Saturday, February 03, 2007

Boswell Is Puzzled By A Venutian Distemper: part II of III

January 13, 1763
I really conducted this affair with a manliness and prudence that pleased me very much. The whole expense was just eighteen shillings.

January 14, 1763
I strutted up and down, considering myself as a valiant man who could gratify a lady's loving desires five times in a night; and I satisfied my pride by considering that if this and all my other great qualities were known, all the women almost in the room would be making love to me.

January 18, 1763
I this day began to feel an unaccountable alarm of unexpected evil: a little heat in the members of my body sacred to Cupid, very like a symptom of that distemper with which Venus, when cross, takes it into her head to plague her votaries. But then I had run no risks. I had been with no woman but Louisa; and sure she could not have such a thing. Away then with such idle fears, such groundless, uneasy apprehensions!

January 19, 1763
As we went along, I felt the symptoms increase, which was very confounding and very distressing to me... The evening was passed most cheerfully. When I got home, though, then came sorrow. Too, too plain was Signor Gonorrhoea.

January 20, 1763
I rose very disconsolate, having rested very ill by the poisonous infection raging in my veins and anxiety and vexation boiling in my breast. I could scarcely credit my own senses. What! thought I, can this beautiful, this sensible, and this agreeable woman be so sadly defiled? Can corruption lodge beneath so fair a form? Can she who professed delicacy of sentiment and sincere regard for me, use me so very basely and so very cruelly? No, it is impossible... and yet these damned twinges, that scalding heat, and that deep-tinged loathsome matter are the strongest proofs of an infection... And am I then taken in? Am I, who have had safe and elegant intrigues with fine women, become the dupe of a strumpet?

...And then am I prevented from making love to Lady Mirabel, or any other woman of fashion? O dear, O dear! What a cursed thing this is! What a miserable creature am I!

[from Boswell's London Journal. Next: Boswell manfully and benevolently confronts the fair Louisa.]