Chapter 10

By listening to her precursor, she finds a strong opponent;
By allowing a little grace, she fosters a true talent.

Poem:
Beauty, while enjoying herself,
Should allow her lover some rest.
To spare a thought for the morrow’s sport –
Mightn’t that be lust at its best?

Let us tell how the neighbor went home rejoicing in her enviable assignment. She got some clothes ready for wiping up her secretions, lest they soak her friend’s bedding, the waited impatiently until evening, when she locked her door and crossed the lane.

Fragrance decided to play a trick on her. “I’m afraid I’ve brought you here on false pretenses,” she said. “I’ve just received a note: someone has taken him drinking and he can’t get away, but he would like to set another date. You might as well go home again.”

The neighbor was so upset her nostrils flared and her eyes flashed. She blamed Fragrance for not sending a message right back insisting that he come, but at the same time she strongly suspected that Fragrance now regretted the whole arrangement and wanted to get rid of her and have him all to herself. Fragrance let the protests continue for some time before explaining, with a laugh, “I was only having you on. He should be here any moment now. You’d better get ready to go to bed with him.”

She heated a bowl of water so that she and the neighbor could wash their private parts, then placed an easy chair across from the bed, her intention being to lie back and listen while the other two had sex. She told the neighbor to bolt the door and stand quietly behind it, for when her visitor came, he would knock very lightly. She was to let him in at the first knock, not force him to knock again and again, which might alert the people next door. After letting him in, she was to replace the bolt before taking him to bed, where she should keep her voice down, lest he recognize her.

The woman nodded and sent Fragrance off to lie down, while she stood guard by the door. She had waited a solid two hours without anyone coming, and was just going tin to ask Fragrance’s advice, when in the darkness someone suddenly clasped her in his arms and kissed her. She leaped to the conclusion that it was Fragrance playing another of her tricks, this time by pretending to be a man, so she felt for the person’s crotch. On reaching downward, however, she found a very large object butting at her hand and realized this was the visitor they were expecting.

Afttecting a sweet, girlish voice, she asked, “How ever did you get in, dear heart?”

“Through the roof,” said Vesperus.

“What a clever sweetheart! Well, now you’re here, let’s go to bed.”

They unclasped-and undressed. Well before Vesperus, the woman had undressed completely and was lying on her back. When Vesperus mounted her and felt for her feet to put them over his shoulders, he couldn’t find them; from the moment she had gotten into bed, her feet had been up and her vagina open, waiting for his penis.

I never suspected she was such a wanton, thought Vesperus. But since she is, I won’t need my gentler techniques. I shall have to start off with a show of strength.

Raising himself a foot or more above her vagina, he thrust out his penis and attacked.

She began squealing like a slaughtered pig. “Oh, no! Be gentle, please!”

Vesperus parted the labia with his hands and began to work his way slowly inside. But time went by and no more than an inch of the glans had penetrated.

“The gentler I am,” he said, “the harder it is to enter. I’ll need to be a bit more vigorous, I’m afraid. You’ll just have to put up with a little pain before you start enjoying yourself.”

He attacked once more, which only set her squealing again. “Don’t! Don’t! Use some spit at least!”

“Spit is for virgins only; that’s an inviolable rule. We’ll just have to do it dry.” He attacked again.

“Don’t! This isn’t working! If you won’t break your rule, please withdraw and let me put some on.”

“That would be better.”

After he withdrew, she spat copiously into her palm. She then opened her labia and put half the spittle inside. The rest she rubbed on his penis.

“Now there shouldn’t be any problem, but take it easy as you enter.”

Vesperus, however, was eager to display his prowess and refused to take things easy. he raised her legs and, with a sudden swish, that long, thick object of his buried itself to the hilt inside her.

She began squealing again. “How is it you intellectuals are so rough? Don’t you care whether we live or die? All the way in the first time! I don’t have room! Take it out a little.”

“You don’t have room? You don’t think it’s still outside surely? I’ll have to move it a bit. Don’t be left out in the cold!”

Laughing, he began to move again. She could not bear the first few thrusts and let out an aiya! with each one. But then, after fifty or more thrusts, nothing more was heard from her – until, after a hundred, she began crying aiya! once more, but in delight now, rather than pain. (Aiya has a range of meanings.)

After several hundred strokes she began making numerous wanton moves and uttering countless cries of passion, enough to make it impossible for a man to restrain himself. Vesperus had to speed up his onslaught and force her to spend to that he could spend along with her. But she was not without guile, for although she had spent several times already, she replied, “No, not yet,” when he asked her.

Why didn’t she tell the truth? Because, as a stand-in, she feared she would lose her place the moment Fragrance heard her say she was satisfied. As the saying goes, “If you’re going to be robbed by a powerful official, the longer you can put it off the better.”

Vesperus took her at her word and did not dare spend.But as he trust away, he gradually lost control of himself and had to do so, contriving only to hide the fact from his partner. After that he did not dare stop, but kept going like a drunken man on a donkey, nodding his head every step of the way, with none of his former elan.

Noticing that his penis hung back from the fray, she asked, “Sweetheart, have you spent?” Vesperus was afraid she would laugh at him for his lack of stamina and felt compelled to say no. Before her question he had been getting weaker with every thrust, but now he was like a dozing schoolboy struck by the teacher who suddenly works twice as hard as before. He pulled himself together and gave several hundred thrusts in succession without even pausing to catch his breath.

She began to cry out. “Dear heart, I’m spending! I’m dying! I can’t bear another thrust. Hold me in your arms and let’s sleep together. Mind you don’t move.”

At this point Vesperus stopped and, with his penis still inside her, they fell into a sound sleep.

Although she had an ugly face, she was blessed with small feet. And although her skin was as dark as could be, it was not really coarse. That was why, during all the time they had sex together, it never occurred to him that she might be a substitute.

Let us tell now of Fragrance, who was lying hidden beside the bed listening intently to everything that went on. At first, on hearing the woman cry out in pain, Fragrance knew that Vesperus’s instrument, far from being insignificant, must at least be serviceable, and she relaxed somewhat. Then, when she noted that his technique was that of a master and that he varied his pace like a man of experience, she relaxed completely. In the middle, when he slackened off, she felt a certain contempt for him, but later, when his morale picked up again and he strove harder than ever, she said to herself with deep satisfaction, “Obviously he is a hero of the boudoir, a champion of sex. What else is there to say? I need to have no regrets about losing my virtue to him. I’d slip in beside him while he’s asleep and explain everything, except that he hasn’t seen her yet and may think she’s better than I am. I’ll have to find some other approach. Moreover, I wouldn’t look my best without an ugly woman to point up the contrast. When a man has fought long and hard, he may not be able to rise and fight again unless you have something to tempt him with.”

Tiptoeing into the kitchen, she lit the fire and ladled some water into a pot, then picked up a taper and waited until it caught before marching into the bedroom, candle in hand. There she ripped aside the bedcurtain and tore off the covers, declaring, “What scoundrel is this who has forced his way into someone’s house in the dead of night and seized a woman for his lustful purposes? What’s the meaning of it? Kindly get up and tell me just what’s going on in here?”

Startled from his dream, Vesperus leaped to the conclusion that Fragrance’s husband had been hiding in the house waiting for him to go to bed with her so that he could catch him in the fragrance and extort blackmail. His teeth chattering with fear, he broke out into a cold sweat. But when he looked up, there in front of him stood the same woman he had spoken to that day and slept with that night. “Can there be another one like her in the house?” he wondered aloud.

Then he bent his head to take a closer look at the woman in his arms and found that she was an insufferably ugly creature, with a face full of dark pockmarks, hair that was short and yellowy-brown, and skin the color of an unscoured Jinhua ham.

“Who are you?” he exclaimed in astonishment.

“Don’t be alarmed,” she said. “I’ve just been spying out the land for her. I’m her neighbor from across the lane, the one she was talking to the other day when you came by. She thought your looks were fine, but that you mightn’t be of any practical use. She felt she’d be risking the stigma of adultery to no purpose, so she invited me over to try you out. I imagine you’ve passed the test and can sleep with her. By rights I ought o stay and get another reward before I leave, but it would spoil your enjoyment to have interloper around. I’d better go off home and content myself with being the best helpmate in the world.”

She got up, pulled on her jacket and trousers, and draped her underclothes and the sopping wet cloths over her arm. On leaving she addressed Vesperus again: “I may have an ugly face, but I’ve served you well, because this lovemaking was all my idea. The fact that we slept together was due in the first place to her kindness, but also to our being destined for each other. If you do come back, and if you have some time on your hands, I hope you will sleep with me again. Don’t be heartless, now.” Then she turned to Fragrance, bowed several times in gratitude to her hostess, and left.

Vesperus, who felt as if he were sobering up from a binge or awakening from a dream, thanked the Knave fervently in his heart. Without his salutary advice to needle me into surgery, I’d have been like Su Qin when he tried to make the grade in the state of Qin – I’s have failed and been driven out with nothing to show for my efforts!

After escorting the neighbor out, Fragrance replaced the latch and came back.

“I knew you wouldn’t be able to leave me alone tonight,” she said, “and that’s why I found a substitute to wait up for you. Now that you’ve slept with her, I consider the account closed. What are you doing here? Why are you in my bed?”

“Not only is your account still open, I intend to add to your sins. it’s past midnight and will soon be daybreak. Hurry up and come to bed. We haven’t time for gossip.”

“You really want to sleep with me?”

“I really do.”

“In that case you’ll have to get up, put on a gown, and see to a certain very important thing.”

“What else is important, apart from this?”

“Don’t ask. Just get up.”

As she spoke, she went into the kitchen and ladled the water she had heated into a bidet, which she brought in and set beside the bed.

“Up you get and wash. You’re not going to spread other people’s muck all over me!”

“You have a point. That is important. But I not only slept with her, I also kissed her several times. By the same token I ought to rinse my mouth, too.”

“You don’t need to rinse your mouth. I don’t go in for that kind of thing.”

“There you go again! You mean to say you’ll write a zhong below but not a lu above?”

Just as he was going off to look for something to scoop the water up in, he noticed a bowl of hot water already in the bidet with a toothbrush on top of it. What a thoughtful girl! he said to himself. If she hadn’t done this, she’d have shown herself a slattern, none too particular about the pure and the impure.

Fragrance let him rinse out his mouth and wash, then sat on the bidet and washed the lower part of her own body. She had already washed herself when the neighbor did, so why did she wash again, you ask. You must understand that while lying beside the bed listening to Vesperus having sex, she had been drenched in her own secretions. She was afraid Vesperus might feel the dampness and make fun of her, so she washed herself a second time. Afterward she took a damp cloth and wiped the bed mat with it. She also fetched a fresh cloth from the trunk and placed it beside the pillow, then blew out the lamp and sat on the bed and undressed, taking off everything but her breathband and drawers, which she left to Vesperus.

Vesperus put his arms around her and kissed her as he undid the band. When cupped, her breasts did not even fill up his hands, but when stroked flat they covered her entire chest. They were dainty and soft to the touch, because there was no hardness in her breast. When he took off her drawers and felt her vagina, he found that in softness and daintiness it equaled her breasts and that in smoothness it surpassed them.

He let her lie back, then placed her tiny feet over his shoulders and raised himself above her just as he had done with the ugly neighbor. He then drove in a long way, to make her suffer a little at first in order to taste a keener pleasure afterward. But, despite all his pounding, Fragrance seemed totally oblivious to both pain and pleasure.

Everything the Knave warned me about has come true! thought Vesperus. Without that gross thing of Honest Quan’s how could she have become as large as this? If I’d not had the restructuring, I’d have been like a grain of rice lost in a granary, a fish scale adrift in the ocean! How could I ever have anticipated anything like this? Since my show of force has failed to impress him, I’ll have to use some strategy.

He took the pillow out from under her head, inserted it under her hips, and then, having set his new strategy, engaged her again. Fragrance, who had not yet begun to enjoy herself, saw him remove the pillow but not replace it, and she realized he was an expert.

Now, taking out a pillow and using it to bolster a woman’s hips is a routine technique; why should it make him an expert? You must understand that the principles of sexual intercourse are exactly like those of warfare; only a man who can estimate the enemy forces will make a skillful general. if he knows a woman’s depth, he will know how far to advance and retreat; if she knows his length, she will know how to meet and return his thrusts. This is what is meant by the saying, “The key to victory lies in knowing your own and the enemy’s strength.” Penises differ in length, just as vaginas differ in depth. If a vagina is shallow, a very long penis will be useless, for during intercourse there will be a constant sense of idle capacity. If the penis penetrates all the way, the woman will not only feel no pleasure, she will be in actual pain, and how can the man enjoy himself on his own? If the vagina is deep, an extremely long instrument is necessary; if it is even a little short, it will bring no pleasure.

But the size of a penis is fixed, so how can it be lengthened? In such a case one must find some way of supplementing it. The region between the stomach and the thighs needs bolstering so that the vulva is raised to meet the penis, making it easier for the man’s thrusts to reach all the way. Thus the technique of bolstering the hips is to be used only in the case of a short penis and a deep vagina; one should not conclude that a pillow is essential for all intercourse. These facts explain why a short penis can be treated but not a thin one; why it is better to be short and thick than long and thin; and why the adept, in restructuring Vesperus’s penis, had tried to make it thicker but not longer.

Now, Fragrance was deep and Vesperus short, so in moving quickly to bloster her with a pillow was he not proving himself an expert? The general principle is known to all, but as for placing a pillow under the woman’s hips and leaving nothing under her head, that particular formula has never been understood before.

If a woman has one pillow under her hips already and another is then placed under her head, the upper part of her body, a little over two feet in length, will be forced into a concave shape. It amounts to breaking her in the middle and then piling a man’s weight on top of her. Can’t you imagine how uncomfortable and even painful it is? What’s more, if her head is resting on a pillow, her face will be forced down so that her mouth is no longer opposite the man’s which makes kissing awkward. he has to bend down to meet her lips, while she has to force her head up to meet his. Such a waste of effort, and all because of a single pillow! Therefore nothing should be allowed to remain under the woman’s head during intercourse, whether or not her hips are bolstered. A capable lover will push the pillow aside before he starts, letting the woman’s hair lie on the bed mat and her lips, face, organs, and limbs all coincide with his. The upper and lower orifices differ from the other parts; they interpenetrate. His jade whisk enters her vagina, while her crimson tongue enters his mouth, allowing her to play the aggressor, too, and achieve a balance of sexual pleasure as well as a perfect fit.

While with one hand Vesperus removed the pillow, with the other he supported her head and laid it on the bed mat, where she faced directly upward, in the right position for kissing. That was why Fragrance was secretly pleased; she realized that he was an expert.

After placing the pillow under her hips, Vesperus raised her tiny feet over his shoulders and supporting himself with his arms, employed all his skills and thrust as hard as he could. With each retreat he withdrew halfway, but with each thrust he plunged into the base. There is a point worth here: He withdrew quickly, but he thrust slowly. Why was that? He was afraid there might be trouble if he thrust rapidly and made such a noise inside her as to alert the neighbors, so he dared not let himself go.

After a while her vagina began to feel tighter – it was no longer the vast, shapeless thing it had been – and Vesperus knew the dog’s parts had flared up and his penis begun to grow. His vigor now increased a hundredfold and his thrusts came faster and faster. Hitherto Fragrance had shown no reaction, but now she wriggled from side to side and exclaimed, “Dearest, it’s starting to feel nice.”

“I’ve only just begun, my sweet,” said Vesperus. “It can’t be feeling nice yet. Wait until I’ve done some more and see how you like it then. There’s just one thing that bothers me, though; I never like doing it silently, and if I’m going to get excited, I need to hear the sounds from inside. The trouble is that this house of yours is so cramped I”m afraid the neighbors will hear if I let myself go. What shall I do?”

“That’s no problem. On one side of us there’s a vacant lot and on the other a kitchen, where no one sleeps. So go right ahead, there’s no need to worry.”

“Perfect!” Vesperus exclaimed.

His technique was now exactly the opposite. He withdrew slowly but thrust rapidly, and when he thrust, he did so as noisily as any beggar beating on his ribs with a brick to gain public sympathy. After a spell of earth-shaking activity, Fragrance’s passions were in full flow, and she kept crying “darling boy” over and over again, as her fluid spread everywhere.

Noticing the flood, Vesperus was about to pause and wipe it up, but when he groped for the cloth, she snatched it away.

Why did she do that? Because she had an instinctive dislike of silent sex, much like Vesperus, and, of the things she most enjoyed, her deepest pleasure came from the sound of sexual activity. In general the more the fluid the greater the sound, and that was why, even if she was streaming with fluid until her body was dreached, she would never let her husband wipe it up. Only when they had finished would she sit up and clean herself. It was an obsession with her – a singular feature that can be spoken of to the enlightened, if not to the vulgar. Seeing her reluctance, Vesperus guessed the reason and resumed his activity even more resoundingly than before. After more earthshaking thrusts she clasped him tightly.

“Dearest, I’m going to spend. Spend with me, please.”

But Vesperus wanted to display his prowess and was not ready to spend.

“You’ve convinced me of your powers,” said Fragrance. “You’re not a phony, by any means. You haven’t stopped all night, you’ve taken on two women, and the effort must have drained your energies. Do save a little for tomorrow night. Don’t ruin yourself and deprive me of my pleasure.”

At these endearing words Vesperus clasped her in a tight embrace and wished he could have forced his whole body inside her. after more furious thrusting they finished together.

They scarcely had time to say anything more before it was daybreak. Fragrance was afraid Vesperus would be seen if he stayed any longer, so she urged him to get up. Then she dressed, too, and saw him to the door.

From this point on he continued in the same fashion- arriving at night, departing at dawn – except that he no longer played the gentleman of the rooftops, but came in through the door. On one or two occasions he could not bear to leave and hid in her house all day. Fragrance told people that she was sick and could not go out or receive visitors, and the two of them went about in broad daylight without a stitch of clothing on, the mere sight of each other’s snow=white flesh serving to stir their passions.

Every second or third night the ugly neighbor would drop by. Vesperus could not very well reject her totally and would occasionally pay her some superficial attention. Although he was unable to satisfy her fully, he could not afford to let her become resentful.

Several other neighbors had an inkling of what was going on, but they all thought it was Knave who was the adulterer; they never imagined he would consent to act for anyone else. For fear he would get angry and retaliate, they shut their doors before dark and ignored everything that went on outside. Thus the two lovers slept together for over ten nights without the latest apprehension until Honest Quan’s return, at which point Vesperus’s visits came to an abrupt end.

The Knave was afraid Vesperus’s youthful passions would get him into trouble, so he forbade him to go near her door even in the daytime to spy out the situation. Instead he himself would play the part of Hongniang. On the pretext of buying silk, he was constantly carrying messages back and forth between the lovers. On several of these occasions Honest Quan was at home, but he took the Knave for a businessman accustomed to dealing with his wife and stood aside to let them talk. Quan was a completely honest and straightforward man who never played anyone false, which is why he was known as Honest – a fact that inspires a certain faith in nicknames. after all, even Xu Shao used to pin an apt label on his neighbors at the beginning of each month. Nicknames differ from sobriquets, which we select ourselves and for which we pick the most flattering combinations. When we choose our friends, we don’t need to look at their character or conduct to know if they will be suitable; we need only ask what their nicknames are.

Critique

What a pity that a secret lost since antiquity, a formula that could not be purchased for a thousand taels, has been revealed to the public!

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