from Bawdy Tales for the Indifcreet Gentleman (ca. 1710) by Anonymous
It happened that in Washingtown-on-Beltway there once ministered to the shire folk two vicars of remarkable and resolute piety. Polite history shall record their names and peerages as the Reverend John St. Edwards, Lord Plaintiff of Durham, and the Reverend Albert des Gores II, Earl Carbonet of Greenhouse. It shall likewise note well that each man, in his fashion, was a virtuoso upon his respective pulpit. What it shan't record, however, is each man's slavish indenture to the base desires of the flesh. As every schoolboy knows, as well he does his Latin infinitives, few are those men whose breeches are immune to the Devil's disturbances. In the case of our two ill-fortuned subjects, Lucifer himself seemed to take particular delight in presenting ribald temptations and the debasing consequences that follow. Herein lies their tale.
Of our first subject, the Vicar John, let us note that he overcame a birth of low station through vigorous enterprise, fine grooming, and a tongue deft in weaving tragic tales of indigence; first as a simple shire barrister and then as an ordained minister at the Abbey of Washingtown. "Brethren, in my travels I have observed that we live in two shires," he was wont to tell his rapt parishioners. "One with which you are familiar; whose roofs are handsomely thatched and in whose plump bellies rest a gluttonous supper of lamb's-pudding. Yet, and alas, there is another shire; one in which dwell the miserable wretches laid low by our sinful and unrepentant avarice. Wretches like this unfortunate filthy lad, who has not a morsel eaten in the last fortnight."
Upon which he would dispatch some soiled and peckish urchin into the congregation with the offering-basket, to fetch indulgences from the weeping flock of penitents. These sermons and indulgences proved quite lucrative to Vicar John, and he soon lavished upon himself great indulgences of his own; a baronial rectory in the country-side, satin waistcoats and breeches, silver buckle pumps, the finest Italianate wigs, and a staff of haberdashers and barbers for their tending. From Huffingtown to Pandagon to Firedog Lake he was proclaimed the most compassionate and prettiest vicar in all the shire, and a worthy ascendant to the Bishopric of Washingtown.
Vicar Albert, by contrast, possessed neither the clever silver'd oratory nor the Greek visage of Vicar John, but a keepsake thrice still as dear: a birth into an estate of vast heraldry. Though considered by his tutors a thick and insubstantial scholar, his sire, the addled prelate Albert I, obtained for the lad hereditary sinecures in the seminaries of Cambridge and Washingtown. Soon and anon he found appointment as confessor to the sodomite bishop William of Clinton, who in gratitude for his service and merciful penances named him Bishop-in-Waiting. Yet, just as he was to assume the Bishop's manse, he found himself deposed by the apostate hordes of Chad the Usurper.
Exile soon proved an outrageous affront to Vicar Albert, causing him to so take leave of his faculties that he was taken to the mad-house at Ville de Nash. His days were there consumed in grim and bitter strictures against the vile knaves who had conspired in the theft of his birth-right; but then, some say, he was visited by a miraculous epiphany. The mad-house in those times was inhabited by soothsayers and astrologers and alchemists, all in accord that the Lord's apocalypse was nigh and that man's carbon wickedness had made it so. Whether in their peculiar benedictions Vicar Albert found a new and true faith is known only to his heart; but it is manifest that in its preaching he found his true earthly calling, and a wellspring of riches even beyond the imaginings of His Majesty's explorers in the East Indies.
Subsequent to his release from the mad-house, Vicar Albert returned to the pulpit with an evangelical fury not seen since John the Baptist himself. "Sinners!" he cried from the alter, to the astonished flock. "Behold the picto-gram of the hockey stick divine! By thy carbon ethers thou hast brought great righteous anger to the Lord God and his holy mother Gaia! Repent now, lest ye be damned to an eternity of summers most uncomfortable!" Upon which he presented for sale to the duly frightened parishioners the only two true paths to their salvation: Vicar Albert carbon indulgences and Vicar Albert arse-corks.
In due time Vicar Albert's curious wares found great favour in the royal courts of Europe, and soon vast pilgrimages of dandy-men and gentlewomen arrived at his worship house, begging from him the latest carbon forgiveness parchments and fine porcelain arse-corks, by which they could better display their fashionable piety to nature. In consequence Vicar Albert found himself with five fine manses, each more elaborate than the last, and for each a stately mews filled with a gilded coach and a twelve-stallion team.In confessional candor, we gentlemen of lesser means are wont to look upon such estates with envy and imagine their masters to be likewise in possession of great happiness. But such contentment would escape our two unlucky vicars, for they were also beset by the curse of the Bishop Clinton: cuckolded by homely wives, betrothed in youthful haste and repented at middle-age leisure. To this we will add the dilemma that their efficacy on the pulpit was, in many ways, dependent on their righteousness as pious husband-men; in particular Vicar John, who mined a new rich lode of pity after his wife was afflicted by the consumption. Thus both men were keen in the knowledge that by divorcing their ungainly spouses they risked their holy ordinance and a king's ransom in indulgences. And as if to treble their anguish, with each sermon it seemed the Devil had stocked the pews aplenty with adoring and voluptuous maidens, beneath whose silken petticoats lied a tasty forbidden feast of love-oysters.
So, we will note, that while both men made great display of their matrimonial affections before their flocks, deep within their breast secretly echoed a prayer for a short widower's grief and the unconstrained ribald merriment that follows. To ward off adulterous temptation, within their respective connubial beds they bade their wives double-bag their visages with sackcloth; but with each thrust their minds drifted to amorous thoughts of the vixens of the pews. And, in the instance of the Vicar John, sometimes himself.
It happened one day that the two vicars were invited, quite by accident, to deliver sermons at the Abbey of Washingtown. This state of affairs prompted great consternation in both, reckoning as they did that a double-bill would diminish their respective indulgence sales. Much to their delight, however, they quickly discovered that the quality of guilt is not strained; upon the counting of the collection baskets, each vicar found a bounty far in excess of his normal expectation. To this happy circumstance they raised a cup in toast and the conversation soon turned to affairs of the heart.
"Though fate has lavished upon me great wealth and social station, it has also condemned me with a haggard wife who understandeth me not," confessed Vicar John. "I seek only the occasional liaison with a nubile parishioner; is this so wrong? But I fear that if I were to succumb to this desire, she would become a delirious shrew and send us both to the poor-house. If only I had a trustworthy companion to aid me in keeping such erotic gambits discreet."
"Sir, fate has left me likewise disposed," answered Vicar Albert in excitement. "Perhaps then we can do business to our mutual benefit."
In the ensuing discussion, the two randy vicars became fast friends, and by mutual consent begat a scheme in which they would travel the shire together, relieving the townfolk of their baubles and their daughters of their maidenheads. Oh, what a happy time followed! With every village the two jolly libertines raped maidens and reaped riches beyond imagination, leaving only a trail of bastards in their wake.
It was in the course of one of these journeys that their coach was arrested by a masked highwayman. "Stand and deliver!" he cried, brandishing his French pistol into the widow. Recognizing the two vicars, and realizing his brazen breach of professional courtesy, the abashed highwayman begged their respective forgiveness with great flourish.
"You are absolved, my son," motioned the Vicar Albert, taking a pinch from his snuff-box. "Might we inquire, my dear sir, where two weary men of the cloth might find repast and nocturnal companionship?"
The highwayman directed them to a local country inn, and true to his word upon entering they indeed found a hearth teeming with mutton stew and two comely young serving-wenches. With each cup of cider the two vicars found themselves progressively bold with the wenches, who at first returned their winks and pinches with coy feminine demurrals. And when their further romantic overtures were answered with fierce stinging slaps, it only seemed to accelerate the urgency within the two vicars' loins. Wiping the mutton and cider from their lips, the two vicars approached the inn-keeper and paid him forty farthings for their supper and two rooms for the night.
"Tell me inn-keeper, are these two wenches in your employ?" asked the Vicar John, to which the old inn-keeper nodded assent. "Then I would like to purchase an hour of service from the fair-haired lass for the evening; as you can see I am a humble man of God, and I will need her assistance in setting up my portable altar for my private evening benedictions. See to it that she is in my chamber in ten minutes hence."
"I too would like to purchase an hour of time from your stout raven-haired lass," added Vicar Albert. "I am quite weary from the journey and am delivering an important sermon on the morrow. As such I am need of a vigorous back-rub to relieve my tension."
Though leery of their true intentions, the old inn-keeper agreed and added four and twenty farthings to each vicar's charges and ordered the wenches to their assigned rooms. When the raven-haired wench entered Vicar Albert's candlelit chamber she gasped at the sight of the portly prelate; clad only in a nightshirt and highwayman's mask, he was astride the bed roping his ankles to its posts with a mariner's clove hitch. "Ah, sweet relief is here!" cooed Vicar Albert at her arrival. "It seems, sister, that my tension is most acute in my upper adductors. In yon trunk you will find a feather duster and unguents to aid you in exorcising it of my chakra."
Now, though a simple country serving wench, the woman could see by the tumescence in his nightshirt what Vicar Albert meant by 'chakra,' and so began slowly backing toward the chamber door. The wily old vicar proved too fast for her, though, and releasing himself from his bondage hied across the chamber and barred the door. "Tally ho! The chase is on!" he cried, and a vigorous chase about the chamber ensued. In his lusty pursuit Vicar Albert upset his own low-flow chamber pot, but it did not dissuade him from his goal. In due time he had cornered the object of his desire, now too exhausted to spurn his continuing advances.
"Reverend, I beg thee," she said, cowering coquettishly. "If thou wishes me to serve God and Gaia by releasing your chakra, I will do so; but please let me attend to my task in modesty. If thou would put thy manhood through yon wall-hole, I will be on the other side to coax it to a happy conclusion."
By this proposal the Vicar Albert found himself strangely intrigued, for when presented with two depravities he was apt to take the greater. Thus he agreed and inserted his excited little bishop into the aperture, and awaited in great anticipation the wench's amorous ministrations. And when they began, the Vicar Albert could scarcely believe his great erotic fortune. Such tender caressing! Such vigorous brandishment! Aphrodite herself could not dream of such ecstasy! Thrust and parry, thrust and parry, until the little bishop deposited his sacrifice to the adjoining chamber. Dazed and stunned, the Vicar Albert laid a twenty farthing tip on the chamber wardrobe, and then succumbed to le Petit Mort on the chamber bed.
The following morning, the Vicars Albert and John reunited at the inn's hearthside. After the old inn-keeper laid before them their morning porridge, Vicar Albert leaned to his companion and said, sotto voce, "I trust your evening prayers were satisfactory."
"Quite to the contrary," replied Vicar John, in great consternation. "The fair-haired wench appeared in my room as instructed, but proved immediately unamenable to my requests. Only through vigorous appeals to her sacramental duty did I eventually obtain her consent, and only then if I agreed to douse the chamber-candles in the interest of her modesty."
"My wench was of a similarly modest disposition," noted Vicar Albert. "But please go on."
"Well, let me tell you my friend, as soon as I had doused the lights and entered the conjugal bed, I was met with a harridan complaint that my cheeks were in great need of a shave," said Vicar John. "In great frustration I told the wench, 'damn it all, you termagent! I have not my shaving lotions!' To which she replied, 'but gentle sir, this inn-room is equipped with its own warm lotion dispensor, on the wall beside the basin.' Sure to her word, I found the dispensor in the dark but I will tell you it was a devilishly tricky device. I yanked and yanked on it and eventually managed to get a handful. But by the time I shaved the creamy lather from my cheeks, I discovered my concubine had escaped out the window."
"And how was your evening, brother?" asked Vicar John, to which Vicar Albert could only answer with silence.
"Ah, quite tiring I see," said Vicar John. "I recommend an invigorating shave with the inn's special lotion. Not only does it do wonders for the skin, I find it quite delicious!"
And there, gentle reader, shall we conclude the tale of the two randy vicars; the moral of which I will offer in verse:
When saving Earth and all it's worth
Is a vicar's life ambitions,
First him persuade to cap, not trade
His nocturnal self-emissions.
Hey nonny nonny and a ho-ho-ho!