Pamela or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson - HTML preview
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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.