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Pamela or Virtue Rewarded

Letter 2
[In answer to the preceding.]
DEAR PAMELA,
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
 
 
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