Letters From a Friend in Paris

Letters From a Friend in Paris (1874) is a tale in which beautiful young women come to Harry Hargrove’s Parisian photography studio to have their portraits made. While Harry makes beautiful formal portraits, he also makes more risque portraits with those young women willing to allow him various liberties. Harry meets a new young client, Louisa, who he seduces into making quite revealing portraits for her fiancee.

As is his wont, Harry engages in a series of intimate encounters ostensibly teaching the naive young lady all about the glories of love.

Harry details all of his adventures with Louisa, as well as her entire family, in frequent letters he writes to his friend Charlie back in London. These letters describe the gamut of love from intimate tête-à-têtes to lesbianism, bisexuality, and small groups of participants, all enjoying each other to the fullest.

This edition is illustrated with 8 photographs of erotica appropriate to the period.

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Excerpt: Letters From a Friend in Paris

Letter I

Paris, Faubourg St. Honore; the first letter from Harry Hargrove to his friend Charles in England

I promised, my dear fellow, in memory of our old school adventures, that I would tell you all the late singular events that have happened to me. You may rest assured that this letter, and those that follow it, will contain nothing but the simple truth, and that I shall not hesitate to confess my own sins, while I am obliged to give the history of those of my two young friends.

There never was a more singular and piquant affair in all the world, and, as for myself, it suited me exactly.

You know that I am rather fond of this sort of thing. An artist by nature, as well as profession, when I took up photography last year, it was with a secret hope and longing that some sort of adventure might enliven my career in this fashionably patronised art.

Suffice it to say, I shall write just as I thought, felt and acted. No concealment of admiration shall stop my pen; no recollection of my own culpability or rapture shall cause me to suppress the plain facts. You have told me of your wonderful boldness, success and escapes. I will repay in kind.

I won’t go over the whole story again of how I became acquainted with that beautiful young lady and her no less charming lover. She, you may remember, debarred from his society except at the awfully stiff parties at home, was steadily going on with her education at the convent school. To please her adorer she had allowed him to ask her, through me, for a series of photographs of her beauteous self. Tom used to rave so much about her beauty and the excess of his own feelings that, as you know, I took a good deal of trouble in the matter, and persuaded her to give him some comfort and relief by somewhat freer poses than the preceding ones, through my camera as a medium.

Louisa had, at last, become quite familiar and friendly with me and, in the end, came to see me unaccompanied by the person who had acted heretofore as a sort of duenna. She saw also what a great admiration I had for Tom himself, and then she knew that Tom came to my nice little studio, a cosy room, shaded red and green, to talk and rave of her. Tom could only come in the afternoon, when his college lectures were over. She, only after breakfast, when the girls were recommended to take open air exercise, and allowed some little liberty of action.

Well, Tom was as simple as a child. I had determined not to play him false, for he trusted me with Louisa to any extent, and indeed he liked me himself so very much-I never could tell why-that anything like jealousy never occurred to his mind.

Well, thus things were when at last I had got so far, as I briefly told you, that I asked her to allow me to take for him a photograph of her with a low dress on, so as to show her breasts quite openly, firmly spreading in opposing directions, with the pink nipples and circles around them fully exposed.

You must understand that Louisa is a wonderfully fine brunette, exquisitely developed, and combines a perfect form of what I call the Titian type with the most complete womanly and amorous disposition. Of moderate height, her hair is thick, chestnut and wavy; her eyes dark brown, passionate and sparkling, surmounted by bushy eyebrows; her face oval, her ears small, and she had a well-shaped mouth of great beauty, with coral pouting lips. Notwithstanding her full figure she has the smallest waist, hands and fingers you could wish to see, indicating the high breeding and build of her bones.

It was only after a good deal of coaxing, and suggesting the pleasure and satisfaction it would give Tom, that I induced her to uncover her bosom. Its dazzling and voluptuous beauty when exposed was quite overpowering.

I was astonished at my own audacity in obtaining such a result, and dashed off a plate. Then showing her what a beautiful picture it made, I ventured to suggest a still more beautiful pose, if she would allow a full sitting figure, showing her shapely legs, urging that Tom might as well see them as those beautiful white globes above her waist. After some nonsense and objection, and a good deal of persuasion, she at last consented. She sat down on the sofa, and raised her silk dress onto her lap, so that she showed the lace edge of some white affairs just down to the knees which were beautifully small. Then came, gracefully leaning inwards, her two well-rounded legs with their snowy stockings narrowing to the closely-fitting boots which clasped tightly the elegant instep of the most exquisitely small foot.

What a lovely object a woman’s leg is! How ravishingly beautiful when unconsciously shown! How many a staircase, ship’s ladder, area grating, steep hillside, ruined tower, or even drawing-room fender, has innocently betrayed its beauty to sharp eyes and sent wild rapture through longing hearts.

The pose was a great success to Tom’s immense delight.

This morning Louisa has been photographed by me again, and that is the reason of my writing so long a letter.

To make a long story short, she asked me a great many questions about the effect of the last photographs on her lover. I told her that he seemed quite to die of love on seeing the beautiful display of her lovely limbs.

I thought it a capital opportunity to press for another sitting with a still greater exposure, and declared that Tom had urged me to do so with tears in his eyes, as the greatest comfort he could enjoy when deprived of seeing her sweet self. To entice her consent I showed her several plates of portraits of partially naked ladies exhibiting their secret parts, and told her they were executed for lovers and husbands. She looked bashfully at them, but was evidently excited, and blushing deeply, she said,

“Oh, my dear fellow, if it really would be such a satisfaction and delight, as well as comfort, to dear Tom, I would let him have any position he likes.”

I told her gently there was one position I knew would give infinite delight to Tom, which she might give him without any danger to herself, in which her lower person would be freely exposed, while she covered her face with her arm as if from bashfulness. She, hesitatingly and blushingly, but, I must confess, not without taking me by surprise, said:

“Oh, my dear fellow, I will do whatever you like.”

Excerpt From: Anonymous. “Letters From a Friend in Paris.”

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