I am about to do a bold thing. I am about to give to the world the particulars of a life fraught with incident and adventure. I am about to lift the veil from the most voluptuous scenes. I shall disguise nothing, conceal nothing, but shall relate everything that has happened to me just as it occurred. I am what is called a woman of pleasure, and have drained its cup to the very dregs. I have the most extraordinary scenes to depict, but although I shall place everything before the reader in the most explicit language, I shall be careful not to wound his or her sense of decency by the use of coarse words, feeling satisfied there is more charm in a story decently told than in the bold unblushing use of term which ought never to sully a woman's lips.
I was born in a small village in the state of Pennsylvania, situated on the banks of the Delaware, and about thirty miles from Philadelphia. My father's house was most romantically situated within a few yards of the river. It was supported as it were, at the back by a high hill, which, in summer was covered with green trees and bushes. On each side of the dwelling was a wood so dense and thick that a stranger un-acquainted with the paths through it could not enter. In front of the house, the river on sunshiny days gleamed and glistened in the rays of the sun, and the white sails passing and repassing formed quite a picturesque scene. At night, however, especially in the winter time, the scene was different. Then the wind would howl and moan through the leafless trees and the river would beat against the rocks in a most mournful cadence. To this day I can remember the effect it had on my youthful mind, and whenever I hear the wind whistling at night, it always recalls, to my memory my birth place.
My father was a stern, austere man, usually very silent and reserved. I only remembered seeing him excited once or twice. My mother had died in my infancy—(I was but fifteen months at the time) and my father's sister became his housekeeper. I had but one brother a year older than myself. How well I remember him, a fine noble-hearted boy full of love and affection. We were neglected by our father and aunt, and left to get through our childhood's days as best we could. We would wander together hand in hand by the river side or in the woods, and often cry ourselves to sleep in each other's arms at our father's want of affection for us. We enjoyed none of the gayeties, none of the sports of youth. The chill of our home appeared to follow us wherever we went, and no matter how brightly the sun shone, it could not dissipate the chill around our hearts. I never remember seeing my father even smile. A continual gloom hung over him, and he usually kept himself locked in his room except at meal times.
This life continued until I was ten years of age, when one day my father informed me that the next day I was to go to Philadelphia to a boarding school. At first I was glad to hear it, for any change from the dull monotony of that solitary house must be an agreeable one to me....