Pamela or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson - HTML preview
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I had hardly time to transcribe these letters, though, writing so much, I write pretty fast, before they both came up again in high spirits; and Mr. Williams said, I am glad at my heart, madam, that I was beforehand in my declarations to you: this generous letter has made me the happiest man on earth; and, Mrs. Jewkes, you may be sure, that if I can procure this fair one's consent, I shall think myself--I interrupted the good man, and said, Ah! Mr. Williams, take care, take care; don't let--There I stopt; and Mrs. Jewkes said, Still mistrustful!--I never saw the like in my life!--But I see, said she, I was not wrong, while my old orders lasted, to be wary of you both--I should have had a hard task to prevent you, I find; for, as the saying is, Nought can restrain consent of twain.
I doubted not her taking hold of his joyful indiscretion.--I took her letter, and said, Here, Mrs. Jewkes, is yours; I thank you for it; but I have been so long in a maze, that I can say nothing of this for the present. Time will bring all to light.--Sir, said I, here is yours: May every thing turn to your happiness! I give you joy of my master's goodness in the living.--It will be dying, said he, not a living, without you.--Forbear, sir, said I; while I have a father and mother, I am not my own mistress, poor as they are; and I'll see myself quite at liberty, before I shall think myself fit to make a choice. Mrs. Jewkes held up her eyes and hands, and said, Such art, such caution, such cunning, for thy years!--Well!--Why, said I, (that he might be more on his guard, though I hope there cannot be deceit in this; 'twould be strange villany, and that is a hard word, if there should!) I have been so used to be made a fool of by fortune, that I hardly can tell how to govern myself; and am almost an infidel as to mankind. But I hope I may be wrong; henceforth, Mrs. Jewkes, you shall regulate my opinions as you please, and I will consult you in every thing--(that I think proper, said I to myself)--for, to be sure, though I may forgive her, I can never love her.
She left Mr. Williams and me, a few minutes, together; and I said, Consider, sir, consider what you have done. 'Tis impossible, said he, there can be deceit. I hope so, said I; but what necessity was there for you to talk of your former declaration? Let this be as it will, that could do no good, especially before this woman. Forgive me, sir; they talk of women's promptness of speech; but, indeed, I see an honest heart is not always to be trusted with itself in bad company.
He was going to reply, but though her task is said to be ALMOST (I took notice of that word) at an end, she came up to us again, and said; Well, I had a good mind to show you the way to church to-morrow. I was glad of this, because, though in my present doubtful situation I should not have chosen it, yet I would have encouraged her proposal, to be able to judge by her being in earnest or otherwise, whether one might depend upon the rest. But Mr. Williams again indiscreetly helped her to an excuse, by saying, that it was now best to defer it one Sunday, and till matters were riper for my appearance: and she readily took hold of it, and confirmed his opinion. After all, I hope the best: but if this should turn out to be a plot, I fear nothing but a miracle can save me. But, sure the heart of man is not capable of such black deceit. Besides, Mr. Williams has it under his own hand, and he dare not but be in earnest: and then again, though to be sure he has been very wrong to me, yet his education, and parents' example, have neither of them taught him such very black contrivances. So I will hope for the best.
Mr. Williams, Mrs. Jewkes, and I, have been all three walking together in the garden; and she pulled out her key, and we walked a little in the pasture to look at the bull, an ugly, grim, surly creature, that hurt the poor cook-maid; who is got pretty well again. Mr. Williams pointed at the sunflower, but I was forced to be very reserved to him; for the poor gentleman has no guard, no caution at all.
We have just supped together, all three: and I cannot yet think that all must be right.-
-Only I am resolved not to marry, if I can help it; and I will give no encouragement, I am resolved, at least, till I am with you.
Mr. Williams said, before Mrs. Jewkes, he would send a messenger with a letter to my father and mother.--I think the man has no discretion in the world: but l desire you will send no answer, till I have the pleasure and happiness which now I hope for soon, of seeing you. He will, in sending my packet, send a most tedious parcel of stuff, of my oppressions, my distresses, my fears; and so I will send this with it; (for Mrs. Jewkes gives me leave to send a letter to my father, which looks well;) and I am glad I can conclude, after all my sufferings, with my hopes, to be soon with you, which I know will give you comfort; and so I rest, begging the continuance of your prayers and blessings, Your ever dutiful DAUGHTER.
MY DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,
I have so much time upon my hands that I must write on, to employ myself. The Sunday evening, where I left off, Mrs. Jewkes asked me, If I chose to be by myself; I said, Yes, with all my heart, if she pleased. Well, said she, after to-night you shall. I asked her for more paper; and she gave me a bottle of ink, eight sheets of paper, which she said was all her store, (for now she would get me to write for her to our master, if she had occasion,) and six pens, with a piece of sealing wax. This looks mighty well.
She pressed me, when she came to bed, very much, to give encouragement to Mr. Williams, and said many things in his behalf; and blamed my shyness to him. I told her, I was resolved to give no encouragement, till I had talked to my father and mother. She said, he fancied I thought of somebody else, or I could never be so insensible. I assured her, as I could do very safely, that there was not a man on earth I wished to have: and as to Mr. Williams, he might do better by far: and I had proposed so much happiness in living with my poor father and mother, that I could not think of any scheme of life with pleasure, till I had tried that. I asked her for my money; and she said, it was above in her strong box, but that I should have it to- morrow. All these things look well, as I said.
Mr. Williams would go home this night, though late, because he would despatch a messenger to you with a letter he had proposed from himself, and my packet. But pray don't encourage him, as I said; for he is much too heady and precipitate as to this matter, in my way of thinking; though, to be sure, he is a very good man, and I am much obliged to him.
Alas-a-day! we have bad news from poor Mr. Williams. He has had a sad mischance; fallen among rogues in his way home last night: but by good chance has saved my papers. This is the account he gives of it to Mrs. Jewkes:
'GOOD MRS. JEWKES,
'I have had a sore misfortune in going from you. When I had got as near the town as the dam, and was going to cross the wooden bridge, two fellows got hold of me, and swore bitterly they would kill me, if I did not give them what I had. They rummaged my pockets, and took from me my snuff-box, my seal-ring, and half a guinea, and some silver, and halfpence; also my handkerchief, and two or three letters I had in my pockets. By good fortune, the letter Mrs. Pamela gave me was in my bosom, and so that escaped but they bruised my head and face, and cursing me for having no more money, tipped me into the dam, crying, be there, parson, till to-morrow! My shins and knees were bruised much in the fall against one of the stumps; and I had like to have been suffocated in water and mud. To be sure, I shan't be able to stir out this day or two: for I am a frightful spectacle! My hat and wig I was forced to leave behind me, and go home, a mile and a half, without; but they were found next morning, and brought me, with my snuff-box, which the rogues must have dropped. My cassock is sadly torn, as is my band. To be sure, I was much frightened, for a robbery in these parts has not been known many years. Diligent search is making after the rogues. My humble respects to good Mrs. Pamela: if she pities my misfortunes, I shall be the sooner well, and fit to wait on her and you. This did not hinder me in writing a letter, though with great pain, as I do this, (To be sure this good man can keep no secret!) and sending it away by a man and horse, this morning. I am, good Mrs. Jewkes, 'Your most obliged humble servant.'
'God be praised it is no worse! And I find I have got no cold, though miserably wet from top to toe. My fright, I believe, prevented me from catching cold: for I was not rightly myself for some hours, and know not how I got home. I will write a letter of thanks this night, if I am able, to my kind patron, for his inestimable goodness to me. I wish I was enabled to say all I hope, with regard to the better part of his bounty to me, incomparable Mrs. Pamela.'
The wicked brute fell a laughing, when she had read this letter, till her fat sides shook. Said she, I can but think how the poor parson looked, after parting with his pretty mistress in such high spirits, when he found himself at the bottom of the dam! And what a figure he must cut in his tattered band and cassock, and without a hat and wig, when he got home. I warrant, added she, he was in a sweet pickle!--I said, I thought it was very barbarous to laugh at such a misfortune; but she replied, As he was safe, she laughed; otherwise she would have been sorry: and she was glad to see me so concerned for him--It looked promising, she said.
I heeded not her reflections; but as I have been used to causes for mistrusts, I cannot help saying, that I don't like this thing: And their taking his letters most alarms me.--How happy it was they missed my packet! I knew not what to think of it!--But why should I let every accident break my peace? Yet it will do so, while I stay here. Mrs. Jewkes is mightily at me, to go with her in the chariot, to visit Mr. Williams. She is so officious to bring on the affair between us, that, being a cunning, artful woman, I know not what to make of it: I have refused her absolutely; urging, that except I intended to encourage his suit, I ought not to do it. And she is gone without me.
I have strange temptations to get away in her absence, for all these fine appearances. 'Tis sad to have nobody to advise with!--I know not what to do. But, alas for me! I have no money, if I should, to buy any body's civilities, or to pay for necessaries or lodgings. But I'll go into the garden, and resolve afterwards----
I have been in the garden, and to the back-door: and there I stood, my heart up at my mouth. I could not see I was watched; so this looks well. But if any thing should go bad afterwards, I should never forgive myself, for not taking this opportunity. Well, I will go down again, and see if all is clear, and how it looks out at the back-door in the pasture.
To be sure, there is witchcraft in this house; and I believe Lucifer is bribed, as well as all about me, and is got into the shape of that nasty grim bull to watch me!--For I have been again, and ventured to open the door, and went out about a bow-shot into the pasture; but there stood that horrid bull, staring me full in the face, with fiery saucer eyes, as I thought. So I got in again, for fear he should come at me. Nobody saw me, however.--Do you think there are such things as witches and spirits? If there be, I believe, in my heart, Mrs. Jewkes has got this bull of her side. But yet, what could I do without money, or a friend'--O this wicked woman! to trick me so! Every thing, man, woman, and beast, is in a plot against your poor Pamela, I think!-- Then I know not one step of the way, nor how far to any house or cottage; and whether I could gain protection, if I got to a house: And now the robbers are abroad too, I may run into as great danger as I want to escape; nay, greater much, if these promising appearances hold: And sure my master cannot be so black as that they should not!--What can I do?--I have a good mind to try for it once more; but then I may be pursued and taken: and it will be worse for me; and this wicked woman will beat me, and take my shoes away, and lock me up.
But, after all, if my master should mean well, he can't be angry at my fears, if I should escape; and nobody can blame me; and I can more easily be induced, with you, when all my apprehensions are over, to consider his proposal of Mr. Williams, than I could here; and he pretends, as you have read in his letter, he will leave me to my choice: Why then should I be afraid? I will go down again, I think! But yet my heart misgives me, because of the difficulties before me, in escaping; and being so poor and so friendless!--O good God! the preserver of the innocent! direct me what to do!
Well, I have just now a sort of strange persuasion upon me, that I ought to try to get way, and leave the issue to Providence. So, once more-- I'll see, at least, if this bull be still there.
Alack-a-day! what a fate is this! I have not the courage to go, neither can I think to stay. But I must resolve. The gardener was in sight last time; so made me come up again. But I'll contrive to send him out of the way, if I can:--For if I never should have such another opportunity, I could not forgive myself. Once more I'll venture. God direct my footsteps, and make smooth my path and my way to safety!
Well, here I am, come back again! frightened, like a fool, out of all my purposes! O how terrible every thing appears to me! I had got twice as far again, as I was before, out of the back-door: and I looked and saw the bull, as I thought, between me and the door; and another bull coming towards me the other way: Well, thought I, here is double witchcraft, to be sure! Here is the spirit of my master in one bull, and Mrs. Jewkes's in the other. And now I am gone, to be sure! O help! cried I, like a fool, and ran back to the door, as swift as if I flew. When I had got the door in my hand, I ventured to look back, to see if these supposed bulls were coming; and I saw they were only two poor cows, a grazing in distant places, that my fears had made all this rout about. But as every thing is so frightful to me, I find I am not fit to think of my escape: for I shall be as much frightened at the first strange man that I meet with:
and I am persuaded that fear brings one into more dangers, than the caution, that goes along with it, delivers one from.
I then locked the door, and put the key in my pocket, and was in a sad quandary; but I was soon determined; for the maid Nan came in sight, and asked, if any thing was the matter, that I was so often up and down stairs? God forgive me, (but I had a sad lie at my tongue's end,) said I; Though Mrs. Jewkes is sometimes a little hard upon me, yet I know not where I am without her: I go up, and I come down to walk about in the garden; and, not having her, know scarcely what to do with myself. Ay, said the ideot, she is main good company, madam, no wonder you miss her.
So here I am again, and here likely to be; for I have no courage to help myself any where else. O why are poor foolish maidens tried with such dangers, when they have such weak minds to grapple with them!--I will, since it is so, hope the best: but yet I cannot but observe how grievously every thing makes against me: for here are the robbers; though I fell not into their hands myself, yet they gave me as much terror, and had as great an effect upon my fears, as if I had: And here is the bull; it has as effectually frightened me, as if I had been hurt by it instead of the cook-maid; and so these joined together, as I may say, to make a very dastard of me. But my folly was the worst of all, because that deprived me of my money: for had I had that, I believe I should have ventured both the bull and the robbers.
So, Mrs. Jewkes is returned from her visit: Well, said she, I would have you set your heart at rest; for Mr. Williams will do very well again. He is not half so bad as he fancied. O these scholars, said she, they have not the hearts of mice! He has only a few scratches on his face; which, said she, I suppose he got by grappling among the gravel at the bottom of the dam, to try to find a hole in the ground, to hide himself from the robbers. His shin and his knee are hardly to be seen to ail any thing. He says in his letter, he was a frightful spectacle: He might be so, indeed, when he first came in a doors; but he looks well enough now: and, only for a few groans now and then, when he thinks of his danger, I see nothing is the matter with him. So, Mrs. Pamela, said she, I would have you be very easy about it. I am glad of it, said I, for all your jokes, to Mrs. Jewkes.
Well, said she, he talks of nothing but you: and when I told him I would fain have persuaded you to come with me, the man was out of his wits with his gratitude to me: and so has laid open all his heart to me, and told me all that has passed, and was contriving between you two. This alarmed me prodigiously; and the rather, as I saw, by two or three instances, that his honest heart could keep nothing, believing every one as undesigning as himself. I said, but yet with a heavy heart, Ah! Mrs. Jewkes, Mrs. Jewkes, this might have done with me, had he had any thing that he could have told you of. But you know well enough, that had we been disposed, we had no opportunity for it, from your watchful care and circumspection. No, said she, that's very true, Mrs. Pamela; not so much as for that declaration that he owned before me, he had found opportunity, for all my watchfulness, to make you. Come, come, said she, no more of these shams with me! You have an excellent head-piece for your years; but may be I am as cunning as you.--However, said she, all is well now; because my watchments are now over, by my master's direction. How have you employed yourself in my absence?
I was so troubled at what might have passed between Mr. Williams and her, that I could not hide it; and she said, Well, Mrs. Pamela, since all matters are likely to be so soon and so happily ended, let me advise you to be a little less concerned at his discoveries; and make me your confidant, as he has done, and I shall think you have some favour for me, and reliance upon me; and perhaps you might not repent it.
She was so earnest, that I mistrusted she did this to pump me; and I knew how, now, to account for her kindness to Mr. Williams in her visit to him; which was only to get out of him what she could. Why, Mrs. Jewkes, said I, is all this fishing about for something, where there is nothing, if there be an end of your watchments, as you call them? Nothing, said she, but womanish curiosity, I'll assure you; for one is naturally led to find out matters, where there is such privacy intended. Well, said I, pray let me know what he has said; and then I'll give you an answer to your curiosity. I don't care, said she, whether you do or not for I have as much as I wanted from him; and I despair of getting out of you any thing you ha'n't a mind I should know, my little cunning dear.--Well, said I, let him have said what he would, I care not: for I am sure he can say no harm of me; and so let us change the talk.
I was the easier, indeed, because, for all her pumps, she gave no hints of the key and the door, etc. which, had he communicated to her, she would not have forborne giving me a touch of.--And so we gave up one another, as despairing to gain our ends of each other. But I am sure he must have said more than he should.--And I am the more apprehensive all is not right, because she has now been actually, these two hours, shut up a writing; though she pretended she had given me up all her stores of papers, etc. and that I should write for her. I begin to wish I had ventured every thing and gone off, when I might. O when will this state of doubt and uneasiness end!
She has just been with me, and says she shall send a messenger to Bedfordshire; and he shall carry a letter of thanks for me, if I will write it for my master's favour to me. Indeed, said I, I have no thanks to give, till I am with my father and mother: and besides, I sent a letter, as you know; but have had no answer to it. She said, she thought that his letter to Mr. Williams was sufficient; and the least I could do was to thank him, if but in two lines. No need of it, said I; for I don't intend to have Mr. Williams: What then is that letter to me? Well, said she, I see thou art quite unfathomable!
I don't like all this. O my foolish fears of bulls and robbers!--For now all my uneasiness begins to double upon me. O what has this incautious man said! That, no doubt, is the subject of her long letter.
I will close this day's writing, with just saying, that she is mighty silent and reserved, to what she was: and says nothing but No, or Yes, to what I ask. Something must be hatching, I doubt!--I the rather think so, because I find she does not keep her word with me, about lying by myself, and my money; to both which points she returned suspicious answers, saying, as to the one, Why, you are mighty earnest for your money; I shan't run away with it. And to the other, Good-lack! you need not be so willing, as I know of, to part with me for a bed-fellow, till you are sure of one you like better. This cut me to the heart; and, at the same time, stopped my mouth.
Mr. Williams has been here; but we have had no opportunity to talk together: He seemed confounded at Mrs. Jewkes's change of temper, and reservedness, after her kind visit, and their freedom with one another, and much more at what I am going to tell you. He asked, If I would take a turn in the garden with Mrs. Jewkes and him. No, said she, I can't go. Said he, May not Mrs. Pamela take a walk?--No, said she; I desire she won't. Why, Mrs. Jewkes? said he: I am afraid I have somehow disobliged you. Not at all, replied she; but I suppose you will soon be at liberty to walk together as much as you please: and I have sent a messenger for my last instructions, about this and more weighty matters; and when they come I shall leave you to do as you both will; but, till then, it is no matter how little you are together. This alarmed us both; and he seemed quite struck of a heap, and put on, as I thought, a self-accusing countenance. So I went behind her back, and held my two hands together, flat, with a bit of paper, I had, between them, and looked at him: and he seemed to take me as I intended; intimating the renewing of the correspondence by the tiles.
I left them both together, and retired to my closet to write a letter for the tiles; but having no time for a copy, I will give you the substance only.
I expostulated with him on his too great openness and easiness to fall into Mrs. Jewkes's snares: told him my apprehensions of foul play; and gave briefly the reasons which moved me: begged to know what he had said; and intimated, that I thought there was the highest reason to resume our prospect of the escape by the back-door. I put this in the usual place in the evening; and now wait with impatience for an answer.
I have the following answer:
'I am utterly confounded, and must plead guilty to all your just reproaches. I wish I were master of all but half your caution and discretion! I hope, after all, this is only a touch of this ill woman's temper, to shew her power and importance: For I think Mr. B---- neither can nor dare deceive me in so black a manner. I would expose him all the world over if he did. But it is not, cannot be in him. I have received a letter from John Arnold, in which he tells me, that his master is preparing for his London journey; and believes, afterwards, he will come into these parts: But he says, Lady Davers is at their house, and is to accompany her brother to London, or meet him there, he knows not which. He professes great zeal and affection to your service: and I find he refers to a letter he sent me before, but which is not come to my hand. I think there can be no treachery; for it is a particular friend at Gainsborough, that I have ordered him to direct to; and this is come safe to my hands by this means; for well I know, I durst trust nothing to Brett, at the post-house here. This gives me a little pain; but I hope all will end well, and we shall soon hear, if it be necessary to pursue our former intentions. If it be, I will lose no time to provide a horse for you, and another for myself; for I can never do either God or myself better service, though I were to forego all my expectations for it here, I am
'Your most faithful humble servant.'
'I was too free indeed with Mrs. Jewkes, led to it by her dissimulation, and by her pretended concern to make me happy with you. I hinted, that I would not have scrupled to have procured your deliverance by any means; and that I had proposed to you, as the only honourable one, marriage with me. But I assured her, though she would hardly believe me, that you discouraged my application: which is too true! But not a word of the back-door key, etc.'
Mrs. Jewkes continues still sullen and ill-natured, and I am almost afraid to speak to her. She watches me as close as ever, and pretends to wonder why I shun her company as I do.
I have just put under the tiles these lines inspired by my fears, which are indeed very strong; and, I doubt, not without reason.
'Every thing gives me additional disturbance. The missed letter of John Arnold's makes me suspect a plot. Yet am I loath to think myself of so much importance, as to suppose every one in a plot against me. Are you sure, however, the London journey is not to be a Lincolnshire one? May not John, who has been once a traitor, be so again?--Why need I be thus in doubt?--If I could have this horse, I would turn the reins on his neck, and trust to Providence to guide him for my safeguard! For I would not endanger you, now just upon the edge of your preferment. Yet, sir, I fear your fatal openness will make you suspected as accessary, let us be ever so cautious.
'Were my life in question, instead of my honesty, I would not wish to involve you, or any body, in the least difficulty, for so worthless a poor creature. But, O sir! my soul is of equal importance with the soul of a princess; though my quality is inferior to that of the meanest slave.
'Save then my innocence, good Heaven! and preserve my mind spotless; and happy shall I be to lay down my worthless life; and see an end to all my troubles and anxieties.
'Forgive my impatience: But my presaging mind bodes horrid mischiefs! Every thing looks dark around me; and this woman's impenetrable sullenness and silence, without any apparent reason, from a conduct so very contrary, bid me fear the worst.--blame me, sir, if you think me wrong; and let me have your advice what to do; which will oblige
'Your most afflicted servant.’
I have this half-angry answer; but, what is more to me than all the letters in the world could be, yours, my dear father, enclosed.
'I think you are too apprehensive by much; I am sorry for your uneasiness. You may depend upon me, and all I can do. But I make no doubt of the London journey, nor of John's contrition and fidelity. I have just received, from my Gainsborough friend, this letter, as I suppose, from your good father, in a cover, directed for me, as I had desired. I hope it contains nothing to add to your uneasiness. Pray, dearest madam, lay aside your fears, and wait a few days for the issue of Mrs. Jewkes's letter, and mine of thanks to Mr. B----. Things, I hope, must be better than you expect. Providence will not desert such piety and innocence: and be this your comfort and reliance: Which is the best advice that can at present be given, by
'Your most faithful humble servant.'
N. B. The father's letter was as follows:
'My DEAREST DAUGHTER,
'Our prayers are at length heard, and we are overwhelmed with joy. O what sufferings, what trials, hast thou gone through! Blessed be the Divine goodness, which has enabled thee to withstand so many temptations! We have not yet had leisure to read through your long accounts of all your hardships. I say long, because I wonder how you could find time and opportunity for them: but otherwise they are the delight of our spare hours; and we shall read them over and over, as long as we live, with thankfulness to God, who has given us so virtuous and so discreet a daughter. How happy is our lot in the midst of our poverty! O let none ever think children a burden to them; when the poorest circumstances can produce so much riches in a Pamela! Persist, my dear daughter, in the same excellent course; and we shall not envy the highest estate, but defy them to produce such a daughter as ours.
'I said, we had not read through all yours in course. We were too impatient, and so turned to the end; where we find your virtue within view of its reward, and your master's heart turned to see the folly of his ways, and the injury he had intended to our dear child: For, to be sure, my dear, he would have ruined you, if he could. But seeing your virtue, his heart is touched; and he has, no doubt, been awakened by your good example.
'We don't see that you can do any way so well, as to come into the present proposal, and make Mr. Williams, the worthy Mr. Williams! God bless him!--happy. And though we are poor, and can add no merit, no reputation, no fortune, to our dear child, but rather must be a disgrace to her, as the world will think; yet I hope I do not sin in my pride, to say, that there is no good man, of a common degree, (especially as your late lady's kindness gave you such good opportunities, which you have had the grace to improve,) but may think himself happy in you. But, as you say, you had rather not marry at present, far be it from us to offer violence to your inclination! So much prudence as you have shewn in all your conduct, would make it very wrong in us to mistrust it in this, or to offer to direct you in your choice. Rut, alas! my child, what can we do for you?--To partake our hard lot, and involve yourself into as hard a life, would not help us, but add to your afflictions. But it will be time enough to talk of these things, when we have the pleasure you now put us in hope of, of seeing you with us; which God grant. Amen, amen, say
'Your most indulgent parents. Amen!'
'Our humblest service and thanks to the worthy Mr. Williams. Again we say, God bless him for ever!
'O what a deal we have to say to you! God give us a happy meeting! We understand the 'squire is setting out for London. He is a fine gentleman, and has wit at will. I wish he was as good. But I hope he will now reform.'
O what inexpressible comfort, my dear father, has your letter given me!-- You ask, What can you do for me?--What is it you cannot do for your child!--You can give her the advice she has so much wanted, and still wants, and will always want: You can confirm her in the paths of virtue, into which you first initiated her; and you can pray for her, with hearts so sincere and pure, that are not to be met with in palaces!--Oh! how I long to throw myself at your feet, and receive from your own lips the blessings of such good parents! But, alas! how are my prospects again overclouded, to what they were when I closed my last parcel!--More trials, more dangers, I fear, must your poor Pamela be engaged in: But through the Divine goodness, and your prayers, I hope, at last, to get well out of all my difficulties; and the rather, as they are not the effect of my own vanity or presumption!
But I will proceed with my hopeless story. I saw Mr. Williams was a little nettled at my impatience; and so I wrote to assure him I would be as easy as I could, and wholly directed by him; especially as my father, whose respects I mentioned, had assured me my master was setting out for London, which he must have somehow from his own family or he would not have written me word of it.
Mr. Williams has been here both these days, as usual; but is very indifferently received still by Mrs. Jewkes; and, to avoid suspicion, I left them together, and went up to my closet, most of the time he was here. He and she, I found by her, had a quarrel: and she seems quite out of humour with him: but I thought it best not to say any thing: and he said, he would very little trouble the house till he had an answer to his letter from Mr. B----. And she returned, The less, the better. Poor man! he has got but little by his openness, making Mrs. Jewkes his confidant, as she bragged, and would have had me to do likewise.
I am more and more satisfied there is mischief brewing; and shall begin to hide my papers, and be circumspect. She seems mighty impatient for an answer to her letter to my master.
Monday, Tuesday, the 25th and 26th days of my heavy restraint.
Still more and more strange things to write! A messenger is returned, and now all is out! O wretched, wretched Pamela! What, at last, will become of me!--Such strange turns and trials sure never poor creature, of my years, experienced. He brought two letters, one to Mrs. Jewkes, and one to me: but, as the greatest wits may be sometimes mistaken, they being folded and sealed alike, that for me was directed to Mrs. Jewkes; and that for her was directed to me. But both are stark naught, abominably bad! She brought me up that directed for me, and said, Here's a letter for you: Long-looked-for is come at last. I will ask the messenger a few questions, and then I will read mine. So she went down, and I broke it open in my closet, and found it directed To MRS. PAMELA ANDREWS. But when I opened it, it began, Mrs. Jewkes. I was quite confounded; but, thought I, this may be a lucky mistake; I may discover something: And so I read on these horrid contents:
'What you write me, has given me no small disturbance. This wretched fool's play- thing, no doubt, is ready to leap at any thing that offers, rather than express the least sense of gratitude for all the benefits she has received from my family, and which I was determined more and more to heap upon her. I reserve her for my future resentment; and I charge you double your diligence in watching her, to prevent her escape. I send this by an honest Swiss, who attended me in my travels; a man I can trust; and so let him be your assistant: for the artful creature is enough to corrupt a nation by her seeming innocence and simplicity; and she may have got a party, perhaps, among my servants with you, as she has here. Even John Arnold, whom I confided in, and favoured more than any, has proved an execrable villain; and shall meet his reward for it.
'As to that college novice, Williams, I need not bid you take care he sees not this painted bauble: for I have ordered Mr. Shorter, my attorney, to throw him instantly into gaol, on an action of debt, for money he has had of me, which I had intended never to carry to account against him; for I know all his rascally practices, besides what you write me of his perfidious intrigue with that girl, and his acknowledged contrivances for her escape; when he knew not, for certain, that I designed her any mischief; and when, if he had been guided by a sense of piety, or compassion for injured innocence, as he pretends, he would have expostulated with me, as his function, and my friendship for him, might have allowed him. But to enter into a vile intrigue with the amiable gewgaw, to favour her escape in so base a manner, (to say nothing of his disgraceful practices against me, in Sir Simon Darnford's family, of which Sir Simon himself has informed me), is a conduct that, instead of preferring the ungrateful wretch, as I had intended, shall pull down upon him utter ruin.
'Monsieur Colbrand, my trusty Swiss, will obey you without reserve, if my other servants refuse.
'As for her denying that she encouraged his declaration, I believe it not. It is certain the speaking picture, with all that pretended innocence and bashfulness, would have run away with him. Yes, she would run away with a fellow that she had been acquainted with (and that not intimately, if you were as careful as you ought to be) but a few days; at a time when she had the strongest assurances of my honour to her.
'Well, I think, I now hate her perfectly: and though I will do nothing to her myself, yet I can bear, for the sake of my revenge, and my injured honour and slighted love, to see any thing, even what she most fears, be done to her; and then she may be turned loose to her evil destiny, and echo to the woods and groves her piteous lamentations for the loss of her fantastical innocence, which the romantic ideot makes such a work about. I shall go to London, with my sister Davers; and the moment I can disengage myself, which, perhaps, may be in three weeks from this time, I will be with you, and decide her fate, and put an end to your trouble. Mean time be doubly careful; for this innocent, as I have warned you, is full of contrivances. I am
I had but just read this dreadful letter through, when Mrs. Jewkes came up in a great fright, guessing at the mistake, and that I had her letter, and she found me with it open in my hand, just sinking away. What business, said she, had you to read my letter? and snatched it from me. You see, said she, looking upon it, it says Mrs. Jewkes, at top: You ought, in manners, to have read no further. O add not, said I, to my afflictions! I shall be soon out of all your ways! This is too much! too much! I never can support this--and threw myself upon the couch, in my closet, and wept most bitterly. She read it in the next room, and came in again afterwards. Why, this, said she, is a sad letter indeed: I am sorry for it: But I feared you would carry your niceties too far!-- Leave me, leave me, Mrs. Jewkes, said I, for a while: I cannot speak nor talk.--Poor heart! said she; Well, I'll come up again presently, and hope to find you better. But here, take your own letter; I wish you well; but this is a sad mistake! And so she put down by me that which was intended for me: But I have no spirit to read it at present. O man! man! hard- hearted, cruel man! what mischiefs art thou not capable of, unrelenting persecutor as thou art!
I sat ruminating, when I had a little come to myself, upon the terms of this wicked letter; and had no inclination to look into my own. The bad names, fool's play-thing, artful creature, painted bauble, gewgaw, speaking picture, are hard words for your poor Pamela! and I began to think whether I was not indeed a very naughty body, and had not done vile things: But when I thought of his having discovered poor John, and of Sir Simon's base officiousness, in telling him of Mr. Williams, with what he had resolved against him in revenge for his goodness to me, I was quite dispirited; and yet still more about that fearful Colbrand, and what he could see done to me: for then I was ready to gasp for breath, and my heart quite failed me. Then how dreadful are the words, that he will decide my fate in three weeks! Gracious Heaven, said I, strike me dead, before that time, with a thunderbolt, or provide some way for my escaping these threatened mischiefs! God forgive me, if I sinned!
At last, I took up the letter directed for Mrs. Jewkes, but designed for me; and I find that little better than the other. These are the hard terms it contains:
'Well have you done, perverse, forward, artful, yet foolish Pamela, to convince me, before it was too late, how ill I had done to place my affections on so unworthy an object: I had vowed honour and love to your unworthiness, believing you a mirror of bashful modesty and unspotted innocence; and that no perfidious designs lurked in so fair a bosom. But now I have found you out, you specious hypocrite! and I see, that though you could not repose the least confidence in one you had known for years, and who, under my good mother's misplaced favour for you, had grown up in a manner with you; when my passion, in spite of my pride, and the difference of our condition, made me stoop to a meanness that now I despise myself for; yet you could enter into an intrigue with a man you never knew till within these few days past, and resolve to run away with a stranger, whom your fair face, and insinuating arts, had bewitched to break through all the ties of honour and gratitude to me, even at a time when the happiness of his future life depended upon my favour.
'Henceforth, for Pamela's sake, whenever I see a lovely face, will I mistrust a deceitful heart; and whenever I hear of the greatest pretences to innocence, will I suspect some deep-laid mischief. You were determined to place no confidence in me, though I have solemnly, over and over, engaged my honour to you. What, though I had alarmed your fears in sending you one way, when you hoped to go another; yet, had I not, to convince you of my resolution to do justly by you, (although with great reluctance, such then was my love for you,) engaged not to come near you without your own consent? Was not this a voluntary demonstration of the generosity of my intention to you? Yet how have you requited me? The very first fellow that your charming face, and insinuating address, could influence, you have practised upon, corrupted too, I may say, (and even ruined, as the ungrateful wretch shall find,) and thrown your forward self upon him. As, therefore, you would place no confidence in me, my honour owes you nothing; and, in a little time, you shall find how much you have erred, in treating, as you have done, a man who was once
'Your affectionate and kind friend.'
'Mrs. Jewkes has directions concerning you: and if your lot is now harder than you might wish, you will bear it the easier, because your own rash folly has brought it upon you.'
Alas! for me, what a fate is mine, to be thus thought artful, and forward, and ungrateful; when all I intended was to preserve my innocence; and when all the poor little shifts, which his superior wicked wit and cunning have rendered ineffectual, were forced upon me in my own necessary defence!
When Mrs. Jewkes came up to me again, she found me bathed in tears. She seemed, as I thought, to be moved to some compassion; and finding myself now entirely in her power, and that it is not for me to provoke her, I said, It is now, I see, in vain for me to contend against my evil destiny, and the superior arts of my barbarous master. I will resign myself to the Divine will, and prepare to expect the worst. But you see how this poor Mr. Williams is drawn in and undone: I am sorry I am made the cause of his ruin. Poor, poor man!--to be thus involved, and for my sake too!--But if you'll believe me, said I, I gave no encouragement to what he proposed, as to marriage; nor would he have proposed it, I believe, but as the only honourable way he thought was left to save me: And his principal motive to it at all, was virtue and compassion to one in distress. What other view could he have? You know I am poor and friendless. All I beg of you is, to let the poor gentleman have notice of my master's resentment; and let him fly the country, and not be thrown into gaol. This will answer my master's end as well; for it will as effectually hinder him from assisting me, as if he was in a prison.
Ask me, said she, to do any thing that is in my power, consistent with my duty and trust, and I will do it: for I am sorry for you both. But, to be sure, I shall keep no correspondence with him, nor let you. I offered to talk of a duty superior to that she mentioned, which would oblige her to help distressed innocence, and not permit her to go the lengths enjoined by lawless tyranny; but she plainly bid me be silent on that head: for it was in vain to attempt to persuade her to betray her trust: --All I have to advise you, said she, is to be easy; lay aside all your contrivances and arts to get away, and make me your friend, by giving me no reason to suspect you; for I glory in my fidelity to my master: And you have both practised some strange sly arts, to make such a progress as he has owned there was between you, so seldom as I thought you saw one another; and I must be more circumspect than I have been.
This doubled my concern; for I now apprehended I should be much closer watched than before.
Well, said I, since I have, by this strange accident, discovered my hard destiny; let me read over again that fearful letter of yours, that I may get it by heart, and with it feed my distress, and make calamity familiar to me. Then, said she, let me read yours again. I gave her mine, and she lent me hers: and so I took a copy of it, with her leave; because, as I said I would, by it, prepare myself for the worst. And when I had done, I pinned it on the head of the couch: This, said I, is the use I shall make of this wretched copy of your letter; and here you shall always find it wet with my tears. She said she would go down to order supper; and insisted upon my company to it. I would have excused myself; but she began to put on a commanding air, that I durst not oppose. And when I went down, she took me by the hand, and presented me to the most hideous monster I ever saw in my life. Here, Monsieur Colbrand, said she, here is your pretty ward and mine; let us try to make her time with us easy. He bowed, and put on his foreign grimaces, and seemed to bless himself; and, in broken English, told me, I was happy in de affections of de finest gentleman in de varld!--I was quite frightened, and ready to drop down; and I will describe him to you, my dear father and mother, if now you will ever see this: and you shall judge if I had not reason, especially not knowing he was to be there, and being apprised, as I was, of his hated employment, to watch me closer.
He is a giant of a man for stature; taller by a good deal than Harry Mowlidge, in your neighbourhood, and large boned, and scraggy; and has a hand!--I never saw such an one in my life. He has great staring eyes, like the bull's that frightened me so; vast jaw-bones sticking out: eyebrows hanging over his eyes; two great scars upon his forehead, and one on his left cheek; and two large whiskers, and a monstrous wide mouth; blubber lips; long yellow teeth, and a hideous grin. He wears his own frightful long hair, tied up in a great black bag; a black crape neckcloth about a long ugly neck: and his throat sticking out like a wen. As to the rest, he was dressed well enough, and had a sword on, with a nasty red knot to it; leather garters, buckled below his knees; and a foot--near as long as my arm, I verily think.
He said, he fright de lady; and offered to withdraw; but she bid him not; and I told Mrs. Jewkes, That as she knew I had been crying, she should not have called me to the gentleman without letting me know he was there. I soon went up to my closet; for my heart ached all the time I was at table, not being able to look upon him without horror; and this brute of a woman, though she saw my distress, before this addition to it, no doubt did it on purpose to strike more terror into me. And indeed it had its effect: for when I went to bed, I could think of nothing but his hideous person, and my master's more hideous actions: and thought them too well paired; and when I dropt asleep, I dreamed they were both coming to my bedside, with the worst designs; and I jumped out of my bed in my sleep, and frightened Mrs. Jewkes; till, waking with the terror, I told her my dream; and the wicked creature only laughed, and said, All I feared was but a dream, as well as that; and when it was over, and I was well awake, I should laugh at it as such!
And now I am come to the close of Wednesday, the 27th day of my distress.
Poor Mr. Williams is actually arrested, and carried away to Stamford. So there is an end of all my hopes from him, poor gentleman! His over- security and openness have ruined us both! I was but too well convinced, that we ought not to have lost a moment's time; but he was half angry, and thought me too impatient; and then his fatal confessions, and the detestable artifice of my master!--But one might well think, that he who had so cunningly, and so wickedly, contrived all his stratagems hitherto, that it was impossible to avoid them, would stick at nothing to complete them. I fear I shall soon find it so!
But one stratagem I have just invented, though a very discouraging one to think of; because I have neither friends nor money, nor know one step of the way, if I was out of the house. But let bulls, and bears, and lions, and tigers, and, what is worse, false, treacherous, deceitful men, stand in my way, I cannot be in more danger than I am; and I depend nothing upon his three weeks: for how do I know, now he is in such a passion, and has already begun his vengeance on poor Mr. Williams, that he will not change his mind, and come down to Lincolnshire before he goes to London?
My stratagem is this: I will endeavour to get Mrs. Jewkes to go to bed without me, as she often does, while I sit locked up in my closet: and as she sleeps very sound in her first sleep, of which she never fails to give notice by snoring, if I can but then get out between the two bars of the window, (for you know I am very slender, and I find I can get my head through,) then I can drop upon the leads underneath, which are little more than my height, and which leads are over a little summer-parlour, that juts out towards the garden; and as I am light, I can easily drop from them; for they are not high from the ground: then I shall be in the garden; and then, as I have the key of the back-door, I will get out. But I have another piece of cunning still: Good Heaven, succeed to me my dangerous, but innocent devices!--I have read of a great captain, who, being in danger, leaped overboard into the sea, and his enemies, as he swam, shooting at him with bows and arrows, he unloosed his upper garment, and took another course, while they stuck that full of their darts and arrows; and so he escaped, and lived to triumph over them all. So what will I do, but strip off my upper petticoat, and throw it into the pond, with my neckhandkerchief! For to be sure, when they miss me, they will go to the pond first, thinking I have drowned myself: and so, when they see some of my clothes floating there, they will be all employed in dragging the pond, which is a very large one; and as I shall not, perhaps, be missed till the morning, this will give me opportunity to get a great way off; and I am sure I will run for it when I am out. And so I trust, that Providence will direct my steps to some good place of safety, and make some worthy body my friend; for sure, if I suffer ever so, I cannot be in more danger, nor in worse hands, than where I am; and with such avowed bad designs.
O my dear parents! don't be frightened when you come to read this!--But all will be over before you can see it; and so God direct me for the best! My writings, for fear I should not escape, I will bury in the garden; for, to be sure, I shall be searched and used dreadfully if I can't get off. And so I will close here, for the present, to prepare for my plot. Prosper thou, O gracious Protector of oppressed innocence! this last effort of thy poor handmaid! that I may escape the crafty devices and snares that have begun to entangle my virtue; and from which, but by this one trial, I see no way of escaping. And oh! whatever becomes of me, bless my dear parents, and protect poor Mr. Williams from ruin! for he was happy before he knew me.
Just now, just now! I heard Mrs. Jewkes, who is in her cups, own to the horrid Colbrand, that the robbing of poor Mr. Williams was a contrivance of hers, and executed by the groom and a helper, in order to seize my letters upon him, which they missed. They are now both laughing at the dismal story, which they little think I overheard--O how my heart aches! for what are not such wretches capable of! Can you blame me for endeavouring, through any danger, to get out of such clutches? Past eleven o'clock.
Mrs. Jewkes is come up, and gone to bed; and bids me not stay long in my closet, but come to bed. O for a dead sleep for the treacherous brute! I never saw her so tipsy, and that gives me hopes. I have tried again, and find I can get my head through the iron bars. I am now all prepared, as soon as I hear her fast; and now I'll seal up these, and my other papers, my last work: and to thy providence, O my gracious God! commit the rest.--Once more, God bless you both! and send us a happy meeting; if not here, in his heavenly kingdom. Amen.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, the 28th, 29th, 30th, and 31st days of my distress.
And distress indeed! For here I am still; and every thing has been worse and worse! Oh! the poor unhappy Pamela!--Without any hope left, and ruined in all my contrivances. But, oh! my dear parents, rejoice with me, even in this low plunge of my distress; for your poor Pamela has escaped from an enemy worse than any she ever met with; an enemy she never thought of before, and was hardly able to stand against: I mean, the weakness and presumption, both in one, of her own mind; which had well nigh, had not the divine grace interposed, sunk her into the lowest, last abyss of misery and perdition!
I will proceed, as I have opportunity, with my sad relation: for my pen and ink (in my now doubly-secured closet) are all I have to employ myself with: and indeed I have been so weak, that, till yesterday evening, I have not been able to hold a pen.
I took with me but one shift, besides what I had on, and two handkerchiefs, and two caps, which my pocket held, (for it was not for me to encumber myself,) and all my stock of money, which was but five or six shillings, to set out for I knew not where; and got out of the window, not without some difficulty, sticking a little at my shoulders and hips; but I was resolved to get out, if possible. And it was farther from the leads than I thought, and I was afraid I had sprained my ancle; and when I had dropt from the leads to the ground, it was still farther off; but I did pretty well there, at least. I got no hurt to hinder me from pursuing my intentions. So being now on the ground, I hid my papers under a rose-bush, and covered them with mould, and there they still lie, as I hope. Then I hied away to the pond: The clock struck twelve, just as I got out; and it was a dark misty night, and very cold; but I felt it not then.
When I came to the pond-side, I flung in my upper-coat, as I had designed, and my neckhandkerchief, and a round-eared cap, with a knot; and then with great speed ran to the door, and took the key out of my pocket, my poor heart beating all the time against my bosom, as if it would have forced its way through it: and beat it well might! for I then, too late, found, that I was most miserably disappointed; for the wicked woman had taken off that lock, and put another on; so that my key would not open it. I tried, and tried, and feeling about, I found a padlock besides, on another part of the door. O then how my heart sunk!--I dropt down with grief and confusion, unable to stir or support myself, for a while. But my fears awakening my resolution, and knowing that my attempt would be as terrible for me as any other danger I could then encounter, I clambered up upon the ledges of the door, and upon the lock, which was a great wooden one; and reached the top of the door with my hands; then, little thinking I could climb so well, I made shift to lay hold on the top of the wall with my hands; but, alas for me! nothing but ill luck!-- no escape for poor Pamela! The wall being old, the bricks I held by gave way, just as I was taking a spring to get up; and down came I, and received such a blow upon my head, with one of the bricks, that it quite stunned me; and I broke my shins and my ancle besides, and beat off the heel of one of my shoes.
In this dreadful way, flat upon the ground, lay poor I, for I believe five or six minutes; and then trying to get up, I sunk down again two or three times; and my left hip and shoulder were very stiff, and full of pain, with bruises; and, besides, my head bled, and ached grievously with the blow I had with the brick. Yet these hurts I valued not; but crept a good way upon my feet and hands, in search of a ladder, I just recollected to have seen against the wall two days before, on which the gardener was nailing a nectarine branch that was loosened from the wall: but no ladder could I find, and the wall was very high. What now, thought I, must become of the miserable Pamela!--Then I began to wish myself most heartily again in my closet, and to repent of my attempt, which I now censured as rash, because it did not succeed.
God forgive me! but a sad thought came just then into my head!--I tremble to think of it! Indeed my apprehensions of the usage I should meet with, had like to have made me miserable for ever! O my dear, dear parents, forgive your poor child; but being then quite desperate, I crept along, till I could raise myself on my staggering feet; and away limped I!--What to do, but to throw myself into the pond, and so put a period to all my griefs in this world!--But, O! to find them infinitely aggravated (had I not, by the divine grace, been withheld) in a miserable eternity! As I have escaped this temptation, (blessed be God for it!) I will tell you my conflicts on this dreadful occasion, that the divine mercies may be magnified in my deliverance, that I am yet on this side the dreadful gulf, from which there could have been no return.
It was well for me, as I have since thought, that I was so maimed, as made me the longer before I got to the water; for this gave me time to consider, and abated the impetuousness of my passions, which possibly might otherwise have hurried me, in my first transport of grief, (on my seeing no way to escape, and the hard usage I had reason to expect from my dreadful keepers,) to throw myself in. But my weakness of body made me move so slowly, that it gave time, as I said, for a little reflection, a ray of grace, to dart in upon my benighted mind; and so, when I came to the pond-side, I sat myself down on the sloping bank, and began to ponder my wretched condition; and thus I reasoned with myself.
Pause here a little, Pamela, on what thou art about, before thou takest the dreadful leap; and consider whether there be no way yet left, no hope, if not to escape from this wicked house, yet from the mischiefs threatened thee in it.
I then considered; and, after I had cast about in my mind every thing that could make me hope, and saw no probability; a wicked woman, devoid of all compassion! a horrid helper, just arrived, in this dreadful Colbrand! an angry and resenting master, who now hated me, and threatened the most afflicting evils! and that I should, in all probability, be deprived even of the opportunity, I now had before me, to free myself from all their persecutions!--What hast thou to do, distressed creature, said I to myself, but throw thyself upon a merciful God, (who knows how innocently I suffer,) to avoid the merciless wickedness of those who are determined on my ruin?
And then, thought I, (and oh! that thought was surely of the devil's instigation; for it was very soothing, and powerful with me,) these wicked wretches, who now have no remorse, no pity on me, will then be moved to lament their misdoings; and when they see the dead corpse of the unhappy Pamela dragged out to these dewy banks, and lying breathless at their feet, they will find that remorse to soften their obdurate heart, which, now, has no place there!--And my master, my angry master, will then forget his resentments, and say, O, this is the unhappy Pamela! that I have so causelessly persecuted and destroyed! Now do I see she preferred her honesty to her life, will he say, and is no hypocrite, nor deceiver; but really was the innocent creature she pretended to be! Then, thought I, will he, perhaps, shed a few tears over the poor corpse of his persecuted servant; and though he may give out, it was love and disappointment; and that, perhaps, (in order to hide his own guilt,) for the unfortunate Mr. Williams, yet will he be inwardly grieved, and order me a decent funeral, and save me, or rather this part of me, from the dreadful stake, and the highway interment; and the young men and maidens all around my dear father's will pity poor Pamela! But, O! I hope I shall not be the subject of their ballads and elegies; but that my memory, for the sake of my dear father and mother, may quickly slide into oblivion.
I was once rising, so indulgent was I to this sad way of thinking, to throw myself in: But, again, my bruises made me slow; and I thought, What art thou about to do, wretched Pamela? How knowest thou, though the prospect be all dark to thy short- sighted eye, what God may do for thee, even when all human means fail? God Almighty would not lay me under these sore afflictions, if he had not given me strength to grapple with them, if I will exert it as I ought: And who knows, but that the very presence I so much dread of my angry and designing master, (for he has had me in his power before, and yet I have escaped;) may be better for me, than these persecuting emissaries of his, who, for his money, are true to their wicked trust, and are hardened by that, and a long habit of wickedness, against compunction of heart? God can touch his heart in an instant; and if this should not be done, I can then but put an end to my life by some other means, if I am so resolved.
But how do I know, thought I, that even these bruises and maims that I have gotten, while I pursued only the laudable escape I had meditated, may not kindly have furnished me with the opportunity I am now tempted with to precipitate myself, and of surrendering up my life, spotless and unguilty, to that merciful Being who gave it! Then, thought I, who gave thee, presumptuous as thou art, a power over thy life? Who authorised thee to put an end to it, when the weakness of thy mind suggests not to thee a way to preserve it with honour? How knowest thou what purposes God may have to serve, by the trials with which thou art now exercised? Art thou to put a bound to the divine will, and to say, Thus much will I bear, and no more? And wilt thou dare to say, That if the trial be augmented and continued, thou wilt sooner die than bear it?
This act of despondency, thought I, is a sin, that, if I pursue it, admits of no repentance, and can therefore hope no forgiveness.--And wilt thou, to shorten thy transitory griefs, heavy as they are, and weak as thou fanciest thyself, plunge both body and soul into everlasting misery! Hitherto, Pamela, thought I, thou art the innocent, the suffering Pamela; and wilt thou, to avoid thy sufferings, be the guilty aggressor? And, because wicked men persecute thee, wilt thou fly in the face of the Almighty, and distrust his grace and goodness, who can still turn all these sufferings to benefits? And how do I know, but that God, who sees all the lurking vileness of my heart, may have permitted these sufferings on that very score, and to make me rely solely on his grace and assistance, who, perhaps, have too much prided myself in a vain dependence on my own foolish contrivances?
Then, again, thought I, wilt thou suffer in one moment all the good lessons of thy poor honest parents, and the benefit of their example, (who have persisted in doing their duty with resignation to the divine will, amidst the extreme degrees of disappointment, poverty, and distress, and the persecutions of an ungrateful world, and merciless creditors,) to be thrown away upon thee: and bring down, as in all probability this thy rashness will, their grey hairs with sorrow to the grave, when they shall understand, that their beloved daughter, slighting the tenders of divine grace, despairing of the mercies of a protecting God, has blemished, in this last act, a whole life, which they had hitherto approved and delighted in?