Lady Beatrice Pokingham: Or “They All Do It.” (Victorian underground erotica with previously unpublished material) (public domain)


The Pearl was a Victorian underground magazine that ran from July 1879 to

December 1880. One story within it was titled Lady Beatrice Pokingham: Or,

They All Do It.

This torrent contains the Pokingham story with new material that has not

previously been published.

The text came to me from an acquaintance who, prior to retirement,

was a moderately well-known academic in a leading British university. He gave

me permission to post the following text after his death.

Introduction based on communication with the editor of the text.

The text below is a transcription from a previously unknown collection of papers

and letters associated with the Victorian underground magazine, The Pearl.

This was found in 2016 in a section of uncategorized documents among the

stacks of the Bodleian Library. It was not recorded on any library database and

accordingly the finder assumes it has been overlooked up to this date.

A portion of the text below was found as printer’s proofs. It seems from the

material in this archive that a print run of about 50 copies was planned, to be

released as an Easter Special in March 1880 under the title given below (An

Interlude.) But no such magazine seems to have been printed.

It appears that the writer then aimed to publish the work as a stand-alone novella,

since there is a much longer hand-written manuscript that expands the story.

I have therefore collated both the proof version and the holograph based

on the narrative structure apparently intended by the writer.

Occasional words and some sentences in the holograph are illegible, and in this

case I have had to make my best guess. For some wholly illegible words I have

simply offered the word (or words) that make most sense within the narrative.

Some passages (the more unlikely / perverse sexual activities) have been

cancelled, apparently in response to comments in another hand regarding

quality or credibility. Since these sections were largely complete, I have restored

them. In addition there were some sketches apparently supposed to represent

several of the characters depicted in the fiction.

It seems that the writer of this story is not the same as the writer of other parts

of the Pokingham narrative; however it also appears (though not with

complete certainty) that this author worked with the original author. There is

some correspondence on the matter, but this part of the archive is decayed and

fragmentary. Furthermore, there is some indication that the latter parts of the

story that was published in The Pearl were not written by the initial author,

and that the initial author was not wholly pleased with the treatment of the story

under the latter hand. For example there is discussion of the Charlie Vavasour