Part 3 out of 11
[N.B.--Although Miss Darnford could not receive the above letter
so soon, as to answer it before others were sent to her by her fair
correspondent; yet we think it not amiss to dispense with the order of
time, that the reader may have the letter and answer at one view, and
shall on other occasions take the like liberty.]
_In answer to the preceding_
MY DEAR MRS. B.,
You charm us all with your letters. Mr. Peters says, he will never go
to bed, nor rise, but he will pray for you, and desires I will return
his thankful acknowledgment for your favourable opinion of him, and
kind allowances. If there be an angel on earth, he says, you are
one. My papa, although he has seen your stinging reflection upon his
refusal to protect you, is delighted with you too; and says, when you
come down to Lincolnshire again, he will be _undertaken_ by you
in good earnest: for he thinks it was wrong in him to deny you his
We all smiled at the description of your own uncommon courtship. And,
as they say the days of courtship are the happiest part of life, if we
had not known that your days of marriage are happier by far than any
other body's courtship, we must needs have pitied. But as the one
were days of trial and temptation, the others are days of reward and
happiness: may the last always continue to be so, and you'll have no
occasion to think any body happier than Mrs. B.!
I thank you heartily for your good wishes as to the man of sense.
Mr. Murray has been here, and continues his visits. He is a lively
gentleman, well enough in his person, has a tolerable character, yet
loves company, and will take his bottle freely; my papa likes him
ne'er the worse for that: he talks a good deal; dresses gay, and even
richly, and seems to like his own person very well--no great pleasure
this for a lady to look forward to; yet he falls far short of that
genteel ease and graceful behaviour, which distinguish your Mr. B.
from any body I know.
I wish Mr. Murray would apply to my sister. She is an ill-natured
girl; but would make a good wife, I hope; and fancy she'd like him
well enough. I can't say I do. He laughs too much; has something
boisterous in his conversation: his complaisance is not pretty; he is,
however, well versed in country sports; and my papa loves him for that
too, and says--"He is a most accomplished gentleman."--"Yes Sir," cry
I, "as gentlemen go."--"You _must_ be saucy," says Sir Simon, "because
the man offers himself to your acceptance. A few years hence, perhaps,
if you remain single, you'll alter your note, Polly, and be willing to
jump at a much less worthy tender."
I could not help answering that, although I paid due honour to all my
papa was pleased to say, I could not but hope he would be mistaken in
this. But I have broken my mind to my dear mamma, who tells me, she
will do me all the pleasure she can; but would be loth the youngest
daughter should go _first_, as she calls it. But if I could come
and live with you a little now and then, I did not care who married,
unless such an one offered as I never expect.
I have great hopes the gentleman will be easily persuaded to quit me
for Nancy; for I see he has not delicacy enough to love with any great
distinction. He says, as my mamma tells me by the bye, that I am the
handsomest, and best humoured, and he has found out as he thinks, that
I have some wit, and have ease and freedom (and he tacks innocence
to them) in my address and conversation. 'Tis well for me, _he_ is
of this opinion: for if he thinks justly, which I must question, _any
body_ may think so still much more; for I have been far from taking
pains to engage his good word, having been under more reserve to him,
than ever I was before to any body.
Indeed, I can't help it: for the gentleman is forward without
delicacy; and (pardon me, Sir Simon) my papa has not one bit of it
neither; but is for pushing matters on, with his rough raillery, that
puts me out of countenance, and has already adjusted the sordid part
of the preliminaries, as he tells me.
Yet I hope Nancy's three thousand pound fortune more than I am likely
to have, will give her the wished-for preference with Mr. Murray;
and then, as to a brother-in-law, in prospect, I can put off all
restraint, and return to my usual freedom.
This is all that occurs worthy of notice from us: but from you, we
expect an account of Lady Davers's visit, and of the conversations
that offer among you; and you have so delightful a way of making every
thing momentous, either by your subject or reflections, or both, that
we long for every post-day, in hopes of the pleasure of a letter. And
yours I will always carefully preserve, as so many testimonies of the
honour I receive in this correspondence: which will be always esteemed
as it deserves, by, my dear Mrs. B., _your obliged and faithful_
Mrs. Peters, Mrs. Jones, my papa, mamma, and sister, present their
respects. Mr. Peters I mentioned before. He continues to give a very
good account of poor Jewkes; and is much pleased with her.
MY DEAR MISS DARNFORD,
At your desire, and to oblige your honoured mamma, and your good
neighbours, I will now acquaint you with the arrival of Lady Davers,
and will occasionally write what passes among us, I will not say
worthy of notice; for were I only to do so, I should be more brief,
perhaps, by much, than you seem to expect. But as my time is pretty
much taken up, and I find I shall be obliged to write a bit now, and
a bit then, you must excuse me, if I dispense with some forms, which I
ought to observe, when I write to one I so dearly love; and so I will
give it journal-wise, as it were, and have no regard, when it would
fetter or break in upon my freedom of narration, to inscription or
subscription; but send it as I have opportunity, and if you please to
favour me so far, as to lend it me, after you have read the stuff,
for the perusal of my father and mother, to whom my duty, and promise
require me to give an account of my proceedings, it will save me
transcription, for which I shall have no time; and then you will
excuse blots and blurs, and I will trouble myself no farther for
apologies on that score, but this once for all.
If you think it worth while when they have read it, you shall have it
WEDNESDAY MORNING, SIX O'CLOCK.
For my dear friend permits me to rise an hour sooner than usual, that
I may have time to scribble; for he is always pleased to see me so
employed, or in reading; often saying, when I am at my needle, (as his
sister once wrote) "Your maids can do this, Pamela: but they cannot
write as you can." And yet, as he says, when I choose to follow my
needle, as a diversion from too intense study, (but, alas! I know not
what study is, as may be easily guessed by my hasty writing, putting
down every thing as it comes) I shall then do as I please. But I
promised at setting out, what a good wife I'd endeavour to make: and
every honest body should try to be as good as her word, you know, and
such particulars as I then mentioned, I think I ought to dispense with
as little as possible; especially as I promised no more than what was
my duty to perform, if I had _not_ promised. But what a preamble is
here? Judge by it what impertinences you may expect as I proceed.
Yesterday evening arrived here my Lord and Lady Davers, their nephew,
and the Countess of C., mother of Lady Betty, whom we did not expect,
but took it for the greater favour. It seems her ladyship longed, as
she said, to see _me_; and this was her principal inducement. The two
ladies, and their two women, were in Lord Davers's coach and six, and
my lord and his nephew rode on horseback, attended with a train of
We had expected them to dinner; but they could not reach time enough;
for the countess being a little incommoded with her journey, the coach
travelled slowly. My lady would not suffer her lord, nor his nephew,
to come hither before her, though on horseback, because she would be
present, she said, when his lordship first saw me, he having quite
forgot _her mother's Pamela_; that was her word.
It rained when they came in; so the coach drove directly to the door,
and Mr. B. received them there; but I was in a little sort of flutter,
which Mr. B. observing, made me sit down in the parlour to compose
myself. "Where's Pamela?" said my lady, as soon as she alighted.
I stept out, lest she should take it amiss: and she took my hand, and
kissed me: "Here, my lady countess," said she, presenting me to her,
"here's the girl; see if I said too much in praise of her person."
The countess saluted me with a visible pleasure in her eye, and said,
"Indeed, Lady Davers, you have not. 'Twould have been strange (excuse
me, Mrs. B., for I know your story), if such a fine flower had not
been transplanted from the field to the garden."
I made no return, but by a low curtsey, to her ladyship's compliment.
Then Lady Davers taking my hand again, presented me to her lord: "See
here, my lord, my mother's Pamela."--"And see here, my lord," said
her generous brother, taking my other hand most kindly, "see here your
brother's Pamela too!"
My lord saluted me: "I do," said he to his lady, and to his brother;
"and I see the first person in her, that has exceeded my expectation,
when every mouth had _prepared_ me to expect a wonder."
Mr. H., whom every one calls Lord Jackey, after his aunt's example,
when she is in good humour with him, and who is a very _young_
gentleman, though about as old as my best friend, came to me next,
and said, "Lovelier and lovelier, by my life!--I never saw your peer,
Will you excuse me, my dear, all this seeming vanity, for the sake of
repeating exactly what passed?
"Well, but," said my lady, taking my hand, in her free quality way,
which quite dashed me, and holding it at a distance, and turning me
half round, her eye fixed to my waist, "let me observe you a little,
my sweet-faced girl;--I hope I am right: I hope you will do credit
to my brother, as he has done you credit. Why do you let her lace so
tight, Mr. B.?"
I was unable to look up, as you may believe, Miss: my face, all over
scarlet, was hid in my bosom, and I looked so _silly!_--
"Ay," said my naughty lady, "you may well look down, my good girl: for
works of this nature will not be long hidden.--And, oh! my lady," (to
the countess) "see how like a pretty _thief_ she looks!"
"Dear my lady!" said I: for she still kept looking at me: and her good
brother, seeing my confusion, in pity to me, pressed my blushing face
a moment to his generous breast, and said, "Lady Davers, you should
not be thus hard upon my dear girl, the moment you see her, and before
so many witnesses:--but look up, my best love, take your revenge of my
sister, and tell her, you wish her in the same way."
"It is so then?" said my lady. "I'm glad of it with all my heart. I
will now love you better and better: but I almost doubted it, seeing
her still so slender. But if, my good child, you lace too tight, I'll
never forgive you." And so she gave me a kiss of congratulation, as
Do you think I did not look very silly? My lord, smiling, and gazing
at me from head to foot; Lord Jackey grinning and laughing, like
an oaf, as I then, in my spite, thought. Indeed the countess said,
encouragingly to me, but severely in persons of birth, "Lady Davers,
you are as much too teazing, as Mrs. B. is too bashful. But you are a
happy man, Mr. B., that your lady's bashfulness is the principal mark
by which we can judge she is not of quality." Lord Jackey, in the
language of some character in a play, cried out, "_A palpable hit, by
Jupiter!_" and laughed egregiously, running about from one to another,
repeating the same words.
We talked only upon common topics till supper-time, and I was all ear,
as I thought it became me to be; for the countess had, by her first
compliment, and by an aspect as noble as intelligent, overawed me,
as I may say, into a respectful silence, to which Lady Davers's
free, though pleasant raillery (which she could not help carrying on
now-and-then) contributed. Besides, Lady Davers's letters had given me
still greater reason to revere her wit and judgment than I had before,
when I reflected on her passionate temper, and such parts of the
conversation I had had with her ladyship in your neighbourhood; which
(however to be admired) fell short of her letters.
When we were to sit down at table, I looked, I suppose, a little
diffidently: for I really then thought of my lady's anger at the Hall,
when she would not have permitted me to sit at table with her; and Mr.
B. saying, "Take your place, my dear; you keep our friends standing;"
I sat down in my usual seat. And my lady said, "None of your
reproaching eye, Pamela; I know what you hint at by it; and every
letter I have received from you has made me censure myself for my
_lady-airs_, as you call 'em, you sauce-box you: I told you, I'd
_lady-airs_ you when I saw you; and you shall have it all in good
"I am sure," said I, "I shall have nothing from your ladyship, but
what will be very agreeable: but, indeed, I never meant any thing
particular by that, or any other word that I wrote; nor could I think
of any thing but what was highly respectful to your ladyship."
Lord Davers was pleased to say, that it was impossible I should either
write or speak any thing that could be taken amiss.
Lady Davers, after supper, and the servants were withdrawn, began
a discourse on titles, and said, "Brother, I think you should hold
yourself obliged to my Lord Davers; for he has spoken to Lord S. who
made him a visit a few days ago, to procure you a baronet's
patent. Your estate, and the figure you make in the world, are so
considerable, and your family besides is so ancient, that, methinks,
you should wish for some distinction of that sort."
"Yes, brother," said my lord, "I did mention it to Lord S. and told
him, withal, that it was without your knowledge or desire that I spoke
about it; and I was not very sure you would accept of it; but 'tis a
thing your sister has wished for a good while."
"What answer did my Lord S. make to it?" said Mr. B.
"He said, 'We,' meaning the ministers, I suppose, 'should be glad to
oblige a man of Mr. B.'s figure in the world; but you mention it so
slightly, that you can hardly expect courtiers will tender it to any
gentleman that is so indifferent about it; for, Lord Davers, we seldom
grant honours without a view: I tell you that,' added he, smiling."
"My Lord S. might mention this as a jest," returned Mr. B., "but he
spoke the truth. But your lordship said well, that I was indifferent
about it. 'Tis true, 'tis an hereditary title; but the rich citizens,
who used to be satisfied with the title of Knight, (till they made it
so common, that it is brought into as great contempt almost as that
of the French knights of St. Michael, and nobody cares to accept
of it) now are ambitious of this; and, as I apprehend, it is hastening
apace into like disrepute. Besides, 'tis a novel honour, and what the
ancestors of our family, who lived at its institution, would never
accept of. But were it a peerage, which has some essential privileges
and splendours annexed to it, to make it desirable to some men, I
would not enter into conditions for it. Titles at best," added he,
"are but shadows; and he that has the substance should be above
valuing them; for who that has the whole bird, would pride himself
upon a single feather?"
"But," said my lady, "although I acknowledge that the institution is
of late date, yet, as abroad, as well as at home, it is regarded as
a title of dignity, and the best families among the gentry
are supposed to be distinguished by it, I should wish you to
accept of it. And as to citizens who have it, they are not many; and
some of this class of people, or their immediate descendants, have
bought themselves into the peerage itself of the one kingdom or the
[Footnote 1: This order was become so scandalously common in France,
that, to order to suppress it, the hangman was vested with the ensigns
of it, which effectually abolished it.]
"As to what it is looked upon abroad," said Mr. B., "this is of no
weight at all; for when an Englishman travels, be he of what degree
he will, if he has an equipage, and squanders his money away, he is a
lord of course with foreigners: and therefore Sir Such-a-one is rather
a diminution to him, as it gives him a lower title than his vanity
would perhaps make him aspire to be thought in the possession
of. Then, as to citizens, in a trading nation like this, I am not
displeased in the main, with seeing the overgrown ones creeping into
nominal honours; and we have so many of our first titled families, who
have allied themselves to trade, (whose inducements were money only)
that it ceases to be either a wonder as to the fact, or a disgrace as
to the honour."
"Well, brother," said my lady, "I will tell you farther, the thing may
be had for asking for; if you will but go to court, and desire to kiss
the king's hand, that will be all the trouble you'll have: and pray
now oblige me in it."
"If a title would make me either a better or a wiser man," replied Mr.
B., "I would embrace it with pleasure. Besides, I am not so satisfied
with some of the measures now pursuing, as to owe any obligation
to the ministers. Accepting of a small title from them, is but like
putting on their badge, or listing under their banners; like a certain
lord we all know, who accepted of one degree more of title to shew he
was theirs, and would not have an higher, lest it should be thought a
satisfaction tantamount to half the pension he demanded: and could I
be easy to have it supposed, that I was an ungrateful man for voting
as I pleased, because they gave me the title of a baronet?"
The countess said, the world always thought Mr. B. to be a man of
steady principles, and not attached to any party; but, in her opinion,
it was far from being inconsistent with any gentleman's honour and
independency, to accept of a title from a prince he acknowledged as
"'Tis very true. Madam, that I am attached to no party, nor ever will.
I will be a _country gentleman_, in the true sense of the word, and
will accept of no favour that shall make any one think I would _not_
be of the opposition when I think it a necessary one; as, on the other
hand, I should scorn to make myself a round to any man's ladder of
preferment, or a caballer for the sake of my own."
"You say well, brother," returned Lady Davers; "but you may
undoubtedly keep your own principles and independency, and yet pay
your duty to the king, and accept of this title; for your family and
fortune will be a greater ornament to the title, than the title to
"Then what occasion have I for it, if that be the case, Madam?"
"Why, I can't say, but I should be glad you had it, for your family's
sake, as it is an hereditary honour. Then it would mend the style of
your spouse here; for the good girl is at such a loss for an epithet
when she writes, that I see the constraint she lies under. It is,
'_My dear gentleman, my best friend, my benefactor, my dear Mr. B._'
whereas Sir William would turn off her periods more roundly, and no
other softer epithets would be wanting."
"To me," replied he, "who always desire to be distinguished as my
Pamela's best friend, and think it an honour to be called _her dear
Mr. B. and her dear man_, this reason weighs very little, unless there
were no other Sir William in the kingdom than _her_ Sir William: for
I am very emulous of her favour, I can tell you, and think it no small
I blushed at this too great honour, before such company, and was
afraid my lady would be a little picqued at it. But after a pause,
she said, "Well, then, brother, will you let Pamela decide upon this
"Rightly put," said the countess. "Pray let Mrs. B. choose for you,
Sir. My lady has hit the thing."
"Very good, by my soul," says Lord Jackey; "let my _young aunt_," that
was his word, "choose for you, Sir."
"Well, then, Pamela," said Mr. B., "give us your opinion, as to this
"But, first," said Lady Davers, "say you will be determined by it; or
else she will be laid under a difficulty."
"Well, then," replied he, "be it so--I will be determined by your
opinion, my dear; give it me freely."
Lord Jackey rubbed his hands together, "Charming, charming, as I hope
to live! By Jove, this is just as I wished!"
"Well, now, Pamela," said my lady, "speak your true heart without
disguise: I charge you do."
"Why then, gentlemen and ladies," said I, "if I must be so bold as to
speak on a subject, upon which on several accounts, it would become me
to be silent, I should be _against_ the title; but perhaps my reason
is of too private a nature to weigh any thing: and if so, it would not
become me to have any choice at all."
They all called upon me for my reason; and I said, looking down
a little abashed, "It is this: Here my dear Mr. B. has disparaged
himself by distinguishing, as he has done, such a low creature as I;
and the world will be apt to say, he is seeking to repair _one
way_ the honour he has lost _another!_ and then perhaps, it will be
attributed to my pride and ambition: 'Here, they will perhaps say,
'the proud cottager will needs be a lady in hopes to conceal her
descent;' whereas, had I such a vain thought, it would be but making
it the more remembered against both Mr. B. and myself. And indeed, as
to my own part, I take too much pride in having been lifted up into
this distinction for the causes to which I owe it, your brother's
_bounty_ and _generosity_, than to be ashamed of what I _was_: only
now-and-then I am concerned for his own sake, lest he should be too
much censured. But this would not be prevented, but rather be promoted
by the title. So I am humbly of opinion against the title."
Mr. B. had hardly patience to hear me out, but came to me and folding
his arms about me, said, "Just as I wished, have you answered, my
beloved Pamela; I was never yet deceived in you; no, not once."
"Madam," said he to the countess, "Lord Davers, Lady Davers, do we
want any titles, think you, to make us happy but what we can confer
upon ourselves?" And he pressed my hand to his lips, as he always
honours me most in company and went to his place highly pleased; while
his fine manner drew tears from my eyes, and made his noble sister's
and the countess's glisten too.
"Well, for my part," said Lady Davers, "thou art a strange girl:
where, as my brother once said, gottest thou all this?" Then
pleasantly humorous, as if she was angry, she changed her tone, "What
signify thy _meek_ words and _humble_ speeches when by thy _actions_,
as well as _sentiments_, thou reflectest upon us all? Pamela," said
she, "have less merit, or take care to conceal it better: I shall
otherwise have no more patience with thee, than thy monarch has just
The countess was pleased to say, "You're a happy couple indeed!"
Such sort of entertainment as this you are to expect from your
correspondent. I cannot do better than I can; and it may appear such
a mixture of self-praise, vanity, and impertinence, that I expect you
will tell me freely, as soon as this comes to your hand, whether it be
tolerable to you. Yet I must write on, for my dear father and mother's
sake, who require it of me, and are prepared to approve of every thing
that comes from me, for no other reason but that: and I think you
ought to leave me to write to them only, as I cannot hope it will be
entertaining to any body else, without expecting as much partiality
and favour from others, as I have from my dear parents. Mean time
I conclude here my first conversation-piece; and am, and will be,
_always yours, &c._ P.B.
THURSDAY MORNING, SIX O'CLOCK.
Our breakfast conversation yesterday (at which only Mrs. Worden, my
lady's woman, and my Polly attended) was so whimsically particular,
(though I doubt some of it, at least, will appear too trifling) that
I must acquaint my dear Miss Darnford with it, who is desirous of
knowing all that relates to Lady Davers's conduct towards me.
You must know, then, I have the honour to stand very high in the
graces of Lord Davers, who on every occasion is pleased to call me his
_good Sister_, his _dear Sister_, and sometimes his _charming Sister_,
and he says, he will not be out of my company for an hour together,
while he stays here, if he can help it.
My lady seems to relish this very well in the main, though she cannot
quite so readily, yet, frame her mouth to the sound of the word
_Sister_, as my lord does; of which this that follows is one instance.
His lordship had called me by that tender name twice before, and
saying, "I will drink another dish, I think, my _good Sister_." My
lady said, "Your lordship has got a word by the end, that you seem
mighty fond of: I have taken notice, that you have called Pamela
_Sister, Sister, Sister_, no less than three times in a quarter of an
My lord looked a little serious: "I shall one day," said he, "be
allowed to choose my own words and phrases, I hope--Your sister, Mr.
B.," added he, "often questions whether I am at age or not, though the
House of Peers made no scruple of admitting me among them some years
Mr. B. said severely, but with a smiling air, "'Tis well she has
such a gentleman as your lordship for a husband, whose affectionate
indulgence to her makes you overlook all her saucy sallies! I am sure,
when you took her out of our family into your own, we all thought
ourselves, I in particular, bound to pray for you."
I thought this a great trial of my lady's patience: but it was from
Mr. B. And she said, with a half-pleasant, half-serious air, "How now,
Confidence!--None but my brother could have said this, whose violent
spirit was always much more intolerable than mine: but I can tell you,
Mr. B., I was always thought very good-humoured and obliging to every
body, till your impudence came from college, and from your travels;
and then, I own, your provoking ways made me now-and-then a little out
of the way."
"Well, well, sister, we'll have no more of this subject; only let
us see that my Lord Davers wants not his proper authority with you,
although you used to keep _me_ in awe formerly."
"Keep _you_ in awe!--That nobody could ever do yet, boy or man.
But, my lord, I beg your pardon; for this brother will make mischief
betwixt us if he can--I only took notice of the word _Sister_ so often
used, which looked more like affectation than affection."
"Perhaps, Lady Davers," said my lord, gravely, "I have two reasons for
using the word so frequently."
"I'd be glad to hear them," said the dear taunting lady; "for I don't
doubt they're mighty good ones. What are they, my lord?"
"One is, because I love, and am fond of my new relation: the other,
that you are so sparing of the word, that I call her so for us both."
"Your lordship says well," replied Mr. B., smiling: "and Lady Davers
can give two reasons why she does _not_."
"Well," said my lady, "now we are in for't, let us hear _your_ two
reasons likewise; I doubt not they're wise ones too."
"If they are _yours_, Lady Davers, they must be so. One is, That every
condescension (to speak in a proud lady's dialect) comes with as much
difficulty from her, as a favour from the House of Austria to
the petty princes of Germany. The second, Because those of your
sex--(Excuse me, Madam," to the countess) "who have once made
scruples, think it inconsistent with themselves to be over hasty to
alter their own conduct, choosing rather to persist in an error, than
own it to be one."
This proceeded from his impatience to see me in the least slighted
by my lady; and I said to Lord Davers, to soften matters, "Never,
my lord, were brother and sister so loving in earnest, and yet so
satirical upon each other in jest, as my good lady and Mr. B. But your
lordship knows their way."
My lady frowned at her brother, but turned it off with an air: "I
love the mistress of this house," said she, "very well; and am quite
reconciled to her: but methinks there is such a hissing sound in the
word _Sister_, that I cannot abide it. 'Tis a true English word, but
a word I have not been used to, having never had a sis-s-s-ter
before, as you know,"--Speaking the first syllable of the word with an
Mr. B. said, "Observe you not, Lady Davers, that you used a word (to
avoid that) which had twice the hissing in it that _sister_ has? And
that was mis-s-s-tress, with two other hissing words to accompany it,
of this-s-s hous-s-e: but to what childish follies does not pride
make one stoop!--Excuse, Madam" (to the countess), "such poor low
conversation as we are dwindled into."
"O Sir," said her ladyship, "the conversation is very agreeable;--and
I think, Lady Davers, you're fairly caught."
"Well," said my lady, "then help me, good _sister_--there's for
you!--to a little sugar. Will that please you, Sir?"
"I am always pleased," replied her brother, smiling, "when Lady Davers
acts up to her own character, and the good sense she is mistress of."
"Ay, ay, my good brother, like other wise men, takes it for granted
that it is a mark of good sense to approve of whatever _he_ does.--And
so, for this one time, I am a very sensible body with him--And I'll
leave off, while I have his good word. Only one thing I must say to
you, my dear," turning to me, "that though I call you Pamela, as I
please, be assured, I love you as well as if I called you _sister_, as
Lord Davers does, at every word."
"Your ladyship gives me great pleasure," said I, "in this kind
assurance; and I don't doubt but I shall have the honour of being
called by that tender name, if I can be so happy as to deserve it;
and I'll lose no opportunity that shall be afforded me, to show how
sincerely I will endeavour to do so."
She was pleased to rise from her seat: "Give me a kiss, my dear girl;
you deserve every thing: and permit me to say Pamela sometimes, as the
word occurs: for I am not used to speak in print; and I will call you
_sister_ when I think of it, and love you as well as ever sister loved
"These proud and passionate folks," said Mr. B., "how good they can
be, when they reflect a little on what becomes their characters!"
"So, then," rejoined my lady, "I am to have no merit of my own, I see,
do what I will. This is not quite so generous in my brother, as one
"Why, you saucy sister--excuse me. Lord Davers--what merit _would_
you assume? Can people merit by doing their duty? And is it so great a
praise, that you think fit to own for a sister so deserving a girl as
this, whom I take pride in calling my wife?"
"Thou art what thou always wert," returned my lady; "and were I in
this my imputed pride to want an excuse, I know not the creature
living, that ought so soon to make one for me, as you."
"I _do_ excuse you," said he, "for _that_ very reason, if you please:
but it little becomes either your pride, or mine, to do any thing that
"Mighty moral! mighty grave, truly!--Pamela, friend, sister,--there's
for you!--thou art a happy girl to have made such a reformation in
thy honest man's way of _thinking_ as well as _acting_. But now we are
upon this topic, and only friends about us, I am resolved to be even
with thee, brother--Jackey, if you are not for another dish, I wish
you'd withdraw. Polly Barlow, we don't want you. Beck, you may stay."
Mr. H. obeyed; and Polly went out; for you must know, Miss, that my
Lady Davers will have none of the men-fellows, as she calls them, to
attend upon us at tea. And I cannot say but I think her entirely in
the right, for several reasons that might be given.
When they were withdrawn, my lady repeated, "Now we are upon this
topic of reclaiming and reformation, tell me, thou bold wretch; for
you know I have seen all your rogueries in Pamela's papers; tell me,
if ever rake but thyself made such an attempt as thou didst, on this
dear good girl, in presence of a virtuous woman, as Mrs. Jervis was
always noted to be? As to the other vile creature, Jewkes, 'tis less
wonder, although in _that_ thou hadst the impudence of _him_ who set
thee to work: but to make thy attempt before Mrs. Jervis, and in spite
of _her_ struggles and reproaches, was the very stretch of shameless
Mr. B. seemed a little disconcerted, and said, "Surely, Lady Davers,
this is going too far! Look at Pamela's blushing face, and downcast
eye, and wonder at yourself for this question, as much as you do at me
for the action you speak of."
The countess said to me, "My dear Mrs. B., I wonder not at this sweet
confusion on so affecting a question!--but, indeed, since it is
come in so naturally, I must say, Mr. B., that we have all, and
my daughters too, wondered at this, more than at any part of your
attempts; because, Sir, we thought you one of the most civilized men
in England, and that you could not but wish to have saved appearances
"Though this is to you, my Pamela, the renewal of griefs; yet hold
up your dear face. You may--The triumph was yours--the shame and the
blushes ought to be mine--And I will humour my saucy sister in all she
would have me say."
"Nay," said Lady Davers, "you know the question; I cannot put it
"That's very true," replied he: "But would you expect I should give
you a _reason_ for an attempt that appears to you so very shocking?"
"Nay, Sir," said the countess, "don't say _appears_ to Lady Davers;
for (excuse me) it will appear so to every one who hears of it."
"I think my brother is too hardly used," said Lord Davers; "he has
made all the amends he could make:--and _you_, my sister, who were the
person offended, forgive him now, I hope; don't you?"
I could not answer; for I was quite confounded; and made a motion to
withdraw: but Mr. B. said, "Don't go, my dear: though I ought to be
ashamed of an action set before me in so full a glare, in presence of
Lord Davers and the countess; yet I will not have you stir because I
forget how you represented it, and you must tell me."
"Indeed, Sir, I cannot," said I; "pray, my dear ladies--pray, my good
lord--and, dear Sir, don't thus _renew my griefs_, as you were pleased
justly to phrase it."
"I have the representation of that scene in my pocket," said my lady;
"for I was resolved, as I told Lady Betty, to shame the wicked wretch
with it the first opportunity; and I'll read it to you; or rather, you
shall read it yourself, Bold-face, if you can."
So she pulled those leaves out of her pocket, wrapped up carefully in
a paper. "Here,--I believe he who could act thus, must read it; and,
to spare Pamela's confusion, read it to yourself; for we all know how
"I think," said he, taking the papers, "I can say something to abate
the heinousness of this heavy charge, or else I should not stand thus
at the insolent bar of my sister, answering her interrogatories."
I send you, my dear Miss Darnford, a transcript of the charge. To be
sure, you'll say, he was a very wicked man.
Mr. B. read it to himself, and said, "This is a dark affair, as here
stated; and I can't say, but Pamela, and Mrs. Jervis too, had great
reason to apprehend the worst: but surely readers of it, who were less
parties in the supposed attempt, and not determined at all events to
condemn me, might have made a more favourable construction for me,
than you, Lady Davers, have done in the strong light in which you have
set this heinous matter before us.
"However, since my lady," bowing to the countess, "and Lord Davers
seem to expect me particularly to answer this black charge, I will,
at a proper time, if agreeable, give you a brief history of my
passion for this dear girl; how it commenced and increased, and my own
struggles with it, and this will introduce, with some little advantage
to myself perhaps, what I have to say, as to this supposed attempt:
and at the same time enable you the better to account for some facts
which you have read in my pretty accuser's papers."
This pleased every one, and they begged him to begin _then_; but he
said, it was time we should think of dressing, the morning being far
advanced; and if no company came in, he would, in the afternoon, give
them the particulars they desired to hear.
The three gentlemen rode out, and returned to dress before dinner: my
lady and the countess also took an airing in the chariot. Just as they
returned, compliments came from several of the neighbouring ladies to
our noble guests, on their arrival in these parts; and to as many as
sent, Lady Davers desired their companies for to-morrow afternoon, to
tea; but Mr. B. having fallen in with some of the gentlemen likewise,
he told me, we should have most of our visiting neighbours at dinner,
and desired Mrs. Jervis might prepare accordingly for them.
After dinner Mr. H. took a ride out, attended by Mr. Colbrand, of whom
he is very fond, ever since he frightened Lady Davers's footmen at
the Hall, threatening to chine them, if they offered to stop his lady:
for, he says, he loves a man of courage: very probably knowing his
own defects that way, for my lady often calls him a chicken-hearted
fellow. And then Lord and Lady Davers, and the countess, revived the
subject of the morning; and Mr. B. was pleased to begin in the manner
I shall mention by-and-bye. For here I am obliged to break off.
Now, my dear Miss Darnford, I will proceed.
"I began," said Mr. B., "very early to take notice of this lovely
girl, even when she was hardly thirteen years old; for her charms
increased every day, not only in my eye, but in the eyes of all who
beheld her. My mother, as _you_ (Lady Davers) know, took the greatest
delight in her, always calling her, her Pamela, her good child: and
her waiting-maid and her cabinet of rarities were her boasts, and
equally shewn to every visitor: for besides the beauty of her figure,
and the genteel air of her person, the dear girl had a surprising
memory, a solidity of judgment above her years, and a docility so
unequalled, that she took all parts of learning which her lady, as
fond of instructing her as she of improving by instruction, crowded
upon her; insomuch that she had masters to teach her to dance, sing,
and play on the spinnet, whom she every day surprised by the readiness
wherewith she took every thing.
"I remember once, my mother praising her girl before me, and my aunt
B. (who is since dead), I could not but notice her fondness for her,
and said, 'What do you design, Madam, to do _with_ or _for_, this
Pamela of yours? The accomplishments you give her will do her more
hurt than good; for they will set her so much above her degree, that
what you intend as a kindness, may prove her ruin.'
"My aunt joined with me, and spoke in a still stronger manner against
giving her such an education: and added, as I well remember, 'Surely,
sister, you do wrong. One would think, if one knew not my nephew's
discreet pride, that you design her for something more than your own
"'Ah! sister,' said the old lady, 'there is no fear of what you hint
at; his family pride, and stately temper, will secure my son: he has
too much of his father in him. And as for Pamela, you know not the
girl. She has always in her thoughts, and in her mouth, too, her
parents' mean condition, and I shall do nothing for _them_, at least
at present, though they are honest folks, and deserve well, because I
will keep the girl humble.'
"'But what can I do with the little baggage?' continued my mother;
'she conquers every thing so fast, and has such a thirst after
knowledge, and the more she knows, I verily think, the humbler she is,
that I cannot help letting go, as my son, when a little boy, used to
do to his kite, as fast as she pulls; and to what height she'll soar,
I can't tell.
"'I intended,' proceeded the good lady, 'at first, only to make
her mistress of some fine needle-work, to qualify her (as she has a
delicacy in her person, that makes it a pity ever to put her to hard
work) for a genteel place; but she masters that so fast, that now as
my daughter is married and gone from me, I am desirous to qualify her
to divert and entertain me in my thoughtful hours: and were _you_,
sister, to know what she is capable of, and how diverting her innocent
prattle is to me, and her natural simplicity, which I encourage her
to preserve amidst all she learns, you would not, nor my son neither,
wonder at the pleasure I take in her. Shall I call her in?'
"'I don't want,' said I, 'to have the girl called in: if you, Madam,
are diverted with her, that's enough. To be sure, Pamela is a better
companion for a lady, than a monkey or a harlequin: but I fear you'll
set her above herself, and make her vain and pert; and that, at last,
in order to support her pride, she may fall into temptations which may
be fatal to herself, and others too.'
"'I'm glad to hear this from my _son_,' replied the good lady. 'But
the moment I see my favour puffs her up, I shall take other measures.'
"'Well,' thought I to myself, 'I only want to conceal my views from
your penetrating eye, my good mother; and I shall one day take as much
delight in your girl, and her accomplishments, as you now do; so go
on, and improve her as fast as you will. I'll only now and then talk
against her, to blind you; and doubt not that all you do will qualify
her the better for my purpose. Only,' thought I, 'fly swiftly on, two
or three more tardy years, and I'll nip this bud by the time it begins
to open, and place it in my bosom for a year or two at least: for so
long, if the girl behaves worthy of her education, I doubt not, she'll
be new to me.--Excuse me, ladies;--excuse me, Lord Davers;--if I am
not ingenuous, I had better be silent."
I will not interrupt this affecting narration, by mentioning my own
alternate blushes, confusions, and exclamations, as the naughty man
went on; nor the censures, and many _Out upon you's_ of the attentive
ladies, and _Fie, brother's_, of Lord Davers; nor yet with apologies
for the praises on myself, so frequently intermingled--contenting
myself to give you, as near as I can recollect, the very sentences
of the dear relator. And as to our occasional exclaimings and
observations, you may suppose what they were.
"So," continued Mr. B., "I went on dropping hints against her now and
then; and whenever I met her in the passages about the house, or in
the garden, avoiding to look at, or to speak to her, as she passed me,
curtseying, and putting on a thousand bewitching airs of obligingness
and reverence; while I (who thought the best way to demolish the
influence of such an education, would be not to alarm her fears on
one hand, or to familiarize myself to her on the other, till I came to
strike the blow) looked haughty and reserved, and passed by her with
a stiff nod at most. Or, if I spoke, 'How does your lady this morning,
girl?--I hope she rested well last night:' then, covered with blushes,
and curtseying at every word, as if she thought herself unworthy of
answering my questions, she'd trip away in a kind of confusion, as
soon as she had spoken. And once I heard her say to Mrs. Jervis,
'Dear Sirs, my young master spoke to me, and called me by my name,
saying--How slept your lady last night, Pamela?--Was not that very
good, Mrs. Jervis?'--'Ay,' thought I, 'I am in the right way, I find:
this will do in proper time. Go on, my dear mother, improving as fast
as you will: I'll engage to pull down in three hours, what you'll
be building up in as many years, in spite of all the lessons you can
"'Tis enough for me, that I am establishing in you, ladies, and in
you, my lord, a higher esteem for my Pamela (I am but too sensible I
shall lose a good deal of my own reputation) in the relation I am now
"I dressed, grew more confident, and as insolent withal, as if, though
I had not Lady Davers's wit and virtue, I had all her spirit--(excuse
me, Lady Davers;) and having a pretty bold heart, which rather put me
upon courting than avoiding a danger or difficulty, I had but too much
my way with every body; and many a menaced complaint have I _looked
down_, with a haughty air, and a promptitude, like that of Colbrand's
to your footmen at the Hall, to clap my hand to my side; which was of
the greater service to my bold enterprise, as two or three gentlemen
had found I knew how to be in earnest."
"Ha!" said my lady, "thou wast ever an impudent fellow: and many a
vile roguery have I kept from my poor mother.--Yet, to my knowledge,
she thought you no saint."
"Ay, poor lady," continued he, "she used now-and-then to catechize me;
and was _sure_ I was not so good as I ought to be:--'For, son,' she
would cry, 'these late hours, these all night works, and to come home
so _sober_ cannot be right.-I'm not sure, if I were to know all, (and
yet I'm afraid of inquiring after your ways) whether I should not have
reason to wish you were brought home in wine, rather than to come in
so sober, and so late, as you do.'
"Once, I remember, in the summer-time, I came home about six in the
morning, and met the good lady unexpectedly by the garden back-door,
of which I had a key to let myself in at all hours. I started,
and would have avoided her: but she called me to her, and then I
approached her with an air, 'What brings you, Madam, into the garden
at so early an hour?' turning my face from her; for I had a few
scratches on my forehead--with a thorn, or so--which I feared she
would be more inquisitive about than I cared she should.
"'And what makes you,' said she, 'so early here, Billy?--What a
rakish figure dost thou make!--One time or other these courses will
yield you but little comfort, on reflection: would to God thou wast
but happily married!'
"'So, Madam, the old wish!--I'm not so bad as you think me:--I hope I
have not merited so great a punishment.'
"These hints I give, not as matter of glory, but shame: yet I ought to
tell you all the truth, or nothing. 'Meantime,' thought I, (for I used
to have some compunction for my vile practices, when cool reflection,
brought on by satiety, had taken hold of me) 'I wish this sweet girl
was grown to years of susceptibility, that I might reform this wicked
course of life, and not prowl about, disturbing honest folks' peace,
and endangering myself.' And as I had, by a certain very daring and
wicked attempt, in which, however, I did not succeed, set a hornet's
nest about my ears, which I began to apprehend would sting me to
death, having once escaped an ambush by dint of mere good luck;
I thought it better to remove the seat of my warfare into another
kingdom, and to be a little more discreet for the future in my amours.
So I went to France a second time, and passed a year there in the
best of company, and with some improvement both to my morals and
understanding; and had a very few sallies, considering my love of
intrigue, and the ample means I had to prosecute successfully all the
desires of my heart.
"When I returned, several matches were proposed to me, and my good
mother often requested me to make her so happy, as she called it, as
to see me married before she died; but I could not endure the thoughts
of the state: for I never saw a lady whose temper and education I
liked, or with whom I thought I could live tolerably. She used in vain
therefore to plead family reasons to me:--like most young fellows, I
was too much a self-lover, to pay so great a regard to posterity; and,
to say truth, had little solicitude at that time, whether my name were
continued or not, in my own descendants. However, I looked upon
my mother's Pamela with no small pleasure, and I found her so
much improved, as well in person as behaviour, that I had the less
inducement either to renew my intriguing life, or to think of a
"Yet, as my mother had all her eyes about her, as the phrase is,
I affected great shyness, both before her, and to the girl; for I
doubted not, my very looks would be watched by them both; and what the
one discovered would not be a secret to the other; and laying myself
open too early to a suspicion, I thought, would but ice the girl over,
and make her lady more watchful.
"So I used to go into my mother's apartment, and come out of it,
without taking the least notice of her, but put on stiff airs; and as
she always withdrew when I came in, I never made any pretence to keep
"Once, indeed, my mother, on my looking after her, when her back was
turned, said, 'My dear son, I don't like your eye following my girl
so intently.--Only I know that sparkling lustre natural to it, or I
should have some fear for my Pamela, as she grows older.'
"'_I_ look after her. Madam!-_My_ eyes sparkle at such a girl as that!
No indeed! She may be your favourite as a waiting-maid; but I see
nothing but clumsy curtseys and awkward airs about her. A little
rustic affectation of innocence, that to such as cannot see into her,
may pass well enough.'
"'Nay, my dear,' replied my mother, 'don't say that, of all things.
She has no affectation, I am sure.'
"'Yes, she has, in my eye, Madam, and I'll tell you how it is; you
have taught her to assume the airs of a gentlewoman, to dance, and
to enter a room with a grace; and yet bid her keep her low birth and
family in view: and between the one character, which she wants to get
into, and the other she dares not get out of, she trips up and down
mincingly, and knows not how to set her feet: so 'tis the same in
every gesture: her arms she knows not whether to swim with, or to
hold before her, nor whether to hold her head up or down; and so
does neither, but hangs it on one side: a little awkward piece of
one-and-t'other I think her. And, indeed, you'd do the girl more
kindness to put her into your dairy, than to keep her about your
person; for she'll be utterly spoiled, I doubt, for any useful
"'Ah, son!' said she, 'I fear, by your description, you have minded
her too much in one sense, though not enough in another. 'Tis not my
intention to recommend her to your notice, of all men; and I doubt
not, if it please God I live, and she continues a good girl, but she
will make a man of some middling, genteel business, very happy.'
"Pamela came in just then, with an air so natural, so humble, and yet
so much above herself, that I was forced to turn my head from her,
lest my mother should watch my eye again, and I be inclined to do her
that justice, which my heart assented to, but which my lips had just
before denied her.
"All my difficulty, in apprehension, was my good mother; the effect
of whose lessons to her girl, I was not so much afraid of as her
vigilance. 'For,' thought I, 'I see by the delicacy of her person, the
brilliancy of her eye, and the sweet apprehensiveness that plays
about every feature of her face, she must have tinder enough in her
constitution, to catch a well-struck spark; and I'll warrant I shall
know how to set her in a blaze, in a few months more.'
"Yet I wanted, as I passed, to catch her attention too: I expected her
to turn after me, and look so as to shew a liking towards me; for I
had a great opinion of my person and air, which had been fortunately
distinguished by the ladies, whom, of course, my vanity made me allow
to be very good judges of these outward advantages.
"But to my great disappointment, Pamela never, by any favourable
glance, gave the least encouragement to my vanity. 'Well,' thought I,
'this girl has certainly nothing ethereal in her mould: all unanimated
clay!--But the dancing and singing airs my mother is teaching her,
will better qualify her in time, and another year will ripen her into
my arms, no doubt of it. Let me only go on thus, and make her _fear_
me: that will enhance in her mind every favour I shall afterwards
vouchsafe to shew her: and never question old _humdrum_ Virtue,'
thought I, 'but the tempter _without_, and the tempter _within_, will
be too many for the perversest nicety that ever the sex boasted.'
"Yet, though I could not once attract her eye towards me, she never
failed to draw mine after her, whenever she went by me, or wherever I
saw her, except, as I said, in my mother's presence; and particularly
when she had passed me, and could not see me look at her, without
turning her head, as I expected so often from her in vain.
"You will wonder, Lord Davers, who, I suppose, was once in love, or
you'd never have married such an hostile spirit as my sister's there-"
"Go on, sauce--box," said she, "I won't interrupt you."
"You will wonder how I could behave so coolly as to escape all
discovery so long from a lady so watchful as my mother, and from the
apprehensiveness of the girl.
"But, to say nothing of her tender years, and that my love was not of
this bashful sort, I was not absolutely determined, so great was my
pride, that I ought to think her worthy of being my _mistress_, when
I had not much reason, as I thought, to despair of prevailing upon
persons of higher birth (were I disposed to try) to live with me upon
my own terms. My pride, therefore, kept my passion at bay, as I may
say: so far was I from imagining I should ever be brought to what has
since happened! But to proceed:
"Hitherto my mind was taken up with the beauties of her person only.
My EYE had drawn my HEART after it, without giving myself any trouble
about that sense and judgment which my mother was always praising in
her Pamela, as exceeding her years and opportunities: but an occasion
happened, which, though slight in itself, took the HEAD into the
party, and I thought of her, young as she was, with a distinction,
that before I had not for her. It was this:
"Being with my mother in her closet, who was talking to me on the old
subject, _matrimony_, I saw Pamela's commonplace book, as I may call
it; in which, by her lady's direction, from time to time, she had
transcribed from the Bible, and other good books, such passages
as most impressed her as she read--A method, I take it, my dear"
(_turning to me_), "of great service to you, as it initiated you into
writing with that freedom and ease, which shine in your saucy letters
and journals; and to which my present fetters are not a little owing:
just as pedlars catch monkeys in the baboon kingdoms, provoking the
attentive fools, by their own example, to put on shoes and stockings,
till the apes of imitation, trying to do the like, entangle their
feet, and so cannot escape upon the boughs of the tree of liberty, on
which before they were wont to hop and skip about, and play a thousand
"I observed the girl wrote a pretty hand, and very swift and free;
and affixed her points or stops with so much judgment (her
years considered), that I began to have an high opinion of her
understanding. Some observations likewise upon several of the passages
were so just and solid, that I could not help being tacitly surprised
"My mother watched my eye, and was silent: I seemed not to observe
that she did; and after a while, laid down the book, shutting it with
great indifference, and talking of another subject.
"Upon this, my mother said, 'Don't you think Pamela writes a pretty
"'I did not mind it much,' said I, with a careless air. 'This is her
writing, is it?' taking the book, and opening it again, at a place of
Scripture. 'The girl is mighty pious!' said I.
"'I wish _you_ were so, child.'
"'I wish so too, Madam, if it would please _you_.'
"'I wish so, for your _own_ sake, child.'
"'So do I, Madam;' and down I laid the book again very carelessly.
"'Look once more in it,' said she, 'and see if you can't open it upon
some place that may strike you.'
"I opened it at--'_Train up a child in the way it should go_,' &c. 'I
fancy,' said I, 'when I was of Pamela's age, I was pretty near as good
"'Never, never,' said my mother; 'I am sure I took great pains with
you; but, alas I to very little purpose. You had always a violent
"'Some allowances for boys and girls, I hope, Madam; but you see I am
as good for a man as my sister for a woman.'
"'No indeed, you are not, I do assure you.'
"'I am sorry for that. Madam; you give me a sad opinion of myself.'"
"Brazen wretch!" said my lady; "but go on."
"'Turn to one of the girl's observations on some text,' said my
"I did; and was pleased with it more than I would own. 'The girl's
well enough,' said I, 'for what she is; but let's see what she'll be a
few years hence. Then will be the trial.'
"'She'll be always good, I doubt not.'
"'So much the better for her. But can't we talk of any other subject?
You complain how seldom I attend you; and when you are always talking
of matrimony, or of this low-born, raw girl, it must needs lessen the
pleasure of approaching you.'
"But now, as I hinted to you, ladies, and my lord, I had a still
higher opinion of Pamela; and esteemed her more worthy of my attempts.
'For,' thought I, 'the girl has good sense, and it will be some
pleasure to watch by what gradations she may be made to rise into
love, and into a higher life, than that to which she was born.' And so
I began to think she would be worthy in time of being my _mistress,_
which, till now, as I said before, I had been a little scrupulous
"I took a little tour soon after this in company of some friends, with
whom I had contracted an intimacy abroad, into Scotland and Ireland,
they having a curiosity to see those countries, and we spent six or
eight months on this expedition; and when I had landed them in France,
I returned home, and found my good mother in a very indifferent state
of health, but her Pamela arrived to a height of beauty and perfection
which exceeded all my expectations. I was so taken with her charms
when I first saw her, which was in the garden, with a book in her
hand, just come out of a little summer-house, that I then thought of
obliging her to go back again, in order to begin a parley with her:
but while I was resolving, she tript away with her curtesies and
reverences, and was out of my sight before I could determine.
"I was resolved, however, not to be long without her; and Mrs. Jewkes
having been recommended to me a little before, by a brother-rake, as
a woman of tried fidelity, I asked her if she would be faithful, if I
had occasion to commit a pretty girl to her care?
"She hoped, she said, it would be with the lady's own consent, and she
should make no scruple in obeying me.
"So I thought I would way-lay the girl, and carry her first to
a little village in Northamptonshire, to an acquaintance of Mrs.
Jewkes's. And when I had brought her to be easy and pacified a little,
I designed that Jewkes should attend her to Lincolnshire: for I knew
there was no coming at her here, under my mother's wing, by her
own consent, and that to offer terms to her, would be to blow up my
project all at once. Besides, I was sensible, that Mrs. Jervis would
stand in the way of my proceedings as well as my mother.
"The method I had contrived was quite easy, as I imagined, and such
as could not have failed to answer my purpose, as to carrying her off;
and I doubted not of making her well satisfied in her good fortune
very quickly; for, having a notion of her affectionate duty to her
parents, I was not displeased that I could make the terms very easy
and happy to them all.
"What most stood in my way, was my mother's fondness for her: but
supposing I had got her favourite in my hands, which appeared to me,
as I said, a task very easy to be conquered, I had actually formed a
letter for her to transcribe, acknowledging a love-affair, and laying
her withdrawing herself so privately, to an implicit obedience to her
husband's commands, to whom she was married that morning, and who,
being a young gentleman of genteel family, and dependent on his
friends, was desirous of keeping it all a profound secret; and
begging, on that account, her lady not to divulge it, so much as to
"And to prepare for this, and make her escape the more probable, when
matters were ripe for my plot, I came in one night, and examined all
the servants, and Mrs. Jervis, the latter in my mother's hearing,
about a genteel young man, whom I pretended to find with a pillion on
the horse he rode upon, waiting about the back door of the garden, for
somebody to come to him; and who rode off, when I came up to the door,
as fast as he could. Nobody knew any thing of the matter, and they
were much surprised at what I told them: but I begged Pamela might be
watched, and that no one would say any thing to her about it.
"My mother said, she had two reasons not to speak of it to Pamela:
one to oblige me: the other and chief, because it would break the poor
innocent girl's heart, to be suspected. 'Poor dear child!' said
she, 'whither can she go, to be so happy as with me? Would it not be
inevitable ruin to her to leave me? There is nobody comes after her:
she receives no letters, but now-and-then one from her father and
mother, and those she shews me.'
"'Well,' replied I, 'I hope she can have no design; 'twould be strange
if she had formed any to leave so good a mistress; but you can't
be _sure_ all the letters she receives are from her father; and her
shewing to you those he writes, looks like a cloak to others she may
receive from another hand. But it can be no harm to have an eye upon
her. You don't know, Madam, what tricks there are in the world.'
"'Not I, indeed; but only this I know, that the girl shall be under no
restraint, if she is resolved to leave me, well as I love her.'
"Mrs. Jervis said, she would have an eye upon Pamela, in obedience to
my command, but she was sure there was no need; nor would she so much
wound the poor child's peace, as to mention the matter to her.
"This I suffered to blow off, and seemed to my mother to have so good
an opinion of her Pamela, that I was sorry, as I told her, I had such
a surmise: saying, that though the fellow and the pillion were odd
circumstances, yet I dared to say, there was nothing in it: for I
doubted not, the girl's duty and gratitude would hinder her from doing
a foolish or rash thing.
"This my mother heard with pleasure: although my motive was but to lay
Pamela on the thicker to her, when she was to be told she had escaped.
"She was _glad_ I was not an enemy to the poor child. 'Pamela has
no friend but me,' continued she; 'and if I don't provide for her, I
shall have done her more harm than good (as you and your aunt B. have
often said,) in the accomplishments I have given her: and yet the poor
girl, I see that,' added she, 'would not be backward to turn her hand
to any thing for the sake of an honest livelihood, were she put to it;
which, if it please God to spare me, and she continues good, she never
"I wonder not, Pamela, at your tears on this occasion. Your lady was
an excellent woman, and deserved this tribute to her memory. All my
pleasure now is, that she knew not half my wicked pranks, and that I
did not vex her worthy heart in the prosecution of this scheme;
which would have given me a severe sting, inasmuch as I might have
apprehended, with too much reason, that I had shortened her days by
the knowledge of the one and the other.
"I had thus every thing ready for the execution of my project: but my
mother's ill state of health gave me too much concern, to permit me to
proceed. And, now-and-then, as my frequent attendance in her illness
gave me an opportunity of observing more and more of the girl; her
affectionate duty, and continual tears (finding her often on her
knees, praying for her mistress,) I was moved to pity her; and while
those scenes of my mother's illness and decline were before me, I
would resolve to conquer, if possible, my guilty passion, as those
scenes taught me, while their impressions held, justly to call it; and
I was much concerned to find it so difficult a task; for, till now,
I thought it principally owing to my usual enterprising temper, and a
love of intrigue; and that I had nothing to do but to resolve against
it, and to subdue it.
"But I was greatly mistaken: for I had insensibly brought myself
to admire her in every thing she said or did; and there was so much
gracefulness, humility, and innocence in her whole behaviour, and I
saw so many melting scenes between her lady and her, that I found I
could not master my esteem for her.
"My mother's illness increasing beyond hopes of recovery, and having
settled all her greater affairs, she talked to me of her servants; I
asked what she would have done for Pamela and Mrs. Jervis.
"'Make Mrs. Jervis, my dear son, as happy as you can: she is a
gentlewoman born, you know; let her always be treated as such; but
for your own sake, don't make her independent; for then you'll want a
faithful manager. Yet if you marry, and your lady should not value her
as she deserves, allow her a competency for the rest of her life, and
let her live as she pleases.
"'As for Pamela, I hope you will be her protector!--She is a good
girl: I love her next to you and your dear sister. She is just
arriving at a trying time of life. I don't know what to say for her.
What I had designed was, that if any man of a genteel calling should
offer, I would give her a little pretty portion, had God spared my
life till then. But were she made independent, some idle fellow might
snap her up; for she is very pretty: or if she should carry what you
give her to her poor parents, as her duty would lead her to do, they
are so unhappily involved, that a little matter would be nothing to
them, and the poor girl might be to seek again. Perhaps Lady Davers
will take her. But I wish she was not so pretty! She may be the bird
for which some wicked fowler will spread his snares; or, it may be,
every lady will not choose to have such a waiting-maid. You are a
young gentleman, and I am sorry to say, not better than I wish you to
be--Though I hope my Pamela would not be in danger from her master,
who owes all his servants protection, as much as the king does to his
subjects. Yet I don't know how to wish her to stay with you, for your
own reputation's sake, my dear son;--for the world will censure as it
lists.--Would to God!' said she, 'the dear girl had the small-pox in
a mortifying manner: she'd be lovely though in the genteelness of her
person and the excellencies of her mind; and more out of danger of
suffering from the transcient beauties of countenance. Yet I think,'
added she, 'she might be safe and happy under Mrs. Jervis's care;
and if you marry, and your lady parts with Mrs. Jervis, let 'em go
together, and live as they like. I think that will be the best for
both. And you have a generous spirit enough: I will not direct you
in the _quantum_. But, my dear son, remember that I am the less
concerned, that I have not done for the poor girl myself, because I
depend upon you: the manner how fitly to provide for her, has made me
defer it till now, that I have so much more important concerns on my
hands; life and strength ebbing so fast, that I am hardly fit for any
thing, or to wish for any thing, but to receive the last releasing
Here he stopped, being under some concern himself, and we in much
more. At last he resumed the subject.
"You will too naturally think, my lord--and you, my good ladies--that
the mind must be truly diabolical, that could break through the regard
due to the solemn injunctions of a dying parent. They _did_ hold me a
good while indeed; and as fast as I found any emotions of a contrary
nature rise in my breast, I endeavoured for some time to suppress
them, and to think and act as I ought; but the dear bewitching girl
every day rose in her charms upon me: and finding she still continued
the use of her pen and ink, I could not help entertaining a jealousy,
that she was writing to somebody who stood well in her opinion; and my
love for her, and my own spirit of intrigue, made it a sweetheart of
course. And I could not help watching her emotions; and seeing her
once putting a letter she had just folded up, into her bosom, at my
entrance into my mother's dressing-room, I made no doubt of detecting
her, and her correspondent; and so I took the letter from her stays,
she trembling and curtseying with a sweet confusion: and highly
pleased I was to find it contained only innocence and duty to the
deceased mistress, and the loving parents, expressing her joy that,
in the midst of her grief for losing the one, she was not obliged
to return to be a burden to the other; and I gave it her again, with
words of encouragement, and went down much better satisfied than I had
been with her correspondence.
"But when I reflected upon the innocent simplicity of her style, I was
still more in love with her, and formed a stratagem, and succeeded in
it, to come at her other letters, which I sent forward, after I had
read them, all but three or four, which I kept back, when my plot
began to ripen for execution; although the little slut was most
abominably free with my character to her parents.
"You will censure me, no doubt, that my mother's injunctions made not
a more lasting impression. But really I struggled hard with myself
to give them their due force: and the dear girl, as I said, every day
grew lovelier, and more accomplished. Her letters were but so many
links to the chains in which she had bound me; and though once I
had resolved to part with her to Lady Davers, and you, Madam, had
an intention to take her, I could not for my life give her up; and
thinking more honourably then of the state of a mistress than I have
done since, I could not persuade myself (since I intended to do as
handsomely by her as ever man did to a lady in that situation) but
that I should do better for her than my mother had wished me to do,
and so _more_ than answer all her injunctions, as to the providing
for her: and I could not imagine I should meet with a resistance I had
seldom encountered from persons much her superiors as to descent; and
was amazed at it; for it confounded me in all the notions I had of
her sex, which, like a true libertine, I supposed wanted nothing but
_importunity_ and _opportunity_, a bold attempter, and a mind not
ungenerous. Sometimes I admired her for her virtue; at other times,
impetuous in my temper, and unused to control, I could have beat her.
She well, I remember, describes the tumults of my soul, repeating what
once passed between us, in words like, these:--'Take the little
witch from me, Mrs. Jervis.--I can neither bear, nor forbear her--But
stay-you shan't go--Yet be gone!--No, come back again.'--She thought I
was mad, she says in her papers. Indeed I was little less. She says,
I took her arm, and griped it black and blue, to bring her back again;
and then sat down and looked at her as silly as such a poor girl as
she!--Well did she describe the passion I struggled with; and no one
can conceive how much my pride made me despise myself at times for the
little actions my love for her put me upon, and yet to find that love
increasing every day, as her charms and her resistance increased.--I
have caught myself in a raging fit, sometimes vowing I would have her,
and, at others, jealous that, to secure herself from my attempts, she
would throw herself into the arms of some menial or inferior, whom
otherwise she would not have thought of.
"Sometimes I soothed, sometimes threatened her; but never was
such courage, when her virtue seemed in danger, mixed with so
much humility, when her fears gave way to her hopes of a juster
treatment.--Then I would think it impossible (so slight an opinion had
I of woman's virtue) that such a girl as this, cottage-born, who
owed every thing to my family, and had an absolute dependence upon my
pleasure: myself not despicable in person or mind, as I supposed;
she unprejudiced in any man's favour, at an age susceptible of
impressions, and a frame and constitution not ice or snow: 'Surely,'
thought I, 'all this frost must be owing to the want of fire in my
attempts to thaw it: I used to dare more, and succeed better. Shall
such a girl as this awe me by her rigid virtue? No, she shall not.'
"Then I would resolve to be more in earnest. Yet my love was a
traitor, that was more faithful to _her_ than to _me_; it had more
honour in it at bottom than I had designed. Awed by her unaffected
innocence, and a virtue I had never before encountered, so uniform and
immovable, the moment I _saw_ her I was half disarmed; and I courted
her consent to that, which, though I was not likely to obtain, yet it
went against me to think of extorting by violence. Yet marriage was
never in my thoughts: I scorned so much as to promise it.
"To what numberless mean things did not this unmanly passion subject
me!--I used to watch for her letters, though mere prittle-prattle and
chit-chat, received them with delight, though myself was accused in
them, and stigmatized as I deserved.
"I would listen meanly at her chamber-door, try to overhear her little
conversation; in vain attempted to suborn Mrs. Jervis to my purposes,
inconsistently talking of honour, when no one step I took, or action
I attempted, shewed any thing like it: lost my dignity among my
servants; made a party in her favour against me, of every body,
but whom my money corrupted, and that hardly sufficient to keep my
partisans steady to my interest; so greatly did the virtue of the
servants triumph over the vice of the master, when confirmed by such
"I have been very tedious, ladies and my Lord Davers, in my narration:
but I am come within view of the point for which I now am upon my
trial at your dread tribunal (_bowing to us all_).
"After several endeavours of a smooth and rough nature, in which my
devil constantly failed me, and her good angel prevailed, I had talked
to Mrs. Jervis to seduce the girl (to whom, in hopes of frightening
her, I had given warning, but which she rejected to take, to my great
disappointment) to desire to stay; and suspecting Mrs. Jervis played
me booty, and rather confirmed her in her coyness, and her desire of
leaving me, I was mean enough to conceal myself in the closet in Mrs.
Jervis's room, in order to hear their private conversation; but really
not designing to make any other use of my concealment, than to tease
her a little, if she should say any thing I did not like; which would
give me a pretence to treat her with greater freedoms than I had
ever yet done, and would be an introduction to take off from her
unprecedented apprehensiveness another time.
"But the dear prattler, not knowing I was there, as she undressed
herself, begun such a bewitching chit-chat with Mrs. Jervis, who, I
found, but ill kept my secret, that I never was at such a loss what to
resolve upon. One while I wished myself, unknown to them, out of the
closet, into which my inconsiderate passion had meanly led me; another
time I was incensed at the freedom with which I heard myself treated:
but then, rigidly considering that I had no business to hearken to
their private conversation, and it was such as became _them_, while
I ought to have been ashamed to give occasion for it, I excused them
both, and admired still more and more the dear prattler.
"In this suspense, the undesigned rustling of my night-gown, from
changing my posture, alarming the watchful Pamela, she in a fright
came towards the closet to see who was there. What could I then do,
but bolt out upon the apprehensive charmer; and having so done, and
she running to the bed, screaming to Mrs. Jervis, would not any man
have followed her thither, detected as I was? But yet, I said, if she
forbore her screaming, I would do her no harm; but if not, she should
take the consequence. I found, by their exclamations, that this would
pass with both for an attempt of the worst kind; but really I had no
such intentions as they feared. When I found myself detected; when the
dear frightened girl ran to the bed; when Mrs. Jervis threw herself
about her; when they would not give over their hideous squallings;
when I was charged by Mrs. Jervis with the worst designs; it was
enough to make me go farther than I designed; and could I have
prevailed upon Mrs. Jervis to go up, and quiet the maids, who seemed
to be rising, upon the other screaming, I believe, had Pamela kept out
of her fit, I should have been a little freer with her, than ever I
had been; but, as it was, I had no thought but of making as honourable
a retreat as I could, and to save myself from being exposed to my
whole family: and I was not guilty of any freedoms, that her modesty,
unaffrighted, could reproach herself with having suffered; and the
dear creature's fainting fits gave _me_ almost as great apprehensions
as I could give _her_.
"Thus, ladies--and, my lord--have I tediously, and little enough to
my own reputation, given you my character, and told you more against
myself than any _one_ person could accuse me of. Whatever redounds to
the credit of my Pamela, redounds in part to my own; and so I have the
less regret to accuse myself, since it exalts her. But as to a formed
intention to hide myself in the closet, in order to attempt the girl
by violence, and in the presence of a good woman, as Mrs. Jervis is,
which you impute to me, bad as I was, I was not so vile, so abandoned
"Love, as I said before, subjects its inconsiderate votaries to
innumerable meannesses, and unlawful passion to many more. I could not
live without this dear girl. I hated the thoughts of matrimony
with any body: and to be brought to the state by my mother's
waiting-maid.--'Forbid it, pride!' thought I; 'forbid it, example!
forbid it, all my past sneers, and constant ridicule, both on the
estate, and on those who descended to inequalities in it! and, lastly,
forbid it my family spirit, so visible in Lady Davers, as well as
in myself, to whose insults, and those of all the world, I shall be
obnoxious, if I take such a step!'
"All this tends to demonstrate the strength of my passion: I could
not conquer my love; so I conquered a pride, which every one thought
unconquerable; and since I could not make an innocent heart vicious,
I had the happiness to follow so good an example; and by this means, a
vicious heart is become virtuous. I have the pleasure of rejoicing in
the change, and hope I shall do so still more and more; for I really
view with contempt my past follies; and it is now a greater wonder to
me how I could act as I did, than that I should detest those actions,
which made me a curse, instead of a benefit to society. I am not yet
so pious as my Pamela; but that is to come; and it is one good sign,
that I can truly say, I delight in every instance of her piety and
virtue: and now I will conclude my tedious narration."
Thus he ended his affecting relation: which in the course of it gave
me a thousand different emotions; and made me often pray for him, that
God will entirely convert a heart so generous and worthy, as his is on
most occasions. And if I can but find him not deviate, when we go
to London, I shall greatly hope that nothing will affect his morals
I have just read over again the foregoing account of himself. As near
as I remember (and my memory is the best faculty I have), it is pretty
exact; only he was fuller of beautiful similitudes, and spoke in a
more flowery style, as I may say. Yet don't you think, Miss (if I
have not done injustice to his spirit), that the beginning of it,
especially, is in the saucy air of a man too much alive to such
notions? For so the ladies observed in his narration.--Is it very
like the style of a true penitent?--But indeed he went on better, and
concluded best of all.
But don't you observe what a dear good lady I had? A thousand
blessings on her beloved memory! Were I to live to see my children's
children, they should be all taught to lisp her praises before they
could speak. _My_ gratitude should always be renewed in _their_
mouths; and God, and my dear father and mother, my lady, and my master
that was, my best friend that is, but principally, as most due, the
FIRST, who inspired all the rest, should have their morning, their
noontide, and their evening praises, as long as I lived!
I will only observe farther, as to this my third conversation-piece,
that my Lord Davers offered to extenuate some parts of his dear
brother-in-law's conduct, which he did not himself vindicate; and Mr.
B. was pleased to say, that my lord was always very candid to him,
and kind in his allowances for the sallies of ungovernable youth. Upon
which my lady said, a little tartly, "Yes, and for a very good reason,
I doubt not; for who cares to condemn himself?"
"Nay," said my lord pleasantly, "don't put us upon a foot, neither:
for what sallies I made before I knew your ladyship, were but like
those of a fox, which now and then runs away with a straggling pullet,
when nobody sees him, whereas those of my brother were like the
invasions of a lion, breaking into every man's fold, and driving the
shepherds, as well as the sheep, before him."--"Ay," said my lady,
"but I can look round me, and have reason, perhaps, to think the
invading lion has come off, little as he deserved it, better than the
creeping fox, who, with all his cunning, sometimes suffers for his
O, my dear, these gentlemen are strange creatures!--What can they
think of themselves? for they say, there is not one virtuous man in
five; but I hope, for our sex's sake, as well as for the world's
sake, all is not true that evil fame reports; for you know every
man-trespasser must _find_ or _make_ a woman-trespasser!--And if
so, what a world is this!--And how must the innocent suffer from the
guilty! Yet, how much better is it to suffer one's self, than to be
the cause of another's sufferings? I long to hear of you, and must
shorten my future accounts, or I shall do nothing but write, and tire
_you_ into the bargain, though I cannot my dear father and mother. I
am, my dear Miss, _always yours_, P.B.
_From Miss Darnford to Mrs. B._
DEAR MRS. B.,
Every post you more and more oblige us to admire and love you: and let
me say, I will gladly receive your letters upon your own terms: only
when your worthy parents have perused them, see that I have every line
of them again.
Your account of the arrival of your noble guests, and their behaviour
to you, and yours to them; your conversation, and wise determination,
on the offered title of Baronet; the just applauses conferred upon you
by all, particularly the good countess; your breakfast conversation,
and the narrative of your saucy abominable _master_, though amiable
_husband_; all delight us beyond expression.
Do go on, dear excellent lady, with your charming journals, and let us
know all that passes.
As to the state of matters with us, I have desired my papa to allow
me to decline Mr. Murray's addresses. The good man loved me most
violently, nay, he could not live without me: life was no life, unless
I favoured him: but yet, after a few more of these flights, he is
trying to sit down satisfied without my papa's foolish perverse girl,
as Sir Simon calls me, and to transpose his affections to a worthier
object, my sister Nancy; and it would make you smile to see how, a
little while before he _directly_ applied to her, she screwed up her
mouth to my mamma, and, truly, she'd have none of Polly's leavings;
no, not she!--But no sooner did he declare himself in form, than the
_gaudy wretch_, as he was before with her, became a _well-dressed_
gentleman;--the _chattering magpie_ (for he talks and laughs much),
_quite conversable_, and has something _agreeable_ to say upon _every
subject_. Once he would make a good master of the buck-hounds; but
now, really, the _more_ one is in his company, the _more polite_ one
Then, on his part,--he happened to see Miss Polly first; and truly,
he could have thought himself very happy in so agreeable a young lady;
yet there was always something of majesty (what a stately name for
ill nature!) in Miss Nancy, something so awful; that while Miss Polly
engaged the affections at first sight, Miss Nancy struck a man with
reverence; insomuch, that the one might he loved as a woman, but the
other revered as something more: a goddess, no doubt!
I do but think, that when he comes to be lifted up to her celestial
sphere, as her fellow constellation, what a figure Nancy and her
_ursus major_ will make together; and how will they glitter and shine
to the wonder of all beholders!
Then she must make a brighter appearance by far, and a more pleasing
one too: for why? She has three thousand _satellites_, or little
stars, in her train more than poor Polly can pretend to. Won't there
be a fine twinkling and sparkling, think you, when the greater and
lesser bear-stars are joined together?
But excuse me, dear Mrs. B.; this saucy girl has vexed me just now, by
her ill-natured tricks; and I am even with her, having thus vented my
spite, though she knows nothing of the matter.
So, fancy you see Polly Darnford abandoned by her own fault; her papa
angry at her; her mamma pitying her, and calling her silly girl; Mr.
Murray, who is a rough lover, growling over his mistress, as a dog
over a bone he fears to lose; Miss Nancy, putting on her prudish
pleasantry, snarling out a kind word, and breaking through her sullen
gloom, for a smile now and then in return; and I laughing at both in
my sleeve, and thinking I shall soon get leave to attend you in town,
which will be better than twenty humble servants of Mr. Murray's cast:
or, if I can't, that I shall have the pleasure of your correspondence
here, and enjoy, unrivalled, the favour of my dear parents, which this
ill-tempered girl is always envying me.
Forgive all this nonsense. I was willing to write something, though
worse than nothing, to shew how desirous I am to oblige you, had I a
capacity or subject, as you have. But nobody can love you better, or
admire you more, of this you may be assured (however unequal in all
other respects), than _your_ POLLY DARNFORD.
I send you up some of your papers for the good couple in Kent. Pray,
pay my respects to them: and beg they'll let me have 'em again as soon
as they can, by your conveyance.
Our Stamford friends desire their kindest respects; they mention you
with delight in every letter.
_The Journal continued._
THURSDAY, FRIDAY EVENING.
My dear Miss Darnford,
I am returned from a very busy day, having had no less than fourteen
of our neighbours, gentlemen and ladies, to dinner: the occasion,
principally, to welcome our noble guests into these parts; Mr. B.
having, as I mentioned before, turned the intended visit into an
entertainment, after his usual generous manner.--He and Lord Davers
are gone part of the way with them home; and Lord Jackey, mounted with
his favourite Colbrand, as an escort to the countess and Lady Davers,
who are taking an airing in the chariot. They offered to take the
coach, if I would have gone; but being fatigued, I desired to be
excused. So I retired to my closet; and Miss Damford, who is seldom
out of my thoughts, coming into my mind, I had a new recruit of
spirits, which enabled me to resume my pen, and thus I proceed with my
Our company was, the Earl and Countess of D., who are so fashionable a
married couple, that the earl made it his boast, and his countess bore
it like one accustomed to such treatment, that he had not been in his
lady's company an hour abroad before for seven years. You know his
lordship's character: every body does; and there is not a worse, as
report says, in the peerage.
Sir Thomas Atkyns, a single gentleman, not a little finical and
ceremonious, and a mighty beau, though of the tawdry sort, and
affecting foreign airs; as if he was afraid it would not be judged by
any other mark that he had travelled.
Mr. Arthur and his lady, a moderately happy couple, who seem always,
when together, to behave as if upon a compromise; that is, that each
should take it in turn to say free things of the other; though some
of their freedoms are of so cutting a nature, that it looks as if they
intended to divert the company at their own expense. The lady, being
of a noble family, strives to let every one know that she values
herself not a little upon that advantage; but otherwise has many good
Mr. Brooks and his lady. He is a free joker on serious subjects, but
a good-natured man, and says sprightly things with no ill grace: the
lady a little reserved, and haughty, though to-day was freer than
usual; as was observed at table by
Lady Towers, who is a maiden lady of family, noted for her wit and
repartee, and who says many good things, with so little doubt and
really so good a grace, that one cannot help being pleased with her.
This lady is generally gallanted by
Mr. Martin of the Grove, so called, to distinguish him from a rich
citizen of that name, settled in these parts, but being covetous and
proud, is seldom admitted among the gentry in their visits or parties
Mr. Dormer, one of a very courteous demeanour, a widower, was another,
who always speaks well of his deceased lady, and of all the sex for
her sake. Mr. Chapman and his lady, a well-behaved couple, not ashamed
to be very tender and observing to each other, but without that
censurable fondness which sits so ill upon some married folks in
Then there was the dean, our good minister, whom I name last, because
I would close with one of the worthiest; and his daughter, who came to
supply her mamma's place, who was indisposed; a well-behaved prudent
young lady. And here were our fourteen guests.
The Countess of C., Lord and Lady Davers, Mr. H., my dear Mr. B. and
your humble servant, made up the rest of the company. Thus we had a
capacious and brilliant circle; and all the avenues to the house were
crowded with their equipages.
The subjects of discourse at dinner were various, as you may well
suppose; and the circle was too large to fall upon any regular or very
remarkable topics. A good deal of sprightly wit, however, flew about,
between the Earl of D., Lady Towers, and Mr. Martin, in which that
lord suffered as he deserved; for he was no match for the lady,
especially as the presence of the dean was a very visible restraint
upon him, and Mr. Brooks too: so much awe will the character of a good
clergyman always have upon even forward spirits, where he is known
to have had an inviolable regard to it himself.--Besides, the good
gentleman has, naturally, a genteel and inoffensive vein of raillery,
and so was too hard for them at their own weapons. But after dinner,
and the servants being withdrawn, Mr. Martin singled me out, as he
loves to do, for a subject of encomium, and made some high compliments
to my dear Mr. B. upon his choice; and wished (as he often does), he
could find just such another for himself.
Lady Towers told him it was a thing as unaccountable as it was
unreasonable, that every rake who loved to destroy virtue, should
expect to be rewarded with it: and if his _brother_ B. had come off so
well, she thought no one else ought to expect it.
Lady Davers said, it was a very just observation: and she thought it
a pity there was not a law, that every man who made a harlot of an
honest woman, should be obliged to marry one of another's making.
Mr. B. said, that would be too severe; it would be punishment enough,
if he was to marry his own; and especially if he had not seduced her
under promise of marriage.
"Then you'd have a man be obliged to stand to his promise, I suppose,
Mr. B.?" replied Lady Davers. "Yes, madam."--"But," said she, "the
proof would be difficult perhaps: and the most unguilty heart of our
sex might be least able to make it out.--But what say you, my Lord D.;
will you, and my Lord Davers, join to bring a bill into the House of
Peers, for the purposes I mentioned? I fancy my brother would give it
all the assistance he could in the Lower House."
"Indeed," said Mr. B., "if I may be allowed to speak in the
plural number, _we_ must not pretend to hold an argument on this
subject.--What say you, Mr. H.? Which side are you of?"--"Every
gentleman," replied he, "who is not of the ladies' side, is deemed
a criminal; and I was always of the side that had the power of the
"That shews," returned Lady Towers, "that Mr. H. is more afraid of
the _punishment_, than of deserving it."--"'Tis well," said Mr. B.,"
that any consideration deters a man of Mr. H.'s time of life. What may
be _fear_ now, may improve to _virtue_ in time."
"Ay," said Lady Davers, "Jackey is one of his uncle's _foxes_: he'd be
glad to snap up a straggling pullet, if he was not well looked after,
perhaps."--"Pray, my dear," said Lord Davers, "forbear: you ought not
to introduce two different conversations into different companies."
"Well, but," said Lady Arthur, "since you seem to have been so hard
put to it, as _single_ men, what's to be done with the married man who
ruins an innocent body?--What punishment, Lady Towers, shall we find
out for such an one; and what reparation to the injured?" This
was said with a particular view to the earl, on a late scandalous
occasion; as I afterwards found.
"As to the punishment of the gentleman," replied Lady Towers, "where
the law is not provided for it, it must be left, I believe, to his
conscience. It will then one day be heavy enough. But as to the
reparation to the woman, so far as it can be made, it will be
determinable as the unhappy person _may_ or may _not_ know, that her
seducer is a married man: if she knows he is, I think she neither
deserves redress nor pity, though it elevate not _his_ guilt. But if
the case be otherwise, and _she_ had no means of informing herself
that he was married, and he promised to make her his wife, to be
sure, though _she_ cannot be acquitted, _he_ deserves the severest
punishment that can be inflicted.--What say you, Mrs. B.?"
"If I must speak, I think that since custom now exacts so little
regard to virtue from men, and so much from women, and since the
designs of the former upon the latter are so flagrantly avowed and
known, the poor creature, who suffers herself to be seduced, either by
a _single_ or _married_ man, _with_ promises, or _without_, has only
to sequester herself from the world, and devote the rest of her days
to penitence and obscurity. As to the gentleman," added I, "he must,
I doubt, be left to his conscience, as you say, Lady Towers, which he
will one day have enough to do to pacify."
"Every young lady has not your angelic perfection, Madam," said Mr.
Dormer. "And there are cases in which the fair sex deserve compassion,
ours execration. Love may insensibly steal upon a soft heart; when
once admitted, the oaths, vows, and protestations of the favoured
object, who declaims against the deceivers of his sex, confirm her
good opinion of him, till having lull'd asleep her vigilance, in an
unguarded hour he takes advantage of her unsuspecting innocence. Is
not such a poor creature to be pitied? And what punishment does not
such a seducer deserve?"
"You have put, Sir," said I, "a moving case, and in a generous manner.
What, indeed, does not such a deceiver deserve?"--"And the more,"
said Mrs. Chapman, "as the most innocent heart is generally the most
credulous."--"Very true," said my countess; "for such an one as would
do no harm to others, seldom suspects any _from_ others; and her
lot is very unequally cast; admired for that very innocence which
tempts some brutal ravager to ruin it."--"Yet, what is that virtue,"
said the dean, "which cannot stand the test?"
"But," said Lady Towers, very satirically, "whither, ladies, are we
got? We are upon the subject of virtue and honour. Let us talk of
something in which the _gentlemen_ can join with us. This is such
an one, you see, that none but the dean and Mr. Dormer can discourse
upon."--"Let us then," retorted Mr. Martin, "to be even with _one_
lady at least find a subject that will be _new_ to her: and that is
"Does what I said concern Mr. Martin more than any other gentleman,"
returned Lady Towers, "that he is disposed to take offence at it?"
"You must pardon me, Lady Towers," said Mr. B., "but I think a lady
should never make a motion to wave such subjects as those of virtue
and honour; and less still, in company, where there is so much
occasion, as she seems to think, for enforcing them."
"I desire not to wave the subject, I'll assure you," replied she. "And
if, Sir, you think it may do good, we will continue it for the sakes
of all you gentlemen" (looking round her archly), "who are of opinion
you may be benefited by it."
A health to the king and royal family, brought on public affairs and
politics; and the ladies withdrawing to coffee and tea, I have no more
to say as to this conversation, having repeated all that I remember
was said to any purpose.
The countess being a little indisposed. Lady Davers and I took an
airing this morning in the chariot, and had a long discourse together.
Her ladyship was pleased to express great favour and tenderness
towards me; gave me much good advice, as to the care she would have me
take of myself; and told me, that her hopes, as well as her brother's,
all centred in my welfare; and that the way I was in made her love me
better and better.
She was pleased to tell me, how much she approved of the domestic
management; and to say, that she never saw such regularity and method
in any family in her life, where was the like number of servants:
every one, she said, knew their duty, and did it without speaking to,
in such silence, and with so much apparent cheerfulness and delight,
without the least hurry or confusion, that it was her surprise and
admiration: but kindly would have it that I took too much care upon
me. "Yet," said she, "I don't see but you are always fresh and lively,
and never seem tired or fatigued; and are always dressed and easy, so
that no company find you unprepared, or unfit to receive them, come
when they will, whether it be to breakfast or dinner."
I told her ladyship, I owed all this and most of the conduct for
which she was pleased to praise me, to her dear brother, who, at the
beginning of my happiness, gave me several cautions and instructions
for my behaviour; which had been the rule of my conduct ever since,
and I hoped ever would be:--"To say nothing," added I, "which yet
would be very unjust, of the assistance I received from worthy Mrs.
Jervis, who is an excellent manager."
_Good Creature_, _Sweet Pamela_, and _Charming Girl_, were her
common words; and she was pleased to attribute to me a graceful and
unaffected ease, and that I have a natural dignity in my person and
behaviour, which at once command love and reverence; so that, my dear
Miss Darnford, I am in danger of being proud. For you must believe,
that her ladyship's approbation gives me great pleasure; and the more,
as I was afraid, before she came, I should not have come on near
so well in her opinion. As the chariot passed along, she took great
notice of the respects paid me by people of different ranks, and of
the blessings bestowed upon me, by several, as we proceeded; and said,
she should fare well, and be rich in good wishes, for being in my
"The good people who know us, _will_ do so, Madam," said I; "but I had
rather have their silent prayers than their audible ones; and I have
caused some of them to be told so. What I apprehend is, that you will
be more uneasy to-morrow, when at church you'll see a good many people
in the same way. Indeed my story, and your dear brother's tenderness
to me, are so much talked of, that many strangers are brought hither
to see us: 'tis the only thing," continued I (and so it is, Miss),
"that makes me desirous to go to London; for by the time we return,
the novelty, I hope, will cease." Then I mentioned some verses of Mr.
Cowley, which were laid under my cushion in our seat at church, two
Sundays ago, by some unknown hand; and how uneasy they have made me.
I will transcribe them, my dear, and give you the particulars of our
conversation on that occasion. The verses are these:
"Thou robb'st my days of bus'ness and delights,
Of sleep thou robb'st my nights.
Ah! lovely thief! what wilt thou do?
What! rob me of heaven too?
Thou ev'n my prayers dost steal from me,
And I, with wild idolatry,
Begin to GOD, and end them all to thee.
No, to what purpose should I speak?
No, wretched heart, swell till you break.
She cannot love me, if she would,
And, to say truth, 'twere pity that she should.
No, to the grave thy sorrow bear,
As silent as they will be there;
Since that lov'd hand this mortal wound does give,
So handsomely the thing contrive
That she may guiltless of it live;
So perish, that her killing thee
May a chance-medley, and no murder, be."
I had them in my pocket, and read them to my lady; who asked me, if
her brother had seen them? I told her, it was he that found them under
the cushion I used to sit upon; but did not shew them to me till I
came home; and that I was so vexed at them, that I could not go to
church in the afternoon.
"What should you be vexed at, my dear?" said she: "how could you help
it? My brother was not disturbed at them, was he?"--"No, indeed,"
replied I: "he chid _me_ for being so; and was pleased to make me a
fine compliment upon it; that he did not wonder that every body who
saw me loved me. But I said, this was all that wicked wit is good for,
to inspire such boldness in bad hearts, which might otherwise not dare
to set pen to paper to affront any one. But pray, Madam," added I,
"don't own I have told you of them, lest the least shadow of a thought
should arise, that I was prompted by some vile secret vanity, to tell
your ladyship of them, when I am sure, they have vexed me more than
enough. For is it not a sad thing, that the church should be profaned
by such actions, and such thoughts, as ought not to be brought into
it? Then, Madam, to have any wicked man _dare_ to think of one with
impure notions! It gives me the less opinion of myself, that I should
be so much as _thought of_ as the object of any wicked body's wishes.
I have called myself to account upon it, whether any levity in my
looks, my dress, my appearance, could embolden such an offensive
insolence. And I have thought upon this occasion better of Julius
Caesar's delicacy than I did, when I read of it; who, upon an attempt
made on his wife, to which, however, it does not appear she gave the
least encouragement, said to those who pleaded for her against the
divorce he was resolved upon, _that the wife of Caesar ought not to
be suspected_.--Indeed, Madam," continued I, "it would extremely shock
me, but to know that any wicked heart had conceived a design upon me;
upon _me_, give me leave to repeat, whose only glory and merit is,
that I have had the grace to withstand the greatest of trials and
temptations, from a gentleman more worthy to be beloved, both for
person and mind, than any man in England."
"Your observation, my dear, is truly delicate, and such as becomes
your mind and character. And I really think, if any lady in the world
is secure from vile attempts, it must be you; not only from your
story, so well known, and the love you bear to your man, and his merit
to you, but from the prudence, and natural _dignity_, I will say, of
your behaviour, which, though easy and cheerful, is what would strike
dead the hope of any presumptuous libertine the moment he sees you."
"How can I enough," returned I, and kissed her hand, "acknowledge your
ladyship's polite goodness in this compliment? But, my lady, you see
by the very instance I have mentioned, that a liberty is taken, which
I cannot think of without pain."
"I am pleased with your delicacy, my dear, as I said before. You can
never err, whilst thus watchful over your conduct: and I own you have
the more reason for it, as you have married a mere Julius Caesar, an
open-eyed rake" (that was her word), "who would, on the least surmise,
though ever so causeless on your part, have all his passions up
in arms, in fear of liberties being offered like those he has not
scrupled to take."--"O but, Madam," said I, "he has given me great
satisfaction in one point; for you must think I should not love him as
I ought, if I had not a concern for his future happiness, as well
as for his present; and that is, he has assured me, that in all the
liberties he has taken, he never attempted a married lady, but always
abhorred the thought of so great an evil."--"'Tis pity," said her
ladyship, "that a man who could conquer his passions _so far_, could
not subdue them entirely. This shews it was in his own power to do so;
and increases his crime: and what a wretch is he, who scrupling, under
pretence of conscience or honour, to attempt ladies _within_ the pale,
boggles not to ruin a poor creature _without_; although he knows, he
thereby, most probably, for ever deprived her of that protection, by
preventing her marriage, which even among such rakes as himself, is
deemed, he owns, inviolable; and so casts the poor creature headlong
into the jaws of perdition."
"Ah! Madam," replied I, "this was the very inference I made upon the
occasion."--"And what could he say?"--"He said, my inference was just;
but called me _pretty preacher_;--and once having cautioned me not
to be over-serious to him, so as to cast a gloom, as he said, over
our innocent enjoyments, I never dare to urge matters farther, when he
calls me by that name."
"Well," said my lady, "thou'rt an admirable girl! God's goodness was
great to our family, when it gave thee to it. No wonder," continued
she, "as my brother says, every body that sees you, and has heard your
character, loves you. And this is some excuse for the inconsiderate
folly even of this unknown transcriber."--"Ah! Madam," replied I, "but
is it not a sad thing, that people, if they must take upon them to
like one's behaviour in general, should have the _worst_, instead
of the _best_ thoughts upon it? If I were as good as I _ought_ to
be, and as some _think_ me, must they wish to make me bad for that
Her ladyship was pleased to kiss me as we sat. "My charming Pamela, my
_more than sister,_."--(Did she say?)--Yes, she did say so! and
made my eyes overflow with joy to hear the sweet epithet. "How your