I always loved the 1981 book Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People, which included everyone from Rousseau to W. C. Fields, a project so big Irving Wallace brought in the whole family to help him write it. Wallace knew that lots of famous people had miserable love lives – it goes with the territory. So he added a short and charming final chapter, showcasing some incredibly happy marriages, including Jack Benny, Robert E. Lee, Louis Pasteur and Walt Disney. He called it “And They Lived Happily Ever After.” When my copy started falling apart, and I saw a new edition had come out in 2008, I ordered it, despite the claim it had been “updated.”
It wasn’t updated; it was assassinated. Actually, most of it was the same, but for a few additions like Kurt Cobain, be still my heart. But the entire last chapter had simply been axed. Why? My guess is that the original publishers, Delacorte Press, a division of the mighty Random House, had no interest in doing a new edition, and the politically-correct mavens at the ultra-hip, underground Feral House Publishing that did do it had no interest in the subject of what makes a happy marriage. In fact, I’ve no doubt the whole idea of a happy marriage offended them.
To my fury, one of the things that got cut was a postscript called Letter From Mollie, that was just jaw-dropping. Most victims of a public education think all sex was missionary position and just plain lousy until 1968, despite ample evidence to the contrary. This letter was written around 1882, from a young newlywed named Mollie, who lived "back East." Having promised to let her cousin Julia in Northern Mines, California, know what to expect on her wedding night, a common thing between close friends and sisters, she mailed a graphic and delightful description of her own. I wish I could have found a picture of the letter itself, but it's in private hands. It made me feel so great, and I wanted to share it.
Incidentally, it is reproduced here with most of its punctuation, or lack of it, in place. Spelling, too, was more a matter of opinion in those days. It’s not a spoiler. It only adds to the charm of this remarkable billet doux. However, I did throw in a couple periods, as an aid to the first-time reader.
My dear cousin Julia
I am now with much pleasure about to fulfill my promise of writeing to you after the consumation of my marriage with Albert so you may have some Idea of the thing when you and Harry are united which I hope will be soon. You will please remember this is strictly confidential if we were not so intimate I would not write so plain but you know when we were together what one did the other knew so I will keep nothing back from you. Albert and I where married day before yesterday our minister E. Hodge performed the ceremony. All of our folks were present and nothing occured to mar the pleasures of the day all went off as weddings generaly do with fun frolicking cackes & wine &c.
But oh dear Julia you can but faintly comprehend the felicity I have experienced since that ever to be remembered night. I thought I had some Idea of the enjoyment of married life but I was a novice in the mystries I will now endevor to give you a faint description of our married life. The first night I lay with my dear Albert a thrilling sensation shot with the rapidity of lightning through my entire system. Oh-the bliss of that moment So sensitively alive it excelled any thing I had ever experienced it was superlatively nice. We lay a few moments enfolded in each others embrace our naked bodies in close contact for by some unaccountiable means my night clothes had all slipped above my waist. My blood boiled and rushed through my frame like molten lava my prespiration ceased entirely at entervals and my head throbed almost to bursting. A dizziness amounting almost to stupeifeication over came me a felcitiy not to be expressed in words. My breath seemed to leave my body I felt paralysed and lay motionless and calm as some southern sea on a still summer morn. When as to test the utmost tension of my nerves Albert took my hand and by degrees (I did not resist I suspected his intentions) in tremulous excitement conveyed it down his body until it came in contact with his-0! Heavens the thrilling sensation of that moment you know what I mean. It was swollen to an enormous size my hand immediatley and tenaciously grasped it though I declare it was as much as I could do to fairly span it. The soft velvet like feeling of its head gave additional impulse to my already excited feelings When to cap the climax of my felicity he gently raised himself on one knee and with the other between my thighs he separated my legs so as to admit his body between them and then in a moment he was gently heaving up and down with an undulating motion when I felt it enter my person. When the head entered it appeared to me that I was attacked with a spasm for I raised with sudden emotion as he bore down on me and this mutualy kept up had the effect of driving it quite into my person and then a shock suddenly passed through me as if from a galvanic battery a dizziness overcame me my eyes closed my bosom heaved my arms relaxed my perspiration ceased I was actually gone for I fainted.
When conciousness returned Albert was hugging & kissing me clasping me in his arms in the estacy of the moment I forgot all the world except my dear Albert we lay quite exhausted for about twenty minutes when he again conveyed my hand to that Dear member that had given me so much pleasure. It was some what less in size but as soon as it felt the pressure of my hand it resumed its original proportion. Albert made another attempt to raise himself upon me but I begged him more from delicacy than disinclination to desist wich kind soul as he is he did but I could not long resist for he thrust in between my thighs and kissed me so that longer resistance was impossible and I once more yeilded to his solicitation. I did not faint this time though the pleasurable sensations were more acute than the first. I would sooner have risked my soul's salvation than to have had Albert withdraw from his embrace. I was some what sore and stiff in my parts next day but at present I feel as chirp as a squirrel. I think he has done the work for me I think I am pregnant. Now dear Julia the day is coming to a close and I must conclude this letter for I expect Albert at any moment and I would not for the world have him know what I have been writing to you so good bye for the present and in my next I will tell you more of the pleasures of married life. Give my love to Anna T Uncle and inquiring friends.
I remain your affectionate cousin Mollie