Pamela or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson - HTML preview

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Letter 26



I did not rise till ten o'clock, and I had all the concerns and wishes of the family, and multitudes of inquiries about me. My wicked master went out early to hunt; but left word he would be in to breakfast. And so he was.

He came up to our chamber about eleven, and had nothing to do to be sorry; for he was our master, and so put on sharp anger at first.

I had great emotions at his entering the room, and threw my apron over my head, and fell a crying, as if my heart would break.

Mrs. Jervis, said he, since I know you, and you me so well, I don't know how we shall live together for the future. Sir, said she, I will take the liberty to say, what I think is best for both. I have so much grief, that you should attempt to do any injury to this poor girl, and especially in my chamber, that I should think myself accessary to the mischief, if I was not to take notice of it. Though my ruin, therefore, may depend upon it, I desire not to stay; but pray let poor Pamela and me go together. With all my heart, said he; and the sooner the better. She fell a crying. I find, says he, this girl has made a party of the whole house in her favour against me. Her innocence deserves it of us all, said she very kindly: and I never could have thought that the son of my dear good lady departed, could have so forfeited his honour, as to endeavour to destroy a virtue he ought to protect. No more of this, Mrs. Jervis! said he; I will not hear it. As for Pamela, she has a lucky knack of falling into fits, when she pleases. But the cursed yellings of you both made me not myself. I intended no harm to her, as I told you both, if you'd have left your squallings: And I did no harm neither, but to myself; for I raised a hornet's nest about my ears, that, as far as I know, may have stung to death my reputation. Sir, said Mrs. Jervis, then I beg Mr. Longman may take my accounts, and I will go away as soon as I can. As for Pamela, she is at her liberty, I hope, to go away next Thursday, as she intends?

I sat still; for I could not speak nor look up, and his presence discomposed me extremely; but I was sorry to hear myself the unhappy occasion of Mrs. Jervis's losing her place, and hope that may be still made up.

Well, said he, let Mr. Longman make up your accounts, as soon as you will; and Mrs. Jewkes (who is his housekeeper in Lincolnshire) shall come hither in your place, and won't be less obliging, I dare say, than you have been. Said she, I have never disobliged you till now; and let me tell you, sir, if you knew what belonged to your own reputation or honour--No more, no more, said he, of these antiquated topics. I have been no bad friend to you; and I shall always esteem you, though you have not been so faithful to my secrets as I could have wished, and have laid me open to this girl, which has made her more afraid of me than she had occasion. Well, sir, said she, after what passed yesterday, and last night, I think I went rather too far in favour of your injunctions than otherwise; and I should have deserved every body's censure, as the basest of creatures, had I been capable of contributing to your lawless attempts. Still, Mrs. Jervis, still reflecting upon me, and all for imaginary faults! for what harm have I done the girl?--I won't bear it, I'll assure you. But yet, in respect to my mother, I am willing to part friendly with you though you ought both of you to reflect on the freedom of your conversation, in relation to me; which I should have resented more than I do, but that I am conscious I had no business to demean myself so as to be in your closet, where I might have expected to hear a multitude of impertinence between you.

Well, sir, said she, you have no objection, I hope, to Pamela's going away on Thursday next? You are mighty solicitous, said he, about Pamela: But no, not I; let her go as soon as she will: She is a naughty girl, and has brought all this upon herself; and upon me more trouble than she can have had from me: But I have overcome it all, and will never concern myself about her.

I have a proposal made me, added he, since I have been out this morning, that I shall go near to embrace; and so wish only, that a discreet use may be made of what is past; and there's an end of every thing with me, as to Pamela, I'll assure you. I clasped my hands together through my apron, overjoyed at this, though I was soon to go away: For, naughty as he has been to me, I wish his prosperity with all my heart, for my good old lady's sake. Well, Pamela, said he, you need not now be afraid to speak to me; tell me what you lifted up your hands at? I said not a word. Says he, If you like what I have said, give me your hand upon it. I held my hand up through my apron; for I could not speak to him; and he took hold of it, and pressed it, though less hard than he did my arm the day before. What does the little fool cover her face for? said he: Pull your apron away; and let me see how you look, after your freedom of speech of me last night. No wonder you are ashamed to see me. You know you were very free with my character.

I could not stand this barbarous insult, as I took it to be, considering his behaviour to me; and I then spoke and said, O the difference between the minds of thy creatures, good God! How shall some be cast down in their innocence, while others can triumph in their guilt!

And so saying, I went up stairs to my chamber, and wrote all this; for though he vexed me at his taunting, yet I was pleased to hear he was likely to be married, and that his wicked intentions were so happily overcome as to me; and this made me a little easier. And I hope I have passed the worst; or else it is very hard. And yet I shan't think myself at ease quite, till I am with you: For, methinks, after all, his repentance and amendment are mighty suddenly resolved upon. But the divine grace is not confined to space; and remorse may, and I hope has, smitten him to the heart at once, for his injuries to poor me! Yet I won't be too secure neither.

Having opportunity, I send now what I know will grieve you to the heart. But I hope I shall bring my next scribble myself; and so conclude, though half broken-hearted, Your ever dutiful DAUGHTER.