The religions of the Eastóand after all that means the religions of the worldóbegan and ended in sexual pleasure. The prophet, or priest, married his girl-wives in droves, not singly; stimulated himself with aphrodisiacs, for his tremendous task, as, I have heard, breeders sometimes do a fancy stallion; and, when exhausted nature sank under the delightful burden, the most glorious purpose of his renewed youth was to tackle manfully the bewitching bevy of beauties awaiting his advent in the better land.
It was largely so in Nineveh, Babylon, and by the Nile; where the Hogarths of the period painted the young dandy being carried home by his footmen, wigless and hatless, while the lady for whom he had possibly paid an enormous sum, awaited his arrival amid evidences of the same reckless disorder. The men painted their faces and pencilled their eyebrows; wore bracelets and collars of gold and jewels; dined on a variety of delicate entrees, tast-ing and nibbling a little here and there; drank deeply of the "liquid sunshine " of Damascus, or Shiraz; yawned or wallowed half the day in their harems; had valets de chambre to help them in and out of bed; had " actions like water and words like wind," and spent fabulous sums yearly for epi-dermatics to swell the size of their testicles.
What a field the sexual life of the ancients would have been for the modern American patent medicine vendor, the "beauty-doctor" and professional "bust-developer!"1
1 The idea recalls a laughable story of the man who, suffering with toothache, made a liberal application of a "liniment" he found in his wife's closet. To his horror a large, soft tumor developed in the affected part, the miraculous and peculiar growth of which was only explained when his wife, with equal horror, informed him that the supposed*'liniment" he had been using was nothing more nor less than her " new patent bust-developer." Rclata re/ero.