Pamela or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson - HTML preview
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TO MRS. ANDREWS
Monday night. 'MY DEAREST PAMELA,
'I hope my not coming home this night will not frighten you. You may believe I can't help it. My poor friend is so very ill, that I doubt he can't recover. His desires to have me stay with him are so strong, that I shall sit up all night with him, as it is now near one o'clock in the morning; for he can't bear me out of his sight: And I have made him and his distressed wife and children so easy, in the kindest assurances I could give him of my consideration for him and them, that I am looked upon (as the poor disconsolate widow, as she, I doubt, will soon be, tells me,) as their good angel. I could have wished we had not engaged to the good neighbourhood at Sir Simon's for to-morrow night; but I am so desirous to set out on Wednesday for the other house, that, as well as in return for the civilities of so many good friends, who will be there on purpose, I would not put it off. What I beg of you, therefore, my dear, is, that you would go in the chariot to Sir Simon's, the sooner in the day the better, because you will be diverted with the company, who all so much admire you; and I hope to join you there by your tea-time in the afternoon, which will be better than going home, and returning with you, as it will be six miles difference to me; and I know the good company will excuse my dress, on the occasion. I count every hour of this little absence for a day: for I am, with the utmost sincerity,
'My dearest love, for ever yours, etc.'
'If you could go to dine with them, it will be a freedom that would be very pleasing to them; and the more, as they don't expect it.'
I begin to have a little concern, lest his fatigue should be too great, and for the poor sick gentleman and family; but told Mrs. Jewkes, that the least intimation of his choice should be a command to me, and so I would go to dinner there; and ordered the chariot to be got ready to carry me: when a messenger came up, just as I was dressed, to tell her she must come down immediately. I see at the window, that visitors are come; for there is a chariot and six horses, the company gone out of it, and three footmen on horseback; and I think the chariot has coronets. Who can it be, I wonder?--But here I will stop, for I suppose I shall soon know.
Good sirs! how unlucky this is! What shall I do!--Here is Lady Davers come, her own self! and my kind protector a great, great many miles off! --Mrs. Jewkes, out of breath, comes and tells me this, and says, she is inquiring for my master and me. She asked her, it seemed, naughty lady as she is, if I was whored yet! There's a word for a lady's mouth! Mrs. Jewkes says, she knew not what to answer. And my lady said, She is not married, I hope? And said she, I said, No: because you have not owned it yet publicly. My lady said, That was well enough. Said I, I will run away, Mrs. Jewkes; and let the chariot go to the bottom of the elm-walk, and I will steal out of the door unperceived: But she is inquiring for you, madam, replied she, and I said you was within, but going out; and she said, she would see you presently, as soon as she could have patience. What did she call me? said I. The creature, madam; I will see the creature, said she, as soon as I can have patience. Ay, but, said I, the creature won't let her, if she can help it.
Pray, Mrs. Jewkes, favour my escape, for this once; for I am sadly frighted.--Said she, I'll bid the chariot go down, as you order, and wait till you come; and I'll step down and shut the hall door, that you may pass unobserved; for she sits cooling herself in the parlour, over against the staircase. That's a good Mrs. Jewkes! said I: But who has she with her? Her woman, answered she, and her nephew; but he came on horseback, and is going into the stables; and they have three footmen.-- And I wish, said I, they were all three hundred miles off!--What shall I do?--So I wrote thus far, and wait impatiently to hear the coast is clear.
Mrs. Jewkes tells me I must come down, or she will come up. What does she call me now? said I. Wench, madam, Bid the wench come down to me. And her nephew and her woman are with her.
Said I, I can't go, and that's enough!--You might contrive it that I might get out, if you would.--Indeed, madam, said she, I cannot; for I went to shut the door, and she bid me let it stand open; and there she sits over against the staircase. Then, said I, I'll get out of the window, I think!--(And fanned myself;) for I am sadly frightened. Laud, madam, said she, I wonder you so much disturb yourself!--You're on the right side the hedge, I'm sure; and I would not be so discomposed for any body. Ay, said I, but who can help constitution? I dare say you would no more be so discomposed, that I can help it.--Said she, Indeed, madam, if it was to me, I would put on an air as mistress of the house, as you are, and go and salute her ladyship, and bid her welcome. Ay, ay, replied I, fine talking!--But how unlucky this is, your good master is not at home!
What answer shall I give her, said she, to her desiring to see you?--Tell her, said I, I am sick a-bed; I'm dying, and must not be disturbed; I'm gone out--or any thing.
But her woman came up to me just as I had uttered this, and said, How do you do, Mrs. Pamela? My lady desires to speak to you. So I must go.-- Sure she won't beat me!--Oh that my dear protector was at home!
Well, now I will tell you all that happened in this frightful interview. --And very bad it was.
I went down, dressed as I was, and my gloves on, and my fan in my hand, to be just ready to step into the chariot, when I could get away; and I thought all my trembling fits had been over now; but I was mistaken; for I trembled sadly. Yet resolved to put on as good an air as I could.
So I went to the parlour, and said, making a very low courtesy, Your servant, my good lady! And your servant again, said she, my lady, for I think you are dressed out like one.
A charming girl, though! said her rakish nephew, and swore a great oath: Dear aunt, forgive me, but I must kiss her; and was coming to me. And I said, Forbear, uncivil gentleman! I won't be used freely. Jackey, said my lady, sit down, and don't touch the creature--She's proud enough already. There's a great difference in her air, I'll assure you, since I saw her last.
Well, child, said she, sneeringly, how dost find thyself? Thou'rt mightily come on, of late!--I hear strange reports about thee!--Thou'rt almost got into fool's paradise, I doubt!--And wilt find thyself terribly mistaken in a little while, if thou thinkest my brother will disgrace his family, to humour thy baby-face!
I see, said I, sadly vexed, (her woman and nephew smiling by,) your ladyship has no very important commands for me; and I beg leave to withdraw. Beck, said she to her woman, shut the door, my young lady and I must not have done so soon.
Where's your well-mannered deceiver gone, child?--says she.--Said I, When your ladyship is pleased to speak intelligibly, I shall know how to answer.
Well, but my dear child, said she, in drollery, don't be too pert neither, I beseech thee. Thou wilt not find thy master's sister half so ready to take thy freedoms, as thy mannerly master is!--So, a little of that modesty and humility that my mother's waiting-maid used to shew, will become thee better than the airs thou givest thyself, since my mother's son has taught thee to forget thyself.
I would beg, said I, one favour of your ladyship, That if you would have me keep my distance, you will not forget your own degree.--Why, suppose, Miss Pert, I should forget my degree, wouldst thou not keep thy distance then?
If you, madam, said I, lessen the distance yourself, you will descend to my level, and make an equality, which I don't presume to think of; for I can't descend lower than I am--at least in your ladyship's esteem!
Did I not tell you, Jackey, said she, that I should have a wit to talk to?--He, who swears like a fine gentleman at every word, rapped out an oath, and said, drolling, I think, Mrs. Pamela, if I may be so bold as to say so, you should know you are speaking to Lady Davers!--Sir, said I, I hope there was no need of your information, and so I can't thank you for it; and am sorry you seem to think it wants an oath to convince me of the truth of it.
He looked more foolish than I, at this, if possible, not expecting such a reprimand.-- And said, at last, Why, Mrs. Pamela, you put me half out of countenance with your witty reproof!--Sir, said I, you seem quite a fine gentleman; and it will not be easily done, I dare say.
How now, pert one, said my lady, do you know whom you talk to?--I think I do not, madam, replied I: and for fear I should forget myself more, I'll withdraw. Your ladyship's servant, said I; and was going: but she rose, and gave me a push, and pulled a chair, and, setting the back against the door, sat down in it.
Well, said I, I can bear anything at your ladyship's hands; but I was ready to cry though. And I went, and sat down, and fanned myself, at the other end of the room. Her woman, who stood all the time, said softly, Mrs. Pamela, you should not sit in my lady's presence. And my lady, though she did not hear her, said, You shall sit down, child, in the room where I am, when I give you leave.
So I stood up, and said, When your ladyship will hardly permit me to stand, one might be indulged to sit down. But I ask you, said she, Whither your master is gone? To one Mr. Carlton, madam, about eighteen miles off, who is very sick. And when does he come home?--This evening, madam. And where are you going? To a gentleman's house in the town, madam.--And how was you to go? In the chariot, madam.--Why, you must be a lady in time, to be sure!--I believe you'd become a chariot mighty well, child!--Was you ever out in it with your master?
Pray, your ladyship, said I, a little too pertly, perhaps, be pleased to ask half a dozen such questions together; because one answer may do for all!--Why, bold-face, said she, you'll forget your distance, and bring me to your level before my time.
I could no longer refrain tears, but said, Pray your ladyship, let me ask what I have done, to be thus severely treated? I never did your ladyship any harm. And if you think I am deceived, as you was pleased to hint, I should be more entitled to your pity, than your anger.
She rose, and took me by the hand, and led me to her chair; and then sat down; and still holding my hand, said, Why Pamela, I did indeed pity you while I thought you innocent; and when my brother seized you, and brought you down hither, without your consent, I was concerned for you; and I was still more concerned for you, and loved you, when I heard of your virtue and resistance, and your laudable efforts to get away from him. But when, as I fear, you have suffered yourself to be prevailed upon, and have lost your innocence, and added another to the number of the fools he has ruined, (This shocked me a little,) I cannot help shewing my displeasure to you.
Madam, replied I, I must beg no hasty judgment; I have not lost my innocence.-- Take care, take care, Pamela! said she: don't lose your veracity, as well as your honour!--Why are you here, when you are at full liberty to go whither you please?--I will make one proposal to you, and if you are innocent, I am sure you'll accept it. Will you go and live with me?--I will instantly set out with you in my chariot, and not stay half an hour longer in this house, if you'll go with me.--Now, if you are innocent, and willing to keep so, deny me, if you can.
I am innocent, madam, replied I, and willing to keep so; and yet I cannot consent to this. Then, said she, very mannerly, Thou liest, child, that's all: and I give thee up! And so she arose, and walked about the room in great wrath. Her nephew and her woman said, Your ladyship's very good; 'tis a plain case; a very plain case!
I would have removed the chair, to have gone out; but her nephew came and sat in it. This provoked me; for I thought I should be unworthy of the honour I was raised to, though I was afraid to own it, if I did not shew some spirit; and I said, What, sir, is your pretence in this house, to keep me a prisoner here? Because, said he--I like it.-- Do you so, sir? replied I: if that is the answer of a gentleman to such an one as I, it would not, I dare say, be the answer of a gentleman to a gentleman.--My lady! my lady! said he, a challenge, a challenge, by gad! No, sir, said I, I am of a sex that gives no challenges; and you think so too, or you would not give this occasion for the word.
Said my lady, Don't be surprised, nephew; the wench could not talk thus, if she had not been her master's bed-fellow.--Pamela, Pamela, said she, and tapped me upon the shoulder two or three times, in anger, thou hast lost thy innocence, girl; and thou hast got some of thy bold master's assurance, and art fit to go any where.--Then, and please your ladyship, said I, I am unworthy of your presence, and desire I may quit it.
No, replied she, I will know first what reason you can give for not accepting my proposal, if you are innocent? I can give, said I, a very good one: but I beg to be excused. I will hear it, said she. Why, then, answered I, I should perhaps have less reason to like this gentleman, than where I am.
Well then, said she, I'll put you to another trial. I'll set out this moment with you to your father and mother, and give you up safe to them. What do you say to that?--Ay, Mrs. Pamela, said her nephew, now what does your innocence say to that?--'Fore gad, madam, you have puzzled her now.
Be pleased, madam, said I, to call off this fine gentleman. Your kindness in these proposals makes me think you would not have me baited. I'll be d----d, said he, if she does not make me a bull-dog! Why she'll toss us all by and by! Sir, said I, you indeed behave as if you were in a bear-garden.
Jackey, be quiet, said my lady. You only give her a pretence to evade my questions. Come, answer me, Pamela. I will, madam, said I, and it is thus: I have no occasion to be beholden to your ladyship for this honour; for I am to set out to-morrow morning on the way to my parents.--Now again thou liest, wench!--I am not of quality, said I, to answer such language.--Once again, said she, provoke me not, by these reflections, and this pertness; if thou dost, I shall do something by thee unworthy of myself. That, thought I, you have done already; but I ventured not to say so. But who is to carry you, said she, to your father and mother? Who my master pleases, madam, said I. Ay, said she, I doubt not thou wilt do every thing he pleases, if thou hast not already. Why now tell me, Pamela, from thy heart, hast thou not been in bed with thy master? Ha, wench!--I was quite shocked at this, and said, I wonder how your ladyship can use me thus!--I am sure you can expect no answer; and my sex, and my tender years, might exempt me from such treatment, from a person of your ladyship's birth and quality, and who, be the distance ever so great, is of the same sex with me.
Thou art a confident wench, said she, I see!--Pray, madam, said I, let me beg you to permit me to go. I am waited for in the town, to dinner. No, replied she, I can't spare you; and whomsoever you are to go to, will excuse you, when they are told 'tis I that command you not to go;--and you may excuse it too, young Lady Would-be, if you consider, that it is the unexpected coming of your late lady's daughter, and your master's sister, that commands your stay.
But a pre-engagement, your ladyship will consider, is something.--Ay, so it is; but I know not what reason waiting-maids have to assume these airs of pre- engagements! Oh, Pamela, Pamela, I am sorry for thy thus aping thy betters, and giving thyself such airs: I see thou'rt quite spoiled! Of a modest, innocent girl, that thou wast, and humble too, thou art now fit for nothing in the world, but what I fear thou art.
Why, please your ladyship, said her kinsman, what signifies all you say? The matter's over with her, no doubt; and she likes it; and she is in a fairy-dream, and 'tis pity to awaken her before her dream's out.--Bad as you take me to be, madam, said I, I am not used to such language or reflections as this gentleman bestows upon me; and I won't bear it.
Well, Jackey, said she, be silent; and, shaking her head, Poor girl!-- said she--what a sweet innocence is here destroyed!--A thousand pities!-- I could cry over her, if that would do her good! But she is quite lost, quite undone; and then has assumed a carriage upon it, that all those creatures are distinguished by!
I cried sadly for vexation; and said, Say what you please, madam; if I can help it, I will not answer another word.
Mrs. Jewkes came in, and asked if her ladyship was ready for dinner? She said, Yes. I would have gone out with her but my lady said, taking my hand, she could not spare me. And, miss, said she, you may pull off your gloves, and lay your fan by, for you shan't go; and, if you behave well, you shall wait upon me at dinner, and then I shall have a little further talk with you.
Mrs. Jewkes said to me, Madam, may I speak one word with you?--I can't tell, Mrs. Jewkes, said I; for my lady holds my hand, and you see I am a kind of prisoner.
What you have to say, Mrs. Jewkes, said she, you may speak before me. But she went out, and seemed vexed for me; and she says, I looked like the very scarlet.
The cloth was laid in another parlour, and for three persons, and she led me in: Come, my little dear, said she, with a sneer, I'll hand you in; and I would have you think it as well as if it was my brother.
What a sad case, thought I, should I be in, if I were as naughty as she thinks me! It was bad enough as it was.
Jackey, said my lady, come, let us go to dinner. She said to her woman, Do you, Beck, help Pamela to 'tend us; we will have no men-fellows.-- Come, my young lady, shall I help you off with your white gloves? I have not, madam, said I, deserved this at your ladyship's hands.
Mrs. Jewkes, coming in with the first dish, she said, Do you expect any body else, Mrs. Jewkes, that you lay the cloth for three? said she, I hoped your ladyship and madam would have been so well reconciled, that she would have sat down too.-- What means the clownish woman? said my lady, in great disdain: Could you think the creature should sit down with me? She does, madam, and please your ladyship, with my master.--I doubt it not, good woman, said she, and lies with him too, does she not? Answer me, fat-face!--How these ladies are privileged.
If she does, madam, said she, there may be a reason for it, perhaps! and went out.-- So! said she, has the wench got thee over too? Come, my little dear, pull off thy gloves, I say; and off she pulled my left glove herself, and spied my ring. O my dear God! said she, if the wench has not got a ring!--Well, this is a pretty piece of foolery, indeed! Dost know, my friend, that thou art miserably tricked? And so, poor innocent, thou hast made a fine exchange, hast thou not? Thy honesty for this bauble? And, I'll warrant, my little dear has topped her part, and paraded it like any real wife; and so mimics still the condition!--Why, said she, and turned me round, thou art as mincing as any bride! No wonder thou art thus tricked out, and talkest of thy pre- engagements! Pr'ythee, child, walk before me to that glass; survey thyself, and cone back to me, that I may see how finely thou can'st act the theatrical part given thee!
I was then resolved to try to be silent, although most sadly vexed.--So I went and sat me down in the window, and she took her place at the upper end of the table; and her saucy Jackey, fleering at me most provokingly, sat down by her. Said he, Shall not the bride sit down by us, madam? Ay, well thought of! said my lady: Pray, Mrs. Bride, your pardon for sitting down in your place!--I said nothing.
Said she, with a poor pun, Thou hast some modesty, however, child! for thou can'st not stand it, so must sit down, though in my presence!--I still kept my seat, and said nothing.--Thought I, this is a sad thing, that I am hindered too from shewing my duty where it is most due, and shall have anger there too, may be, if my dear master should be there before me!--So she ate some soup, as did her kinsman; and then, as she was cutting up a fowl, said, If thou longest, my little dear, I will help thee to a pinion, or breast, or any thing. But may be, child, said he, thou likest the rump; shall I bring it thee? And then laughed like an idiot, for all he is a lord's son, and may be a lord himself.--For he is the son of Lord ----; and his mother, who was Lord Davers's sister, being dead, he has received what education he has, from Lord Davers's direction. Poor wretch! for all his greatness! he'll ne'er die for a plot--at least of his own hatching. If I could then have gone up, I would have given you his picture. But, for one of 25 or 26 years of age, much about the age of my dear master, he is a most odd mortal.
Pamela, said my lady, help me to a glass of wine. No, Beck, said she, you shan't; for she was offering to do it. I will have my lady bride confer that honour upon me; and then I shall see if she can stand up. I was silent, and never stirred.
Dost hear, chastity? said she, help me to a glass of wine, when I bid thee.--What! not stir? Then I'll come and help thee to one. Still I stirred not, and, fanning myself, continued silent. Said she, When I have asked thee, meek-one, half a dozen questions together, I suppose thou wilt answer them all at once! Pretty creature, is not that it?
I was so vexed, I bit a piece of my fan out, not knowing what I did; but still I said nothing, and did nothing but flutter it, and fan myself.
I believe, said she, my next question will make up half a dozen; and then, modest one, I shall be entitled to an answer.
He rose and brought the bottle and glass; Come, said he, Mrs. Bride, be pleased to help my lady, and I will be your deputy. Sir, replied I, it is in a good hand; help my lady yourself.--Why, creature, said she, dost thou think thyself above it?--And then flew into a passion:--Insolence! continued she, this moment, when I bid you, know your duty, and give me a glass of wine; or--
So I took a little spirit then--Thought I, I can but be beat.--If, said I, to attend your ladyship at table, or even kneel at your feet, was required of me, I would most gladly do it, were I only the person you think me; but, if it be to triumph over one who has received honours, that she thinks require her to act another part, not to be utterly unworthy of them, I must say, I cannot do it.
She seemed quite surprised, and looked now upon her kinsman, and then upon her woman--I'm astonished--quite astonished!--Well, then, I suppose you would have me conclude you my brother's wife; could you not?
Your ladyship, said I, compels me to say this!--Well, returned she, but dost thou thyself think thou art so?--Silence, said her kinsman, gives consent. 'Tis plain enough she does. Shall I rise, madam, and pay my duty to my new aunt?
Tell me, said my lady, what, in the name of impudence, possesses thee to dare to look upon thyself as my sister?--Madam, replied I, that is a question will better become your most worthy brother to answer, than me.
She was rising in great wrath: but her woman said, Good your ladyship, you'll do yourself more harm than her; and if the poor girl has been deluded so, as you have heard, with the sham marriage, she'll be more deserving of your ladyship's pity than anger. True, Beck, very true, said my lady; but there's no bearing the impudence of the creature in the mean time.
I would have gone out at the door, but her kinsman ran and set his back against it. I expected bad treatment from her pride, and violent temper; but this was worse than I could have thought of. And I said to him, Sir, when my master comes to know your rude behaviour, you will, may be, have cause to repent it: and went and sat down in the window again.
Another challenge, by gad! said he; but I am glad she says her master!-- You see, madam, she herself does not believe she is married, and so has not been so much deluded as you think for: And, coming to me with a most barbarous air of insult, he said, kneeling on one knee before me, My new aunt, your blessing or your curse, I care not which; but quickly give me one or other, that I may not lose my dinner!
I gave him a most contemptuous look: Tinselled toy, said I, (for he was laced all over), twenty or thirty years hence, when you are at age, I shall know how to answer you better; mean time, sport with your footman, and not with me! and so I removed to another window nearer the door, and he looked like a sad fool, as he is.
Beck, Beck, said my lady, this is not to be borne! Was ever the like heard! Is my kinsman and Lord Davers's to be thus used by such a slut? And was coming to me: And indeed I began to be afraid; for I have but a poor heart, after all. But Mrs. Jewkes hearing high words, came in again, with the second course, and said, Pray your ladyship, don't so discompose yourself. I am afraid this day's business will make matters wider than ever between your good ladyship and your brother: For my master doats upon madam.
Woman, said she, do thou be silent! Sure, I that was born in this house, may have some privilege in it, without being talked to by the saucy servants in it!
I beg pardon, madam, replied Mrs. Jewkes; and, turning to me, said, Madam, my master will take it very ill if you make him wait for you thus. So I rose to go out; but my lady said, If it was only for that reason she shan't go.--And went to the door and shut it, and said to Mrs. Jewkes, Woman, don't come again till I call you; and coming to me, took my hand, and said, Find your legs, miss, if you please.
I stood up, and she tapped my cheek! Oh, says she, that scarlet glow shews what a rancorous little heart thou hast, if thou durst shew it! but come this way; and so led me to her chair: Stand there, said she, and answer me a few questions while I dine, and I'll dismiss thee, till I call thy impudent master to account; and then I'll have you face to face, and all this mystery of iniquity shall be unravelled; for, between you, I will come to the bottom of it.
When she had sat down, I moved to the window on the other side of the parlour, looking into the private garden; and her woman said, Mrs. Pamela, don't make my lady angry. Stand by her ladyship, as she bids you. Said I, Pray, good now, let it suffice you to attend your lady's commands, and don't lay yours upon me.--Your pardon, sweet Mrs. Pamela, said she. Times are much altered with you, I'll assure you! said I, Her ladyship has a very good plea to be free in the house that she was born in; but you may as well confine your freedoms to the house in which you had your breedings. Why, how now, Mrs. Pamela, said she; since you provoke me to it, I'll tell you a piece of my mind. Hush, hush, good woman, said I, alluding to my lady's language to Mrs. Jewkes, my lady wants not your assistance:--Besides, I can't scold! The woman was ready to flutter with vexation; and Lord Jackey laughed as if he would burst his sides: G--d d--n me, Beck, said he, you'd better let her alone to my lady here for she'll be too many for twenty such as you and I!--And then he laughed again, and repeated--I can't scold, quoth-a! but, by gad, miss, you can speak d----d spiteful words, I can tell you that!--Poor Beck, poor Beck!--'Fore gad, she's quite dumbfoundered!
Well, but Pamela, said my lady, come hither, and tell me truly, Dost thou think thyself really married?--Said I, and approached her chair, My good lady, I'll answer all your commands, if you'll have patience with me, and not be so angry as you are: But I can't bear to be used thus by this gentleman, and your ladyship's woman. Child, said she, thou art very impertinent to my kinsman; thou can'st not be civil to me; and my ladyship's woman is much thy betters. But that's not the thing!--Dost thou think thou art really married?
I see, madam, said I, you are resolved not to be pleased with any answer I shall return: If I should say, I am not, then your ladyship will call me hard names, and, perhaps, I should tell a fib. If I should say, I am, your ladyship will ask, how I have the impudence to be so?--and will call it a sham-marriage. I will, said she, be answered more directly. Why, what, madam, does it signify what I think? Your ladyship will believe as you please.
But can'st thou have the vanity, the pride, the folly, said she, to think thyself actually married to my brother? He is no fool, child; and libertine enough of conscience; and thou art not the first in the list of his credulous harlots.--Well, well, said I, (and was in a sad flutter,) as I am easy, and pleased with my lot, pray, madam, let me continue so, as long as I can. It will be time enough for me to know the worst, when the worst comes. And if it should be so bad, your ladyship should pity me, rather than thus torment me before my time.
Well, said she, but dost not think I am concerned, that a young wench, whom my poor dear mother loved so well, should thus cast herself away, and suffer herself to be deluded and undone, after such a noble stand as thou madst for so long a time?
I think myself far from being deluded and undone, and am as innocent and virtuous as ever I was in my life. Thou liest, child, said she.
So your ladyship told me twice before.
She gave me a slap on the hand for this; and I made a low courtesy, and said, I humbly thank your ladyship! but I could not refrain tears: And added, Your dear brother, madam, however, won't thank your ladyship for this usage of me, though I do. Come a little nearer me, my dear, said she, and thou shalt have a little more than that to tell him of, if thou think'st thou hast not made mischief enough already between a sister and brother. But, child, if he was here, I would serve thee worse, and him too. I wish he was, said I.--Dost thou threaten me, mischief-maker, and insolent as thou art?
Now, pray, madam, said I, (but got to a little distance,) be pleased to reflect upon all that you have said to me, since I have had the honour, or rather misfortune, to come into your presence; whether you have said one thing befitting your ladyship's degree to me, even supposing I was the wench and the creature you imagine me to be?-- Come hither, my pert dear, replied she, come but within my reach for one moment, and I'll answer thee as thou deservest.
To be sure she meant to box my ears. But I should not be worthy my happy lot if I could not show some spirit.
When the cloth was taken away, I said, I suppose I may now depart your presence, madam? I suppose not, said she. Why, I'll lay thee a wager, child, thy stomach's too full to eat, and so thou may'st fast till thy mannerly master comes home.
Pray your ladyship, said her woman, let the poor girl sit down at table with Mrs. Jewkes and me.--Said I, You are very kind, Mrs. Worden; but times, as you said, are much altered with me; and I have been of late so much honoured with better company, that I can't stoop to yours.
Was ever such confidence! said my lady.--Poor Beck! poor Beck! said her kinsman; why she beats you quite out of the pit!--Will your ladyship, said I, be so good as to tell me how long I am to tarry? For you'll please to see by that letter, that I am obliged to attend my master's commands. And so I gave her the dear gentleman's letter from Mr. Carlton's, which I thought would make her use me better, as she might judge by it of the honour done me by him. Ay, said she, this is my worthy brother's hand. It is directed to Mrs. Andrews. That's to you, I suppose, child? And so she ran on, making remarks as she went along, in this manner:
My dearest PAMELA,--'Mighty well!'--I hope my not coming home this night, will not frighten you!--'Vastly tender, indeed!--And did it frighten you, child?'--You may believe I can't help it. 'No, to be sure!--A person in thy way of life, is more tenderly used than an honest wife. But mark the end of it!'--I could have wished--'Pr'ythee, Jackey, mind this,'--we-- 'mind the significant we,'--had not engaged to the good neighbourhood, at Sir Simon's, for to-morrow night.--'Why, does the good neighbourhood, and does Sir Simon, permit thy visits, child? They shall have none of mine, then, I'll assure them!'--But I am so desirous to set out on Wednesday for the other house--'So, Jackey, but we just nicked it, I find:'--that, as well as in return for the civilities of so many good friends, who will be there on purpose, I would not put it off.--'Now mind, Jackey.'--What I beg of you--'Mind the wretch, that could use me and your uncle as he has done; he is turned beggar to this creature!'--I beg of you, therefore, my dear--'My dear! there's for you!--I wish I may not be quite sick before I get through.'--What I beg of you, therefore, my dear, [and then she looked me full in the face,] is, that you will go in the chariot to Sir Simon's, the sooner in the day the better;--'Dear heart! and why so, when WE were not expected till night? Why, pray observe the reason--Hem!' [said she]--Because you will be diverted with the company;--'Mighty kind, indeed!'--who all--'Jackey, Jackey, mind this,'--who all so much admire you. 'Now he'd ha' been hanged before he would have said so complaisant a thing, had he been married, I'm sure!'--Very true, aunt, said he: A plain case that!--[Thought I, that's hard upon poor matrimony, though I hope my lady don't find it so. But I durst not speak out.]--Who all so much admire you, [said she,] 'I must repeat that--Pretty miss!--I wish thou wast as admirable for thy virtue, as for that baby-face of thine!'-- And I hope to join you there by your tea-time in the afternoon!--'So, you're in very good time, child, an hour or two hence, to answer all your important pre-engagements!'--which will be better than going home, and returning with you; as it will be six miles difference to me; and I know the good company will excuse my dress on this occasion.--'Very true; any dress is good enough, I'm sure, for such company as admire thee, child, for a companion, in thy ruined state!--Jackey, Jackey, mind, mind, again! more fine things still!'--I count every hour of this little absence for a day!--'There's for you! Let me repeat it'--I count every hour of this little absence for a day!--'Mind, too, the wit of the good man! One may see love is a new thing to him. Here is a very tedious time gone since he saw his deary; no less than, according to his amorous calculation, a dozen days and nights, at least! and yet, TEDIOUS as it is, it is but a LITTLE ABSENCE. Well said, my good, accurate, and consistent brother!-- But wise men in love are always the greatest simpletons!--But now cones the reason why this LITTLE ABSENCE, which, at the same time, is SO GREAT an ABSENCE, is so tedious:'--FOR I am--'Ay, now for it!'--with the UTMOST sincerity, my dearest love--'Out upon DEAREST love! I shall never love the word again! Pray bid your uncle never call me dearest love, Jackey!'--For ever yours!--'But, brother, thou liest!--Thou knowest thou dost.--And so, my good Lady Andrews, or what shall I call you? Your dearest love will be for ever yours! And hast thou the vanity to believe this?--But stay, here is a postscript. The poor man knew not when to have done to his dearest love.--He's sadly in for't, truly! Why, his dearest love, you are mighty happy in such a lover!'--If you could go to dine with them--'Cry you mercy, my dearest love, now comes the pre- engagement!'--it will be a freedom that will be very pleasing to them, and the more, as they don't expect it.
Well, so much for this kind letter! But you see you cannot honour this admiring company with this little expected, and, but in complaisance to his folly, I dare say, little desired freedom. And I cannot forbear admiring you so much myself, my dearest love, that I will not spare you at all, this whole evening: For 'tis a little hard, if thy master's sister may not be blest a little bit with thy charming company.
So I found I had shown her my letter to very little purpose, and repented it several times, as she read on.--Well, then, said I, I hope your ladyship will give me leave to send my excuses to your good brother, and say, that your ladyship is come, and is so fond of me, that you will not let me leave you.--Pretty creature, said she; and wantest thou thy good master to come, and quarrel with his sister on thy account?-- But thou shalt not stir from my presence; and I would now ask thee, What it is thou meanest by showing me this letter?--Why, madam, said I, to show your ladyship how I was engaged for this day and evening.--And for nothing else? said she. Why, I can't tell, madam, said I: But if you can collect from it any other circumstances, I might hope I should not be the worse treated.
I saw her eyes began to sparkle with passion: and she took my hand, and said, grasping it very hard, I know, confident creature, that thou shewedst it me to insult me!--You showed it me, to let me see, that he could be civiller to a beggar born, than to me, or to my good Lord Davers!--You showed it me, as if you'd have me to be as credulous a fool as yourself, to believe your marriage true, when I know the whole trick of it, and have reason to believe you do too; and you showed it me, to upbraid me with his stooping to such painted dirt, to the disgrace of a family, ancient and untainted beyond most in the kingdom. And now will I give thee one hundred guineas for one bold word, that I may fell thee at my foot!
Was not this very dreadful! To be sure, I had better have kept the letter from her. I was quite frightened!--And this fearful menace, and her fiery eyes, and rageful countenance, made me lose all my courage.--So I said, weeping, Good your ladyship, pity me!--Indeed I am honest; indeed I am virtuous; indeed I would not do a bad thing for the world!
Though I know, said she, the whole trick of thy pretended marriage, and thy foolish ring here, and all the rest of the wicked nonsense, yet I should not have patience with thee, if thou shouldst but offer to let me know thy vanity prompts thee to believe thou art married to my brother!-- I could not bear the thought!--So take care, Pamela; take care, beggarly brat; take care.
Good madam, said I, spare my dear parents. They are honest and industrious: they were once in a very creditable way, and never were beggars. Misfortunes may attend any body: And I can bear the cruellest imputations on myself, because I know my innocence; but upon such honest, industrious parents, who went through the greatest trials, without being beholden to any thing but God's blessing, and their own hard labour; I cannot bear reflection.
What! art thou setting up for a family, creature as thou art! God give me patience with thee! I suppose my brother's folly, and his wickedness, together, will, in a little while, occasion a search at the heralds' office, to set out thy wretched obscurity! Provoke me, I desire thou wilt! One hundred guineas will I give thee, to say but thou thinkest thou art married to my brother.
Your ladyship, I hope, won't kill me: And since nothing I can say will please you, but your ladyship is resolved to quarrel with me; since I must not say what I think, on one hand nor another; whatever your ladyship designs by me, be pleased to do, and let me depart your presence!
She gave me a slap on the hand, and reached to box my ear; but Mrs. Jewkes hearkening without, and her woman too, they both came in at that instant; and Mrs. Jewkes said, pushing herself in between us; Your ladyship knows not what you do! Indeed you don't! My master would never forgive me, if I suffered, in his house, one he so dearly loves, to be so used; and it must not be, though you are Lady Davers. Her woman too interposed, and told her, I was not worth her ladyship's anger. But she was like a person beside herself.
I offered to go out, and Mrs. Jewkes took my hand to lead me out: But her kinsman set his back against the door, and put his hand to his sword, and said, I should not go, till his aunt permitted it. He drew it half-way, and I was so terrified, that I cried out, Oh, the sword! the sword! and, not knowing what I did, I ran to my lady herself, and clasped my arms about her, forgetting, just then, how much she was my enemy, and said, sinking on my knees, Defend me, good your ladyship! the sword! the sword!--Mrs. Jewkes said, Oh! my lady will fall into fits! But Lady Davers was herself so startled at the matter being carried so far, that she did not mind her words, and said, Jackey, don't draw your sword!--You see, as great as her spirit is, she can't bear that.
Come, said she, be comforted; he shan't frighten you!--I'll try to overcome my anger, and will pity you. So, wench, rise up, and don't be foolish. Mrs. Jewkes held her salts to my nose, and I did not faint. And my lady said, Mrs. Jewkes, if you would be forgiven, leave Pamela and me by ourselves; and, Jackey, do you withdraw; only you, Beck, stay.
So I sat down in the window, all in a sad fluster; for, to be sure, I was sadly frightened.--Said her woman, You should not sit in my lady's presence, Mrs. Pamela. Yes, let her sit till she is a little recovered of her fright, said my lady, and do you set my chair by her. And so she sat over-against me, and said, To be sure, Pamela, you have been very provoking with your tongue, to be sure you have, as well upon my nephew, (who is a man of quality too,) as me. And palliating her cruel usage, and beginning, I suppose, to think herself she had carried it further than she could answer it to her brother, she wanted to lay the fault upon me. Own, said she, you have been very saucy; and beg my pardon, and beg Jackey's pardon, and I will try to pity you. For you are a sweet girl, after all; if you had but held out, and been honest.
'Tis injurious to me, madam, said I, to imagine I am not honest!--Said she, Have you not been a-bed with my brother? tell me that. Your ladyship, replied I, asks your questions in a strange way, and in strange words.
O! your delicacy is wounded, I suppose, by my plain questions!--This niceness will soon leave you, wench: It will, indeed. But answer me directly. Then your ladyship's next question, said I, will be, Am I married? And you won't bear my answer to that-- and will beat me again.
I han't beat you yet; have I, Beck? said she. So you want to make out a story, do you?--But, indeed, I can't bear thou shouldst so much as think thou art my sister. I know the whole trick of it; and so, 'tis my opinion, dost thou. It is only thy little cunning, that it might look like a cloak to thy yielding, and get better terms from him. Pr'ythee, pr'ythee, wench, thou seest I know the world a little;--almost as much at thirty-two, as thou dost at sixteen.--Remember that!
I rose from the window, and walking to the other end of the room, Beat me again, if you please, said I, but I must tell your ladyship, I scorn your words, and am as much married as your ladyship!
At that she ran to me; but her woman interposed again: Let the vain wicked creature go from your presence, madam, said she. She is not worthy to be in it. She will but vex your ladyship. Stand away, Beck, said she. That's an assertion that I would not take from my brother, I can't bear it. As much married as I!--Is that to be borne? But if the creature believes she is, madam, said her woman, she is to be as much pitied for her credulity, as despised for her vanity.
I was in hopes to have slipt out at the door; but she caught hold of my gown, and pulled me back. Pray your ladyship, said I, don't kill me!--I have done no harm.--But she locked the door, and put the key in her pocket. So, seeing Mrs. Jewkes before the window, I lifted up the sash, and said, Mrs. Jewkes, I believe it would be best for the chariot to go to your master, and let him know, that Lady Davers is here; and I cannot leave her ladyship.
She was resolved to be displeased, let me say what I would.
Said she, No, no; he'll then think, that I make the creature my companion, and know not how to part with her. I thought your ladyship, replied I, could not have taken exceptions at this message. Thou knowest nothing, wench, said she, of what belongs to people of condition: How shouldst thou? Nor, thought I, do I desire it, at this rate.
What shall I say, madam? said I. Nothing at all, replied she; let him expect his dearest love, and be disappointed; it is but adding a few more hours, and he will make every one a day, in his amorous account.--Mrs. Jewkes coming nearer me, and my lady walking about the room, being then at the end, I whispered, Let Robert stay at the elms; I'll have a struggle for't by and by.
As much married as I! repeated she.--The insolence of the creature!--And so she walked about the room, talking to herself, to her woman, and now and then to me; but seeing I could not please her, I thought I had better be silent. And then it was, Am I not worthy an answer? If I speak, said I, your ladyship is angry at me, though ever so respectfully; if I do not, I cannot please: Would your ladyship tell me but how I shall oblige you, and I would do it with all my heart.
Confess the truth, said she, that thou art an undone creature; hast been in bed with thy master; and art sorry for it, and for the mischief thou hast occasioned between him and me; and then I'll pity thee, and persuade him to pack thee off, with a hundred or two of guineas; and some honest farmer may take pity of thee, and patch up thy shame, for the sake of the money; and if nobody will have thee, thou must vow penitence, and be as humble as I once thought thee.
I was quite sick at heart, at all this passionate extravagance, and to be hindered from being where was the desire of my soul, and afraid too of incurring my dear master's displeasure; and, as I sat, I saw it was no hard matter to get out of the window into the front yard, the parlour being even with the yard, and so have a fair run for it; and after I had seen my lady at the other end of the room again, in her walks, having not pulled down the sash, when I spoke to Mrs. Jewkes, I got upon the seat, and whipped out in a minute, and ran away as hard as I could drive, my lady calling after me to return, and her woman at the other window: But two of her servants appearing at her crying out, and she bidding them to stop me, I said, Touch me at your peril, fellows! But their lady's commands would have prevailed on them, had not Mr. Colbrand, who, it seems, had been kindly ordered, by Mrs. Jewkes, to be within call, when she saw how I was treated, come up, and put on one of his deadly fierce looks, the only time, I thought, it ever became him, and said, He would chine the man, that was his word, who offered to touch his lady; and so he ran alongside of me; and I heard my lady say, The creature flies like a bird! And, indeed, Mr. Colbrand, with his huge strides, could hardly keep pace with me; and I never stopped, till I got to the chariot; and Robert had got down, seeing me running at a distance, and held the door in his hand, with the step ready down; and in I jumped, without touching the step, saying, Drive me, drive me, as fast as you can, out of my lady's reach! And he mounted; and Colbrand said, Don't be frightened, madam; nobody shall hurt you.--And shut the door, and away Robert drove; but I was quite out of breath, and did not recover it, and my fright, all the way.
Mr. Colbrand was so kind, but I did not know it till the chariot stopped at Sir Simon's, to step up behind the carriage, lest, as he said, my lady should send after me; and he told Mrs. Jewkes, when he got home, that he never saw such a runner as me in his life.
When the chariot stopped, which was not till six o'clock, so long did this cruel lady keep me, Miss Darnford ran out to me: O madam, said she, ten times welcome! but you'll be beat, I can tell you! for here has been Mr. B---- come these two hours, and is very angry with you.
That's hard indeed, said I;--Indeed I can't afford it;--for I hardly knew what I said, having not recovered my fright. Let me sit down, miss, any where, said I; for I have been sadly off. So I sat down, and was quite sick with the hurry of my spirits, and leaned upon her arm.
Said she, Your lord and master came in very moody; and when he had staid an hour, and you not come, he began to fret, and said, He did not expect so little complaisance from you. And he is now sat down, with great persuasion, to a game at loo.--Come, you must make your appearance, lady fair; for he is too sullen to attend you, I doubt.
You have no strangers, have you miss? said I.--Only two women relations from Stamford, replied she, and an humble servant of one of them.--Only all the world, miss! said I.--What shall I do, if he be angry? I can't bear that.
Just as I had said so, came in Lady Darnford and Lady Jones to chide me, as they said, for not coming sooner. And before I could speak, came in my dear master. I ran to him. How dy'e Pamela? said he; and saluting me, with a little more formality than I could well bear.--I expected half a word from me, when I was so complaisant to your choice, would have determined you, and that you'd have been here to dinner;--and the rather, as I made my request a reasonable one, and what I thought would be agreeable to you. O dear sir, said I, pray, pray, hear me, and you'll pity me, and not be displeased! Mrs. Jewkes will tell you, that as soon as I had your kind commands, I said, I would obey you, and come to dinner with these good ladies; and so prepared myself instantly, with all the pleasure in the world. Lady Darnford and miss said I was their dear!-- Look you, said miss, did I not tell you, stately one, that something must have happened? But, O these tyrants! these men!
Why, what hindered it, my dear? said he: give yourself time; you seem out of breath!--O sir, said I, out of breath! well I may!--For, just as I was ready to come away, who should drive into the court-yard, but Lady Davers!--Lady Davers! Nay, then, my sweet dear, said he, and saluted me more tenderly, hast thou had a worse trial than I wish thee, from one of the haughtiest women in England, though my sister!--For, she too, my Pamela, was spoiled by my good mother!--But have you seen her?
Yes, sir, said I, and more than seen her!--Why sure, said he, she has not had the insolence to strike my girl!--Sir, said I, but tell me you forgive me; for indeed I could not come sooner; and these good ladies but excuse me; and I'll tell you all another time; for to take up the good company's attention now, will spoil their pleasantry, and be to them, though more important to me, like the broken china you cautioned me about.
That's a dear girl! said he; I see my hints are not thrown away upon you; and I beg pardon for being angry with you; and, for the future, will stay till I hear your defense, before I judge you. Said Miss Darnford, This is a little better! To own a fault is some reparation; and what every lordly husband will not do. He said, But tell me, my dear, did Lady Davers offer you any incivility? O sir, replied I, she is your sister, and I must not tell you all; but she has used me very severely! Did you tell her, said he, you were married? Yes, sir, I did at last; but she will have it 'tis a sham-marriage, and that I am a vile creature: and she was ready to beat me, when I said so: for she could not have patience, that I should be deemed her sister, as she said.
How unlucky it was, replied he, I was not at home?--Why did you not send to me here? Send, sir! I was kept prisoner by force. They would not let me stir, or do you think I would have been hindered from obeying you? Nay, I told them, that I had a pre-engagement; but she ridiculed me, and said, Waiting-maids talk of pre-
engagements! And then I showed her your kind letter; and she made a thousand remarks upon it, and made me wish I had not. In short, whatever I could do or say, there was no pleasing her; and I was a creature and wench, and all that was naught. But you must not be angry with her on my account.
Well, but, said he, I suppose she hardly asked you to dine with her; for she came before dinner, I presume, if it was soon after you had received my letter! No, sir, dine with my lady! no, indeed! Why, she would make me wait at table upon her, with her woman, because she would not expose herself and me before the men-servants; which you know, sir, was very good of her ladyship.
Well, said he, but did you wait upon her? Would you have had me, sir? said I.--Only, Pamela, replied he, if you did, and knew not what belonged to your character, as my wife, I shall be very angry with you. Sir, said I, I did not, but refused it, out of consideration to the dignity you have raised me to; else, sir, I could have waited on my knees upon your sister.
Now, said he, you confirm my opinion of your prudence and judgment. She is an insolent woman, and shall dearly repent it. But, sir, she is to be excused, because she won't believe I am indeed married; so don't be too angry at her ladyship.
He said, Ladies, pray don't let us keep you from the company; I'll only ask a question or two more, and attend you. Said Lady Jones, I so much long to hear this story of poor madam's persecution, that, if it was not improper, I should be glad to stay. Miss Darnford would stay for the same reason; my master saying, He had no secrets to ask; and that it was kind of them to interest themselves in my grievances.
But Lady Darnford went into the company, and told them the cause of my detention; for, it seems, my dear master loved me too well, to keep to himself the disappointment my not being here to receive him, was to him; and they had all given the two Misses Boroughs and Mr. Perry, the Stamford guests, such a character of me, that they said they were impatient to see me.
Said my master, But, Pamela, you said they and them: Who had my sister with her besides her woman? Her nephew, sir, and three footmen on horseback; and she and her woman were in her chariot and six.
That's a sad coxcomb, said he: How did he behave to you?--Not extraordinarily, sir; but I should not complain; for I was even with him; because I thought I ought not to bear with him as with my lady.
By Heaven! said he, if I knew he behaved unhandsomely to my jewel, I'd send him home to his uncle without his ears. Indeed, sir, returned I, I was as hard upon him as he was upon me. Said he, 'Tis kind to say so; but I believe I shall make them dearly repent their visit, if I find their behaviour to call for my resentment.
But, sure, my dear, you might have got away when you went to your own dinner? Indeed, sir, said I, her ladyship locked me in, and would not let me stir.--So you ha'nt ate any dinner? No, indeed, sir, nor had a stomach for any. My poor dear, said he. But then, how got you away at last? O sir, replied I, I jumped out of the parlour window, and ran away to the chariot, which had waited for me several hours, by the elm-walk, from the time of my lady's coming (for I was just going, as I said); and Mr. Colbrand conducted me through her servants, whom she called to, to stop me; and was so kind to step behind the chariot, unknown to me, and saw me safe here.
I'm sure, said he, these insolent creatures must have treated you vilely. But tell me, what part did Mrs. Jewkes act in this affair? A very kind part, sir, said I, in my behalf; and I shall thank her for it. Sweet creature! said he, thou lovest to speak well of every body; but I hope she deserves it; for she knew you were married.--But come, we'll now join the company, and try to forget all you have suffered, for two or three hours, that we may not tire the company with our concerns and resume the subject as we go home: and you shall find I will do you justice, as I ought. But you forgive me, sir, said I, and are not angry? Forgive you, my dear! returned he--I hope you forgive me! I shall never make you satisfaction for what you have suffered from me, and for me! And with those words he led me into the company.
He very kindly presented me to the two stranger ladies, and the gentleman, and them to me: and Sir Simon, who was at cards, rose from table, and saluted me: Adad! madam, said he, I'm glad to see you here. What, it seems you have been a prisoner! 'Twas well you was, or your spouse and I should have sat in judgment upon you, and condemned you to a fearful punishment for your first crime of laesae majestatis: (I had this explained to me afterwards, as a sort of treason against my liege lord and husband:) for we husbands hereabouts, said he, are resolved to turn over a new leaf with our wives, and your lord and master shall show us the way, I can tell you that. But I see by your eyes, my sweet culprit, added he, and your complexion, you have had sour sauce to your sweet meat.
Miss Darnford said, I think we are obliged to our sweet guest, at last; for she was forced to jump out at a window to come to us. Indeed! said Mrs. Peters;--and my master's back being turned, says she, Lady Davers, when a maiden, was always vastly passionate; but a very good lady when her passion was over. And she'd make nothing of slapping her maids about, and begging their pardons afterwards, if they took it patiently; otherwise she used to say the creatures were even with her.
Ay, said I, I have been a many creatures and wenches, and I know not what; for these were the names she gave me. And I thought I ought to act up to the part her dear brother has given me; and so I have but just escaped a good cuffing.
Miss Boroughs said to her sister, as I overheard, but she did not design I should, What a sweet creature is this! and then she takes so little upon her, is so free, so easy, and owns the honour done her, so obligingly! said Mr. Perry, softly, The loveliest person I ever saw! Who could have the heart to be angry with her one moment?
Says Miss Darnford, Here, my dearest neighbour, these gentry are admiring you strangely; and Mr. Perry says, you are the loveliest lady he ever saw; and he says it to his own mistress's face too, I'll assure you!--Or else, says Miss Boroughs, I should think he much flattered me.
O, madam, you are exceedingly obliging! but your kind opinion ought to teach me humility, and to reverence so generous a worth as can give a preference against yourself, where it is so little due. Indeed, madam, said Miss Nanny Boroughs, I love my sister well; but it would be a high compliment to any lady, to be deemed worthy a second or third place after you.
There is no answering such politeness, said I: I am sure Lady Davers was very cruel to keep me from such company. 'Twas our loss, madam, says Miss Darnford. I'll allow it, said I, in degree; for you have all been deprived, several hours, of an humble admirer.
Mr. Perry said, I never before saw so young a lady shine forth with such graces of mind and person. Alas! sir, said I, my master coming up, mine is but a borrowed shine, like that of the moon. Here is the sun, to whose fervent glow of generosity I owe all the faint lustre, that your goodness is pleased to look upon with so much kind distinction.
Mr. Perry was pleased to hold up his hands; and the ladies looked upon one another. And my master said, hearing part of the last sentence, What's the pretty subject, that my Pamela is displaying so sweetly her talents upon?
Oh! sir, said Mr. Perry, I will pronounce you the happiest man in England: and so said they all.
My master said, most generously, Thank ye, thank ye, thank ye, all round, my dear friends. I know not your subject; but if you believe me so, for a single instance of this dear girl's goodness, what must I think myself, when blessed with a thousand instances, and experiencing it in every single act and word! I do assure you my Pamela's person, all lovely as you see it, is far short of her mind: That, indeed, first attracted my admiration, and made me her lover: but they were the beauties of her mind, that made me her husband; and proud, my sweet dear, said he, pressing my hand, am I of that title.
Well, said Mr. Perry, very kindly and politely, excellent as your lady is, I know not the gentleman that could deserve her, but that one who could say such just and such fine things.
I was all abashed; and took Miss Darnford's hand, and said, Save me, dear miss, by your sweet example, from my rising pride. But could I deserve half these kind things, what a happy creature should I be! said Miss Darnford, You deserve them all, indeed you do.
The greatest part of the company having sat down to loo, my master being pressed, said he would take one game at whist; but had rather be excused too, having been up all night: and I asked how his friend did? We'll talk of that, said he, another time; which, and his seriousness, made me fear the poor gentleman was dead, as it proved.
We cast in, and Miss Boroughs and my master were together, and Mr. Perry and I; and I had all four honours the first time, and we were up at one deal. Said my master, An honourable hand, Pamela, should go with an honourable heart; but you'd not have been up, if a knave had not been one. Whist, sir, said Mr. Perry, you know, was a court game originally; and the knave, I suppose, signified always the prime minister.
'Tis well, said my master, if now there is but one knave in a court, out of four persons, take the court through.
The king and queen, sir, said Mr. Perry, can do no wrong, you know. So there are two that must be good out of four; and the ace seems too plain a card to mean much hurt.
We compliment the king, said my master, in that manner; and 'tis well to do so, because there is something sacred in the character. But yet, if force of example be considered, it is going a great way; for certainly a good master makes a good servant, generally speaking.
One thing, added he, I will say, in regard to the ace: I have always looked upon that plain and honest looking card in the light you do: and have considered whist as an English game in its original; which has made me fonder of it than of any other. For by the ace I have always thought the laws of the land denoted; and as the ace is above the king or queen, and wins them, I think the law should be thought so too; though, may be, I shall be deemed a Whig for my opinion.
I shall never play whist, said Mr. Perry, without thinking of this, and shall love the game the better for the thought; though I am no party-man. Nor I, said my master; for I think the distinctions of whig and tory odious; and love the one or the other only as they are honest and worthy men; and have never (nor never shall, hope) given a vote, but according to what I thought was for the public good, let either whig or tory propose it.
I wish, sir, replied Mr. Perry, all gentlemen in your station would act so. If there was no undue influence, said my master, I am willing to think so well of all mankind, that I believe they generally would.
But you see, said he, by my Pamela's hand, when all the court-cards get together, and are acted by one mind, the game is usually turned accordingly: Though now and then, too, it may be so circumstanced, that honours will do them no good, and they are forced to depend altogether upon tricks.
I thought this way of talking prettier than the game itself. But I said, Though I have won the game, I hope I am no trickster. No, said my master, God forbid but court- cards should sometimes win with honour! But you see, for all that, your game is as much owing to the knave as the king; and you, my fair-one, lost no advantage, when it was put into your power.
Else, sir, said I, I should not have done justice to my partner. You are certainly right, Pamela, replied he; though you thereby beat your husband. Sir, said I, you may be my partner next, and I must do justice, you know. Well, said he, always choose so worthy a friend, as chance has given you for a partner, and I shall never find fault with you, do what you will.
Mr. Perry said, You are very good to me, sir; and Miss Boroughs, I observed, seemed pleased with the compliment to her humble servant; by which I saw she esteemed him, as he appears to deserve. Dear sir! said I, how much better is this, than to be locked in by Lady Davers!