mistress, but also with another addition to my growing harem of delectable and delightful maids.
When we parted that last time, during which I had managed to reconcile Kay with her ardent mistress, I gave her my word as a gentleman that I would not under any circumstances inform my beloved Alice what well-nigh incredible intimacy I had achieved with this older sister who, though she had not been a virgin thanks to a regrettably one-sided marriage, had once been as prudish and censorious of my bachelor actions as though she had been my own guardian or administratrix. We both agreed that if her yielding to me should come at all to Alice's knowledge, it should be through Marion's own person.
Knowing me only by name and by the images and impressions gained from reading my memoirs, you may deem me a profligate and most licentious rogue. With this I have no quarrel, since the passing of the years, the difference in our geographical setting from where these burning deeds of priapic valor originally took place, and finally the impossibility of ever having my inamorata or even myself actually identified, combines in a sense to conceal the most intimate feelings and thoughts and personalities of all the chief characters in my little drama. I do not hold with the vainglorious braggarts who feel that to herald their accomplishments in the boudoir with the fair sex, they needs must trumpet to all the world and sundry the scabrous and shamefully gossiping chronicles of their petty amours. I am neither prig nor puritan-and God be thanked for that - but neither am I a scandal-mongering adventurer who would malign by defamation the very beauties whose sweet generosity granted me such pleasures as few mortal men have tasted.
No, the boaster and the braggart, the Don Juan in the stall who feels it imperative to proclaim his cocksmith's roisterings under the sheets and out of them to those who would gape and goggle and pry and intrude are, to my fancy, the basest of villains, and if one were to examine at the source their prattlings of tireless bouts of amatory conquest, one would probably find they had more pence in their pockets than honest prick. For the man who has the demon within him to urge him on to blabber all his nocturnal squirmings in the stews is deeply at heart a sadly inferior wretch who must compensate himself for his own actual lack of priapic stamina by substituting tales that would surpass tellings of a veritable Sinbad.
So there, I have said my piece, and done the only moralizing for this volume, for which I crave your honest indulgence. But now let me take up once again the thread of my own delicious affairs at the point which followed the departure of the charming Marion and her exquisitely saucy maidservant Kay.
I had made the resolve to ask Alice for her hand in marriage. Now I will confess that at the outset of my adventures with her I had really no such intention. When one has been a bird on the wing for so long as I, it is difficult at first blush to reconcile oneself to the gilded cage and to the regimen of daily monotony which invariably, alas, seems to follow the most riotously hymenean pursuits. On the day which followed the sweet reconciliation of Marion with her maid, I seriously asked myself if I was not, in making so heroic a sacrifice of my freedom, terminating at one fell swoop all those future bequests which Venus might perhaps have in store for me in my later years.
Would Alice become, once domesticated under my roof as my virtuous bride and the sharer of my fortune, for good or evil as fate might decide, a shrew and termagant, a Xantippe to my Socrates? Or again, even granting that her sweet nature could not possibly foretell any such dwindling away of warm ardor and generous affection, might not the inevitable repetition of our now wedlock-blessed embraces take on a more spiritual and at the same time less passionate tone? Would each of us make the error of taking the other for granted simply because our nuptiality would permit each to enjoy in due and respectful sequence the conjugal rights? These were, I can tell you, serious questions to be considered by a man undertaking on a sudden whim, however noble the pretext and purpose when the vow was originally taken, to sanctify his fleshly lusts and to have them blessed with bell, book and candle under a proper wedding canopy. Mr. and Mrs. Jack - ah, how mundane, how prosaic, how banal! Was not Jack and Alice a sweeter mouthful, and a far more fiery consummation?
But I had in the presence of Marion and Kay announced that I would seek out the dear hand of Alice as my consort, and so I meant to.
And so I did, as you shall see.