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MY LIFE AND LOVES.

As a mistress Sophy was perfection perfected and the long lines and slight curves of her lovely body came to have a special attraction for me as the very highest of the pleasure-giving type.

Lily first and then Rose were astonished and perhaps a little hurt at the sudden cooling off of my passion for them. From time to time I took Rose out or sent her books and I had Lily anywhere, any when; but neither of them could compare with Sophy as a bedfellow and her talk even fascinated me more, the better I knew her. She had learned life from the streets, from the animal side first; but it was astonishing how quickly she grew in understanding: love is the only magical teacher! In a fortnight her speech was better than Lily's; in a month she talked as well as any of the American girls I had had; her desire of knowledge and her sponge-like ease of acquirement were always surprising me. She had a lovelier figure than even Rose and ten times the seduction even of Lily: she never hesitated to take my sex in her hand and caress it; she was a child of nature, bold with an animal's boldness and had besides a thousand endearing familiarities. I had only to hint a wish for her to gratify it. Sophy was the pearl of all the girls I met in this first stage of my development and I only wish I could convey to the reader a suggestion even of her quaint, enthralling caresses. My admiration of Sophy cleansed me of any possible disdain I might otherwise have had of the negro people, and I am glad of it; for else I might have closed my heart against the Hindu and so missed the best part of my life's experiences.

I have had a great artist make the sketch of her back which I reproduce at the end of this chapter: it conveys something of the strange vigor and nerve-force of her lovely firm body.