Part 8 out of 11
"I hope not, Sir. But 'tis all as God and you shall please. I am
resolved to do my duty, Sir, if possible. But, indeed, I cannot bear
this cruel suspense! Let me know what is to become of me. Let me
know but what is designed for me, and you shall be sure of all the
acquiescence that my duty and conscience can give to your pleasure."
"What _means_ the dear creature? What _means my_ Pamela? Surely, your
head, child, is a little affected!"
"I can't tell, Sir, but it may!--But let me have my trial, that you
write about. Appoint my day of hearing, and speedily too; for I would
not bear such another month, as the last has been, for the world."
"Come, my dear," said he, "let me attend you to your chamber. But your
mind has taken much too solemn a turn, to enter further now upon this
subject. Think as well of me as I do of you, and I shall be as happy
I wept, "Be not angry, dear Sir: your kind words have just the same
effect upon me now, as in the afternoon."
"Your apprehensions, my dear, must be very strong, that a kind word,
as you call it, has such an effect upon you! But let us wave the
subject for a few days, because I am to set out on a little journey at
four, and had not intended to go to bed, for so few hours."
When we came up, I said, "I was very bold. Sir, to break in upon you;
but I could not help it, if my life had been the forfeit; and you
received me with more goodness than I could have expected. But will
you pardon me, if I ask, whither you go so soon? And if you had
intended to have gone without taking leave of me?"
"I go to Tunbridge, my dear. I should have stept up and taken leave of
you before I went."
"Well, Sir, I will not ask you, who is of your party: I will not--No,"
(putting my hand to his lips) "don't tell me. Sir: it mayn't be
"Don't fear, my dear; I won't tell you: nor am I certain whether it
be _proper_ or not, till we are come to a better understanding. Only,
once more, think as well of me as I do of you."
"Would to Heaven," thought I, "there was the same reason for the one
as for the other!"
I intended (for my heart was full) to enter further into this subject,
so fatal to my repose: but the dear gentleman had no sooner laid his
head on the pillow, but he fell asleep, or feigned to do so, and that
was as prohibitory to my talking as if he had. So I had all my own
entertaining reflections to myself; which gave me not one wink of
sleep; but made me of so much service, as to tell him, when the clock
struck four, that he should not (though I did not say so, you may
think, Madam) make my ready rivaless (for I doubted not her being one
of the party) wait for him.
He arose, and was dressed instantly; and saluting me, bid me be easy
and happy, while it was _yet_ in my own power.
He said, he should be back on Saturday night, as he believed. And I
wished him, most fervently, I am sure, health, pleasure, and safety.
Here, Madam, must I end this letter. My next, will, perhaps contain my
trial, and my sentence: God give me but patience and resignation, and
then whatever occurs, I shall not be unhappy: especially while I
can have, in the last resource, the pleasure of calling myself _your
ladyship's most obliged sister and servant_,
* * * * *
My dear Lady,
I will be preparing to write to you, as I have opportunity,
not doubting but this must be a long letter; and having some
apprehensions, that, as things may fall out, I may want either head
or heart to write to your ladyship, were I to defer it till the
catastrophe of this cruel suspense.
O what a happiness am I sunk from!--And in so few days too! O the
The following letter, in a woman's hand, and signed, as you'll see, by
a woman's name, and spelt as I spell it, will account to your ladyship
for my beginning so heavily. It came by the penny-post.
"I ame unknowne to yowe; but yowe are not so altogathar to mee, becaus
I haue bene edefy'd by yowre pius behafiorr att church, whir I see
yowe with playsir everie Sabbaoth day. I ame welle acquaintid with the
famely of the Coumptesse of---; and yowe maie passiblie haue hard what
you wished not to haue hard concerninge hir. Butt this verie
morninge, I can assur yowe, hir ladishippe is gon with yowre spowse to
Tonbrigge; and theire they are to take lodgings, or a hous; and Mr. B.
is after to come to town, and settel matters to go downe to hir, where
they are to liue as man and wiffe. Make what use yowe pleas of thiss
informasion: and belieue me to haue no other motife, than to serue
yowe, becavs of yowre vartues, whiche make yowe deserue a better
retorne, I am, thof I shall not set my trewe name, _yowre grete
admirer and seruant_,
Just above I called my state, a state of _cruel suspense_. But I
recall the words: for now it is no longer suspense; since, if this
letter says truth, I know the worst: and there is too much appearance
that it does, let the writer be who he will, or his or her motive what
it will: for, after all, I am apt to fancy this a contrivance of Mr.
Turner's, though, for fear of ill consequences, I will not say so.
And now, Madam, I am endeavouring, by the help of religion, and cool
reflection, to bring my mind to bear this heavy evil, and to recollect
what I _was_, and how much more honourable an estate I _am in_, than
I could ever have expected to be in; that my virtue and good name are
secured; and I can return innocent to my dear parents: and these were
once the only pride of my heart.
In addition to what I was then (and yet I pleased myself with my
prospects, poor as they were), I have honest parents, bountifully
provided for, thank God and your ever-dear brother for this
blessing!--and not only provided for--but made useful to him, to the
amount of their provision, well-nigh! There is a pride, my lady!
Then I shall have better conditions from his generosity to support
myself, than I can wish for, or make use of.
Then I have my dear Billy-O be contented, too charming, and too happy
rival, with my husband; and tear not from me my dearest baby, the
pledge, the beloved pledge, of our happier affections, and the dear
remembrance of what I once was!--A thousand pleasing prospects, that
had begun to dawn on my mind, I can bear to have dissipated! But I
cannot, indeed I cannot! permit my dear Mr. B.'s son and heir to be
torn from me.
But I am running on in a strain that shews my impatience, rather than
my resignation; yet some struggles must be allowed me: I could not
have loved, as I love, if I could easily part with my interest in so
beloved a husband.--For my interest I _will_ part with, and sooner
die, than live with a gentleman who has another wife, though I was
the first. Let countesses, if they can, and ladies of birth, choose to
humble themselves to this baseness. The low-born Pamela cannot stoop
to it. Pardon me; you know I only write this with a view to this poor
lady's answer to her noble uncle, of which you wrote me word.
Is now concluding. I hope I am much calmer. For, being disappointed,
in all likelihood, in twenty agreeable schemes and projects, I am now
forming new ones, with as much pleasure to myself as I may.
I am thinking to try to get good Mrs. Jervis with me. You must not,
Madam, be too much concerned for me. After a while, I shall be no
unhappy person; for though I was thankful for my splendid fortunes,
and should have been glad, to be sure I should, of continuing in them,
with so dear a gentleman; yet a high estate had never such dazzling
charms with me as it has with some: if it had, I could not have
resisted so many temptations, possibly, as God enabled me to resist.
Is now come. 'Tis nine, and no Mr. B.--"O why," as Deborah makes the
mother of Sisera say, "is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the
wheels of his chariot?"
I have this note now at eleven o'clock:
"MY DEAREST PAMELA,
"I dispatch the messenger, lest, expecting me this night, you should
be uneasy. I shall not be with you till Monday, when I hope to dine
with my dearest life. _Ever affectionately yours_."
So I'll go up and pray for him, and then to bed.--Yet 'tis a sad
thing!--I have had but poor rest for a great while; nor shall have
any till my fate is decided.--Hard-hearted man, he knows under what
uneasiness he left me!
If God Almighty hears my yesterday's, and indeed my hourly, prayers,
the dear man will be good still; but my aching heart, every time I
think what company he is in (for I find the Countess is _certainly_
one of the party), bodes me little satisfaction.
He's come! He's come! now, just now, come! I will have my trial over
before this night be past, if possible. I'll go down and meet him with
love unfeigned, and a duty equal to my love, although he may forget
his to me. If I conquer myself on this occasion, I conquer nature,
as your ladyship says: and then, by God's grace, I can conquer every
thing. They have taken their house, I suppose: but what need they,
when they'll have one in Bedfordshire, and one in Lincolnshire? But
they know best. God bless him, and reform her! That's all the harm I
wish them, or will wish them!
My dear Mr. B. has received me with great affection and tenderness.
Sure he cannot be so bad!--Sure he cannot!
"I know, my dear," said he, "I left you in great anxiety; but 'tis an
anxiety you have brought upon yourself; and I have not been easy ever
since I parted from you."
"I am sorry for it, Sir."
"Why, my dear love, there is still a melancholy air in your
countenance: indeed, it seems mingled with a kind of joy; I hope at
my return to you. But 'tis easy to see which of the two is the most
"You should see nothing. Sir, that you would not wish to see, if I
could help it."
"I am sorry you cannot. But I am come home to hear all your
grievances, and to redress them, if in my power."
"When, Sir, am I to come upon my trial? I have much to say. I will
tell you everything I think. And, as it may be the last _grievances_,
as you are pleased to call them, I may ever trouble you with, you must
promise to answer me not one word till I have done. For, if it does
but hold, I have great courage, indeed I you don't know half the
sauciness that is in your girl yet; but when I come upon my trial,
you'll wonder at my boldness."
"What means my dearest?" taking me into his arms. "You alarm me
exceedingly, by this moving sedateness."
"Don't let it alarm you. Sir! I mean nothing but good!--But I have
been preparing myself to tell you all my mind. And as an instance of
what you may expect from me, sometimes, Sir, I will be your judge,
and put home questions to you; and sometimes you shall be mine, and at
last pronounce sentence upon me; or, if you won't, I will upon myself;
a severe one to me, it shall be, but an agreeable one, perhaps, to
you!--When comes on the trial. Sir?"
He looked steadily upon me, but was silent. And I said, "But don't
be afraid, Sir, that I will invade your province; for though I shall
count myself your judge, in some cases, you shall be judge paramount
"Dear charmer of my heart," said he, and clasped me to his bosom,
"what a _new_ PAMELA have I in my arms! A mysterious charmer! Let us
instantly go to my closet, or yours, and come upon our mutual trial;
for you have fired my soul with impatience!"
"No, Sir, if you please, we will dine first. I have hardly eaten any
thing these four days; and your company may give me an appetite. I
shall be pleased to sit down at table with you. Sir," taking his hand,
and trying to smile upon him; "for the moments I have of your company,
may be, some time hence, very precious to my remembrance."
I was then forced to turn my head, to hide from him my eyes, brimful
as they were of tears.
He took me again into his arms:--"My dearest Pamela, if you love me,
distract not my soul thus, by your dark and mysterious speeches. You
are displeased with _me_, and I thought I had reason, of late, to take
something amiss in _your_ conduct; but, instead of your suffering by
my anger, you have words and an air that penetrate my very soul."
"O Sir, Sir, treat me not thus kindly! Put on an angrier brow, or how
shall I retain my purpose? How shall I!"
"Dear, dear creature! make not use of _all_ your power to melt me!
_Half_ of it is enough. For there is eloquence in your eyes I cannot
resist; but in your present solemn air, and affecting sentences, you
mould me to every purpose of your heart; so that I am a mere machine,
a passive instrument, to be played upon at your pleasure."
"Dear, kind Sir, how you revive my heart, by your goodness! Perhaps
I have only been in a frightful dream, and am but just now
awakened.--But we will not anticipate our trial. Only, Sir, give
orders, that you are not to be spoken with by any body, when we have
dined; for I must have you all to myself, without interruption."
Just as I had said this, a gentleman calling, I retired to my chamber,
and wrote to this place.
Mr. B. dismissed his friend, without asking him to dine; so I had
him all to myself at dinner--But we said little, and sat not above a
quarter of an hour; looking at each other: he, with impatience, and
some seeming uneasiness; I with more steadiness, I believe, but now
and then a tear starting.
I eat but little, though I tried all I could, and especially as he
helped me, and courted me with tenderness and sweetness--O why were
ever such things as _masquerades_ permitted in a Christian nation!
I chose to go into _my_ closet rather than into _his_; and here I
sit, waiting the dear gentleman's coming up to me. If I keep but my
courage, I shall be pleased. I know the worst, and that will help
me; for he is too noble to use me roughly, when he sees I mean not to
provoke him by upbraidings, any more than I will act, in this case,
beneath the character I ought to assume as his wife.
Mr. B. came up, with great impatience in his looks. I met him at the
chamber door, with a very sedate countenance, and my heart was
high with my purpose, and supported me better than I could have
expected.--Yet, on recollection, now I impute to myself something
of that kind of magnanimity, that was wont to inspire the innocent
sufferers of old, for a still worthier cause than mine; though their
motives could hardly be more pure, in that one hope I had, to be an
humble means of saving the man I love and honour, from errors that
might be fatal to his soul.
I took his hand with boldness:--"Dear Sir," leading him to my closet,
"here is the bar at which I am to take my trial," pointing to the
backs of three chairs, which I had placed in a joined row, leaving
just room to go by on each side. "You must give me, Sir, all my own
way; this is the first, and perhaps the last time, that I shall desire
it.--Nay, dear Sir," turning my face from him, "look not upon me with
an eye of tenderness: if you do I may lose my purposes, important to
me as they are; and however fantastic my behaviour may seem to you,
I want not to move your passions (for the good impressions made upon
them may be too easily dissipated by the winds of _sense_,) but
_your reason_; and if that can be done, I am safe, and shall fear no
"What means all this parade, my dear? Let me perish," that was his
word, "if I know how to account for _you_, or your _humour_."
"You _will_, presently. Sir. But give me all my ways--I pray you
do--This one time only!"
"Well, so, this is your bar, is it? There's an elbow-chair, I see;
take your place in it, Pamela, and here I'll stand to answer all your
"No, Sir, that must not be." So I boldly led him to the elbow-chair.
"You are the judge, Sir; it is I that am to be tried. Yet I will not
say I am a criminal. I know I am not. But that must be proved, Sir,
"Well, take your way; but I fear for your head, my dear, in all this."
"I fear only my heart, Sir, that's all! but there you must sit--So
here," (retiring to the three chairs, and leaning on the backs,) "here
"And now, my dearest Mr. B., you must begin first; you must be my
accuser, as well as my judge."
"I have nothing to accuse you of, my dear, if I _must_ give in to your
moving whimsy. You are everything I wish you to be. But for the last
month you have seemed to be uneasy, and have not done me the justice
to acquaint me with your reasons for it."
"I was in hopes my reasons might have proved to be no reasons; and I
would not trouble you with my ungrounded apprehensions. But now, Sir,
we are come directly to the point; and methinks I stand here as Paul
did before Felix; and like that poor prisoner, if I, Sir, reason of
_righteousness, temperance_, and _judgment to come_, even to make you,
as the great Felix did, tremble, don't put me off to _another day_,
to a _more convenient season_, as that governor did Paul; for you must
bear patiently with all that I have to say."
"Strange, uncommon girl I how unaccountable is all this!--Pr'ythee,
my dear," and he pulled a chair by him, "come and sit down by me, and
without these romantic airs let me hear all you have to say; and teaze
me not with this parade."
"No, Sir, let me stand, if you please, while I can stand; when weary I
will sit down at my bar.
"Now, Sir, since you are so good as to say, you have nothing but
change of temper to accuse me of, I am to answer to that, and assign a
cause; and I will do it without evasion or reserve; but I beseech you
say not one word but Yes or No, to my questions, till I have said
all I have to say, and then you shall find me all silence and
"Well, my strange dear!--But sure your head is a little turned!--What
is your question?"
"Whether, Sir, the Nun--I speak boldly; the cause requires it--who
followed you at the Masquerade every where, is not the Countess of--?"
"What then, my dear:" (speaking with quickness,)--"I _thought_ the
occasion of your sullenness and reserve was this!--But, Pamela--"
"Nay, Sir," interrupted I, "only Yes, or No, if you please: I will be
all silence by-and-by."
"Yes, then."--"Well, Sir, then let me tell you, for I _ask_ you not
(it may be too bold in me to multiply questions,) that she _loves_
you; that you correspond by letters with her--Yes, Sir, _before_ that
letter from her ladyship came, which you received from my hand in
so short and angry a manner, for fear of my curiosity to see its
contents, which would have been inexcusable in me, I own, if I had.
You have talked over to her all your polygamy notions, and she seems
so well convinced of them, as to declare to her noble uncle (who
expostulated with her on the occasions she gave for talk,) that she
had rather be a certain gentleman's second wife, than the first to the
greatest man in England: and you are but just returned from a journey
to Tunbridge, in which that lady was a party; and the motive for it, I
am acquainted with, by this letter."
He was displeased, and frowned: I looked down, being resolved not to
be terrified, if I could help it.
"I have cautioned you, Pamela----"
"I know you have, Sir," interrupted I; "but be pleased to answer me.
Has not the Countess taken a house or lodgings at Tunbridge?"
"She has; and what then?"
"And is her ladyship there, or in town?"
"_There_--and what then?"
"Are you to go to Tunbridge, Sir, soon, or not?--Be pleased to answer
but that one question."
"I _will_ know," rising up in anger, "your informants, Pamela."
"Dear Sir, so you shall, in proper time: you shall know all, when I am
convinced, that your wrath will not be attended with bad consequences
to yourself and others. That is wholly the cause of my reserve in this
point; for I have not had a thought, since I have been yours, that I
wished to be concealed from you.--But your knowledge of the informants
makes nothing at all as to the truth of the information--Nor will I
press you too home. I doubt not, you are soon to return to Tunbridge?"
"I _am_, and what then?--Must the consequence be crime enough to
warrant your jealousy?"
"Dear Sir, don't be so angry," still looking down; for I durst not
trust myself to look up. "I don't do this, as your letter charged me,
in a spirit of matrimonial recrimination: if you don't _tell_ me, that
you see the Countess with pleasure, I _ask_ it not of you; nor have I
anything to say by way of upbraiding. 'Tis my misfortune, that she is
too lovely, and too attractive: and it is the less wonder, that a fine
young gentleman as you are, and a fine young lady as she is, should
engage one another's affections.
"I knew every thing, except what this letter which you shall read
presently, communicates, when you brought the two noble sisters to
visit me: hence proceeded my grief; and should I, Sir, have deserved
to be what I am, if I was _not_ grieved? Religion has helped me, and
God has answered my supplications, and enabled me to act this new
uncommon part before you at this imaginary bar. You shall see, Sir,
that as, on one hand, I want not, as I said before, to move your
passions in my favour; so, on the other, I shall not be terrified by
your displeasure, dreaded by me as it used to be, and as it will be
again, the moment that my raised spirits sink down to their usual
level, or are diverted from this my long meditated purpose, to tell
you all my mind.
"I repeat, then, Sir, that I knew all this, when the two noble sisters
came to visit your poor girl, and to see your Billy. Yet, _grave_ as
the Countess called me, (dear Sir! might I not well be grave, knowing
what I knew?) did I betray any impatience of speech or action, or any
"No, Sir," putting my hand on my breast, "_here_ all my discomposure
lay, vehemently struggling, now and then, and wanting that vent of my
eyes, which it seems (overcome by my joy, to hear myself favourably
spoken of by you and the lady,) it _too soon_ made itself. But I could
not help it--You might have seen. Sir, I could not!
"But I want neither to recriminate nor expostulate; nor yet, Sir, to
form excuses for my general conduct; for that you accuse not in the
main--but be pleased, Sir, to read this letter. It was brought by the
penny-post, as you'll see by the mark. Who the writer is, I know not.
And did _you_, Sir, that knowledge, and your resentment upon it, will
not alter the fact, or give it a more favourable appearance."
I stepped to him, and giving him the letter, came back to my bar, and
sat down on one of the chairs while he read it, drying my eyes; for
they would overflow as I talked, do what I could.
He was much moved at the contents of this letter; called it malice,
and hoped he might find out the author of it, saying, he would
advertise 500 guineas reward for the discoverer.
He put the letter in his pocket, "Well, Pamela, you believe all you
have said, no doubt: and this matter has a black appearance, indeed,
if you do. But who was your _first_ informant?--Was that by letter or
personally? That Turner, I doubt not, is at the bottom of all this.
The vain coxcomb has had the insolence to imagine the Countess would
favour an address of his; and is enraged to meet with a repulse; and
has taken liberties upon it, that have given birth to all the scandals
scattered about on this occasion. Nor do I doubt but he has been the
Serpent at the ear of my Eve."
I stood up at the bar, and said, "Don't be too hasty, Sir, in your
judgment--You _may_ be mistaken."
"But _am_ I mistaken, Pamela?--You never told me an untruth in cases
the most important to you to conceal. _Am_ I mistaken?"
"Dear Sir, if I should tell you it is _not_ Mr. Turner, you'll guess
at somebody else: and what avails all this to the matter in hand? You
are your own master, and must stand or fall by your own conscience.
God grant that _that_ may acquit you!--But my intention is not either
to accuse or upbraid you."
"But, my dear, to the fact then:--This is a malicious and a villainous
piece of intelligence, given you, perhaps, for the sake of designs and
views, that may not yet be proper to be avowed."
"By God's grace, Sir, I defy all designs and views of any one, upon my
"But, my dear, the charge is basely false: we have not agreed upon any
such way of life."
"Well, Sir, all this only proves, that the intelligence may be a
little premature. But now let me, Sir, sit down one minute, to recover
my failing spirits, and then I'll tell you all I purpose to do, and
all I have to say, and that with as much brevity as I can, for fear
neither my head nor my heart should perform the part I have been so
long in endeavouring to prevail upon them to perform."
I sat down then, he taking out the letter, and reading it again with
much vexation and anger in his countenance; and after a few tears
and sobs, that would needs be so officious as to offer their service,
unbidden, and undesired, to introduce what I had to say; I rose up, my
feet trembling, as well as my knees; which, however, leaning against
the seats of the chairs, that made my bar, as my hand held by the
back, tolerably supported me, I cleared my voice, wiped my eyes, and
"You have all the excuse, dear Mr. B., that a gentleman can have in
the object of your present passion."
"Present passion, Pamela!"
"Dear Sir, hear me without interruption.
"The Countess is a charming lady. She excels your poor girl in all
those outward graces of form, which your kind fancy (more valued by me
than the opinion of all the world besides) had made you attribute
to me. And she has all those additional advantages, as nobleness of
birth, of alliance, and deportment, which I want. (Happy for you, Sir,
that you had known her ladyship some months ago, before you disgraced
yourself by the honours you have done me!) This therefore frees you
from the aggravated crime of those, who prefer, to their own ladies,
less amiable and less deserving persons; and I have not the sting
which those must have, who are contemned and ill-treated for the sake
of their inferiors. Yet cannot the Countess love you better than your
girl loves you, not even for your person, which must, I doubt, be
_her_ principal attachment! when I can truly say, all noble
and attracting to the outward eye as it is, that is the least
consideration by far with me: no, Sir, your generous and beneficent
mind, is the principal object of my affection; and my pride in hoping
to be an humble means, in the hands of Providence, to bless you
_hereafter_ as well as _here_, gave me more pleasure than all the
blessings I reaped from your name or your fortune. Judge then, my
dearest Mr. B., my grief and disappointment.
"But I will not expostulate: I _will not_, because it _must_ be to no
purpose; for could my fondness, and my watchful duty to you, have kept
you steady, I should not now appear before you in this solemn manner:
and I know the charms of my rival are too powerful for me to contend
with. Nothing but divine grace can touch your heart: and that I expect
not, from the nature of the case, should be instantaneous.
"I will therefore. Sir, dear as you are to me--(Don't look with such
tender surprise upon me!) give up your person to the happier, to my
_worthier_ rival. For since such is your will, and seem to be your
engagements, what avails it to me to oppose them?
"I have only to beg, that you will be so good as to permit me to
go down to Kent, to my dear parents, who, with many more, are daily
rejoicing in your favour and bounty. I will there" (holding up my
folded hands) "pray for you every hour of my life; and for every one
who shall be dear to you, not excepting the charming Countess.
"I will never take your name into my lips, nor suffer any other in
my hearing, but with reverence and gratitude, for the good I and mine
_have_ reaped at your hands: nor wish to be freed from my obligations
to you, except you shall choose to be divorced from me; and if so
I will give your wishes all the forwardness I honourably can, with
regard to my own character and yours, and that of your beloved baby.
"But you must give me something worth living for along with you; your
Billy and mine!--Unless it is your desire to kill me quite! and then
'tis done, and nothing will stand in your happy Countess's way, if
you tear from my arms my _second_ earthly good, after I am deprived of
you, my first.
"I will there, Sir, dedicate all my time to my first duties; happier
far, than once I could have hoped to be! And if, by any accident, and
misunderstanding between you, you should part by consent, and you
will have it so, my heart shall be ever yours, and my hopes shall be
resumed of being an instrument still for your future good, and I will
receive your returning ever-valued heart, as if nothing had happened,
the moment I can be sure it will be wholly mine.
"For, think not, dear Sir, whatever be your notions of polygamy,
that I will, were my life to depend upon it, consent to live with a
gentleman, dear as, God is my witness," (lifting up my tearful eyes)
"you are to me, who lives in what I cannot but think open sin with
another! You _know_, Sir, and I appeal to you for the purity, and I
will aver piety of my motives, when I say this, that I _would not_;
and as you do know this, I cannot doubt but nay proposal will be
agreeable to you both. And I beg of you, dear Sir, to take me at my
word; and don't let me be tortured, as I have been so many weeks, with
such anguish of mind, that nothing but religious considerations can
make supportable to me."
"And are you in earnest, Pamela?" coming to me, and folding me in his
arms over the chair's back, the seat of which supported my trembling
knees, "Can you so easily part with me?"
"I can, Sir, and I will!--rather than divide my interest in you,
knowingly, with any lady upon earth. But say not, can I part with you.
Sir; it is you that part with me: and tell me, Sir, tell me but what
you had intended should become of me?"
"You talk to me, my dearest life, as if all you had heard against
me was true; and you would have me answer you, (would you?) as if it
"I want nothing to convince me, Sir, that the Countess loves you:
you know the rest of my information: judge for me, what I can, what I
ought to believe!--You know the rumours of the world concerning you:
Even I, who stay so much at home, and have not taken the least pains
to find out my wretchedness, nor to confirm it, since I knew it, have
come to the hearing of it; and if you know the licence taken with both
your characters, and yet correspond so openly, must it not look to me
that you value not your honour in the world's eye, nor my lady hers? I
told you, Sir, the answer she made to her uncle."
"You told me, my dear, as you were told. Be tender of a lady's
reputation--for your own sake. No one is exempted from calumny; and
even words said, and the occasion of saying them not known, may bear
a very different construction from 'what they would have done, had the
occasion been told."
"This may be all true. Sir: I wish the lady would be as tender of her
reputation as I would be, let her injure me in your affections as she
will. But can you say, Sir, that there is nothing between you, that
should _not_ be, according to _my_ notions of virtue and honour, and
according to your _own_, which I took pride in, before that fatal
"You answer me not," continued I; "and may I not fairly presume you
cannot as I wish to be answered? But come, dearest Sir," (and I put
my arms around his neck) "let me not urge you too boldly. I will never
forget your benefits, and your past kindnesses to me. I have been a
happy creature: no one, till within these few weeks, was ever so happy
as I. I will love you still with a passion as ardent as ever I loved
you. Absence cannot lessen such a love as mine: I am sure it cannot.
"I see your difficulties. You have gone too far to recede. If you can
make it easy to your conscience, I will wait with patience my happier
destiny; and I will wish to live (if I can be convinced you wish me
not to die) in order to pray for you, and to be a directress to the
first education of my dearest baby.
"You sigh, dear Sir; repose your beloved face next to my fond heart.
'Tis all your own: and ever shall be, let it, or let it not, be worthy
of the honour in your estimation.
"But yet, my dear Mr. B., if one could as easily, in the prime of
sensual youth, look twenty years backward, what an empty vanity, what
a mere nothing, will be all those grosser satisfactions, that now give
wings of desire to our debased appetites!
"Motives of religion will have their due force upon _your_ mind one
day, I hope; as, blessed be God, they have enabled _me_ to talk to you
on such a touching point (after infinite struggles, I own,) with so
much temper and resignation; and then, my dearest Mr. B., when we come
to that last bed, from which the piety of our friends shall lift us,
but from which we shall never be able to raise ourselves; for, dear
Sir, your Countess, and you, and your poor Pamela, must all come to
this!--we shall find what it is will give us true joy, and enable us
to support the pangs of the dying hour. Think you, my dearest Sir,"
(and I pressed my lips to his forehead, as his head was reclined on
my throbbing bosom,) "that _then_, in that important moment, what
now gives us the greatest pleasure, will have any part in our
consideration, but as it may give us woe or comfort in the reflection?
"But I will not, O best beloved of my soul, afflict you farther. Why
should I thus sadden all your gaudy prospects? I have said enough to
such a heart as yours, if Divine grace touches it. And if not, all I
can say will be of no avail!--I will leave you therefore to that, and
to your own reflections. And after giving you ten thousand thanks for
your indulgent patience with me, I will only beg, that I may set out
in a week for Kent, with my dear Billy; that you will receive one
letter at least, from me, of gratitude and blessings; it shall not be
of upbraidings and exclamations.
"But my child you must not deny me; for I shall haunt, like his
shadow, every place wherein you shall put my Billy, if you should be
so unkind to deny him to me!--And if you will permit me to have the
dear Miss Goodwin with me, as you had almost led me to hope, I will
read over all the books of education, and digest them, as well as I am
able, in order to send you my scheme, and to show you how fit, I hope
your _indulgence_, at least, will make you think me, of having two
such precious trusts reposed in me!"
I was silent, waiting in tears his answer. But his generous heart was
touched, and seemed to labour within him for expression.
He came round to me at last, and took me in his arms; "Exalted
creature!" said he: "noble-minded Pamela! Let no bar be put between
us henceforth! No wonder, when one looks back to your first promising
dawn of excellence, that your fuller day should thus irresistibly
dazzle such weak eyes as mine. Whatever it costs me, and I have been
inconsiderately led on by blind passion for an object too charming,
but which I never thought equal to my Pamela, I will (for it is yet,
I bless God, in my power), restore to your virtue a husband all your
"O Sir, Sir," (and I should have sunk with joy, had not his kind arms
supported me,) "what have you said?--Can I be so happy as to behold
you innocent as to deed! God, of his infinite goodness, continue you
both so!--And, Oh! that the dear lady would make me as truly love her,
for the graces of her mind, as I admire her for the advantages of her
"You are virtue itself, my dearest life; and from this moment I will
reverence you as my tutelary angel. I shall behold you with awe, and
implicitly give up myself to all your dictates: for what you _say_,
and what you _do_, must be ever right. But I will not, my dearest
life, too lavishly promise, lest you should think it the sudden
effects of passions thus movingly touched, and which may subside
again, when the soul, as you observed in your own case, sinks to its
former level: but this I promise (and I hope you believe me, and will
pardon the pain I have given you, which made me fear more than once,
that your head was affected, so _uncommon_, yet so like _yourself_,
has been the manner of your acting,) that I will break off a
correspondence that has given you so much uneasiness: and my Pamela
may believe, that if I can be as good as my word in this point, she
will never more be in danger of any rival whatever.
"But say, my dear love," added he, "say you forgive me; and resume but
your former cheerfulness, and affectionate regards to me, else I shall
suspect the sincerity of your forgiveness: and you shall indeed go to
Kent, but not without me, nor your boy neither; and if you insist upon
it, the poor child you have wished so often and so generously to have,
shall be given up absolutely to your disposal."
Do you think. Madam, I could speak any one distinct sentence? No
indeed I could not. I was just choked with my joy; I never was so
before. And my eyes were in a manner fixed, as he told me afterwards;
and that he was a little startled, seeing nothing but the whites; for
the sight was out of its orbits, in a manner lifted up to heaven--in
ecstasy for a turn so sudden, and so unexpected!
We were forced to separate soon after; for there was no bearing each
other, so excessive was my Joy, and his goodness. He left me, and went
down to his own closet.
Judge my employment you will, I am sure, my dear lady. I had new
ecstasy to be blest with, in a thankfulness so exalted, that it left
me all light and pleasant, as if I had shook off body, and trod in
air; so much heaviness had I lost, and so much joy had I received.
From two such extremes, how was it possible I could presently hit the
medium? For when I had given up my beloved husband, as lost to me, and
had dreaded the consequences to his future state: to find him not only
untainted as to deed, but, in all probability, mine upon better and
surer terms than ever--O, Madam! must not this give a joy beyond all
joy, and surpassing all expression!
About eight o'clock Mr. B. sent me up these lines from his closet,
which will explain what I meant, as to the papers I must beg your
ladyship to return me.
"My dear Pamela,
"I have so much real concern at the anguish I have given you, and am
so much affected with the recollection of the uncommon scenes which
passed between us, just now, that I write, because I know not how
to look so excellent a creature in the face--You must therefore sup
without me, and take your Mrs. Jervis to bed with you; who, I doubt
not, knows all this affair; and you may tell her the happy event.
"You must not interfere with me just now, while writing upon a subject
which takes up all my attention; and which, requiring great delicacy,
I may, possibly, be all night before I can please myself in it.
"I am determined to make good my promise to you. But if you have
written to your mother, Miss Darnford, or to Lady Davers, anything of
this affair, you must shew me the copies, and let me into every tittle
how you came by your information. I solemnly promise you, on my honour
(that has not yet been violated to you, and I hope never will), that
not a soul shall know or suffer by the communication, not even Turner;
for I am confident he has had some hand in it. This request you must
comply with, if you can confide in me; for I shall make some use of it
(as prudent a one as I am able), for the sake of every one concerned,
in the conclusion of the correspondence between the lady and myself.
Whatever you may have said in the bitterness of your heart, in the
letters I require to see, or whatever any of those, to whom they
are directed, shall say, on the bad prospect, shall be forgiven, and
looked upon as deserved, by your _ever-obliged and faithful_, &c."
I returned the following:
"Dearest, dear Sir,
"I will not break in upon you, while you are so importantly employed.
Mrs. Jervis has indeed seen my concern for some time past, and has
heard rumours, as I know by hints she has given me; but her prudence,
and my reserves, have kept us from saying anything to one another of
it. Neither my mother nor Miss Darnford know a tittle of it from me.
I have received a letter of civility from Miss, and have answered it,
taking and giving thanks for the pleasure of each other's company, and
best respects from her, and the Lincolnshire families, to your dear
self. These, my copy, and her original, you shall see when you please.
But, in truth, all that has passed, is between Lady Davers and me, and
I have not kept copies of mine; but I will dispatch a messenger to her
ladyship for them, if you please, in the morning, before it is light,
not doubting your kind promise of excusing everything and everybody.
"I beg, dear Sir, you will take care your health suffers not by your
sitting up; for the nights are cold and damp.
"I will, now you have given me the liberty, let Mrs. Jervis know how
happy you have made me, by dissipating my fears, and the idle rumours,
as I shall call them to her, of calumniators.
"God bless you, dear Sir, for your goodness and favour to _your
He was pleased to return me this:
"MY DEAR LIFE,
"You need not be in such haste to send. If you write to Lady Davers
how the matter has ended, let me see the copy of it: and be very
particular in your, or rather, my trial. It shall be a standing lesson
to me for my future instruction; as it will be a fresh demonstration
of your excellence, which every hour I more and more admire. I am glad
Lady Davers only knows the matter. I think I ought to avoid seeing
you, till I can assure you, that every thing is accommodated to your
desire. Longman has sent me some advices, which will make it proper
for me to meet him at Bedford or Gloucester. I will not go to
Tunbridge, till I have all your papers; and so you'll have three
days to procure them. Your boy, and your penmanship, will find you
no disagreeable employment till I return. Nevertheless, on second
thoughts, I will do myself the pleasure of breakfasting with you in
the morning, to re-assure you of my unalterable purpose to approve
myself, _my dearest life, ever faithfully yours."_
Thus, I hope, is happily ended this dreadful affair. My next shall
give the particulars of our breakfast conversation. But I would not
slip this post, without acquainting you with this blessed turn; and to
beg the favour of you to send me back my letters; which will lay a
new obligation upon, _dear Madam, your obliged sister, and humble
MY DEAREST LADY,
Your joyful correspondent has obtained leave to get every thing: ready
to quit London by Friday next, when your kind brother promises to
carry me down to Kent, and allows me to take my charmer with me.
There's happiness for you, Madam! To see, as I hope I shall see, upon
one blessed spot, a dear faithful husband, a beloved child, and a
father and mother, whom I so much love and honour!
Mr. B. told me this voluntarily, this morning at breakfast; and then,
in the kindest manner, took leave of me, and set out for Bedfordshire.
But I should, according to my promise, give you a few particulars of
our breakfast conference.
I bid Polly withdraw, when her master came up to breakfast; and I ran
to the door to meet him, and threw myself on my knees: "O forgive
me, dearest, dear Sir, all my boldness of yesterday!--My heart was
strangely affected--or I could not have acted as I did. But never
fear, my dearest Mr. B., that my future conduct shall be different
from what it used to be, or that I shall keep up to a spirit, which
you hardly thought had place in the heart of your dutiful Pamela, till
she was thus severely tried."--"I have weighed well your conduct, my
dear life," raising me to his bosom; "and I find an uniformity in it,
that is surprisingly just."
He led me to the tea-table, and sat down close by me. Polly came in.
"If every thing," said he, "be here, that your lady wants, you may
withdraw; and let Colbrand and Abraham know I shall be with them
presently. Nobody shall wait upon me but you, my dear." Polly
"I always _loved_ you, my dearest," added he, "and that with a
passionate fondness, which has not, I dare say, many examples in the
married life: but I _revere_ you now. And so great is my reverence for
your virtue, that I chose to sit up all night, to leave you for a few
days, until, by disengaging myself from all intercourses that have
given you uneasiness, I can convince you, that I have rendered myself
as worthy as I can be, of you upon your own terms. I will account to
you for every step I _shall_ take, and will reveal to you every step
I have taken: for this I _can_ do, because the lady's honour is
untainted, and wicked rumour has treated her worse than she could
I told him, that since _he_ had named the lady, I would take the
liberty to say, I was glad, for her own sake, to hear that. Changing
the subject a little precipitately, as if it gave him pain, he told
me, as above, that I might prepare on Friday for Kent; and I parted
with him with greater pleasure than ever I did in my life. So
necessary sometimes are afflictions, not only to teach one how to
subdue one's passions, and to make us, in our happiest states, know
we are still on earth, but even when they are overblown to augment and
redouble our joys!
I am now giving orders for my journey, and quitting this undelightful
town, as it has been, and is, to me. My next will be from Kent, I
hope; and I may then have an opportunity to acquaint your ladyship
with the particulars, and (if God answers my prayers), the conclusion
of the affair, which has given me so much uneasiness.
Meantime, I am, with the greatest gratitude, for the kind share you
have taken in my past afflictions, my good lady, _your ladyship's most
obliged sister and servant_,
My dearest Pamela,
Inclosed are all the letters you send for. I rejoice with you upon
the turn this afflicting affair has taken, through your inimitable
prudence, and a courage I thought not in you. A wretch!--to give you
so much discomposure!--But I will not, if he be good now, rave against
him, as I was going to do. I am impatient to hear what account he
gives of the matter. I hope he will be able to abandon this--I won't
call her names; for she loves the wretch; and that, if he be just to
_you_, will be her punishment.
What care ought these young widows to take of their reputation?--And
how watchful ought they to be over themselves!--She was hardly out of
her weeds, and yet must go to a masquerade, and tempt her fate, with
all her passions about her, with an independence, and an affluence of
fortune, that made her able to think of nothing but gratifying them.
She has good qualities--is generous--is noble--but has strong
passions, and is thoughtless and precipitant.
My lord came home last Tuesday, with a long story of my brother and
her: for I had kept the matter as secret as I could, for his sake and
yours. It seems he had it from Sir John----, uncle to the young Lord
C., who is very earnest to bring on a treaty of marriage between
her and his nephew, who is in love with her, and is a fine young
gentleman; but has held back, on the liberties she has lately given
herself with my brother.
I hope she is innocent, as to fact; but I know not what to say to it.
He ought to be hanged, if he did not say she was. Yet I have great
opinion of his veracity: and yet he is so bold a wretch!--And her
inconsideration is so great!
But lest I should alarm your fears, I will wait till I have the
account he gives you of this dark affair; till when, I congratulate
you upon the leave you have obtained to quit the town, and on your
setting out for a place so much nearer to Tunbridge. Forgive me,
Pamela; but he is an intriguing wretch, and I would not have you to be
too secure, lest the disappointment should be worse for you, than
what you knew before: but assure yourself, that I am in all cases and
events, _your affectionate sister and admirer_,
_From Mrs. B. to Lady Davers._
MY DEAREST LADY,
Mr. B. came back from Bedfordshire to his time. Every thing being in
readiness, we set out with my baby, and his nurse. Mrs. Jervis,
when every thing in London is settled by her direction, goes to
We were met by my father and mother in a chaise and pair, which your
kind brother had presented to them unknown to me, that they might
often take the air together, and go to church in it (which is at some
distance) on Sundays. The driver is clothed in a good brown cloth
suit, but no livery; for that my parents could not have borne, as Mr.
B.'s goodness made him consider.
Your ladyship must needs think, how we were all overjoyed at this
meeting: for my own part I cannot express how much I was transported
when we arrived at the farm-house, to see all I delighted in, upon one
happy spot together.
Mr. B. is much pleased with the alterations here: and it is a sweet,
rural, and convenient place.
We were welcomed into these parts by the bells, and by the minister,
and people of most note; and were at church together on Sunday.
Mr. B. is to set out on Tuesday for Tunbridge, with my papers. A happy
issue, attend that affair, I pray God! He has given me the following
particulars of it, to the time of my trial, beginning at the
He says, that at the masquerade, when, pleased with the fair Nun's
shape, air and voice, he had followed her to a corner most unobserved,
she said in Italian, "Why are my retirements invaded, audacious
Spaniard?"--"Because, my dear Nun, I hope you would have it so."
"I can no otherwise," returned she, "strike dead thy bold presumption,
than to shew thee my scorn and anger thus!"--"And she unmasking
surprised me," said Mr. B., "with a face as beautiful, but not so
soft as my Pamela's."--"And I," said Mr. B., "to shew I can defy
your resentment, will shew you a countenance as intrepid as yours is
lovely." And so he drew aside his mask too.
He says, he observed his fair Nun to be followed wherever she went, by
a mask habited like Testimony in Sir Courtly Nice, whose attention was
fixed upon her and him; and he doubted not, that it was Mr. Turner.
So he and the fair Nun took different ways, and he joined me and Miss
Darnford, and found me engaged as I before related to your ladyship,
and his Nun at his elbow unexpected.
That afterwards as he was engaged in French with a lady who had the
dress of an Indian Princess, and the mask of an Ethiopian, his fair
Nun said, in broken Spanish, "Art thou at all complexions?--By St.
Ignatius, I believe thou'rt a rover!"
"I am trying," replied he in Italian, "whether I can meet with any
lady comparable to my lovely Nun."
"And what is the result?"--"Not one: no not one."--"I wish you could
not help being in earnest," said she; and slid from him.
He engaged her next at the sideboard, drinking under her veil a glass
of Champaign. "You know, Pamela," said he, "there never was a sweeter
mouth in the world than the Countess's except your own." She drew away
the glass, as if unobserved by any body, to shew me the lower part of
"I cannot say, but I was struck with her charming manner, and an
unreservedness of air and behaviour, that I had not before seen so
becoming. The place, and the freedom of conversation and deportment
allowed there, gave her great advantages in my eye, although her habit
required, as I thought, a little more gravity and circumspection: and
I could not tell how to resist a secret pride and vanity, which is but
too natural to both sexes, when they are taken notice of by persons so
worthy of regard.
"Naturally fond of every thing that carried the face of an intrigue, I
longed to know who this charming Nun was. And next time I engaged
her, 'My good sister,' said I, 'how happy should I be, if I might be
admitted to a conversation with you at your grate!'
"'Answer me,' said she, 'thou bold Spaniard,' (for that was a name
she seemed fond of, which gave me to imagine, that boldness was a
qualification she was not displeased with. 'Tis not unusual
with our vain sex," observed he, "to construe even reproaches
to our advantage,") 'is the lady here, whose shackles thou
wearest?'--'Do I look like a man shackled, my fairest Nun?'--'No--no!
not much like such an one. But I fancy thy wife is either a _Widow_
or a _Quaker_.'--'Neither,' replied I, taking, by equivocation, her
"'And art thou not a married wretch? Answer me quickly!--We are
observed.'--'No,' said I.--'Swear to me, thou art not.'--'By St.
Ignatius, then;' for, my dear, I was no _wretch_, you know.--'Enough!'
said she, and slid away; and the Fanatic would fain have engaged her,
but she avoided him as industriously.
"Before I was aware, she was at my elbow, and, in Italian, said, 'That
fair Quaker, yonder, is the wit of the assemblee; her eyes seem always
directed to thy motions; and her person shews some intimacies have
passed with somebody; is it with thee?'--'It would be my glory if
it was,' said I, 'were her face answerable to her person.'--'Is
it not?'--'I long to know,'" replied Mr. B.--"I am glad thou dost
not."--"I am glad to hear my fair Nun say that."--"Dost thou," said
she, "hate shackles? Or is it, that thy hour is not yet come?"
"I wish," replied he, "this be not the hour, the very hour!"
pretending (naughty gentleman!--What ways these men have!) to sigh.
She went again to the side-board, and put her handkerchief upon it.
Mr. B. followed, and observed all her motions. She drank a glass of
lemonade, as he of Burgundy; and a person in a domino, supposed to be
the King, passing by, took up every one's attention but Mr. B.'s who
eyed her handkerchief, not doubting but she laid it there on purpose
to forget to take it up. Accordingly she left it there; and slipping
by him, he, unobserved, as he believes, put it in his pocket, and at
the corner found the cover of a letter--"To the Right Honourable the
Countess Dowager of ----"
That after this, the fair Nun was so shy, so reserved, and seemed
so studiously to avoid him, that he had no opportunity to return her
handkerchief; and the Fanatic observing how she shunned him, said, in
French, "What, Monsieur, have you done to your Nun?"
"I found her to be a very coquette; and told her so; and she is
"How could you affront a lady," replied he, "with such a _charming
"By that I had reason to think," said Mr. B., "that he had seen her
unmask; and I said, 'It becomes not any character, but that you
wear, to pry into the secrets of others, in order to make ill-natured
remarks, and perhaps to take ungentlemanlike advantages.'"
"No man should make that observation," returned he, "whose views would
bear prying into."
"I was nettled," said Mr. B., "at this warm retort, and drew aside my
mask: 'Nor would any man, who wore not a mask, tell me so!'
"He took not the challenge, and slid from me, and I saw him no more
"So!" thought I, "another instance this might have been of the
glorious consequences of masquerading." O my lady, these masquerades
are abominable things!
The King, they said, met with a free speaker that night: in truth,
I was not very sorry for it; for if monarchs will lay aside their
sovereign distinctions, and mingle thus in masquerade with the worst
as well as the highest (I cannot say _best_) of their subjects, let
'em take the consequence. Perhaps they might have a chance to hear
more truth here than in their palaces--the only good that possibly can
accrue from them--that is to say, if they made a good use of it when
they heard it. For you see, my monarch, though he told the truth,
as it happened, received the hint with more resentment than
thankfulness!--So, 'tis too likely did the monarch of us both.
And now, my lady, you need not doubt, that so polite a gentleman would
find an opportunity to return the Nun her handkerchief!--To be sure
he would: for what man of honour would rob a lady of any part of her
apparel? And should he, that wanted to steal a heart content himself
with a handkerchief?--No no, that was not to be expected. So, what
does he do, but resolve, the very next day, after dinner, to pursue
this affair: accordingly, the poor Quaker little thinking of the
matter, away goes her naughty Spaniard, to find out his Nun at her
grate, or in her parlour rather.
He asks for the Countess. Is admitted into the outward parlour--her
woman comes down; requires his name and business. His name he
mentioned not. His business was, to restore into her lady's own hands,
something she had dropt the night before.--Was desired to wait.
I should have said, that he was dressed very richly--having no
design at all to make conquests; no, not he!--O this wicked love
of intrigue!--A kind of olive-coloured velvet, and fine brocaded
waistcoat. I said, when he took leave of me, "You're a charming Mr.
B.," and saluted him, more pressingly than he returned it; but little
did I think, when I plaited so smooth his rich laced ruffles, and
bosom, where he was going, or what he had in his plotting heart. He
went in his own chariot, that he did: so that he had no design to
conceal who he was--But intrigue, a new conquest, vanity, pride!--O
these men!--They had need talk of ladies!--But it is half our own
fault, indeed it is, to encourage their vanity.
Well, Madam, he waited till his stateliness was moved to send up
again, that he would wait on her ladyship some other time. So down she
came, dressed most richly, jewels in her breast, and in her hair,
and ears--But with a very reserved and stately air. He approached
her--Methinks I see him, dear saucy gentleman. You know, Madam, what a
noble manner of address he has.
He took the handkerchief from his bosom with an air; and kissing it,
presented it to her, saying, "This happy estray, thus restored, begs
leave, by me, to acknowledge its lovely owner!"
"What mean you, Sir?--Who are you, Sir?--What mean you?"
"Your ladyship will excuse me: but I am incapable of meaning any thing
but what is honourable."--(_No, to be sure_)--"This, Madam, you left
last night, when the domino took up every one's attention but mine,
which was much better engaged; and I take the liberty to restore it to
She turned to the mark; a coronet at one corner, "'Tis true, Sir, I
see now it is one of mine: but such a trifle was not worthy of being
brought by such a gentleman as you seem to be; nor of my trouble to
receive it in person. Your servant, Sir, might have delivered the
bagatelle to mine."--"Nothing should be called so that belongs to
the Countess of ----"--"She was no Countess, Sir, that _dropt_
that handkerchief, and a gentleman would not attempt to penetrate,
_unbecomingly_, through the disguises a lady thinks proper to assume;
especially at such a place where every enquiry should begin and end."
This, Madam, from a lady, who had unmasked--because _she would not
be known_!--Very pretty, indeed!--Oh! these slight cobweb airs of
modesty! so easily seen through. Hence such advantages against us are
taken by the men. She had looked out of her window, and seen no arms
quartered with his own; for you know, my lady, I would never permit
any to be procured for me: so, she doubted not, it seems, but he was
an unmarried gentleman, as he had intimated to her the night before.
He told her it was impossible, after having seen the finest lady in
the world, not to wish to see her again; and that he hoped he did not,
_unbecomingly_, break through her ladyship's reserves: nor had he made
any enquiries, either on the spot, or off it; having had a much better
direction by accident.
"As how, Sir?" said she, as he told me, with so bewitching an air,
between attentive and pleasant, that, bold gentleman, forgetting
all manner of distance, so early too! he clasped his arms around her
waist, and saluted her, struggling with anger and indignation, he
says; but I think little of that!
"Whence this insolence? How, now, Sir! Begone!" were her words, and
she rung the bell; but he set his back against the door--(I never
heard such boldness in my life, Madam!)--till she would forgive him.
And, it is plain, she was not so angry as she pretended: for her woman
coming, she was calmer;--"Nelthorpe," said she, "fetch my snuff box,
with the lavender in it."
Her woman went; and then she said, "You told me, Sir, last night, of
your intrepidness: I think you are the boldest man I ever met with:
but, Sir, surely you ought to know, that you are not now in the
I think, truly, Madam, the lady might have saved herself that speech:
for, upon my word, they neither of them wore masks--Though they ought
to have put on one of blushes--I am sure I do for them, while I am
writing. Her irresistible loveliness served for an excuse, that
she could not disapprove from a man she disliked not: and his
irresistible--may I say, assurance, Madam?--found too ready an excuse.
"Well, but, Sir," said I, "pray, when her ladyship was made acquainted
that you were a married gentleman, how then?--Pray, did _she_ find it
out, or did _you_ tell her?"--"Patience, my dear!"--"Well pray, Sir,
go on.--What was next?"
"Why, next, I put on a more respectful and tender air: I would have
taken her hand indeed, but she would not permit it; and when she saw I
would not go till her lavender snuff came down (for so I told her, and
her woman was not in haste), she seated herself, and I sat by her,
and began to talk about a charming lady I saw the night before, after
parting with her ladyship, but not equal by any means to her: and I
was confident this would engage her attention; for I never knew the
lady who thought herself handsome, that was not taken by this topic.
Flattery and admiration, Pamela, are the two principal engines by
which our sex make their first approaches to yours; and if you listen
to us, we are sure, either by the sap or the mine, to succeed, and
blow you up when ever we please, if we do but take care to suit
ourselves to your particular foibles; or, to carry on the metaphor,
point our batteries to your weak side--for the strongest fortresses,
my dear, are weaker in one place than another."--"A fine thing, Sir,"
said I, "to be so learned a gentleman!"--"I wish, however," thought I,
"you had always come honestly by your knowledge."
"When the lavender snuff came down, we were engaged in an agreeable
disputation, which I had raised on purpose to excite her opposition,
she having all the advantage in it; and in order to my giving it up,
when she was intent upon it, as a mark of my consideration for her."
"I the less wonder, Sir," said I, "at your boldness (pardon the word!)
with such a lady, in your first visit, because of her freedoms, when
masked, her unmasking, and her handkerchief, and letter cover. To
be sure, the lady, when she saw, next day, such a fine gentleman and
handsome equipage, had little reason, after her other freedoms, to
be so very nice with you as to decline an ensnaring conversation,
calculated on purpose to engage her attention, and to lengthen out
your visit. But did she not ask you who you were?"
"Her servants did of mine. And her woman (for I knew all afterwards,
when we were better acquainted), whispered her lady, that I was Mr. B.
of Bedfordshire; and had an immense estate, to which they were so kind
as to add two or three thousand pounds a year, out of pure good will
to me: I thank them."
"But pray, dear Sir, what had you in view in all this? Did you intend
to carry this matter, at first, as far as ever you could?"--"I had, at
first, my dear, no view, but such as pride and vanity suggested to
me. I was carried away by inconsideration, and the love of intrigue,
without even thinking about the consequences. The lady, I observed,
had abundance of fine qualities. I thought I could converse with her,
on a very agreeable foot, and her honour I knew, at any time, would
preserve me mine, if ever I should find it in danger; and, in my soul,
I preferred my Pamela to all the ladies on earth, and questioned not,
but that, and your virtue, would be another barrier to my fidelity.
"In a word, therefore, pride, vanity, thoughtlessness, were my
misguiders, as I said. The Countess's honour and character, and
your virtue and merit, my dear, and my obligations to you, were my
defences: but I find one should avoid the first appearances of evil.
One knows not one's own strength. 'Tis presumptuous to depend upon it,
where wit and beauty are in the way on one side, and youth and strong
passions on the other."
"You certainly, Sir, say right. But be pleased to tell me what her
ladyship said when she knew you were married."--"The Countess's woman
was in my interest, and let me into some of her lady's secrets, having
a great share in her confidence; and particularly acquainted me,
how loth her lady was to believe I was married. I had paid her three
visits in town, and one to her seat upon the Forest, before she heard
that I was. But when she was assured of it, and directed her Nelthorpe
to ask me about it, and I readily owned it, she was greatly incensed,
though nothing but general civilities, and intimacies not inconsistent
with honourable friendship, had passed between us. The consequence
was, she forbad my ever seeing her again, and set out with her sister
and the Viscount for Tunbridge, where she staid about three weeks.
"I thought I had already gone too far, and blamed myself for
permitting her so long to believe me single; and here the matter had
dropped, in all probability, had not a ball, given by my Lord ----, to
which, unknown to each other, we were both, as also the Viscountess,
invited, brought us again together. The lady soon withdrew, with
her sister, to another apartment; and being resolved upon personal
recrimination (which is what a lady, who is resolved to break with a
favoured object, should never trust herself with,) sent for me, and
reproached me on my conduct, in which her sister joined.
"I owned frankly, that gaiety, rather than design, made me give cause,
at the masquerade, for her ladyship to think I was not married; for
that I had a wife, with a thousand excellencies, who was my pride,
and my boast: that I held it very possible for a gentleman and lady to
carry on an innocent and honourable friendship, in a _family_ way; and
I was sure, when she and her sister saw my spouse, they would not be
displeased with her acquaintance; all that I had to reproach myself
with, was, that after having, at the masquerade, given reason to
think I was not married, I had been both, _officiously_, to say I was,
although I never intended to conceal it. In short, I acquitted myself
so well with both ladies, that a family intimacy was consented to.
I renewed my visits; and we accounted to one another's honour, by
entering upon a kind of Platonic system, in which sex was to have no
manner of concern.
"But, my dear Pamela, I must own myself extremely blameable, because I
knew the world and human nature, I will say, better than the lady,
who never before had been trusted into it upon her own feet: and who,
notwithstanding that wit and vivacity which every one admires in her,
gave herself little time for consideration. I ought, therefore, to
have more carefully guarded against inconveniencies, which I knew were
so likely to arise from such intimacies; and the rather, as I hinted,
because the lady had no apprehension at all of any: so that, my dear,
if I have no excuse from human frailty, from youth, and the charms of
the object, I am entirely destitute of any."
"I see, Mr. B.," said I, "there is a great deal to be said for the
lady. I wish I could say there was for the gentleman. But such a fine
lady had been safe, with all her inconsideration; and so (forgive me.
Sir,) would the gentleman, with all his intriguing spirit, had it not
been for these vile masquerades. Never, dear Sir, think of going to
another."--"Why, my dear, those are least of all to be trusted at
these diversions, who are most desirous to go to them.--Of this I am
now fully convinced."--"Well, Sir, I long to hear more particulars of
this story: for this generous openness, now the affair is over, cannot
but be grateful to me, as it shews me you have no reserve, and tends
to convince me, that the lady was less blameable than I apprehended:
for I love, for the honour of my sex, to find ladies of birth and
quality innocent, who have so many opportunities of knowing and
practising their duties, above what meaner persons can have."
"Well observed, my dear: this is like your generous and deep way of
"But, dear Sir, proceed--Your reconciliation is now effected; a
friendship quadripartite is commenced. And the Viscountess and I are
to find cement for the erecting of an edifice, that is to be devoted
to Platonic love. What, may I ask, came next? And what did you design
should come of it?"
"The Oxford journey, my dear, followed next; and it was my fault
you were not a party in it, both ladies being very desirous of your
company: but it was the time you were not going abroad, after your
lying-in, so I excused you to them. Yet they both longed to see you:
especially as by this time, you may believe, they knew all your story:
and besides, whenever you were mentioned, I did justice, as well to
your mind, as to your person."
"Well, Sir, to be sure this was very kind; and little was I disposed
(knowing what I did,) to pass so favourable a construction in your
generosity to me."
"My question to her ladyship at going away, whether you were not the
charmingest girl in the world, which seeing you both together, rich
as she was drest, and plain as you, gave me the double pleasure
(a pleasure she said afterwards I exulted in,) of deciding in your
favour; my readiness to explain to you what we both said, and her not
ungenerous answer, I thought entitled me to a better return than a
flood of tears; which confirmed me that your past uneasiness was a
jealousy I was not willing to allow in you: though I should have been
more indulgent to it had I known the grounds you thought you had for
it: and for this reason I left you so abruptly as I did."
Here, Madam, Mr. B. broke off, referring to another time the
conclusion of his narrative. I will here close this letter (though
possibly I may not send it, till I send the conclusion of this story
in my next,) with the assurance that I am _your ladyship's obliged
sister and servant_,
My dear lady,
Now I will proceed with my former subject: and with the greater
pleasure, as what follows makes still more in favour of the Countess's
character, than what went before, although that set it in a better
light than it had once appeared to me in. I began as follows:
"Will you be pleased, Sir, to favour me with the continuation of
our last subject?"--"I will, my dear."--"You left off, Sir, with
acquitting me for breaking out into that flood of tears, which
occasioned your abrupt departure. But, dear Sir, will you be pleased,
to satisfy me about that affecting information, of your intention and
my lady's to live at Tunbridge together?"
"'Tis absolute malice and falsehood. Our intimacy had not proceeded
so far; and, thoughtless as my sister's letters suppose the lady, she
would have spurned at such a proposal, I dare say."
"Well, but then, Sir, as to the expression to her uncle, that she had
rather have been a certain gentleman's second wife?"
"I believe she might, in a passion, say something like it to him: he
had been teazing her (from the time that I held an argument in favour
of that foolish topic _polygamy_, in his company and his niece's,
and in that of her sister and the Viscount,) with cautions against
conversing with a man, who, having, as he was pleased to say behind my
back, married beneath him, wanted to engage the affections of a lady
of birth, in order to recover, by doubling that fault upon her, his
"She despised his insinuation enough to answer him, that she thought
my arguments in behalf of _polygamy_ were convincing. This set him a
raving, and he threw some coarse reflections upon her, which could not
be repeated, if one may guess at them, by her being unable to tell
me them; and then to vex him more, and to revenge herself, she said
something like what was reported: which was handle enough for her
uncle; who took care to propagate it with an indiscretion peculiar to
himself; for I heard it in three different companies, before I knew
any thing of it from herself; and when I did, it was so repeated, as
you, my dear, would hardly have censured her for it, the provocation
"Well, but then, dear Sir, there is nothing at all amiss, at this
rate, in the correspondence between my lady and you?"
"Not on her side, I dare say, if her ladyship can be excused to
punctilio, and for having a greater esteem for a married man, than
he can deserve, or than may be strictly defended to a person of your
purity and niceness."
"Well, Sir, this is very noble in you. I love to hear the gentlemen
generous in points where the honour of our sex is concerned. But pray.
Sir, what then was there on _your_ side, in that matter, that made you
give me so patient and so kind a hearing?"
"Now, my dear, you come to the point: at first it was nothing in me
but vanity, pride, and love of intrigue, to try my strength, where
I had met with some encouragement, as I thought, at the masquerade;
where the lady went farther, too, than she would have done, had she
not thought I was a single man. For, by what I have told you, Pamela,
you will observe, that she tried to satisfy herself on that head, as
soon as she well could. Mrs. Nelthorpe acquainted me afterwards, when
better known to each other, that her lady was so partial in my favour,
(who can always govern their fancies, my dear?) as to think, so early
as at the masquerade, that if every thing answered appearances,
and that I were a single man, she, who has a noble and independent
fortune, might possibly be induced to make me happy in her choice.
"Supposing, then, that I was unmarried, she left a signal for me in
her handkerchief. I visited her; had the honour, after the customary
first shyness, of being well received; and continued my visits, till,
perhaps, she would have been glad I had not been married, but on
finding I was, she avoided me, as I have told you, till the accident
I mentioned threw us again upon each other: which renewed our intimacy
upon terms you would think too inconsiderable on one side, and too
designing on the other.
"For myself, what can I say? only that you gave me great disgusts
(without cause, as I thought,) by your unwonted reception of me, ever
in tears and grief; the Countess ever cheerful and lively; and fearing
that your temper was entirely changing, I believe I had no bad excuse
to try to make myself easy and cheerful abroad, since my home became
more irksome to me than ever I believed it could be. Then, as we
naturally love those who love us, I had vanity, and some reason for my
vanity (indeed all vain men believe they have,) to think the Countess
had more than an indifference for me. She was so exasperated by the
wrong methods taken with an independent lady of her generous spirit,
to break off our acquaintance, that, in revenge, she denied me less
than ever opportunities of her company. The pleasure we took in each
other's conversation was reciprocal. The world's reports had united us
in one common cause: and you, as I said, had made home less delightful
to me than it used to be: what might not then have been apprehended
from so many circumstances concurring with the lady's beauty and my
"I waited on her to Tunbridge. She took a house there. Where people's
tongues will take so much liberty, without any foundation, and where
the utmost circumspection is used, what will they not say, where so
little of the latter is observed? No wonder, then, that terms were
said to be agreed upon between us: from her uncle's story, of polygamy
proposed by me, and seemingly agreed to by her, no wonder that all
your Thomasine Fuller's information was surmised. Thus stood the
matter, when I was determined to give your cause for uneasiness a
hearing, and to take my measures according to what should result from
"From this account, dear Sir," said I, "it will not be so
difficult, as I feared, to end this affair even to her _ladyship's_
satisfaction."--"I hope not, my dear."--"But if, now, Sir, the
Countess should still be desirous not to break with you; from so
charming a lady, who knows what may happen!"
"Very true, Pamela; but to make you still easier, I will tell you
that her ladyship has a first cousin married to a person going with
a public character to several of the Italian courts, and, had it not
been for my persuasions, she would have accepted of their earnest
invitations, and passed a year or two in Italy, where she once resided
for three years together, which makes her so perfect a mistress of
"Now I will let her know, additionally to what I have written to her,
the uneasiness I have given you, and, so far as it is proper, what is
come to your ears, and your generous account of her, and the charms
of her person, of which she will not be a little proud; for she has
really noble and generous sentiments, and thinks well (though her
sister, in pleasantry, will have it a little enviously,) of you; and
when I shall endeavour to persuade her to go, for the sake of her own
character, to a place and country of which she was always fond, I am
apt to think she will come into it; for she has a greater opinion
of my judgment than it deserves: and I know a young lord, who may be
easily persuaded to follow her thither, and bring her back his lady,
if he can obtain her consent: and what say you, Pamela, to this?"
"O, Sir! I believe I shall begin to love the lady dearly, and that is
what I never thought I should. I hope this will be brought about.
"But I see, give me leave to say, Sir, how dangerously you might
both have gone on, under the notion of this Platonic love, till
two precious souls had been lost: and this shews one, as well in
spirituals as temporals, from what slight beginnings the greatest
mischiefs sometimes spring; and how easily at first a breach may be
stopped, that, when neglected, the waves of passion will widen till
they bear down all before them."
"Your observation, my dear, is just," replied Mr. B., "and though, I
am confident the lady was more in earnest than myself in the notion of
Platonic love, yet I am convinced, and always was, that Platonic love
is Platonic nonsense: 'tis the fly buzzing about the blaze, till its
wings are scorched; or, to speak still stronger, it is a bait of the
devil to catch the unexperienced, and thoughtless: nor ought such
notions to be pretended to, till the parties are five or ten years
on the other side of their grand climateric: for age, old age, and
nothing else, must establish the barriers to Platonic love. But this
was my comparative consolation, though a very bad one, that had I
swerved, I should not have given the only instance, where persons more
scrupulous than I pretended to be, have begun friendships even with
spiritual views, and ended them as grossly as I could have done, were
the lady to have been as frail as her tempter."
Here Mr. B. finished his narrative. He is now set out for Tunbridge
with all my papers. I have no doubt in his honour and kind assurances,
and hope my next will be a joyful letter; and that I shall inform
you in it, that the affair which went so near my heart, is absolutely
concluded to my satisfaction, to Mr. B.'s and the Countess's; for if
it be so to all three, my happiness, I doubt not, will be founded on
a permanent basis. Meantime I am, my dear good lady, _your most
affectionate, and obliged sister and servant_,
A new misfortune, my dear lady!--But this is of God Almighty's
sending; so I must bear it patiently. My dear baby is taken with the
small-pox!--To how many troubles are the happiest of us subjected
in this life! One need not multiply them by one's own wilful
mismanagements!--I am able to mind nothing else!
I had so much joy (as I told your ladyship in the beginning of my last
letter but one) to see, on our arrival at the farm-house, my dearest
Mr. B., my beloved baby, and my good parents, all upon one happy spot,
that I fear I was too proud--Yet I was truly thankful, I am sure!--But
I had, notwithstanding too much pride, and too much pleasure, on this
I said, in my last, that your dear brother set out on Tuesday morning
for Tunbridge with my papers; and I longed to know the result, hoping
that every thing would be concluded to the satisfaction of all three:
"For," thought I, "if this be so, my happiness must be permanent:" but
alas! there is nothing permanent in this life. I feel it by experience
now!--I knew it before by theory: but that was not so near and
interesting by half.
For, with all my pleasures and hopes; in the midst of my dear parents'
joy and congratulations on our arrival, and on what had passed so
happily since we were last here together, (in the birth of the dear
child, and my safety, for which they had been so apprehensive,) the
poor baby was taken ill. It was on that very Tuesday his papa set
out for Tunbridge; but we knew not it would be the small-pox till
Thursday. O Madam! how are all the pleasures I had formed to myself
sickened now upon me! for my Billy is very bad.
They talk of a kind sort: but alas: they talk at random: for they come
not out at all!--I fear the nurse's constitution is too hale and too
rich for the dear baby!--Had _I_ been permitted--But hush, all my
repining _ifs!_--except one _if_; and that is, _if_ it be got happily
over, it will be best he had it so young, and while at the breast!--
Oh! Madam, Madam! the small appearance that there was is gone in
again: and my child, my dear baby, will die! The doctors seem to think
They wanted to send for Mr. B. to keep me from him!--But I forbid
it!--For what signifies life, or any thing, if I cannot see my baby,
while he is so dangerously ill!
My father and mother are, for the first time, quite cruel to me; they
have forbid me, and I never was so desirous of disobeying them before,
to attend the darling of my heart: and why?--For fear of this poor
face!--For fear I should get it myself!--But I am living very low, and
have taken proper precautions by bleeding, and the like, to lessen
the distemper's fury, if I should have it; and the rest I leave to
Providence. And if Mr. B.'s value is confined so much to this poor
transitory sightliness, he must not break with his Countess, I think;
and if I am ever so deformed in person, my poor intellects, I hope
will not be impaired, and I shall, if God spare my Billy, be useful
in his first education, and be helpful to dear Miss Goodwin--or to any
babies--with all my heart--he may make me an humble nurse too!--How
peevish, sinfully so, I doubt, does this accident, and their
affectionate contradiction, make one!
I have this moment received the following from Mr. B.
"My dearest love,
"I am greatly touched with the dear boy's malady, of which I have
this moment heard. I desire you instantly to come to me hither, in the
chariot with the bearer, Colbrand. I know what your grief must be: but
as you can do the child no good, I beg you'll oblige me. Everything
is in a happy train; but I can think only of you, and (for your sake
principally, but not a little for _my own_) my boy. I will set out
to meet you; for I choose not to come myself, lest you should try to
persuade me to permit your tarrying about him; and I should be sorry
to deny you any thing. I have taken handsome apartments for you, till
the event, which I pray God may be happy, shall better determinate me
what to do. I will be ever _your affectionate and faithful_."
Maidstone indeed is not so very far off, but one may hear every day,
once or twice, by a man and horse; so I will go, to shew my obedience,
since Mr. B. is so intent upon it--But I cannot live, if I am not
permitted to come back--Oh! let me be enabled, gracious Father! to
close this letter more happily than I have begun it!
I have been so dreadfully uneasy at Maidstone, that Mr. B. has been
so good as to return with me hither; and I find my baby's case not yet
quite desperate--I am easier now I see him, in presence of his beloved
papa who lets me have all my way, and approves of my preparative
method for myself; and he tells me that since I will have it so,
he will indulge me in my attendance on the child, and endeavour to
imitate my reliance on God--that is his kind expression--and leave
the issue to him. And on my telling him, that I feared nothing in
the distemper, but the loss of his love, he said, in presence of the
doctors, and my father and mother, pressing my hand to his lips--"My
dearest life, make yourself easy under this affliction, and apprehend
nothing for yourself: I love you more, for your mind than for your
face. That and your person will be the same; and were that sweet face
to be covered with seams and scars, I will value you the more for the
misfortune: and glad I am, that I had your picture so well drawn in
town, to satisfy those who have heard of your loveliness, what you
were, and hitherto are. For myself, my admiration lies deeper;" and,
drawing me to the other end of the room, whisperingly he said, "The
last uneasiness between us, I now begin to think, was necessary,
because it has turned all my delight in you, more than ever, to the
perfections of your mind: and so God preserves to me the life of my
Pamela, I care not for my own part, what ravages the distemper makes
here," and tapped my cheek.--How generous, how noble, how comforting
When I went from my apartment, to go to my child, my dear Mr. B. met
me at the nursery door, and led me back again. "You must not go in
again, my dearest. They have just been giving the child other things
to try to drive out the malady; and some pustules seem to promise on
his breast." I made no doubt, my baby was then in extremity; and I
would have given the world to have shed a few tears, but I could not.
With the most soothing goodness he led me to my desk, and withdrew to
attend the dear baby himself--to see his last gaspings, poor little
lamb, I make no doubt!
In this suspense, my own strange hardness of heart would not give
up one tear, for the passage from _that_ to my _eyes_ seemed quite
choaked up, which used to be so open and ready on other occasions,
affecting ones too.
Two days have passed, dreadful days of suspense: and now, blessed be
God! who has given me hope that our prayers are heard, the pustules
come kindly out, very thick in his breast, and on his face: but of
a good sort, they tell me.--They won't let me see him; indeed they
won't!--What cruel kindness is this! One must believe all they tell
But, my dear lady, my spirits are so weak; I have such a violent
headache, and have such a strange shivering disorder all running
down my back, and I was so hot just now, and am so cold at this
present--aguishly inclined--I don't know how! that I must leave off,
the post going away, with the assurance, that I am, and will be, to
the last hour of my life, _your ladyship's grateful and obliged sister
_From Mr. B. to Lady Davers._
MY DEAR SISTER,
I take very kindly your solicitude for the health of my beloved
Pamela. The last line she wrote was to you, for she took to her bed
the moment she laid down her pen.
I told her your kind message, and wishes for her safety, by my lord's
gentleman; and she begged I would write a line to thank you in her
name for your affectionate regards to her.
She is in a fine way to do well: for with her accustomed prudence, she
had begun to prepare herself by a proper regimen, the moment she knew
the child's illness was the small-pox.
The worst is over with the boy, which keeps up her spirits; and her
mother is so excellent a nurse to both, and we are so happy likewise
in the care of a skilful physician, Dr. M. (who directs and approves
of every thing the good dame does,) that it is a singular providence
this malady seized them here; and affords no small comfort to the dear
When I tell you, that, to all appearance, her charming face will not
receive any disfigurement by this cruel enemy to beauty, I am sure you
will congratulate me upon a felicity so desirable: but were it to be
otherwise, if I were capable of slighting a person, whose principal
beauties are much deeper than the skin, I should deserve to be thought
the most unworthy and superficial of husbands.
Whatever your notions have been, my ever-ready censuring Lady Davers,
of your brother, on a certain affair, I do assure you, that I never
did, and never can, love any woman as I love my Pamela.
It is indeed impossible I can ever love her better than I do; and her
outward beauties are far from being indifferent to me; yet, if I know
myself, I am sure I have justice enough to love her _equally_, and
generosity enough to be _more tender_ of her, were she to suffer by
this distemper. But, as her humility, and her affection to me, would
induce her to think herself under greater obligation to me, for such
my tenderness to her, were she to lose any the _least_ valuable of her
perfections, I rejoice that she will have no reason for mortification
on that score.
My respects to Lord Davers, and your noble neighbours. I am, _your
affectionate brother, and humble servant_.
_From Lady Davers, in answer to the preceding_.
MY DEAR BROTHER,
I do most heartily congratulate you on the recovery of Master Billy,
and the good way my sister is in. I am the more rejoiced, as her sweet
face is not like to suffer by the malady; for, be the beauties of the
mind what they will, those of the person are no small recommendation,
with some folks, I am sure; and I began to be afraid, that when it was
hardly possible for _both conjoined_ to keep a roving mind constant,
that _one only_ would not be sufficient.
This news gives me more pleasure, because I am well informed, that a
certain gay lady was pleased to give herself airs upon learning of my
sister's illness, as, That she would not be sorry for it; for now she
should look upon herself as the prettiest woman in England.--She meant
only, I suppose, as to _outward_ prettiness, brother!
You give me the name of a _ready censurer_. I own, I think myself to
be not a little interested in all that regards my brother, and his
honour. But when some people are not readier to _censure_, than others
to _trespass_, I know not whether they can with justice be styled
But however that be, the rod seems to have been held up, as a
warning--and that the blow, in the irreparable deprivation, is not
given, is a mercy, which I hope will be deserved; though you never can
those very signal ones you receive at the Divine hands, beyond any man
I know. For even (if I shall not be deemed censorious again) your
very vices have been turned to your felicity, as if God would try the
nobleness of the heart he has given you, by overcoming you (in answer
to my sister's constant prayers, as well as mine) by mercies rather
than by judgments.
I might give instances of the truth of this observation, in almost
all the actions and attempts of your past life; and take care (if you
_are_ displeased, I _will_ speak it), take care, thou bold wretch,
that if this method be ungratefully slighted, the uplifted arm fall
not down with double weight on thy devoted head!
I must always love and honour my brother, but cannot help speaking my
mind: which, after all, is the natural result of that very love and
honour, and which obliges me to style myself _your truly affectionate
_From Mrs. B. to Lady Davers_.
MY DEAREST LADY,
My first letter, and my first devoirs, after those of thankfulness to
that gracious God, who has so happily conducted me through two such
heavy trials, as my child's and my own illness, must be directed to
you, with all due acknowledgment of your generous and affectionate
concern for me.
We are now preparing for our journey to Bedfordshire; and there, to my
great satisfaction, I am to be favoured with the care of Miss Goodwin.
After tarrying about a month there, Mr. B. will make a tour with me
through several counties (taking the Hall in the way) for about a
fortnight, and shew me what is remarkable, every where as we pass; for
this, he thinks, will better contribute to my health, than any
other method. The distemper has left upon me a kind of weariness and
listlessness; and he proposes to be out with me till the Bath season
begins; and by the aid of those healing and balsamic waters, he hopes,
I shall be quite established. Afterwards to return to Bedfordshire
for a little while; then to London; and then to Kent; and, if nothing
hinders, has a great mind to carry me over to Paris.
Thus most kindly does he amuse and divert me with his agreeable
proposals. But I have made one amendment to them; and that is, that I
must not be denied to pay my respects to your ladyship, at your seat,
and to my good Lady Countess in the same neighbourhood, and this will
be far from being the least of my pleasures.
I have had congratulations without number upon my recovery; but one,
among the rest, I did not expect; from the Countess Dowager (could you
think it, Madam?) who sent me by her gentleman the following letter
"I hope, among the congratulations of your numerous admirers, on your
happy recovery, my very sincere ones will not be unacceptable. I have
no other motive for making you my compliments on this occasion, on
so slender an acquaintance, than the pleasure it gives me, that the
public, as well as your private friends, have not been deprived of a
lady whose example, in every duty of life, is of so much concern
to both.--May you, Madam, long rejoice in an uninterrupted state of
happiness, answerable to your merits, and to your own wishes, are
those of _your most obedient humble servant_."
To this kind letter I returned the following:
"I am under the highest obligation to your generous favour, in your
kind compliments of congratulation on my recovery. There is something
so noble and so condescending in the honour you have done me, on
so slender an acquaintance, that it bespeaks the exalted mind and
character of a lady, who, in the principles of generosity, and in true
nobleness of nature, has no example. May God Almighty bless you, my
dear lady, with all the good you wish me, and with increase of honour
and glory, both here and hereafter, prays, and will always pray, _your
ladyship's most obliged and obedient servant_, P.B."
This leads me to mention, what my illness would not permit me to do
before, that Mr. B. met with such a reception and audience from the
Countess, when he attended her, in all he had to offer and propose to
her, and in her patient hearing of what he thought fit to read
her, from your ladyship's letters and mine, that he said, "Don't be
jealous, my dear Pamela; but I must admire her as long as I live."
He gave me the particulars, so much to her ladyship's honour, that I
told him, he should not only be welcome to admire her ladyship, but
that I would admire her too.
They parted very good friends, and with great professions of esteem
for each other.--And as Mr. B. had undertaken to inspect into some
exceptionable accounts and managements of her ladyship's bailiff,
one of her servants brought a letter for him on Monday last, wholly
written on that subject. But she was so considerate, as to send
it unsealed, in a cover directed to me. When I opened it, I was
frightened to see it begin to Mr. B. and I hastened to find him--"Dear
Sir--Here's some mistake--You see the direction is to Mrs. B.--'Tis
very plain--But, upon my word, I have not read it."--"Don't be
uneasy, my love.--I know what the subject must be; but I dare swear
there is nothing, nor will there ever be, but what you or any body may
He read it, and giving it to me, said, "Answer yourself the
postscript, my dear." That was--"If, Sir, the trouble I give you, is
likely to subject you or your lady to uneasiness or apprehensions, I
beg you will not be concerned in it. I will then set about the matter
myself; for my uncle I will not trouble; yet women enter into these
particulars with as little advantage to themselves as inclination."
I told him, I was entirely easy and unapprehensive; and, after all
his goodness to me, should be so, if he saw the Countess every day.
"That's kindly said, my dear; but I will not trust myself to see
her every day, or at all, for the present. But I shall be obliged to
correspond with her for a month or so, on this occasion; unless you
prohibit it; and it shall be in your power to do so."
I said, with my whole heart, he might; and I should be quite easy in
both their honours.
"Yet I will not," said he, "unless you see our letters: for I know she
will always, now she has begun, send in a cover to you, what she will
write to me, unsealed; and whether I am at home or abroad, I shall
take it unkindly, if you do not read them."
He went in, and wrote an answer, which he sent by the messenger; but
would make me, whether I would or not, read it, and seal it up with
his seal. But all this needed not to me now, who think so much better
of the lady than I did before; and am so well satisfied in his own
honour and generous affection for me; for you saw, Madam, in what I
wrote before, that he always loved me, though he was angry at times,
at my change of temper, as he feared, not knowing that I was apprised
of what had passed between him and the Countess.
I really am better pleased with his correspondence, than I should have
been, had it not been carried on; because the servants, on both sides,
will see, by my deportment on the occasion (and I will officiously,
with a smiling countenance, throw myself in their observation), that
it is quite innocent; and this may help to silence the mouths of those
who have so freely censured their conduct.
Indeed, Madam, I think I have received no small good myself by that
affair, which once lay so heavy upon me: for I don't believe I shall
be ever jealous again; indeed I don't think I shall. And won't that
be an ugly foible overcome? I see what may be done, in cases not
favourable to our wishes, by the aid of proper reflection; and that
the bee is not the only creature that may make honey out of the bitter
flowers as well as the sweet.
My most grateful respects and thanks to my good Lord Davers; to the
Earl, and his excellent Countess; and most particularly to Lady Betty
(with whose kind compliments your ladyship acquaints me), and to
Mr. H. for all your united congratulations on my recovery. What
obligations do I lie under to such noble and generous well-wishers!--I
can make no return but by my prayers, that God, by his goodness, will
supply all my defects. And these will always attend you, from, my
dearest lady, _your ever obliged sister, and humble servant_,
Mr. H. is just arrived. He says, he comes a special messenger, to make
a report how my face has come off. He makes me many compliments
upon it. How kind your ladyship is, to enter so favourably into the
minutest concerns, which you think, may any way affect my future
happiness in your dear brother's opinion!--I want to pour out all my
joy and my thankfulness to God, before you, and the good Countess of
C----! For I am a happy, yea, a blessed creature! Mr. B.'s boy, your
ladyship's boy, and my boy, is charmingly well; quite strong, and very
forward, for his months; and his papa is delighted with him more and