By Samuel Richardson
Samuel Richardson, the first, in order of time, of the great English novelists, was born in 1689 and died at London in 1761. He was a printer by trade, and rose to be master of the Stationers' Company. That he also became a novelist was due to his skill as a letter-writer, which brought him, in his fiftieth year, a commission to write a volume of model "familiar letters" as an aid to persons too illiterate to compose their own. The notion of connecting these letters by a story which had interested him suggested the plot of "Pamela" and determined its epistolary form—a form which was retained in his later works.
This novel (published 1740) created an epoch in the history of English fiction, and, with its successors, exerted a wide influence upon Continental literature. It is appropriately included in a series which is designed to form a group of studies of English life by the masters of English fiction. For it marked the transition from the novel of adventure to the novel of character—from the narration of entertaining events to the study of men and of manners, of motives and of sentiments. In it the romantic interest of the story (which is of the slightest) is subordinated to the moral interest in the conduct of its characters in the various situations in which they are placed. Upon this aspect of the "drama of human life" Richardson cast a most observant, if not always a penetrating glance. His works are an almost microscopically detailed picture of English domestic life in the early part of the eighteenth century.
PAMELA, or VIRTUE REWARDED
DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,
I have great trouble, and some comfort, to acquaint you with. The trouble is, that my good lady died of the illness I mentioned to you, and left us all much grieved for the loss of her; for she was a dear good lady, and kind to all us her servants. Much I feared, that as I was taken by her ladyship to wait upon her person, I should be quite destitute again, and forced to return to you and my poor mother, who have enough to do to maintain yourselves; and, as my lady's goodness had put me to write and cast accounts, and made me a little expert at my needle, and otherwise qualified above my degree, it was not every family that could have found a place that your poor Pamela was fit for: but God, whose graciousness to us we have so often experienced at a pinch, put it into my good lady's heart, on her death-bed, just an hour before she expired, to recommend to my young master all her servants, one by one; and when it came to my turn to be recommended, (for I was sobbing and crying at her pillow) she could only say, My dear son!—and so broke off a little; and then recovering—Remember my poor Pamela—And these were some of her last words! O how my eyes run—Don't wonder to see the paper so blotted.
Well, but God's will must be done!—And so comes the comfort, that I shall not be obliged to return back to be a clog upon my dear parents! For my master said, I will take care of you all, my good maidens; and for you, Pamela, (and took me by the hand; yes, he took my hand before them all,) for my dear mother's sake, I will be a friend to you, and you shall take care of my linen. God bless him! and pray with me, my dear father and mother, for a blessing upon him, for he has given mourning and a year's wages to all my lady's servants; and I having no wages as yet, my lady having said she should do for me as I deserved, ordered the housekeeper to give me mourning with the rest; and gave me with his own hand four golden guineas, and some silver, which were in my old lady's pocket when she died; and said, if I was a good girl, and faithful and diligent, he would be a friend to me, for his mother's sake. And so I send you these four guineas for your comfort; for Providence will not let me want: And so you may pay some old debt with part, and keep the other part to comfort you both. If I get more, I am sure it is my duty, and it shall be my care, to love and cherish you both; for you have loved and cherished me, when I could do nothing for myself. I send them by John, our footman, who goes your way: but he does not know what he carries; because I seal them up in one of the little pill-boxes, which my lady had, wrapt close in paper, that they mayn't chink; and be sure don't open it before him.
I know, dear father and mother, I must give you both grief and pleasure; and so I will only say, Pray for your Pamela; who will ever be
Your most dutiful DAUGHTER.
I have been scared out of my senses; for just now, as I was folding up this letter in my late lady's dressing-room, in comes my young master! Good sirs! how was I frightened! I went to hide the letter in my bosom; and he, seeing me tremble, said, smiling, To whom have you been writing, Pamela?—I said, in my confusion, Pray your honour forgive me!—Only to my father and mother. He said, Well then, let me see how you are come on in your writing! O how ashamed I was!—He took it, without saying more, and read it quite through, and then gave it me again;—and I said, Pray your honour forgive me!—Yet I know not for what: for he was always dutiful to his parents; and why should he be angry that I was so to mine? And indeed he was not angry; for he took me by the hand, and said, You are a good girl, Pamela, to be kind to your aged father and mother. I am not angry with you for writing such innocent matters as these: though you ought to be wary what tales you send out of a family.—Be faithful and diligent; and do as you should do, and I like you the better for this. And then he said, Why, Pamela, you write a very pretty hand, and spell tolerably too. I see my good mother's care in your learning has not been thrown away upon you. She used to say you loved reading; you may look into any of her books, to improve yourself, so you take care of them. To be sure I did nothing but courtesy and cry, and was all in confusion, at his goodness. Indeed he is the best of gentlemen, I think! But I am making another long letter: So will only add to it, that I shall ever be Your dutiful daughter, PAMELA ANDREWS.
[In answer to the preceding.]
Your letter was indeed a great trouble, and some comfort, to me and your poor mother. We are troubled, to be sure, for your good lady's death, who took such care of you, and gave you learning, and, for three or four years past, has always been giving you clothes and linen, and every thing that a gentlewoman need not be ashamed to appear in. But our chief trouble is, and indeed a very great one, for fear you should be brought to anything dishonest or wicked, by being set so above yourself. Every body talks how you have come on, and what a genteel girl you are; and some say you are very pretty; and, indeed, six months since, when I saw you last, I should have thought so myself, if you was not our child. But what avails all this, if you are to be ruined and undone!—Indeed, my dear Pamela, we begin to be in great fear for you; for what signify all the riches in the world, with a bad conscience, and to be dishonest! We are, 'tis true, very poor, and find it hard enough to live; though once, as you know, it was better with us. But we would sooner live upon the water, and, if possible, the clay of the ditches I contentedly dig, than live better at the price of our child's ruin.
I hope the good 'squire has no design: but when he has given you so much money, and speaks so kindly to you, and praises your coming on; and, oh, that fatal word! that he would be kind to you, if you would do as you should do, almost kills us with fears.
I have spoken to good old widow Mumford about it, who, you know, has formerly lived in good families; and she puts us in some comfort; for she says it is not unusual, when a lady dies, to give what she has about her person to her waiting-maid, and to such as sit up with her in her illness. But, then, why should he smile so kindly upon you? Why should he take such a poor girl as you by the hand, as your letter says he has done twice? Why should he stoop to read your letter to us; and commend your writing and spelling? And why should he give you leave to read his mother's books?—Indeed, indeed, my dearest child, our hearts ache for you; and then you seem so full of joy at his goodness, so taken with his kind expressions, (which, truly, are very great favours, if he means well) that we fear—yes, my dear child, we fear—you should be too grateful,—and reward him with that jewel, your virtue, which no riches, nor favour, nor any thing in this life, can make up to you.
I, too, have written a long letter, but will say one thing more; and that is, that, in the midst of our poverty and misfortunes, we have trusted in God's goodness, and been honest, and doubt not to be happy hereafter, if we continue to be good, though our lot is hard here; but the loss of our dear child's virtue would be a grief that we could not bear, and would bring our grey hairs to the grave at once.
If, then, you love us, if you wish for God's blessing, and your own future happiness, we both charge you to stand upon your guard: and, if you find the least attempt made upon your virtue, be sure you leave every thing behind you, and come away to us; for we had rather see you all covered with rags, and even follow you to the churchyard, than have it said, a child of ours preferred any worldly conveniences to her virtue.
We accept kindly your dutiful present; but, till we are out of pain, cannot make use of it, for fear we should partake of the price of our poor daughter's shame: so have laid it up in a rag among the thatch, over the window, for a while, lest we should be robbed. With our blessings, and our hearty prayers for you, we remain,
Your careful, but loving Father and Mother, JOHN AND ELIZABETH ANDREWS.
I must needs say, your letter has filled me with trouble, for it has made my heart, which was overflowing with gratitude for my master's goodness, suspicious and fearful: and yet I hope I shall never find him to act unworthy of his character; for what could he get by ruining such a poor young creature as me? But that which gives me most trouble is, that you seem to mistrust the honesty of your child. No, my dear father and mother, be assured, that, by God's grace, I never will do any thing that shall bring your grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. I will die a thousand deaths, rather than be dishonest any way. Of that be assured, and set your hearts at rest; for although I have lived above myself for some time past, yet I can be content with rags and poverty, and bread and water, and will embrace them, rather than forfeit my good name, let who will be the tempter. And of this pray rest satisfied, and think better of Your dutiful DAUGHTER till death.
My master continues to be very affable to me. As yet I see no cause to fear any thing. Mrs. Jervis, the housekeeper, too, is very civil to me, and I have the love of every body. Sure they can't all have designs against me, because they are civil! I hope I shall always behave so as to be respected by every one; and that nobody would do me more hurt than I am sure I would do them. Our John so often goes your way, that I will always get him to call, that you may hear from me, either by writing, (for it brings my hand in,) or by word of mouth.
For the last was to my father, in answer to his letter; and so I will now write to you; though I have nothing to say, but what will make me look more like a vain hussy, than any thing else: However, I hope I shan't be so proud as to forget myself. Yet there is a secret pleasure one has to hear one's self praised. You must know, then, that my Lady Davers, who, I need not tell you, is my master's sister, has been a month at our house, and has taken great notice of me, and given me good advice to keep myself to myself. She told me I was a pretty wench, and that every body gave me a very good character, and loved me; and bid me take care to keep the fellows at a distance; and said, that I might do, and be more valued for it, even by themselves.
But what pleased me much was, what I am going to tell you; for at table, as Mrs. Jervis says, my master and her ladyship talking of me, she told him she thought me the prettiest wench she ever saw in her life; and that I was too pretty to live in a bachelor's house; since no lady he might marry would care to continue me with her. He said, I was vastly improved, and had a good share of prudence, and sense above my years; and that it would be pity, that what was my merit should be my misfortune.—No, says my good lady, Pamela shall come and live with me, I think. He said, with all his heart; he should be glad to have me so well provided for. Well, said she, I'll consult my lord about it. She asked how old I was; and Mrs. Jervis said, I was fifteen last February. O! says she, if the wench (for so she calls all us maiden servants) takes care of herself, she'll improve yet more and more, as well in her person as mind.
Now, my dear father and mother, though this may look too vain to be repeated by me; yet are you not rejoiced, as well as I, to see my master so willing to part with me?—This shews that he has nothing bad in his heart. But John is just going away; and so I have only to say, that I am, and will always be,
Your honest as well as dutiful DAUGHTER.
Pray make use of the money. You may now do it safely.
MY DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,
John being to go your way, I am willing to write, because he is so willing to carry any thing for me. He says it does him good at his heart to see you both, and to hear you talk. He says you are both so sensible, and so honest, that he always learns something from you to the purpose. It is a thousand pities, he says, that such worthy hearts should not have better luck in the world! and wonders, that you, my father, who are so well able to teach, and write so good a hand, succeeded no better in the school you attempted to set up; but was forced to go to such hard labour. But this is more pride to me, that I am come of such honest parents, than if I had been born a lady.
I hear nothing yet of going to Lady Davers; and I am very easy at present here: for Mrs. Jervis uses me as if I were her own daughter, and is a very good woman, and makes my master's interest her own. She is always giving me good counsel, and I love her next to you two, I think, best of any body. She keeps so good rule and order, she is mightily respected by us all; and takes delight to hear me read to her; and all she loves to hear read, is good books, which we read whenever we are alone; so that I think I am at home with you. She heard one of our men, Harry, who is no better than he should be, speak freely to me; I think he called me his pretty Pamela, and took hold of me, as if he would have kissed me; for which, you may be sure, I was very angry: and she took him to task, and was as angry at him as could be; and told me she was very well pleased to see my prudence and modesty, and that I kept all the fellows at a distance. And indeed I am sure I am not proud, and carry it civilly to every body; but yet, methinks, I cannot bear to be looked upon by these men-servants, for they seem as if they would look one through; and, as I generally breakfast, dine, and sup, with Mrs. Jervis, (so good she is to me,) I am very easy that I have so little to say to them. Not but they are civil to me in the main, for Mrs. Jervis's sake, who they see loves me; and they stand in awe of her, knowing her to be a gentlewoman born, though she has had misfortunes. I am going on again with a long letter; for I love writing, and shall tire you. But, when I began, I only intended to say, that I am quite fearless of any danger now: and, indeed, cannot but wonder at myself, (though your caution to me was your watchful love,) that I should be so foolish as to be so uneasy as I have been: for I am sure my master would not demean himself, so as to think upon such a poor girl as I, for my harm. For such a thing would ruin his credit, as well as mine, you know: who, to be sure, may expect one of the best ladies in the land. So no more at present, but that I am
Your ever dutiful DAUGHTER.
DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,
My master has been very kind since my last; for he has given me a suit of my late lady's clothes, and half a dozen of her shifts, and six fine handkerchiefs, and three of her cambric aprons, and four holland ones. The clothes are fine silk, and too rich and too good for me, to be sure. I wish it was no affront to him to make money of them, and send it to you: it would do me more good.
You will be full of fears, I warrant now, of some design upon me, till I tell you, that he was with Mrs. Jervis when he gave them me; and he gave her a mort of good things, at the same time, and bid her wear them in remembrance of her good friend, my lady, his mother. And when he gave me these fine things, he said, These, Pamela, are for you; have them made fit for you, when your mourning is laid by, and wear them for your good mistress's sake. Mrs. Jervis gives you a very good word; and I would have you continue to behave as prudently as you have done hitherto, and every body will be your friend.
I was so surprised at his goodness, that I could not tell what to say. I courtesied to him, and to Mrs. Jervis for her good word; and said, I wished I might be deserving of his favour, and her kindness: and nothing should be wanting in me, to the best of my knowledge.
O how amiable a thing is doing good!—It is all I envy great folks for.
I always thought my young master a fine gentleman, as every body says he is: but he gave these good things to us both with such a graciousness, as I thought he looked like an angel.
Mrs. Jervis says, he asked her, If I kept the men at a distance? for, he said, I was very pretty; and to be drawn in to have any of them, might be my ruin, and make me poor and miserable betimes. She never is wanting to give me a good word, and took occasion to launch out in my praise, she says. But I hope she has said no more than I shall try to deserve, though I mayn't at present. I am sure I will always love her, next to you and my dear mother. So I rest
Your ever dutiful DAUGHTER.
Since my last, my master gave me more fine things. He called me up to my late lady's closet, and, pulling out her drawers, he gave me two suits of fine Flanders laced headclothes, three pair of fine silk shoes, two hardly the worse, and just fit for me, (for my lady had a very little foot,) and the other with wrought silver buckles in them; and several ribands and top-knots of all colours; four pair of white fine cotton stockings, and three pair of fine silk ones; and two pair of rich stays. I was quite astonished, and unable to speak for a while; but yet I was inwardly ashamed to take the stockings; for Mrs. Jervis was not there: If she had, it would have been nothing. I believe I received them very awkwardly; for he smiled at my awkwardness, and said, Don't blush, Pamela: Dost think I don't know pretty maids should wear shoes and stockings?
I was so confounded at these words, you might have beat me down with a feather. For you must think, there was no answer to be made to this: So, like a fool, I was ready to cry; and went away courtesying and blushing, I am sure, up to the ears; for, though there was no harm in what he said, yet I did not know how to take it. But I went and told all to Mrs. Jervis, who said, God put it into his heart to be good to me; and I must double my diligence. It looked to her, she said, as if he would fit me in dress for a waiting-maid's place on Lady Davers's own person.
But still your kind fatherly cautions came into my head, and made all these gifts nothing near to me what they would have been. But yet, I hope, there is no reason; for what good could it do to him to harm such a simple maiden as me? Besides, to be sure no lady would look upon him, if he should so disgrace himself. So I will make myself easy; and, indeed, I should never have been otherwise, if you had not put it into my head; for my good, I know very well. But, may be, without these uneasinesses to mingle with these benefits, I might be too much puffed up: So I will conclude, all that happens is for our good; and God bless you, my dear father and mother; and I know you constantly pray for a blessing upon me; who am, and shall always be,
Your dutiful DAUGHTER.
I cannot but renew my cautions on your master's kindness, and his free expression to you about the stockings. Yet there may not be, and I hope there is not, any thing in it. But when I reflect, that there possibly may, and that if there should, no less depends upon it than my child's everlasting happiness in this world and the next; it is enough to make one fearful for you. Arm yourself, my dear child, for the worst; and resolve to lose your life sooner than your virtue. What though the doubts I filled you with, lessen the pleasure you would have had in your master's kindness; yet what signify the delights that arise from a few paltry fine clothes, in comparison with a good conscience?
These are, indeed, very great favours that he heaps upon you, but so much the more to be suspected; and when you say he looked so amiably, and like an angel, how afraid I am, that they should make too great an impression upon you! For, though you are blessed with sense and prudence above your years, yet I tremble to think, what a sad hazard a poor maiden of little more than fifteen years of age stands against the temptations of this world, and a designing young gentleman, if he should prove so, who has so much power to oblige, and has a kind of authority to command, as your master.
I charge you, my dear child, on both our blessings, poor as we are, to be on your guard; there can be no harm in that. And since Mrs. Jervis is so good a gentlewoman, and so kind to you, I am the easier a great deal, and so is your mother; and we hope you will hide nothing from her, and take her counsel in every thing. So, with our blessings, and assured prayers for you, more than for ourselves, we remain,
Your loving FATHER AND MOTHER.
Be sure don't let people's telling you, you are pretty, puff you up; for you did not make yourself, and so can have no praise due to you for it. It is virtue and goodness only, that make the true beauty. Remember that, Pamela.
DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,
I am sorry to write you word, that the hopes I had of going to wait on Lady Davers, are quite over. My lady would have had me; but my master, as I heard by the by, would not consent to it. He said her nephew might be taken with me, and I might draw him in, or be drawn in by him; and he thought, as his mother loved me, and committed me to his care, he ought to continue me with him; and Mrs. Jervis would be a mother to me. Mrs. Jervis tells me the lady shook her head, and said, Ah! brother! and that was all. And as you have made me fearful by your cautions, my heart at times misgives me. But I say nothing yet of your caution, or my own uneasiness, to Mrs. Jervis; not that I mistrust her, but for fear she should think me presumptuous, and vain and conceited, to have any fears about the matter, from the great distance between such a gentleman, and so poor a girl. But yet Mrs. Jervis seemed to build something upon Lady Davers's shaking her head, and saying, Ah! brother! and no more. God, I hope, will give me his grace: and so I will not, if I can help it, make myself too uneasy; for I hope there is no occasion. But every little matter that happens, I will acquaint you with, that you may continue to me your good advice, and pray for
Your sad-hearted PAMELA.
You and my good father may wonder you have not had a letter from me in so many weeks; but a sad, sad scene, has been the occasion of it. For to be sure, now it is too plain, that all your cautions were well grounded. O my dear mother! I am miserable, truly miserable!—But yet, don't be frightened, I am honest!—God, of his goodness, keep me so!
O this angel of a master! this fine gentleman! this gracious benefactor to your poor Pamela! who was to take care of me at the prayer of his good dying mother; who was so apprehensive for me, lest I should be drawn in by Lord Davers's nephew, that he would not let me go to Lady Davers's: This very gentleman (yes, I must call him gentleman, though he has fallen from the merit of that title) has degraded himself to offer freedoms to his poor servant! He has now shewed himself in his true colours; and, to me, nothing appear so black, and so frightful.
I have not been idle; but had writ from time to time, how he, by sly mean degrees, exposed his wicked views; but somebody stole my letter, and I know not what has become of it. It was a very long one. I fear, he that was mean enough to do bad things, in one respect, did not stick at this. But be it as it will, all the use he can make of it will be, that he may be ashamed of his part; I not of mine: for he will see I was resolved to be virtuous, and gloried in the honesty of my poor parents.
I will tell you all, the next opportunity; for I am watched very narrowly; and he says to Mrs. Jervis, This girl is always scribbling; I think she may be better employed. And yet I work all hours with my needle, upon his linen, and the fine linen of the family; and am, besides, about flowering him a waistcoat.—But, oh! my heart's broke almost; for what am I likely to have for my reward, but shame and disgrace, or else ill words, and hard treatment! I'll tell you all soon, and hope I shall find my long letter.
Your most afflicted DAUGHTER.
May-be, I he and him too much: but it is his own fault if I do. For why did he lose all his dignity with me?
Well, I can't find my letter, and so I'll try to recollect it all, and be as brief as I can. All went well enough in the main for some time after my letter but one. At last, I saw some reason to suspect; for he would look upon me, whenever he saw me, in such a manner, as shewed not well; and one day he came to me, as I was in the summer-house in the little garden, at work with my needle, and Mrs. Jervis was just gone from me; and I would have gone out, but he said, No don't go, Pamela; I have something to say to you; and you always fly me when I come near you, as if you were afraid of me.
I was much out of countenance, you may well think; but said, at last, It does not become your good servant to stay in your presence, sir, without your business required it; and I hope I shall always know my place.
Well, says he, my business does require it sometimes; and I have a mind you should stay to hear what I have to say to you.
I stood still confounded, and began to tremble, and the more when he took me by the hand; for now no soul was near us.
My sister Davers, said he, (and seemed, I thought, to be as much at a loss for words as I,) would have had you live with her; but she would not do for you what I am resolved to do, if you continue faithful and obliging. What say'st thou, my girl? said he, with some eagerness; had'st thou not rather stay with me, than go to my sister Davers? He looked so, as filled me with affrightment; I don't know how; wildly, I thought.
I said, when I could speak, Your honour will forgive me; but as you have no lady for me to wait upon, and my good lady has been now dead this twelvemonth, I had rather, if it would not displease you, wait upon Lady Davers, because—
I was proceeding, and he said, a little hastily—Because you are a little fool, and know not what's good for yourself. I tell you I will make a gentlewoman of you, if you be obliging, and don't stand in your own light; and so saying, he put his arm about me, and kissed me!
Now, you will say, all his wickedness appeared plainly. I struggled and trembled, and was so benumbed with terror, that I sunk down, not in a fit, and yet not myself; and I found myself in his arms, quite void of strength; and he kissed me two or three times, with frightful eagerness.—At last I burst from him, and was getting out of the summer-house; but he held me back, and shut the door.
I would have given my life for a farthing. And he said, I'll do you no harm, Pamela; don't be afraid of me. I said, I won't stay. You won't, hussy! said he: Do you know whom you speak to? I lost all fear, and all respect, and said, Yes, I do, sir, too well!—Well may I forget that I am your servant, when you forget what belongs to a master.
I sobbed and cried most sadly. What a foolish hussy you are! said he: Have I done you any harm? Yes, sir, said I, the greatest harm in the world: You have taught me to forget myself and what belongs to me, and have lessened the distance that fortune has made between us, by demeaning yourself, to be so free to a poor servant. Yet, sir, I will be bold to say, I am honest, though poor: and if you was a prince, I would not be otherwise.
He was angry, and said, Who would have you otherwise, you foolish slut! Cease your blubbering. I own I have demeaned myself; but it was only to try you. If you can keep this matter secret, you'll give me the better opinion of your prudence; and here's something, said he, putting some gold in my hand, to make you amends for the fright I put you in. Go, take a walk in the garden, and don't go in till your blubbering is over: and I charge you say nothing of what is past, and all shall be well, and I'll forgive you.
I won't take the money, indeed, sir, said I, poor as I am I won't take it. For, to say truth, I thought it looked like taking earnest, and so I put it upon the bench; and as he seemed vexed and confused at what he had done, I took the opportunity to open the door, and went out of the summer-house.
He called to me, and said, Be secret; I charge you, Pamela; and don't go in yet, as I told you.
O how poor and mean must those actions be, and how little must they make the best of gentlemen look, when they offer such things as are unworthy of themselves, and put it into the power of their inferiors to be greater than they!
I took a turn or two in the garden, but in sight of the house, for fear of the worst; and breathed upon my hand to dry my eyes, because I would not be too disobedient. My next shall tell you more.
Pray for me, my dear father and mother: and don't be angry I have not yet run away from this house, so late my comfort and delight, but now my terror and anguish. I am forced to break off hastily.
Your dutiful and honest DAUGHTER.
Well, I will now proceed with my sad story. And so, after I had dried my eyes, I went in, and began to ruminate with myself what I had best to do. Sometimes I thought I would leave the house and go to the next town, and wait an opportunity to get to you; but then I was at a loss to resolve whether to take away the things he had given me or no, and how to take them away: Sometimes I thought to leave them behind me, and only go with the clothes on my back, but then I had two miles and a half, and a byway, to the town; and being pretty well dressed, I might come to some harm, almost as bad as what I would run away from; and then may-be, thought I, it will be reported, I have stolen something, and so was forced to run away; and to carry a bad name back with me to my dear parents, would be a sad thing indeed!—O how I wished for my grey russet again, and my poor honest dress, with which you fitted me out, (and hard enough too it was for you to do it!) for going to this place, when I was not twelve years old, in my good lady's days! Sometimes I thought of telling Mrs. Jervis, and taking her advice, and only feared his command to be secret; for, thought I, he may be ashamed of his actions, and never attempt the like again: And as poor Mrs. Jervis depended upon him, through misfortunes, that had attended her, I thought it would be a sad thing to bring his displeasure upon her for my sake.
In this quandary, now considering, now crying, and not knowing what to do, I passed the time in my chamber till evening; when desiring to be excused going to supper, Mrs. Jervis came up to me, and said, Why must I sup without you, Pamela? Come, I see you are troubled at something; tell me what is the matter.
I begged I might be permitted to be with her on nights; for I was afraid of spirits, and they would not hurt such a good person as she. That was a silly excuse, she said; for why was not you afraid of spirits before?—(Indeed I did not think of that.) But you shall be my bed-fellow with all my heart, added she, let your reason be what it will; only come down to supper. I begged to be excused; for, said I, I have been crying so, that it will be taken notice of by my fellow-servants; and I will hide nothing from you, Mrs. Jervis, when we are alone.
She was so good to indulge me; but made haste to come up to bed; and told the servants, that I should be with her, because she could not rest well, and would get me to read her to sleep; for she knew I loved reading, she said.
When we were alone, I told her all that had passed; for I thought, though he had bid me not, yet if he should come to know I had told, it would be no worse; for to keep a secret of such a nature, would be, as I apprehended, to deprive myself of the good advice which I never wanted more; and might encourage him to think I did not resent it as I ought, and would keep worse secrets, and so make him do worse by me. Was I right, my dear mother?
Mrs. Jervis could not help mingling tears with my tears; for I cried all the time I was telling her the story, and begged her to advise me what to do; and I shewed her my dear father's two letters, and she praised the honesty and editing of them, and said pleasing things to me of you both. But she begged I would not think of leaving my service; for, said she, in all likelihood, you behaved so virtuously, that he will be ashamed of what he has done, and never offer the like to you again: though, my dear Pamela, said she, I fear more for your prettiness than for anything else; because the best man in the land might love you: so she was pleased to say. She wished it was in her power to live independent; then she would take a little private house, and I should live with her like her daughter.
And so, as you ordered me to take her advice, I resolved to tarry to see how things went, except he was to turn me away; although, in your first letter, you ordered me to come away the moment I had any reason to be apprehensive. So, dear father and mother, it is not disobedience, I hope, that I stay; for I could not expect a blessing, or the good fruits of your prayers for me, if I was disobedient.
All the next day I was very sad, and began my long letter. He saw me writing, and said (as I mentioned) to Mrs. Jervis, That girl is always scribbling; methinks she might find something else to do, or to that purpose. And when I had finished my letter, I put it under the toilet in my late lady's dressing-room, whither nobody comes but myself and Mrs. Jervis, besides my master; but when I came up again to seal it, to my great concern, it was gone; and Mrs. Jervis knew nothing of it; and nobody knew of my master's having been near the place in the time; so I have been sadly troubled about it: But Mrs. Jervis, as well as I, thinks he has it, some how or other; and he appears cross and angry, and seems to shun me, as much as he said I did him. It had better be so than worse!
But he has ordered Mrs. Jervis to bid me not pass so much time in writing; which is a poor matter for such a gentleman as he to take notice of, as I am not idle other ways, if he did not resent what he thought I wrote upon. And this has no very good look.
But I am a good deal easier since I lie with Mrs. Jervis; though, after all, the fears I live in on one side, and his frowning and displeasure at what I do on the other, make me more miserable than enough.
O that I had never left my little bed in the loft, to be thus exposed to temptations on one hand, or disgusts on the other! How happy was I awhile ago! How contrary now!—Pity and pray for
Your afflicted PAMELA.
My DEAREST CHILD,
Our hearts bleed for your distress, and the temptations you are exposed to. You have our hourly prayers; and we would have you flee this evil great house and man, if you find he renews his attempts. You ought to have done it at first, had you not had Mrs. Jervis to advise with. We can find no fault in your conduct hitherto: But it makes our hearts ache for fear of the worst. O my child! temptations are sore things,—but yet, without them, we know not ourselves, nor what we are able to do.
Your danger is very great; for you have riches, youth, and a fine gentleman, as the world reckons him, to withstand; but how great will be your honour to withstand them! And when we consider your past conduct, and your virtuous education, and that you have been bred to be more ashamed of dishonesty than poverty, we trust in God, that He will enable you to overcome. Yet, as we can't see but your life must be a burthen to you, through the great apprehensions always upon you; and that it may be presumptuous to trust too much to our own strength; and that you are but very young; and the devil may put it into his heart to use some stratagem, of which great men are full, to decoy you: I think you had better come home to share our poverty with safety, than live with so much discontent in a plenty, that itself may be dangerous. God direct you for the best! While you have Mrs. Jervis for an adviser and bed-fellow, (and, O my dear child! that was prudently done of you,) we are easier than we should be; and so committing you to the divine protection, remain
Your truly loving, but careful, FATHER and MOTHER.
DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,
Mrs. Jervis and I have lived very comfortably together for this fortnight past; for my master was all that time at his Lincolnshire estate, and at his sister's, the Lady Davers. But he came home yesterday. He had some talk with Mrs. Jervis soon after, and mostly about me. He said to her, it seems, Well, Mrs. Jervis, I know Pamela has your good word; but do you think her of any use in the family? She told me she was surprised at the question, but said, That I was one of the most virtuous and industrious young creatures that ever she knew. Why that word virtuous, said he, I pray you? Was there any reason to suppose her otherwise? Or has any body taken it into his head to try her?—I wonder, sir, says she, you ask such a question! Who dare offer any thing to her in such an orderly and well-governed house as yours, and under a master of so good a character for virtue and honour? Your servant, Mrs. Jervis, says he, for your good opinion: but pray, if any body did, do you think Pamela would let you know it? Why, sir, said she, she is a poor innocent young creature, and I believe has so much confidence in me, that she would take my advice as soon as she would her mother's. Innocent! again, and virtuous, I warrant! Well, Mrs. Jervis, you abound with your epithets; but I take her to be an artful young baggage; and had I a young handsome butler or steward, she'd soon make her market of one of them, if she thought it worth while to snap at him for a husband. Alack-a-day, sir, said she, it is early days with Pamela; and she does not yet think of a husband, I dare say: and your steward and butler are both men in years, and think nothing of the matter. No, said he, if they were younger, they'd have more wit than to think of such a girl; I'll tell you my mind of her, Mrs. Jervis: I don't think this same favourite of yours so very artless a girl as you imagine. I am not to dispute with your honour, said Mrs. Jervis; but I dare say, if the men will let her alone, she'll never trouble herself about them. Why, Mrs. Jervis, said he, are there any men that will not let her alone, that you know of? No, indeed, sir, said she; she keeps herself so much to herself, and yet behaves so prudently, that they all esteem her, and shew her as great a respect as if she was a gentlewoman born.
Ay, says he, that's her art, that I was speaking of: but, let me tell you, the girl has vanity and conceit, and pride too, or I am mistaken; and, perhaps, I could give you an instance of it. Sir, said she, you can see farther than such a poor silly woman as I am; but I never saw any thing but innocence in her—And virtue too, I'll warrant ye! said he. But suppose I could give you an instance, where she has talked a little too freely of the kindnesses that have been shewn her from a certain quarter; and has had the vanity to impute a few kind words, uttered in mere compassion to her youth and circumstances, into a design upon her, and even dared to make free with names that she ought never to mention but with reverence and gratitude; what would you say to that?—Say, sir! said she, I cannot tell what to say. But I hope Pamela incapable of such ingratitude.
Well, no more of this silly girl, says he; you may only advise her, as you are her friend, not to give herself too much licence upon the favours she meets with; and if she stays here, that she will not write the affairs of my family purely for an exercise to her pen, and her invention. I tell you she is a subtle, artful gipsy, and time will shew it you.
Was ever the like heard, my dear father and mother? It is plain he did not expect to meet with such a repulse, and mistrusts that I have told Mrs. Jervis, and has my long letter too, that I intended for you; and so is vexed to the heart. But I can't help it. I had better be thought artful and subtle, than be so, in his sense; and, as light as he makes of the words virtue and innocence in me, he would have made a less angry construction, had I less deserved that he should do so; for then, may be, my crime should have been my virtue with him naughty gentleman as he is!
I will soon write again; but must now end with saying, that I am, and shall always be, Your honest DAUGHTER.
I broke off abruptly my last letter; for I feared he was coming; and so it happened. I put the letter in my bosom, and took up my work, which lay by me; but I had so little of the artful, as he called it, that I looked as confused as if I had been doing some great harm.
Sit still, Pamela, said he, mind your work, for all me.—You don't tell me I am welcome home, after my journey to Lincolnshire. It would be hard, sir, said I, if you was not always welcome to your honour's own house.
I would have gone; but he said, Don't run away, I tell you. I have a word or two to say to you. Good sirs, how my heart went pit-a-pat! When I was a little kind to you, said he, in the summer-house, and you carried yourself so foolishly upon it, as if I had intended to do you great harm, did I not tell you you should take no notice of what passed to any creature? and yet you have made a common talk of the matter, not considering either my reputation, or your own.—I made a common talk of it, sir! said I: I have nobody to talk to, hardly.
He interrupted me, and said, Hardly! you little equivocator! what do you mean by hardly? Let me ask you, have not you told Mrs. Jervis for one? Pray your honour, said I, all in agitation, let me go down; for it is not for me to hold an argument with your honour. Equivocator, again! said he, and took my hand, what do you talk of an argument? Is it holding an argument with me to answer a plain question? Answer me what I asked. O, good sir, said I, let me beg you will not urge me farther, for fear I forget myself again, and be saucy.
Answer me then, I bid you, says he, Have you not told Mrs. Jervis? It will be saucy in you if you don't answer me directly to what I ask. Sir, said I, and fain would have pulled my hand away, perhaps I should be for answering you by another question, and that would not become me. What is it you would say? replies he; speak out.
Then, sir, said I, why should your honour be so angry I should tell Mrs. Jervis, or any body else, what passed, if you intended no harm?
Well said, pretty innocent and artless! as Mrs. Jervis calls you, said he; and is it thus you taunt and retort upon me, insolent as you are! But still I will be answered directly to my question. Why then, sir, said I, I will not tell a lie for the world: I did tell Mrs. Jervis; for my heart was almost broken; but I opened not my mouth to any other. Very well, boldface, said he, and equivocator again! You did not open your mouth to any other; but did not you write to some other? Why, now, and please your honour, said I, (for I was quite courageous just then,) you could not have asked me this question, if you had not taken from me my letter to my father and mother, in which I own I had broken my mind freely to them, and asked their advice, and poured forth my griefs!
And so I am to be exposed, am I, said he, in my own house, and out of my house, to the whole world, by such a sauce-box as you? No, good sir, said I, and I hope your honour won't be angry with me; it is not I that expose you, if I say nothing but the truth. So, taunting again! Assurance as you are! said he: I will not be thus talked to!
Pray, sir, said I, of whom can a poor girl take advice, if it must not be of her father and mother, and such a good woman as Mrs. Jervis, who, for her sex-sake, should give it me when asked? Insolence! said he, and stamped with his foot, am I to be questioned thus by such a one as you? I fell down on my knees, and said, For Heaven's sake, your honour, pity a poor creature, that knows nothing of her duty, but how to cherish her virtue and good name: I have nothing else to trust to: and, though poor and friendless here, yet I have always been taught to value honesty above my life. Here's ado with your honesty, said he, foolish girl! Is it not one part of honesty to be dutiful and grateful to your master, do you think? Indeed, sir, said I, it is impossible I should be ungrateful to your honour, or disobedient, or deserve the names of bold-face or insolent, which you call me, but when your commands are contrary to that first duty which shall ever be the principle of my life!
He seemed to be moved, and rose up, and walked into the great chamber two or three turns, leaving me on my knees; and I threw my apron over my face, and laid my head on a chair, and cried as if my heart would break, having no power to stir.
At last he came in again, but, alas! with mischief in his heart! and raising me up, he said, Rise, Pamela, rise; you are your own enemy. Your perverse folly will be your ruin: I tell you this, that I am very much displeased with the freedoms you have taken with my name to my housekeeper, as also to your father and mother; and you may as well have real cause to take these freedoms with me, as to make my name suffer for imaginary ones. And saying so, he offered to take me on his knee, with some force. O how I was terrified! I said, like as I had read in a book a night or two before, Angels and saints, and all the host of heaven, defend me! And may I never survive one moment that fatal one in which I shall forfeit my innocence! Pretty fool! said he, how will you forfeit your innocence, if you are obliged to yield to a force you cannot withstand? Be easy, said he; for let the worst happen that can, you will have the merit, and I the blame; and it will be a good subject for letters to your father and mother, and a tale into the bargain for Mrs. Jervis.
He by force kissed my neck and lips; and said, Whoever blamed Lucretia? All the shame lay on the ravisher only and I am content to take all the blame upon me, as I have already borne too great a share for what I have not deserved.
May I, said I, Lucretia like, justify myself with my death, if I am used barbarously! O my good girl! said he, tauntingly, you are well read, I see; and we shall make out between us, before we have done, a pretty story in romance, I warrant ye.
He then put his hand in my bosom, and indignation gave me double strength, and I got loose from him by a sudden spring, and ran out of the room! and the next chamber being open, I made shift to get into it, and threw to the door, and it locked after me; but he followed me so close, he got hold of my gown, and tore a piece off, which hung without the door; for the key was on the inside.
I just remember I got into the room; for I knew nothing further of the matter till afterwards; for I fell into a fit with my terror, and there I lay, till he, as I suppose, looking through the key-hole, spyed me upon the floor, stretched out at length, on my face; and then he called Mrs. Jervis to me, who, by his assistance, bursting open the door, he went away, seeing me coming to myself; and bid her say nothing of the matter, if she was wise.
Poor Mrs. Jervis thought it was worse, and cried over me like as if she was my mother; and I was two hours before I came to myself; and just as I got a little up on my feet, he coming in, I fainted away again with the terror; and so he withdrew: but he staid in the next room to let nobody come near us, that his foul proceedings might not be known.
Mrs. Jervis gave me her smelling-bottle, and had cut my laces, and set me in a great chair, and he called her to him: How is the girl? said he: I never saw such a fool in my life. I did nothing at all to her. Mrs. Jervis could not speak for crying. So he said, She has told you, it seems, that I was kind to her in the summer-house, though I'll assure you, I was quite innocent then as well as now; and I desire you to keep this matter to yourself, and let me not be named in it.
O, sir, said she, for your honour's sake, and for Christ's sake!—But he would not hear her, and said—For your own sake, I tell you, Mrs. Jervis, say not a word more. I have done her no harm. And I won't have her stay in my house; prating, perverse fool, as she is! But since she is so apt to fall into fits, or at least pretend to do so, prepare her to see me to-morrow after dinner, in my mother's closet, and do you be with her, and you shall hear what passes between us.
And so he went out in a pet, and ordered his chariot and four to be got ready, and went a visiting somewhere.
Mrs. Jervis then came to me, and I told her all that had happened, and said, I was resolved not to stay in the house: And she replying, He seemed to threaten as much; I said, I am glad of that; then I shall be easy. So she told me all he had said to her, as above.
Mrs. Jervis is very loath I should go; and yet, poor woman! she begins to be afraid for herself; but would not have me ruined for the world. She says to be sure he means no good; but may be, now he sees me so resolute, he will give over all attempts; and that I shall better know what to do after tomorrow, when I am to appear before a very bad judge, I doubt.
O how I dread this to-morrow's appearance! But be as assured, my dear parents, of the honesty of your poor child, as I am of your prayers for
Your dutiful DAUGHTER.
O this frightful to-morrow; how I dread it!
MY DEAR PARENTS,
I know you longed to hear from me soon; and I send you as soon as I could.
Well, you may believe how uneasily I passed the time, till his appointed hour came. Every minute, as it grew nearer, my terrors increased; and sometimes I had great courage, and sometimes none at all; and I thought I should faint when it came to the time my master had dined. I could neither eat nor drink, for my part; and do what I could, my eyes were swelled with crying.
At last he went up to the closet, which was my good lady's dressing-room; a room I once loved, but then as much hated.
Don't your heart ache for me?—I am sure mine fluttered about like a new-caught bird in a cage. O Pamela, said I to myself, why art thou so foolish and fearful? Thou hast done no harm! What, if thou fearest an unjust judge, when thou art innocent, would'st thou do before a just one, if thou wert guilty? Have courage, Pamela, thou knowest the worst! And how easy a choice poverty and honesty is, rather than plenty and wickedness.
So I cheered myself; but yet my poor heart sunk, and my spirits were quite broken. Everything that stirred, I thought was to call me to my account. I dreaded it, and yet I wished it to come.
Well, at last he rung the bell: O, thought I, that it was my passing-bell! Mrs. Jervis went up, with a full heart enough, poor good woman! He said, Where's Pamela? Let her come up, and do you come with her. She came to me: I was ready to go with my feet; but my heart was with my dear father and mother, wishing to share your poverty and happiness. I went up, however.
O how can wicked men seem so steady and untouched with such black hearts, while poor innocents stand like malefactors before them!
He looked so stern, that my heart failed me, and I wished myself any where but there, though I had before been summoning up all my courage. Good Heaven, said I to myself, give me courage to stand before this naughty master! O soften him, or harden me!
Come in, fool, said he, angrily, as soon as he saw me; (and snatched my hand with a pull;) you may well be ashamed to see me, after your noise and nonsense, and exposing me as you have done. I ashamed to see you! thought I: Very pretty indeed!—But I said nothing.
Mrs. Jervis, said he, here you are both together. Do you sit down; but let her stand, if she will. Ay, thought I, if I can; for my knees beat one against the other. Did you not think, when you saw the girl in the way you found her in, that I had given her the greatest occasion for complaint, that could possibly be given to a woman? And that I had actually ruined her, as she calls it? Tell me, could you think any thing less? Indeed, said she, I feared so at first. Has she told you what I did to her, and all I did to her, to occasion all this folly, by which my reputation might have suffered in your opinion, and in that of all the family.—Inform me, what she has told you?
She was a little too much frightened, as she owned afterwards, at his sternness, and said, Indeed she told me you only pulled her on your knee, and kissed her.
Then I plucked up my spirits a little. Only! Mrs. Jervis? said I; and was not that enough to shew me what I had to fear? When a master of his honour's degree demeans himself to be so free as that to such a poor servant as me, what is the next to be expected?—But your honour went farther, so you did; and threatened me what you would do, and talked of Lucretia, and her hard fate.—Your honour knows you went too far for a master to a servant, or even to his equal; and I cannot bear it. So I fell a crying most sadly.
Mrs. Jervis began to excuse me, and to beg he would pity a poor maiden, that had such a value for her reputation. He said, I speak it to her face, I think her very pretty, and I thought her humble, and one that would not grow upon my favours, or the notice I took of her; but I abhor the thoughts of forcing her to any thing. I know myself better, said he, and what belongs to me: And to be sure I have enough demeaned myself to take notice of such a one as she; but I was bewitched by her, I think, to be freer than became me; though I had no intention to carry the jest farther.
What poor stuff was all this, my dear mother, from a man of his sense! But see how a bad cause and bad actions confound the greatest wits!—It gave me a little more courage then; for innocence, I find, in a low fortune, and weak mind, has many advantages over guilt, with all its riches and wisdom.
So I said, Your honour may call this jest or sport, or what you please; but indeed, sir, it is not a jest that becomes the distance between a master and a servant. Do you hear, Mrs. Jervis? said he: do you hear the pertness of the creature? I had a good deal of this sort before in the summer-house, and yesterday too, which made me rougher with her than perhaps I had otherwise been.
Says Mrs. Jervis, Pamela, don't be so pert to his honour: you should know your distance; you see his honour was only in jest.—O dear Mrs. Jervis, said I, don't you blame me too. It is very difficult to keep one's distance to the greatest of men, when they won't keep it themselves to their meanest servants.
See again! said he; could you believe this of the young baggage, if you had not heard it? Good your honour, said the well-meaning gentlewoman, pity and forgive the poor girl; she is but a girl, and her virtue is very dear to her; and I will pawn my life for her, she will never be pert to your honour, if you'll be so good as to molest her no more, nor frighten her again. You saw, sir, by her fit, she was in terror; she could not help it; and though your honour intended her no harm, yet the apprehension was almost death to her: and I had much ado to bring her to herself again. O the little hypocrite! said he; she has all the arts of her sex; they were born with her; and I told you awhile ago you did not know her. But this was not the reason principally of my calling you before me together. I find I am likely to suffer in my reputation by the perverseness and folly of this girl. She has told you all, and perhaps more than all; nay, I make no doubt of it; and she has written letters (for I find she is a mighty letter-writer!) to her father and mother, and others, as far as I know, in which representing herself as an angel of light, she makes her kind master and benefactor, a devil incarnate—(O how people will sometimes, thought I, call themselves by their right names!)—And all this, added he, I won't hear; and so I am resolved she shall return to the distresses and poverty she was taken from; and let her be careful how she uses my name with freedom, when she is gone from me.
I was brightened up at once with these welcome words, and I threw myself upon my knees at his feet, with a most sincere glad heart; and I said, May your honour be for ever blessed for your resolution! Now I shall be happy. And permit me, on my bended knees, to thank you for all the benefits and favours you have heaped upon me; for the opportunities I have had of improvement and learning, through my good lady's means, and yours. I will now forget all your honour has offered me: and I promise you, that I will never let your name pass my lips, but with reverence and gratitude: and so God Almighty bless your honour, for ever and ever! Amen.
Then rising from my knees, I went away with another-guise sort of heart than I came into his presence with: and so I fell to writing this letter. And thus all is happily over.
And now, my dearest father and mother, expect to see soon your poor daughter, with an humble and dutiful mind, returned to you: and don't fear but I know how to be as happy with you as ever: for I will be in the loft, as I used to do; and pray let my little bed be got ready; and I have a small matter of money, which will buy me a suit of clothes, fitter for my condition than what I have; and I will get Mrs. Mumford to help me to some needle-work: and fear not that I shall be a burden to you, if my health continues. I know I shall be blessed, if not for my own sake, for both your sakes, who have, in all your trials and misfortunes, preserved so much integrity as makes every body speak well of you both. But I hope he will let good Mrs. Jervis give me a character, for fear it should be thought that I was turned away for dishonesty.
And so, my dear parents, may you be blest for me, and I for you! And I will always pray for my master and Mrs. Jervis. So good night; for it is late, and I shall be soon called to bed.
I hope Mrs. Jervis is not angry with me. She has not called me to supper: though I could eat nothing if she had. But I make no doubt I shall sleep purely to-night, and dream that I am with you, in my dear, dear, happy loft once more.
So good night again, my dear father and mother, says
Your poor honest DAUGHTER.
Perhaps I mayn't come this week, because I must get up the linen, and leave in order every thing belonging to my place. So send me a line, if you can, to let me know if I shall be welcome, by John, who will call for it as he returns. But say nothing of my coming away to him, as yet: for it will be said I blab every thing.
MY DEAREST DAUGHTER,
Welcome, welcome, ten times welcome shall you be to us; for you come to us innocent, and happy, and honest; and you are the staff of our old age, and our comfort. And though we cannot do for you as we would, yet, fear not, we shall live happily together; and what with my diligent labour, and your poor mother's spinning, and your needle-work, I make no doubt we shall do better and better. Only your poor mother's eyes begin to fail her; though, I bless God, I am as strong and able, and willing to labour as ever; and, O my dear child! your virtue has made me, I think, stronger and better than I was before. What blessed things are trials and temptations, when we have the strength to resist and subdue them!
But I am uneasy about those same four guineas; I think you should give them back again to your master; and yet I have broken them. Alas! I have only three left; but I will borrow the fourth, if I can, part upon my wages, and part of Mrs. Mumford, and send the whole sum back to you, that you may return it, against John comes next, if he comes again before you.
I want to know how you come. I fancy honest John will be glad to bear you company part of the way, if your master is not so cross as to forbid him. And if I know time enough, your mother will go one five miles, and I will go ten on the way, or till I meet you, as far as one holiday will go; for that I can get leave to make on such an occasion.
And we shall receive you with more pleasure than we had at your birth, when all the worst was over; or than we ever had in our lives.
And so God bless you till the happy time comes! say both your mother and I, which is all at present, from
Your truly loving PARENTS.
DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,
I thank you a thousand tines for your goodness to me, expressed in your last letter. I now long to get my business done, and come to my new old lot again, as I may call it. I have been quite another thing since my master has turned me off: and as I shall come to you an honest daughter, what pleasure it is to what I should have had, if I could not have seen you but as a guilty one. Well, my writing-time will soon be over, and so I will make use of it now, and tell you all that has happened since my last letter.
I wondered Mrs. Jervis did not call me to sup with her, and feared she was angry; and when I had finished my letter, I longed for her coming to bed. At last she came up, but seemed shy and reserved; and I said, My dear Mrs. Jervis, I am glad to see you: you are not angry with me, I hope. She said she was sorry things had gone so far; and that she had a great deal of talk with my master, after I was gone; that he seemed moved at what I said, and at my falling on my knees to him, and my prayer for him, at my going away. He said I was a strange girl; he knew not what to make of me. And is she gone? said he: I intended to say something else to her; but she behaved so oddly, that I had not power to stop her. She asked, if she should call me again? He said, Yes; and then, No, let her go; it is best for her and me too; and she shall go, now I have given her warning. Where she had it, I can't tell; but I never met with the fellow of her in any life, at any age. She said, he had ordered her not to tell me all: but she believed he would never offer any thing to me again; and I might stay, she fancied, if I would beg it as a favour; though she was not sure neither.
I stay! dear Mrs. Jervis; said I; why it is the best news that could have come to me, that he will let me go. I do nothing but long to go back again to my poverty and distress, as he threatened I should; for though I am sure of the poverty, I shall not have half the distress I have had for some months past, I'll assure you.
Mrs. Jervis, dear good soul! wept over me, and said, Well, well, Pamela, I did not think I had shewn so little love to you, as that you should express so much joy upon leaving me. I am sure I never had a child half so dear to me as you are.
I went to hear her so good to me, as indeed she has always been, and said, What would you have me to do, dear Mrs. Jervis? I love you next to my own father and mother, and to leave you is the chief concern I have at quitting this place; but I am sure it is certain ruin if I stay. After such offers, and such threatenings, and his comparing himself to a wicked ravisher in the very time of his last offer; and turning it into a jest, that we should make a pretty story in a romance; can I stay and be safe? Has he not demeaned himself twice? And it behoves me to beware of the third time, for fear he should lay his snares surer; for perhaps he did not expect a poor servant would resist her master so much. And must it not be looked upon as a sort of warrant for such actions, if I stay after this? For, I think, when one of our sex finds she is attempted, it is an encouragement to the attempter to proceed, if one puts one's self in the way of it, when one can help it: 'Tis neither more nor less than inviting him to think that one forgives, what, in short, ought not to be forgiven: Which is no small countenance to foul actions, I'll assure you.
She hugged me to her, and said I'll assure you! Pretty-face, where gottest thou all thy knowledge, and thy good notions, at these years? Thou art a miracle for thy age, and I shall always love thee.—But, do you resolve to leave us, Pamela?
Yes, my dear Mrs. Jervis, said I; for, as matters stand, how can I do otherwise?—But I'll finish the duties of my place first, if I may; and hope you'll give me a character, as to my honesty, that it may not be thought I was turned away for any harm. Ay, that I will, said she; I will give thee such a character as never girl at thy years deserved. And I am sure, said I, I will always love and honour you, as my third-best friend, wherever I go, or whatever becomes of me.
And so we went to bed; and I never waked till 'twas time to rise; which I did as blithe as a bird, and went about my business with great pleasure.
But I believe my master is fearfully angry with me; for he passed by me two or three times, and would not speak to me; and towards evening, he met me in the passage, going into the garden, and said such a word to me as I never heard in my life from him to man, woman, or child; for he first said, This creature's always in the way, I think. I said, standing up as close as I could, (and the entry was wide enough for a coach too,) I hope I shan't be long in your honour's way. D—mn you! said he, (that was the hard word,) for a little witch; I have no patience with you.
I profess I trembled to hear him say so; but I saw he was vexed; and, as I am going away, I minded it the less. Well! I see, my dear parents, that when a person will do wicked things, it is no wonder he will speak wicked words. May God keep me out of the way of them both!
Your dutiful DAUGHTER.
DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,
Our John having an opportunity to go your way, I write again, and send both letters at once. I can't say, yet, when I shall get away, nor how I shall come, because Mrs. Jervis shewed my master the waistcoat I am flowering for him, and he said, It looks well enough: I think the creature had best stay till she has finished it.
There is some private talk carried on betwixt him and Mrs. Jervis, that she don't tell me of; but yet she is very kind to me, and I don't mistrust her at all. I should be very base if I did. But to be sure she must oblige him, and keep all his lawful commands; and other, I dare say, she won't keep: She is too good; and loves me too well; but she must stay when I am gone, and so must get no ill will.
She has been at me again to ask to stay, and humble myself. But what have I done, Mrs. Jervis? said I: If I have been a sauce-box, and a bold-face, and a pert, and a creature, as he calls me, have I not had reason? Do you think I should ever have forgot myself, if he had not forgot to act as my master? Tell me from your own heart, dear Mrs. Jervis, said I, if you think I could stay and be safe: What would you think, or how would you act in my case?
My dear Pamela, said she, and kissed me, I don't know how I should act, or what I should think. I hope I should act as you do. But I know nobody else that would. My master is a fine gentleman; he has a great deal of wit and sense, and is admired, as I know, by half a dozen ladies, who would think themselves happy in his addresses. He has a noble estate; and yet I believe he loves my good maiden, though his servant, better than all the ladies in the land; and he has tried to overcome it, because you are so much his inferior; and 'tis my opinion he finds he can't; and that vexes his proud heart, and makes him resolve you shan't stay; and so he speaks so cross to you, when he sees you by accident.
Well, but, Mrs. Jervis, said I, let me ask you, if he can stoop to like such a poor girl as me, as perhaps he may, (for I have read of things almost as strange, from great men to poor damsels,) What can it be for?—He may condescend, perhaps, to think I may be good enough for his harlot; and those things don't disgrace men that ruin poor women, as the world goes. And so if I was wicked enough, he would keep me till I was undone, and till his mind changed; for even wicked men, I have read, soon grow weary of wickedness with the same person, and love variety. Well, then, poor Pamela must be turned off, and looked upon as a vile abandoned creature, and every body would despise her; ay, and justly too, Mrs. Jervis; for she that can't keep her virtue, ought to live in disgrace.
But, Mrs. Jervis, I continued, let me tell you, that I hope, if I was sure he would always be kind to me, and never turn me off at all, that I shall have so much grace, as to hate and withstand his temptations, were he not only my master, but my king: and that for the sin's sake. This my poor dear parents have always taught me; and I should be a sad wicked creature indeed, if, for the sake of riches or favour, I should forfeit my good name; yea, and worse than any other young body of my sex; because I can so contentedly return to my poverty again, and think it a less disgrace to be obliged to wear rags, and live upon rye-bread and water, as I used to do, than to be a harlot to the greatest man in the world.
Mrs. Jervis lifted up her hands, and had her eyes full of tears. God bless you, my dear love! said she; you are my admiration and delight.—How shall I do to part with you!
Well, good Mrs. Jervis, said I, let me ask you now:—You and he have had some talk, and you mayn't be suffered to tell me all. But, do you think, if I was to ask to stay, that he is sorry for what he has done? Ay, and ashamed of it too? For I am sure he ought, considering his high degree, and my low degree, and how I have nothing in the world to trust to but my honesty: Do you think in your own conscience now, (pray answer me truly,) that he would never offer any thing to me again, and that I could be safe?
Alas! my dear child, said she, don't put thy home questions to me, with that pretty becoming earnestness in thy look. I know this, that he is vexed at what he has done; he was vexed the first time, more vexed the second time.
Yes, said I, and so he will be vexed, I suppose, the third, and the fourth time too, till he has quite ruined your poor maiden; and who will have cause to be vexed then?
Nay, Pamela, said she, don't imagine that I would be accessory to your ruin for the world. I only can say, that he has, yet, done you no hurt; and it is no wonder he should love you, you are so pretty; though so much beneath him but, I dare swear for him, he never will offer you any force.
You say, said I, that he was sorry for his first offer in the summer-house. Well, and how long did his sorrow last?—Only till he found me by myself; and then he was worse than before: and so became sorry again. And if he has deigned to love me, and you say can't help it, why, he can't help it neither, if he should have an opportunity, a third time to distress me. And I have read that many a man has been ashamed of his wicked attempts, when he has been repulsed, that would never have been ashamed of them, had he succeeded. Besides, Mrs. Jervis, if he really intends to offer no force, What does that mean?—While you say he can't help liking me, for love it cannot be—Does it not imply that he hopes to ruin me by my own consent? I think, said I, (and hope I should have grace to do so,) that I should not give way to his temptations on any account; but it would be very presumptuous in me to rely upon my own strength against a gentleman of his qualifications and estate, and who is my waster; and thinks himself entitled to call me bold-face, and what not? only for standing on my necessary defence: and that, too, where the good of my soul and body, and my duty to God, and my parents, are all concerned. How then, Mrs. Jervis, said I, can I ask or wish to stay?
Well, well, says she; as he seems very desirous you should not stay, I hope it is from a good motive; for fear he should be tempted to disgrace himself as well as you. No, no, Mrs. Jervis, said I; I have thought of that too; for I would be glad to consider him with that duty that becomes me: but then he would have let me go to Lady Davers, and not have hindered my preferment: and he would not have said, I should return to my poverty and distress, when, by his mother's goodness, I had been lifted out of it; but that he intended to fright me, and punish me, as he thought, for not complying with his wickedness: And this shews me well enough what I have to expect from his future goodness, except I will deserve it at his own dear price.
She was silent; and I added, Well, there's no more to be said; I must go, that's certain: All my concern will be how to part with you: and, indeed, after you, with every body; for all my fellow-servants have loved me, and you and they will cost me a sigh, and a tear too, now and then, I am sure. And so I fell a crying: I could not help it. For it is a pleasant thing to one to be in a house among a great many fellow-servants, and be beloved by them all.
Nay, I should have told you before now, how kind and civil Mr. Longman our steward is; vastly courteous, indeed, on all occasions! And he said once to Mrs. Jervis, he wished he was a young man for my sake; I should be his wife, and he would settle all he had upon me on marriage; and, you must know, he is reckoned worth a power of money.
I take no pride in this; but bless God, and your good examples, my dear parents, that I have been enabled so to carry myself, as to have every body's good word; Not but our cook one day, who is a little snappish and cross sometimes, said once to me, Why this Pamela of ours goes as fine as a lady. See what it is to have a fine face!—I wonder what the girl will come to at last!
She was hot with her work; and I sneaked away; for I seldom go down into the kitchen; and I heard the butler say, Why, Jane, nobody has your good word: What has Mrs. Pamela done to you? I am sure she offends nobody. And what, said the peevish wench, have I said to her, foolatum; but that she was pretty? They quarrelled afterwards, I heard: I was sorry for it, but troubled myself no more about it. Forgive this silly prattle, from
Your dutiful DAUGHTER.
Oh! I forgot to say, that I would stay to finish the waistcoat, if I might with safety. Mrs. Jervis tells me I certainly may. I never did a prettier piece of work; and I am up early and late to get it over; for I long to be with you.
DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,
I did not send my last letters so soon as I hoped, because John (whether my master mistrusts or no, I can't say) had been sent to Lady Davers's instead of Isaac, who used to go; and I could not be so free with, nor so well trust Isaac; though he is very civil to me too. So I was forced to stay till John returned.
As I may not have opportunity to send again soon, and yet, as I know you keep my letters, and read them over and over, (so John told me,) when you have done work, (so much does your kindness make you love all that comes from your poor daughter,) and as it may be some little pleasure to me, perhaps, to read them myself, when I am come to you, to remind me of what I have gone through, and how great God's goodness has been to me, (which, I hope, will further strengthen my good resolutions, that I may not hereafter, from my bad conduct, have reason to condemn myself from my own hand as it were): For all these reasons, I say, I will write as I have time, and as matters happen, and send the scribble to you as I have opportunity; and if I don't every time, in form, subscribe as I ought, I am sure you will always believe, that it is not for want of duty. So I will begin where I left off, about the talk between Mrs. Jervis and me, for me to ask to stay.
Unknown to Mrs. Jervis, I put a project, as I may call it, in practice. I thought with myself some days ago, Here I shall go home to my poor father and mother, and have nothing on my back, that will be fit for my condition; for how should your poor daughter look with a silk night-gown, silken petticoats, cambric head-clothes, fine holland linen, laced shoes that were my lady's; and fine stockings! And how in a little while must these have looked, like old cast-offs, indeed, and I looked so for wearing them! And people would have said, (for poor folks are envious as well as rich,) See there Goody Andrews's daughter, turned home from her fine place! What a tawdry figure she makes! And how well that garb becomes her poor parents' circumstances!—And how would they look upon me, thought I to myself, when they should come to be threadbare and worn out? And how should I look, even if I could purchase homespun clothes, to dwindle into them one by one, as I got them?—May be, an old silk gown, and a linsey-woolsey petticoat, and the like. So, thought I, I had better get myself at once equipped in the dress that will become my condition; and though it may look but poor to what I have been used to wear of late days, yet it will serve me, when I am with you, for a good holiday and Sunday suit; and what, by a blessing on my industry, I may, perhaps, make shift to keep up to.
So, as I was saying, unknown to any body, I bought of farmer Nichols's wife and daughters a good sad-coloured stuff, of their own spinning, enough to make me a gown and two petticoats; and I made robings and facings of a pretty bit of printed calico I had by me.
I had a pretty good camblet quilted coat, that I thought might do tolerably well; and I bought two flannel undercoats; not so good as my swanskin and fine linen ones, but what will keep me warm, if any neighbour should get me to go out to help 'em to milk, now and then, as sometimes I used to do formerly; for I am resolved to do all your good neighbours what kindness I can; and hope to make myself as much beloved about you, as I am here.
I got some pretty good Scotch cloth, and made me, of mornings and nights, when nobody saw me, two shifts; and I have enough left for two shirts, and two shifts, for you my dear father and mother. When I come home, I'll make them for you, and desire your acceptance.
Then I bought of a pedlar, two pretty enough round-eared caps, a little straw-hat, and a pair of knit mittens, turned up with white calico; and two pair of ordinary blue worsted hose, that make a smartish appearance, with white clocks, I'll assure you; and two yards of black riband for my shift sleeves, and to serve as a necklace; and when I had 'em all come home, I went and looked upon them once in two hours, for two days together: For, you must know, though I be with Mrs. Jervis, I keep my own little apartment still for my clothes, and nobody goes thither but myself. You'll say I was no bad housewife to have saved so much money; but my dear good lady was always giving me something.
I believed myself the more obliged to do this, because, as I was turned away for what my good master thought want of duty; and as he expected other returns for his presents, than I intended to make him, so I thought it was but just to leave his presents behind me when I went away; for, you know, if I would not earn his wages, why should I have them?
Don't trouble yourself about the four guineas, nor borrow to make them up; for they were given me, with some silver, as I told you, as a perquisite, being what my lady had about her when she died; and, as I hope for no wages, I am so vain as to think I have deserved all that money in the fourteen months, since my lady's death, for she, good soul, overpaid me before, in learning and other kindnesses. Had she lived, none of these things might have happened!—But I ought to be thankful 'tis no worse. Every thing will turn about for the best: that's my confidence.
So, as I was saying, I have provided a new and more suitable dress, and I long to appear in it, more than ever I did in any new clothes in my life: for then I shall be soon after with you, and at ease in my mind—But, mum! Here he comes, I believe.—I am, etc.
MY DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,
I was forced to break off: for I feared my master was coming: but it proved to be only Mrs. Jervis. She said, I can't endure you should be so much by yourself, Pamela. And I, said I, dread nothing so much as company; for my heart was up at my mouth now, for fear my master was coming. But I always rejoice to see dear Mrs. Jervis.
Said she, I have had a world of talk with my master about you. I am sorry for it, said I, that I am made of so much consequence as to be talked of by him. O, said she, I must not tell you all; but you are of more consequence to him than you think for——
Or wish for, said I; for the fruits of being of consequence to him, would make me of none to myself, or any body else.
Said she, Thou art as witty as any lady in the land; I wonder where thou gottest it. But they must be poor ladies, with such great opportunities, I am sure, if they have no more wit than I.—But let that pass.
I suppose, said I, that I am of so much consequence, however, as to vex him, if it be but to think he can't make a fool of such a one as I; and that is nothing at all, but a rebuke to the pride of his high condition, which he did not expect, and knows not how to put up with.
There is something in that, may be, said she: but, indeed, Pamela, he is very angry with you too; and calls you twenty perverse things; wonders at his own folly, to have shewn you so much favour, as he calls it; which he was first inclined to, he says, for his mother's sake, and would have persisted to shew you for your own, if you was not your own enemy.
Nay, now I shan't love you, Mrs. Jervis, said I; you are going to persuade me to ask to stay, though you know the hazards I run.—No, said she, he says you shall go; for he thinks it won't be for his reputation to keep you: but he wished (don't speak of it for the world, Pamela,) that he knew a lady of birth, just such another as yourself, in person and mind, and he would marry her to-morrow.
I coloured up to the ears at this word: but said, Yet, if I was the lady of birth, and he would offer to be rude first, as he has twice done to poor me, I don't know whether I would have him: For she that can bear an insult of that kind, I should think not worthy to be a gentleman's wife: any more than he would be a gentleman that would offer it.
Nay, now, Pamela, said she, thou carriest thy notions a great way. Well, dear Mrs. Jervis, said I, very seriously, for I could not help it, I am more full of fears than ever. I have only to beg of you, as one of the best friends I have in the world, to say nothing of my asking to stay. To say my master likes me, when I know what end he aims at, is abomination to my ears; and I shan't think myself safe till I am at my poor father's and mother's.
She was a little angry with me, till I assured her that I had not the least uneasiness on her account, but thought myself safe under her protection and friendship. And so we dropt the discourse for that time.
I hope to have finished this ugly waistcoat in two days; after which I have only some linen to get up, and shall then let you know how I contrive as to my passage; for the heavy rains will make it sad travelling on foot: but may be I may get a place to which is ten miles of the way, in farmer Nichols's close cart; for I can't sit a horse well at all, and may be nobody will be suffered to see me on upon the way. But I hope to let you know more. From, etc.
MY DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,
All my fellow-servants have now some notion that I am to go away; but can't imagine for what. Mrs. Jervis tells them, that my father and mother, growing in years, cannot live without me; and so I go home to them, to help to comfort their old age; but they seem not to believe it.
What they found it out by was; the butler heard him say to me, as I passed by him, in the entry leading to the hall, Who's that? Pamela, sir, said I. Pamela! said he, How long are you to stay here?—Only, please your honour, said I, till I have done the waistcoat; and it is almost finished.—You might, says he, (very roughly indeed,) have finished that long enough ago, I should have thought. Indeed, and please your honour, said I, I have worked early and late upon it; there is a great deal of work in it.—Work in it! said he; You mind your pen more than your needle; I don't want such idle sluts to stay in my house.
He seemed startled, when he saw the butler, as he entered the hall, where Mr. Jonathan stood. What do you here? said he.—The butler was as much confounded as I; for, never having been taxed so roughly, I could not help crying sadly; and got out of both their ways to Mrs. Jervis, and told my complaint. This love, said she, is the d——! In how many strange shapes does it make people shew themselves! And in some the farthest from their hearts.
So one, and then another, has been since whispering, Pray, Mrs. Jervis, are we to lose Mrs. Pamela? as they always call me—What has she done? And she tells them, as above, about going home to you.
She said afterwards to me, Well, Pamela, you have made our master, from the sweetest tempered gentleman in the world, one of the most peevish. But you have it in your power to make him as sweet-tempered as ever; though I hope you'll never do it on his terms.
This was very good in Mrs. Jervis; but it intimated, that she thought as ill of his designs as I; and as she knew his mind more than I, it convinced me that I ought to get away as fast as I could.
My master came in, just now, to speak to Mrs. Jervis about household matters, having some company to dine with him to-morrow; and I stood up, and having been crying at his roughness in the entry, I turned away my face.
You may well, said he, turn away your cursed face; I wish I had never seen it!—Mrs. Jervis, how long is she to be about this waistcoat?
Sir, said I, if your honour had pleased, I would have taken it with me; and though it would be now finished in a few hours, I will do so still; and remove this hated poor Pamela out of your house and sight for ever.
Mrs. Jervis, said he, not speaking to me, I believe this little slut has the power of witchcraft, if ever there was a witch; for she enchants all that come near her. She makes even you, who should know better what the world is, think her an angel of light.