Pamela or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson - HTML preview
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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 shown 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 behooves 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 he 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.