Pamela or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson - HTML preview

PLEASE NOTE: This is an HTML preview only and some elements such as links or page numbers may be incorrect.
Download the book in PDF, ePub, Kindle for a complete version.

Letter 27

 

DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,

I am glad I desired you not to meet me, and John says you won't; for he told you he is sure I shall get a passage well enough, either behind some one of my fellow– servants on horseback, or by farmer Nichols's means: but as to the chariot he talked to you of, I can't expect that favour, to be sure; and I should not care for it, because it would look so much above me. But farmer Brady, they say, has a chaise with one horse, and we hope to borrow that, or hire it, rather than fail; though money runs a little lowish, after what I have laid out; but I don't care to say so here; though I warrant I might have what I would of Mrs. Jervis, or Mr. Jonathan, or Mr. Longman; but then how shall I pay it? you'll say: And, besides, I don't love to be beholden.

But the chief reason I'm glad you don't set out to meet me, is the uncertainty; for it seems I must stay another week still, and hope certainly to go Thursday after. For poor Mrs. Jervis will go at the same time, she says, and can't be ready before.

Oh! that I was once well with you!--Though he is very civil too at present, and not so cross as he was: and yet he is as vexatious another way, as you shall hear. For yesterday he had a rich suit of clothes brought home, which they call a birth-day suit; for he intends to go to London against next birth-day, to see the court; and our folks will have it he is to be made a lord.--I wish they may make him an honest man, as he was always thought; but I have not found it so, alas for me!

And so, as I was saying, he had these clothes come home, and he tried them on. And before he pulled them off, he sent for me, when nobody else was in the parlour with him: Pamela, said he, you are so neat and so nice in your own dress, (Alack-a- day, I didn't know I was!) that you must be a judge of ours. How are these clothes made? Do they fit me?--I am no judge, said I, and please your honour; but I think they look very fine.

His waistcoat stood on end with silver lace, and he looked very grand. But what he did last, has made me very serious, and I could make him no compliments. Said he, Why don't you wear your usual clothes? Though I think every thing looks well upon you (for I still continue in my new dress). I said, I have no clothes, sir, I ought to call my own, but these: and it is no matter what such an one as I wears. Said he, Why you look very serious, Pamela. I see you can bear malice.--Yes, so I can, sir, said I, according to the occasion! Why, said he, your eyes always look red, I think. Are you not a fool to take my last freedom so much to heart? I am sure you, and that fool Mrs. Jervis, frightened me, by your hideous squalling, as much as I could frighten you. That is all we had for it, said I; and if you could be so afraid of your own servants knowing of your attempts upon a poor unworthy creature, that is under your protection while I stay, surely your honour ought to be more afraid of God Almighty, in whose presence we all stand, in every action of our lives, and to whom the greatest, as well as the least, must be accountable, let them think what they list.

He took my hand, in a kind of good-humoured mockery, and said, Well urged, my pretty preacher! When my Lincolnshire chaplain dies, I'll put thee on a gown and cassock, and thou'lt make a good figure in his place. --I wish, said I, a little vexed at his jeer, your honour's conscience would be your preacher, and then you would need no other chaplain. Well, well, Pamela, said he, no more of this unfashionable jargon. I did not send for you so much for your opinion of my new suit, as to tell you, you are welcome to stay, since Mrs. Jervis desires it, till she goes. I welcome! said I; I am sure I shall rejoice when I am out of the house!

Well, said he, you are an ungrateful baggage; but I am thinking it would be pity, with these fair soft hands, and that lovely skin, (as he called it, and took hold of my hand,) that you should return again to hard work, as you must if you go to your father's; and so I would advise her to take a house in London, and let lodgings to us members of parliament, when we come to town; and such a pretty daughter as you may pass for, will always fill her house, and she'll get a great deal of money.

I was sadly vexed at this barbarous joke; but being ready to cry before, the tears gushed out, and (endeavouring to get my hand from him, but in vain) I said, I can expect no better: Your behaviour, sir, to me, has been just of a piece with these words: Nay, I will say it, though you were to be ever so angry.--I angry, Pamela? No, no, said he, I have overcome all that; and as you are to go away, I look upon you now as Mrs. Jervis's guest while you both stay, and not as my servant; and so you may say what you will. But I'll tell you, Pamela, why you need not take this matter in such high disdain!--You have a very pretty romantic turn for virtue, and all that.--And I don't suppose but you'll hold it still: and nobody will be able to prevail upon you. But, my child, (sneeringly he spoke it,) do but consider what a fine opportunity you will then have for a tale every day to good mother Jervis, and what subjects for letter- writing to your father and mother, and what pretty preachments you may hold forth to the young gentlemen. Ad's my heart! I think it would be the best thing you and she could do.

You do well, sir, said I, to even your wit to such a poor maiden as me: but, permit me to say, that if you was not rich and great, and I poor and little, you would not insult me thus.--Let me ask you, sir, if you think this becomes your fine clothes, and a master's station: Why so serious, my pretty Pamela? said he: Why so grave? And would kiss me; but my heart was full, and I said, Let me alone; I will tell you, if you was a king, and insulted me as you have done, that you have forgotten to act like a gentleman; and I won't stay to be used thus: I will go to the next farmer's, and there wait for Mrs. Jervis, if she must go: and I'd have you know, sir, that I can stoop to the ordinariest work of your scullions, for all these nasty soft hands, sooner than bear such ungentlemanly imputations.

I sent for you, said he, in high good humour; but it is impossible to hold it with such an impertinent: however, I'll keep my temper. But while I see you here, pray don't put on those dismal grave looks: Why, girl, you should forbear them, if it were but for your pride-sake; for the family will think you are grieving to leave the house. Then, sir, said I, I will try to convince them of the contrary, as well as your honour; for I will endeavour to be more cheerful while I stay, for that very reason.

Well, replied he, I will set this down by itself, as the first time that ever what I had advised had any weight with you. And I will add, said I, as the first advice you have given me of late, that was fit to be followed.--I wish said he, (I am almost ashamed to write it, impudent gentleman as he is!) I wish I had thee as quick another way, as thou art in thy repartees--And he laughed, and I snatched my hand from him, and I tripped away as fast as I could. Ah! thought I, married? I am sure it is time you were married, or, at this rate, no honest maiden ought to live with you.

Why, dear father and mother, to be sure he grows quite a rake! How easy it is to go from bad to worse, when once people give way to vice!

How would my poor lady, had she lived, have grieved to see it! but may be he would have been better then! Though it seems he told Mrs. Jervis, he had an eye upon me in his mother's life-time; and he intended to let me know as much, by the bye, he told her! Here is shamelessness for you! Sure the world must be near at an end! for all the gentlemen about are as bad as he almost, as far as I can hear!--And see the fruits of such bad examples! There is 'Squire Martin in the grove, has had three lyings-in, it seems, in his house, in three months past; one by himself; and one by his coachman; and one by his woodman; and yet he has turned none of them away. Indeed, how can he, when they but follow his own vile example? There is he, and two or three more such as he, within ten miles of us, who keep company, and hunt with our fine master, truly; and I suppose he is never the better for their examples. But, Heaven bless me, say I, and send me out of this wicked house!

But, dear father and mother, what sort of creatures must the womenkind be, do you think, to give way to such wickedness? Why, this it is that makes every one be thought of alike: And, alack-a-day! what a world we live in! for it is grown more a wonder that the men are resisted, than that the women comply. This, I suppose, makes me such a sauce-box, and bold-face, and a creature, and all because I won't be a sauce-box and bold-face indeed.

But I am sorry for these things; one don't know what arts and stratagems men may devise to gain their vile ends; and so I will think as well as I can of these poor undone creatures, and pity them. For you see, by my sad story, and narrow escapes, what hardships poor maidens go through, whose lot it is to go out to service, especially to houses where there is not the fear of God, and good rule kept by the heads of the family.

You see I am quite grown grave and serious; indeed it becomes the present condition of

Your dutiful DAUGHTER.