Saturday, May 8, 2010

‘There is a sin of secret impurity frequent among lads, and the misery it causes no tongue can fully tell. I know it for a fact. Through this sin a dark veil has been cast over the lives of tens of thousands of schoolboys, and all the freshness, and gladness and power of youth have perished beneath it…’

‘Virtue is strong and beautiful, Eric, and vice is downcast in her awful presence…’

‘We do beseech you to take heed to the warning voice. Otherwise you will most certainly reap the inevitable result of a shattered frame and possible insanity and early death…’

‘Lose your purity of heart, Eric, and you have lost a jewel which the whole world cannot replace…’

Question -‘Is self-pollution as prevalent as they say it is?’ Answer – ‘It has been rightly said that ninety-nine out of a hundred boys of this depraved generation engage in this vile practice and the other one in a hundred conceals the truth…’

So there you are, one hundred percent masturbate and despite the dire warnings face a shattered frame, insanity and an early death so how come the asylums weren’t bursting at the seams and how come so many masturbating boys managed to arrive at a ripe old age?

‘And a truly shocking proportion, alas, is true even of our girls…’

Case history: ‘A young woman aged twenty-two years came under my care in a state of the worst form of insanity. She was furious, noisy, filthy, pale and bloodless. Having no appetite, she was reduced in flesh and strength. Finding her one day calmer than usual, I hinted to her on the subject of masturbation, and informed her that only if she abandoned it might she get well. She promised to follow my advice strictly. In two weeks she was perceptibly better. At the end of six months she was in excellent health, was quite fleshy, and became perfectly sane…’

Then there was Professor Fowler. ‘Professor Fowler I need your help. For a long time a fire smouldered within me but it was never ignited by my husband. Now another man has captivated my heart. He has created in me a literal frenzy of passion and I am sexually insatiable. What to do?’ (You have to admit the lady was quite poetic about it.)

‘You’re on the brink of insanity. Your whole nervous system is on the point of giving out.’

‘I know it but can you tell me the cause?’

‘Amatory excitement. If it is continued any longer, you will become either paralysed or else stark raving mad.’

And now for something completely different: the shortest piece of fiction in English literature. From “The Comic News” 1884.

In Three Chapters


He was there. So was the other. Neither knew the other.
Both wore hats. Nothing happened. And so on.


The air was heavy. They passed on in silence. A dumb cat
winked at a coal heaver’s apprentice. Tears washed away the
memory of the oldest inhabitant. Two postmen waltzed. Never more.


Time passed by. So did the policeman. Night cast her shadow
around as Vivian walked into North Wales and took a voice
lozenge. Repentance came too late. The train had started. Where
Are we now?

The End.

Weird, these Victorians. No?

1 comment:

John in Brighton said...

So much for Tantra!
Of course, many were driven to the edge of insanity not by the "secret vice", but by the guilt they had been taught to associate with it.
In the mid 20th century, girls who were "found out" were sometimes given a prefrontal lobotomy. This happened to the sister of a world-famous American politician and to Tennessee Williams's sister.
Prefrontal lobotomies were performed to eradicate the "scourge of homosexuality", too. I know of one case in the early 1950s in South Africa.
An instrument is inserted through the eye cavity into the front of the brain and whirled around till that part of the brain is destroyed.
Whether it stopped the activity I doubt, but it certainly meant a life in an institution, so the family was not "shamed"; it was always at the family's insistence that the operation was performed.