HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVED
In France in the 13th century young women were kept in gynaecea – or chambres de dames – where they were available 24/7 exclusively for the lord’s pleasure. Count Baudouin, for example, had access
to his servant girls’ quarters along with the bedroom of practically every female in his castle. When he died, 33 of his officially recognized children turned up for the burial and 23 of them were bastards.
Jf When Lord Aboyne and Lord Moray left London’s Wig Club in 1775, they made off with the object that gave the club its name, a wig woven out of the pubic hair of Charles II’s mistresses. Members brought along a lock of their own mistresses’ hidden tresses to be added in.
Jf Inspired by the experiments of Benjamin Franklin, infamous quack Dr James Graham invented a ‘medico-magnetico – musico-electrical bed’, built on 28 glass pillars with a mattress of stallion hair and a magnificent mirrored dome. Surrounded by fluxing magnetic lodestones, the Celestial Bed was designed ‘to produce strong, beautiful, brilliant, nay double-distilled children’ and wealthy 18th-century couples allegedly paid £50 to rekindle their passion upon it. The beautiful 16- year-old Emma Lyon – later Lady Hamilton – further enhanced the bed’s charms by dancing round it stark naked. Graham’s clients included the Prince of Wales.
Jf In Venice in the late Middle Ages, ‘sodomy’ was particularly
common among the clergy and, where this involved homosexuality, the punishment could be castration or even hanging. At this time, coitus interruptus was still classed as ‘sodomy’, historically an elastic term for anything the fc authorities wanted to suppress. Masturbation was acceptable until the Plague arrived and the population rapidly dwindled. The ‘wasting of seed’ suddenly became a criminal offence.
If Jean-Jacques Rousseau admitted in his Confessions he masturbated while remembering childhood beatings from his foster mother.
Jf 1911 was the original Summer of Love in England. When temperatures hit 100°F, the Edwardian upper classes adopted flimsy clothes and morals to match. Lady Cunard cuckolded her husband with conductor Thomas Beecham, Lord Curzon embarked on an affair with writer Elinor Glyn and Lord Charles Beresford leapt lustily on to the bed of his girlfriend shouting ‘Cock-a-doodle-do’, only to discover he’d jumped upon a dozing Bishop of Chester.
Keeping up appearances
FOOLING THE PUBLIC
LAYDEEZ AND GENTLEMEN
In 1870 Ernest Boulton and Frederick William Park were arrested at the Strand Theatre, London, dressed in full evening frocks and travelling under the names of Lady Stella Clinton and Miss Fanny Park. The police had been watching them for some time. Charged with conspiracy to commit buggery – being a transvestite was just a misdemeanour – both appeared in the dock arrayed magnificently in full drag: Boulton in a fetching wig and ‘a cherry-coloured silk evening dress’ and Park in green satin ‘with his flaxen hair in curls’. Since sodomy could not be proved, they were later acquitted to great rejoicing in the public gallery.