Pamela or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson - HTML preview
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Twelve o'clock, Saturday noon.
Just now he has sent me up, by Mrs. Jewkes, the following proposals. So here are the honourable intentions all at once laid open. They are, my dear parents, to make me a vile kept mistress: which, I hope, I shall always detest the thoughts of. But you'll see how they are accommodated to what I should have most desired, could I have honestly promoted it, your welfare and happiness. I have answered them, as I am sure you'll approve; and I am prepared for the worst: For though I fear there will be nothing omitted to ruin me, and though my poor strength will not be able to defend me, yet I will be innocent of crime in my intention, and in the sight of God; and to him leave the avenging of all my wrongs, time and manner. I shall write to you my answer against his articles; and hope the best, though I fear the worst. But if I should come home to you ruined and undone, and may not be able to look you in the face; yet pity and inspirit the poor Pamela, to make her little remnant of life easy; for long I shall not survive my disgrace: and you may be assured it shall not be my fault, if it be my misfortune.
'To MRS. PAMELA ANDREWS.
'The following ARTICLES are proposed to your serious consideration; and let me have an answer, in writing, to them, that I may take my resolutions accordingly. Only remember, that I will not be trifled with; and what you give for answer will absolutely decide your fate, without expostulation, or farther trouble.
This is my ANSWER.
Forgive, sir, the spirit your poor servant is about to show in her answer to your ARTICLES. Not to be warm, and in earnest, on such an occasion as the present, would shew a degree of guilt, that, I hope, my soul abhors. I will not trifle with you, nor act like a person doubtful of her own mind; for it wants not one moment's consideration with me; and I therefore return the ANSWER following, let what will be the consequence.
'I. If you can convince me that the hated parson has had no encouragement from you in his addresses; and that you have no inclination for him in preference to me; then I will offer the following proposals to you, which I will punctually make good.
I. As to the first article, sir, it may behove me (that I may not deserve, in your opinion, the opprobrious terms of forward and artful, and such like) to declare solemnly, that Mr. Williams never had the least encouragement from me, as to what you hint; and I believe his principal motive was the apprehended duty of his function, quite contrary to his apparent interest, to assist a person he thought in distress. You may, sir, the rather believe me, when I declare, that I know not the man breathing I would wish to marry; and that the only one I could honour more than another, is the gentleman, who, of all others, seeks my everlasting dishonour.
'II. I will directly make you a present of 500 guineas, for your own use, which you may dispose of to any purpose you please: and will give it absolutely into the hands of any person you shall appoint to receive it; and expect no favour in return, till you are satisfied in the possession of it.
II. As to your second proposal, let the consequence be what it will, I reject it with all my soul. Money, sir, is not my chief good: May God Almighty desert me, whenever it is! and whenever, for the sake of that, I can give up my title to that blessed hope which will stand me in stead, at a time when millions of gold will not purchase one happy moment of reflection on a past misspent life!
'III. I will likewise directly make over to you a purchase I lately made in Kent, which brings in 250l. per annum, clear of all deductions. This shall be made over to you in full property for your life, and for the lives of any children to perpetuity, that you may happen to have: And your father shall be immediately put into possession of it in trust for these purposes: and the management of it will yield a comfortable subsistence to him, and your mother, for life; and I will make up any deficiencies, if such should happen, to that clear sum, and allow him 50l. per annum, besides, for his life, and that of your mother, for his care and management of this your estate.
III. Your third proposal, sir, I reject for the same reason; and am sorry you could think my poor honest parents would enter into their part of it, and be concerned for the management of an estate, which would be owing to the prostitution of their poor daughter. Forgive, sir, my warmth on this occasion; but you know not the poor man, and the poor woman, my ever-dear father and mother, if you think, that they would not much rather choose to starve in a ditch, or rot in a noisome dungeon, than accept of the fortune of a monarch, upon such wicked terms. I dare not say all that my full mind suggests to me on this grievous occasion--But, indeed, sir, you know them not; nor shall the terrors of death, in its most frightful form, I hope, through God's assisting grace, ever make me act unworthy of such poor honest parents!
'IV. I will, moreover, extend my favour to any other of your relations, that you may think worthy of it, or that are valued by you.
IV. Your fourth proposal, I take upon me, sir, to answer as the third. If I have any friends that want the favour of the great, may they ever want it, if they are capable of desiring it on unworthy terms!
'V. I will, besides, order patterns to be sent you for choosing four complete suits of rich clothes, that you may appear with reputation, as if you were my wife. And will give you the two diamond rings, and two pair of ear-rings, and diamond necklace, that were bought by my mother, to present to Miss Tomlins, if the match that was proposed between her and me had been brought to effect: and I will confer upon you still other gratuities, as I shall find myself obliged, by your good behaviour and affection.
V. Fine clothes, sir, become not me; nor have I any ambition to wear them. I have greater pride in my poverty and meanness, than I should have in dress and finery. Believe me, sir, I think such things less become the humble-born Pamela, than the rags your good mother raised me from. Your rings, sir, your necklace, and your ear- rings, will better befit ladies of degree, than me: and to lose the best jewel, my virtue, would be poorly recompensed by those you propose to give me. What should I think, when I looked upon my finger, or saw in the glass those diamonds on my neck, and in my ears, but that they were the price of my honesty; and that I wore those jewels outwardly, because I had none inwardly.
'VI. Now, Pamela, will you see by this, what a value I set upon the free-will of a person already in my power; and who, if these proposals are not accepted, shall find, that I have not taken all these pains, and risked my reputation, as I have done, without resolving to gratify my passion for you, at all adventures; and if you refuse, without making any terms at all.
VI. I know, sir, by woful experience, that I am in your power: I know all the resistance I can make will be poor and weak, and, perhaps, stand me in little stead: I dread your will to ruin me is as great as your power: yet, sir, will I dare to tell you, that I will make no free-will offering of my virtue. All that I can do, poor as it is, I will do, to convince you, that your offers shall have no part in my choice; and if I cannot escape the violence of man, I hope, by God's grace, I shall have nothing to reproach myself, for not doing all in my power to avoid my disgrace; and then I can safely appeal to the great God, my only refuge and protector, with this consolation, That my will bore no part in my violation.
'VII. You shall be mistress of my person and fortune, as much as if the foolish ceremony had passed. All my servants shall be yours; and you shall choose any two persons to attend yourself, either male or female, without any control of mine: and if your conduct be such, that I have reason to be satisfied with it, I know not (but will not engage for this) that I may, after a twelvemonth's cohabitation, marry you; for, if my love increases for you, as it has done for many months past, it will be impossible for me to deny you any thing.
'And now, Pamela, consider well, it is in your power to oblige me on such terms, as will make yourself, and all your friends, happy: but this will be over this very day, irrevocably over; and you shall find all you would be thought to fear, without the least benefit arising from it to yourself.
'And I beg you'll well weigh the matter, and comply with my proposals; and I will instantly set about securing to you the full effect of them: And let me, if you value yourself, experience a grateful return on this occasion, and I'll forgive all that's past.' VII. I have not once dared to look so high, as to such a proposal as your seventh article contains. Hence have proceeded all my little abortive artifices to escape from the confinement you have put me in; although you promised to be honourable to me. Your honour, well I know, would not let you stoop to so mean and so unworthy a slave, as the poor Pamela: All I desire is, to be permitted to return to my native meanness unviolated. What have I done, sir, to deserve it should be otherwise? For the obtaining of this, though I would not have married your chaplain, yet would I have run away with your meanest servant, if I had thought I could have got safe to my beloved poverty. I heard you once say, sir, That a certain great commander, who could live upon lentils, might well refuse the bribes of the greatest monarch: And I hope, as I can contentedly live at the meanest rate, and think not myself above the lowest condition, that I am also above making an exchange of my honesty for all the riches of the Indies. When I come to be proud and vain of gaudy apparel, and outside finery, then (which I hope will never be) may I rest my principal good in such vain trinkets, and despise for them the more solid ornaments of a good fame, and a chastity inviolate!
Give me leave to say, sir, in answer to what you hint, That you may in a twelvemonth's time marry me, on the continuance of my good behaviour; that this weighs less with me, if possible, than any thing else you have said: for, in the first place, there is an end of all merit, and all good behaviour, on my side, if I have now any, the moment I consent to your proposals: And I should be so far from expecting such an honour, that I will pronounce, that I should be most unworthy of it. What, sir, would the world say, were you to marry your harlot? That a gentleman of your rank in life should stoop, not only to the base-born Pamela, but to a base-born prostitute?--Little, sir, as I know of the world, I am not to be caught by a bait so poorly covered as this!
Yet, after all, dreadful is the thought, that I, a poor, weak, friendless, unhappy creature, am too full in your power! But permit me, sir, to pray, as I now write on my bended knees, That before you resolve upon my ruin, you will weigh well the matter. Hitherto, sir, though you have taken large strides to this crying sin, yet are you on this side the commission of it.--When once it is done, nothing can recall it! And where will be your triumph?--What glory will the spoils of such a weak enemy yield you? Let me but enjoy my poverty with honesty, is all my prayer, and I will bless you, and pray for you, every moment of my life! Think, O think! before it is yet too late! what stings, what remorse will attend your dying hour, when you come to reflect, that you have ruined, perhaps soul and body, a wretched creature, whose only pride was her virtue! And how pleased you will be, on the contrary, if in that tremendous moment you shall be able to acquit yourself of this foul crime, and to plead in your own behalf, that you suffered the earnest supplications of an unhappy wretch to prevail with you to be innocent yourself, and let her remain so!--May God Almighty, whose mercy so lately saved you from the peril of perishing in deep waters, (on which, I hope, you will give me cause to congratulate you!) touch your heart in my favour, and save you from this sin, and me from this ruin!--And to him do I commit my cause; and to him will I give the glory, and night and day pray for you, if I may be permitted to escape this great evil!---- Your poor oppressed, broken spirited servant.
I took a copy of this for your perusal, my dear parents, if I shall ever be so happy to see you again; (for I hope my conduct will be approved of by you;) and at night, when Sir Simon was gone, he sent for me down. Well, said he, have you considered my proposals? Yes, sir, said I, I have: and there is my answer: But pray let me not see you read it. Is it your bashfulness, said he, or your obstinacy, that makes you not choose I should read it before you?
I offered to go away; and he said, Don't run from me; I won't read it till you are gone. But, said he, tell me, Pamela, whether you comply with my proposals, or not? Sir, said I, you will see presently; pray don't hold me; for he took my hand. Said he, Did you well consider before you answered?--I did, sir, said I. If it be not what you think will please me, said he, dear girl, take it back again, and reconsider it; for if I have this as your absolute answer, and I don't like it, you are undone; for I will not sue meanly, where I can command. I fear, said he, it is not what I like, by your manner: and let me tell you, that I cannot bear denial. If the terms I have offered are not sufficient, I will augment them to two-thirds of my estate; for, said he, and swore a dreadful oath, I cannot live without you: and, since the thing is gone so far, I will not! And so he clasped me in his arms in such a manner as quite frightened me; and kissed me two or three times.
I got from him, and run up stairs, and went to the closet, and was quite uneasy and fearful.
In an hour's time he called Mrs. Jewkes down to him! And I heard him very high in passion: and all about me! And I heard her say, It was his own fault; there would be an end of all my complaining and perverseness, if he was once resolved; and other most impudent aggravations. I am resolved not to go to bed this night, if I can help it!--Lie still, lie still, my poor fluttering heart!--What will become of me!
Almost twelve o'clock, Saturday night.
He sent Mrs. Jewkes, about ten o'clock, to tell me to come to him. Where? said I. I'll shew you, said she. I went down three or four steps, and saw her making to his chamber, the door of which was open: So I said, I cannot go there!--Don't be foolish, said she; but come; no harm will be done to you!--Well, said I, if I die, I cannot go there. I heard him say, Let her come, or it shall be worse for her. I can't bear, said he, to speak to her myself!--Well, said I, I cannot come, indeed I cannot; and so I went up again into my closet, expecting to be fetched by force.
But she came up soon after, and bid me make haste to bed: Said I, I will not go to bed this night, that's certain!--Then, said she, you shall be made to come to bed; and Nan and I will undress you. I knew neither prayers nor tears would move this wicked woman: So I said, I am sure you will let master in, and I shall be undone! Mighty piece of undone! she said: but he was too much exasperated against me, to be so familiar with me, she would assure me!--Ay, said she, you'll be disposed of another way soon, I can tell you for your comfort: and I hope your husband will have your obedience, though nobody else can have it. No husband in the world, said I, shall make me do an unjust or base thing.--She said, That would be soon tried; and Nan coming in, What! said I, am I to have two bed- fellows again, these warm nights? Yes, said she, slippery-one, you are, till you can have one good one instead of us. Said I, Mrs. Jewkes, don't talk nastily to me: I see you are beginning again; and I shall affront you, may be; for next to bad actions, are bad words; for they could not be spoken, if they were not in the heart.--Come to bed, purity! said she. You are a nonsuch, I suppose. Indeed, said I, I can't come to bed; and it will do you no harm to let me stay all night in the great chair. Nan, said she, undress my young lady. If she won't let you, I'll help you; and, if neither of us can do it quietly, we'll call my master to do it for us; though, said she, I think it an office worthier of Monsieur Colbrand!-- You are very wicked, said I. I know it, said she; I am a Jezebel, and a London prostitute, you know. You did great feats, said I, to tell my master all this poor stuff; but you did not tell him how you beat me. No, lambkin, said she, (a word I had not heard a good while,) that I left for you to tell and you was going to do it if the vulture had not taken the wolf's part, and bid the poor innocent lamb be silent!--Ay, said I, no matter for your fleers, Mrs. Jewkes; though I can have neither justice nor mercy here, and cannot be heard in my defence, yet a time will come, may be, when I shall be heard, and when your own guilt will strike you dumb.--Ay! spirit, said she; and the vulture too! Must we both be dumb? Why that, lambkin, will be pretty!--Then, said the wicked one, you'll have all the talk to yourself!--Then how will the tongue of the pretty lambkin bleat out innocence, and virtue, and honesty, till the whole trial be at an end!--You're a wicked woman, that's certain, said I; and if you thought any thing of another world, could not talk thus. But no wonder!--It shews what hands I'm got into!--Ay, so it does, said she; but I beg you'll undress, and come to bed, or I believe your innocence won't keep you from still worse hands. I will come to bed, said I, if you will let me have the keys in my own hand; not else, if I can help it. Yes, said she, and then, hey for another contrivance, another escape!-- No, no, said I, all my contrivances are over, I'll assure you! Pray let me have the keys, and I will come to bed. She came to me, and took me in her huge arms, as if I was a feather: Said she, I do this to shew you what a poor resistance you can make against me, if I please to exert myself; and so, lambkin, don't say to your wolf, I won't come to bed!-- And set me down, and tapped me on the neck: Ah! said she, thou art a pretty creature, 'tis true; but so obstinate! so full of spirit! if thy strength was but answerable to that, thou would'st run away with us all, and this great house too on thy back!--But, undress, undress, I tell you.
Well, said I, I see my misfortunes make you very merry, and very witty too: but I will love you, if you will humour me with the keys of the chamber-doors.--Are you sure you will love me? said she: Now speak your conscience!--Why, said I, you must not put it so close; neither would you, if you thought you had not given reason to doubt it!--But I will love you as well as I can!--I would not tell a wilful lie: and if I did, you would not believe me, after your hard usage of me. Well, said she, that's all fair, I own!--But Nan, pray pull off my young lady's shoes and stockings.--No, pray don't, said I; I will come to bed presently, since I must.
And so I went to the closet, and scribbled a little about this idle chit- chat. And she being importunate, I was forced to go to bed; but with some of my clothes on, as the former night; and she let me hold the two keys; for there are two locks, there being a double door; and so I got a little sleep that night, having had none for two or three nights before.
I can't imagine what she means; but Nan offered to talk a little once or twice; and she snubbed her, and said, I charge you, wench, don't open your lips before me; and if you are asked any questions by Mrs. Pamela, don't answer her one word, while I am here!--But she is a lordly woman to the maid-servants; and that has always been her character: O how unlike good Mrs. Jervis in every thing.
A thought came into my head; I meant no harm; but it was a little bold. For, seeing my master dressing to go to church; and his chariot getting ready, I went to my closet, and I writ,
The prayers of this congregation are earnestly desired for a gentleman of great worth and honour, who labours under a temptation to exert his great power to ruin a poor, distressed, worthless maiden:
The prayers of this congregation are earnestly desired by a poor distressed creature, for the preservation of her virtue and innocence.
Mrs. Jewkes came up: Always writing! said she; and would see it: And strait, all that ever I could say, carried it down to my master.--He looked upon it, and said, Tell her, she shall soon see how her prayers are answered; she is very bold: but as she has rejected all my favours, her reckoning for all is not far off. I looked after him out of the window; and he was charmingly dressed: To be sure he is a handsome fine gentleman!--What pity his heart is not as good as his appearance! Why can't I hate him?--But don't be uneasy, if you should see this; for it is impossible I should love him; for his vices all ugly him over, as I may say.
My master sends word, that he shall not come home to dinner: I suppose he dines with this Sir Simon Darnford. I am much concerned for poor Mr. Williams. Mrs. Jewkes says, he is confined still, and takes on much. All his trouble is brought upon him for my sake: This grieves me much. My master, it seems, will have his money from him. This is very hard; for it is three fifty pounds, he gave him, as he thought, as a salary for three years that he has been with him: but there was no agreement between them; and he absolutely depended on my master's favour. To be sure, it was the more generous of him to run these risks for the sake of oppressed innocence: and I hope he will meet with his reward in due time. Alas for me! I dare not plead for him; that would raise my oppressor's jealousy more. And I have not interest to save myself!
Mrs. Jewkes has received a line from my master: I wonder what it is, for his chariot is come home without him. But she will tell me nothing; so it is in vain to ask her. I am so fearful of plots and tricks, I know not what to do!--Every thing I suspect; for, now my disgrace is avowed, what can I think!--To be sure, the worst will be attempted! I can only pour out my soul in prayer to God, for his blessed protection. But, if I must suffer, let me not be long a mournful survivor!--Only let me not shorten my own time sinfully!----
This woman left upon the table, in the chamber, this letter of my master's to her; and I bolted myself in, till I had transcribed it. You'll see how tremblingly, by the lines. I wish poor Mr. Williams's release at any rate; but this letter makes my heart ache. Yet I have another day's reprieve, thank God!
'I have been so pressed on Williams's affair, that I shall set out this afternoon, in Sir Simon's chariot, and with Parson Peters, who is his intercessor, for Stamford; and shall not be back till to-morrow evening, if then. As to your ward, I am thoroughly incensed against her: She has withstood her time; and now, would she sign and seal to my articles, it is too late. I shall discover something, perhaps, by him; and will, on my return, let her know, that all her ensnaring loveliness shall not save her from the fate that awaits her. But let her know nothing of this, lest it put her fruitful mind upon plots and artifices. Be sure trust her not without another with you at night, lest she venture the window in her foolish rashness: for I shall require her at your hands.
I had but just finished taking a copy of this, and laid the letter where I had it, and unbolted the door, when she came up in a great fright, for fear I should have seen it; but I being in my closet, and that lying as she left it, she did not mistrust. O, said she, I was afraid you had seen my master's letter here, which I carelessly left on the table. I wish, said I, I had known that. Why sure, said she, if you had, you would not have offered to read my letters! Indeed, said I, I should, at this time, if it had been in my way:--Do let me see it.--Well, said she, I wish poor Mr. Williams well off: I understand my master is gone to make up matters with him; which is very good. To be sure, added she, he is a very good gentleman, and very forgiving!--Why, said I, as if I had known nothing of the matter, how can he make up matters with him? Is not Mr. Williams at Stamford? Yes, said she, I believe so; but Parson Peters pleads for him, and he is gone with him to Stamford, and will not be back to-night: so we have nothing to do, but to eat our suppers betimes, and go to bed. Ay, that's pure, said I; and I shall have good rest this night, I hope. So, said she, you might every night, but for your own idle fears. You are afraid of your friends, when none are near you. Ay, that's true, said I; for I have not one near me.
So I have one more good honest night before me: What the next may be I know not, and so I'll try to take in a good deal of sleep, while I can be a little easy. Therefore, here I say, Good night, my dear parents; for I have no more to write about this night: and though his letter shocks me, yet I will be as brisk as I can, that she mayn't suspect I have seen it.
For the future, I will always mistrust most when appearances look fairest. O your poor daughter! what has she not suffered since what I wrote on Sunday night!--My worst trial, and my fearfullest danger! O how I shudder to write you an account of this wicked interval of time! For, my dear parents, will you not be too much frightened and affected with my distress, when I tell you, that his journey to Stamford was all abominable pretence! for he came home privately, and had well nigh effected all his vile purposes, and the ruin of your poor daughter! and that by such a plot as I was not in the least apprehensive of: And, oh! you'll hear what a vile and unwomanly part that wicked wretch, Mrs. Jewkes, acted in it!
I left off with letting you know how much I was pleased that I had one night's reprieve added to my honesty. But I had less occasion to rejoice than ever, as you will judge by what I have said already. Take, then, the dreadful story, as well as I can relate it. The maid Nan is a little apt to drink, if she can get at liquor; and Mrs. Jewkes happened, or designed, as is too probable, to leave a bottle of cherry-brandy in her way, and the wench drank some of it more than she should; and when she came in to lay the cloth, Mrs. Jewkes perceived it, and fell a rating at her most sadly; for she has too many faults of her own, to suffer any of the like sort in any body else, if she can help it; and she bid her get out of her sight, when we had supped, and go to bed, to sleep off her liquor, before we came to bed. And so the poor maid went muttering up stairs.
About two hours after, which was near eleven o'clock, Mrs. Jewkes and I went up to go to bed; I pleasing myself with what a charming night I should have. We locked both doors, and saw poor Nan, as I thought, (but, oh! 'twas my abominable master, as you shall hear by and by,) sitting fast asleep, in an elbow-chair, in a dark corner of the room, with her apron thrown over her head and neck. And Mrs. Jewkes said, There is that beast of a wench fast asleep, instead of being a-bed! I knew, said she, she had taken a fine dose. I'll wake her, said I. No, don't, said she; let her sleep on; we shall he better without her. Ay, said I, so we shall; but won't she get cold?
Said she, I hope you have no writing to-night. No, replied I, I will go to bed with you, Mrs. Jewkes. Said she, I wonder what you can find to write about so much! and am sure you have better conveniences of that kind, and more paper than I am aware of; and I had intended to rummage you, if my master had not come down; for I spied a broken tea-cup with ink, which gave me suspicion: but as he is come, let him look after you, if he will; and if you deceive him, it will be his own fault.
All this time we were undressing ourselves: And I fetched a deep sigh! What do you sigh for? said she. I am thinking, Mrs. Jewkes, answered I, what a sad life I live, and how hard is my lot. I am sure, the thief that has robbed is much better off than I, 'bating the guilt; and I should, I think, take it for a mercy, to be hanged out of the way, rather than live in these cruel apprehensions. So, being not sleepy, and in a prattling vein, I began to give a little history of myself, as I did, once before, to Mrs. Jervis; in this manner:
Here, said I, were my poor honest parents; they took care to instill good principles into my mind, till I was almost twelve years of age; and taught me to prefer goodness and poverty to the highest condition of life; and they confirmed their lessons by their own practice; for they were, of late years, remarkably poor, and always as remarkably honest, even to a proverb: for, As honest as goodman ANDREWS, was a byeword.
Well then, said I, comes my late dear good lady, and takes a fancy to me, and said, she would be the making of me, if I was a good girl; and she put me to sing, to dance, to play on the spinnet, in order to divert her melancholy hours; and also taught me all manner of fine needle-work; but still this was her lesson, My good Pamela, be virtuous, and keep the men at a distance. Well, so I was, I hope, and so I did; and yet, though I say it, they all loved me and respected me; and would do any thing for me, as if I was a gentlewoman.
But, then, what comes next?--Why, it pleased God to take my good lady: and then comes my master: And what says he?--Why, in effect, it is, Be not virtuous, Pamela. So here I have lived about sixteen years in virtue and reputation; and all at once, when I come to know what is good, and what is evil, I must renounce all the good, all the whole sixteen years' innocence, which, next to God's grace, I owed chiefly to my parents, and my lady's good lessons and examples, and choose the evil; and so, in a moment's time, become the vilest of creatures! And all this, for what, I pray? Why, truly, for a pair of diamond ear-rings, a necklace, and a diamond ring for my finger; which would not become me: For a few paltry fine clothes, which, when I wore them, would make but my former poverty more ridiculous to every body that saw me; especially when they knew the base terms I wore them upon. But, indeed, I was to have a great parcel of guineas beside; I forget how many; for, had there been ten times more, they would have been not so much to me, as the honest six guineas you tricked me out of, Mrs. Jewkes.
Well, forsooth! but then I was to have I know not how many pounds a year for my life; and my poor father (there was the jest of it!) was to be the manager for the abandoned prostitute his daughter: And then, (there was the jest again!) my kind, forgiving, virtuous master, would pardon me all my misdeeds!
Yes, thank him for nothing, truly. And what, pray, are all these violent misdeeds?-- Why, they are for daring to adhere to the good lessons that were taught me; and not learning a new one, that would have reversed all my former: For not being contented when I was run away with, in order to be ruined; but contriving, if my poor wits had been able, to get out of danger, and preserve myself honest.
Then was he once jealous of poor John, though he knew John was his own creature, and helped to deceive me.
Then was he outrageous against poor Parson Williams! and him has this good, merciful master, thrown into gaol; and for what? Why, truly, for that, being a divine, and a good man, he had the fear of God before his eyes, and was willing to forego all his expectations of interest, and assist an oppressed poor creature.
But, to be sure, I must be forward, bold, saucy, and what not! to dare to run away from certain ruin, and to strive to escape from an unjust confinement; and I must be married to the parson, nothing so sure!
He would have had but a poor catch of me, had I consented: But he, and you too, know I did not want to marry any body. I only wanted to go to my poor parents, and to have my own liberty, and not to be confined by such an unlawful restraint; and which would not have been inflicted upon me, but only that I am a poor, destitute, young body, and have no friend that is able to right me.
So, Mrs. Jewkes, said I, here is my history in brief. And I am a very unhappy young creature, to be sure!--And why am I so?--Why, because my master sees something in my person that takes his present fancy; and because I would not be undone.-- Why, therefore to choose, I must, and I shall be undone!--And this is all the reason that can be given!
She heard me run on all this time, while I was undressing, without any interruption; and I said, Well, I must go to the two closets, ever since an affair of the closet at the other house, though he is so far off. And I have a good mind to wake this poor maid. No, don't, said she, I charge you. I am very angry with her, and she'll get no harm there; and if she wakes, she may come to bed well enough, as long as there is a candle in the chimney.
So I looked into the closet, and kneeled down in my own, as I used to do, to say my prayers, and this with my underclothes in my hand, all undressed; and passed by the poor sleeping wench, as I thought, in my return. But, oh! little did I think it was my wicked, wicked master, in a gown and petticoat of hers, and her apron over his face and shoulders. What meanness will not Lucifer make his votaries stoop to, to gain their abominable ends!
Mrs. Jewkes, by this time, was got to bed, on the farther side, as she used to be; and, to make room for the maid, when she should awake, I got into bed, and lay close to her. And I said, Where are the keys? though, said I, I am not so much afraid to-night. Here, said the wicked woman, put your arm under mine, and you shall find them about my wrist, as they used to be. So I did, and the abominable designer held my hand with her right-hand, as my right-arm was under her left.
In less than a quarter of an hour, I said, There's poor Nan awake; I hear her stir. Let us go to sleep, said she, and not mind her: she'll come to bed, when she's quite awake. Poor soul! said I, I'll warrant she will have the head-ache finely to-morrow for this! Be silent, said she, and go to sleep; you keep me awake; and I never found you in so talkative a humour in my life. Don't chide me, said I; I will but say one thing more: Do you think Nan could hear me talk of my master's offers? No, no, said she; she was dead asleep. I'm glad of that, said I; because I would not expose my master to his common servants; and I knew you were no stranger to his fine articles. Said she, I think they were fine articles, and you were bewitched you did not close with them: But let us go to sleep. So I was silent; and the pretended Nan (O wicked, base, villanous designer! what a plot, what an unexpected plot was this!) seemed to be awaking; and Mrs. Jewkes, abhorrent creature! said, Come, Nan!--what, are you awake at last?--Pr'ythee come to bed; for Mrs. Pamela is in a talking fit, and won't go to sleep one while.
At that, the pretended she came to the bed side; and, sitting down in a chair, where the curtain hid her, began to undress. Said I, Poor Mrs. Anne, I warrant your head aches most sadly! How do you do?
Says he, One word with you, Pamela; one word hear me but; I must say one word to you, it is this: You see now you are in my power!--You cannot get from me, nor help yourself: Yet have I not offered any thing amiss to you. But if you resolve not to comply with my proposals, I will not lose this opportunity: If you do, I will yet leave you.
O sir, said I, leave me, leave me but, and I will do any thing I ought to do.--Swear then to me, said he, that you will accept my proposals! With struggling, fright, terror, I fainted away quite, and did not come to myself soon, so that they both, from the cold sweats that I was in, thought me dying.--And I remember no more, than that, when with great difficulty they brought me to myself, she was sitting on one side of the bed, with her clothes on; and he on the other with his, and in his gown and slippers. Your poor Pamela cannot answer for the liberties taken with her in her deplorable state of death. And when I saw them there, I sat up in my bed, without any regard to what appearance I made, and nothing about my neck; and he soothing me, with an aspect of pity and concern, I put my hand to his mouth, and said, O tell me, yet tell me not, what have I suffered in this distress? And I talked quite wild, and knew not what: for, to be sure, I was on the point of distraction.
He most solemnly, and with a bitter imprecation, vowed, that he had not offered the least indecency; that he was frightened at the terrible manner I was taken with the fit: that he should desist from his attempt; and begged but to see me easy and quiet, and he would leave me directly, and go to his own bed. O then, said I, take with you this most wicked woman, this vile Mrs. Jewkes, as an earnest, that I may believe you!
And will you, sir, said the wicked wretch, for a fit or two, give up such an opportunity as this?--I thought you had known the sex better. She is now, you see, quite well again!
This I heard; more she might say; but I fainted away once more, at these words, and at his clasping his arms about me again. And, when I came a little to myself, I saw him sit there, and the maid Nan, holding a smelling-bottle to my nose, and no Mrs. Jewkes.
He said, taking my hand, Now will I vow to you, my dear Pamela, that I will leave you the moment I see you better, and pacified. Here's Nan knows, and will tell you, my concern for you. I vow to God, I have not offered any indecency to you: and, since I found Mrs. Jewkes so offensive to you, I have sent her to the maid's bed, and the maid shall be with you to-night. And but promise me, that you will compose yourself, and I will leave you. But, said I, will not Nan also hold my hand? And will not she let you come in again to me?--He said, By heaven! I will not come in again to-night. Nan, undress yourself, go to bed, and do all you can to comfort the dear creature: And now, Pamela, said he, give me but your hand, and say you forgive me, and I will leave you to your repose. I held out my trembling hand, which he vouchsafed to kiss; and I said, God forgive you, sir, as you have been just in my distress; and as you will be just to what you promise! And he withdrew, with a countenance of remorse, as I hoped; and she shut the doors, and, at my request, brought the keys to bed.
This, O my dear parents! was a most dreadful trial. I tremble still to think of it; and dare not recall all the horrid circumstances of it. I hope, as he assures me, he was not guilty of indecency; but have reason to bless God, who, by disabling me in my faculties, empowered me to preserve my innocence; and, when all my strength would have signified nothing, magnified himself in my weakness.
I was so weak all day on Monday, that I could not get out of my bed. My master shewed great tenderness for me; and I hope he is really sorry, and that this will be his last attempt; but he does not say so neither.
He came in the morning, as soon as he heard the door open and I began to be fearful. He stopped short of the bed, and said, Rather than give you apprehensions, I will come no farther. I said, Your honour, sir, and your mercy, is all I have to beg. He sat himself on the side of the bed, and asked kindly, how I did?--begged me to be composed; said, I still looked a little wildly. And I said, Pray, good sir, let me not see this infamous Mrs. Jewkes; I doubt I cannot bear her sight. She shan't come near you all this day, if you'll promise to compose yourself. Then, sir, I will try. He pressed my hand very tenderly, and went out. What a change does this shew!--O may it be lasting!--But, alas! he seems only to have altered his method of proceeding; and retains, I doubt, his wicked purpose.
On Tuesday, about ten o'clock, when my master heard I was up, he sent for me down into the parlour. As soon as he saw me, he said, Come nearer to me, Pamela. I did so, and he took my hand, and said, You begin to look well again: I am glad of it. You little slut, how did you frighten me on Sunday night.
Sir, said I, pray name not that night; and my eyes overflowed at the remembrance, and I turned my head aside.
Said he, Place some little confidence in me: I know what those charming eyes mean, and you shall not need to explain yourself: for I do assure you, that as soon as I saw you change, and a cold sweat bedew your pretty face, and you fainted away, I quitted the bed, and Mrs. Jewkes did so too. And I put on my gown, and she fetched her smelling-bottle, and we both did all we could to restore you; and my passion for you was all swallowed up in the concern I had for your recovery; for I thought I never saw a fit so strong and violent in my life: and feared we should not bring you to life again; for what I saw you in once before was nothing to it. This, said he, might be my folly, and my unacquaintedness with what passion your sex can shew when they are in earnest. But this I repeat to you, that your mind may be entirely comforted-- Whatever I offered to you, was before you fainted away, and that, I am sure, was innocent.
Sir, said I, that was very bad: and it was too plain you had the worst designs. When, said he, I tell you the truth in one instance, you may believe me in the other. I know not, I declare, beyond this lovely bosom, your sex: but that I did intend what you call the worst is most certain: and though I would not too much alarm you now, I could curse my weakness, and my folly, which makes me own, that I love you beyond all your sex, and cannot live without you. But if I am master of myself, and my own resolution, I will not attempt to force you to any thing again.
Sir, said I, you may easily keep your resolution, if you'll send me out of your way, to my poor parents; that is all I beg.
'Tis a folly to talk of it, said he. You must not, shall not go! And if I could be assured you would not attempt it, you should have better usage, and your confinement should be made easier to you.
But to what end, sir, am I to stay? said I: You yourself seem not sure you can keep your own present good resolutions; and do you think, if I was to stay, when I could get away, and be safe, it would not look, as if either I confided too much in my own strength, or would tempt my ruin? And as if I was not in earnest to wish myself safe, and out of danger?-- And then, how long am I to stay? And to what purpose? And in what light must I appear to the world? Would not that censure me, although I might be innocent? And you will allow, sir, that, if there be any thing valuable or exemplary in a good name, or fair reputation, one must not despise the world's censure, if one can avoid it.
Well, said he, I sent not for you on this account, just now; but for two reasons. The first is, That you promise me, that for a fortnight to come you will not offer to go away without my express consent; and this I expect for your own sake, that I may give you a little more liberty. And the second is, That you will see and forgive Mrs. Jewkes: she takes on much, and thinks that, as all her fault was her obedience to me, it would be very hard to sacrifice her, as she calls it, to your resentment.
As to the first, sir, said I, it is a hard injunction, for the reasons I have mentioned. And as to the second, considering her vile, unwomanly wickedness, and her endeavours to instigate you more to ruin me, when your returning goodness seemed to have some compassion upon me, it is still harder. But, to shew my obedience to your commands, (for you know, my dear parents, I might as well make a merit of my compliance, when my refusal would stand me in no stead,) I will consent to both; and to every thing else, that you shall be pleased to enjoin, which I can do, with innocence.
That's my good girl! said he, and kissed me: This is quite prudent, and shews me, that you don't take insolent advantage of my favour for you; and will, perhaps, stand you in more stead than you are aware of.
So he rung the bell, and said, Call down Mrs. Jewkes. She came down, and he took my hand, and put it into hers; and said, Mrs. Jewkes, I am obliged to you for all your diligence and fidelity to me; but Pamela, I must own, is not; because the service I employed you in was not so very obliging to her, as I could have wished she would have thought it: and you were not to favour her, but obey me. But yet I'll assure you, at the very first word, she has once obliged me, by consenting to be friends with you; and if she gives me no great cause, I shall not, perhaps, put you on such disagreeable service again.--Now, therefore, be you once more bed-fellows and board-fellows, as I may say, for some days longer; and see that Pamela sends no letters nor messages out of the house, nor keeps a correspondence unknown to me, especially with that Williams; and, as for the rest, shew the dear girl all the respect that is due to one I must love, if she will deserve it, as I hope she will yet; and let her be under no unnecessary or harsh restraints. But your watchful care is not, however, to cease: and remember that you are not to disoblige me, to oblige her; and that I will not, cannot, yet part with her.
Mrs. Jewkes looked very sullen, and as if she would be glad still to do me a good turn, if it lay in her power.
I took courage then to drop a word or two for poor Mr. Williams; but he was angry with me for it, and said he could not endure to hear his name in my mouth; so I was forced to have done for that time.
All this time, my papers, that I buried under the rose-bush, lay there still; and I begged for leave to send a letter to you. So I should, he said, if he might read it first. But this did not answer my design; and yet I would have sent you such a letter as he might see, if I had been sure my danger was over. But that I cannot; for he now seems to take another method, and what I am more afraid of, because, may be, he may watch an opportunity, and join force with it, on occasion, when I am least prepared: for now he seems to abound with kindness, and talks of love without reserve, and makes nothing of allowing himself in the liberty of kissing me, which he calls innocent; but which I do not like, and especially in the manner he does it: but for a master to do it at all to a servant, has meaning too much in it, not to alarm an honest body.
I find I am watched and suspected still very close; and I wish I was with you; but that must not be, it seems, this fortnight. I don't like this fortnight; and it will be a tedious and a dangerous one to me, I doubt.
My master just now sent for me down to take a walk with him in the garden: but I like him not at all, nor his ways; for he would have, all the way, his arm about my waist, and said abundance of fond things to me, enough to make me proud, if his design had not been apparent. After walking about, he led me into a little alcove, on the farther part of the garden; and really made me afraid of myself, for he began to be very teasing, and made me sit on his knee; and was so often kissing me, that I said, Sir, I don't like to be here at all, I assure you. Indeed you make me afraid!--And what made me the more so, was what he once said to Mrs. Jewkes, and did not think I heard him, and which, though always uppermost with me, I did not mention before, because I did not know how to bring it in, in my writing.
She, I suppose, had been encouraging him in his wickedness; for it was before the last dreadful trial: and I only heard what he answered.
Said he, I will try once more; but I have begun wrong for I see terror does but add to her frost; but she is a charming girl, and may be thawed by kindness; and I should have melted her by love, instead of freezing her by fear.
Is he not a wicked, sad man for this?--To be sure, I blush while I write it. But I trust, that that God, who has delivered me from the paw of the lion and the bear; that is, his and Mrs. Jewkes's violences, will soon deliver me from this Philistine, that I may not defy the commands of the living God!
But, as I was saying, this expression coming into my thoughts, I was of opinion, I could not be too much on my guard, at all times: more especially when he took such liberties: for he professed honour all the time with his mouth, while his actions did not correspond. I begged and prayed he would let me go: and had I not appeared quite regardless of all he said, and resolved not to stay, if I could help it, I know not how far he would have proceeded; for I was forced to fall down upon my knees.
At last he walked out with me, still bragging of his honour and his love. Yes, yes, sir, said I, your honour is to destroy mine: and your love is to ruin me; I see it too plainly. But, indeed, I will not talk with you, sir, said I, any more. Do you know, said he, whom you talk to, and where you are?
You may believe I had reason to think him not so decent as he should be; for I said, As to where I am, sir, I know it too well; and that I have no creature to befriend me: and, as to whom I talk to, sir, let me ask you, What you would have me answer?
Why, tell me, said he, what answer you would make? It will only make you angry, said I; and so I shall fare worse, if possible. I won't be angry, said he. Why, then, sir, said I, you cannot be my late good lady's son; for she loved me, and taught me virtue. You cannot then be my master; for no master demeans himself so to his poor servant.
He put his arm round me, and his other hand on my neck, which made me more angry and bold: and he said, What then am I? Why, said I, (struggling from him, and in a great passion,) to be sure you are Lucifer himself, in the shape of my master, or you could not use me thus. These are too great liberties, said he, in anger; and I desire that you will not repeat them, for your own sake: For if you have no decency towards me, I'll have none towards you.
I was running from him, and he said, Come back, when I bid you.--So, knowing every place was alike dangerous to me, and I had nobody to run to, I came back, at his call; and seeing him look displeased, I held my hands together, and wept, and said, Pray, sir, forgive me. No, said he, rather say, Pray, Lucifer, forgive me! And, now, since you take me for the devil, how can you expect any good from me?--How, rather, can you expect any thing but the worst treatment from me?--You have given me a character, Pamela; and blame me not that I act up to it. Sir, said I, let me beg you to forgive me: I am really sorry for my boldness; but indeed you don't use me like a gentleman: and how can I express my resentment, if I mince the matter, while you are so indecent? Precise fool! said he, what indecencies have I offered you?--I was bewitched I had not gone through my purpose last Sunday night; and then your licentious tongue had not given the worst name to little puny freedoms, that shew my love and my folly at the same time. But, begone! said he, taking my hand, and tossing it from him, and learn another conduct and more wit; and I will lay aside my foolish regard for you, and assert myself. Begone! said he, again, with a haughty air. Indeed, sir, said I, I cannot go, till you pardon me, which I beg on my bended knees. I am truly sorry for my boldness.--But I see how you go on: you creep by little and little upon me; and now soothe me, and now threaten me; and if I should forbear to shew my resentment, when you offer incivilities to me, would not that be to be lost by degrees? Would it not shew, that I could bear any thing from you, if I did not express all the indignation I could express, at the first approaches you make to what I dread? And have you not as good as avowed my ruin?--And have you once made me hope you will quit your purposes against me? How then, sir, can I act, but by shewing my abhorrence of every step that makes towards my undoing? And what is left me but words?--And can these words be other than such strong ones, as shall shew the detestation which, from the bottom of my heart, I have for every attempt upon my virtue? Judge for me, sir, and pardon me.
Pardon you! said he, What! when you don't repent?--When you have the boldness to justify yourself in your fault? Why don't you say, you never will again offend me? I will endeavour, sir, said I, always to preserve that decency towards you which becomes me. But really, sir, I must beg your excuse for saying, That when you forget what belongs to decency in your actions, and when words are all that are left me, to shew my resentment of such actions, I will not promise to forbear the strongest expressions that my distressed mind shall suggest to me: nor shall your angriest frowns deter me, when my honesty is in question.
What, then, said he, do you beg pardon for? Where is the promise of amendment, for which I should forgive you? Indeed, sir, said I, I own that must absolutely depend on your usage of me: for I will bear any thing you can inflict upon me with patience, even to the laying down of my life, to shew my obedience to you in other cases; but I cannot be patient, I cannot be passive, when my virtue is at stake! It would be criminal in me, if I was.
He said, he never saw such a fool in his life. And he walked by the side of me some yards, without saying a word, and seemed vexed; and at last walked in, bidding me attend him in the garden, after dinner. So having a little time, I went up, and wrote thus far.
If, my dear parents, I am not destined more surely than ever for ruin, I have now more comfort before me than ever I yet knew: and am either nearer my happiness, or my misery, than ever I was. God protect me from the latter, if it be his blessed will! I have now such a scene to open to you, that, I know, will alarm both your hopes and your fears, as it does mine. And this it is:
After my master had dined, he took a turn into the stables, to look at his stud of horses; and, when he came in, he opened the parlour-door, where Mrs. Jewkes and I sat at dinner; and, at his entrance, we both rose up; but he said, Sit still, sit still, and let me see how you eat your victuals, Pamela. O, said Mrs. Jewkes, very poorly, indeed, sir! No, said I, pretty well, sir, considering. None of your considerings, said he, pretty face; and tapped me on the cheek. I blushed, but was glad he was so good-humoured; but I could not tell how to sit before him, nor to behave myself. So he said, I know, Pamela, you are a nice carver: my mother used to say so. My lady, sir, said I, was very good to me in every thing, and would always make me do the honours of her table for her, when she was with her few select friends that she loved. Cut up, said he, that chicken. I did so. Now, said he, and took a knife and fork, and put a wing upon my plate, let me see you eat that. O sir, said I, I have eaten a whole breast of a chicken already, and cannot eat so much. But he said, I must eat it for his sake, and he would teach me to eat heartily: So I did eat it; but was much confused at his so kind and unusual freedom and condescension. And, good lack! you can't imagine how Mrs. Jewkes looked and stared, and how respectful she seemed to me, and called me good madam, I'll assure you, urging me to take a little bit of tart.
My master took two or three turns about the room, musing and thoughtful, as I had never before seen him; and at last he went out, saying, I am going into the garden: You know, Pamela, what I said to you before dinner. I rose, and courtesied, saying, I would attend his honour; and he said, Do, good girl!
Well, said Mrs. Jewkes, I see how things will go. O, madam, as she called me again, I am sure you are to be our mistress! And then I know what will become of me. Ah Mrs. Jewkes, said I, if I can but keep myself virtuous, 'tis the most of my ambition; and I hope, no temptation shall make me otherwise.
Notwithstanding I had no reason to be pleased with his treatment of me before dinner, yet I made haste to attend him; and I found him walking by the side of that pond, which, for want of grace, and through a sinful despondence, had like to have been so fatal to me, and the sight of which, ever since, has been a trouble and reproach to me. And it was by the side of this pond, and not far from the place where I had that dreaded conflict, that my present hopes, if I am not to be deceived again, began to dawn: which I presume to flatter myself with being a happy omen for me, as if God Almighty would shew your poor sinful daughter, how well I did to put my affiance in his goodness, and not to throw away myself, because my ruin seemed inevitable, to my short-sighted apprehension.
So he was pleased to say, Well, Pamela, I am glad you are come of your own accord, as I may say: give me your hand. I did so; and he looked at me very steadily, and pressing my hand all the time, at last said, I will now talk to you in a serious manner.
You have a good deal of wit, a great deal of penetration, much beyond your years, and, as I thought, your opportunities. You are possessed of an open, frank, and generous mind; and a person so lovely, that you excel all your sex, in my eyes. All these accomplishments have engaged my affection so deeply, that, as I have often said, I cannot live without you; and I would divide, with all my soul, my estate with you, to make you mine upon my own terms. These you have absolutely rejected; and that, though in saucy terms enough, yet in such a manner as makes me admire you the more. Your pretty chit-chat to Mrs. Jewkes, the last Sunday night, so innocent, and so full of beautiful simplicity, half disarmed my resolution before I approached your bed: And I see you so watchful over your virtue, that though I hoped to find it otherwise, I cannot but confess my passion for you is increased by it. But now, what shall I say farther, Pamela?--I will make you, though a party, my adviser in this matter, though not, perhaps, my definitive judge.
You know I am not a very abandoned profligate; I have hitherto been guilty of no very enormous or vile actions. This of seizing you, and confining you thus, may perhaps be one of the worst, at least to persons of real innocence. Had I been utterly given up to my passions, I should before now have gratified them, and not have shewn that remorse and compassion for you, which have reprieved you, more than once, when absolutely in my power; and you are as inviolate a virgin as you were when you came into my house.
But what can I do? Consider the pride of my condition. I cannot endure the thought of marriage, even with a person of equal or superior degree to myself; and have declined several proposals of that kind: How then, with the distance between us in the world's judgment, can I think of making you my wife?--Yet I must have you; I cannot bear the thoughts of any other man supplanting me in your affections: and the very apprehension of that has made me hate the name of Williams, and use him in a manner unworthy of my temper.
Now, Pamela, judge for me; and, since I have told you, thus candidly, my mind, and I see yours is big with some important meaning, by your eyes, your blushes, and that sweet confusion which I behold struggling in your bosom, tell me, with like openness and candour, what you think I ought to do, and what you would have me do.
It is impossible for me to express the agitations of my mind, on this unexpected declaration, so contrary to his former behaviour. His manner too had something so noble, and so sincere, as I thought, that, alas for me! I found I had need of all my poor discretion, to ward off the blow which this treatment gave to my most guarded thoughts. I threw myself at his feet; for I trembled, and could hardly stand: O sir, said I, spare your poor servant's confusion! O spare the poor Pamela!--Speak out, said he, and tell me, when I bid you, What you think I ought to do? I cannot say what you ought to do, answered I: but I only beg you will not ruin me; and, if you think me virtuous, if you think me sincerely honest, let me go to my poor parents. I will vow to you, that I will never suffer myself to be engaged without your approbation.
Still he insisted upon a more explicit answer to his question, of what I thought he ought to do. And I did, As to my poor thoughts of what you ought to do, I must needs say, that indeed I think you ought to regard the world's opinion, and avoid doing any thing disgraceful to your birth and fortune; and, therefore, if you really honour the poor Pamela with your respect, a little time, absence, and the conversation of worthier persons of my sex, will effectually enable you to overcome a regard so unworthy your condition: And this, good sir, is the best advice I can offer.
Charming creature! lovely Pamela! said he, (with an ardour that was never before so agreeable to me,) this generous manner is of a piece with all the rest of your conduct. But tell me, still more explicitly, what you would advise me to, in the case.
O, sir! said I, take not advantage of my credulity, and these my weak moments: but were I the first lady in the land, instead of the poor abject Pamela, I would, I could tell you. But I can say no more--
O my dear father and mother! now I know you will indeed be concerned for me;--for now I am for myself.--And now I begin to be afraid I know too well the reason why all his hard trials of me, and my black apprehensions, would not let me hate him.
But be assured still, by God's grace, that I shall do nothing unworthy of your Pamela; and if I find that he is still capable of deceiving me, and that this conduct is only put on to delude me more, I shall think nothing in this world so vile, and so odious; and nothing, if he be not the worst of his kind, (as he says, and, I hope, he is not,) so desperately guileful, as the heart of man.
He generously said, I will spare your confusion, Pamela. But I hope I may promise myself, that you can love me preferably to any other man; and that no one in the world has had any share in your affections; for I am very jealous of what I love; and if I thought you had a secret whispering in your soul, that had not yet come up to a wish, for any other man breathing, I should not forgive myself to persist in my affection for you; nor you, if you did not frankly acquaint me with it.
As I still continued on my knees, on the grass border by the pond-side, he sat himself down on the grass by me, and took me in his arms: Why hesitates my Pamela? said he.--Can you not answer me with truth, as I wish? If you cannot, speak, and I will forgive you.
O good sir, said I, it is not that; indeed it is not: but a frightful word or two that you said to Mrs. Jewkes, when you thought I was not in hearing, comes cross my mind; and makes me dread that I am in more danger than ever I was in my life.
You have never found me a common liar, said he, (too fearful and foolish Pamela!) nor will I answer how long I may hold in my present mind; for my pride struggles hard within me, I'll assure you; and if you doubt me, I have no obligation to your confidence or opinion. But, at present, I am really sincere in what I say: And I expect you will be so too; and answer directly my question.
I find, sir, said I, I know not myself; and your question is of such a nature, that I only want to tell you what I heard, and to have your kind answer to it; or else, what I have to say to your question, may pave the way to my ruin, and shew a weakness that I did not believe was in me.
Well, said he, you may say what you have overheard; for, in not answering me directly, you put my soul upon the rack; and half the trouble I have had with you would have brought to my arms one of the finest ladies in England.
O sir, said I, my virtue is as dear to me, as if I was of the highest quality; and my doubts (for which you know I have had too much reason) have made me troublesome. But now, sir, I will tell you what I heard, which has given me great uneasiness.
You talked to Mrs. Jewkes of having begun wrong with me, in trying to subdue me with terror, and of frost, and such like--You remember it well:--And that you would, for the future, change your conduct, and try to melt me, that was your word, by kindness.