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Venus in Boston; A Romance of City Life   By: (1823-)

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A Romance of City Life.

"Ah, Vice! how soft are thy voluptuous ways! While boyish blood is mantling, who can 'scape The fascination of thy magic gaze? A Cherub hydra round us dost thou gape, And mould to every taste, thy dear, delusive shape." BYRON'S CHILDE HAROLD

{First published 1849}



A Romance of City Life


CHAPTER I. The blind Basket maker and his family. 3

CHAPTER II. Innocence in the Grip of Lust. 7

CHAPTER III. The Rescue. 17

CHAPTER IV. A night in Ann street. 20

CHAPTER V. The Chevalier and the Duchess. 52

CHAPTER VI. The Stolen Package. 75

CHAPTER VII. Showing the operations of Jew Mike. 90

CHAPTER VIII. The Chambers of Love. 98

[Illustration: Frontispiece to Venus in Boston , 1850 edition. By courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library.]


I conceive it to be a prominent fault of most of the tales of fiction that are written and published at the present day, that they are not sufficiently natural their style is too much exaggerated and in aiming to produce startling effects, they depart too widely from the range of probability to engage the undivided interest of the enlightened and judicious reader. Believing as I do that the romance of reality the details of common, everyday life the secret history of things hidden from the public gaze, but of the existence of which there can be no manner of doubt are endowed with a more powerful and absorbing interest than any extravagant flight of imagination can be, it shall be my aim in the following pages to adhere as closely as possible to truth and reality; and to depict scenes and adventures which have actually occurred, and which have come to my knowledge in the course of an experience no means limited an experience replete with facilities for acquiring a perfect insight into human nature, and a knowledge of the many secret springs of human action.

The most favorable reception which my former humble productions have met with, at the hands of a kind and indulgent public, will, I trust, justify the hope that the present Tale may meet with similar encouragement. It certainly shall not prove inferior to any of its predecessors in the variety of its incidents or the interest of its details; and as a romance of city life , it will amply repay the perusal of all country readers, as well as those who reside in cities.

With these remarks, preliminary and explanatory, I proceed at once to draw the curtain, and unfold the opening scene of my drama.


The blind Basket maker and his family.

It was a winter's day, and piercing cold; very few pedestrians were to be seen in Boston, and those few were carefully enveloped in warm cloak and great coats, for the weather was of that intense kind that chills the blood and penetrates to the very bone. Even Washington street that great avenue of wealth and promenade of fashion, usually thronged with the pleasure seeking denizens of the metropolis was comparatively deserted, save by a few shivering mortals, who hurried on their way with rapid footsteps, anxious to escape from the relentless and iron grasp of hoary winter. And yet on that day, and in that street, there stood upon the pavement directly opposite the "Old South Church," a young girl of about the age of fourteen years, holding in her hand a small basket of fruit, which she offered to every passer by. Now there was nothing very extraordinary in this, neither was there anything very unusual in the meek and pleading look of the little fruit girl, as she timidly raised her large blue eyes to the face of every one who passed her for such humble callings, and such mute but eloquent appeals, are the common inheritance of many, very many of God's poor in large cities, and do not generally attract any great degree of notice from the careless (and too often unfeeling) children of prosperity; but there was something in the appearance of the pale, sad girl, as, in her scant attire she shivered in the biting wind, not often met with in the humble disciples of poverty a certain subdued, gentle air, partaking of much unconscious grace, that whispered of better days gone by... Continue reading book >>

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